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Now displaying: 2018
Dec 7, 2018

Tips To Help You Share Your Mental Illness With Others

Tips To Help You Share Your Mental Illness With Others Shala Nicely Interview Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD Anxiety Depression CBT Eating Disoder Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley QuinlanWelcome back to Your Anxiety Toolkit podcast!

Recently on the podcast, I shared my own personal journey of struggling (and now managing) significant anxiety, disordered eating and life stressors. It was a scary, yet brave thing for me to do and I am so glad I did.  Because I am constantly telling others that “It is a beautiful day to do hard things,” I figured I have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.   It was such an amazing experience to hear many of your reflections and own personal stories on these difficult issues.  

What surprised me was that one of the most common questions I heard from you guys (my lovely CBT School community and YAY Podcast listeners) was, “HOW do I share my story?”  So many people reached out and shared that they wish they had the courage and “know-how” to start telling others about their journey with mental illness.  Maybe you want to empower others?  Maybe you want to get it off your chest?  Maybe you want to reduce the stigma around your own disorder and mental health struggles? 

So, you know what I did? I called the person I most respect when it comes to sharing her story, Shala Nicely.   Together we recorded a podcast episode and talked about what you might want to consider when making the decision to share your story.  Shala shared many beautiful personal examples of her own process of writing a memoir about her journey with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and how she handled the ups and downs of this process.  

Shala and I also talked about HOW to share what you are struggling with a friend or loved one.  Shala gives some wonderful tips to decide who to share with and why it might not be who you would have first considered.  

What no one can prepare you for is your own mental roller coaster that occurs when you share information about yourself.  We also address self-criticism and dealing with what I call “sharing remorse” or what Brene Brown calls a “vulnerability hangover” after telling someone your deep dark secrets.  One of the things I love the most about Shala is that she is honest and open about the ups AND the downs of sharing.  She shares what it is like for her to handle negative feedback and how she manages that through Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).   I hope this helps you come to a decision for yourself.  

Nov 30, 2018

Managing Perfectionism and Learning To Be Good Enough (with Kim Foster Carlson)

 Managing Perfectionism and Learning To Be Good Enough Kim Foster Carlson Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD Anxiety Procrastination CBT Mindfulness Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley QuinlanWelcome to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast!  This week, we talk about all things anxiety and mental health.

Today, I am excited to share with you our guest, Kim Foster Carlson.  Kim Foster Carlson is an award-winning broadcast journalist in San Francisco Bay and the author of the book Good Enough: How to Overcome Fear of Failure and Perfectionism To Live Your Best Life.

There is not a day in my office where I don’t see the debilitating anxiety that is caused by perfectionism.  Perfectionism can prevent us from trying new things, paralyze us when we have to perform, and can cause us to be very hard on ourselves.  In today’s podcast, Kim addressed many of the factors that might cause perfectionism, as well as some super helpful tools to manage it.  The difficult part is that we are constantly being bombarded by unrealistic expectations from our family, our social media accounts, from magazines and from our society’s expectations.

In this interview, Kim and I talk about perfectionism, fear of failure, anxiety and procrastination.

Kim shares her history of being an athlete and how perfectionism and the fear of failure caused her to be very hard on herself.

Kim also shares her story of going to therapy and realizing that perfectionism was the cause of her anger, anxiety and poor coping strategies.  She shared how this was triggered by stressors related to parenting and she was so open about how she got through some very difficult times.  Kim details many mindfulness skills that helped her along the road to becoming a “recovered perfectionist.”

One tip that I loved from today’s episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit was Kim’s example of Steph Curry, a professional basketball player.  Kim emphasized the importance of “finding the joy” (Steph Curry’s phrase) in everything we do by practicing gratitude and by verbally thanking someone every day.  I just loved this idea and this is a tool I am going to adopt myself.

I hope you enjoy this week’s episode.

Nov 23, 2018

This is me...doing a hard thing

This Is Me...Doing A Hard Thing Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD Anxiety Depression CBT Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Mindfulness Eating Disoder Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley Quinlan
Hello there lovely CBT School Community,

You all know how much I adore coming on here every week and sharing cool Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) tips or fun Mindfulness tools with you all!?  As I often say, “these are skills for life” and sometimes we have to stare the dark place of mental illness in the face before we get introduced (and practice) these wonderful tools.   Sometimes, we have to hit rock bottom before we ask for help.  We have to be struggling so much that we have no choice but to double down and learn the tools we need to live a more mindful and healthy life.

This was definitely the case for me.  In today’s episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit podcast, I share with you my story with Mental Illness.

I am not going to lie.  I have felt many emotions about sharing my own story.  This week’s episode is one that has challenged me to be as brave as I can be.

I have been thinking about telling my own story of mental illness/health for some time and it has taken me many conversations with trusted colleagues and family members to come to a place where I felt ready.   So, today, I bravely share with you my story.  This is me….doing a hard thing.

In the episode, I talk about how I moved away from my small hometown to go to university.  Immediately, I was riddled with anxiety and panic.  I felt so painfully alone and I was plagued with the repetitive thought that “something bad will happen.”  I felt out of control and I had no tools to manage these terrifying feelings.  In this episode, I share how I responded to these thoughts in the only way I knew how.   I used what some would consider very positive behaviors and use them in a way that became very problematic.   Before too long, I was restricting my food, compulsively exercising and binge-eating to manage my emotions. I spent hours planning and calculating my calorie intake and I kept it all a secret, in fear that someone would find out how much I was struggling.  I was so afraid of being seen as weak or over-dramatic.  These behaviors stripped me of my joy, comfort and my life.

My hope with sharing my own personal story is to remind you that you can get better.  I also hope that it helps us all feel more connected and a part of the same community.  We all have our own story and struggles, and I wanted to share mine with you so you felt I understood what you might be going through.  While I might not have exactly the same story (or circumstances), we all get to the place where we have to ask for help.  We all get to the place where were feel so out of control that we have to make a change.  That was me.  And this is me….doing a hard thing.

I hope you find it helpful, or comforting.   Please know that you can get better and you can get your life back.

Nov 16, 2018

Dr. David Burns Helps Us Learn the Art of Feeling Good

Hello!  My name is Kimberley Quinlan and welcome back to Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast.

Dr. David Burns Interview Learn the Art of Feeling Good Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD Anxiety Depression CBT Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley QuinlanFor those of you who are new, welcome!  Your Anxiety Toolkit is brought to you by CBTschool.com.  CBTschool.com is an online resource that provides evidence-based tools and resources for those who are experiencing anxiety, depression, or other mental health struggles.  CBT is an acronym for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  CBT is made up of Cognitive Therapy and Behavioral Therapy.

Today, I am so excited to share with you one of the masters in our field of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dr. David Burns.   Dr. Burns has been a legend in my mind for many years.  He wrote the book Feeling Good, which I consider one of the most valuable books for the management of faulty and unhelpful thoughts.

Dr. David Burns is an adjunct professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine.  David Burns is also the author of the best-selling books Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy,  The Feeling Good Handbook, When Panic Attacks, and has a new book being written called Feeling Great (I cannot wait to read this one!).   Dr. David Burns brings Cognitive Therapy, Buddhist foundations and principals, and Behavioral Concepts into this amazing work.

