Help and advice with Social Anxiety

Hi Everyone,

Well this will be the last post before Christmas, so a happy Christmas to everyone. It is not my favourite time of the year and I am glad when it’s all over, but I will try and put my bah humbug to one side and enjoy the good parts of it :-)

Today’s post is about Social Anxiety, again the post may help some and not others, but I try to add a full range of topics so as to hopefully help as many people as possible.

Social anxiety can take many forms and many people may not even know they suffer from it. I was one of those people that even when most of my anxiety had gone I would feel strange and odd in front of people and avoid any eye contact. I would also get what I call brain freeze where I would just go blank and clam up, not knowing what to say and then feeling really embarrassed and stupid.

It helped when I learnt this brain freeze was just a stress reaction and not something where I was wired up wrong and that I would always be this way. Initially I truly thought I had no control over how I felt in front of people and would just try and get through it, hoping I did not make a total fool of myself or in most cases avoid any social interaction at all. As usual I was never happy with this and refused to just accept that this was me forever. I then went on a journey of discovery about every aspect of social anxiety and realised it was me that was doing this to myself and the main culprits were avoidance or if in conversation, trying to rush and act my way through it, whilst hoping people would not see through me.

I would also do the usual subtle avoidance tricks like looking at my phone to avoid chatting, sitting in the background hoping no one would notice me, staying silent and adding nothing to a conversation, crossing the road if I saw someone I knew. Does that sound like I was adding to my social anxiety? Of course I was, I was reinforcing that people and conversations were the enemy and must be avoided at all costs. Of course I was responsible for the way I felt and the lack of moving forward!

At this point through what I had learnt, I decided to reverse the bad habits I had developed and there really is not enough space here to write everything that I did learn, but here are the key points.

Firstly a lot of my Social Anxiety came through the fact that I thought people would see through me and the ‘anxiety’ game would be up, add that to the fact that I felt like I was always being judged. I always felt I had to keep things buried, smile in the right places, act my way through, that no one must know my secret and that I must come across as normal! Trying to do this makes you feel like two people, one trying to have a conversation and the other trying to hide how you feel. So this was the first thing to change. I had to understand that people were not judging me and even if they were and my voice wobbled and I said something silly then so be it. The key point here also was in the past when things went bad I would see it as a failure and build up my avoidance, now when I stayed and chatted, even if inside I felt awful, I would see it as a victory, something to be proud of, proud that for once that I did not run away. I understood that this was a long term thing and conversations would still be tough for a while, but in time they would get easier, it was the long term plan that was important, not the short term. In the past I demanded way too much and wanted to get it right first time and if not then I was sure I had made a big fool of myself and mentally punish myself and avoid even more the next time.

The second thing I did and this was a tough one, was to truly no longer care what people thought. This was hard at first as we do care what people think and saying it without meaning it can feel like a false signal. So yes we all care, but is it really that important? Always caring what people think has a big effect on your personality, in fact it crushes it, as your always trying to come across the way you think you should and not as you, this in itself erodes your confidence. Also many people who care always play it safe, like they daren’t show the real them in case people won’t like them, better to agree with others or say nothing, they also tend not to have an opinion on anything and it’s all to do with wanting others to like them. Well I like people with an opinion, a view, it makes them what they are. So this was another step for me, no more agreeing if I did not mean it, no more hiding in the background with nothing to say and if I had an opinion I would share it. I would fully be me from now on. Again this was not an instant ‘I feel confident’ trick and it took time, but being me had me feeling far more real, it really built my confidence back up.

The other thing I did was to stop all avoidance behaviours, if I saw someone I knew I would not cross the road, if I was asked out socially I would not make excuses not to go. Again this was tough at times and went against everything I had taught myself, but bad habits got me into this hole and good habits would get me out of it. But I had a new approach and that was ‘Instead of worrying about situations, I just took them as they came’. Without the big build up before the event, just taking it as it came made things go far better, many times I thought, ‘Wow how easy was that’. Again if it did not go great then that was fine also, I did it and that was the main thing.

