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Your Anxiety Toolkit - It's a Beautiful Day to Do Hard Things

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Your Anxiety Toolkit - It's a Beautiful Day to Do Hard Things
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Mar 4, 2022

SUMMARY: 

In today's podcast episode, we have Dean Stott from DLC Anxiety talking about his experience with Panic Disorder and Overcoming Panic Disorder.  In his upcoming book, Greater Than Panic, Dean talks about what it was like for him to experience agoraphobia, panic disorder, and other struggles after the death of his father.  Dean spread an inspiring story about overcoming panic and how he is Greater than Panic.

In This Episode:

  • What it was like for Dean Stott to have Panic Disorder
  • How he overcame panic disorder using CBT and Mindfulness
  • How Dean created DLC Anxiety, an online platform that helps millions with panic, anxiety and other mental illnesses.
  • Tools that he found helpful to manage his Panic Disorder while also grieving the loss of his father.

Links To Things I Talk About:

DEANS BOOK GREATER THAN PANIC 

Greater Than Panic Book

Amazon link

Episode Sponsor:

This episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit is brought to you by CBTschool.com.  CBTschool.com is a psychoeducation platform that provides courses and other online resources for people with anxiety, OCD, and Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors.  Go to cbtschool.com to learn more.

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPTION

This is Your Anxiety Toolkit - Episode 224. 

 

Welcome back, everybody. We have an amazing guest, a very, very sweet friend of mine. I am so excited to have on with us Dean Stott from DLC Anxiety. He is a true legend. Dean is on the episode today to tell his story about going from having a fairly severe panic disorder to then creating a mental health platform with over 1 million followers. He’s now all about creating mental health awareness sharing with people. He’s such a cool human being. And I’m so honored to have him on today. 

 

We talk about his recovery, which you will get a lot of hope from because, like everyone who comes on the podcast, he really did the work, which is so cool. But then we also talk about the role that social media can play in mental health recovery, things to look out for, how to handle trolls, the benefits of being online, especially social media. If you have a mental illness, we go through it all. And it’s such a great episode. So, I’m so excited to have Dean on today. 

 

Before we get into the episode, I want to give you the “I did a hard thing” for the week. This is from Nicole, from the Netherlands, and she said:

 

“I did a hard thing and I get very anxious when I have to call my doctor. My heart rate goes up and I get all trembly. So, I tend to avoid calling the doctor. But because I had been feeling dizzy, I had to get my blood checked. Afterwards I would have to call the doctors for the results, except I didn’t. I told myself if there was anything serious, surely they would call me. I kept this up for almost two weeks and then I suddenly thought I really should call for the result. So I pushed in the numbers to the doctor’s office, feeling all kinds of nervous. I was very tempted to just hang up. While I was waiting, I thought, why did I do this? What if I get bad news? But then I had another thought, if it’s bad news, all the more reason to hear it. So I hung on and I faced my fears. Turns out I have a vitamin D deficiency. It’s not very worrisome, but important to fix. I’m so glad I phoned the doctor, even though I REALLY DIDN’T WANT TO. Nicole from the Netherlands.”

Nichole, I love this story. And the thing I love the most, and for those of you who want to submit for this, please do go. I’ll leave a link in the show notes. But Nicole, I love that you detailed what got you to do it, how you did it, what thoughts you had to shift up to get yourself to do the hard thing. You walked us through step by step and it makes my heart want to explode with joy. Thank you so much for sharing it. Amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing work. I am so, so impressed. So, thank you, Nicole. I love it. 

Let’s get over to the show where we can hear all about Dean’s recovery.

-----

Kimberley: Welcome, Dean. I am so happy to have more-- actually, as much as I’m happy to have you on the podcast, I’m just happy to have chats with you. Welcome.

Dean: Thank you so much. Thank you for inviting me, Kim.