Dr. Burns also created and copyrighted The Burns Depression Checklist, which is a rating scale for depression that I use very often in my office.

In our interview today, David Burns helps us by teaching how to better approach our faulty cognitions that cause depression.  Burns states that 50% of anxious people will be depressed and 100% of depressed people will be anxious.   He strongly believes that much of our depression is directly related to our faulty thoughts, which I am sure you will all find very interesting and inspiring.  What David Burns teaches us is how to correct our depressive thoughts and come up with strong, powerful statements to counter their incorrect content.  We talk about themes such as hopelessness, helplessness and worthlessness.

Please note, there are points made by Mr. Burns regarding medication, but I really encourage you to speak with your doctor to make sure your medical and medication plans are best for you.  Every person is different and needs specific care.

Dr. David Burns also addresses these topics during the interview:

  • Thoughts are the cause for depression.
  • If you can change the way you think, you will change the way you feel.
  • Recent studies researched Feeling Good, to test if it clinically helps those who are experiencing depression, and results showed it is highly effective for those who suffer from depression.
  • How he conceptualizes recovery as either 100% recovery (where all symptoms are gone) and 200% recovery (a stage and experience of enlightenment).
Nov 10, 2018

ONE Day Non-Judgment Challenge

Non-Judgment Challenge Self-Judgment Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD Anxiety Depression Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley QuinlanHello and welcome back to Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast.  Today we are talking about an interesting challenge.  

You see, recently I was dared to take an entire day to just listen to my body and feel my feelings and sit in peace.  I thought this was a fabulous idea so I shipped my kids and husband away for one day (I never do this BTW)

What quickly arose was one thing that was taking the joy out of what could have been a lovely day.  That thing was Self-judgment.  Self-judgment is the thing that kept bringing me out of simply spending the day with myself. 

“I should be doing this instead” 

“You are being lazy” 

“Why did you choose that activity?” 

“You have to do it this way because that way is a waste of money” 

“You shouldn’t be feeling this way” 

“You don’t deserve this” 

“Why did you do it that way?” 

“Why are you the way you are?

Here are just a few of the self-judgment statements we say to ourselves during the day.  When you see it on paper, it sounds so awful.  Yet, these are things we say to ourselves without hesitation or even awareness sometimes.   

So, I decided to change the focus of the day away from it being a day of freedom and pleasure and towards a day where I practiced non-judgment.  I called it the NON-JUDGMENT CHALLENGE DATE DAY (or #nonjudgmentdateday on social media).  

So, here is the challenge.  Non-Judgment Challenge Day is a day where you go out on your own for a whole day (or an hour or two) and you practice doing things you enjoy doing.  Do something pleasurable or exciting or new.  As you do this, be very aware of the thoughts in your mind.  During this date with yourself, observe your thoughts, both positive and negative, about yourself and the activity you are engaging in.  

Non-Judgment Challenge Day was a complete eye opener for me and I strongly encourage you to try it.   Listen in to this episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast to hear about my reflections and struggles with my very own Non-Judgment Challenge Day. 

Also, I just wanted to let you know about “What if?”, a collaborative film project by Robin Roblee-Strauss for his senior thesis project at Hampshire College.  “What if?” Is a movie that documents the experiences of living with OCD. The film focuses on the voices of those struggling with OCD as the experts on their own internal experiences and recovery processes. And guess what....you can be involved in its creation! Go to www.whatifocdmovie.com to learn how you can be a part of the project by sharing your story, contributing cinematic or artistic expertise, or donating. By creating a movie with the help of individuals with OCD, Robin hopes to empower sufferers to speak out and show the world a brave and honest look into the struggle with uncertainty and anxiety.

Nov 2, 2018

Tips To Manage Anxiety At Work 

Tips To Manage Anxiety At Work and School Panic Disorder Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD Depression Mindfulness Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley QuinlanWelcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit.  Today’s topic was a suggested topic be one of the members of our online FB group, CBT School Campus. One of the members asked for tips to manage anxiety at work.  This is a very important topic, as it is common for some to appear to be highly functioning, but underneath, they are riddled with anxiety and feel like they have no tools to manage their anxiety. The hard part about managing anxiety at work is that it is a practice of multi-tasking.  Not only are you fulfilling requirements of your job description, but you are also trying to manage intrusive thoughts, uncomfortable feelings and (sometimes) terrifying urges.   These are common symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Social Anxiety, Health Anxiety (hypochondria) and Panic Disorder. So, this week we are addressing 10 tips to manage anxiety at work, school, volunteering or other activities that you might do.  Don’t get me wrong.  There are many other tools that could be used, but these are some of the ones I thought might be the most helpful. Here is a quick overview of the 10 tips to manage anxiety at work:
  1. Don’t aim for no anxiety.
    • Accept that it will be there
  2. Don’t judge yourself for having anxiety
    • There is nothing “wrong” with you for having anxiety.
    • You are not “bad” for having anxiety
    • Your worth doesn’t change because of anxiety’s presence
  3. Do a Door check (listen to the episode for more information on this)
  4. Pull your shoulders back
  5. Create a strength-based statement to get you through the hard times
    • “We can do hard things”
    • “This too will pass”
    • “I am stronger than I think I am”
    • “I have done hard things before and I survived”
  6. Set small, realistic goals
    • Focus on only one client at a time
    • Do one job or one assignment at a time
    • Have rewards for work well done
  7. Implement a consistent and strong self-care plan: Getting exercise and sleep, as well as reducing caffeine and alcohol, is a good start.
  8. Begin a Self-Compassion practice
  9. You have to name emotions to tame emotions.
  10. Bring on that Anxiety, baby! Try to stare your fear in the face as much as you can.
I hope that has been helpful! Have a wonderful day and don’t forget to leave us a review on iTunes or Stitcher or wherever you tune in.
Oct 25, 2018

The Best FREE Mindful Tool Is...

