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For Ruchie.. Anxiety expertise...
      #223765 - 11/08/05 02:03 PM
Dr. Spice Yamin

Reged: 04/15/04
Posts: 3286
Loc: Maryland

alot of what I know has to do with children and childhood anxiety disorders, but many things apply to adults as well.

1. Get a good therapist that offeres CBT Treatment (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). CBT is the best known treatment of anxiety in both children and adults, and I've seen it work wonders numerous times!

2. Baby steps.. but you gotta make them- work gradually. A person with anxiety cannot expect to one day make it all the way out for a day at the mall. You have to set a schedule for yourself, and find a personal cheerleader that will give you positive reinforcement when you achieve your goals (I'm sure us on the IBS boards would be great cheerleaders for this).

So for example, week one you could say today I will go out for half an hour. When you do this, pick a place that you feel most comfortable outside of the house, and that is less anxiety producing. However, make sure that this place is out of the house. After a week of doing this, reward yourself with a special meal, or by doing something you love.

The next week, begin by staying out somewhere for an hour and increase the time accordingly. Also, throughout the weeks, as you begin to feel more calm in areas that are less anxiety producing, begin visiting areas that are more anxiety producing. All the while realizing just how far you've come, receiving positive feedback from us here on the boards, and by rewarding yourself.

3. one thing that helps some people is to design a special symbol. For children this can be a small cut out that says NO FEAR, or a picture of a super hero. With adults, you could easily adapt this by using a key chain, or a special saying or quote that you carry around that would symbolize the fact that you have no fear and will not allow anxiety to rule your life. This way, everytime you begin to feel anxious outside of the home, you can look down at your special symbol (which you carry in your purse, pocket, car etc.. put them everywhere) and realize YES! I can do this. I know it sounds cheesy, but I know a quite a few people that this has been successful for.

4. Make a thought chart!! this will help you identify some of your automatic thoughts, which are thoughts that occur without warning, and without you realizing how they got there. When these thoughts are negative they can result in anxiety. So basically think of situations from the past few days where you felt anxious. Identify the situation and the specific feelings you had. Then identify any automatic thoughts that seemed to go along with it. You could set up your chart in three sections..
The situation
your feelings
your automatic thoughts.
this will help you become more aware of the negative thoughts you are having that is helping to maintain a high level of anxiety.
for example,
the situation- going to a birthday party
your feelings- anxious, worried and scared
your negative automatic thoughts- what are you thinking that is causing you to feel anxious and worried. perhaps you're afraid no one will talk to you, that everyone will notice you are anxious etc. only you know your negative automatic thoughts.

5. Are things really that bad? Ask yourself three questions.
a) whats the evidence? if something seems really bad, or if you are looking at something in a negative way, how much evidence is there that things really are as you think they are?
b)is there any alternative evidence? so, you are thinking that something bad is happening or might happen. is there any evidence out there that indicates otherwise? is there another explanation?
c)what if? if the negative thing you are thinking really does occur, whats the worst possible thing that realistically might happen to you? have you been through worse and still survived? have other people experienced this problem and still survived?

6) A big step in overcoming anxiety is diminishing negative automatic thoughts. these are the voices in your head telling you, you can't do something, or need to worry about something. Its important to recognize what your negative thoughts are, what thinking error did you make and what is a more realistic way of thinking about it?

7) map out a plan. Just like with IBS and finding the bathroom, don't make yourself do something incredibly uncomfortable. you may feel better about doing something outside of the house if you decide before hand that you can leave quickly if you start to panic. Don't force yourself to fight anxiety all at once. do it gradually.

8. increase positive self statements. when mapping out a plan, or a problem situation, write down positive self statements about yourself that can help motivate you to follow through with the situation. ie. although i'm scare, people really seem to like me. I'm a friendly person etc.

9. cognitive distractions- this can be used anywhere, and involves thinking about either the funniest or happiest memory you have. The memory is best if if can bring an instantaneous smile or laugh.