Kimberley: Yeah. So, I feel like I know you and your story pretty well. But I would love for you to share your story with my listeners because I think you have some really great stuff to share. So, can you share whatever you’re comfortable about your recovery?

Dean: Yeah, sure. So, basically, once upon a time, I was going through a panic disorder. So, dealing with four panic attacks, maybe four or five panic attacks every single day, where I get the worst period. And yeah, I went through a panic disorder, did my own research, a lot of science research, CBT research, mindfulness meditation, and curated my own plan out of recovery with the guidance of a really good support network, friends, and mentors, who’d been through an anxiety disorder and come out the other side and fully recovered from the panic disorder. I then wanted to take that feeling of the support that I was given from my older mentor, the friend that had been through it. I wanted to share that with as many people as I possibly could. So, I came up with DLC Anxiety.

So, at first, I remember sitting down and I was like, “How can I get this message out to as many people as possible?” And I was thinking of local support community groups, like the Alcoholic Anonymous groups where people go and it’s a supportive network between each other. But then I was just so eager to try and get it even more on a global stage. And I saw what Instagram does and I just thought it would fit nicely in there, because I did see that there wasn’t many mental health communities when I first started. So, I thought there was definitely a nice place for it to fit there. So, yeah, I started to tell my story on Instagram. People started to relate, and it was a snowball effect from there. And now we’re over a million followers in the community, which is fantastic.

Kimberley: So cool. So, I think that the whole concept here is really to look at what-- let me backtrack a little bit. So, in your recovery, did you do it all on your own? Did you have a therapist? What was that process like for you?

Dean: Yeah. So, my father passed away. Like any people, any male in that situation, I bottled up the feelings that I was going through and tried to carry on with going to work and trying to get back into my daily routine. Almost putting it to the back of my mind because I wasn’t-- well, I didn’t have the techniques to cope with that and I’d never cope with loss before. So, it was from that bottling up of the grief that the panic attacks started and occurred. 

So, when I first started having panic attacks, the first thing I did was go to the doctors who then referred me onto a grief counselor, but just specifically to address the grief side of things and not the anxiety, not the panic attacks. Regarding the anxiety and panic attacks, that was me curating, delving into a lot of psychoeducation, which I found very useful, learning about the system and the symptoms of anxiety. Now I’d done Psychology at university and done CBT before. So, it is like not I’d never--I knew the basic concepts of anxiety, but learning more about it and learning about the scary symptoms where you think-- firstly, when you have a panic attack, you really think that you’re going to die. It’s a really, really scary thing to go through. And yeah, to start learning about that was super important for my recovery.

 

Kimberley: Right. And so, let’s talk about community, why do you feel the community aspect was so important for you? Tell me about the idea of creating a mental health community for someone, let’s say, who’s suffering with panic disorder or grief or OCD or anxiety. What’s your thoughts on that?

 

Dean: Yeah. So, when I was going through panic disorder, I felt isolated, I felt alone, and really, I didn’t really want to bring it up to people around me because I just didn’t think they’d be able to relate to me. I thought these symptoms was just something that I was going through and something that I’d have to stick with for the rest of my life. I thought that was me, that I was going to be Dean who has these panic attacks. And I was going to have to navigate my way through my daily routine. And I think when I opened up to my mentor, a close friend of mine, who was working with me at the time – when I opened up and he shared his experience, it was the biggest weight off my shoulders, knowing that someone else had been through not the exact same story, but it experienced all these scary symptoms that felt isolated, felt alone, but more importantly overcome an anxiety disorder. And I think it was that inspiration and motivation that really helped me in my recovery. 

So, yeah, having an important-- so, DLC is Dean’s Like-Minded Community. So, it’s a community full of like-minded people on anxiety recovery journeys. Some people are at the end, like myself, I don’t deal with panic attacks anymore, but some people are at the start, some people are in the middle. And they can all relate to each other no matter where they are on that journey. And then what’s beautiful about the community is where you see them sharing tips and experiences that work for them. And I know you speak about it highly as well, having an anxiety toolkit, because some tools might work for one person, but then might not work for another. But I think it’s very important to get as much information out there about all the different range of tools, so then each person can individualize their own recovery.

