anxiety picture



There it is. That sick feeling in my stomach combined with a kaleidoscope of butterflies reminding me of my terror.

On the really bad days, it’s hard to make my legs work, my hands are shaky and I’m sweating.

But my children are waiting – tiny infants school kids waiting for mum to take them home and nurture them with listening ears and milk and cookies.

I have to get out of the car and get them, but my legs don’t want to move.


I felt these symptoms regularly when it was time to pick up the kids from school.

At first, I became impatient with myself, telling myself to ‘get a grip’ and act like an adult. I used to be so mean to me.

My tough talk didn’t work and the episodes became more paralysing until I was sure the day would come I would not find the courage to walk inside the school grounds.

That was a couple of decades ago when there was virtually no support for mental health issues.

Happily, times are changing and people are recognising the dangers and debilitation of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.




anxiety picture


If I was still experiencing that kind of fear I could seek help as part of the one in four Australians who deal with an anxiety disorder.

I think my problem was relatively mild and what worked for me could help some, but I wouldn’t recommend ignoring professional help if the anxiety persists or increases.

Anxiety is the most common mental health issue in Australia and can lead to depression. The sooner people get help the better chance they have of recovering.

There are several different types of anxiety ranging from severe panic attacks, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) to general anxiety.

Research leads me to believe I struggled with social phobia.

According to Beyond Blue, a person with a social phobia has an ‘intense fear of being criticised, embarrassed or humiliated, even in everyday situations, such as speaking publicly, eating in public, being assertive at work or making small talk’.

The interesting thing is I’m fairly outgoing and love connecting with new people. My pre-children years as a journalist involved interviewing a variety of strangers and this never intimidated me.

Perhaps hormone changes due to childbirth changed things but when it came upon me, my distress was only evident during certain social situations, such as interacting with other mothers at after school pick up. Let’s face it, mothers’ groups can be terrifying to the toughest of us, but there were other, specific instances when anxiety nearly paralysed me.

According to Anxiety Recovery Centre, Victoria, (ARC VIC) people with severe anxiety may find it hard to undertake many routine and life-sustaining activities.


For people with social anxiety disorder, the key element is severe anxiety and worry about social interactions due to a persistent fear that people are thinking about them in a negative way, or fear of behaving in a way that may cause feelings of embarrassment or humiliation. The anxiety is experienced in situations where the person believes that he/she is being scrutinised or observed by others.

For some people the anxiety can lead to panic-like symptoms, which may include heart palpitations, blushing, trembling, nausea, faintness and profuse sweating. The anxiety usually triggers anxious thoughts about the feared social situations and contributes to a person’s distress and difficulty performing in such situations.



Right now I have to say how wonderful and exciting it is to be alive during a time you can go on the internet and see the many different groups offering help for just about every issue.

Back when my kids were young it was tricky getting help for something like anxiety and true to form, it wasn’t something I was happy admitting to. Many people struggling with mental health issues try to hide it from the world.




I remember one day when my legs were acting particularly leaden and my heart was racing and I was frantically begging the universe to give me the courage to get out of the car.

Out of nowhere the word ‘love’ came to mind and it was such a relief from my mind panic that I allowed myself to concentrate on that word for a few minutes.

I just kept saying the word over and over –‘love, love, love, love’.

Then I started to picture the word as white smoke, emanating from my heart and coming out of every pore of my body. Then the love smoke was swirling around me frantically – kind of like fairy floss (cotton candy) swirls around a stick – creating a buffer between me and the world.



anxiety picture




After a few minutes of this unintentional creative visualisation, I found though I still felt rattled, I could leave the car, safe in my love armour.

This was such an enlightening moment for me and got me through those few years of anxiety and many other stressful times.

To this day, though I am much more relaxed and happier in my skin than I used to be, I create love armour for any situation that causes the slightest stress.

It not only works to give me confidence but also helps when dealing with unpleasant people.

I even use it for loved ones I’m angry with and have to face before I’ve dealt with the anger as it stops the negative flow.

Usually, I don’t even go through the visualisation process anymore, but use the word as a mantra – ‘love, love, love’.

You don’t have to suffer from the symptoms of anxiety to benefit from the magic of this word and I stress, if your symptoms are severe you would be wise to seek professional guidance.

The most wonderful thing about using this word is how people respond to you differently. People are friendlier as they pick up on the vibrations you are sending out.

Words have the power to hurt and destroy and to uplift and bring joy.

I think the word ‘love’ has extra special powers, like the power to heal – anxiety, anger, resentment, fear and more. It can be used like a superpower, an invisible cloak to protect yourself and spread the love at the same time.

Give it a try and let me know how you go in the comments.

Wishing you a life full of love and a gleeful week, Tamuria.



  • Thank you for sharing your unique love filled technique for shielding yourself from fear and anxiety, Tamuria.