The Best Free Mindful Tool Anxiety Depression Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD Specific Phobias Eating Disorder BFRB's CBT Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast Kimberley QuinlanClients and the CBT School community are often asking me for tools and tricks to manage anxiety.  Thankfully, we are so blessed there are so many scientifically proven tools and treatment modalities to help those with anxiety, depression, and other struggles.  However, I feel the need to bring us back to a mindful tool that we can use any time we want.   The great thing about this tool is that it is THE BEST FREE MINDFUL TOOL! That's right! It is the best, and it is free. Before we do that, I want to look at things abstractly for a second.  I promise it will make sense once I tell it so hear me out. Let’s say I want to be a great mom.  I want my daughter to think I am the freaking best mom ever. Here is the thing!  Just because I am her mother, that doesn’t automatically mean she and I will be good friends and have a great relationship.  Or, that she will even like me. To be a freaking rockstar mom, and to make a lasting impact on her heart and well-being, I am going to have to nurture her and our relationship. I am going to have to hear her pains.  I will need to sit with her when things are hard.  She will need me to hold her hand and be compassionate when she makes mistakes.  And wipe her tears when she cries.  And most of all, she will need me to not deny her of her anger and sadness and brattiness.  I am going to need to really be with her. To have a nurturing and healing relationship, I can't cheat and do it the fastest way.  She is not going to think I am an amazing mom just because I buy her the newest iPad and get her the best clothes and hire the best nanny to take care of her all the time.   Those things are great and will make her happy for the short term, but they won’t result in a good relationship with my daughter in the long term.  She won’t feel deeply loved by me and she won’t feel deeply seen. If I want to have a lasting and healthy relationship, I have to actually sit with her.  Be with her.  Not disown her because she is angry or being naughty.  I can’t just leave it to the nanny to fix her when she is sad or angry or not cleaning her room.   I can't buy her a trip to Disneyland and send her off with the nanny and expect that she will feel loved by me just because I arranged it and paid for it.   If I do that, she will understand that I will only be there when she is good, or when it is easy, and she will not feel worthy when she is having tough emotions.   Here is where the healing and growth occurs. So, here is this week’s lesson.  When it comes to your mindfulness practice, you can't cheat.  You too have to do the actual “being with.”   Our relationship with ourselves is no different.   We all want to be deeply understood.  We all want to feel worthy of being sat with.   We all know that feeling deeply seen is one of the most healing experiences we can be given.  Here’s the big question for this podcast episode.  Do you try to cheat when it comes to actually spending time with yourself and deeply sitting with your experience?  My guess is you are saying Yes.  We cheat ourselves on self-care and just “being” all the time. So, let's talk about how we befriend ourselves.  This is the best FREE mindful Tool I am talking about.  The best free Mindful tool is your breath. We disregard breath as one of the best mindful tools and we push forward wanting more supercharged, easier tools.  During this podcast, we do a short breathing meditation, in hope to simply honor our “being” and “spend time with” ourselves.   Returning to our breath really is the best free mindful tool. Before we go, here is a reminder to check out our swag!  WE ARE SO THRILLED TO FINALLY BE OFFERING IT!  We have an array of t-shirts and tanks for men, women, and children.  Each product has our very own CBT SCHOOL motto, “It is a beautiful day to do hard things.”  Check it out at the following link! https://www.etsy.com/shop/CBTschool
Oct 19, 2018

How To Talk To Others About Mental Illness (with Representative Michael Schlossberg)

How To Talk To Others About Mental Illness Michael Schlossberg Interview Depression Anxiety Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley QuinlanHello there and welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit podcast.  Today we have the final episode of the “We can do hard things” series; a series of episodes where we have inspirational and courageous guests who talk about hard and life-changing things.  I have enjoyed this series so much and hope to start it back up again early next year.  I just loved having all of the wonderful guests, who inspired me to be better and brave and more courageous.  

Today we are discussing how to talk to others about mental illness.  I often get asked questions about how to share your story of having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or Eating Disorder or Panic Disorder or depression with loved ones.  If you are wondering how to talk to others about mental illness, this is the episode for you.  

In this week’s episode, we have State Representative of Pennsylvania, Michael Schlossberg.  Michael Schlossberg is not only a State Representative.  He is a mental health advocate and the author of the fiction book Redemption.  Redemption is a science fiction book about a character who defeats depression and anxiety.  If you are interested in reading this book (the first of a three-part series), click HERE.  

During this episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit podcast, Schlossberg talks about his response to Robin Williams’ death by suicide and how that propelled him to be more open about his own depression and anxiety.   We talk about the experience of depression and how it can keep you feeling alone and isolated.  Schlossberg has many pieces of helpful information on how to talk to others about mental illness.  He talked about how talking to others about his mental illness made him feel closer to others and how it helped him to be more accepting and kind to himself.  

The best advice I took from this episode was “There are more people in their rooms crying than you would ever notice.  1/5 Americans have depression. You are not alone.” 

Click HERE to learn more about Michael's story and his focus on mental health in his governmental work.  Find him on Facebook HERE and Twitter HERE.

Oct 12, 2018

How To Let Go of the Past

How To Let Go of the Past Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD Anxiety Specific Phobias Eating Disorder BFRB's Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast Kimberley QuinlanThis week’s episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast is my response to a question that came directly from the online Facebook group CBT School Campus.  It is based upon the following: how to let go of the past.   

This question was one that the online group agreed was incredibly painful and one that was very difficult to approach.  If you aren’t familiar with CBT School Campus, go check it out.  CBT School Campus is an online group of wonderful people who support each other as they do hard things!  The group includes people who are struggling with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.  Each member is kind, supportive and helpful.  

Here is the question: 

“One of my obsessive regulars is about things from the past that my mind twisted and has blown way out of proportion (at least that’s what my non-OCD support people tell me. Ha!), but the memories cause me immense guilt/shame because I question my motives and wish I hadn’t done it. I do my exposures to try and accept that I may have had the wrong motive, it may have been inappropriate, I may be bothered by it forever, etc. 

My struggle lies in the yucky, depressed, guilty feeling it gives me as it looms and sucks the joy. That often leads to the worry of suicide if I can never get over it. I try to welcome the yuck, keep moving, etc.  Anything specific that has helped you?”

What a great question!  During this podcast, I talk about how we misinterpret events from the past and use past events to calculate or define ourselves, our worth and our value.  This miscalculation (or rating game) can become a compulsion and as you might already know, the more you review yourself, the more you find to be upset about and the worse you feel.  

DON’T FORGET, THIS WEEK IS OCD AWARENESS WEEK!  CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION.

WE ARE SO THRILLED TO FINALLY BE OFFERING SWAG!  We have an array of t-shirts and tanks for men, women, and children.  Each product has our very own CBT SCHOOL motto, “It is a beautiful day to do hard things.”  Check it out at the following link! https://www.etsy.com/shop/CBTschool

Oct 5, 2018

Everything You Need To Know About Self-Compassion (Interview with Paul Gilbert)

Self-Compassion Interview with Paul Gilbert Compassion-Focused Therapy CFT Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD Anxiety Specific Phobias BFRB's Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley QuinlanThis week’s episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit is going to blow your mind!  Yes!  You better believe it! If you have been thinking you should start a self-compassion practice for yourself, THIS is the episode for you.  Today we are going to discuss everything you need to know about self-compassion. This week I am so honored to talk with Paul Gilbert, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Derby and Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Derbyshire Health Care Foundation Trust. Paul Gilbert is what I consider a Self-Compassion and Shame “Guru.”  We all know shame and we all know how difficult shame can be when it comes to Anxiety Disorders, such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Social Anxiety, Specific Phobias, Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB’s), such as Trichotillomania (hair pulling) and Dermatillomania (compulsive skin picking).  Paul shares with us his beautiful insight and understanding of the human brain and how to apply self-compassion in our daily living.  So much of what Paul has to say compliments the discussions we have had on the podcast already. Professor Gilbert performed psychopathology research for over 35 years with a special focus on shame and the treatment of shame-based difficulties. Paul Gilbert was the founder of Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT) and I am certain you are going to LOVE what he has to say.  Paul Gilbert has written and edited 20 books and established the Compassionate Mind Foundation in 2006. He was awarded an OBE in March 2011. During this interview, Paul shares everything you need to know about self-compassion. Paul explains his work and research on self-compassion and how he came to practice and develop Compassion-Focused Therapy.  Paul addresses why he thinks we are so hostile or self-critical towards oneself and what he considers the most important tools for practicing self-compassion The most beautiful part of this podcast episode is that we ALL need to be better at practicing self-compassion. As a reminder, it's BFRB Awareness Week (October 1-7)!  Click here for more information on BFRB School, which is a complete online course for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB's). Lastly, OCD Awareness Week is coming up from October 7-13!  OCD SoCal will celebration OCD Awareness Week on October 7 from 1:00 pm-5:00 pm in Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego.  Go to IOCDF.org or search your local area for events.
Sep 27, 2018

How To Do HARD THINGS...It's A Beautiful Day For It!!

