Anxiety and setbacks explained / Why do we have them?

O.k here is todays post as promised. Firstly I want to express how much setbacks are all part of recovery. Again there will never be a post saying ‘How to make sure you don’t have a setback’ You almost certainly will, the post is to tell you how to deal with them.

Setbacks for me were the hardest things to work out

‘I thought I had cracked it, why do I feel so bad again?’

‘Oh I hate this feeling, I thought it had gone forever’

‘Last week was so good and now I am back to square one, this will be me forever’

These were just a few of the statements that I came out with when I first started to recover. What did these statements do? Well they filled me with self pity, filled me with thoughts of ‘maybe I am doing something wrong, this is not working’, I began to fight again, to try and figure out why this had happened, worried about ever getting better. I did everything wrong basically.

I eventually changed this way of thinking and said’ I have been through so much, do I really expect to be better overnight?’ No of course I am going to have a few setbacks. I felt bloody awful for months on end, with no good days, this up and down affair tells me things are improving, I am finally getting somewhere’. And that’s the hardest part, feeling great and then when we feel bad again, it seems even worse, as we enjoyed some good days and now its back.

Setbacks come because suffering is still raw, we have suffered and been through so much, our bodies do take time to regain their balance, a stressful event or memory can trigger a setback. Sometimes we may just feel bad for no reason. Well we feel happy some days and sad on others, but don’t feel the need to work out why. And this brings me to the whole point, there is no need to go too deep into why they come, as it does not matter, that is not important, its how you deal with them that is.

And trust me the more you go through setbacks, the easier it becomes as you begin to realise they always pass and become an expert in letting them, they don’t feel as important when they come in the future. They just become a little nusiance and that’s fine. Don’t ever try and scramble your way back to how you were last week, just accept it as part of recovery, another chance to not care, to let it do its worse. Here is something Clare mentioned last week.

My only concern is that I never want to go back to the way I was a few months ago and I’m trying to make some changes in my life to solve that, like more exercise, eating better, relaxing more and talking about things rather than bottle them up. But unfortunately life deals you some knocks every so often and I’d like to think I could handle these knocks and not crumble with anxiety like I have done in the past. Thanks to your book Paul I have more confidence to get through the bad times but I’d like to know if there were any changes you made to help you keep a positive outlook in life and not let stress get on top of you.

The changes Clare are very good, I can’t express how much making changes to my lifestyle made a difference. But do them for yourself, don’t do them with the attitude of keeping anxiety at bay, as then if you do have a setback you will begin to question everything again and also don’t live your life trying to keep anxiety at bay. Remember it is always’It does not matter how I feel, if I feel anxiety then so be it’ Do you see the difference. I actually welcomed a setback, I stopped caring how I felt so it was not an issue. I did all the ‘Must do everything to stop it coming’ This is why people go around searching for medical cures, therapists, internet searches, forums…All to stop it coming or to get rid of it. And this is the reason most of the time they get nowhere, as the opposite is true, allow it to be there, welcome it, don’t care if it is or not and this goes for setbacks. It is hard and very tempting to fight or try and push it away ‘Do something about it’ but it gets you nowhere.

My attitude and what I teach others is welcome the good days and don’t get too down about the bad. Don’t try and scramble back to how you were. Don’t waste an ounce of energy on why you feel bad again, it passes, it always does. But setbacks can pass a lot quicker depending on your attitude towards them and then come with less force in the future. I once helped a lady who used to get very frustrated about having bad days out of the blue. With some advice she emailed me and said her new attitude on a bad days was ‘Well my anxiety is high today, but so what’ she knew she could not control it, so she might as well get on with her day and not care even though the feelings were not too good. She still disliked the feelings, but she had stopped getting so frustrated, stopped the self pity, the need to figure out why and her setback did not seem as bad.

I hope the above helps, I am not asking you to like a setback, just try and change your attitude towards them, they do come less frequent and with less power in time, just remember that they are part of recovery, they always pass, so don’t let them get you down or pay them too much respect. Tomorrow could be the best day yet.


For more information about my book ‘At last a life’ visit

164 Responses to “Anxiety and setbacks explained / Why do we have them?”

  1. Scarlet Says:

    Paul, spot on advice as always :-) I had plenty of setbacks when I was suffering as well, but it’s true to say they become infrequent and less intense as you recover. Take care Paul, always good to read your informative site. You are one in a million.


  2. lisa Says:

    i have to say setbacks are yuk!! but on a positive note im glad i had mine last made me look at my job and think do i really want to be here so today iv handed in me notice and enrolled on two courses today. my neighbour issues are finally getting sorted about time to,yes they got me down,made me stressed and anxious but going through the setback made me realise im not putting up with their behaviour anymore, and to do something positive about it.its made me be stronger and not to sit and take crap from anyone anymore.i did go down the self pity route last week dont get me wrong but iv now stuck two fingers up at it and thought sod it!! so iv now changed me attitude and glad i had the setback .il certainly welcome setbacks now as we do have them for a reason. and no they come less frequent. thanks for the post paul hope you had a good weekend. :-)

  3. No More Anxiety Says:

    Hello Scarlet, A long time since I have heard from you, that was a surprise. Glad you are well and don’t be a stranger, do keep in touch from time to time.

    Take care


    Had a great weekend Lisa thanks for asking. I used to have neighbour issues and it did not help me, the last thing you need is extra stress. Glad you are getting those sorted. I can’t believe you left your job, what about the cheap groceries you promised me?

    Only kidding Lisa you do what’s best for you and don’t forget to watch your grammer, otherwise I will set Tarmo on you : )

  4. samantha Says:

    hi great post again and very relevant to me at the moment,
    i know i have asked this before but does anyone get waves of despair i find this hard to deal with any suggestions anyone please


  5. Leanne D Says:

    This has come at just the right time for me, dor saturday I had a big set back. I was at a pal’s house and I just came oer all fnny and dizzy and disorientated. I knew what was happening but was also too embarrassed to tell my friend. I was also wondering WHY is this happeneing when I’ve come so far. Eventually I started to think that I may look weird so I told her and pretty soon it passed. It didn’t help that It was going to notice to her and I was scared of what she might have thought.
    Anyway – its brought me back here and lo and behold a whole blog on setbacks that has helped me alot. Thanks Paul. Guess I have to just ride it out. Leanne

  6. lisa Says:

    sorry paul, no freebies it was a brain dead job for me, i like a challenge so thats what im going to do. im very concious of me gramma… haha :-). hi samantha just all anxiety its your attitude to it ,remember stick the fingers up at it and remember it passes let it be x

  7. Paul Mc Says:

    Leanne , I think you done the right thing , by telling your friend , otherwise you just put that extra pressure an worry on yourself , I used to do this constantly , and told noone and just suffered on my own year after year , your true friends will understand and only want to be of help to you !
    Samantha ! I think we can all have times when we have waves of despair , maybe because we are desperate to make progress or after making that progress we suffer a setback , I think we need to experience all sorts of emotions , and feelings during recovery so that we can learn from them and avoid where we may have been going wrong during the process , only to move onto the next stage of recovery , so I think you just need to learn to roll with the despair if you feel it coming on and let it pass , dont let it get you down ,Its to be expected now and again , just jump onto the site and we can all have a big , group hug of despair !
    On another note I’ve got about half way through Will’s book , yes it is a little more intense than Paul’s book , but not too much , I have found the understanding of the process and different stages of thought to be very interesting and helpfull , I’m unsure though that If I had opened this book up 6mnths ago , that I would have been able to take the information on board , suppose what I’m trying to say is , the book is more helpfull If you’ve reached a particular stage of recovery and , an understanding of it !
    Lisa ! Good on you !Thats quite a brave thing you done and a real step forward I would imagine , in your life , was that a leap of faith we just witnessed ?? All the best with your plans ,anyway !
    Think I’m going through the whole blog here ! Candie , “It’s not fair “relates to my weekend which wasn’t particularly good at all , and was over before it begun ! That wasnt to end on a negative not , I do feel a lot better now , suppose you could call it a setback , but I’m now focusing on next week when I get to go to Benelmadena for a few days !

  8. lisa Says:

    hey paul cheers buddie , have a lovely time sending you a buddie hug!! i just think im worth more so going to set out to prove it glad your feeling better :-)

  9. Paul Mc Says:

    I always do things backside forward ! I’ve jst read the blog , so would like to say only a couple of things , I sometimes can’t help but tthink those of us who are at the stage of even being able to suffer a setback , are in a better place , It wasnt that long ago , like many I was lost in my own mind , unable to move in any positive direction or even know there was a real solution to my Problem out there , so to those on the site silent or active on the blog , who are just finding us or starting out on the road to recovery please stick with us here , we have all followed the advice on here , been patient , put it into practice and got to this stage as a result !
    Thanks for the blog Paul , It is always very refreshing for all of us , for confirmation , especially on these particular issues .

  10. No More Anxiety Says:

    My pleaseure Paul. it means a lot to me that it helps, that person first searching for information could be me, I never forget that.

    Good luck Lisa with your new career, whatever it maybe, I am sure things will work out for the better in every way for you. And nice to see the positive attitude.


  11. candie Says:

    Good blog Paul, feeling really good atm. No doubt this particular post will be helpful during my next setback.

    Nearly of my meds now, another week and i should be of them completely! Feeling really positive as i used to wish bed time t come around so i could take my medication to get rid of the anxiety.. it is a big thing for me to expose myself to the anxiety. I have obviously really improved as before reading this blog and ‘At last a Life’ i always asumed i would need medication for the rest of my life. I used to up my dose at the least whim of anxiety.

    Hope everyone is having a nice day :)

  12. lorryt Says:

    yep am having one today, had to have my cat put down last night very upsetting and understandably my brain is doing summersaults, but hey i can cope better than i did 8 months ago , which to me is a step forward, a big one. your advice is great , i will get there its just gonna take time

    hello to everyone out there and i wish candie all the luck in the world about coming off her meds, i want to be that person in the future, you can do it you know you can

    have a great day

  13. lisa Says:

    just wanted to say well done candie knew you could do it, be proud of yourself :-)

  14. candie Says:

    Thanks Lorryt and Lisa 😀

  15. LORRYT Says:

    I FULLY UNDERSTAND AS MY DOC SAID I MAY NEED TO BE ON MEDS PERMANANTELY . but as time goes by and i feel my attitude is changing i may come off em gradually, but we shall see

    all the best

  16. Beth Says:

    Thanks for the great post! I was having quite a bad setback last week and couldn’t wait for your advice. However, by the time Monday rolled around I was feeling great, because my circumstances had changed. Once you get into the setback, feeling good cycle, it is easier to realize that your symptoms are a result of anxiety and thoughts, because when you feel good……they don’t exist. I took my son to a drs. appt yesterday and I was feeling fine. As soon as I entered the waiting room I felt dizzy and although it was uncomfortable, I could see that it was just a result of habit. It passed, We had to wait half an hour to be seen and I sat there and saw it through. My expereince has been that through recovery, the setbacks stink but the good times are getting even better….so to all of us, hang in there.

  17. Nicole Says:

    Hi everyone,
    Thanks for the post Paul. Great thoughts and advice as always. Set backs are definitely a challenge for me. I feel that I could take a big step foward if I could only believe that there is “no place of no return” because there have been moments in my life recently where I feel that if I really let my thoughts and feelings come unabated, that I will fall apart and be left in pieces. Does anyone have an explanation of this fear or a way to put it in perspective that would help? Many thanks! Nicole

  18. Claire Says:

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for the post, it was great and made absolute sense. I originally made those changes to rid myself of anxiety but I think that the changes I have made were desperately needed. Before I got anxious I was always doing something, never said no to anyone and hated being alone. But now I’m sitting in a london hotel on my own and I’m not afraid of my thoughts. Thats progress I think!

    If I didn’t have this website I am certain I’d still be in my whirlwind of anxiety and dispair. So thanks Paul, you are doing a wonderful thing.