    Anxiety and panic attacks can happen to the best of us and yes, in the days when you were battling it, medical sciences were not aware of how common place this condition is and you wouldn’t have gotten the kind of non-medical support that would have helped.

    The sad part is that we are perceived for how we show up every day and an outgoing gregarious person will never be thought of as having anxiety issues. One way I’ve learned to get support if I’m having a panic attack, which is rare (but when it happens, it happens) is to simply state it to my loved ones who I know will not tell me to ‘get out of it’ or ‘get a grip’. Instead they respond with suggestions to take it easy and slow down and acknowledge that the situation is one where anyone would panic. That helps to get things back in perspective.

    • It was truly surprising when it happened to me Vatsala and I’m so grateful I found a way to cope. It’s true there are so many hidden issues behind the brave face we try to show the world.

  • what a great idea – I was waiting for you post to be about being rescued from all your troubles by finding a soul mate. This is much more relate-able and helpful for others dealing with anxiety every day.

    • The funny thing is I have a soul mate but it’s the power within that helps me most when I need it, Leanne.We all have so much power but so often ignore it and look outside ourselves for answers.

  • I can relate to anxiety, I suffered a terrible riding accident many years ago and some days the fear and anxiety of that day still haunts me. I love your approach 🙂
    I am going to try this next time it happens and see what happens.
    I had to chuckle about the moms group scaring you, have you ever watched the show, The New Adventures of Old Christine? They have the meanie moms, and it hits home with me…now when I get in a mom situation, I think of the show and chuckle…great article Tamuria

    • I really hope this works for you next time you need it, Lisa. It’s so easy when you get the hang of it. Yes, save us all from mothers’ groups. I have seen the show and it’s good to have something to smile about when you’re in that situation.

  • Love Armour. What a beautiful prescription, Tamuria! I could see the smoke surrounding you as I read this.
    This is a tool I’m definitely going to employ! Thank You.

    • I hope you find it gives you the same protection Susan. We all have situations that challenge us, even without having phobias, so I think it’s a good tool for everyone.

  • Love this post, Tami and thank you for sharing your personal vulnerability with anxiety. Reading this I can’t help but wonder why we are seeing such a dramatic increase in the number of people who are suffering with both anxiety and depression. I’ve heard that the EMF’s we are being subjected to, are altering our biochemistry. Or that is my understanding and that they are changing our brains.

    It is wonderful to hear how you created your own way of managing your symptoms and how something as easy as visualizing and evoking the power of love, had such a powerful and positive impact. Reading this, I also thought of all the people who still have a fear of the word “love”, unsure of what your intentions are when you say it to them. I know of many heart-focused exercises that also use love, because of it powerful and supercharged energy. Happy you found your way to overcome your social anxiety disorder and by sharing this with us all, my wish is others find a way to help themselves too.

    • Yes, Beverley, I really hope it helps people help themselves too.I’m not sure why the big increase in people suffering from anxiety and depression. Could be we’re more open about it now and it’s medically recognised. With me, I’m pretty sure it stemmed from hormonal changes as it didn’t seem to be an issue before I had kids.

  • Ah, yes, the power of love (isn’t there a song about it?). The Bible says that perfect love casts out fear. And the only perfect love there is is God’s love for us. When we think about how much He loves us, the fear is gone!

  • Wow.. I just could NOT imagine that feeling. I had a friend who had vertigo and even that I didn’t understand.. but mind you, never judged.

    Thank you for sharing your experience to help us better understand our family, friends and loved ones!

    • So hard to understand these things when you haven’t experienced them, Kristen. It’s only through a lot of reading I’m starting to understand depression (something I haven’t really battled) as I want to know more about it to help the people close to me who are struggling with it.

  • I was not aware of the depth of social anxiety and appreciate learning from your personal story. I also remember a yoga teacher once saying that if any part of your body is in pain, just imagine sending it love and within a few moments the pain will subside. It sounds as if you received this divine guidance too. I believe words are very powerful and they create our very existence. The whispered ones are the ones we want to pay attention too and reframe them just as you have done. Great message and story, I hope many get to get this….

    • Oh, I haven’t tried the magic word with pain Teresa. What a great idea, I’m sure it will work. The power of words is awesome.I am forever grateful for that divine guidance and it is my hope that by sharing my story, others will find another way to cope.

  • Tamara – what a great post. Your comments remind me that I need to confirm with my granddaughter that she is loved, and that she is entitled to a full range of emotions: anger, anxiety, sadness, joy, etc. She needs to feel confident being loud & proud, and quiet & comfortable with herself when she’d alone. She needs to love herself.

    • It’s so important to recognise you have a right to all your emotions so that you can acknowledge them and move on. If you can reinforce this with your granddaughter, Joan, you will be giving her an amazing gift.