How To Do Hard Things Exposure & Response Prevention ERP Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD Anxiety Fear Depression Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley QuinlanWelcome back to another Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast episode!  This week’s episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit is all about How to do Hard Things. I know I say “Its a beautiful day to do hard things” all the time, and sometimes people message me or email and ask me, “How do I do hard things?”  Even friends and loved ones might call to ask, “Can you teach me how to do hard things?”  These hard things might be doing Exposure & Response Prevention (doing something that scares you), taking a test, going to a doctor visit, traveling long distances, feeling intense feelings such as sadness or grief, delivering a speech, experiencing pain or any other event that scares the pants off you.  :) A little note on this before we move on; Doing a Hard Thing is doing the thing that scares YOU, even if it doesn’t scare others.  If it is hard for you, it is hard.  Try not to judge yourself or compare yourself to what is hard for you vs. others. After talking with a dear, loved one this week about an upcoming “hard thing” they were preparing to do, I decided to write them a letter.  My hope was they could read it as they prepared to stare their hard thing in the face (take that hard thing!).  After sending it, I wondered if maybe you needed a similar letter. So, here we go.  Here is the letter I sent my friend.  I hope you find it helpful in understanding how to do hard things.   "Hi my love,  Here are the most important things to remember when dealing with fear, dread, and panic. Just because your brain is telling you there is "danger,” doesn't make it true or real or correct. Our brain misfires (and make mistakes) ALL the time and it is our job to help direct it back to more reasonable reactions. If we react with resistance, we keep training it to misfire. Our job is to just allow the anxiety, without reacting to it. We gently allow it to be present and allow it to rise and fall on its own. With this practice, we not only re-train our brain, but we learn that beyond this moment of discomfort is freedom. Just a few minutes beyond this discomfort is our opportunity to do whatever the fuck we want with our lives. Fear doesn't get to make our decisions. Our values and hopes and dreams do. You are strong, but you don't have to be stronger than fear. It's not a fight, so don't fight it. Slow everything down and gently say to it, "its ok, fear. I am just going to allow you to be here while I do the thing I love to do. You don't get to control me. Love, Kimberley"   Also, CBT School is also excited to share that our lovely friend Stuart Ralph is offering The OCD Summit, an online summit specifically for OCD therapists.  The OCD Summit will be a 6-week webinar series where Stuart Ralph, host of The OCD Stories podcast, will interview some incredible scientists and clinicians in the OCD field, with you the therapist as the audience.   Kimberley is honored to be selected to be one of the panelists for this exciting event.  Registration will include 6 topics curated for your continued development as an OCD therapist, where you can ask questions and network with other therapists in the private FB group community.  Click here to join. Lastly, OCD Awareness Week is coming up: October 7-13!  OCD SoCal will celebration OCD Awareness Week on October 7 from 1:00 pm-5:00 pm in Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego.  Go to IOCDF.org or search your local area for events.
Sep 20, 2018

Grieving the Losses of Mental Illness

Grieving the Losses of Mental Illness Chrissie Hodges Advocacy Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD Depression Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley QuinlanPsst! This wasn't planned, but we decided to keep ERP SCHOOL open for ONE MORE DAY!  If you are still interested in purchasing the online course for Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP) SCHOOL, it is available until midnight tonight (9/21/18).    It didn’t feel right to release a podcast the day after the cart was closing and risk you missing out by only one day.  So, this is the last day, I promise (for 2018).  I am so grateful to everyone who supported me and sent me information about their successes since signing up and taking the course. This week’s episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast is possibly one of my most favorites.  The reason for this is that this episode will give you so much validation for the pain you are going through.   In this week’s episode, we have Chrissie Hodges, a Peer Support Counselor for mental health. In this episode, Chrissie talks with us about the importance of Peer Support and how she offered her own experience of recovery as a way to help guide and lead those who are also managing Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Depression, Anxiety and many other mental illnesses or struggles. Chrissie also addresses a topic I have been wanting to talk about for the longest time, which is life AFTER treatment.  It is such a common question I get asked.  How do we survive when life looks so different? How to get past how difficult that experience was?  What can I do to grieve the losses of mental illness? The truth is, grieving the losses of mental illness is brave and courageous work.  It requires us to honor our experiences and allow ourselves to feel some pretty hard and uncomfortable feelings.   Grieving the losses of mental illness allows us to forgive ourselves for the hard times and the time lost. This episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit was quite a powerful one for me.  Chrissie got real about her own process of grieving the losses of mental illness (specifically Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Anxiety, and Depression).  Chrissie also shares her experience with suicidal ideation and a suicide attempt that has traumatized her since. She also shares how difficult it has been on her body and how it has caused her to disown parts of her body and soul. If you are someone who is also grieving or feeling hopeless about all that you have lost in managing your mental illness, then this is the podcast episode for you. Links: Coffee with Chrissie Podcast Chrissie Hodges Website  Chrissie Hodges Youtube  
Sep 14, 2018

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is REAL and TREATABLE!

Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD Depression Emotions Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT Mindfulness Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD Anxiety Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley QuinlanThis podcast episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit is all about the Seasons.   I have received a lot of requests to talk about changing seasons as we move from Summer to Autumn (here in the Northern Hemisphere).  It isn’t just here.  I am sure it is all around the world right now, as the seasons change from Winter to Spring for the Southern Hemisphere (Love you Australia!). There is no doubt that the seasons impact out mental health.  In this week’s podcast, I look at a few important things to consider when managing anxiety, depression, OCD and other mental health issues. First let’s look at how the change in temperature impacts us on a Medical level. Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, is understood to be a seasonal depression, affecting 5% of the population of US residents.  Yes!  It’s that high.  If you are someone who is highly impacted by the temperature changes, you are definitely not alone.  Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can be treated with light therapy, outdoor activity and medication.  Seasonal Affective Disorder isn’t just due to changes in seasons.  It often occurs when daylight saving times changes and we “fall back," meaning we have less light during the day.  When days get shorter, we have less time to get outdoors and move our bodies and soak up that glorious sunlight, which is linked to Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms. We also know that colder weather can affect our circadian rhythms, causing us to have more depressive symptoms.  When we are tired, we have less energy, causing us to feel down or sad or, in some cases, depressed. We also know that the season changes impact us on a Psychological level.   We can also see changes in our thoughts. Negative thoughts can create depressive symptoms such as hopelessness, helplessness and worthlessness.  Our job is to correct any negative or faulty thoughts so we are not so impacted by the weather or time changes.   We can also be more mindful when these thoughts arise. In this episode, we also can look at the seasons from a metaphorical stand point. We need to be careful how we approach the seasons, similar to how we approach our emotions. We could consider some emotions as winter (like sadness and shame and guilt) and some emotions as summer (like happiness and joy and arousal).  We could consider autumn being patience and letting go and shedding what doesn’t serve us.   We could also consider spring a time where we feel free and hopeful and alive.   Metaphorically, if we treat one season (environmentally or emotionally) like it is less than or worse than, we will in turn start to have aversion to it.   In this episode, we talk about how to be open to all of the seasons, whether you enjoy them or not. Lastly, Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP) School for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is HERE!  Exposure and Response Prevention School is an online, video-based course that teaches you the tools and skills I teach my clients in my office.  The doors are only open to purchase ERP School from September 6th, 2018 until September 20th, 2018.  Six more days!!  We are so excited to share ERP with you and would love to have you join us and the CBT School community.  Its a beautiful day to do hard things!  
Sep 6, 2018

