How did I recover from anxiety?

I thought I would just post more of my own story about how I recovered. A lot of people who have read my book will know my story, others will not. This short post has a message and is not about self promotion on my own recovery, as I am sure you will acknowledge as you read on.

How did I recover? My own recovery came through knowledge. I have spoken to many people who have recovered over the years, some who have become close friends and they all pretty much recovered in the same way. This is why I have stuck with my own beliefs throughout. The reason I don’t put adverts on my site and the reason I turn down all offers from others to place, in my opinion useless products from people trying to make money out of other people’s suffering.

Knowledge brought me so much. Without knowledge I spent all my time worrying about how I felt. Why did I worry all day? Because I had no idea what was wrong with me, I was a serial worrier for many years. All this worry sensitised my nerves further and kept me in the cycle of anxiety and panic . I also spent all my days tuning into how I felt, thinking deeply, trying to figure a way out of my hell. Why? Because with no help from the medical profession apart from pills, I felt I had to try and think my own way better, what choice did I have? All this did was tire my mind further, making me feel more lost and detached than ever. My whole day was filled with fear, Why? Because again I had no idea what was wrong with me and certainly thought I would never find out, I believed this was me forever. I always believed I had to fight and think my way better, the daily strain on my already anxious body was immense, is it any wonder I got worse and not better.

I have been involved in the subject for many years since my recovery, going on to help sufferers in my spare time. The one thing that stood out more than anything was that people still had a total lack of good information on the subject. To this day people seem to be passed medication and sent on their way. People would sometimes burst into tears in front of me because for once they had been given an explanation to why they felt like they did. This was the very reason I set my own site up and went on to write my book. I did not want people to spend 10 years like I did getting worse through lack of information. I don’t get bitter, but I could have been help far sooner than I was. In fact it was left to me to get all the answers I craved for all those years.

So don’t be fooled by claims to cure you within a week. Recovery comes through knowledge and progress, nothing can be achieved overnight. I could have anxiety and all its symptoms tomorrow and know that it would pass in time as I would not give it the fuel to continue. My own recovery did not come when I no longer had any symptoms, it came when they were no longer important. They sub sided a hell of a lot yes, but they no longer felt important. And this came through a lack of fear of how I was feeling.

I know in the deep part of suffering there can seem no way out, but there is. I was as bad as anyone, worse than most people I help and don’t get me wrong, my recovery was a very up and down affair. I had a lot of bad days, but it was my reaction to those bad days that was the key. I knew my symptoms would not leave me overnight, but I needed for once to step out of my own way and let my mind and body recover in its own time. I never set targets, demanded anything and this is one of the reasons I did recover. I never put any pressure on myself.

Regards Paul

35 Responses to “How did I recover from anxiety?”

  1. Amy Says:

    Paul,

    Have you any advice or thoughts about what to do when you feel like something is holding you back from recovery? My particular situation is thus: I’ve been ‘an anxious person’ for as long as I can remember, but my current anxiety issues were triggered last summer when someone I was living with took his own life. And not many weeks before that my Grandma had died. So, I spent the summer in a pretty dark place. Now I feel like I can, for the first time in my adult life, isee myself free of anxiety and free of irrational fears. But I just can’t quite get to that point. It’s almost like part of me doesn’t want to let go entirely. To a point generalised anxiety is something you can accept and work through, but when a particular incident is the focus of much of the most terrifying anxious and distressing thoughts what would you recommend? Thanks.

  2. Debbie Says:

    Hi Paul,
    Your story is an inspiration to us all and the source of much hope! I have your book by my bed and it really is fabulous.
    I am at the point now where i totally understand why i got to the point of emotional breakdown (9 months ago)! my detachment doesn’t bother me and my “fuzzy” head is something that i’m not scared of anymore. Generally my mood has been getting so much better too! YIPPEE! . I run and do yoga and try to eat healthy, all the things you suggest… I go out and see my friends.
    I just feel so tired, and my eyes feel strained all the time. I KNOW deep down its my anxiety playing tricks on me but its hard not too worry about it. Has anybody else had this symptom???
    I feel i’ve come so far and can’t get over this last bit!!
    Best wishes to everyone!!