Lastly a big part of social anxiety is confidence, a confidence in yourself. To boost my self-esteem I decided to get myself fit and lose weight. Changing your life for the better can really make you feel good about yourself and that only adds to your confidence. I felt great by getting fit, mentally and physically and was very proud of my achievements and this led to me feeling far more confident and confidence really does help you when mixing with others. My anxiety levels dropped a hell of a lot also and I felt far more clarity mentally and this in itself made conversations far easier.

With my new look and confidence I then decided to do something I would not have dreamed about a few months before and joined a running club.  Meeting and talking to loads of strangers whilst doing something positive took me right to where I wanted to be. I no longer go to the running club, but a few of us still meet up a couple of times a year.

To finish I would like to say that whilst we think everyone notices how we are feeling, that people are judging us, they really are not. They are too busy with their own lives and problems to care about us. Also a small stutter or odd conversation will not have others judging you, they would hardly notice and so what if they do, it’s hardly a crime and will be all worth it when you reach where you want to be.

The 2 things that are the main causes of Social anxiety are;

Caring what people think and worrying how things will go

So no more excuses, no more hiding away or playing it safe, no more worrying how things may go or what people think, just begin to put yourself out there and feel a new you emerge. I was rewarded for all my hard work, for all those times I put myself out there when my instinct was to avoid or make a quick exit. For making the effort to get fit and build my confidence back up, to begin to mix with people once again.

I hope the above helps


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188 Responses to “Help and advice with Social Anxiety”

  1. Brian Says:

    Awesome post, Paul. I get the feeling at times like “I wont be able to be myself…or I doubt my ability to be natural and funny, and I get scared that I’ll freeze and not be able to speak.” This has in some way affected me going out and dating as I’m worried that I wont come across confident and spotaneous, but rather a shell of myself, scared and trying to be perfect. I’m going to listen to your advice however and just go for it no matter how scared I am that things wont turn out the way I want them to, or I wont be seen the way I know I should/can. Have you ever experienced feelings on that level? Thanks again, Paul for everything you do


  2. Paul David (Admin) Says:

    Yes everything you say was pretty much me, it’s the fear of how we will come across that causes the anxiety and then we tend to watch how we are coming across and how others are reacting etc, we may then try to hold it all together fearing we are coming across weird or stupid. Simple conversatons can then seem very difficult, planned even.

    Moving towards no longer caring what others think and just being you however you feel or come across, is really the start. Putting pressure on yourself to come across as O.K, or trying to come across a certain way just does not work.

  3. Sara Says:

    Lovely post Paul,

    Although I don’t really suffer from social anxiety I was wondering if I could get your advice on something. If I am having obsessive worrying thoughts but they are not irrational or crazy ( just worrying about my family’s health and safety and not perfecting my driving on time before I apply to a university), do I still treat them the same as any other thought just give them no respect? Because they aren’t crazy and real issues I can’t just laugh at them or blow them off. And I’m also having trouble with anticipation. Anticipating feeling more or worse and anticipating a setback when I’m good.

    I would also like to share some good and positive news to anyone who will be reading this blog post…

    This time last year was my first semester in college, full blown anxiety, throwing up almost every morning and crying calling home to be picked up. Fast forward to now and I have just completed my first semester of my second year of college after having Paul’s book for 8 months, and I have not missed a day of class yet. Got rid of my avoidance behavior which helped me lose so much fear of my symptoms. It helped me realize that it wasn’t school that was giving me anxiety, just my attitude. Can’t imagine how I’ll be in my 3rd and 4th years of college. Makes the future seem very promising.
    Thank you for everything you have done xx

  4. Jamie Says:

    Sara, thats awesome!!!! :)

  5. Anne Says:

    Your blog has helped me with my anxiety. Thank you so much. I just ordered your book, but have not received it yet.

    I don’t know if this is against posting rules, but I would like to ask you if you could PLEASE have a post about health anxiety, specifically acute health issues that could result in passing out or even dying. For example, an irregular heart beat, racing pulse, too low or high blood pressure, or an electrolyte imbalance.

    Does “doing nothing” help with health anxiety too?

    Again, thank you so much for your information!