  19. steph Says:

    hi everyone, hope everyones doing ok..iv been on the missin list from here for few wks now yet iv still been reading posts every now n then..just been co,pletley snowed under with uni work..loads of pressure to! so have had a few little setbacks but jus shrugged it off n carried on..feel a little stressed this week, more panicky to but i geuss thats jus my stress levels pumpin out adrenalin! anyway just wanted to see how everyone was and to drop a line to show i am still very much a part ot this blog! this post is really good idea, im gonna have read of it more when my uni works out the way…bye for now take care all, spk soon x

  20. Shirley D. Says:

    No, i haven’t posted lately either but just to let everyone know that I have managed to secure a second job, I now work two days in a material and haberdashery shop, and enjoying it, was a little nervous but it helps if you have an interest in what you are doing. Weds Thurs and Fri i am a receptionist. Little did I think (at Christmas) that I would feel confident enough to go back to work let alone have two jobs, so please all of you who are suffering setbacks and suffering still, think positive and be positive.

  21. michael riley Says:

    hi paul icant afford your book as ive no job now and i wood like to thank you . As i have had some comfort from your site its helping and i understand my problem a lot more im on a setback rite now and am trying to follow your method once again thanks hope theres more like you who explain things in a more helpful way.

  22. Dave Says:

    Eating Anxiety?

    Anyone know how to get over this last hurdle for me? The only 2 things that anxiety really does to me besides make me feel bad is affect my sleep and my appetite. I have gotten over the sleep thing, I no longer care… If I sleep I sleep, if I don’t who cares, it’s still nice to lie in bed.

    But the appetite is a constant struggle for me. I have a very fast metabolism so I lose weight easily and struggle to gain weight. A few years ago I used to be very skinny to the point where people would sometimes make comments about it. Before this anxiety I was up to 160 pounds and was getting stronger and bulking up, but the lack of appetite the last few months has brought me down to 147 or 148. This is distressing to me. Yesterday I managed to eat a pretty big meal and after eating it I got very anxious that I would vomit it, although I never have before. Basically a lot of my anxiety revolves around eating and the pressure I put on myself to eat enough.

    I guess if I was to “let go” and just not worry about it, It would be fine, but I just worry that I don’t want to become all skinny and a “scrub” again, girls wont find me attractive.


  23. lisa Says:

    its a thought dave like all the rest youv had,see the thought let it go your adding the second fear like “wiil i vomit” .just eat when you need to eat.stop analysing and youl be fine. the thought of eating might stick for a while but just carry on eating.cant help you about your metabolism you should ask your doctor on that one mate .stop putting yourself down i have lots of skinny male friends who are good looking ,looks and weight are not everything, again another” thought” look at all your good things about yourself i bet they outweigh the bad. :-)

  24. Dave Says:

    That’s true Lisa, that’s the root of the problem. I care too much about how I look. But I’m 22 and I’m trying to meet girls and I just feel that I have to look decent at least. *sigh*

  25. lisa Says:

    dont try to hard , the girls will come to you youv plenty of time :-)

  26. Paul Mc Says:

    Dave , Lisa is absolutely right ! You need to go easier on yourself, just try bit by bit to adopt the whatever attitude ,it will come in time , but you are only adding to your anxiety with the eating problem and acting on the thoughts that are only in your head and which are fuelled by excess adrenalin , lets face it Dave your not going to vomit ,as Lisa has said , thats you just acting on your thoughts , instead of just letting them be !
    Shirley its nice to hear from you , didnt I say you’d be fighting them off ! Glad all is looking up !
    Hope you are in fine fettle also BLOG BUDDIE ! LOL !

  27. Dave Says:

    That’s true Paul…

    I actually just managed to eat a pretty decent meal and just said “whatever”. What scared me was reading someone on the internet (too much information gathering) who said that she gets panic attacks so bad that they make her vomit all the time. That got me “thinking”. Haha.

    One thing I realized lately though is that I’m no longer scared of an actual “panic attack” anymore, unless it affects me physically. I was always scared of going through the actual feeling, sweating, etc. But now If it starts I just dont try to avoid it, I let it come and think about it and focus on the feelings and accept it, and it just goes away.

  28. lisa Says:

    hi buddie how you been?iv well n truly conquered me neighbours so chuffed to bits. when do you go away?? dave everyone is different in their illness,some have symptoms that otheres dont, just accept what you have instead of adding to them.remember paul davids advice about sticking to one road, yes the physical is not nice, but dont be scared remember NOTHING can happen to you, let it go through you and you will get to the stage where you will say “is that the best you can do” or “is that it” your showing you dont give a damn. the panic attacks stop coming in time i dont have them anymore,might get a little flutter once in a blue moon but it just passes now i just laugh . glad to hear everyone doin well :-)

  29. Nicole Says:

    Paul, your advice about going easy on yourself and letting the “whatever attitude” come in time was helpful. I really struggle with trying not to try to accept, if that makes any sense! Your advice Lisa about recognizing that thoughts are just thoughts was very timely. I was just saying to someone at work that I felt very tired all of a sudden and this started the thought that this was a new kind of tired feeling and that maybe this was the “big breakdown” that I am so afraid of! Reading your posts was very helpful.
    Thanks to you both, this blog really helps keep me centered.

  30. Tony Says:

    I’d really like to respond to Dave and his weight concern. I had EXACTLY the same problem with my weight paranoia as my eating habits were directly affected by anxiety also. I lost my appetite and found I was reacting painfully to everything I ate. I made two mistakes; One was to use my weight level as an indicator of how good or bad I was doing, the second mistake was to assume all these different foods were “causing” the anxiety. I started to weigh myself obsessively and became really scared when my weight seemed to be dropping off uncontorllably, it was anorexia in reverse! much to the amusement of my girlfriends who had the opposite problem. I didn’t find it funny however I thought I was going to waste away. Then I started eliminating all these “anxiety forming” foods from my diet until I was left with just fish and veg. That’s no way to live. It was a big mistake to worry over my weight level cos guess what all the worry did? Reduced my appetite even further of course. My appetite would have re-appeared by itself if I had just stopped panicking about when it would! I also had it completely ass backward with the “anxiety causing foods” idea. I lost two stone because of this mistake in thinking. Food wasn’t causing the painful acid reflux and nausea, anxiety was! I think we react sensitivley to food when we are anxious becasue our body is under stress. When I was having my bad setbacks I noticed if I didn’t spend the whole week wondering why and how and if i wasn’t really a schizophrenic or incurable manic depressive after all and scaring myself, if I just got on with things and refused to get hysterical, food would digest a lot easier – surprise! I just waited paitiently for my appetite to return knowing it would. I also just ate whatever the hell I wanted anxiety be damned (except for caffeine and dairy which my body doesn’t like much generally anyway) I am now back up to 10 1/2 stone and getting fatter everyday, scoffing my big face! please don’t worry about losing your appetite dave, the extra worry is burning off calories even faster! Your body will be okay it is very sophisticated at preserving energy and fat, people have been through worse, it will come back in time when your anxiety fades, worrying about when it will just dig your hole deeper, have faith in your body, I was skinnier than you and am now filling out the more I ignore this demanding, attention seeking diva we call anxiety and refuse to give her the attenntion! I hope everyone is okay and being patient with themselves, the setbacks really do get less intense the less you panic about them. Good luck everyone.

  31. lisa Says:

    hi nicole glad i was some help to you :-)

  32. Nicole Says:

    As I look back over these posts it is so comforting to see that other people have gone through the same struggles. I am beginning to see during this set-back that so much of what is causing my high anxiety is a projection of my worst fears into the future and when I feel like I am not centered, these feelings are so overwhelming and then the cycle starts. I just need to integrate this intellectual understanding with more of an emotional one to reach a point of acceptance. Why does this seem so hard? Is there someone here who can comment/help? Thanks! Nicole

  33. lisa Says:

    hi nicole i think your not living in the here and now,your worrying about tomorrow or next week or next year by the need to accept yourself as you are now living in the present and let the next wek or next months worrying thoughts go.concentrate on today. :-)

  34. jimmy Says:

    First off, I gotta say that this site is TREMENDOUS!! Paul…thank you, thank you, thank you. Though I’ve been on this site for about 3 months now, this is my first post. Since I’ve been on the site, I have seen steady improvement with this anxiety condition that we all share. By the way, all of you posters in here have been great too with your always positive attitude and helpful advice. I used to just hope for a “good day” but now can see that I’m having good weeks – so my confidence level is high that I will eventually be able to get back completely.

    My hurdle is this existentialism thing. I’ve heard other posters comment on it and it really hit home for me. Not sure why my anxiety “thoughts” default right to the existentialism thing though. It’s almost as if I have this hyper-awareness of being alive – then I get going into the cycle. If I pay it too much mind, I start questioning how my body can last another 30, 40, 50 years. I guess it’s just my anxious mind projecting into the future based on how I feel at that anxious moment. Very weird.

    However, as Paul said, “it’s not how you feel, it’s your attitude towards it.” That advice is spot on and our attitudes are the whole ballgame. It’s so easy to fall into the negativity cycle, isn’t it? By keeping the positive attitude though, the thoughts do seem to melt away and don’t last as long.

    Again, thanks to Paul and all of you – I am so glad I came upon this site a few months back.

  35. Dan Says:

    I was in a similar position to you whereby my eating was the root cause of my anxiety. Out of the blue one evening i had a panic attack in a restaurant, i didn’t have any information and before i knew it i had no appetite and was full with anxiety. Everytime i went to eat, i had no appetite and like you have a fast metabolism so it is hard to gain weight. I used to always have a healthy appetite and people used to say ‘i can’t believe you eat so much and stay slim’. This was the running joke with my friends and family as they were used to seeing me eat so much etc etc, this then became part of the problem. During my low appetite&anxiety i was fighting to eat like I used to, worrying that i would lose weight if i didn’t etc.

    I never thought i would regain my appetite again but i came through it, my attitude to meal times completely changed and the results were amazing. Have an attitude of ‘whatever i manage to eat i eat’. Even if you don’t manage much just don’t worry about it, maybe try and eat little and often for a bit instead of big meals, maybe like yoghurts and other snacks during the day. Throughout the whole time have an attitude of ‘whatever’ and if you truely do not care you will see improvements.

    It seems that maybe you are putting yourself under too much pressure to be big rather than skinny, and to try to find a girlfriend. Perhaps for the days to come, put yourself first for a while and accept who you are for now and let your body recover.

    You will come over this if you apply Paul’s advice to every part of your anxiety. I feel much better in myself when i stopped trying to force everything, i have been on holiday and ate out freely at restaurants which was a big step for me. I realised that everything i was worrying about really did not matter.

    Every so often i pop online to read Paul’s new blogs, but just to say you will get over it, as i am proof 😀


  36. Dan Says:

    ohh and dave… i forgot to say,
    Put the scales away for now and perhaps stop watching your weight, i did too and it didn’t help, remember that it doesn’t matter how much you way, just ‘whatever’

  37. Paul Mc Says:

    Hi Lisa , I’m OK struggled a little with DP in the last few weeks ,just when my head had begun to clear a little , just trying to carry on regardless , but it can be very testing at times !
    What happened with the neighbour thing ? did you get the svines evicted , chuffed you’ve managed to sort them out ! all on your own as well !! I go away on Monday night till fri morning , a welcome break , I can assure you , work has been nonstop recently ! Nearly finished the book !!!!!!!

    Paul x

    Nicole ! Maybe your trying to hard , or are letting your thoughts disturb you , when none of them are actually reality or true ! If you can slowly put into practice the ” Intellect ” then in time , and it will take time !! then your mind WILL become more resillient for sure !

    Take Care p .

  38. lisa Says:

    hi buddie glad your ok!!will have to get your e.mail off you dp came back a little during the “svines” episode but now its nearly sorted its cleared just left with the anxiety which will fade with time and acceptance. enjoy your break mate you deserve it. :-)

  39. JoeyLowtown Says:

    Ive had a little set back today, snowed under with work and other commitments, had a nightmare day, everything went wrong ha. Nevermind though. IT’LL SOON BE THE BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND EVERYONE! Hope everyone is doing ok! I now see setbacks as reminders, just telling you, hey just remember to ignore me, im stupid anxiety!

  40. Paul Mc Says:

    Lisa ! Probably get spamed now ! lol !

  41. Nicole Says:

    Hi Paul Mc,
    A resilient mind, well put. I can’t tell you how what a wonderful thought that is! I know that I will get there in time and I am trying to be more patient. Thanks for the encouragement.
    Have a great week-end, hope it is warm there, it is pretty chilly in Canada today!