  3. Frederic Floyd Says:

    How do you deal with the worry that a certain symptom is going to bother you a lot? For me its especially when I read with floaters grabbing my attention, and really annoying me.
    Im trying to make my dreams come true of becoming a pilot, but reading the material is such a pain.

    Basically: how to lessen the frustration of a symptom which grabs your attention all the time?

  4. No More Anxiety Says:

    Amy….I also had this feeling, like my anxiety was safety net. One thing anxiety does do is shut down emotions, this is to protect us from ourselves, we can in a strange way become used to this safety blanket that protects us, not the actual sysmptoms but the lack of feeling and emotion. This maybe why you feel you cannot fully let go to protect yourself from certain memorys.

    Debbie…Don’t put yourself under any pressure to come through the last bit…If you feel tired and your eyes are strained then let them, don’t make an issue out of it. However you feel just get on with your day, don’t see it as important or something you have to rid yourself off, just move on with your day and you may find in time it takes care of itself.

    Frederic….This eye floaters thing has been a problem of yours for a while now. One thing I know for sure is you have never accpeted it, if you had you would not complain about it. I also had this and I took no notice of it, if I read and floaters were there then fine and it passed. These are caused by tense muscles in your eyes, while you worry or try to control them then you stay tense and the symptom continues. Remember you cannot be accepting any symptom while you still complain or obsess about it.

    Paul

  5. Marina Says:

    Hi Paul,
    I’ve been suffering from anxiety for a few years now but only constantly anxious since my dad passed away last February, followed by my mum’s passing in November.

    Like many people suffering from anxiety I bought every book on the subject, listened to endless CD’s and even spent vast amount of money seeing a Counsellor who actually made me feel worse. I also searched each and every website to find out about my symptoms. However it was only when I came across your website that my life turned a corner. I have purchased your book which is like a lifeline to me.

    I have many symptoms which you explain in your book but like you say I’m dealing with them as a whole and not as individual symptoms. The only thing that bothers me most in accepting is the feeling of my body resisting sleep when I go to bed. My heart beats faster although I’m relaxed and it feels like my body doesn’t want to let go. I spend most of the night in and out of a restless sleep and I’m exhausted the following day. I know that it’s only anxiety playing tricks but when I’m tired it’s hard to just let it be. Any suggestions please?

  6. Frederic Floyd Says:

    Regarding floaters or any other symptom, I think i have a fear of being frustrated by them, and ive been trying to rid myself of the frustration more than the symptom.

    Today im allowing myself to feel frustrated by them. I dont know if this is right, but im not fighting the anger or trying to make my thoughts about them any better…

    Sometimes i think that fighting frustration or trying desperately to get to that golden state where things dont bother you anymore, can put a lot of pressure on.

  7. Beate Says:

    I have always known that it is anxiety I suffer from,but it doesent seem to help that I know what my symptoms are.You talk a lot about this.Since I know whats wrong with me,shouldent that help me with my anxiety?Not beeing scared about how I feel.But it doesent help.I still feel the anxiety.
    I just dont know what to do.Any advice would help.Thanks.

  8. No More Anxiety Says:

    Marina…If your heart beats let it, if you find it hard to sleep accept this. Again you say it is bothering you, you are making an issue out of going to sleep or the lack of sleep you may have and this is the problem. I had bad sleep patterns until I thought if I have a good sleep then great if I don’t then fair enough. You see I went to bed with a whatever attitude and did not start tuning to how I felt or demanding or trying to have a good nights sleep.

    Frederic… I only have to see how many times you talk about floaters and how much they bother you, this is why you feel so frystrated by them and they seem to be at the centre of your day, you have never just shrugged your shoulders and said ‘Whatever its fine’ I repeat myself, while you complain about a symptom you are not accepting and just getting on with your day. You are so used to being frustrated by them and made such a big issue out of them that it has become a habit to be frustrated by them, you truly have tried to rid yourself of them, which is all wrong, let them be there, yes as you say allow them to frustrate you. You should never TRY to get to a state where things don’t bother you, they probably will, that’s fine as long as you just get on with your day with the symptoms there, good or bad. You need to pack a lot of normal living in to feel normal, you can’t fight or demand your way there.