  6. Viona Says:

    Thx so much for ths site n your book,its a lifesaver for me
    I already follow your advice since 3 month ago n
    I’ve so much improvement in my behavior..
    I starting to go out n facing my fear w full acceptance.
    I still have set back but SO WHAT!! ?????????
    Thx again paul…!! God bless you..
    P/s sorry for my bad english

    Marry Christmast everyone!!

  7. Sara Says:

    Thank you Jamie! :)

  8. Sophia Says:

    Spot on Paul! That’s exactly where I am at the moment…months of recovering and reaching a place where there s nothing much to worry about. Gradually a sort of laziness or mind wander begins, here it comes again attaching thoughts to my personality. As I thought I was all well I never treated them as anxiety but life’s real issues! And there goes again! Spiralling down the pole..but now I am clinging on strong to my way forward. But I do always need the reassurance or reminding! Else I m an anxiety/depressed soul as it has become second nature to me!

    Thanks a lot Paul for the reminder post!!!!

  9. sian Says:

    This is the last thing to leave for me, infact, it was the first thing to appear during my anxiety. I constantly felt judged and thought people didnt like me. All of the other symptoms came off in layers. The DP gradually faded – two years ago I felt it again for the first time in a long time and thanks to this web site I looked at it like it was something to be amused by!! And it passed!! (I had a burst tyre and was going to be late for work! My boss was a tyrant and I knew I was going to be in big trouble for being late!! Lol! So my anxiety levels went through the roof). But it passed!
    I spent 10 years thinking that I must be mad before I found this site and realised that it was anxiety!
    I am now trying not to give my self such a hard time if my social events dont go to plan – easier said than done! I am now trying not to be such a people pleaser!Again – this will take time. I have to remind my self that people my not like me straight away – infact they may not like me at all – but there are people out there who do like me for who I am.
    The anxiety made me think that no body liked me – but now my mind is calmer I am able to be more rational about it and get out there, be my self and have opinions. Anxiety has robbed me of 12 years of my life – but its getting better all the time, layer by layer it gets better and better and I know that one day I will look back and think – wow, did I really think that way?!! : )

  10. Wendy Says:

    Hey everyone,

    Haven’t been on the blog for a short time, because I felt pretty good for a week, but now I’m in the next setback and fear that it’s more than just anxiety.
    I think I also suffer a bit from social anxiety. I always worry about what other people might think of me and lost so much of my self confidence since my anxiety startet.

  11. Paul David (Admin) Says:

    Sian says: I am now trying not to give my self such a hard time if my social events dont go to plan – easier said than done! I am now trying not to be such a people pleaser!Again – this will take time. I have to remind my self that people my not like me straight away – infact they may not like me at all – but there are people out there who do like me for who I am.

    That’s the way forward Sian, I stopped caring what others thought and stopped bothering how things went, they went how they went and people could like me or not. It took time to totally rebuild my confidence and no longer think others were judging me. But it does come back if you do the right things. My main thing though was just I stopped avoiding, at that point where I would make an excuse not to go somewhere, I would just go, at that point where I was going to make excuses to leave a conversation I would stay and just be me, no more rushing to get it over with. The moment where I was just about to cross the road so I would not have to chat to someone I knew, I wouldnt cross. If I kept running away nothing would change and there really was nothing to hide from. My sub concious then realised that conversations were fine, a new habit and belief was forming.

  12. Paul David (Admin) Says:

    Great news Sara and your question below

    If I am having obsessive worrying thoughts but they are not irrational or crazy ( just worrying about my family’s health and safety and not perfecting my driving on time before I apply to a university), do I still treat them the same as any other thought just give them no respect? Because they aren’t crazy and real issues I can’t just laugh at them or blow them off. And I’m also having trouble with anticipation. Anticipating feeling more or worse and anticipating a setback when I’m good.

    My advice would be not to look to much into it Sara, we all worry about the little things, don’t punish yourself for it or aim to be perfect. A little anxiety hangs around and we still tend to worry. My mind was pretty active well into recovery and I just accepted this would be the case for a while. I had spent years worrying so it was not something I could switch off. Just be so proud of your progress and don’t aim for perfection

    I posted this phrase on twitter the other day about worry, you maybe able to relate to it;

    Rule number 1 is don’t sweat the small stuff, Rule number 2 is, it’s all small stuff.