  42. lorryt Says:

    well im having a bad morning, i fully understand the food thing, i got to the point when i was really bad that i was being physically sick. That was before i found Pauls book.i guess i understand its the anxiety and the cycle that got me like it . i now understand that if i shake , i shake, if i feel nauseauos then i feel nauseaous, i dont like it but i cant change it for the time being. the worst things are the thoughts.
    This morning i was panicking about my daughter and when she gets older and my youngest one starting school in september, and will i ever be able to come off the medication as im so tired. i think im a bit vulnerable today as we had to have our lovely old cat put down on monday, hed been with us for 16 years(longer than ive had my kids !!)maybe thats triggered me off again. I know i am getting better as last august i didnt get out of bed for a week or two and stopped eating for 2 weeks. So to be back at work(part time ) and functioning nearly as normal but taking these feelings with me , must be a step forward, but i get frustrated with it all as i was such a confident person before, now i just seem to worry about stupid things that i have no control over and panicky feelings come in
    sorry if im rambling a bit but it would help if someone could point me in the right direction here!!, i dont think by reading wills book that helped as it was too indepth and made me think more !!!!!!!!!

  43. Beth Says:

    Lorryt, I know just what you mean about being a confident person before, and believe me that confident person is still inside somewhere or you wouldn’t be on this blog searching for answers. I realized that I put so much pressure on myself before I suffered from anxiety that since I have suffered I know I was always pressuring myself to “feel better”. That is just doing the same thing. I read that you can’t expect anything to change if you keep doing the same things. So, after beating my head against the wall fighting the anxiety….I finally said, so be it. This is me for now. It’s not me forever. I try to look in the future and see myself as anxiety-free. That gives me confidence to move on. We only control how we react to a situtation, not the situation. No one is truly in control, even the most confident person. Enjoy life, your family, don’t watch too much TV or read the newspaper (not much good food for thought there!!) I’m sorry about your cat. Sad events certainly make me feel worse, but remember, it is a sad thing and anyone would be sad, so don’t beat yourself up more by thinking that it is something more. This will pass. Give it time.

  44. Jules Says:

    Jimmy..hello there, I get the existential anxiety, I wouldn’t have known this is what it was had I not read on here that other people get them. Its not the first time Ii’ve had thoughts like that but they would come and go, now, with the anxiety they are more intense and last longer in this anxious period, put me in a state of fear and feeling unnerved-it really does work to allow them their space, they are only thoughts, and to not investigate them, question why you have them, what they mean or analyse them, if you can let them be and accept them they kind of pass away. I’ve been practicing not being shocked or scared or fear them and just see them for what they are, thoughts, and carry on with what I am doing. Not react bt also kind of be disinterested in them…
    It sounds like your doing really well though good for you-like you this website and the book has been a major source of support and enlightenment for me.

  45. candie Says:

    Hi everyone 😀

    Havn’t posted in a while, feelin quite anxious.. its weird coming of the meds and feeling the anxiety more. Its like im more aware of the anxiety, but it doesnt feel as extreme.

    Looking forward to the bank holiday weekend 😀 Most of Hull are of to Wembly! I am spending today baking. I’v made some cheesecakes so far, going to make some flap jack and buns later 😀

    Hope everyone is ok. I’m in the middle of reading Wills book. I wasn’t too impressed at first but once i got to his journals it really came into its own and i think its fantastic. It can seem a bit complicated at first, but once i got to the journals it all made sense. So after reading the book im going to read the begining again!

  46. No More Anxiety Says:

    Candie I did say this to everyone that the book gets very good in the middle and can be a little much at the start. The middle part and the journals are very good and I agree this would have been better at the start of the book and then the first part would have made more sense. The book had good feedback and I hope everyone got something out of it, I found it very helpful in places and explained things in a different light. He is a very nice person, who has put a lot of time into helping others and one of the very few people I respect on the subject and that I know is not out for his own selfish gain like so many others.

  47. lisa Says:

    oh candie cheese cake yum yum :-)

  48. jimmy Says:

    Hey Jules – thanks for the note. Glad to hear you are well also. Yeah, the existential stuff didn’t bother me at all before – and the existential thoughts were much less frequent. But when we are in this anxious state, they are not pleasant at all. Just goes to show that we react to things so much differently when we are anxious. We interpret the same thought in totally different ways. You’re absolutely right that we shouldn’t investigate them – I’ve been working on that too. At first, it’s just so natural to question why we feel this way and how we can get better – it’s just a natural human response. When I’m not in an anxious state and I think about those thoughts, I can’t help but think how silly they are. But maybe an hour later when I am in an anxious state, those thoughts seem so real and not so silly.

    But the answer clearly is to not “fear the fear.” Now when I get them, I just try to say to myself, “just anxious again.” Don’t get me wrong, sometimes they are still disturbing, but compared to a few weeks or even months ago, things are definitely looking up.

  49. candie Says:

    i know lisa, cheesecake is deffo my vice! :O how did Paul Mc post his email address. I tried posting mine a while back but it didnt come up on the blog. Maybe it got caught in the safety thing to stop spammers!

  50. Tarmo Says:

    Hi all,
    wanted to share some views, although this may be a bit off topic.

    As I’ve been getting better I’ve started thinking about this whole anxiety issue in a different light. I can honestly say now that I feel my small world really needed to be shaken to wake me up and to introduce the real me to myself. Someone once said wisely: “I would have been destroyed if I hadn’t been destroyed” and I totally relate to this sentence now. I couldn’t have continued living ‘off my own path’ any longer. In my case it meant not listening to my own feelings, trying to please everyone, trying to be the person I was expected to be etc. – leading to non stop depersonalisation and heavy anxiety.

    For a long time I wanted to become the person that I once was but when I finally started understanding more I realised that actually the new foundation I was building my life on was much more stable than the old one. For me the biggest improvement has been that I’ve finally managed to learn to live my own life without worrying what other people think of me. I simply trust myself now, for the first time in my life. And it was only about 6 months back that I felt so low and invisible that I thought I hardly even existed.

    I know well that when you’re suffering heavily it is impossible to see any light at the end of the tunnel but I want to remind everyone that this suffering is not useless. What IS useless, however, is suffering for too long and that’s why people like Paul can be life-savers.

  51. lisa Says:

    hi candie when you tap your e.mail in tap the space bar after it and it will naughty with cheesecakes but wont go into :-)

  52. lisa Says:

    hi tarmo,nice to see you :-)

  53. candie Says:


  54. candie Says:

    Yayyyyyyyyy it worked.. add me too lisa 😀

  55. Nicole Says:

    Thank-you Tarmo, I feel deep down that there is a reason for this condition and that if I stay open to this experience and not fear it than I will reach the place where you are. The lessons here about not fearing fear are applicable to so many areas of life and I am starting to see how one becomes a stronger person. I still think of how blissfully ignorant I was with longing, but I also like to think that I am a more mature and interesting person for this experience in the long run.

  56. lorryt Says:

    Thanks Beth, i will get there one day it just feels at times like its never ending , its been 9 months now, and i guess things have improved, but im guess im putting pressure on myself to “get better quicker”, which i silly i guess. patience is something us anxious people have little of, but my family help me loads. accepting that i have made progress should be enough, but i beat myself up about things too much,

    well i am off to a wedding today so hopefully the weather will hold

    cheers again

  57. candie Says:

    I think Tarmo is right.

    Before i new i had anxiety i drank loads, smoked loads and crash dieted all the time.

    Now i appreciate everything, dont drink and i quit smoking when this thing started. I also appreciate my relationship and feel closer to my fiance. I never had any goals in life but since getting anxiety i went back to college and now how an a level.

    Anxiety was the wake up call i needed in a sense. Although i dont always see it that way lol

  58. No More Anxiety Says:

    Tarmo wise words once again, forgive me for not answering your email, I will tomorrow, I emant to get back to you and forgot, your post reminded me, no other reason than I forgot and thank you for posting advice.

  59. jay Says:

    Just had some setbacks recently. Im anxious about my health especially my heart since I felt dizzy and short of breath two years ago (this acutually started my anxiety). Medical tests are ok but I still feel anxious. Since Im afraid to exercise I gained some weight. Now Im trying my best to become my old active self once again. Did the threadmill and shot some hoops but for some reason I felt strange. it’s not dizimess but like I feel so light. Is this normal since I havent exercsied in a long long while?

  60. candie Says:

    Yes that is normal Jay. Whenever i get of the treadmill my legs feel light, and i have to be careful as i feel like im going to fall over lol. Everyone gets it. Dont forget cardiovascular exercise such as going fast pace walking or running on a treadmill increases our heart rate.. it is a good way to burn of excess adrenalin too.

    You will probably need to go to the gym a good few times till you stop ‘watching’ yourself. Its perfectly normal if you have anxiety.

  61. Paul Mc Says:

    I can also vouch for different sensations during exercise ! I go to the gym usually about three times a week , I have at times felt disorientated , dizzy and feelings of heightened anxiety , although on finishing the rewards are far better ,with sense of achievement , reduction in adrenalin ,which means a sense of calm . I’m sure different people will suffer other sensations , but you should not let them add to your anxiety, they are only sensations !! Exercise I would say it is a must if you suffer from anxiety , It can offer you a purpose out of work and motivation to be more active , when you might otherwise be stuck in a rut , of being unable to do very much at all !

  62. Tom Says:

    6 months ago, I was obsessed with anxiety and depersonalisation after a bad drug trip. Internet, books, internet forums, these herbs, that tea etc, yoga? Hypno? Meds this, meds that etc. My whole life evolved around getting better.

    4 months on: –

    I would say I am 80% recovered now, but it brings me back to what Paul says is what is recovery??? Do I feel amazing? no not really, but I feel like I can live my normal life without this horrible surge of negative energy in my body all the time, and the horrible thoughts can’t bother me. I can go anywhere, and do anything, just as before this ever happened, I don’t feel strange, weird, or like I have to get out go home or anything anymore. I can laugh, smile, get pissed of, excited, all my emotions are fine, I don’t think I ever lost them though. Naturally I am really glad to be able to get on with my life, going to America on Tuesday for 2 weeks, and starting a masters uni course in August etc, but once your out of the dark you start to take normality for granted again, but you also realise how precious mental balance is. I think its called state-specific memory or something, I can’t feel the feeling anymore, but do have the memories of how bad I was, panic attacks, crying, no sleep, depression. So, as Paul says, recovery is really when anxiety and its tricks don’t bother you anymore and they subside naturally.

    Sometimes it comes back, perhaps a couple a minutes here and there, but once you train yourself to cope with it its a piece of cake, you just focus on what your doing and forget about it. I’m sure, and I never thought I would say this, but actually I think one day soon I won’t feel a thing! Its been a month since I last had a setback, and I am confident that I can deal with it if it should arise.

    For people looking for cures, I had no meds, no continuous psychological help, no shock treatment or anything scary like that. I read Pauls book, a book from Claire Weeks and another dp-manual ebook from the web which was also excellent. This reading took away the fears of my visual disturbances, headaches, racing thoughts, depression. I cut down on coffee, did lots of running, used relaxing tea and herbs, got a less stressful job (I was between jobs anyway, changing jobs if your happy is not the answer), cut down on alchohol, stopped all drugs.

    So, if I was me 6 months ago, and I think I was a pretty generic dp patient, i would tell myself to accept these nasty feelings for a while, pass them off as nonsense, and most of all believe people like me when I say you can and will get better. In fact, if you let it, your body will just get better on its own, you just have to let it, just put up with the crap for a bit.

    Most importantly, believe in what is written in Pauls book because looking back, everything in that book is true.