Kimberley: Yeah. So important more now than ever, I think, given that the degree of mental illness is so high given COVID and isolation and everything. Okay. So, you have this platform. I love it. Very much, I loved being a part of your community. Why do you think that that is the most important piece, the community aspect? Can you share a little bit about what you see and hear from your community and why that’s so important?

Dean: Yeah. So, again, so many DMs from people saying that they just feel connected. They feel hope, they feel inspiration, they feel motivation. Not only for me, who’s at the head or the founder of the community, but of all these people that are going through it, jumping over a million people worldwide. We know mental health. It doesn’t have a face, it doesn’t have a color, doesn’t have a social structure, it doesn’t matter what you’re working as it can affect anyone. And I think that’s why it’s really important and became an integral part of the community, was the interview series that I started doing with firstly mental health professionals from around the world. So, CBT professionals like yourself, Kim. Then we’ve had psychiatrists, psychologists, doctors. And having just as much information about anxiety and anxiety recovery, I think has been a super important part.

 

So, again, it’s not only having this community, it’s having the psychoeducation and real good-- I’m in a real good place now where I can guest on who I’ve joined a world-renowned within the space of anxiety. And also, we’ve had so many celebrities, musicians, actors, actresses come on and tell their own mental health stories where they struggled or where they’ve been vulnerable. And that’s really related to the community as well. Because obviously, people work at celebrities, people work at musicians and they might not know that just too, they’re going through a mental health disorder. So, yeah, having people like that come on and tell their own stories has been super, super beneficial for everyone as well. 

Kimberley: Yeah. See, the cool thing is that the science, this is why I’m really fascinated in, is the science of self-compassion says that there are three components of self-compassion. One being mindfulness, the second being common humanity in that reminding yourself that you’re not alone in your struggles is the second most important part of self-compassion. The third being self-kindness. Now the reason I love this is I know for myself in the areas that I struggle, if I look at an account and I can see that a million people follow a mental health account, it gives me a sense of common humanity that there are a million people struggling with something. If you see an OCD account and it’s got 60,000 followers, you’re like, oh my God, that’s a lot of people. I must not be alone in my struggle or an eating disorder account. Or I love some of the autism accounts. I think it shows that it gives you permission to see that you’re not alone. And I love that. It’s such a beautiful piece of the work.

Dean: Yeah. And especially where you just mentioned self-kindness as well. I think that’s an important subject just to speak about, is that when you’re going through an anxiety disorder, you have this inner critic that’s telling you that you’re never going to come out of it, that you’re not good enough, that maybe this is happening to you for a reason. When you come across these communities of people who are on their own journey of recovery might be a little a few more steps ahead than you, and you see that they have a positive outlook, some of them, on recovery and they are making steps. I think knowing to change that in a narrative and have that self-love and compassion is super important when it comes to anxiety disorders.

Kimberley: Yeah. And that’s the benefit of social media right there. I think social media gets a really bad rep, but we have to weigh the pros and cons because there are lots of pros, right?

Dean: Yeah, no, 100%. What I’d say is this is how I define it, is that if we just take Instagram and our mental health community so all the mental health accounts that are doing great, I see just like a safe haven corner of Instagram where people can go to and feel supported and connected and learn more about mental health in general. An app, like you say, can have a negative effect on people. And I think people speak about the algorithm and obviously, it’s all guessing what the algorithm’s going to do next, but I think we can actually use the algorithm in our favor. 

And if you just bear with me on this, if you think about all the accounts that you’re following, so if you’re following all positive mental health accounts or self-compassion or self-care, self-love, then the algorithms are going to spew that out to you in your own feed. So, what are you doing? You’re starting to change that in a narrative like in your digital world, because you open up your app and you start to see all this self-love and positivity. So, you can definitely use the algorithm. So, I think it’s super important in taking a look at who you’re following and seeing, does that benefit your mental health? And if it doesn’t, then I don’t think you should be following them.