10. Rational Emotive Imagery- mentally experience the event in the safety of your own home. this is similar to making a plan.

I hope this helps! I'll add more as I think of them!!

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Identifying thinking errors.. new
      #223769 - 11/08/05 02:09 PM
Dr. Spice Yamin

Reged: 04/15/04
Posts: 3286
Loc: Maryland

Here is a little more information about common thinking errors/ways that people subconsiously use negative self talk to help clarify.

These won't all apply to you, but some may.


Think.... am I making any of these thinking errors?

1. Binocular Vision- Do I look at negative things in a way that makes them seem bigger than they really are? Do I look at good things in a way that makes them seem smaller than they really are?

2. Black and White thinking- do I think about things only in extreme or opposite ways (ie good or bad, all or non, black or white?)

3. Dark Glasses- Do I think only about the bad side of things?

4. Fortune Telling- Do I make predictions about what will happen in the future without enough information?

5. Making it personal- do I make things my responsibility that I don't need to? Do I blame myself for things I can't control?

6. Overgeneralizing- Do I make general conclusions based on only one event?

7. Labeling- Do I put simple, unfair and negative labels on people or things that are really more complicated than the lable?

8. Discounting the positive- Do I ignore positive things or thoughts by telling myself they don't really matter? Can I accept a compliment from another person without thinking it isn't really so? do I twist good situations into things that are bad?

9. Beating up on myself and others- Do I insist or demand that things should or must be done in a certain way.

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Re: Wow Ashley, thanks!!! new
      #223774 - 11/08/05 02:25 PM
Yoda (formerly Hans)

Reged: 01/22/03
Posts: 3682
Loc: Canada

You know I have OCD and Bipolar. That was a great read! I'm currently in CBT and am trying VERY hard. This winter, I'm trying to takle my fears straight on. It's so scary!!! I've always said that having OCD is like wearing a pair of coloured sunglasses. Everything you see is coloured by the OCD. For me, I see germs and viruses on anyone and anything. (tears). I live my life in terror. I'm terrified all of the time. Thank goodness, with meds and the CBT, I am making headway. Humour me- I think it would be good for me to write some of them down.
1. I go out for my groceries - I don't have them delivered hardly anymore.
2. I take my kids with me (fear of exposing them)
3. I refuse to wash my hands in public even if my hands feel filthy (especially after being in like a pharmacy or something).
4. I am doing concentrated CBT in the kitchen - resisting the urge to wash my hands the second they get a wee bit dirty.
5. I am not using rubber gloves and disinfectants in the kitchen. (Regular cleaners and bare hands.)
6. I am spending time touching the garbage can (A REALLY scary one for me and am riding out the anxiety which is really really really really terrible.
7. I do relaxation techniques anywhere and everywhere when I feel anxious (breathe in for 4 and out for 4) until I feel centred.
8. I am talking openly and willingly to my psychologist and am starting to share more of my fears with my spouse.
9. I am working on not letting the dishes pile up ( I HATE dirty dishes because they're so disgusting to me).
10. I don't freak when my kids do something gross - like put their hands on the floor at the pharmacy, eat a smartie that fell on the floor for 2 seconds.
Whew. It is really good to write down our accomplishments. Even small ones. Sometimes, for me that's a battle by the minute and second.

After all this, if you're still reading - CBT is awesome. It's really hard to do but it really works. IE after cutting up raw chicken for an hour straight, it no longer bothers me to touch raw meat. MAJOR hurdle. (I still have to disinfect afterwards - but that's acceptable with raw chicken)

I realized I'm guilty of a lot of the thinking errors. It's just that the OCD distorts things so much, and I'm scared all the time, it's hard to think positively.

Anyway, thanks for all the advice. You're going to be amazing in your occupation when you finish school!!!!!
Hugs, Alicia.