    Cheers Paul,


  63. lorryt Says:

    me again , sorry seem to be all negative and struggling again . i am trying to carry on as normal. it seems worse in the mornings , and i get myself in such a state i am physically sick, which i am trying to control today. its the fear of being sick i think , im sat here nibbling away at a banana and trying to have a cup of tea, while my stomach is going over and over, and am finding it hard to swallow. will it really get better ????????????? please help me………………. i am trying to be positive about things as i really have nothing to worry about. great kids great hubby, work , no major money worries. but just past stress

    i had a very bad year last year and had 4 operations , lost my nan , which brought up the fact that i lost my mum( her daughter) about 9 years before, 6 weeks before my first daughter was born , so i hadnt gone through the greiving process. im not giving you the sob story just telling you what my circumstances are. am i putting too much pressure on myself, am i doing something wrong, or am i just panicking about panicking . PLEASE ADVISE………………………………………

  64. lorryt Says:

    me again , sorry seem to be all negative and struggling again . i am trying to carry on as normal. it seems worse in the mornings , and i get myself in such a state i am physically sick, which i am trying to control today. its the fear of being sick i think , im sat here nibbling away at a banana and trying to have a cup of tea, while my stomach is going over and over, and am finding it hard to swallow. will it really get better ????????????? please help me………………. i am trying to be positive about things as i really have nothing to worry about. great kids great hubby, work , no major money worries. but just past stress

    i had a very bad year last year and had 4 operations , lost my nan , which brought up the fact that i lost my mum( her daughter) about 9 years before, 6 weeks before my first daughter was born , so i hadnt gone through the greiving process. im not giving you the sob story just telling you what my circumstances are. am i putting too much pressure on myself, am i doing something wrong, or am i just panicking about panicking . PLEASE ADVISE………………………………………

  65. lisa Says:

    lorry have u bought pauls book??

  66. Paul Mc Says:

    Hi Lorry !
    First of all , I just want to say IT WILL GET BETTER !! You are obviously finding it very difficult to deal with your own particular symptoms of anxiety ! Not that long ago I was just like you , in the depths of despair , just trying to cope with the day with all the terrible symptoms to deal with at the same time , it really does feel as if there is no way out , or this is how its going to be , but these thoughts are exactly what keeps us in that dark place with no means of escape , educating yourself , and putting what you’ve learned into practice will slowly change your attitude , ability and belief of how to move on , cope and eventually rid yourself of the anxiety and all that goes with it , this really is the reality of it ! Many people on here will tell you exactly that , I would not have been able to help you a few months ago ! I was too caught up in my own personal struggle , like I said I was just like you , but I have moved on now , and its only with Paul’s help , reading his book , and taking strength from , the help others have offered on here , that I now able to see beyond myself and realise I may be in the position to at least comfort you or offer words of advice !
    I can see you have been through a particular emmotional and tough stage in your life , and with this could have triggered an anxious time , which you have struggled to shake off , but the need to pinpoint , the why and when’s of how it all begun is not the issue now , because its in the process of ruining your life , like you said you have no real reasons now to be anxious or unhappy , with you kids , finances , work and relationship all being good ! Your own words were “Am I Just Panicking About Panicking ” My answer to that would be yes you are !!! So please put your efforts and attentions towards educating yourself and taking in the information on here , read the site inside out , as well as the book , time and time again , I have personally read the book about 5 times now ! I think you have to to absorb the information properly and put it into practice , be patient and in time the rewards will come , it’s all in your attitude towards it , which can ONLY come in time , but be assured Lorry THINGS DO GET BETTER !
    Take Care
    Paul Mc

  67. lorryt Says:

    Thanks paul mc, i have read pauls book and keep reading it, and i do have better days, but 9 months on from my breakdown and im still on medication , i think i have lost the art of forgetting about my nerves as they just keep creeping up on me, i am trying to be patient an get on with things which i generally do but i never realised how hard it was gonna be. i shall read through the book again tonite and take it in, i guess its “get out of my own way and let my body do the rest. i dont react to my scary thoughts anymore, and my panicking has died down, and ive come off of the flupenthixol, as i really do not like taking pills, but feel i need to stay on the sertraline for the time being as it takes the edge off the anxiety. kids keep me going !!!!!
    thanks again i draw strength from knowing others have recovered, but how long it will take is what gets me down

  68. lisa Says:

    lorry,please dont look for how long its going to take,when will this all end,there all keeping your anxiety levels high which is causing you more distress.i didnt want to comment incase you hadnt read pauls book but now see you have.we have all been where you have have honestly,if you read and look back in the blogs click on and have a look you will see how far alot of people on here have all come does take time,your mind is very tired and your nerves are .like us you want it all to go away and be yourself again but it does take time,never put a limit on it.breakdowns do take time to get through my own did ,i myself have children so now how hard it can be,youv been through alot but you will get there,and reach the stage where alot of us are at now. i dont no how old your chidren are but i did puzzles,swimming,baking,playing football and tennis with mine.go for walks it all helps im not saying its easy but once you keep at it ,it builds you up to start feeling good again its doing something different.were all here together for each other,take care lorry :-)

  69. Tarmo Says:


    the funny thing about recovery is that when you reach a certain point you stop stressing about how long it will take to be back to normal, you just start living your life knowing that you’re doing the right thing. Sure the questions and hesitation pop up every now and then but it’s not the same as you don’t have to think about it all the time anymore. You found your way here on this wonderful website, so you’ve taken the first big step already!

  70. lorryt Says:

    wow guys thanks for the support

    i do quite a bit with my girls they r 8 and 4, constantly bickering |( as they do), and they keep me on my toes, but i shall keep the faith as it were. i know im doing the right thing by following pauls advice, as i do have moments of clear thinking and worry free times rarely but they will become more and more i guess. i really do appreciate your comments only wish id found the site sooner.

    cheers and take care all, at work tomorrow till thursday so mind will be engaged for a bit anyway !!!!!

  71. cazza Says:

    This is my first time of posting but been reading blog for quite a while now. Hello all.

    Ive had anxiety for quite a lot of years and seem to be going round in circles. Ive also got agoraphobia. I can go places with other people but i still have panicky moments and set backs are a big issue with me.

    I have difficulty going out alone as I fear the fear feelings and sensations. I seem to be constantly anxious all the day wondering when all this is gonna stop and im gonna feel normal again. I have the suffocation feelings most of the day and this is so getting me down. Im having oncology counselling at the moment due to other problems i have which is very stressful. All I want is to be happy with myself and life.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Can i say what a positive place to be.


  72. lisa Says:

    see your doing well,it is hard with kids when there when the bad times come just think yes your here but “knickers to you”i am fine and off to do something with the kids or off to hoover etc… try a bit of relaxing when the kids go to bed ,remember what paul said the more normal you do in your day, the more your day becomes sum fun make ups with them girls love that :-)

  73. Nicole Says:

    Just back from the Doctor to discuss a few things and I started to talk about my anxiety which at times over the past 9 months or so has been quite high (this whole thing started over 2 years ago). She mentioned that I could take tranquilizers and recommended that I also consider taking an anti-depressant. I hate the idea of taking drugs and I don’t know what to do as I have been brought up in a naturopathic environment and would love to conquer this on my own with knowledge and understanding., but these bouts of extreme anxiety which seem to come more frequently are worrying me and I do not know what the right decision is. She didn’t think that I would have to be on them forever, but just to stabilize things. I know that I am letting my biggest fear of losing control have too much power over me, but when I feel soooo overwhelmed it is hard to float through it. I know that this is a touchy subject and I don’t expect anyone to make the decision for me but any insight would be welcome.
    Thanks guys, Nicole

  74. candie Says:

    Hi Nicole, medication can work for some, but for me it just masked some of my symptoms for a while. I ended up on a very high dose and dependent on my meds.. eventually my body became immune to them and they had to take me of them for a while… which was hell. Now i dont benefit from the anxiety wise what so ever, they just make me sleep well. I take them before bed each night, they make my heart race, me feel dizzy and panicky.

    I am no longer addicted, i am nearly of them now and feel like i can cope far more then i could on them. The thought of depending on them, knowing each time my meds would go higher i was closer to the maximum dose… that after that maximum dose i was in it alone..being hooked on something with no benefits terrified me… that feeling of not being in control was real.

    I’m not saying that will deffinately happen to you, but it is my story. Tranquilisers… they are highly addictive. Will make you feel in a dream state and you can only usually have them for 4 weeks max. So for 4 weeks you may experience some relief… then wham, they take them of you and your back to square one! If not worse as u’v had some releive and the exposure to anxiety again from such a highly sedating drug can be debilitating

    Some mild anxiety drugs can take the edge of for some.. we are all different.

  75. Tony Says:

    Hi I would like to reply to Nicole as I too have had some experience with anxiolytics and Anti D’s. I tried three; Buspirone, St. John’s and Citalopram and found them all wonderful – at first – then the full price of this short relief became apparent. Buspirone brought me appreciable benefit for the first two weeks the suddenly and disastrously, just stopped working, I tried upping the dose to the max and felt even worse, the next two weeks were the hardest and most traumatic of my life. I came off them and felt ok for a little while, the anxiety calmed down but I was left with this burnt out feeling of depression so I tried St. John’s to lift my mood, after a week of some unexpectedly severe side effects for a herb I felt happy and positive, but strangely again after two weeks they just stopped working and plummeted me into hell once more, another awful experience. The Last resort was Citalopram, an Anti D. This was much more succesful than the other two but I had to sacrifice much more of character and personality as a pay off. The only way it seemed to provide relief was by bleaching out ALL my emotions good and bad, I felt NOTHING, like a robot, plus It gave me awful nightmares, twitching and insomnia. What none of these drugs achieved despite the small relief I had at times was to bring me back to the state I was before I got sick, none of these returned me to normal, Isn’t that what we all want? To own our recovery and keep it? Not have it on loan from some drug that we will have to pay back eventually when its time to come off or just stops working. One thing I remember was that in between all the drug hopping I was actually ok, just depressed and worn out, depersonalised but not hysterical. It was only because of a couple of unexpected bad days of extreme anxiety that made me panic and think ‘try another med’
    If only I had rode the bad days out and not panicked perhaps I wouldn’t have delayed the recovery for as long as I did. I am now on nothing, slowly regaining weight and while I have the few awful days, I am coping with them better, more confident because I am doing this without chemical assistance so It’s not ‘on loan’ and I get to keep every bit of progress I make. I know this post is far too long but I just wanted to share a bit of experience with you and hope it helps with your desicion. Take care and good luck with everything, have faith in your brain it just needs time.

  76. Jules Says:

    Hi Nicole-for me, when the anxiety came on it was acute and intense. I think it had been building for sometime but I was not so aware untill one day I had a major whoosh and that was me gone for a month or more. I was in a state of high anxiety when I first visited the doctor and wanted relief from the symptoms, heart racing, shaking all over all the time etc. The doctor recommended propranolol, a beta blocker that would slow down my heart rate and therefore reduce the symptoms. I started taking them and straight away felt relief from the symptoms. I have been taking one a day regularly for over six months, sometimes 2 a day whether I feel anxious or not and I am now afraid to come off them. I have confidence that I will as time goes by I am learning and understanding more and enabling my body to heal. I also started on an anti-depressant citalopram. I have had a tendency to feel depressed through this anxiety and I wonder whether this has safeguarded me against getting even more depressed?? mmm i’m not so ‘sure. Anxiety is not a life threatening fatal disease that needs medication in order for you to survive per se, there are claims that meds can help to stablise your mental state and I think they help alot of people. They may provide some relief, like they did for me but it’s very individual. I want to get off mine now!
    You could ask the GP what treatment they were going to suggest and have a look at the individual medications so you can read about them and see in more detail???
    don’t give yourself too much stick about it, it doesnt sound like there has to be a time limit on your decision. What would the natropath way be?
    take it easy-Jules

  77. Nicole Says:

    Thanks to you both for sharing your experiences. I would say that 60-70% of the time I have faith in the healing intelligence of my body to get me through this, but it is those overwhelming moments, and sometimes days where I wonder if I will ever get through. I don’t know why I even bother talking to the MD because I never leave feeling better! I am still in deciding mode and have to say that your stories have left me feeling more hesitant to try the meds.
    Thanks, nicole

  78. Nicole Says:

    Hi Jules,
    I have explored most homeopathic options with some success. I meditate regularly, watch my diet, do yoga once or twice a week, run 2-3 times a week, read a ton, tried a range of herbs to help calm and stabalize mood, talk therapy (CBT), and most recently accupuncture. The most helpful discoveries I have made though have been Paul’s book and the books by Claire Weekes. I do believe that my hormonal cycle (sorry guys) plays a part in this, but I still stuggle with trying to convince myself that I will not go off the deep-end, even though I have read that this place does not exist.
    I have had moments and I know that my husband has where I feel like enough is enough, just try the medication. Patience and faith is the key. So much easier said than done! Thanks everyone for your help and honesty!