    Beate….There is a lot more to just understanding why you feel like you do. I felt a lot less fear and bewilderment the more I understood. But it takes time to regain the old you. Some people understand but they still fight the way they feel, worry or obsess about it. I have some wonderful emails of recovery and all of them were patient. Its not just about understanding, its about your attitude to the way you feel. As someone once said ‘Paul I felt anxious today but its fine’ That was exactly the stage I wanted them to get to. As stated in another post from someone who is now fully recovered. ‘Paul I realised that if you treat anxiety as a monstor it will treat you as avictim’ so true, so it is not about ridding yourself of how you feel, don’t feel the need to constantly be in control or do something about it, more your attitude towards it. It is very hard to explain things in one post on the here. I sometimes felt I was getting nowhere and then realised that I was still fighting. An example was that I was going around saying ‘I must relax’ , ‘I must accept this’, ‘I must excercise’ until I realised that I was still trying to DO something about it, to be in control over it, I was still fighting in a sense.

    My recovery was not a quick fix, it took a while, I improved bit by bit, nothing was achieved over night and I did not learn everything I now know in a short space of time, a lot I figured out for myself along the way and a lot was trial and error. We are all different in our progress to recovery, some people have suffered far longer than others and have a lot more memory and habits of suffering, some people suffer with just anxiety, some people have panic issues. No matter how I felt I just kept moving forward, I did not let how I felt hold me back or constantly question it, I felt I had to pack as much normal living in as possible to begin to feel normal again.

  9. Jeff Says:

    Paul, I agree with your comments to Beate but I do think it’s really hard to make that leap from saying you understand to actually believing it. This is also what I struggle the most with. My last month has been a roller coaster because of this, from feeling like the old me for a few days to feeling anxious and bewildered for a few days and questioning everything. Tomorrow I leave for a vacation with my family for a week and as much as I’m trying to let the anxious thoughts float through me it is really hard. This in turn does make me angry. I keep saying to myself I should be excited and happy and instead I feel like I’m one step from going crazy.
    By the way, Thank you for the blog. I find reading and commenting on it very cathardic. You are doing a great service and I truly apppreciate it.
    Thanks

  10. No More Anxiety Says:

    Jeff one thing I am never going to do is claim that recovery is easy, in fact I always say just go for progress, don’t put yourself under pressure to recover or feel a certain way as this just leads to more dissapointment and bewilderment. But I am also always going to be positive and tell my own story of recovery and others, because I want everyone on here to believe they will. I don’t want a place where people post their latest medication and horror storys that you find on many forums. I want this to be a positive place to be and when someone needs some help I will try and give it. Most people on here will own up to having made progress and have more of an understanding than when they first suffered, wheather that’s through this site or a book or whatever. At one time I had bad day after bad day, no good at all. When I first began to understand far more, then I had good and bad days, brilliant, that will do for me. I now knew I was making progress, I was at last having a few good days, it was something to build on.

    Setbacks is what you mention above and yes you will have these, memory and habit is so close to the surface. How did I cope with them? I said ‘Well my anxiety levels are high today’ and that was it, I had been through many bad days before and come through, I knew I had to go through some crap to reach peace. The mistake again that people make is to let these bad days throw them back into despair and fill themselves with self pity ‘Oh why did I feel so good yesterday and not today’ ‘I don’t think I will ever get better’ etc…etc…They may even begin to fight, hate, try and figure out how they feel again, just the fuel the setback needs to continue, again adding loads more stress and worry to the mix.

    Paul

  11. Jeff Says:

    Thanks Paul
    I hear you. I guess by acknowledging I have good and bad days I am still self monitoring myself. I just need to go with the flow and let it be.
    Thanks for the suggestions
    Jeff

  12. Anthony Says:

    Hey Paul.