 

Kimberley: Yeah, I agree. Actually, I just was saying yesterday that I was just scrolling my-- I’m rarely on social media just to scroll. I’m usually there to do the work I do. My son was sick. I was sitting there wasting time. But the cool thing is the suggested was all cool stuff. It was really cool. I was like, “Oh, I love all these new ideas and these new looks.” And I was really appreciating what was being suggested to me, even though I know there’s some controversy around that. It was very cool.

Dean: And you can imagine if somebody’s just starting or at the beginning of anxiety disorder and they’ve got this negative outlook and they’re isolated and they haven’t connected, then the algorithm may be spewing them not the right information. So, I think it’s important to really highlight the best we can our corner of Instagram, this mental health community that’s doing so great. And it’s a new wave of mental health support really and much needed, like you say, with COVID and everything that everyone’s still going through. I think over the next five, 10 years, it’s going to be more needed than ever.

Kimberley: Right. Absolutely. I can’t agree more. I don’t even think we have the stats yet on what mental illness is like from COVID, mostly the isolation of COVID. So, I 100% agree. So, let’s step outside of the online world and let’s talk generally, how did you find this community? Not the online community, but as you were going through recovery, did you tell them about your struggles? Did they come to you? How would you suggest people tell somebody about their struggles? Do you have any thoughts on that? 

 

Dean: Yeah. So, my body and my mind and everything was telling me not to open up about anxiety and not to speak to anyone and to keep it as an inner struggle, because everything with anxiety, we know it’s all internal, it’s all inwards. We’re ruminating on our thoughts, feelings, and sensations. So, it doesn’t make sense to then speak to other people. It’s not natural to do that. So, I had to go against that and I just started to open up and not feel ashamed to tell people what I was going through. I think I got to a point where it felt like I was struggling too much for me to be going through it, so I felt like I had to.

So, my advice to people would be, speak to the people around you, have a support network. You may come across people who dismiss your anxiety [00:15:20 inaudible]. And it’s super important to know that just because they dismiss it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just, they may be their views. They might not have the education on mental health. So, yeah, if you get dismissed, that shouldn’t stop you from opening up, because I know that people often, especially in my community, say, “Well, I feel like I can’t tell people because if I tell my parents, for example, they just tell me to continue to get on with it that I don’t have these issues.” 

So, I think that when that happens and you have parents and it’s important to put mental health boundaries in place, obviously, especially if we’re living with our parents, we can’t just move out or whatever or if we’re young. So, we have to put these boundaries in place and have a support network around us. So, if you are younger, it could be someone in your education system, it could be a support worker, or it could be the online communities like we mentioned.

 

Kimberley: Yeah. That’s interesting because what’s been on my mind lately, particularly in the online space, is what to do when you have been dismissed. Now that happens from parents and loved ones. But I think it does happen on social media as well, right? You will have-- the message I’ve been trying to give is, if it’s helpful, take it. And if it’s not helpful, leave it. Because a lot of people will come to my platform and say, “I’m freaking out because I just read this, which goes against what you’re saying. And I don’t know who to believe.” And they’re doing the best they can with what they’ve got. So, I think that it’s important for people, even on the online, to also dismiss bad advice online, right?

Dean: Yeah, definitely. So many people get dismissed online, don’t they? But I think you gave some great advice, Kim. And that was, anybody can write anything on social media doesn’t mean that it’s true, does it? So, we need to take in what someone’s saying to us, but if it doesn’t fit our way of thinking or it doesn’t benefit us, then it’s okay to reject it. Just like if we think of anxiety and thoughts and you get these irrational thoughts. We get this irrational thought and we don’t believe it. What do we do? We don’t accept it. We can reject and replace it. And that’s what we should do with the information around us. So, if we see a negative comment towards us, it’s so easy, isn’t it? It is so natural for us to react in a negative way because that’s the way we’re built. You know what I mean? It’s our protective system there to try and protect us. But yeah, if it’s not benefiting you, then it’s okay to step away and move away from it.