  79. lorryt Says:

    well i guess i will just try the phrase i have been through so much how can i expect to recover in 9 months!, but i WILL GET BETTER
    i wont comment on medication as i am on sertraline 100m and have helped me as i wasant even getting out of bed 9 months ago , and am now back at work , coping with things a lot better going out etc .
    have a great day guys and i value your help

  80. Freddy Says:

    My days of setbacks are when I react to a symptom in a very irritable way. Getting angry at them, and not seeing the end of the tunnel.

    My better days are when I’m OK with having my needs not met ( the need to be free of symptoms). Its actually quite freeing to be content with not having my desires fulfilled, and its a state of being I only brush on occasionally, but it really feels like true acceptance.

    Setback state of being is something I’m finding hard to be OK with at the moment.

  81. LORRYT Says:


  82. lisa Says:

    hi lorry ,it just came it felt very odd after suffering for so long,i even asked paul what this feeling was as i felt something was missing.his answer was so right it was like id been in prison for a long time and because id won all my battles my prison sentence was up i was now out .its took me along time,i stopped battling with the thoughts and are now accepting this is me for a while yet feeling strange and normal.dont get me wrong i still have bad days and setbacks due to stresses that occur in life but i know they pass with time and they do.anxious became normal for me,now normal is becoming normal again which feels very strange but i no from pauls advice that this is ok .

  83. LORRYT Says:

    well im at work and have these waves of anxiety passing over me, i just let them go, but the feeling i am gonna be physically sick is the worst. i guess im still fighting the battle.

    cheers lisa
    sorry to keep posting but am feeling insecure about it all

  84. lisa Says:

    lorry, dont be sorry this is what this blog is for,help,advice,reassurance.i know what its like but nothing can happen to you,i fought the battle for along time if id of had the help at the right time and pauls book id of been better alot quicker.the more you understand the more you will learn. :-)

  85. Rachael Says:

    Hi everyone,

    Firstly I want to say how much I love this site. I have had 3 big bouts of anxiety during my life – each kinda different in their own way. This one was/is definately the worst – I also got pretty depressed because of it a few months ago. I am now 6 months in to this latest batch – and have had 2 setbacks, the first was really bad and I sunk down into the darkest place, this one however is (touch wood) nasty but not quite so bad. It is a horrible feeling when you have a set-back, you feel like you will never recover. However things that are helping me at the moment is to not realise that the anxious wierd thoughts that I get will go and have no impact when I recover – I also try and see a more rational response to my anxious thoughts – however I find you need to do this before the anxiety kicks in. Finally I try and give myself permission to feel like I do – I think its natural to worry yourself back into things when events are so raw. Question for Paul: I tend to worry myself into set-backs, I usually get them when everything is going well – I then think I hope I don’t get that again – worry worry – oh no I am. A vicious cycle – is this common? Am beating myself up about doing it to myself at the moment.

  86. Frank Says:

    Hey all.

    I just want to post some of my opinions on the subject of setbacks. First off we’ve all heard cliches that good cannot exist without evil, darkness cannot exist without light, and that heat cannot exist without cold.

  87. Frank Says:

    Sorry guys accidentally hit the submit button by accident. Haha.

    Well essentially i make the same analogy towards anxiety in that anxiety cannot exist without calmness and in another sense, calmness cannot exist without anxiety. Because when we think about it, if only one of the two existed, then the whole scope of their existences will lose all its meanings. Without darkness, we will not have a sense of what is light, without bad events, we cannot distinguish from a good event. As so without anxiety, we cannot achieve a level of calmness in our lives. In essence, the opposite of what we feel is good establishes the existence and the reality of the other.

    And so the question i guess is still – Why are we so anxious in the first place?

    Well keeping to the subject, i see anxiety and setbacks as the very thing that brings our own mind into existence. Because essentially all it is is a bad thought. Though there may be some physical sensations, all it really is, a bad thought feeding off another bad thought. So then – why is it necessary to think of bad thoughts? We wish not to experience this, it all seems useless right now, it feels as if we are losing our own minds. Although it may seem that we are losing our mind, i feel that the polar opposite is true and that our mind only becomes stronger in essence because we are experiencing the other half of the situation. So then why are many people around able to cope. We see people around us every day and it seems that 99% of them do not suffer from the same anxiety as i do. Why is this? Well, like i said it is impossible for a calm mind to be without anxiety, so it is clear that all of them have it present in their day. The only difference is that they see it for what it is much faster than we do. A mere thought. They are able to to shatter the metaphorical wall of anxiety at the first step; the first brick; the first thought; since anxiety is basically one thought that builds on another. So in essence we are not going mad, we are perhaps more real and less insane than we once were.

    So essentially setbacks are what keep our mind in check. It brings us to reality. All that’s left is to see it for what it is – a mere thought. That is all that’s necessary for us to move on

  88. lorryt Says:

    well i guess you are right Lisa, i am trying to educate myself by reading pauls book and digesting it and putting it into practice, i have bought wills book too, but found it a bit too indepth. made me think too much!. little by little i will see changes i guess, and little changes add together to make bigger steps.
    i need to do one day at a time , and not try and rush my brain through worrying how im gonna cope if im still like this in a years time. i will get through it,with this blog and other sufferers help i can.
    have a great day despite the rain!!!

  89. Rick Says:

    Hello everyone..
    Who’s for some ouzo then??? Had a great time an i really think that a holiday has been an eye opener.. So much to tell… Its has refreshed me an now im back its like a wave of positive energy.. Ok there was i think a couple of days where i was feeling the setback thing but overall i gained more and more confidence as the week went on… a positive mind i feel now is the way forward for me…
    Hope all is well with everyone.

  90. Jules Says:

    hey nicole-it’s great that you live such a healthy lifestyle i’m sure that must support your health. Exercise is a little bit of my downfall-I exercise in my head 10 times a day but really only get round to doing something about once a week. I’m a yogi inside trying to get out!!! I guess the other thing is it’s important that we do these things for ourselves and not in an effort to avoid or chase away the anxiety.
    I have the same experience hormonally. I was talking to someone about it the other day and there is a physiological explanation-cortisol uses the same building blocks as progesterone so at points of your cycle there will naturally be more cortisol (adrenaline type neurotransmitter?) knocking about, that together with anxiety and tired nerves is bound to raise the anxiety. Am getting a wee bit biological here and i’m not even sure if it’s accurate, sorry, it made sense to me at the time.

  91. lisa Says:

    hey rick,well done glad you had a great holiday and feeling good,see i said you could do it :-)

  92. LORRYT Says:

    great to know it has refreshed your mind and with that comes confidence,

    we know we can all get through it,

    im sat at work again! and there is a saying on my calender

    all good work is done the way ants do things, little by little
    cliche but true.

  93. cazza Says:

    Hi there just joined the blog.

    I have set backs which really knock my confidence. Looking at what has been said i deal with it the wrong way i just struggle every day with normal day to day stuff wondering when all the feelings are gonna disappear.

    How do you get out of the fear of fear cycle. I fear the sensations very much although i do just try and plod on. ideas greatly appreciated on how to deal with this..

    thanks cazza

  94. Rick Says:

    Thanks Lisa..
    Hopefully the weather will follow me home… just a cool 38c over there :)
    Hope all’s well with you…

  95. jimmy Says:

    Tom, your earlier post about just “putting up with the crap for a bit” was great.

    This past weekend was a holiday weekend here in the States and overall it was a very good weekend for me. Then on the last day of the weekend – WHAM – I had a setback. A good portion of the day was just me fighting to get back to where I was earlier in the weekend – I was so ticked off – it was a beautiful day, I was sitting poolside and I still couldn’t relax. I forgot everything that gave me relief in the first place. It was almost like I was anxious just because that was the only thing that could possibly ruin my day. Then on Tuesday morning I woke up still feeling like crap and my frustration boiled over and I just said, “Bleep you” and basically just stopped giving a damn. I gotta tell you all, the rest of yesterday and all day today have been great. I still had a few anxious moments but I felt so much better.

    The biggest challenge for me is definitely not to be too impressed with how this condition makes me feel at the instant the thought enters my head and gets me going. It’s so darn easy to be negative and get into the worry cycle. But when I actually remember to stay positive and remember this is a temporary feeling, things do get better. That’s why Tom’s post from earlier today was just so spot on. We just have to deal with feeling like crap for a little bit and remember that this awful feeling is just nonsense. Eventually our minds will remember to deal with it in that way.

  96. Debbie Says:

    Tom, i agree with Jimmy. Your post was great! Thanks, its helping me alot! Kinda feelin a bit crappy again, but i’m just goin to put up with the crap!!! LOL 😉

  97. Raymond Says:

    Hello Everboby,I dont post on here very often but i read the blog every day.Thanks Candie for your last reply.I think you should go into anxiety counselling as a career.I have anxiety now 20 years and and have been fighting it all this time.The one thing that i could never get my head around was something that Jimmy and Candie has spoke about.How a scary unpleasant thought can mean and feel something very diffferent at different times of the day.It is just down to the level of anxiety and adrenline that is present on the body.Thoughts that terrify me in the morning or at work might not have any affect on me at night at home when i am more relaxed.When anxiety is on the body the scary thoughts seem so real yet later in the evening they are seen for what they are just thoughts and nothing to worry about.I have read so many books and researched on the internet for such a long time to find the answers.I know the theory of how to deal with this condition but when you are in that moment when the anxiety and thoughts are there and you feel like you are that invisible edge as i call it,the theory does not seem to kick in.This is the hardest thing to deal with.I think that is why it is very hard to take that leap of faith and let everthing float past or let it stay there without reation.Somebody told last week it is time to give up the fight.This is the only way out of this condition.

    Keep the faith


  98. JR Says:

    jimmy…awesome post…exactly what happened to me this weekend. As soon as I felt a little anxious or the thoughts started coming I got a little pissed and started fighting again…it’s sure is tough at times to let the feelings and thoughts come after you’ve felt better…where do you live in the states…i’m in texas

  99. David Says:


    I really enjoyed reading your post today. I have had a setback and it’s likely a bit of a self inflicted one at that. I almost try to prove to myself that I can deal with things. Reading your post, really helped me to understand that this is just part of recovery.

    I am trying my hardest to see them as a situation that will pass and an opportunity to learn.

    Thanks again,


  100. No More Anxiety Says:

    David glad you enjoyed it and found it helpful. Everything I write on here I have been through with experience. I had many setbacks and they not only always passed, they built up my confidence that I would come through everytime. They stopped having such an impact and were as you say another test of testing my ‘Whatever’ attitude out and that’s what it becomes a built in attitude, you don’t have to walk around saying ‘I must accept this or I must accept that’ as this again becomes fighting, if that makes sense. In other words not saying ‘I have spent all day accepting this thing and it is still here’ More of a ‘I don’t care that it is’ there is a world of difference.


  101. jimmy Says:

    JR, I’m in Pennsylvania. And you definitely nailed it – it is so hard to let the anxious thoughts/feelings come and go again when you’ve recently started to feel better – it is certainly one of the biggest challenges. Patience is the key, but patience is not a virtue I was born with. So this has definitely been a work in progress for me. However, it is definitely the best way forward. Fighting it and trying to figure it all out is just a battle we will lose everytime.

  102. jimmy Says:

    Raymond, you described what is my biggest challenge in all of this. I know what to do (and what not to do) to feel relief. I know not to fight, question, investigate, etc. But when I get all anxious and the split second that thought or feeling comes, there are times when I totally blow it and do the exact opposite of what I’m supposed to do. It’s like studying for a big test and knowing everything in the book…..then the day of the test comes and you just forget everything. I suppose that’s the power this “fight or flight” reaction has – we’re not supposed to think, we’re supposed to react and protect ourselves from whatever it is that’s causing us danger. Only problem is, there is no danger.

    It does take time – I’m getting better at it but I’m certainly not completely recovered. But I feel better and it goes a long way to helping the confidence level. Feeling better also keeps you spirits up to the point when the next episode hits, you don’t get so bummed out about it. For me, attitude is the key. Hey, look on the bright side, if we all were cave-people way back when, we wouldn’t have been eaten by the dinosaurs – our “fight or flight” would have worked just fine in those conditions. That’s my lame attempt at humor for the evening.

  103. jo Says:

    Hi all
    Havent posted in a while, but have been visiting the blog regularly, its always so reasuring, having all your good advice, and knowing im not alone.