    Well, I’m back to work…no panic attacks or anything. But the past few days I’ve been battling some depression. I don’t have much of a desire to eat at times. I’ve been sleeping well, but when I wake up I’m usually a little nervous and I get diarrhea.

    I understand that this stuff takes time, and by worrying or getting depressed, it isn’t helping matters, but it seems like those things are just my natural instinct.

  13. Shirley Dalley Says:

    Don’t know if this blog is too old now – but I was wondering whether Jeff’s time away with his family went ok? Did he manage to handle his holiday ok and does he feel better from having made the effort?
    I am going away in June to the sun and one of my worst nightmares is that tiny seat in the cabin of the aeroplane, even by the window (especially having to ask a stranger to move) if you need the loo.It’s not being afraid of flying it’s about being squashed in to such a small space. I hope to sit next to my Nephew and Niece so that they will entertain me for the flight.
    Shirley D

  14. No More Anxiety Says:

    Its become very active Shirley recently so its not too old. I can’t tell you about Jeff as he has not posted for a while, he may still be away. Don’t worry about anything about your holiday, you will have a great time : )

  15. Henryk Says:

    Hi there,

    I’m finding my anxiety thoughts go in vicious circles. My anxiety seems to have come from a bulid up of stress, a lot of things happening. Me and the Wife have had Twins, which is hard work and they don’t sleep much.

    3 years ago I lost my Dad, very suddenly he wasn’t old. I keep thinking the worst, it’s attaching to things like guilt and fear. It’s always my fault. Thoughts of not being cut out for famlily now, makes more feelings of guilt. Is this just anxiety or do the thoughts mean anything?

  16. linda kavanagh Says:

    My son Thomas aged 18 who I love immensely has come off his ritalin and prozac as he said he felt unwell on them. Consequently he suffers with his anxiety attacks and has a lack of motivation to everything. he also dropped out of art college as well.
    He drives me nuts sometimes. I try to understand him but it is very difficult as he is apathetic, seems lazy with no enthusiasm at all. I appreciate that this is partly due to the underlying conditions but we all have to join life somehow. He is happy around the house as it is his sanctuary but he does not like going out at all or talking to strangers. He wont talk to any one about his problems and had become slightly introverted as a result. He currently just about has a job working in a hotel laundry but I worry he will lose this soon as I have to hastle him daily to get up and get to work.
    Any ideas to help Tom and therefore me would be gratefully recieved.
    Linda Kavanagh

  17. Sharon Robertson Says:

    hi paul

    am going through really bad anxiety after the birth of my daughter
    just found out ma pregnant again sooo scared now feel totally disconnected from my life and my family

    its the head zaps that scare me the most any suggetstions on how to relax :)

  18. lisa gardner Says:

    i,ve suffered with panic attacks but i,,ve stopped having them i,m going away on holiday and i,m feeling anxious i think it might be due to having panic attacks last year when i was on holiday i,ve come so far and i don,t want this to hold me back, any suggestions please

  19. Nick Says:

    Thanks for your blog Paul,

    I have reached the point where anxiety effects me about once a month. My family has recently harassed me to the point I had to file a police report and seek a “no-contact” protective order. The events brought up strong feelings and anxiety. I feel like I’ve fallen victim to the “it’s all coming back/will I ever get over this” syndrome. Given my strong recovery I know I will soon be fine. Any advice for the mean time?

    Thanks again,
    Nick

  20. Angela Says:

    I just came across this website and wanted to know if you evergot thethoughts of going Crazy or having a mental breakdown or feeling that you don’t love your own child which I’m kinda getting in my head that it’s the anxiety but some days its hard how do you do it I feel some days like total poo but I’m still able to get through the day I think once I get rid of my what ifs it will be another big step for me in getting rid of this anxiety

  21. Sarah Says:

    Hi,

    I’ve not been told I have anxiety but from what I’ve read I think I do. I went to the Doc a few months ago I just felt really down after an incident at work. I took a week off and felt better but since then on a few occasions I’ve had this panic feeling better work and at weekends knowing its just around the corner.