Kimberley: Okay. So, let’s talk about the dreaded trolls because that’s the perfect segue. So, what I would love for you and I to talk about, and if it’s okay, be as open as you can, but let’s talk about the mental impact of having a troll, because I think you could have a bully at school and you could have a bully for a boss or you could have a bully online. And I think it’s similar in how we can internalize it. So, I have had a troll for over a year now who’s pretty aggressive. And most of my people know aggressive and awful. And in the beginning, I took it completely personally, right? Completely personally. I thought everyone was just going to hate me. And it was the most-- you know the whole thing about you have to break something to put it back together the right way?

Dean: Uh-hmm.

Kimberley: That’s how it felt for me, because obviously, I had built my platform and what I do, my businesses on this idea that if I just do good and I’m kind all the time, no one will ever hate me. It’s impossible to hate me if I’m kind. I think it was this belief system that I had. And that got shattered into millions of pieces because there were people who really didn’t like me. And so, I think that I’m glad it broke and it got shattered because I got to put it back properly of I had to restructure that belief. But that was really, really hard. And having someone online say things, such horrible things, I really, really had a difficult time of not taking it personally. So, can you share what your experience of online trolls and that kind of thing has been?

Dean: Yeah, sure. So, with the DLC Anxiety community, especially when the first lockdown happened and we had the celebrities and musicians, they all started to gain control back of their own social media accounts. So, we saw a lot of celebrities sharing mental health stuff, which is amazing because it’s shining a big light on everything to do with mental health. So, I saw an exponential growth within that period of the community. And yeah, I remembered it was on either speaking on interviews with people or just on lives. Again, your mind zones in. Doesn’t matter how many positive messages you see on your Instagram lives, for example. It’s only natural if you see one negative comment for your mind to then just zone in on that.

And I remember the first time that happened to me. I was really taken back because I was putting 23, out of 24 hours into being in this community and helping the best I can, sharing a very vulnerable story to do with my father passing and then an anxiety disorder. And I thought I was being vulnerable and open and honest, and like you say, just trying to give as much love and support for people as I could. And then to see that someone else, some people were being negative towards this, it was dismay. I couldn’t believe it. It didn’t feel real. It was like, “Why are they saying negative things towards me?” 

So, it was definitely a learning curve. I always remember the first time that happened. Over time, it has got better. Like you say, you managed to structure and rearrange things and you managed to not take these things personally and look from the outside, that the people that are spreading hate or being negative, they may be hurting themselves. 

My take on it now, Kim, is that even if these people are spreading hate and being horrible on my community, especially towards me, is that hopefully, they may get some good out of one of the other interviews with someone else, because I know that these people, they’re in need of mental health support themselves. And for whatever reason, they haven’t been able to get it. And I always think that if they’re giving me hate, I can now take it. And hopefully, they might see something that benefits them. But it has been very hard to change my perspective on that. It was not an easy road.

Kimberley: Yeah. That’s hard for me. I think on my end, I just had to keep reminding myself that, well, all the words are about me, it’s really not about me. It’s a lot about them and their struggle. The way I work through it-- and maybe you could tell me what you think as you see the troll, like how do you think about it. For me, when I see really awful, hurtful, hard comments, I first remind myself, this person had to suffer a great, great deal to be spreading this much hate. To understand that they had to-- no one who’s had a really easy life is jumping onto the internet and spending hours spreading hate on people. It’s usually that they’ve been through an immense. And that was really helpful for me, compassion-wise, of just to be like, “I actually have compassion for you. You’ve obviously been through the wringer.”