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Formerly HanSolo. IBS, OCD, Bipolar, PTSD times 3.

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Re: Wow Ashley, thanks!!! new
      #223777 - 11/08/05 02:46 PM
Snow for Sarala

Reged: 03/12/03
Posts: 5430
Loc: West Coast, USA

i second that...WOW Ashley, THANKS! ! !*hugs*

Alicia...you're my hero! Look at you! You are DOING soo well

Ok, back to the original post to respond

I love you two

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Formerly known as Ruchie

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Re: For Ruchie.. Anxiety expertise... new
      #223782 - 11/08/05 03:02 PM
Snow for Sarala

Reged: 03/12/03
Posts: 5430
Loc: West Coast, USA

Hi there Ashley!

So...my therapist specializes in EMDR and abuse cases. At least that's how my insurance co. classfied her. On her card it says: MSSA, LCSW. What does all that mean

Today I went to the grocery store. This is SO DIFFICULT! I have to have the right outfit (I don't own too much clothing cause we don't have much money...and if I don't look "just so" thin wise I freak out...esp. when I'm not stable on meds). BUT i went today anyway, YAY!

Walking the dog. Which I NEED to do daily, at least once. MAJOR scare! Any man that looks my way makes me want to RUN away crying and screaming (I guess an abusive past doesn't help huh?) I plan to go walk her when I finish writing this. Then I'll come back and tell my cheerleaders *hugs*

Ok, ok. Today i went to the store and I will wak my dog. I also need to go to ANOTHER store. I will TRY but I will NOT put pressure on myself to do so. (Btw, I don't just have social anxiety! I get anxious about even doing dishes Which I also need o do today...).

This week I will try, every day, to walk our dog for TEN mins daily. Next week for 15 mins. I think that is all I can do for now...G-d be with me ! !

Feel the fear and do it anyway...and also If you want to hear G-d laugh, tell Him all your plans. The 1st one is obvious (thanks Tina aka Sara Sage). The one about hearing G-d laugh, thanks Cara, is a reminder to me that G-d is in control, not me. This is soothing for me (plus the quote just rocks!)

I get anxious because I feel like everyone is better than me. I have no value and everyone else in the wolrd is SO SPECIAL, and beautiful and smart and courageous, etc. This is the worst of course when my meds don't work. (I hope the new dose kicks in SOON!!)

Going to a b-day party for ex: No one will like me. I'm friendly, but stupid. Kinda pretty, but a ditz at parties (cause I'm so anxious). i will spill my drink. Have a manic epidose and laugh for no reason and embarass myself and hubby...you get the point.

Yes, they are that bad. All this has happened. BUT i'm not sure poeple see me as stupid...never took a poll I def. do think people can tell I'm anxious. I give off werird vibes or something. But I haven't died from the experience...so I guess it's not the end of the world? The best case scenario was when I was a kid and I didn't want to go to a party cause I thought no one liked me and I had a BLAST...so I guess you don't unless you go. And you can always leave right?

I LOVE the happy place 9think Phoebe on F.R.I.E.N.D's!) idea...go to your happy place I'l have to try that, THAKNS!

I also like mapping out a plan, increasing positive self statements, and R.E.I (the last one mentioned!) WOw. Ashley, you've given me a LOT to think about! ! !

WOOHOOOOO!

Thank you a million times *hugs*

(oy, I think I'm on my way up...aka high! Any ideas on how to stop this?)

Love you tons *hugs* And thanks for e-mailing do I would see this post faster!!!

Love,

Ruch



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Formerly known as Ruchie

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Re: Wow Ashley, thanks!!! new
      #223783 - 11/08/05 03:07 PM
Dr. Spice Yamin

Reged: 04/15/04
Posts: 3286
Loc: Maryland

no problem Alicia! I'm so glad that some of this info helped and was applicable..

I was so happy to read all that you accomplish. Seeing people beat their disorders is the most rewarding part about being a psychologist!