  • Thank you for sharing this personal experience. I never heard of social phobia. I can see how that can be crippling.

  • It is hard for someone who does not suffer or has not suffered from any mental condition, such as anxiety, depression, mood disorder and so on to understand the grip it can have on someone. You do your best to make a life, function, put your best face forward while it takes a momumental effort to get thru the day. I have close friends & family members who suffer & have made it my business to learn more about the conditions so I can be supportive. Thank you for your openness and sharing your personal situation and triumph. Love is what they need. Love is what you found works.

    • So true Roz, understanding something you have never dealt with is really hard. I too have close friends and family struggling with mental illnesses and, like you, have done a lot of research in order to understand and be more supportive. My own experience is only helpful to understanding people with anxiety and even then it is hard for me to comprehend the struggles with more severe forms of it. Love is certainly very powerful and I feel lucky to have found such an easy way to cope.

  • A few people in my family have struggled with mental health issues, and seeing the effects first hand really changes things. I’m glad there’s a greater awareness now than in the days when you suffered with anxiety. And your mantra is a powerful tool we can all use. Thank you!

  • Thank you for being so open and vulnerable, Tamuria. For calling awareness to anxiety and taking us through your journey. Oh the healing power of love. It can do magical things in our darkest hours. We must all remember to say this to ourselves daily. Every person can benefit from love, love, love.

  • What a wonderful post! Sharing your story is such a gift to people who suffer from this condition. I like that you remind people of the option to get professional help but also tell about your personal journey and the “lovely” way you devised to help yourself.

    • I think it really helps to hear a personal story, Beth, rather than a bunch of words and advice – no matter how wise. My revelation was such a gift and I love the idea it could possibly help others too.

  • What a wonderful story! I love (there’s that word!) the way you overcame not just your anxiety issues but other troublesome circumstances by using “love” as a mantra. I fully agree that people pick up on the energy you put out. And thanks also for urging people to seek professional help if they cannot deal with whatever mental health issue they face. I wish more people would realize it’s not bad thing; we’re not in the Dark Ages anymore.

    • So right, Jackie, we’re not in the Dark Ages anymore but there is still a perception that mental illnesses indicate you are weak which is why many people try to hide their problems and not seek the help they desperately need.I have seen some of the strongest and happiest people I know struggle with anxiety and depression – it’s definitely not a sign of weakness.

  • I have suffered from anxiety/panic attacks for many years & as a health and fitness coach, I can’t tell you how many of my clients also suffer from anxiety. For me, it could happen at any time even while relaxing at home and no where to go. Although medication does help keep it at bay, exercise, good nutrition and meditation go a long way in helping all of us deal with this most prevalent condition. Thanks for sharing your experience & solutions. I’m sure this will help a lot of others.

    • Lisa, it is my sincerest wish this article does help others. You ae so right about exercise, good nutrition and meditation going a long way to help and in some cases make it possible to avoid medication. The sad truth is though, people who are struggling with depression often neglect to look after themselves as part of the symptoms and then it become a vicious circle that is hard to escape from.

  • I agree!!! LOVE is the answer… To everything. I, too have struggled with anxiety, and love has been an integral part in overcoming it. Love this post (as I do all of your posts!)

  • Joan M Harrington

    May 29, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Hi Tamuria,
    I can totally relate to your story of anxiety and I am truly inspired by how well you have dealt with yours, as I know all too well how hard it can be sometimes, feeling that anxiety and not knowing how to channel it.

    Lucky for me, I have found what works for me…..thank goodness, and so much of my anxiety happened AFTER I had my kids, though before I was not totally calm but I would agree that going through childbirth and all the changes your body goes through can definately intensify those feelings 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your story! You are an inspiration 🙂

    • Thank you for your lovely words Joan. I was interested to hear you noticed a difference after kids too. I haven’t really researched it (maybe I should!) so it was just a theory but it seems like the hormonal changes could really have an impact.

  • A lovely post Tamuria. Love solves a multitude of things, doesn’t it?

    Here is a quote that I like by Thomas Moore: “The need to be normal is the predominant anxiety disorder in modern life.” His prescription is to just disengage from the dominant tendency. Just disengage. Personally, I have been all that concerned with what was normal…what is normal anyway?

    • Good question Rachel, what is normal? The quote is really good. Many of us want to just meld into the crowd without standing out in any way.There’s nothing wrong with that except, from personal experience I know it stops you from doing do many things you would like to try.

  • I appreciate that you have shared your story on such a personal level. Anxiety can be a very crippling and long term condition. How fortunate you were to find a very powerful technique in the visualization and mantra of “love.”

  • True I think it has to do with the mindset to deal with anxiety often…even though difficult of course.

  • Thanks for sharing your experience, very helpful to diagnose and treat anxiety

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