    Ive been doing really well recently, with only small setbacks, nothing too severe, until this past weekend, had a bit of a stressful day with my kids (I have 2 of my own, aged 5 and 11, and 2 step children aged 6 and 10).

    I got so stressed out with them on sunday, then a couple of days later, on tuesday, I woke up felling crap, this feeling has stayed with me, and today I woke up feeling the worst Ive felt in a very long time.

    i seem to have forgotten all I have learnt from you guys and Im back to square one.

    I feel so low, this morning, Im getting ready for work, and the feelings of fear are overwhelming, I just cant seem to get a hold on myself, I can honestly say this is the worst setback ive had.

    I guess im just looking for some reasurance, from you guys, you are all so supportive, and its great to hear so many of you are doing so well.

    Im sorry to be on such a downer, Im just really struggling today.
    If theres any advice you can give me id really appreciate it.
    Thanks, Jo x

  104. jo Says:

    Hi lorryT,

    Just reread your blog and it has really helped me, you sound so much like me, what with being on meds, as I am on antideppresants,(ive had depression on and off for 11 years)

    I worry about things that we know are just thoughts, I worry about the daftest stuff, my favourite at the moment being, “oh my god the house is in such a mess!” I seem to obsess about it when I have a setback, and I am always getting in a panick about the future, for example, we are taking all 4 kids on holiday on monday, and im in a panic about doing the packing, and that i wont be able to cope while im a way, and who will feed the cats and the rabbit, all very silly thoughts I know.

    Like me you have been through so much recently, my hubby has been poorly and in and out of hospital since may last year, I had a big fight with my parents and had no contact with them for 2 years, until I had a call from my mum out of the blue in febuary, to say dad was in hospital, and only had a couple of days to live, and that he had asked to see me,
    which was a huge shock, we were able to make our peace, but It left me feeling how much time I had wasted not having them in my life.

    So its no wonder we have ended up with this anxiety, its just our bodies way of telling us it needs a break, and so we need to stop being so hard on ourselves, and give ourselves the time we need to get better.

    Take one day at a time, I know im gonna try harder to do that.

    Take care, Jo XXX

  105. lorryt Says:

    hi jo

    im new here, but like you have found it great, very reassuring and very positive. you are doing everything right.

    its gonaa happen from time to time, it sounds llike up until the weekend you were doing brilliantly, just hold on to the fact that things will be like that again. i had a bad weekend too and have felt crappy all week , stick with it, keep going as normal, and dont ever apologise for feeling low.

    having 4 kids must be quite a stress anyway, ( having 2 is bad enough !).

    people on here are great full of encouragement and advice.

    stick with it, you know you are doing the right thing we are all work in progress, sounds like you are further along the road than you think.

    try not to stress about it too much, it will get better

    all the best


  106. lorryt Says:

    Hi jo

    wow you have been through a hell of a lot. i just keep telling myself one day at a time, thats all any of us can do , those with anxiety and those without !!

    You hit the nail on the head too, we do beat ourselves up about needless things, and put too much pressure on ourselves without realising it. I can see that today, as I am learning to accept how i feel good or bad, nothing is gonna happen to us.

    we are all here for each other, you aren’t on your own

    it will get better BELIEVE ME.XX

  107. Beth Says:

    Hi. Jimmy, I’m in PA too. I think if you (we) can get past the rollercoaster ride of recovery, you are on your way. I am doing pretty well, my worst problems are the physical symptoms that scare me. I went to a concert last night, felt great, woke up this morning…..high anxiety!WHY???? This is the part that really frustrates me. I think a lot of anxiety has to do with habit, and sometimes it takes awhile to realize the habit is even there. (Does that make sense?) Well, on with the day. Have a great weekend!

  108. lisa Says:

    i hadnt until you mentioned it candie but sure paul can have a look ,come on paul can you fix it…yes you :-) beth its habit and memory say hello to it ,and then carry on remember invite it in ,rubbish i no .but thats how you replace the habit it shows your not bothered :-)

  109. No More Anxiety Says:

    Posts going missing?

    I have deleted the one about Wills book, I told him I would just put it on for a month and then take it down, so don’t worry about that one. Other than that I only stop certain NEW posts coming through and on very rare occasions moderate a comment from an existing member, but this is very rare and I have not done this for a while.

    How it works is the first time you post it will have to be moderated, basically let through on to the blog, once it has done this then that person can carry on posting, if it gets rejected then they are not able to post on the blog and I may email them to tell them why or if it is just blatent spam then I don’t. This keeps the site clean and stops certain things I don’t want on here, things that I don’t think will help others or go against what I believe in. Hopefully this is why people comment on it being a nice, helpful, positive place.

    New post coming on Monday by the way.


  110. Jeff Says:

    Hi All
    I haven’t posted in a while,but I did want to comment on this subject before Paul puts on a new post. This was a “hot” topic because it touches close to home for all of us who have suffered from anxiety. I like most of you were as bad as you could get (don’t we all feel this way!) with suffering, but after many months of questioning everything, then many more weeks trying to deny my feelings I finally said who cares and got on with my life. Since the beginning of the year I’ve felt great and have only had a few setbacks. Which for me has been an obession about thinking about what I’m thinking about. Kind of like a car getting stuck in gear. The great thing is they seem to be less and less of an issue every time. For me it’s just been a natural progression of feeling normal. I honestly believe it’s just a matter of accepting how you feel. Feeling normal doesn’t mean being perfect or great, for me it means enjoying life. So for all of you hanging your head low, don’t sweat it. I know things will get better for you.

  111. jo Says:

    Hi all,
    hope you all had a good day.
    just wanted to say thankyou LorryT, Ive just finished work and came straight on here, todays been a difficult one for me, very tearful, (its a good job I work on my own most of the day, or else people would think im a miserable so and so! lol) I had a few really panicky moments, which I havent had for a long time.

    I just kept trying to be positive, and this prolly sounds a bit daft, but I kept thinking about you and all the other guys on here and wondering what sort of day you where having, just knowing there are others out there going through the same feelings as me, helped.

    Im feeling better this evening, which is the norm for me, in the morning I feel really crappy, but by the evening my anxiety calms down a bit, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to say thanks for being so supportive, Like everybody here, knowing your all here, makes things easier.

    hope you have a good weekend. take care, Jo xxx

  112. No More Anxiety Says:

    Feeling normal doesn’t mean being perfect or great, for me it means enjoying life. So for all of you hanging your head low, don’t sweat it. I know things will get better for you.

    That is a very good statement Jeff. Most people think they have to feel normal or perfect otherwise something is wrong…….This is not the case ‘No longer mattering how you feel’ is the key. That means taking all the ups and downs, rolling with the punches and having the faith that one day things will be so different. Thanks for posting, so many people come back and say how well they are doing and that puts so much more faith into others, espcially people who have just stumpled on the site.


  113. Fergal Says:

    Hi guys, just wanted to add my experience on the existential situation, this is what all my anxiety is about, I feel like there is no point to life, we just live and we just die and there is no point to it all, when people say to me ‘life is short’ it sends me into a terrible anxiety, I can barely stand it, it feels like I am the only one who understands this, no one else does, its very frightening, I just cant get my head around it, i feel like if I was just panicking over something ‘small’ I could get my head around it and recover, but because it is such a ‘big’ question, I feel its somewhat ‘logical’ to worry about it, I see old people and I go ‘how do you not worry about dying’, I worry about my mom and dad dying, I feel totally crazy and think sometimes I have a much more serious illness, like schizophrenia or something, please can someone tell me they relate?? thanks a lot

  114. Fergal Says:

    …just in following up on that, I have the ‘awareness’ that what I am thinking is irrational, which comforts me that I am not totally insane, but it feels so real, could be that I am depressed also? I know there is such a thing called ‘existential depression’, so when I read that, I straight away thought – ‘this is what I suffer from’, so I can never be happy, never enjoy anything, because ‘there is no point’, I dont actually feel depressed, no ‘sad’ feelings or anything, just the ‘anxiety’.

  115. candie Says:

    Ok Paul, maybe its my laptop :S Strange lol

    I have a job interview on monday 😀

    In a bit of a setback atm, its kinds a good set back though because it has showed me how far i have come compared to other set backs. So even though i feel crap, i can see that i have improved as a set back before would leave me in bed feeling sorry for myself… thinking iv done something wrong and that i want it all to go away. I think iv got a good way to go yet, but iv finally got a bit of perspective on this now… think im getting the hang of things.

    Fergal, anxiety can suck the happiness out of most things in our life…. just remember its not you forever.. just for the time being and that things will be fine again when your mind and body recovers.

  116. Manuella Says:

    Hello everyone!

    Just coming by to say: I love this blog!

    Paul, you’re a life saver (hehehe…I know, you think we all use this line with you way too many times, but it’s true).
    So, recovering takes time and patience and sometimes we don’t feel too sure to come around and say: I’m feeling good!
    With me, the whole “you’re such a happy person, I can’t believe you suffer with anxiety” it’s a big issue.
    I do not react very well when complimented and tend to run away…probably low self esteem?! Who knows…
    The thing is: I’m learning to live my life, no matter what, and I have to thank Internet, google, learning English, and most of all, have to thank Paul and all the people that came into my life through this website.

    Anyway, maybe I had a few too many glasses of sangria tonight…BUT have to say: this blog is my talisman, I love it with all my heart.

    Paul, again: thank you for EVERYTHING!

  117. No More Anxiety Says:

    Manuella, Must be that Sangria : )

    Thank you for your kind words, of course its nice if people say nice things, but I get my drive out of people improving and knowing I may have made a difference to people’s lives.

    You should react to people saying nice things, you are a very pretty, funny, inteligent person and that’s why people compliment you. Anyway where have you been recently, not much sign of our Portugese, Brazilian friend recently…..Don’t be a stranger Manuella, you always lighten up this blog.

    Take care


  118. jimmy Says:

    Fergal, the existential thing is my issue also. No, you’re not crazy and I’m pretty sure you don’t have a serious illness based on what you posted because you pretty much nailed all of the thoughts/feelings I get when I get anxious. When you are in that awful existential cycle, it feels like you will be there forever, I know. But trust me, you will go from feeling that existential anxiety alot, to feeling it sometimes, and then it will eventually only pop up occasionally. Then it will be gone. I know it feels like that day will never arrive….but it will. Just try not to take that feeling too seriously, it’s just anxiety – but it will take practice – I’m still working on it myself and am seeing steady improvement.

    I don’t know why our anxiety goes right to the existential thing and I’m done trying to figure it out – it just makes it worse. This condition has a way of making us temporarily lose our perspective of everything, and that’s been the worst part for me. I’ve questioned why I need to go to work, why do we do this or that, what is the purpose? Everything seemed so pointless and very temporary (if that makes any sense). What has helped me when I feel like that is to just let my body pull me through – it always does. When I feel well, the perspective comes back and that’s how I know I’m going to be just fine eventually. Fergal, you just didn’t wake up one day and decide that life just sucks. If you really thought that, you wouldn’t be so stressed out about feeling this way. It is just anxiety knocking your perspective right on its ear. It’s a horrible feeling but it always goes away.

  119. lorryt Says:

    Hi jo

    it is helping me knowing everyone on here is going through the same thing , and you all help.
    its tough and eventually things drop into place, normally tiny things at a is a good release fro me as i have to concentrate, if i was on my own i think i would just get worse, as i have a tendency to think too much about things and make their importance more than it should be. Other peoples input keeps me sane !!!
    im so glad i found this place and pauls book
    have a good day all xx

  120. jo Says:

    Hi all, hi lorryt
    I hope you are all doing ok, Im still in my setback, im really struggling at the mo, I really do fel like im back to square one, today being the worst yet, I had to literally drag myself out of bed, for 2 nights now, ive gone off to sleep ok, but then at about 3am im wide awake, feeling panicky, my heart pounding, sweating, and feeling like im gonna be sick.
    Im sorry to keep going on about it, but im getting so desperate, I can’t believe its happening again!!

    I cant remember ever feeling ok, and im just so scared of never being right again.

    I know im doing everything pauls book tells me not to but the feelings are so strong this time, I feel like im drowning in them.

    Please, if anyone can help me, I would be so grateful.

    Take care all, Jo

  121. candie Says:

    Jo, im in exactly the same place as you, the thing you have to remember is that you are not back to square one… just stick it out and let the fight go, i know its hard but there is nothing you can do to change how we feel.. so there is no point in battling it as it just comes back with avengence.

