Workbooks for anxiety?
May 2, 2018 2:10 AM   Subscribe

I'm dealing with some intense anxiety at the moment. Can you please recommend me some kind of workbook to help work through this (in addition to therapy, of course)? Details inside.

Some past trauma and regret about bad decisions has come to a head and I'm dealing with some quite intense anxiety as a result. I'm going to be visiting my doctor in the next couple of days to arrange a mental health care plan and then organise psychologist visits, but it may be a few days or more to get my first therapy appointment.

In the meantime, I'd really appreciate any suggestions for some kind of workbook which may assist me with trying to stay calm and grounded. It doesn't have to necessarily be anything that tries to take the place of a therapist. I'm imagining something interactive and kind of playful, for lack of a better way to describe what I'm looking for. I would love if there was some drawing or colouring activities in there.

I am located in a large city in Australia, so anything that I might be able to pick up at a bookstore (Readings or Dymocks, I suppose. Most other bookshops are dead) or could order online and get delivered to me would work.

Any other advice for trying to work through immediate crisis-mode would also be appreciated. Unfortunately I have lost most motivation to do anything but hide in bed and drag myself to work, and I am not sure how else to feel better until therapy starts.
posted by kinddieserzeit to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook is good for this, looks like Readings stock it.
posted by terretu at 2:31 AM on May 2, 2018 [5 favorites]

Book Depository has it with free delivery to Australia.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:30 AM on May 2, 2018

Not workbooks per se but I find Russ Harris's books, The Happiness Trap and The Reality Gap very helpful when I'm struggling with anxiety. The Happiness Trap has a cartoon version (which sounds a bit ridiculous, but it's really great.)

And this is going to sound really trivial but it is amazing how well it works for me -- a deep breath in (four counts), hold four counts, deep breath out (four counts), repeat. A therapist recommended it to me but I didn't try it because I thought it wouldn't work but it is very powerful for me.
posted by caoimhe at 4:55 AM on May 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

Both me and one of my kids did bootcamp CBT at the Boston University Center for Anxiety Disorders (we are a wicked fun family) and we used variations of Treatments that Work workbook series. What I liked about it was that it reframed anxiety into this thing I didn't want to think about because that only made me more anxious into being able to work with it. Initially, the thought of the workbook freaked me out but the message of, "This is just a thing like feeling hungry and then eating to deal with it, and it's a thing you can really live with and it's not hard to get there because here are ALL the strategies," was tremendously helpful. And it worked.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 5:04 AM on May 2, 2018

I love David Burns' "Feeling Good Handbook", and recommend it to clients all the time, and even have my kids reading it.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 5:31 AM on May 2, 2018 [5 favorites]

Following on from caoimhe's suggestion - the Happiness Trap also has an app, the ACT Companion. It has a lot of different recordings for guided mindfulness and making space for difficult emotions (the Compassionate Hand is my favourite) and also one in particular labelled "crisis tool", which is "designed to help you regather yourself when you have been hit by a crisis, so that you can respond meaningfully and with a sense of purpose". It's obviously based on ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) and some of it might not totally make sense if you're not familiar with ACT, but maybe in combination with the Happiness Trap cartoon book, it might scratch the "interactive and playful" itch?

(The app is subscription based, varying in cost from $2USD ($3AUD ish) for a month or $10USD ($15AUD) for ever, so it's cheap to give it a go.)
posted by Cheese Monster at 5:48 AM on May 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

Nthing The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook.
posted by lazuli at 6:45 AM on May 2, 2018

In times of crisis I've employed a simple 'three good things' note taking approach. At the end of the day just spend five to ten minutes noting in a list three good-ish things that happened that day. They can include low bar items such as 'didn't get in a traffic accident', or 'didn't step on a rake'.
There are many studies showing that just the act of mentally searching for this is effectively therapeutic, so don't obsess over the result, just maintain the activity when you can.
posted by rc3spencer at 7:36 AM on May 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

I was just reading this Mental Health on a Budget blog post and they also recommend David Burns - the above-mentioned Feeling Good Handbook for depression and When Panic Attacks for anxiety. A few other good recommendations in here although it is US-oriented.
posted by rdnnyc at 11:08 AM on May 2, 2018

This site has a bunch of free workbooks for a wide variety of mental health issues, including anxiety.
posted by sexyrobot at 2:04 PM on May 2, 2018

Response by poster: Thank you for the suggestions, everyone. I picked up a copy of The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook and have an appointment booked this week with a new therapist.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 2:39 AM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

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