It sounds like you've come A LOOOOOOOONG WAY! Seriously, everything you're doing and you wrote is a huge accomplishment. Through working with people with OCD, I know how devestating making those steps can be and I'm PROUD OF YOU! Although I haven't experienced it first hand, I see daily how hard it is to get as far as you have.

especially being able to leave your house and not worry too much about your children and germs. They are lucky to have a mom like you.

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Re: For Ruchie.. Anxiety expertise... new
      #223787 - 11/08/05 03:20 PM
Dr. Spice Yamin

Reged: 04/15/04
Posts: 3286
Loc: Maryland

Ruchie!

yay for you too!
As for your therapist.. those letters mean that she is a licensed social worker (which is very similar to a counselor).

Congrats on making it to the grocery store! YOU GO GIRL! That in and of itself is a huge accomplishment!

As for walking the dog, it sounds like you've devised a great plan. You just gotta stick to it, and take your time. Its best to gradually desensitize yourself, which it sounds like you're doing. If you can't do 1/2 an hour.. 10 minutes is perfectly fine. Its way better than not doing it at all. The half an hour was just an example, but its great that you are able to recognize that that would be too much for you. If you started out too strong, it would make it that much easier to give up. Half the battle is being able to recognize that your fears are irrational and recognizing what you really can and can't do. So i'm proud of you that you were able to recognize that 10 minutes is where you need to start.

As for your quotes.. print those out and carry them with you. Think about them whenever you start to feel scared. They can become your mantra and really distract you .. similar to how thinking about pheobe from friends can really help as well! (btw I love pheobe too)

As for thinking people might think you are stupid.. often we are much harder on ourselves than others are. I bet once people get to know you they'll love you and realize what a great friend you are. Your hubby did, and I'm sure these people will too. I know it will be hard, but you gave the perfect example- you'll never know until you try- and keep in mind your experiences as a child. you may dread going and become anxious about it, but in the end you might really have a fabulous time. If not, you leave, but you leave knowing that you at least put yourself out there and gave it a shot.

You're well on your way girl! Keep us updated when you make any plans, use REI, or have any accomplishments. No matter how small they are, they are still two steps forward. Remember- baby steps!

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Re: Wow Ashley, thanks!!! new
      #223788 - 11/08/05 03:21 PM
Yoda (formerly Hans)

Reged: 01/22/03
Posts: 3682
Loc: Canada

Thanks for your kind words. It was so nice to hear. My husband isn't very supportive - so your words of encouragement mean so much. (tears).
If you have any questions about what it's like to have OCD, feel free to ask. My e-mail's listed.
As for my kids - they're my motivation. I don't want to pass on these strange destructive behaviours to them - and I know that it can be hereditary (my Grandmother and Mother have it - so it came pretty directly to me). It's hard to go out with them, but even though I worry, I don't let it stop me from taking them out.
Hugs and hugs,
Alicia.

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Formerly HanSolo. IBS, OCD, Bipolar, PTSD times 3.

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also.. alicia.. new
      #223789 - 11/08/05 03:26 PM
Dr. Spice Yamin

Reged: 04/15/04
Posts: 3286
Loc: Maryland

Also Alicia.. seeking out CBT was an AWESOME IDEA!!

OCD and PTSD are the two types of anxiety disorders that almost NEVER go away without therapy with a psychologist

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Re: For Ruchie.. Anxiety expertise... new
      #223790 - 11/08/05 03:26 PM
Yoda (formerly Hans)

Reged: 01/22/03
Posts: 3682
Loc: Canada

Rachel, you are NOT stupid. In fact, you're one of the smartest, strongest women I know. So put that idea to bed RIGHT NOW. There is no way you could have made it through university and become a teacher ON TOP OF dealing with everything else you're dealing with if you weren't incredibly intelligent.

