Turning Fear Into Freedom
Everyone has fears and anxieties and it’s how we learn how to deal with them that can either help or hinder our development. I definitely had a lot of unhealthy ways in dealing with my anxiety that I had to re-learn as an adult and my hope is that I can provide coping tools and guidance to my children so that they won’t have to do the same. My first grader can get anxious with new situations and there have been times where Bob and I have been at a loss in how to help her so we sought out help. Brooke is usually a very out-going child who excels in school and most things she tries, but she she can panic when she gets into new situations or environments and has some perfectionist tendencies and is very aware of how other people might perceive her. I feel glad that she is very open about her fears and Bob and I want to help her out with alleviating her fears by giving her coping skills that work for her. I saw the Turnaround Program by Turnaround Anxiety and I immediately said I wanted to try it with Brooke.
The Turnaround Standard Program includes the Turnaround Kit as shown in the picture that is mailed directly to you (and it can be completely digital, if you’d prefer). Thousands of programs have been downloaded and shipped since 2010 and before we tried it out, I read all of the Turnaround’s customer experiences to see if it would be right for us. I knew the program came with a 60-day money back guarantee and we were ready to help our daughter learn to chill when she got anxious. I was so excited for this program to work, but I also held back a little reservation because I wasn’t entirely sure if listening to CDs and discussing anxiety at length would be as useful as I hoped it would be. Would this program really help her face her fears of being in new situations? Would it help us learn to navigate these waters as parents with her? We were ready to try!
The Standard Program includes:
- The 10 Day Turnaround Program for your child (10 CDs)
- The Turnaround Journal– a 74-page workbook your child uses with the audio program
- The Parent Guide- 2 CDs packed full of helpful information for parents
- The Chill Kit- relaxation exercises used by your child at bedtime.
- Med FAQs- a 90-minute with Neuropsychiatrist Dr. James Lee discussing anxiety and the medications to treat it.
- 60 day money back guarantee
Check it out: Watch this QUICK 90 second explanation of the Turnaround program HERE.
Day 1: Brooke and I listened to the first CD together and had the Turnaround Journal to do activities and discuss what we heard. Happily, Brooke discussed feeling moments of panic or feeling ‘blue’ in certain situations and we talked about how the things that she perceived didn’t always reflect the reality of the situation. She seemed to understand and I enjoyed talking with her in depth about her feelings. Bob and I have both learned about the power of play therapy to bring out these discussions, which has been mostly child-led. The approach of tackling the issues head on through a specific curriculum was exciting for me as a parent because I understood the material and felt like we were moving in a more specific direction. I’ve learned that these sorts of activities are not really for me – they are for Brooke – and my job as a parent is to listen, reflect, and understand things from her perspective and it was great to discuss how perception doesn’t mean reality. Taking a deep breath, and counting down until her anxiety subsides is an important way for Brooke to re-focus and re-direct her fear into something positive. So far, so good!
Day 2: Brooke is attending a summer camp that she loves but the mornings have been tricky. She doesn’t like to be the first kid that arrives in the morning, but since Bob and I both work and we pay for early and after care, that definitely happens on certain mornings. This morning was a Monday and when she realized she was the first to arrive, she did not want to go in yet. We had to discuss why before she would even get out of the car. I should probably go back to earlier that morning when she also said she did NOT want to wear her My Little Pony shirt to school because the bigger kids didn’t like My Little Pony. She is at an age where what she wears matters and she doesn’t want kids to make fun of her. She is in a camp where she is in a class with kids ages 5-11, so her being one of the youngest and being a sensitive child means she picks up on these things. I made some mental notes to discuss this in conjunction with the Turnaround Program that night.
Day 2’s CD is all about the ‘3 Headed Monster’, or those wacky thoughts we all get and have to learn to think about fear differently. Our brains can go to the ‘worst case scenario’ and during today’s discussion we give our fears a name and talk about those ‘wacky’ thoughts we have and give them the way we perceive them; such as worry, shy, panic or obsessed. Brooke said she usually feels panicked by certain fears and described them to me as part of those yucky feelings. We did our daily mood check and read the encouraging words for the day. I’m really enjoying the exercises and I’m always sure to talk to Brooke about being brave and facing her fears and that nothing bad happened because she did it. She was the first one to show up at her camp today, and she went in anyway. She didn’t wear that My Little Pony shirt that she loves, but she picked out an outfit she was comfortable in and explained why. Baby steps, I thought, at least she is comfortable talking to me about it, and that made us both feel better.
Day 3: Brooke and I enjoyed Day 3’s topic quite a bit, since it’s all about learning to CHILL OUT. The discussion focused a lot on sleep issues, and most of the time Brooke goes to sleep at a reasonable time and is able to fall asleep fast and stay asleep. Some mornings, though, she gets up extra early, and it’s either because she’s really excited about something or she has something on her mind that may make her anxious. The idea for Day 3 is making a plan on what to do when you can sleep and good ways to relax as opposed to things that are not helpful. These techniques are actually important for adults and kids, so we enjoyed discussing ways we can calm down on our own and how to walk through situations in our mind as a way to feel relaxed. Since Brooke mostly has issues getting up too early when she’s feeling anxious, we talked about ways she can stay rested and in bed without disrupting her sleep. She has some art projects that she works on if she feels the need to get up in order to settle down. I did wish the CD and journal focused a little on the anxieties kids may feel in the morning, but it mainly dealt with being able to fall asleep at night. I tweaked a few things here and there to make it work for us.
