The Worry Games
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Welcome to The Worry Games.

My name is Lisa Branson, and I am a 47 year-old mom of 5 living in the midwest.

Anxiety Disorder Story Photograph of AnnaLisa Scott

My anxiety disorder first erupted when I was about 25,  after my children’s father had a heart attack at the age of 35.   Two days after his heart attack,   I was driving home from the hospital and I had my first panic attack.

It was my FIRST panic attack,   and by far the WORST panic attack of my life.  I was overcome with fear and terror, and had the sensation that something horrible was going on, but I had no clue what it was.  I went straight to the doctor where I was treated as if I was on drugs,  and told that I just needed to go home and “calm down”.   I thought “No way.  No WAY is this stress-related.  Whatever this is, it’s really bad.”

And the moment that panic attack began,  so began the worst period of my life.   General Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder pretty much took over my life.   It was a time filled with anxiety, terror, uncertainty, confusion, and exhaustion.   This continued off and on for the next 2-3 years with new symptoms popping up every time I would get the previous symptoms under control until eventually I got to the root of the issue,  thanks to my recovery steps,  and the symptoms gradually disappeared for the most part.

After I got my GAD and Panic Disorder under control,  I then developed a severe case of OCD which still affects my day-to-day life, although to a much smaller degree.    My symptoms  center around  “checking”  things and the safety of my kids.   Looking back over my life,  I think I have always had OCD issues,  but after I lost twin boys when I was three months pregnant in 2009,   my symptoms really kicked into high gear.

I have had pretty much every anxiety symptom there is:

Health fears, intrusive thoughts,  panic attacks,  insomnia,  social anxiety,  palpitations,  fear of driving,  fear of leaving my house,  fear of the death of my loved ones,  depersonalization,  fear of going crazy,  obsessive checking, etc., etc.

I have had anxiety about having anxiety.  I have had anxiety about the times when I did NOT feel anxiety.   I have had fears of choking.   I have had fears of forgetting how to breathe.   I have had days where I was so filled with worry that I was literally sick to my stomach.   I have had pregnancy related anxiety.   I have had post partum anxiety so bad that I have been unable to sleep for days at a time out of fear my baby would die of SIDS.

I have been there,  done that with all of it….. and there was a time when I would have been horrified at the thought of telling the world about my problems.   It was a “secret” for years….but those days are long over.   I know who I am and I and no longer care about people’s perception of me.    I am a proud, card-carrying,  lifetime member of the “Anxiety Club”,   and I feel super lucky for that and I would gladly slap my face on a million posters if I thought my story and experience would help people recover.

Anxiety will always be a part of my life,  but it no longer controls me because I know it like the back of my hand.   I have figured it out.  I know what it is,  why it’s there and what my current anxiety level means about the state of my life at that time.

Anxiety is my guide……I NEED it in my life and if I had the choice to have it taken away forever,   I wouldn’t do it.  

I have learned that it is a good thing…a product of my own personality….and that instead of fighting it,  I need to LISTEN TO IT and figure out what it is really trying to tell me.

I have learned to control it,   I have learned how to live with it,  and there is absolutely not one single thing that anybody could tell me about their anxiety symptoms that I would find shocking or surprising.

Helping people with their anxiety disorder is my passion.   I think I “get” anxiety in a way that a lot of people don’t and I feel so lucky for that and I want to use that understanding to help improve people’s lives.

It is my mission in life to bust the “anxiety myth” and show the world that anxiety is not an illness.

I don’t even really like the word “disorder”  although I use that word for lack of a better one.   But it is a thinking disorder at best….not a mental illness.   Chronic anxiety,  in most cases,  is just untreated stress that is exacerbated by a person’s own personality traits and tendency to easily form habits.

It is,  in most cases,  very manageable and very easily understood if it is explained in the right way.    And I hope that is what I can do for you….explain anxiety in a way that helps you finally understand why it is there in the first place.

Once you understand that….its all downhill from there.

My life has not been easy.   But “easy” doesn’t build character and “easy” doesn’t build strength and if people can know only one thing about me,  I want them to know that I have used every horrible thing that has happened to me in my life to make myself a stronger,  better person.   It is a wonderful feeling to look back over my life and not be able to think of one negative event that has not taught me something valuable.

Anxiety didn’t ruin my life….it only made it better.    And I want to show you how to make it work for you, as well.  I want you to be a PROUD person with anxiety and embrace your uniqueness and “quirks” just as I do.  It takes some pretty special personality traits to create an anxiety disorder and you were lucky enough to be born with a lot of them and that is something to celebrate!

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There are no great secrets to anxiety recovery.  Its all about just stepping back and looking at it from a different angle.      I am a woman who wanted recovery more than anything else in this entire world,  and I knew that the only way to make that happen was to turn what was the worst thing that ever happened to me,  into something positive.   And that is what I did, and there isn’t one of you out there who can’t make the same choice.

If you would like personalized email support for the anxiety issues you are currently struggling with,  visit my “Contact Me” page in the main menu for information.





Lisa Branson




Photo Credit:  Amy Davis, Everyday Inspiration Photography





37 thoughts on “My Anxiety Disorder Story

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  5. Jamee W.