    There are loads of these quotes here

  13. Doreen Says:

    Can see what you mean Paul, but in some cases it’s not all ‘small stuff’. Without going into details there are events going on in my life which by any measure would be seen as hugely anxiety generating. This has been the case on and off for a number of years now and I believe my capacity to cope got used up last year about this time. So anxiety was a permanent fixture and became attached to anything which I am sure many of you will recognise. Gradually over the year I have become less and less affected by this on a daily basis but a couple of days ago another massive trauma (all to do with grandchildren) happened following a fortnight of one worry after another. So for some hours I felt back to square one – even the sound of a light switch setting my heart racing. Thankfully I am back from that horrid place now but just wanted to point out that life’s events can lead one to being very vulnerable to anxiety.

  14. Tracy Says:

    Paul I posted one of the last comments in the other section if there is anyway you can respond
    Thanks Tracy

  15. Honey Says:

    Hi Paul. I’ve been following your blog and have your book which has done absolute wonders along with an intensive bout of therapy which has now ended I ended up with some fantastic skills. I have just had a baby and I’m breastfeeding at the moment and have noticed that I get these weird feelings of almost a depression which literally come and go now and then during the day and last for like 30 seconds at a time. I was just interested and I googled (I know terrible of me) it and it turns out its caused by rise in prolactin levels which subsequently cause drop in dopamine. I found this quite interesting as I thought it may be linked with other stuff and I came over quite anxious just thinking that perhaps it is all a very complicated chemical imbalance that there just is no cure for. Now I’m just confused! I have been well but it’s always at the back of my mind u know. Do you feel like this now that you’re well? Does it ever sit there lying dormant? I suppose it can’t be a chemical imbalance because although I’ve felt mildly anxious for about 4 years I havnt actually had a panic attack for a few years now and have been more well than ever after psychology not medication. I think I’ve just answered my own question there?!

  16. Paul David (Admin) Says:

    Doreen the quote (which is not mine by the way) is aimed at people who worry about the small stuff, things that if they werent anxious would probably just dismiss. It is also aimed at people who just tend to worry, with anxiety the small things can seem massive, it was just a reminder that small stuff is just that and not meant in it’s context that there are not actual life situations that don’t affect us.

    I just see problems as something that need solving and not worrying over and the small stuff I just let go, it’s not getting my attention and I have certainly never once worried myself better. I have just split with my partner of 12 years 2 weeks ago and yes it was stressful, it still hurts, but I will deal with it and move on, years ago it would have sent me to a v bad place, but I have to look at is as a new chapter and deal with it the least stressful way I can.

  17. Sara Says:

    Thank You Paul! Worrying is truly such a waste of time. We can’t help it sometimes but it’s something that I just have to work on letting go. It’ll do me no good. I’m sorry to hear about you and your partner, but I admire how you are handling it. Your attitude is something I hope to achieve! And thank you for those quotes. All so very true :)

  18. Paul David (Admin) Says:

    Sara your right we can’t always help worrying, but we can learn to slow it down and let it go. I don’t claim to be perfect, but how my attitudes and habits have changed, coming through anxiety you realise what a waste of time worrying is and just waking up and looking forward to each day rather than dreading it, makes you appreciate life far more and the little things I used to worry about just don’t seem important anymore.

    The split was best for both of us, which makes it easier to deal with, but still not nice after so many years. The first thing I did was turn it into a positive and have hit the gym daily, took up swimming and joined a running club.

  19. Sara Says:

    I am sure it isn’t easy but as we have learned from anxiety, time is a great healer :) But Wow good for you Paul, so active! You are making me feel like the laziest 19 year old on Earth! Hahah

  20. Eric Says:

    hey everypne. i posted on here for the first time about a week ago. i have been dealing sih anxiety for bout a year now. started with chronic tension headache which i still have. im 19 my parents had a rpugh divorce 2 years ago and this is where my stress started. my mom dated a man afterwards who pushed her around and bruised her up. he confronted me weeks later andni turned and walked away. today je just walked into our house and i went berzerk and cussed him out and screamed and blaj blah. since then my anxiety has been bad all day but i dealt with it. i had pretty bad anxiety about 3 months ago and have been slowly progressing from pauls book. headaches have been gone last three days because ive been so busy and have not had time to think about them. im trying not to care if they come back. and then tonight i about had a panic attack because of divorce stuff but i am trying to let it all go. anyone been here? its just hard to let go i feel like i am always somewhat anxious and never have those completely relaxed moments. before i fall asleep my heartbwill pound and i sleep very lightly as if something is threatining me.