ERP Is the Coolest Thing!

Nathalie Maragoni Interview Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD CBT Exposure & Response Prevention ERP Is the Coolest Thing ACT Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley Quinlan If you have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or any other mental health struggle, you are going to LOVE this episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit.   This week we have Nathalie Maragoni, an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist who not only treats Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and other anxiety disorders, but also knows exactly what it is like the experience the terror of intrusive thoughts, panic attacks and brutal compulsions.   She said it best herself: “ERP is the coolest thing!” In this episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit, Nathalie talks with us about how she struggles finding the correct therapy for her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and how she drove for over 1.5 hours to get a treatment specialist who used Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP).  Nathalie also talks about her struggle with different types of obsessions and compulsions.   She says, “Willingness is the key to managing OCD” and she could not be more correct about this.  We just loved how she shared her love for Exposure & Response Prevention and how “ERP is the coolest thing!” Nathalie shares the importance of continuing ERP after treatment. She found that getting the proper treatment alone (ERP) was not enough to help her live a full and thriving life with OCD.  She discusses the importance of applying Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and how this helps her live a value-based life where she can just allow thoughts to be there, instead of fusing with them.  For more information about Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, click HERE.   Nathalie talks about how she is using the book The Happiness Trap to help her understand that “Every experience comes with a good feeling and a bad feeling.” In other news, Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP) school is HERE.  Exposure and Response Prevention School is an online course that teaches you the tools and skills I teach my clients in my office.  Just like Nathalie says, ERP is the coolest thing! Let me tell you a little bit about it.   The course is a video-based course that includes modules on:
  1. The science behind ERP
  2. Identifying YOUR obsessions and your compulsions
  3. The different approaches and types of ERP, including gradual exposure, writing scripts, interoceptive exposures and how to get creative with ERP
  4. Mindfulness tools to help you manage anxiety, panic and uncertainty
  5. Troubleshooting common questions and concerns
  6. BONUS videos explaining the most common subtypes of OCD and how to apply ERP to these obsessions and compulsions.
The course also includes many downloadable PDF’s and activities to help you navigate how to best apply ERP to your specific obsessions and compulsions. We are so excited to finally share ERP with you and would love to have you join us and the CBT School community.  Its a beautiful day to do hard things! If you are worried about doing it alone, please don’t fear.  We meet bi-monthly on the FB group and on IG to talk about questions you may have.   Nathalie Maragoni is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist at OCDSpecialists.com.  They now have offices in Bakersfeild and Los Angeles under Supervisor, Stacey Kuhl Wochner.  Nathalie can be found on Instagram at @mindonfire_ocd.
Aug 30, 2018

Don't Try Harder, Try Different with Patrick McGrath

Welcome back to YOUR ANXIETY TOOLKIT PODCAST! Patrick McGrath Dont Try Harder, Try Different OCD CBT ERP Mindfulness Eating Disorder BRFB's Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley Quinlan.pngWe have some SUPER exciting news this week.   We are offering a NEW and FREE training called “The 10 Things you absolutely need to know about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).”  This webinar will be great if you are new to OCD and looking for some direction.  It will also be a fantastic refresher into the key concepts of OCD treatment, if you are already on your road to recovery.   If you are interested, click HERE to check it out. Next piece of exciting news! ERP school will be here in less than ONE WEEK!  Heck yes!!  Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP) School is an online course for those who don’t have access to a therapist who practices ERP and science-based skills for OCD.  I will be talking a lot about this in the next few weeks, as the doors are only open to purchase ERP School from September 6th, 2018 until September 20th, 2018.   Keep it in mind that this course will only be available to purchase during that time.    ONE WEEK!!  It is right around the corner and I could not be happier and more excited. Do you ever feel like you are doing the same thing, over and over, with no change in result?  You realize your fruitless outcomes and you decide you are going to try harder this time.   You might even make a pact with yourself that you will NEVER do that one thing again and you promise yourself that this is the time it will be successful. But, just like last time, you get the same result and you are left feeling overwhelmed and hopeless.   Well, if this is you, this episode is going to change some things for you. This week we have a wonderful interview with Patrick McGrath, Ph.D., who is a psychologist based out of Illinois specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders.  In addition to being the president of a private practice group called Anxiety Centers of Illinois, Patrick McGrath is also the Clinical Director of the AMITA Health Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital's Center for Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Program and President of OCD-Midwest, an affiliate of the International OCD Foundation. I met Patrick at the IOCDF Conference and we immediately hit it off and agreed to do an impromptu interview.   It was so much fun!  You might even notice it was more of a conversation than an interview, but I loved it and was so thrilled to hear Patrick’s wisdom.  If you are at all interested in taking the Exposure & Response Prevention School (ERP SCHOOL) course, Patrick’s talk today might help motivate you towards that goal.  He beautifully talks about how to DON’T TRY HARDER, TRY DIFFERENT and this is definitely a concept you have to consider when starting ERP. Patrick also discusses the steps his clients need to know to move towards a “Don't try harder, try different” approach.  Click HERE for more information on his stress management workbook titled Don't Try Harder, Try Different and HERE for more information on his book titled The OCD Answer Book: Professional Answers to More Than 250 Top Questions about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did! If you are at all interested in taking the Exposure & Response Prevention School (ERP SCHOOL) online course for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), click HERE.
Aug 25, 2018
Addressing Fear Like A Scientist

Addressing Fear Anxiety Depression Intrusive Thoughts CBT Mindfulness Uncertainty Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD Eating Disorder BRFB's Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley QuinlanIn this episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit, we talk about Addressing Fear like Scientists.  Not the scary white haired kind!  In this week's episode, we talk about becoming scientists who run studies that are rational, evidence-based, and experienced-based.  Each time we have a thought, we have an opportunity to be a scientist.  Don’t worry about those white coats.  You don’t need them for these experiments.  And you don’t need to have a fully fledged scientist degree either.

The human brain has up to 70,000 thoughts per day.   That is a LOT of thoughts.  When it comes to managing anxiety, much of the work is being able to identify which thoughts that are distorted (or errors) and which are not, so we can respond skillfully and mindfully.  This is not an easy feat and takes ongoing work and courage.