Day 4: Day 4 is all about separating fact/reality from those one way thoughts of anxiety. It drives home the point that no situation is all or nothing. Kids (or adults!) who have anxiety tend to focus on an all or nothing approach; that a situation is ‘all bad’ or ‘all wrong’ which means that they perceive something as a failure. The point of the CD and workbook activities is trying to turn those thoughts around to something that is more ‘in the middle’ of reality and to have thoughts that are not ‘wacky’. On the flip side, people with anxiety can have perfectionist tendencies and except that a situation has to be perfect or all good and right for it to be successful. As we know, nothing is perfect, so getting our perceptions to a happen medium is important to combat anxiety. People can make up rules in their own mind to combat the wacky thinking and there are a lot of great tips, including distracting yourself, when you start to have those yucky or wacky thoughts. I think we both found the activities and suggestions helpful and I realized that Brooke has been so forthcoming with her feelings that I’ve been very proud of her!
Day 5: Day 5 is all about the big picture of your life. So you may feel yucky or anxious for a few minutes a day….it doesn’t last forever and it’s a small part of your day and life. You have a lot to be thankful for and it’s important to keep your thoughts in check. I thought the exercises were very useful. For example, if someone says, “Whatever” to you when you tell them something, does your mind immediately turn to negative thoughts? Your mind may be constantly guessing what people are feeling or thinking, but do we actually know? Of course not! The only person’s thoughts we can control is our own and when we are thankful for the things we have and the experiences we enjoy, we can turn negative or anxious feelings around. There are times when you need to crank up the tune “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” not because you are looking through rose-colored glasses, but because you are looking through life with a CLEAR lens. Stop validating negative thoughts and focus on the positive.
Day 6: At first, Brooke said she didn’t want to talk about anxiety today, so I held off. Then later that evening, Brooke was open to talking about the Day 6 activities. Yay! It was a good one, too, because it was all about being ‘flattened by a steamroller’. You know, you are having a good day when something that is said or something happens that make you question EVERYTHING! “My friends all hate me”, “I have to be perfect” or something else dramatic that gets into your thoughts or ‘subwoofer’. The great things is, you control the volume and frequency of those thoughts. How? Well, that’s what we learned through the activities. How do you turn down the volume and lighten up? Talk backs, distractions, thankfulness, etc. etc. How does doing these activities make you feel? Are you able to turn down or even OFF those fears or anxieties of negative thinking? It’s definitely a process, and one you may have to do more than once a day.
Day 7: Anxiety and our reactions can be put into groups. Brooke and I discussed having anxiety and it being real, having anxiety and gaining something from it like attention or avoidance, or having anxiety and feeding the fear with other issues like guilt. The big question is, “What are you getting out of your anxiety?” Does it feel USEFUL to you? We learned about the different stages of the feeling of hope and how we may feel in certain situations and how each stage serves us in our lives. Do you want to keep your fears or kick them? If you want to keep them, why? We had to be real about the reasons behind our fears and do mood checks and listen to encouraging words about this topic. This was probably the most difficult day in the program so far and it could be because Brooke is still very young, but she was able to understand that sometimes it feels or seems easier to hold on to fear than let it go.
Day 8: Taking the Plunge. Day 8 really put into perspective for me the entire reason we wanted to do the Turnaround Program. We all have fears and we all use fixes to stop them. Whether we plunge in to our fears and face them or do things to sidestep them, it’s all about how we learn to cope with anxiety. Day 8 is all about ideas on how to take the plunge and coming up with your own plan when you start to feel anxious.
Day 9: Learn to Trust Yourself. Stairstepping is a great way to break down and overcome an anxiety. You have to see yourself being able to overcome your emotions and then think of ways to follow through and do it. One anxiety can have many steps and we went through one that included 12 steps of overcoming shyness and talking to someone you don’t know at school. You may still get yucky feelings when you do any of the steps, but you are still moving forward to follow through. Brooke and I came up with some issues that caused her anxiety and worked through some stairstepping ways to ‘climb the stairs of hope’ when she is faced with certain situations.
Day 10: Cry for Freedom; Shout for Joy! Putting it all together. Day 10 is about bringing everything together we have learned in the Turnaround Program to stop that wacky thinking. We used this day to write down a success list, or a list of things that Brooke has tried or will try when she has or will face her fears. We learned this isn’t a one time program, in fact, going through the program multiple times is a key to its success. Don’t ever give up and don’t ever lose hope. Many people deal with fear and anxiety throughout their life and many people overcome it. It’s a process and I know that my job as a parent is helping my child navigate through issues so that she is able to overcome them on her own. It’s nothing to be scared of, in fact, fear is what got us here in the first place, so parents have a certain responsibility to alleviate and not feed the fears. Just Keep Moving!
My Thoughts: Overall, the Turnaround Program was exactly what I was looking for to help me help my child turn around her own anxiety. The work and the journals and the interactions are all on us and overcoming fear and anxiety is up to Brooke. I realize now that turning around anxiety is not just a ten day process, it can be a lifelong process; but it can also be a new beginning of learning how to deal with fear and anxiety in a healthy manner that doesn’t leave you feeling paralyzed or hopeless. Brooke is a very brave and unique child that is learning to work through her anxieties at a young age and my hope is that this will serve her well as she grows into an adult. Learning different techniques and skills was not only helpful to her, they were useful to me as her parent. Anxiety is something that I also deal with so it was a useful program for me to keep my fears in check. I’m thankful for the Turnaround Program and it makes us both feel hopeful about the future. In just 30 minutes each day in less than two weeks, we received excellent tools to cope with anxiety and that is priceless. If your child is struggling with any of the below issues, I urge you to try this program with them and be a cheerleader in their efforts. The recommended age is for children age 6-13, but I think the tools in this program are useful at any age. It’s therapeutic, educational and a great parenting tool for parents who want tools that help your child in their lives and gives you a great vocabulary bank to navigate these waters together. It far exceeded my expectations and I think Brooke feels the same.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Separation Anxiety
- Panic Attacks
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Social Phobia