  21. Carlie Says:

    Hey everyone… currently having a hard time with DP. For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to visit a DP forum that I haven’t been to in a long time. I don’t know why I decided to do it, but it’s now made me really anxious. People talking about how they think DP really is a chemical imbalance and after taking certain medications, it went away, but they had to stop taking it because of the side effects… and then it came back. Now I’m worried again. Why do I do this to myself? I just feel like I will never be ME again and I’m so tired of everything feeling so strange. I’m really scared. What if I do have a disorder now? It’s like I know it’s caused by the anxiety but I’ve had anxiety for years, and if it will only go away by getting rid of my anxiety… I may never beat it. I don’t want to be this way forever. It’s now been a year and a half since I got it.

    Sorry for being so negative but I’m having a hard time. :( Does anyone have any reassuring words? I could use it. I planned on going to bed earlier tonight but this is wrecking my sleep schedule.

  22. Wendy Says:

    my parents are also divorced and I’m not sure, but I think that this could be a reason for my anxiety. I also never feel relaxed. In the mornings I feel better than in the evenings, because my thoughts aren’t that bad then.
    What really helps me is exercising, after that I sometimes have these moments where I feel relaxed, it’s great and gives me hope!

  23. Will Says:

    Hi everyone. Today I’ve felt really stressed for more than one reason. It involved a massive load of uni work to be done by Thursday (I’ve been doing this for 2 weeks so far by the way) and the re-emergence of a minor health complaint. All day I’ve felt frazzled, tense, slightly dizzy, not quite “there” as if viewing the world through someone else’s eyes, and right now I feel a bit queasy. Is it normal to feel sick from stress? Or is anxiety using the stress to knock me about a bit more, making it worse?

  24. Doreen Says:

    Eric and Wendy – I think you both illustrate my point earlier on. Real life events about which it is entirely appropriate to be stressed and anxious can make us more vulnerable to feeling anxious about anything (sometimes called generalised anxiety disorder). Recognising that this ongoing anxiety has been triggered by the traumatic event can help us ‘let it be’ and realise that it has no meaning other than highly sensitised nerves working over time. Likewise if we are confronted with worry on a daily basis as I have been over 3 years with a grandchild who has complex health problems and whose life hangs in the balance we are likely to feel ‘wobbly’ generally. A year ago after a older grandchild became ill too I felt my coping skills had been used up and anything and everything made me anxious. Then I too had a number of health problems which undermined my capacity to cope. But through it all I have tried to accept that to be anxious about a very sick child is entirely appropriate and to strive to feel ‘ok’ just adds more stress. I have accepted the spill over into other parts of my life and gradually that has become far less of a problem. But a midnight call asking us to go round the other night because the little one was being ‘blue lighted’ into hospital set me back temporarily as my thoughts quite naturally wandered over the ‘what if ‘ scenario, leaving me very shaken and edgy. And I am certainly not able to see this worry about my grand child as something I can stop or let go of, but what I can do see that in context and not let it become generalised into all of my life as it did last year.

  25. Sara Says:

    Hey guys,

    Any tips on deep thinking and ruminating? It is these two things which led to my first panic attack and also a seperate time where it led to the beginning of my anxiety. I just don’t know why I can’t help it.

  26. Joe P Says:

    Hello Everyone, just wanted to ask a few quick questions.
    I’ve had a problem with getting to sleep for a while now, I go to bed and on most nights it takes me about 2hr to 3 hrs to get to sleep. When I go to bed, I just think about things, i don’t often worry or analyse things, its more I just think, create and imagine lots of stuff. However, i really want to be able to get to sleep much quicker than this, I’ve never been the sort of person who can fell asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow, but two three hours, is ridiculous.