And then the second piece for me, and this was the hard part and I’m curious, I really want to know your thought, was to start to trust that people will trust me, that people will see the real me, not me that that person is saying I am by me being consistent and showing up as me. And that was a hard piece because, at the beginning, I was like, “But what if they don’t trust me?” The consistency has been really helpful for me. But I think the truth is, that has also been really helpful for me to translate it into the real world. 

 

Dean: I was just going to say, yeah, because if your inner critic, like you say, is wanting for everyone to relate to everything that you’re putting out there, all the amazing stuff that you’re putting out there, the last thing you want is somebody trying to discredit that because, you know what I mean? All we’re trying to do is help the people around us. So, yeah, it’s that inner critic and working on our inner ourselves. 

When I see a troll online now, I just tend to leave them be. I think just leave them to do what they want. I think we know that our communities know what we’re about. They know how much we give to our communities, they know how much support and wealth that we give everyone on a continuous day. And like you said, you can’t stop these people, but also, just because they’re writing something, it doesn’t mean that it’s true, which I thought was beautiful for you to say. 

Kimberley: Yeah. It’s tough. I mean, I think that that is a huge part of our mental wellness, is how we relate to people, right? And we’re in relationships. So, even if we’ve got a panic disorder, I was thinking about this the other day, is we’ve had a really, really rough house here in the Quinlan house this week. It’s been pretty chaotic, lots of sickness, lots of scary COVID scares, and so forth. And there was a time where I would’ve lashed out because of my own anxiety. I would’ve been really snarky to my husband because he goes to work and he doesn’t have to handle it. And I would often displace my anxiety and anger, just snotty. And that happens a lot. I hear a lot of people talking about just in daily life like, “I’m really struggling because my partner and I aren’t getting along because everyone’s anxious and so forth.” So, I think it is helpful to be in relationship with people who do have their own struggles. Like I said, it happens online, but it’s also happening at home. 

Dean: Yeah. It can just happen on a day-to-day basis. A lot of people say that they can’t deal with people when they’re being negative towards them in real life. But it’s about taking a step back and knowing that the person who’s spreading that negativity towards you, that maybe they’re having a really rough time at home with their partner, that maybe they’ve got troubles with their job, money. It could be anything. Maybe they were traveling to work and they got caught up. And we’re all a product of our emotions at that time. And emotions, as we know, they come and go and it doesn’t curate who we are as a person. 

 

So, if someone’s being angry towards you and negative towards you, it’s about taking a step back and knowing that it’s more on them again and it’s more on what their experience and the feelings and emotions and putting the correct boundaries in place. But it is really hard to do. I’m not saying that it’s easy to do. It is super, super hard, especially when someone’s coming at you with negativity. Your first line of defense is, you know what I mean, to attack normally, isn’t it? Or to take a massive step back. So, yeah, it takes a lot of practice, but it can be done.

Kimberley: So, talk to me about, you’re probably the one person who would know the answer to this, can you share with us about managing mental illness with social media? How might someone have a healthy relationship with social media and the use of social media?

Dean: Yeah. I have to put boundaries in myself because I say everything that I do is on Instagram, 99% of it. And if I’m not working on Instagram, I’m working on my website, which again is online. So, yeah, putting boundaries in place is super important, having rest away from social media, what we mentioned earlier about following accounts that really benefit you and have a positive impact on you and just getting rid of the negative accounts that are not making you feel good. You don’t want to go onto social media and not feel good because we all know we spend way too much time on social media. And if we’re spending that time looking at negativity, then that’s what it’s going to do. It’s going to put our mood in that sense. And we could really spiral into a state of being in a negative state just by what we consume. It’s like when people speak about the news and say, “Oh, well, I can’t watch that because it affects my mental health.” Social media is exactly the same, but probably more so, because we’re spending more time on it and it’s literally part of who we are now.

Kimberley: Right. What would you say to someone who uses social media to cope with their anxiety, meaning to distract against it or to get them through their panic? Do you have any thoughts on managing it for anxiety?