I also have trouble in social situations. Focussed breathing is my saviour. Breathe in for 4, out for 4. No one will know what you're doing, and it will give you a calm appearance. You don't have to breathe really deeply, just focus. Keep quiet. Stay with your hubby and you'll be fine! Laugh when everyone else is laughing, and smile. And BREATHE!!!!
Hugs, Alicia.

--------------------
Formerly HanSolo. IBS, OCD, Bipolar, PTSD times 3.

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Re: For Ruchie.. Anxiety expertise... new
      #223802 - 11/08/05 03:54 PM
Snow for Sarala

Reged: 03/12/03
Posts: 5430
Loc: West Coast, USA

Wow, WOW! Thanks Alicia! I guess I shouldn't feed myself all these negative messages about how dumb I am after all You're right...I'm not stupid...

In social situations I say the dumbest things though! I am NOT a small talker...and I just lose any sense of self AND self esteem! (Same when it comes to organization and home making...).

Thank you though for the confidence boster! I should remind my elf daily that i graduated college with undiagnosed bipolar, anxiety, OCd, and 7 LD's to boot with a 3.0 GPA from a reputable school...that's def. something I would give a friend MAJOR props for...so why not me Maybe I'm not so dumb after all

As for YOU...you're still my hero! I love you! *hugs*

Ruch

P.S. The breathing thing has saved me in the past...now I just have to use it. And think of you

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Formerly known as Ruchie

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Re: For Ruchie.. Anxiety expertise... new
      #223803 - 11/08/05 04:04 PM
Yoda (formerly Hans)

Reged: 01/22/03
Posts: 3682
Loc: Canada

If you're worried about talking in society situations, let your hubby take the lead. Talk to him about this in advance. Also, it is a lot better to ask questions than provide answers. Make up a mental list of 5 general questions that you can ask people. That way, if you're uncomfortable, you can prompt them to talk. That way you're not worrying about what to say. Besides, you don't have to say much to look like you're having a good time. Just relax and smile!

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Formerly HanSolo. IBS, OCD, Bipolar, PTSD times 3.

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Alicia's my hero! new
      #223804 - 11/08/05 04:13 PM
Snow for Sarala

Reged: 03/12/03
Posts: 5430
Loc: West Coast, USA

Alicia, you are unbelievable!

I truly know 1st hand how difficult it is to do what you're doing for yourself and your children...but you are DOING IT!

All those times you offered your # and i never called, btw, were due to anxiety (I have thought about it numerous times but just couldn't pick up the phone. This is true with many of the folks on these boards! This also explains all the times I've disappeared...and you can relate to all of it. Thank you for being so open!)

It was also passed down to me btw. And I am terrified of passing it down to my kids. But alicia, you give me so much HOPE! We truly CAN feel the dear and do it ANYWAY!

I think we should keep a log going. What our fears are for the day...and support eacvh other.

Today's biggest fears:

1)Going to the store

2)Walking dog

I did:

1 & 2! The store was the toughest cause I felt so sick today. Woke up to Hemms. Slept until 12:30pm (The tegretol makes me feel nauseous too when we p the dose). But I went anyway and feel better!! Then I came home having no idea how to get myself outside to walk the dog. Then all these posts were here and I was so inspired by you Alicia...I did it! I WALKED MY DOG!!! YAY!!!!!!

Now I have to do the dishes. This is an organizational challenge for me a bit. So I will need to break it down. I also need to make dinner for hubby and I (seperate meals of course )

Course of action: BREATHE! Listen to a Torah tape (Bible stuff), or some classical music...something soothing. If I get anxious...BREATHE, take a break and sit down, have some water, sing, or post for help on the boards!

WOW!

I feel so much more impowered!

Thank you thank you thank you *HUGS*

Love,

Ruch



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Formerly known as Ruchie

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5 things to say at a party when... new
      #223806 - 11/08/05 04:17 PM
Snow for Sarala

Reged: 03/12/03
Posts: 5430
Loc: West Coast, USA

Alicia, let me let you in on a secret...my hubby has anxiety too! (He's not ready to face it yet...but he does!)