The other day, I started thinking about all the lovely people who are being tormented by scary intrusive thoughts, unwanted emotions, and sensations that make them think and feel like there is something wrong with them.   Sometimes these intrusive thoughts make us believe that something bad will happen, or that terror is on its way.  Often when we have these unwanted, intrusive thoughts, we go into a pattern of trying to disprove these possibilities.  We start to shift our day, just to prove that this is in no way possible.  We try to make the uncertain, certain.

The problem with this is that we are not actually resolving the issues in REALITY.  What we do when we have these obsessions is we create a new reality where the fear is less likely to occur.  We do this by avoiding events or people or places. We also try to ensure that our fear won't come true by mentally reviewing all of the possible scenarios and how they might play out.  Once we have mentally exhausted ourselves with identifying what specific scenarios might cause troublesome outcomes, we promise ourselves to never put ourselves in those situations.

How To Address Fear Like A Scientist

Addressing Fear like a scientist involves asking yourself a few very hard questions.  Take a look at these questions and do a quick review on how you are responding to your anxiety and depression.

  • What hypothesis (theory) is my depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) trying to prove?
  • Is this hypothesis true and based in reality and reason?
  • Can I test the evidence in a non-biased way?
  • Can I look at it from every angle without running away from fear? Or trying to solve it? Or steer the outcomes?
  • Can I sit with the results of the experiment?
  • Am I spending my time trying to prove my hypothesis or am I open to actually doing the work of a scientist, who is unbiased and accepting of the outcomes?

I invite you this week to be more vigilant about addressing fear like a scientist who tests the hypothesis in a non-biased, rational and reality-based way.  I know this is hard, but you know what I am going to say here. It is a beautiful day to do hard things.

Also, CBT School is also excited to share that our lovely friend Stuart Ralph is offering The OCD Summit, an online summit specifically for OCD therapists.  The OCD Summit will be a  6-week webinar series where Stuart Ralph, host of The OCD Stories podcast, will interview some incredible scientists and clinicians in the OCD field, with you the therapist as the audience.   Kimberley is honored to be selected to be one of the panelists for this exciting event.  Registration will include 6 topics curated for your continued development as an OCD therapist, where you can ask questions and network with other therapists in the private FB group community.  Click here to join.

Aug 16, 2018

The Anxiety of Decision Making Is REAL and EXHAUSTING!

Anxiety of Decision Making CBT Mindfulness Uncertainty Perfectionism Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD Anxiety Eating Disorder BRFB's Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley QuinlanExperiencing and managing anxiety is a hard and courageous task.  And you guys know what I am going to say next.  It is a beautiful day to do hard things! One activity that is made difficult by anxiety is the process of making decisions.    Making decisions can be exhausting and brings up a lot for us.
When making decisions, we might be faced with anxiety about making the “right” decision.  We might also be faced with the anxiety of making the decision that won't hurt others or impact others negatively.  We might also be faced with anxiety that our decision will cause us to miss out on something better or more beneficial to our long term goals.  This constitutes the anxiety of decision making. Basically, making decisions is the ULTIMATE exposure to uncertainty and tolerating discomfort.  There is no way to make a decision without acknowledging and facing uncertainty.  Here is a teaser from the episode.  Even when you put the decision making aside, you are actually making a decision.  Not making a decision is technically making a decision you didn’t even know existed. This weeks podcast is all about The Anxiety of Decision Making.  We go over some of the themes that come up surrounding decision making such as Hyper-responsibility, Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) and Perfectionism. We also talk about how we must embrace uncertainty in our lives and accept that life doesn’t need to be perfect.  This can be easier said than done, so we discuss some important mindfulness tools which can help us manage perfectionism, hyper-responsibility and Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) when it comes to decision making. We hope you enjoy this week's podcast episode or Your Anxiety Toolkit. Also guys, we are excited to share that ERP SCHOOL is going to be released VERY soon, so keep your eyes out. CBT School is also excited to share that our lovely friend Stuart Ralph is offering The OCD Summit, an online summit specifically for OCD therapists.  The OCD Summit will be a 6-week webinar series where Stuart Ralph, host of The OCD Stories podcast, will interview some incredible scientists and clinicians in the OCD field, with you the therapist as the audience.   Kimberley is honored to be selected to be one of the panelists for this exciting event.  Registration will include 6 topics curated for your continued development as an OCD therapist, where you can ask questions and network with other therapists in the private FB group community.  Click here to join.
Aug 9, 2018

“Trust your capacity to change” - Tara Brach Interview

Tara Brach Interview CBT Mindfulness Meditation Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD Eating Disorder BRFBs Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast Kimberley Quinlan
I am thrilled and honored to share with you an interview I did with my absolute idol, Tara Brach.  If you don’t know who Tara Brach is, let me introduce to you an amazing and inspirational human.
Tara Brach is a leading Western teacher of Buddhist Meditation, emotional healing and spiritual awakening.  Tara is a Clinical Psychologist, meditation teacher and Author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge, two of my favorite books.   In addition, Tara Brach, along side Jack Kornfield, co-founded the Awareness Training Institute (ATI) and the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program (MMTCP).
For me, Tara’s podcast (tarabrach.com) was (and is) one of the most important parts of my own personal development and growth.  For hours I would (and still do) walk the neighborhood while listening to her podcast.  Tara helped me through some of the hardest times in my life and allowed me to access her tools and wisdom through a freely offered podcast and streaming service that inspired me to create CBTschool.com.  Tara taught me to be a fearless mental health advocate, so you may see that much of CBT School follows her goal of offering skillful and generous work.
While I was in Washington, DC for the International OCD Foundation conference, I was lucky enough to meet with Tara in person before her Wednesdays with Tara Meditation Talk and ask her some questions about anxiety and mindfulness.  I am still freaking out with excitement that I had the opportunity to meet her in person and then get to interview her for the Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast.
My goal for this podcast episode was to zero in to the questions I often get asked and see what Tara’s response would be.  True to form, Tara gives us some BEAUTIFUL responses that are easy to understand and apply.
In this interview, we talk specifically about how uncertainty can be one of the hardest and most challenging parts of anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), panic attacks and depression.  Tara gives some amazing mindfulness tools to help us approach uncertainty.
We also talked about her book, Radical Acceptance and what some of the road blocks are to radically accepting our discomforts or fears.  If you haven’t read her books, I strongly encourage you to.  Tara has a way of bringing compassion into the room, even if she isn’t physically there.
Tara gives us tips on how to implement Mindfulness practices into our everyday life and normalizes the struggles we all have with this.
One of the questions I was most interested in asking Tara was her advice for those who are deeply suffering with mental health right now.  She so beautifully responded with compassion and deep knowledge of mindfulness practice.  This answer brought me to tears and I am so grateful for having this experience with her.
And, last of all, I just had to ask Tara about why she uses humor in her meditation talks and Tara kindly shared with us one of her favorite jokes.  Tara used humor a lot to help us understand our own reactivity or idiosyncrasies and I just loved having a little chuckle with her.
So, as you can see, I am just a teeny bit in love with Tara (wink, wink).  I really hope you get as much as I did out of this episode.   Thank you so much Tara for your kindness and generosity.
Ok folks!  DO NOT FORGET to stay til the end of the episode because Tara so kindly gives an AMAZING GIFT at the end of the interview for our wonderful CBT School community.
Aug 2, 2018