    Another thing is I always get nervous when ever I go out on date to the point I’m physical sick so I’ve gave up on dating. But the nervous of this has slipped into normal social life, and I don’t know what to do?!

    I think I’ve got to a point thinking where is my life going?! I know I need to find a new job and I am trying.

    Reading these comments I’ve also got the symptom of feeling like memory drifting and emotionless.

    Does this sound like anxiety?

  22. steve Says:

    I am suffering from anxiety and now on medication.I am not as anxious as I was but am now back at work and am feeling exhausted all the time.I am not sleeping well but am now worrying about overdoing it at work which is making me anxious again.my medication is citalopram 20mg which I have been on for 5 weeks now.

  23. Jessica Says:

    Hi I am 20 years old and am suffering from bad anxiety and anxiety attacks.. This has occurred since I had glandular fever over 2 years ago and problems within my family haven’t helped.. I have been for blood tests over and over again, gone to the emergency doctors over and over, demanding that something is wrong with me.. When I have an attack my throat feels like it is tightening at the bottom and like it is going to stop me breathing, I find it hard to swallow, I feel shakey, I feel dizzy and like I can’t breath properly.. I feel like I am a freak and that people around me think I am losing my mind.. It’s making me not want to do any thing.. I can even take medication now without worrying that I will have a side effect.. It’s really getting me down, I feel as though I am going to push people away from me because I am always asking what’s up with me.. I’m always rushing to the doctors and they keep telling me that I have this and every time I don’t believe them I don’t know why.. I keep telling my self I am ok, that it isn’t going to kill me and that I will get over all this in time.. I hope I will, I want to be able to get the career I want and be able to go a day without worrying bout what’s going to happen to me.. It has me when I see that it isn’t only me suffering because I know my symptoms ain’t something serious.. I am taking it a day at a time, I don’t want medication from the doctor because I want to do something that isnt going to make me relie on something else.. I have taken some calms from SuperDrig which help me for the past few days and I am reading some book on stress and anxiety and I’m hoping it will help..

    All keep well :)

  24. nina Says:

    anxiety is truely a living hell. At the moment i am suffering from constant fear everyday and i cannot control or stop this. It is like being ready to fight 24 hours a day. I cannot sleep and am emotionally and physically drained.

    How do you get out of this?

  25. Julie Says:

    Have really enjoyed this post. Can you please email me the name of your book and where I can get it.

    Kind regards

    Julie

  26. Monica Says:

    Reading these post made me cry. I just started feeling this way recently i hate when i start to get really shaky for no reason. But the worst part is feelimg detached i hate it so much an i just want to go back to ‘normal’ i just really don’t know how. I haven’t talked to anyone about this because i dont want anyone to worry. At this point i just don’t know what to do im way to young to feel this way. Im only 17 i just really want the feeling to go away

  27. Pamela Says:

    I’m at a stage of unsure how or will it stop feel like I’m crazy & suffering headaches bad.x

  28. Smooth R Says:

    Pamela,

    Remember one thing over and over “This too shall pass”. No matter how bad of a mood you’re in just keeping telling yourself that. Understand that your anxiety comes from your subconscious and the feelings from your subconscious come from the feelings of your conscious. So whatever thoughts or emotions you’re feeding your conscious will eventually trickle down to your subconscious. Try to tell yourself good things (even if you don’t believe what you are saying) Keeping saying it and eventually it will turn into a thought trend. Understand that people change on a daily basis. Every single day we we’re either happy about “this” or sad about “that”. I will be putting together a blog shortly on my road to anxiety/panic/depression recovery and will post a link here once its up and running. In the meantime, I can answer any questions you might have on here. Also, I highly recommend Paul’s book. He has a lot of meaningful tips on how to overcome this struggle. Just remember, like everything else in life: “this too shall pass”

  29. barbara Says:

    what is the title of your book please and how can I buy a copy?