    I have always suffered from Anxiety. Recently it has gotten worse and seems uncontrollable. I do not feel like the same person, same wife, or same mother. Your comments helped me realize that I am not crazy or wrong! I also loved your comment about intrusive thoughts. Thank you for helping me!

    1. AnnaLisa Scott Post author

      Thank you Jamee! You are most certainly not crazy or wrong – just under a great deal of stress. What you are feeling may not “feel” normal to you. But without even knowing you, I can almost certainly assure you that based on your sensitivity level and life circumstances, what you are going through is a normal reaction to stress FOR YOU.

  6. UZMAN

    I am struggling from anxiety for the last 4 months. I keeps going up and down. How did you figure out the root cause? I am on medication which has certainly help. My hardest part it dealing with intrusive thoughts. I have tried positive reinforcement, deflecting the thoughts, keeping myself busy but it just gets a hold on me and makes me overwhelmed. Would you be able to guide me and help me get our of this misery.

    1. AnnaLisa Scott Post author

      The best advice I can give you is to try to desensitize yourself to these thoughts. It is your fear of them…your discomfort from them….that is keeping them around. Make friends with these thoughts. I know it is hard. But it must be done. When they come, treat them like a gift. Say to yourself “Hello thoughts! Nice to see you!” You have to flip that switch and change the way you, your subconscious and your brain react to these thoughts. They are NOT a threat to you. But you consciously knowing that is not enough. You MUST convince your brain and subconscious that they are no threat to you and that is going to take you putting on quite a show. Embrace them. Love them no matter how much you despise them and allow yourself to spend time with them without fighting them. They will not hurt you.

  7. Selina Stambi

    Lisa, this is a powerful story. My daughter deals with anxiety on a daily basis and what you have to share is very encouraging. I will email you soon. At some point, Time permittiing. Sigh … smiles, hugs, xxx Sonali

        1. AnnaLisa Scott Post author

          Acceptance. Making friends with the thoughts was the best thing I did for myself. I am 20 years into this disorder, and about as recovered as I think a person can be, and I still struggle with intrusive thoughts. Not always about something scary, sometimes it is just “spotlight thoughts” where one line of thought will stick and I can’t get rid of it. But it doesn’t last as long as it used to, or affect me as greatly because I just don’t care that much anymore. They are annoying. But not terrifying.

          Its just our drama prone, imaginative, worry addicted personalities looking for a chew toy. These thoughts will NOT hurt you. They do not mean anything. You must allow yourself to accept that idea, let it sink in, and live your life according to it. Ignore you how you feel about these thoughts, to the best of your ability, and carry on with your day despite them. You CAN train yourself to do this. But it takes acceptance and it takes a willingness to allow yourself to be uncomfortable.

      1. Dennie

        Anna Lisa. I am in CBT and nothing seems to work . My therapist is upset. I literally am in my head about having to have the perfect answers to every question I make up in my head. They say I have habituated my brain to go into fear when I don’t know the answers. My question is how do I just accept this???
        I cannot let go of trying to fix or solve everything

        Absolutely brutal. I lost my job and friends because of this. How do you just let go. I have always had GAD but OCD is all day!!!

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  10. Katherine

    Almost done my anxiety journey. Your very good at explaining everything! I wish I found this blog 5 years ago. I’m so excited to share this with other people who suffer with anxiety. I hope when I say thank you, you can understand the depths from which it comes.

  11. Jacqui

    I get daily headaches–some worse, some better, but daily. There’s no way I can feel sorry for myself when I read stories like yours. Kudos to you for getting through this!

  12. Kathleen

    Thank you for sharing your story. I have had all your symptoms as well. It is disheartening to still be symptomatic after many years (where the anxiety has waxed and waned, currently waxing!) How do you do it?? I will read the rest of the blog but the physiologic components can be so challenging. Thank you again. You should become a counselor!!

    1. Katherine

      I too struggled with the physiological part of anxiety, I started going to a naturalpathic doctor and found it helped immensely

  13. Nerissa Bauer

    Hi Lisa, I am excited to have found you. I am so interested in the things you have to share about anxiety and getting to know you! Thank you for being brave to share your story and your experiences so openly. Hopefully it will help others who are still trying to understand what is happening and or need some hope.

  14. A Kinder Way

    Such an authentic and just straight from the gut post. Your honesty is inspirational and I mean this from the bottom of my heart…you make me want to be open and real about my issues. Thank you for showing me that there is another way to live with this stuff. Out in the open instead of hiding it from the world. (and of course I was never very good at the hiding part and that only made the whole thing a million times harder.) 😛
    I’m so glad that in this great big cyber world I stumbled on to your little piece of it.

  15. jennybee2014

    I think it’s great that you are talking about your anxiety disorder. I can’t imagine what it would be like but I do have depression, which can be really hard to live with. I don’t think these things are anything to be ashamed of or hide.

  16. Peter Fry

    What an inspirational story. It only takes one panic attack to strip away our natural protection from anxiety. Well done for turning your anxiety into a postivite and living your life.

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