    Let the battle go, when your anxiety levels have calmed i bet you have learned something from this setback which will help you with your next one… until your at the stage of not caring about them.

    We have to go through these setbacks time and time again to apply the acceptance to programme our mind to respond to anxiety differently, in a sense each set back you come through is building your confidence.. we have to have them to regain our resiliance to anxiety.

    Ok, just a quick question.. has anyone ever had slight muscle twitches.. when my anxiety is high i get it. Its not noticable to anyone else (well the havnt mensioned it!), could it be adrenaline… i know some people shake from anxiety but this has scared me into thinking i have some other illness :(

  122. lisa Says:

    hi candie dont worry its all anxiety,because your muscles are tense and your nerves still bad they make your muscles twitch. get into your meditation again.think were all rubbish and in setbacks this week :-(

  123. Paul McG Says:

    Candie , you make a lot of sense , with regards to Jo’s setback , so I’m sure you dont really think you have some other illness ! the problem is we often dont practice what we preach to others , I think because we are looking into someone elses situation Its clearer to see their mistakes and how they can improve and be more positive about things , but when its to do with ourselfes we somehow manage to change the rules , or process of thought and make something else of it ! if we all remember the key facts in Pauls book and what we have learned , then we can put all the strange sensations and experiences down to anxiety , then we can begin to accept and turn the corner !
    Jo It is hard sometimes when the anxiety is excessively strong , but it will go if you believe in what you’ve read , it will take practice , but as I say stop the battle and believe things will get better !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  124. Rick Says:

    Paul your comments make alot of sence..
    It’s very easy for us to tell someone else how to deal with the Anxiety process… However when it comes to going it alone its far more of a challenge than it sounds… Like when i was flying home a man next to us was really nervous, i told him that the bad turbulance was normal and everything was fine ,he was literally shaking and i told him how to relax. The interesting thing is that if i wasn’t talking him through the relaxing techniques, would i have been so calm???? i very much doubt it. Are minds are so powerfull it’s amazing, we all probably over process the smallest things, But this isnt a sign of downfall. Its because we have creative, imaginative minds that we think too much. If i have taken anything out of Anxiety then its the respect for my mind, our bodies really are temples and we can overcome anything that lies in are path to recovery…

  125. candie Says:

    You are right PaulMc, when my anxiety is at its worst i always expect the worst of every thought or feeling- then after a few weeks i look back and realise how silly i was at the time.
    Lisa, i thought it might be that.. i guess i was just looking for reassurance, i need to beleive what i have learnt when im faced with set backs. I do know though i have to come through them a fair few times to improve, and its not an overnight thing of just accepting these thoughts and feelings. The proof and confidence of my body healing comes from coming through lots of times and taking a bit of confidence from each time.

    Im going to look at certain parts of pauls book again, just to refresh my memory. The idea is there in my mind but i need a bit of reassurance from the book i think!

  126. Raymond Says:

    Candie,I get twitching in in my arms and hands when my anxiety levels are high.It happens more if i am driving or using a pen at work.Then my thoughts take different meanings out it and this in turn feeds my anxiety.If i am beside somebody its like my hands are going to strike out.Then its into the anxiety cycle.It very hard to separate the thoughts from the feelings as memory and habit link them together.I think it is matter of getting use to it so that it doesn’t matter if they are there or not.Just let it be there if it wants.I find this very hard to deal with at times.

  127. jo Says:

    Candie, thanks for your advice, everything you say is totally right, I do need to give up the battle, I know im just putting more pressure on myself.
    I know it is just memory and habit making me fight, what you said has made me realise that I things are not as bad as they first seem.

    At the mo im putting pressure on myself to be well, cos we are taking the kids away to the coast for a few days, and I dont want to let them down, or spoil there holiday.

    what you say about going through these setbacks to regain our resilience to our anxiety, is so right, ive never thought of it like that, im going to remember that piece of advice and repeat it to myself, in a setback.

    Also you say about the muscle twitching, i get it alot, in my arms and legs, especially when im relaxed, so its nothing to worry about, I find it quite funny actually, sitting there watching telly and my arm or my leg does a little jump, isnt it strange how so many of us have the same symptoms, but we all react to them in different ways?

    Thanks Rick and Paul Mc,for what you say, You all make so much sense, im going to right all these down in pauls book and take it with me on holiday, then I can remind myself of all your wise words.

    Thanks guys you really have made a huge difference, take care all,
    Love Jo xxx

  128. Candie Says:

    Thanks for replying Jo and Raymond.. it has helped knowing its just anxiety… i new it anyway, but when my anxiety is so high i find it hard to be rational.

    Glad my advice helped you Jo, when i accept setbacks and just go with the flow… they pass a lot quicker and i lose a bit of fear my anxiety holds each time. Thats why we need to have them, each one is an opportunity to let go of the battle… and win some confidence and resiliance back.

    One day, we will all be well again…. it will come to us sooner if we abandon ourself to how we feel… i find it hard to do that at times, but in Wills book he mensioned at his lowest eb was when he started to feel better. I supose when we are at our lowest we give in and lose the will to fight this… then the anxiety isn’t as powerful. Strange isnt it that giving up the fight is going to be what makes us better again! We dont have to search anymore, we have everything we need inside us to be free of this illness…. i like the fact there is external cure… knowing the cure is internal stops me feeling so poweless.

  129. LORRYT Says:

    it really is crap when you think you are going backwards, but you arent, you have to keep going through it time and time again to realise that it is getting better. believe me its taken me this long to realise that , and believe that i will get there. everyone else seems to put it much better than me, im not that great with words!
    your brain will accept the postive thinking side of it and it will sink in , if even like me it has been very slowly ! its all worth it in the end

    have a great holiday

  130. Candie Says:

    Hi Lorryt

    I think it is a slow process for many of us, as we have habits and as pauls site says entrenched in the anxiety. Beleiveit or not it is these set backs that will make us well again, as they help to build a positive thought and attitude each time we come through them.

    I’m feeling a bit better now, and im starting to think how on earth did i manage to get myself so worked up. I think we need to come through it time and time again so when we are in the moment of it we understand why we feel like we do and as we have come through we build positive thoughts that there is no real danger… so then we dont add the second fear and prolong the anxiety.

    This might not make sense to people that are in the heat of a set back, but once it passes i bet you feel a bit stronger and able to float past your next one.

  131. lisa Says:

    hi candie ,i agree with you,when youv had anxiety along time,then get back on and fall off, its so tireing to pick your self up and get back on the right path again but hey were doing it.lorry must say you sound alot better ,more positive keep at it ,its nice to see you posting advice and reassurance to us hehe..glad your feeling better.

  132. Paul Mc Says:

    Jo ,
    Be sure to try and enjoy your holiday , as much as you want your kids to ! You deserve it as well you know !! , I have lost track of how many times I went on holiday with my kids , and missed every opportunity to enjoy myself , overwhelmed by my thought of anxiety , that was before I obtained the facts as to why I felt like I did !!! You have that knowledge now , I know you have struggled recently but seize the moment and enjoy it the best you can , let the anxiety take the back seat for a change , because your time with your kids and the joy it brings , IS what life is really all about , you will improve in time , believe it will happen , simply because it will !!


  133. steph Says:

    hi all, iv not posted for a while as iv only just finished uni but have been reading blogs when iv had time! seems like everyne is in the same boat at the too, i have hardly had symptoms..well not ones that have been that hard to cope with..however iv been having a setback for over a week now on n off allthough yday n today are the worst..and i agree with the others who hav been havin setbacks recentley it is hard to tell yourself its jus anxiety as i find it hard to think rationally which is scary i itself..not to be able to rationalise your own thoughts. iv been training for the race for life so iv been taking good care of myself..had nite out for freinds bday last week n had a huge hangover (they get worse as i dont drink often!) n my anxiety was much worse so i tend to avoid going out at all costs which is not good i know..but i think of the way it makes me n it freaks me out..anyway sometimes when my anxietys really high when i try to go to sleep as soon as i shut my eyes i have loas of different images in my head that really overwhelm me n make me feel panicky..could be just people who iv spoke to thru day or anything its like as many images n thoughts have jus piled into my head n it feels awful..does anyone get this n if so do u have suggestions? i automatically think the worst n think its the star of me goin crazy!! i also agree with paul mcg n rick to their posts about being able to offergood advice in similar situations yet not practicing what we preach..i do this a lot my freind has been through a similar situation with anxiety as my sister has..and im there tellin them everything that i should be doin! which i do the majority of the time yet like candie n jo says when the feelings are that strong it can sometimesbe so overwhelming it encourages us to believe were back to square one when if you think about it look at all the time we have had at feelin relatively normal..whatever that is!!i hope your not all struggling too much and hope to hear from anyone who has any advice…thanks for listening ..take care x

  134. lisa Says:

    hi steph,its just thoughts that come like pictures accept them there,let them come let them go,dont worry or analise there fine,cant help you on the alcohol bit i dont really drink.but when i did before anxiety it left me feeling rubbish all day ,dehydrated ,so just drink plenty of water to flush your system through. take care.

  135. candie Says:

    That is because your mind is still awake when your head hits the pillow steph… plus now your over aware of it, its a bit of an issue for you. Before you go to bed do something that relaxes you, read a book, have an aromatherapy oil bath, meditation, relaxing music……. it all helps to relax you.

    I get them thoughts some times, its weird because its like when im dreaming and can actually picture the thought… but its split seconds and flashes of images etc.. just an over active, tired mind.

  136. lorryt Says:

    i have felt a bit better since finding you lot, its amazing how others experiences can help.i am learning to taake one day at a time and not worry about tomorrow. nobody knows what will happen in an hour let alone 24 hours !!.it has helped me become a lot calmer in my attitude towards life really. on the subject of alcohol, i have cut down immensely as i ws drinking alot before i had my breakdown i think to drown my sorrows. i shared 3 bottles of wine saturday night and thought ohh my god i am gonna pay for this tomorrow, but i kept calm, and although i had a bit of aheadache my anxiety stayed at bay quite a bit. basically avoid alcohol or drink as little as you think you can !!!!!.

  137. Nicole Says:

    Hi there,
    Just a quick question – how do you know when you are in “recovery”?
    This whole process often just feels like alot of back and forth without any big steps forward and I still get freaked out by the news and the word “breakdown” even when I see the word being used in other ways.
    Any thoughts out there on this?

  138. LORRYT Says:

    hi nicole

    well my own experience, is i look back at what was going on in my head 9 months ago , and how i was in myself, and see what i am able to do now compared with back then, to me that is recovery.although beit slow, it doe seem like alot of up and down, but the jumps up get bigger and the falls back down get smaller?am i making sense???

    hope it helps

  139. Peter Says:

    Hi all going through a bit of a setback at the mo. Feeling a bit strange rather like anxiety is ‘just under the surface’ and ready to bite me at any time if you know what I mean?! Trying to stay positive but it is hard as I do keep feeling really tired. This acceptance thing can be tough at times!

  140. JR Says:

    nicole…know what you mean. Recovery seems to be up and down and more up and down. what is hard for me is that I don’t know if a setback is caused by me and my actions/behaviors or if they are just inevitable and will happen no matter what I do.

    Like this weekend I was feeling pretty good (i still had anxious thoughts and images pop into my head but let them be there and leave…just let myself go through them and not react). I was able to accomplish a lot in this stressful time of year…then I would get these thoughts like why am I even doing all this work on the house for and get that awful feeling like once this is done, then what, like an awful empty feeling. Then I could just feel the anxiety coming back little by little and then I try to just let it come, but it seems to just build and build, then I start worrying and analyzing what people are saying to me, taking a thought too seriously, etc. Then I’m back to panic or strong anxiety mode. This sets in for a few days and then I can get back on track and feel good again. And the process repeats itself.

    Those with DP, I feel like I have come pretty far through this but it is definitely still around a lot. By practicing Pauls approach I’ve experience times where the curtain lifted. (a few minutes or so). I got to this point around a year ago just doing it on my own before an life event totally threw me off course and back into severe anxiety/DP. I’ve grown so much through the last year especially with regards to my relationship with my wife. I don’t want what we have built over the last year to go away, but at this stage of recovery from DP and anxiety when I look at her face or a lot people’s face I just feel nothing. I guess I’m almost getting scared of recovery from DP even though I want it so much. Almost like scared for the curtain to and then fall back again.