  30. Rebecca Says:

    Hi, I’m reading your book and it’s amazing. I am applying the attitude to let myself feel how I feel. The symptoms have lessened and I feel like I’m getting there. The problem though is that I am sleeping badly and using herbals to help. I feel fatigued all the time so trying to exercise, work,socialise etc is hard when when you are so tired! Is this a normal part of recovery? Any tips on staying positive? I don’t want Hi there

    Welcome to NMP – the site has been a lifeline for me since November last year; I have made some good friends and have had a great deal of reassurance and help.

    Sorry to hear about your sleep problems – my postings of November and December relate mostly to sleep issues – I was lucky if I managed 2 or 3 hours a night and I got myself into a dreadful state.

    Meds can sometimes really upset sleep patterns (for me it was Prozac which I was only taking for about 10 days). My GP did try me with sleepers which never really helped and he was concerned would cause dependency issues.

    My sleep is still not perfect but MUCH better than it was (typically 5 hours per night). It sound silly, but it seems that the ‘old’ ideas are the best. A glass of warm milk, lavendar oil on the pillow, warm bath etc.

    Valerian (hops) are meant to be very good! BUT be careful – I was surprised that I cannot take an over the counter aid like Nightol, or Tescos/Sainsbury’s sleep aid because it can react with my meds (propanalol). I would certainly look at all the contra-indications on the prescribed meds, as well as the prescribing advice on whichever valerian sleep aid you may be considering.

    Your GP should be able to advise you as should any GOOD natural health shop selling valerian and other sleep aids.

    Hope this helps.

    God luck and take care

    Sandieto start the anxiety cycle again. I don’t feel depressed! Just shattered!! Thanks

  31. Rebecca Says:

    Sorry Barbara. Just saw comment thanks. Is fatigue just an offshoot of anxiety? Don’t want to worry about it!

  32. Paula Says:

    I have been getting anxiety attacks about once a month. I am sure it is pre menopause…but i am worried about how it is affecting my job. I get rages at home and at work…just depends on where I am at that time. My husband is very supportive and knows they just go away after a while, but the girls at work complain about me to my boss. I am afraid that there will be too many complaints and I will lose my job over it…not sure what to do.

  33. simona Says:

    I want to start by saying your blog has really educated me on what I was going through for the past 10 years and it’s been a long journey but I am where I wanted to be for so long. I am truly recovered and I am so grateful for your blog. So thank you. One thing I still deal with is the guilt that I have genetically passed it down to my 3 year old son. My doctor mentioned that it is genetic and that my children will have a higher chance of inheriting it. I hate that I pay so much attention to certain things he does and relate it back to how I was. I then feel anger and I know it’s not fair to be looking so hard at his typical 3 year old behavior and somehow relating it back to anxiety. I’m tired of feeling guilty.

  34. Elaine Says:

    Anxiety is a hard road to follow. Sometimes though an underlying condition can be at the route as well. So you need to make sure that any underlying cause is cleared. One thing is an underlying thyroid condition which can be overlooked, one simply needs to get their TSH, T4 and T3 levels checked, and a sonogram of the thyroid to ensure there are no nodules. Thyroid conditions can cause dizziness, anxiety, depression and can interfere with sleep etc.. If there is no underlying cause then a good diet is fundamental. A healthy brain demands a healthy diet. Magnesium is one element that many are low in. People often think of vitamins and forget about minerals. Magnesium supplements can help. Also talk to people; they say a problem shared is a problem halved. Then when you realise that you feel good after talking to someone you realise that you can beat the anxiety slowly but surely!

  35. Ron Says:

    Great reads. I’m a 53 year old male that has become an anxiety sufferer about 18 months ago. My heart breaks when I read of the suffering of the younger people. How are you Monica? Keep posting, maybe we can help. My anxiety comes and goes and when it does go I feel well! But then it rears its ugly head and I’m back dealing with it. Claire Weekes has helped me a lot. Great help. Accept the anxiety and it diminishes. Fearing the fear of anxiety feeds it.

    As I read these posts I pray. Never give up on God. I’ll close with the the words of the great philosopher Roky Balboa-” Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done”.
    Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa

Leave a Reply

*