Dean: Yeah. It’s a very good question. So, I always go back to thinking, at the start of my panic disorder, if there were communities like ours out there, would it have been beneficial for me? And the number one answer is yes, 100%. It would’ve been an eye-opener. I would’ve felt I wasn’t alone. I would’ve felt motivated and encouraged that I can continue. But if you’re using anxiety communities as a way to not do the hard work, then I think it can be detrimental. I think anxiety recovery is about doing the hard work. 

Now, a lot of people, and I’ve just done a post on this, unfortunately can’t have the access towards therapy, which we know has a massive benefit on mental health. We speak about anxiety, the latest sciences, the medication and a combination with CBT therapy has the best results. Now, that doesn’t mean for everyone, but some people may do better with medication, some people may do better with therapy. So, I think that having a community to help you and understand the psychoeducation behind it is great. But if you’re using it as a distraction to try and distract you from feeling anxious and dealing with the anxiety head-on, that’s when it can become detrimental. 

I often say that there’s so much information-- and you can obviously maybe shine away on this, Kim, but what would you say to people who say that they can’t access therapy? Maybe it’s a money thing. Maybe it could be anything, couldn’t it? Do you believe that these people can still recover? Because there seems to be a narrative online that therapy is the only way forward. I think that’s an unhealthy way of looking at it because we know that anxiety recovery, there’s so many different routes out of it, and it all leads to the same angle, doesn’t it? Which is anxiety recovery. So, what would you say to the people that can’t access therapy? Would you be still giving them hope?

Kimberley: Well, to be honest with you, 1000% I would give hope. I myself have had therapy for some things, but I really didn’t feel like therapy for other issues were helpful. And I felt it was better for me to actually work through a workbook, listen to a ton of podcasts. I’m a real mix. I’ve been blessed and privileged to have some amazing therapy, but some of my mental illness, I really needed to do on my own. But I did them through, like I said, a workbook, a support group, some were online courses. I mean, that’s why I created ERP School, was because people didn’t have-- that we’re turning them away to nothing. But what was really interesting about ERP School and CBT School is just recently, out of the blue, a bunch of people have reached out to me and said, “I wanted just to let you know that that got me right back on my feet.” It’s so wonderful to hear those stories, because otherwise, you’d don’t know them and you didn’t realize what an impact. So, no, I absolutely believe, I’m a real big believer in workbooks. I struggled with workaholism and that workbook for workaholism was huge for me and perfectionism. These are two really, really important things that I use that did not require therapy at all.

Dean: Yeah. So, like you, Kim, I like to be guided by the science. So, I know obviously how important therapy and how life-changing it can be for some people with anxiety. But also, I think there’s still a lot of stigma around medication when it comes to anxiety, especially online. And yeah, I think we need to do a little bit more work on that because I think anxiety medication is being dismissed more so. Maybe that’s another conversation that we can have in the future. But I didn’t go through therapy with my own anxiety disorder, with the panic attacks. Mine was going online. I think you have to go to a trusted site. So, over here, you have the National Health Service, which has a ton of resources, all scientific, proven, all credible from the correct sources. And I think if you’re researching and looking at all the correct things, I think that can be really powerful for you. So, if you can’t access therapy, of course, there’s still hope. Of course, you can still recover. And that my message to everyone is I did it. So, if I can, I’m just a regular guy, you can do it too. 

Kimberley: I love that. Just because I know, and thinking of the person listening here, like how did you do it? I know we haven’t got a ton of time, but could you just say, how did you muster up the courage on your own to face your fears?

 

Dean: That’s a great question. And I do have my book coming out, which is--

Kimberley: All right.