So he wants ME to take the lead

I'm great with the "Hi, where ya from, what do you do, I like your blouse, what's so interesting/why did you choose your job, do you like AZ/why?, etc. It's when I KNOW the people aready that becomes a prob. After the opening starters, I'm a mess

If anyone can come up with 5 things to say AFTER you already know the folks there, that would be super!

Alicia, thank you for being so caring and helpful..I really appreciate it *hugs*

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Formerly known as Ruchie

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Re: 5 things to say at a party when... new
      #223844 - 11/09/05 02:11 AM
CathUK

Reged: 05/25/04
Posts: 373
Loc: Cambridge, UK

Find a dog owner and chat to them about your pooch - that has saved me from many a potentially awkward social situation!

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Re: Awesome advice Ashley! new
      #223983 - 11/09/05 06:23 PM
LittleLisa

Reged: 06/22/04
Posts: 2018
Loc: USA

When I was 21 I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and did do Cognative Behavioral Therapy with an EXCELLENT psychologist! He helped me tremendously through my troubling times. So yes, that approach does work.

YOu can certainly tell that you are paying attention to your studies in college YOu are going to be an awesome psychologist some day girl!!!! Keep up the great work!!!

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~~~Lisa~~~


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Re: Awesome advice Ashley! new
      #223994 - 11/09/05 07:59 PM
Dr. Spice Yamin

Reged: 04/15/04
Posts: 3286
Loc: Maryland

thanks so much lisa! it means alot!

I'm glad that the CBT helped you! It really works wonders. Is your GAD under control now?



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Re: GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder) new
      #224166 - 11/10/05 04:28 PM
LittleLisa

Reged: 06/22/04
Posts: 2018
Loc: USA

Yes, Ashley, it is under control. Thanks for asking. I'm very proud of myself too that I was able to control it and still use the technics that I learned from him. His main goal was to get me to mentally control it without drugs and I never had to take any kind of drug for it. I really only suffered with it a few years and it was back when I was much younger. I still have anxious issues over stupid things like throwing up and catching viruses but heck who doesn't these days. I also have anxiety driving by myself which isn't such a bad thing.

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~~~Lisa~~~


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Well, since my meds aren't working yet... new
      #224169 - 11/10/05 04:47 PM
Snow for Sarala

Reged: 03/12/03
Posts: 5430
Loc: West Coast, USA

I am working on doing the best I can with the therapy I've had so far, stuff I've read (I REALLY like Bipolar for Dummies...got it at the library), and ASHLEY'S advice!

I am on a MUCHO GRANDE high tonight!!! And guss what? I CAUGHT IT! Yeppers...I see myself in my "highness" (sorry, couldn't resist)

1st thing I did was MAKE myself sit down.

Next was call hubby at work for some pointers.

I am now breathing slowly at the computer and looking at the Franklin Covey website between posting (that's another post).

I am really proud of myself! Meds don't always work even when we take em. i am high as a KITE right now...and I am not stifling it. I am just relaxing. Making sure I don't get sick overdoing it (i tend to be SO productive on a high I get SICK literally afterwards and even during).

Anyway, thought I would share and thank you ALL for helping me believe in myself *hugs*

And LittleLisa, thanks for the encouragement that meds aren't everything...they ARE important (I am NOT going to stop taking them just cause they aren't doing their job atm!) but so is working on myself and using the tools I have to take care of me

WOW! I cannot believe this is ME

Hurray!

Love,

Ruch

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Formerly known as Ruchie

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Re: Well, since my meds aren't working yet... new
      #224176 - 11/10/05 06:02 PM
Dr. Spice Yamin

Reged: 04/15/04
Posts: 3286
Loc: Maryland

exactly!

you can't expect meds to do everything, you've got to work at it yourself. However, in combination.. they can work wonders.

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