    I need some help on understanding Pauls advice on this. Which is having the attitude that if you have only get a couple of hours of sleep thats okay, and if you have a great sleep than thats brilliant. Which i have adopted, and has made worry a lot less of sleeping problems, but i just get confused on the “let your mind chatter” advice. Does this mean, let the initial thoughts about things come into your head and don’t build on them with other thoughts.

    Feedback would be much appreciated :)

  27. Sara Says:

    Hey Joe,

    By letting your mind chatter, you’re just letting the thoughts in but you’re not analyzing them or giving them a second thought. You just let them be there without question or worry. It is good that you have adopted that attitude because it takes off a lot of pressure from yourself. Same with your thoughts just give them a whatever/I really don’t care attitude.

    Hope that helps!

  28. Ian Says:

    Hi all, first time posting here.

    I was so delighted to discover Paul’s site and book etc a few months back. I’ve have the app, but I’m planning on buying the actual book too.
    Don’t take this the wrong way because I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, but I felt such elation to discover other people were going through this too, (I hope that makes sense).

    Reading this latest particular post almost made me laugh with how much this related to me! It was as if I’d written it myself describing what I do.
    Such inspiration, I almost felt like setting up my own blog just to direct people to this blog !

    For me, one of the things I struggle with most is literally the blushing, its such a give away, such a horrible sensation and feeling, there you are, face to face with someone and your bright red, I mean your face changes doesn’t it, eyes nearly watering and everything!
    Its the millisecond reaction that starts the blushing, that in turn starts the anxiety, that fuels the blushing, that then causes a blank mind and the feeling continues.
    I know I can say to myself this will pass and it does, but 5 minutes later I’m at it again and again and again.

    I can be as calm as anything in my mind from skills I’ve learnt, not always though, but still bright red. I sometimes talk to someone though and they blush and I dont. I get a sense of bloody guilt because there blushing.
    I also think people sometimes cut a conversation short with me, almost as if they think it seems that excruciating for me, because I’m blushing that they have too!

    Living with SA for what feels like forever, has made me very observant, I see other people blushing during conversations, but they still seem to be chatty and outgoing and basically putting themselves in situations that I wouldn’t.

    Anyway, it feels good now to have a bit of a winge, knowing some like minded people will read this. I could go on all day talking about it and discussing it to be honest, it makes me feel a bit better when people relate to what I say.

  29. Lizb Says:

    Hi JoeP

    Just wanted to say that i have suffered with poor sleep for a while after having nighttime panic attacks and have had information on sleep re training (cbt) and one of things they say is if you havent dropped off within 30 mins you need to get up and do a really boring task (no tv) until you are tired and then go back to bed. Although i know this is easier said than done! The fee things that have helped me is listen to a relaxation tape when I get into bed on my headphones, go to bed at a regular time each night and no tv watching in bed or clock watching. In terms of head chatter this is normal and I just let my head think away, however if you find yourself starting to get involved concentrate on doing something like counting your breaths in or out start counting back from 500. Remember you will always eventually sleep. Hope this helps. X

  30. Charles Says:

    Nice post, I have been getting through my anxiety but seems like the social anxiety has gotten worse and it sucks because I love parties and telling stories and making people laugh and going out to eat with a bunch of people, but now I’ve been avoiding all. To make a long story short I’ve been dealing with a very low testosterone for a male in his early 30’s and I notice that it started at work I would get real emotional inside when talking to people and felt like I was going to cry, I don’t feel depressed but now I get scared that when I start to have a conversation I’m going to well up and start sobbing. So now I have been avoiding long conversations because I will look like a coward and look like I have issues if I start getting emotional….not sure how to get over it

  31. Alexa Says:

    Good Evening everyone
    This is my first post here so hiii!

    First I just want to say thank you to Paul, even though I am not a long term anxiety sufferer (just over two months), his advice and blog have already helped a great deal a week after absorbing the information.

    Although I have not had time to read through every blog post, there is something that has been bothering me for a couple of days and cannot seem to find any posts about it.