Dean: Yeah. So, the book is called Greater Than Panic. It’s the number one question that I’ve been asked since day one of starting out the anxiety community, and that was, what is your story and how did you get from four panic attacks a day to be in the head of DLC Anxiety and be in the face of the interviews and not having panic attacks? Obviously, I’m still having anxiety. That’s a message that I think isn’t hammered home enough, whereas the goal of anxiety recovery is not never to feel anxious again. I think people often are misguided and have misinformation, especially at the start of an anxiety disorder, thinking that the goal is to never feel anxious again. The goal is to change your behavior to when you’re feeling anxious and make sure that it doesn’t have a detrimental impact on your day-to-day.

I go right back to the basics. I go back to speaking about my father’s death, which was obviously a really terrible time, and it brought out a lot of emotions but also, I think it was important for me to go back and just explore it again. And I speak about my relationship with the doctor. It’s again another message that I like to hit home, is that if you’re dealing with any physical symptoms to do with emotional symptoms, to do with anxiety, your first port of call has to be the doctor, because we know that anxiety disorders can mimic other things. And so, it’s super important for a medical professional, a GP, a doctor, to run diagnostic tests to make sure that everything else is okay. And then when they tell you that it is okay, you can sit down with the doctor and you can start to plan your journey of recovery, which may be therapy, maybe self-help, maybe meditation, mindfulness, exercise, medication, so many different routes. 

But yeah, my number one message is, if you’re dealing with physical symptoms and you haven’t had them checked out, you have to go to the doctor. So, I speak about my relationship with the doctor. I speak about curating my own anxiety toolkits. So, what worked for me and the research and the science behind each thing that I was trying and how it had a benefit impact for me. And I speak about exposure therapy and how that was really beneficial for me, but doing it not guided by your therapist. 

Now, if you look at the science, you would say that the best effects of exposure therapy is guided with a therapist, but I didn’t personally have a therapist in my journey. But if you can have a therapist, I definitely recommend that that’s the best route to go down. But I speak about how exposure therapy worked for me and I speak about the hiccups on that road to recovery and what recovery looked like, what it meant to me. And then I speak about the anxiety community and how I wanted to spread the message and get that message across to as many people as I possibly can. And yeah, it takes me to the present day. 

 

Kimberley: I can’t wait. That’s so exciting. So, tell me about the name of the book.

 

Dean: Greater Than Panic. So, that’s the message that you are greater than panic. Just because you have feelings of panic, if you’re up in panic attacks or panic disorders, it doesn’t mean that you’re broken, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be fixed. There’s nothing to fix because you’re not broken. So, you are greater than panic at all life, things, all the dreams, aspirations, careers, travel, love, money, whatever it is that you want, you can get. Doesn’t matter that you’re going through panic or have panic attacks. O if you’ve been through panic disorder, the other message is that you’re greater than panic.

Kimberley: Amazing. Okay. So, I’m going to leave you. I feel like that’s the perfect way for us to end out. Is there anything else you want to share with us, any links, or how people can hear about you?

Dean: Just DLC Anxiety over on Instagram and the website, www.dlcanxiety.com. I’d just like to thank you, Kim, for obviously inviting me on here. And I’d like to thank you for everything that you’re doing in the mental health space. CBT is super important to me. It’s an integral part to my recovery. And yeah, I’m just super grateful for our connection on Instagram and just everything that you’re doing.

Kimberley: Thank you. I feel so blessed that we randomly got to meet. You know what, it’s such a blessing. So, thank you. I’m so grateful.

Dean: Thank you.

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Thank you so much for listening. I’m sure you got so much from that. Before we finish up, let’s do the review of the week. This is from Disc Golf Nate. They gave five stars and they said:

“As Kimberly would say, this is not necessarily a substitute for in-person therapy. But it is still a very powerful tool. I’ve used this podcast in conjunction with my therapist and some books, but this podcast brings me the most peace.”

Thank you so much, Disc Golf Nate. I am so honored for that amazing review. And yes, this should not substitute therapy, but my hope is it gives you some tools, some skills, some hope, some support, some joy, and compassion into your recovery. So, I’m so honored to have this time with you. I will see you all next week.

 

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