Saturday, August 18, 2007

An Introduction

My name is Richard Kale. I suffered from a debilitating anxiety disorder from my teens through most of my twenties. I eventually overcame my anxiety disorder with a lot of hard work and today anxiety is no longer something that affects the way I live my life. My day job is as an engineer, but my free time is spent helping others with anxiety disorders by spreading awareness and getting medical professionals to donate their free time. I think it's important for people with anxiety disorders to know that there are people who have overcome this. I'm just a regular person. There's nothing I can do that anyone else can't. Because of what I've been through, it's important for me to do what I can to help others.

I've written a book called "Looking Back At Anxiety: How I Went From Living A Life Of Anxiety And Depression To A Life Free Of Anxiety And Depression". It is about how I went about overcoming my anxiety disorder. The book is entering its' second printing. It was published through my own publishing company. It is a labor of love. It's important that the book be accessible to everyone who needs it. Anyone who is interested in the book can contact with me via my email address, I receive hundreds of emails daily from people who deal with anxiety disorders, and want advice or just need someone to talk to. I am not a doctor and cannot give medical advice. The only thing I can do is give advice based on my experience. My door is open to any and everyone who wishes to talk to me.

What Is An Anxiety Disorder?

from Wikipedia

Anxiety disorder is a blanket term covering several different forms of abnormal, pathological anxiety, fears,phobias and nervous conditions that may come on suddenly and/or gradually over a period of several years, and may impair or prevent the pursuing of normal daily routines. Different types of anxiety disorders include social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, separation anxiety, derealization, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Anxiety and fear are ubiquitous emotions. The terms anxiety and fear have specific scientific meanings, but common usage has made them interchangeable. For example, a phobia is a kind of anxiety that is alsodefined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV-TR) as a "persistent or irrational fear." Fear is defined as an emotional and physiological response to a recognized external threat (e.g., a runaway car or an impending crash in an airplane). Anxiety is an unpleasant emotional state, the sources of which are less readily identified. It is frequently accompanied by physiological symptoms that may lead to fatigue or even exhaustion. Because fear of recognized threats causes similar unpleasant mental and physical changes, patients use the terms fear and anxiety interchangeably. Thus, there is little need to strive to differentiate anxiety from fear. However, distinguishing among different anxiety disorders is important, since accurate diagnosis is more likely to result in effective treatment and a better prognosis.


There are a number of complex factors that contribute to the development of anxiety disorders. Your environment, personality, family dynamics, brain chemistry, and genetics all can play a role. In addition, major life stressors such as financial difficulties, marital problems, or bereavement often trigger the onset of an anxiety disorder. It is important to realize that no single factor causes an anxiety disorder. The various anxiety risk factors are interrelated and can interact with and impact one another.


The choices in treatment include behavioral therapy, lifestyle changes and/or pharmaceutical therapy (medications). Sometimes a change in lifestyle is all that a person needs to treat the anxiety. With most, however, getting relief can be far more complex.

There is some controversy over how to treat anxiety disorders. Mainstream treatment for anxiety consists of the prescription of anxiolytic agents and/or antidepressants and/or referral to a cognitive-behavioral therapist. Treatment controversy arises because, while some studies indicate that a combination of the medications and behavioral therapy can be more effective than either one alone, other studies have shown that the majority of anxiety disorder sufferers benefit most from pharmaceutical therapy (and not so much from behavioral therapy).

The right treatment may depend very much on the individual's genetics and environmental factors. Therefore, to get the best treatment results, it is important to work closely with a psychiatrist, therapist or counselor who is familiar with anxiety disorders and current treatments.

A number of drugs can be used to treat these disorders. These include benzodiazepines (such as xanax) and antidepressants of most of the main classes (SSRI, TCAs, MAOIs), and possibly Quetiapine

Looking Back At Anxiety

Looking Back At Anxiety is a book I’ve written about how I went about overcoming my anxiety disorder. The book is not a self help book, nor a how to book. It’s simply my experience and about certain changes I had to make that were important for me to overcoming anxiety.

Excerpt 1 (How Anxiety Affected Me)

It wasn’t until junior high school that I began suffering from social anxiety disorder. Junior high school is a time of a lot of change. You’re becoming a teenager and starting to deal with a world of new issues you don’t normally deal with earlier in childhood. Your body is changing, and in addition to the dealing with physical changes, you’re trying to assert some kind of independence and find an identity. I went to a new school with few people I’d ever known before. I immediately had trouble fitting in. This in and of itself is not cause for alarm. It’s normal when you’re changing schools to first feel out the new environment and figure how you are going to fit in. But I could remember not ever getting comfortable. I was extraordinarily self onscious. I was afraid to talk because I thought I sounded weird. My body would tense and I was constantly nervous. I was afraid to talk in class. I had a low soft spoken voice. I didn’t know how to build a rapport with others. I was threatened by others. I had no confidence. I felt that if I tried to be social I would come across stupid. This fear was strong enough to keep me from trying. I was very aware of people’s opinions of me. In my head I thought it was better for me to keep to myself because if people got to know me they’d see that I was a loser or I was not what they expected me to be, and they would not like me as a result. So it was better in my mind for people not to know who I was than risk rejection. This way of thinking is not a recipe for success. I never found a comfort zone. Other kids were finding their place in the new school and months
later I hadn’t found my place and I was left behind as others moved on. Those years are vital to social development. As a result of isolating myself I didn’t grow much emotionally. Experiences help you to grow. I was avoiding anything I felt threatened me. Therefore I stayed with what made me comfortable and stayed away from what I feared.

Excerpt 2 (The First Step)

It is important to realize that any fears or consequences of confronting your fears are irrational. If you don’t have that belief you’ll be trapped. It’s amazing to think that for so long I let my fears rule me knowing that they were not real. The difference between living with the fear and taking the first step towards helping yourself is that simple fact. You would think I was facing death in everyday situations. Looking back now, I don’t know what I was thinking. But when you are dealing with anxiety, you can’t always think clearly because you’re caught up in emotion and the fact that your mind and body are filled with fear. It feels real. But the truth is, your mind and body are lying to you. Just because something feels real doesn’t mean it is. Once I realized that my fears were irrational, I could confront them.