    Well getting really long so I’ll just shut up. take care everyone.

  141. lorryt Says:

    well after having a good day yesterday, today i am struggling, and not listening to my own advice, .
    and just get on with what im doing. things just keep creeping in on me. i was given some bad news about a friend yesterday and thats playing on my mind, but i cannot change the out come of it. i cant let it pull me down.

  142. Paul Mc Says:

    Your right Lorry you cant change anything ! I used to worry myself to death about the future and other things I had no control over ,Its crazy really , but you know what to do now , just get on with every day life and dont obsess , accept and move on !

  143. Peter Says:

    Does anyone else find that when they get tired they find anxiety and its symptoms much harder to deal with? I’ve been tired this week and have started feeling sorry for myself today eg saying why am I bothering which I don’t want to do! Am trying to snap out of it as I write!

  144. lorryt Says:

    shame it has taken me so long to realise that !!. ive had 8 years of this and im putting my foot down . that was another of my worries about the future and my kids r gonna grow up and move away and not need me!, bearing in mind they r just 4 and 8 !!!, its the anxiety grabbing hold of every thought and completely blowing it out of proportion. i have to accept the news and be a bit tough about it .
    you lot have all helped me with this, i think i am getting to understand this acceptance thing FINALLY !


  145. lorryt Says:

    YES VERY MUCH SO, tiredness used to be the worst thing and set off my anxiety something awful. I now understand that and accept it and it doesnt seem to be such an issue now. if you are tired dont try and do too much , and cathc up on sleep as soon as you can BUT dont stress about it, your body will catch up with you.
    trying to help?!…..

  146. Peter Says:

    Thanks Lorry it’s good to know that I’m not the only one who is affected like this….I’ll try and get an early night in tonight!!

  147. Paul Mc Says:

    Hi Peter , Maybe trying to snap out of it , isnt the answer ,with that you put pressure on yourself to feel different ! That , I would say is fighting it ! Its down to the acceptance thing again , dont be tempted to react to any of the different symptoms you experience , place them all in the same basket , as one , if you like and treat them with the attitude of accepting them for what they are , it is only anxiety and in time you will begin to feel more able to execute that attitude , that goes for the tiredness as well , I also suffered with the heightened anxiety when tired and I used to let it get to me ! Now , if I feel particularly tired I have an early night , take time out for a nap , do something to relax me , or just accept the tiredness as an offshoot , anything but let it make me react , in a negative way !

  148. Jules Says:

    Same here, I think tiredness has been a big thing in my recovery where I would worry if I had to get up early because i’d feel tired and the worry would keep me awake! Now if i’m tired I have a rest, gets a bit frustrating at times cos I feel tired alot but i just go with it.
    I think i’m getting psychosomatic pins and needles at the momment which is bothering me. It’s like playing chase with them around my body and
    then I realise i’ve got pre-occupied with them, then I worry its something more serious. Does anyone get pins and needles?
    Now i’m more aware of it hopefully i’l dissolve it in the symptoms and accept…keep practicing so to speak…

  149. Peter Says:

    Thanks Paul Mc, your comments make loads of sense as usual! Feeling much more positive and less tired this morning – recovery is such an up and down process! Hope everyone has a good day.

  150. lisa Says:

    jules,youv just answered your question there. :-).when you give up the battle peter,you do become less tired,your energy goes into fighting your way out of it all.when you dont fight your becoming less calmer,less tired more energy, remember its not doing anything about it that gets you through,doing something about it keeps you in the cycles. i know its not easy but have the faith you can do it as you already are by feeling more positive and less tired today,but the ups soon become more and more than the downs.

  151. Jules Says:

    I did didn’t I. I was a bit worked up last night, had a bit of a big day at work today but just didn’t see the connection and the pins and needles reeelly got to me! thats probably why they were so there, if you know what I mean. They’re better now and I’m having a better day, cheers.

  152. lisa Says:

    nice one :-) jules.

  153. Debbie Says:

    i love this blog!! just left a message on the new post about how tired i’m feeling and how to deal with it, then i thought i’d have a little look through the other blogs and hey presto!! everybody’s tired!!!! lol 😉
    Jules its funny how anxiety/stress can affect our bodies….. pins and needles is so common! i’ve got them right now in my left arm, but its ok, cause its just stress… i used to worry about them too, but then hey i found something else to worry about!!!
    love to everybody x

  154. Dave Says:

    I just wanted to say, thanks for the advice on the weight and appetite guys. It has helped a lot to adopt that attitude of “however much I eat, i’ll eat”.

  155. Tom McGurk Says:

    pins and needles in left arm – they have always freaked me out. then my counsellor showed me how i can recreate them myself and i lost my fear of them. mind you sometimes it is hard and i tend to forget what ive learnt, especially if the pins and needles are accompanied by chest pain.

    does anyone else suffer in the same way in stressful times? i seem to feel it most of all in my chest muscles, making me think i am having a heart attack. i think ive set some sort of record for the amount of trips to a&e or calls to the ambulance!!

  156. Jerry C Says:

    Tom – I have similar experience. I often feel sore between left upper arm and chest. The discomfort tend to move around! Sometimes I feel it on the back shoulder. Sometimes I feel it on the front, which can move toward my chest to become disturbing chest pain. Sometimes it’s so sore that it feels like pins or burning. When my chest feels tight, I tend to have heart palpitation — that’s a terrible feeling. I had a panic attack that got me to ER room in hospital back in March. I thought I was having a heart attack.

    This week I’ve been dealing with chest discomfort everyday. Whenever my chest got tight or I felt palpitation, I just reminded myself that it’s just anxiety, and not to panic or fight. It’s very hard to stop the anxious thoughts.

  157. Kenyatta Says:

    Yes…finally a chest pain blog! :) This is the symptom that plagues me the most, yet no one really discusses it…I have been to ER plenty of times because of it. Still to this day you cannot convince me that it’s not a warning symptom to heart attack or heart disease. Why do I think this? It’s extremely difficult to deal with this symptom along with the negative thoughts decending from it. I’m actually feeling 90% myself again, so I’m very grateful for that, yet I’m still left with mild shortness of breath, heart burn, chest muscle pain and dizzy spells. I’m so afraid that I am fooling myself into thinking that this is anxiety, when it may be something medically serious. Oh, I guess I should mention that I’ve taken every medical test you can name and my diagnosis were, a very healthy 25 year old female. I have to admit, I’m a little dissapointed that the Dr.’s cannot find anything…I never experienced such symptoms that can’t be treated or cured medically. It’s just too weird! I guess I’ll just go on accepting, so far, it’s all that has worked for me, Thanks everyone for being here!

  158. sara stein Says:

    Finally A site I can relate to. I to am recovering from anxiety. I had a great week last weekand this week not so good. Reading everyones responses reminds be that I am not alone. Just when you think its over out pops the anxiety again. Just to remind myself that its okay. This is all about the recovery process and will soon be fine. Thank-you!

  159. Nathan Says:


    I have suffered from anxiety for 2 years now. I had the occasional bouts of depression in between. However, very slowly, a week at a time I slowly got better and better. A time came about 3 months ago where I felt I was fully recovered!! I had no anxiety at all. This lasted for about 7-9 weeks. Then, all of sudden, I started feeling down again (for absolutely no reason). The depression and low mood took about 4 weeks to clear and then back came the anxiety! The anxiety has been quite strong and I feel so deflated that it has come back.

    Has my anxiety come back, or had it actually never gone in the first place during that 7-9 weeks? Is this just a set back or am I back in my anxiety?

    Please help.

  160. Perry Says:

    I have suffered from anxiety and depression at several times in my life. Most recently was when I retired in October, 2011. I thought I was prepared for retirement, but quickly found I wasn’t. I immediately went into anxiety attacks and depression. I got on some medication and talked to my doctor and some therapists and thought I was on the road to recovery although it has not bee a straight slope. I have relapsed at times and most recently did again around April 30/May 1st. I don’t know the cause although I suppest it has something to do with our upcoming trip. I appreciate your thoughts on why we have setbacks. I will do my best to let it go and start on the upward path again!

  161. Stephen Shale Says:

    Paul, thanks for directing me to this post, very helpful as usual, and those initial questions you mentioned were so accurate to my thought process!
    I’ve suffered from anxiety for about 6 years now, though only knowingly for the past 2 years, and only started making progress (and huge at that) since finding your book in January (2012). Since then I have been doing things that used to kick off my anxiety (days beforehand) but with hardly a twinge of nerves. I really felt I had learned how to deal with it so much that it was gone; things weren’t affecting me anymore, the way they used to…
    …until Saturday (Aug 18th). A setback occurred; and probably at the most unexpected time. I was off to Newbury Racecourse for a day with friends, in the sun, a few beers, and a lil bit of gambling! I had genuinely been looking forward to it for months, without even a thought that my anxiety would play a part in ruining the day (like it almost had the year before). The night before I was even out for a meal with my family, an event that in the past, used to cause me discomfort; I just hadn’t felt better!
    It wasn’t until the Saturday morning that things kicked off, the tense stomach, a loss of appetite, feeling a panic rising in me. I still got on with my day, tried to use the skills I had learnt from you, and I got through the day, albeit with a slight struggle.
    But this is what bugs me now; my confidence has taken a knock and I am doubting myself again, because the anxiety was so unpredictable; there was no warning at all, it can just happen at any time. I accept that in the past I had feared things, which brought on anxiety; but this time I had such a positive outlook of the day, and look what happened. Also what shocked me was the level the anxiety returned at; I thought it would take longer to become so sensitized again, meaning I could deal with it easier, but this felt like full on symptoms straight away.
    It has been a bit of a kick in the teeth, and shock to the system.

  162. Carly Says:

    I have a question with setbacks… I seem to get them quite frequently. I will go 4 or 5 days really confident and not let anxiety get to me and use all of the strategies Paul has set out and then a couple days of setbacks where I feel defeated again. Does anyone ever think about how bad their anxiety used to be and that causes anxiety? Like I think about where I used to be at and I am so afraid to go back that I start having anxiety about it and then I start to think of the old anxieties I used to have and they start to come back and I feel like I am going to start all over again (particularly disturbing thoughts). I just feel that when you have setbacks, your scary thoughts almost come back stronger then before. Maybe because your mind isn’t used to it. I guess when I have setbacks I start to think that maybe this is a part of me because it feels like it will never go away. it always finds a way to come back. and then it makes me question if this is even anxiety.

  163. Carly Says:

    Does anyone use this blog anymore? I am having the worst setback I have ever had since my recovery and I am needing a little encouragement. I had this very scary fear in the summer of feeling disconnected from the people I love, like questioning the things that have always been certain to me. That scares me so much and makes me become afraid of those things. Like I was so worried of feeling disconnected from my family (who I always love) that I started to fear going home because I was afraid that I was going to be anxious and feel disconnected (if that makes sense). It is like the fear of fear.
    That thought was the worst because my family (especially my parents) have always been the safe place for me to go and now I am questioning that?
    I started to think about this again in my recent setback and it is really bugging me. I am paying so much attention to it and it feels just as bad as it was in the summer at the peak of my anxiety.
    I was doing so well for 2 weeks with NO anxiety and when it did come I implemented all of the strategies that I have learned from Paul about accepting them.
    For some reasons this time, I just feel like nothing is working for me. I feel really defeated and I want to go back to where I was a couple of weeks ago when I felt on top of the world again.

    Does anyone else ever have the fear of becoming disconnected from the things that are certain in their life? I feel so alone on this one. I feel like I have no comfort zone and it makes me afraid that I am going to develop paranoia or something and start to think that my parents aren’t even my parents or something absurd like that! Arg!

    Any suggestions? I hope people are still using this blog because it is such a great support!

  164. Nicole Says:

    Hi guys, it’s great reading through everyone’s posts. I am just after some advice. I have read the book and found it very helpful. I have been suffering for almost 10 years but have always pushed myself to continue to live and yet symptoms remain. I have been implementing what I have learned from the book but the last couple of days I have had the most severe/scary symptoms that I have ever had. My symptoms feel like cardiac symptoms so they are always very off putting. I am struggling with this… it normal to have setbacks like this. I expected they would get less severe.

Leave a Reply