My IOCDF Conference Key Takeaways

International OCD Foundation IOCDF Anxiety Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Your Anxiety Toolkit ERP CBT ACT BFRBs Eating Disorder Kimberley Quinlan One of the biggest honors I have as a therapist who treats anxiety disorders is to present at the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) annual conference.  I just adore these conferences, mostly because they provide a mix of both treatment presentations and support groups for those who struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and for therapist who provide evidence based treatment for those who have OCD.   Another amazing thing about these conferences is that they also provide support groups and presentations on Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB’s) such as Trichotillomania (Hail Pulling) and Excoriation Disorder (Skin Picking) and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and also co-occuring Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse.
In this episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit, I wanted to share with you some of my reflections from running several support groups and attending some amazing presentations by some of the top treatment providers in the world.   The IOCDF.org put on such an amazing event and I have to admit, this one was by far my favorite.
At this years conference, I was honored to co-facilitate a new support group called the Compassion Collective with a dear friend and colleague, Michelle Massi.  Michelle and I gathered every morning at 7AM (yes, it was VERY early) to meet with attendees who wanted support with self-compassion.  Each morning we provided a new compassion tool to help those who are struggling with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  This was such an beautiful experience, as we got to really see inside the minds of the attendees and hear what is getting the way of them practicing self-compassion.  Interestingly, perfectionism and fear of failure were two of the key components or self-compassion sabotage (which I speak a lot about in this weeks podcast episode).
I was also honored to be a part of a presentation called “Let’s Talk about Sex Baby!”  This presentation was a question and answer formatted presentation where attendees asked very intimate questions about how OCD and anxiety can impact sex.  One of the most interesting themes of these presentation was just how uncomfortable people were about discussing sex with their therapist.  We had a very OPEN and HONEST dialog with attendees about sex and normalized it.
Finally, I was lucky enough to get to run the Co-existing OCD and Eating Disorder group this year with Beth Brawly.  Beth and I have ran this group several times and I love it SOOOO much.   There is a fine line where OCD and Eating Disorders combine and we met to help attendees break down faulty views of body, health, body size, food and body image.    It was so wonderful to see some very brave families join together to support their family members who are struggling.
Fore more information on the IOCDF, click here.
Lastly, this is a friendly reminder that ERP School (our online course for Exposure & Response Prevention for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and other Anxiety Disorders) is COMING SOON, so stay tuned.  Sign up HERE to be on the waitlist and be alerted as soon as it is available.
Jul 27, 2018
“You are right where you need to be” with Cami Julaine
Cami Julaine interview CBT ERP OCD Anxiety Eating Disorders Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast Kimberley Quinlan

Well folks! Welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit.  Today, we have another amazing guest interview as a part of our “We can do hard things” series.    I am so excited to share with you an amazing interview with Cami Julaine, an avid mental health advocate, blogger, singer, actor and all-around wonderful person.    In this week's episode, Cami shares her journey through Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, an Eating Disorder, Trichotillomania, Panic Attacks and Trauma.

One of the things I love the most about Cami is that she is so authentic and open.  I know we all struggle with finding the motivation to keep moving forward sometimes, as managing Anxiety Disorders such as Panic Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Social Anxiety, Phobias, Health Anxiety can be very difficult.  Cami shares with us a inspiring story of how she went from rock bottom to taking bold steps towards her recovery.  Cami shares her story of being supported by family members and close friends (ahem, Paula Abdul) who urged her to get help.

This is an incredibly interesting and informative interview, as Cami shares how she had to blend many types of tools (and therapy) to get her to where she is today.   Cami shares some wonderful mindfulness tools to help manage Panic Disorder and Panic Attacks.  You will really love these tools, as they are very similar to ones we have discussed in previous episodes of Your Anxiety Toolkit, with a little Cami Juliane-twist. :)   Cami also talks about her experience with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).

Finally, Cami shares with us how she has integrated spirituality with her recovery and how she practices self-care and self-compassion as a part of that practice.  This is a topic that I have’t touched upon much at all and I am sure you will find it inspirational and validating.

You can find Cami Julaine on Instagram @camijulaine and more information on her website here.

One thing before we say goodbye.  GET READY...because ERP School (our online course for Exposure & Response Prevention for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and other Anxiety Disorders) is COMING SOON, so stay tuned.  Sign up HERE to be on the waitlist and be alerted as soon as it is available.   PS: The first 20 people to sign up get a free, exclusive “We Can Do Hard Things Meditation” that you can download and use as often as you like.  YES!

Jul 19, 2018

You Can Be Anxious AND Have Courage!

Anxiety and Courage CBT OCD Mindfulness Bravery Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley Quinlan Online SchoolCourage.  Where do we find it? How do we get it? And, once we get it, how do we keep it? In this era, being courageous or brave comes with great expectations.   Men are expected to show their “brave face” ALL the time, or they run the risk of being called a “sissy.”   That is a lot of pressure!  Women (and many times men too) are expected to multi-task multiple difficult things at once, but also must look pretty and be smiling while doing it. But, to top it all off, we humans (men, women and children) with anxiety are often expected to meet all of the above criteria AND keep our anxiety to ourselves.  Where did we get this from?! I cannot tell you how many times I have heard stories about family members or partners or parents who have told someone struggling with anxiety or depression (or another mental health struggle) to “be braver” or “toughen up” or “you gotta be stronger through this.”  While I do understand what they are trying to convey, today’s podcast episode is all about approaching courage and bravery with a new (more reasonable) perspective. You see, I like to think of bravery and courage as something you can experience WITH anxiety.  I actually think they go beautifully together.  We can feel dreadful fear AND be courageous.  We can feel overwhelming sadness AND be strong.   What we have been told about bravery and courage is all off.  It limits us and makes us feel like we must not try things until we have no fear and we can “hold it together.” I like to believe that the person who decided to go to the party, despite their tremendous social anxiety, is the brave one.   I believe that the person who does that really hard thing (even if it happens to be easy for other people) is the courageous one.   I believe the one who has a tear running down their face as they face their fear is a brave rock star! I hope you enjoy this podcast episode and begin to challenge your view of what bravery and courage looks like.  As always, thank you for supporting me with this podcast and with CBT School's online courses. Enjoy!
Jul 13, 2018

Value-Based Living

  Hello there CBT School Family Value-Based Living ACT CBT OCD Anxiety Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley QuinlanWelcome to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast. As you may know, each week I do my best to bring you a new tool or idea for you to put in your toolkit, in hope that it will give you some skills to manage anxiety, panic and other difficult thoughts, feelings and sensations. I always envision that I am slowly handing you one tool after another and that you are carefully packing those tools into your toolkit or tool belt, so that you feel ready to face your day, with or without anxiety. This week, I want to discuss with you your metaphorical toolkit; the box or belt in which you hold dear to your heart and use daily to help you live your best life.   The most important thing to understand in today’s podcast is that carrying a tool belt/toolbox/toolkit is a choice.  Every week, you freely join me for a weekly discussion about recovery and living a great life, while having anxiety.   You don’t have to carry your toolkit and all the tools around.  Many choose not to carry a tool belt or any tools.  But you, you do.  It’s pretty cool if you ask me. You see, the tools your put in your toolkit are your mindfulness skills.   Your toolkit, the place you hold these tools, is your values.  If you are on a mission to be a better human, you obviously value your wellbeing.  It is a value that you stand by.  You value your recovery.  You value your quality of life.  Using these tools of yours contributes to value-based living. Values are very important to our recovery.  The only problem is, that sometimes fear can come in and stomp all over our values.  Sometimes fear can lead us away from our values and away from our toolkit.  Sometimes fear can lead us towards other problematic behaviors, such as compulsions including checking, counting, avoidance, reassurance seeking and mental rumination.  Fear can also lead us towards anger and saying mean things to ourselves. Today, we talk about identifying our values and ways to use the tools you have to help you lead with values.  We use concepts from Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, also knows as ACT.  ACT is a very helpful treatment modality that beautifully compliments Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP). I hope you find it helpful! Forward we go, Kimberley
Jul 5, 2018

Surfing the Worry Imp's Wave

Surfing the Worry Imp's Wave Mindfulness CBT OCD Anxiety Depression Perfectionism Phobias Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley QuinlanIn this week's episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit, I had the pleasure of talking to Sharon Selby, Marriage and Family Therapist and Author.  Sharon has written an amazing children’s book called Surfing the Worry Imp’s Wave and this book is simply amazing.

Before you turn away thinking, “This doesn’t apply to me.  This is about kids stuff!”, wait up!  Since reading Surfing the Worry Imp’s Wave, I have been using these techniques with some of my adult clients and they LOVE them too.   This episode brings some helpful tools and tricks to manage anxiety and perfectionism (at any age). Surfing the Worry Imp’s Wave is a science-based book using the same mindfulness tools and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) tools I use with some of my clients and members of the CBT School Campus with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, Health Anxiety, Social Anxiety and Phobias.

During the episode, Sharon discusses her inspiration behind the book, her work with young children who have anxiety and what tools she has found to be super helpful.  As I mentioned about, I have found that these tools are helpful for us BIG kids too (adults).   Sharon also tells us about some of the games involved in the books and some helpful tools to manage fear, perfectionism, separation anxiety, and panic.

You guys know how much I LOVE a good story or metaphor, and there are plenty in this book.  Here is one I want you to think about.  In the book, Sharon talks about how our brains need to make mistakes to grow.  If we make a mistake, it is like water on a plant.  Mistakes help our brains grow into smarter and kinder people.  I just adore this part of the book and it is something I have implemented with my young (and old) clients (and me too!).   When I make as mistake, I now close my eyes and imagine my brain neurons growing and thriving. This is just one of the wonderful tools that Sharon talks about.

I cannot wait for you to listen to this week's podcast, and read this book.  Surfing the Worry Imp’s Wave is a bookshelf must have, if you have kids with anxiety. But don’t forget,  THIS big kid loves it too!!!

 

See the link below to get your hands on Surfing the Worry Imp's Wave:

https://www.sharonselby.com/product/surfing-worry-imps-wave-reducing-childrens-anxiety Sharon Selby's free e-book 8 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Your Child Is Anxious is available at: sharonselby.com/free-ebook You can also hear more about Sharon on her Website HERE
Jun 28, 2018

 Thought Suppression Doesn't Work!!

 
Thought Suppression Intrusive Thoughts CBT OCD Anxiety Depression Mindfulness Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley Quinlan
You may have heard it multiple times, but consider this a little reminder. THOUGHT SUPPRESSION NEVER WORKS!  This short but hefty statement is considered one of the golden rules when it comes to the management of anxiety disorders, specifically Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety, Healthy Anxiety and Phobias.
However, the truth is, we all attempt to make our “bad” or anxiety-provoking thoughts away.  We try to push them down so they won't hurt us anymore.   We try to make them go away, so we don’t have to feel the related shame, guilt, irritation, and annoyance of these thoughts.    Does this sound anything like you?  Let me tell you, you are in the right place.
You see, this is a very common reaction to intrusive, anxiety-producing thoughts.  For those with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Health Anxiety (hypochondria), Social Anxiety, Panic Disorder or Specific Phobias, thought suppression can be involuntary and we often do not even know we are doing it.   Intuitively, our brains will fight or run away from almost anything that creates discomfort for us.  We are biologically set up for fight, flight or freeze.
In today’s episode, we talk about why thought suppression never works.  We talk about how thought suppression can actually increase our anxiety over time and how thought suppression teaches us to intuitively judge our thoughts as bad.
If this sounds counter-intuitive to you, you are not alone.  My clients and the members of the CBT School Campus are commonly asking some pretty great questions about this, so I wondered if this was a topic that might benefit you.
In this week's episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast, we talk about how Mindfulness can help us to accept and allow thoughts, non-judgmentally.  We address how it can change the dynamic between you and your thoughts to a more peaceful and coexisting relationship.
Remember, allowing thoughts is the key.  Allow them to come and go.  Accept them and see what happens.  Listen to hear more!
Jun 22, 2018

Anxiety-Related Exhaustion is NO JOKE!

Anxiety-Related Exhaustion CBT OCD Anxiety Your Anxiety Toolkit Mental Health BFRB's Depression One of the most common struggles I hear from my clients and the members of the CBT School Campus is how EXHAUSTING anxiety and depression can be.   If you are barraged daily by exhaustion resulting from Anxiety (or any other mental health issue), you are NOT ALONE!  Experiencing Anxiety is a full-time job.  No one can argue with that.    Anxiety can drain us of our physical energy, our emotional energy and can cause us to have nothing left to give at the end of the day. It can make us too tired to be social and make us want to sleep the day away.   Anxiety-Related Exhaustion can make us feel alone and like there is no hope for us. If this is you, this is the episode for you. Because you know what?!  There IS hope for US! In this podcast, we talk about some mindfulness tools to manage anxiety-related exhaustion.  We talk about learning to observe your thoughts and correct them to thoughts that are more helpful and less draining. We also address a few very important mindset shifts you may need to make.  You see, when we are overwhelmed with tiredness and anxiety-related exhaustion, we often will begin to feel hopeless and start to believe that there is no end in sight.  Everyone tells us, "Just keep going", but we can sometimes feel like we barely have the energy or faith that we need to "just keep going".   In this episode, we talk about specific mindset tools that I use with my clients who struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Anxiety, Depression and Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB's). And last of all, I use one of my favorite metaphors for managing Anxiety-Related Exhaustion.  You guys know me! I love to use silly metaphors.  That being said, I really believe in it and it works.  I promise you that it will make you take better care of yourself if you put it in place and prioritize it. Please don't hesitate to let me know what you think and if this is helpful. Also, if you listen on iTunes, please do leave a review.  Good reviews help me reach more people and help me get the really important (and inspirational) people on the show. Forward we go, Kimberley
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