    So I basically have all standard anxiety symptoms, which started cos I got a bad reaction to mdma – insomnia, teeth clenching, tinnitus, etc…
    What is strange is that the tinnitus developed about 3 weeks after the anxiety kicked in, and now recently my vision has also changed. Its kind of I just woke up and knew something was wrong with the darkness, almost all lights are super bright and also feels as though I am looking at everything through a very clean sheet of glass.
    And again what made this strange was because I had such a good couple of days beforehand – I understand about setbacks, I have had a few of those and I get over them rather quickly, but a new symptom out of the blue has freaked me out again.

    Also while I am here, are there any tips on staying asleep? I can get to sleep fine, I just wake up after about 4 hours and end up being tired the whole day…

    Sorry for the longish post, just wanted to be clear.

    Hope everyone has a fabbbbulous Christmas and a HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY New Year, lets start 2013 on a high. x

  32. Chris Desatoff Says:

    Thank you, Paul!

    I’m so glad I found your blog. I almost fell out of my chair when you mentioned crossing the street to avoid people you know. I do that all the time!

    I get something like “brain freeze” too, but mostly in any kind of argument or conflict. Like whenever my wife is upset at me for any reason, I clam up. I just can’t think. Nothing. Totally blank. Then later on I have a million things I wanted to say, but if I try to talk again…brain freeze. Haha! SO frustrating…

    It’s so encouraging to see someone with the same issues who’s made real progress. I’m getting there too, little by little.

    You have yourself a wonderful Christmas, and I will talk to you again on your next post.

    Aloha, Chris

  33. Stephen Shale Says:

    Thanks Paul, a helpful blog as always.

    I don’t have social anxiety per say, but I do have anxiety about doing some things socially, because of the natural worry about how I’m going to feel for it. I just don’t have the social awkwardness that you speak of, despite being a shy person by nature. However, your comments on avoidance (or reduction of) still ring true hugely with me, and is definitely the way forward. Though I could say that I’ve never been one to overly avoid things, maybe just 10% of social situations have I avoided due to my anxiety. But it is just doing that extra 10% that I need to get used to, so I’m doing something however bad I feel.

    I’m in an odd situation today though, and one I’ve not been in before, I wondered if I could ask for your advice Paul, or anyone else? I actually had a social situation yesterday, a Christmas buffet lunch at work, where at this event last year I did not have a good experience at all. However this year, since using the skills that Paul has taught, I barely had any nervousness, the event went absolutely fine, better than ever expected. I was so happy and excited; it felt like a real breakthrough. But later in the day and now today, I seem to have just completely crashed, and feel terrible. Usually I’m only this bad when I’ve really brought it on myself.

    This situation is weird because everything has happened BACKWARDS! I had the event THEN gotten anxious. Now I know I should just accept it, and there is no need to figure out why this has happened, but I can’t help but wonder. Has anyone else had it this way round, could I have had a big rush of adrenalin during the event and, with the excitement afterwards, which has made me crash again? Thanks.

  34. Joe P Says:

    Hello Sara and Lizb, Thanks for the advice, I’am going to practice letting all thoughts come and go when I go to bed and not add other thoughts on to them. I have done this before, but I always given up on it too early, because it felt like by doing that, i was making myself aware that i was trying to get to sleep (like i was trying to force sleep unaturally).But, actually when you think about it, its not forcing sleep, its a way of slowing your mind down enough to allow yourself to go to sleep. This will in the long run help break, my habit of thinking about loads of things when trying to sleep, which is keeping my mind active, making falling sleep much harder.
    Thats really interesting Lizb, about how you should be getting to sleep within 30minutes of hitting the pillow. I will try things like doing some excerise during the day, and not going on my laptop within the hour before i go to bed.Also my anxious condition keeps my mind active quite a lot but hey, i just get on with it, it will pass. Also the counting thing, I will give a go if I’m really struggling.

    Thanks a lot guys!!

  35. sian Says:

    Well I did it! I went to my local town which I have sucessfully avoided for about ten years today!! I avoid it because I try and avoid some people who I grew up with!! (I am trying out my new confident attatude!! Lol) I went to the bank into a few shops and the doctors to drop off a prescription for my gran!! I am so proud of my self!!
    My sister said she’d come to a cafe there with me in the New Year! My new attatude is so what if I see anyone that I used to know! So far so good!! : )

  36. Lizb Says:

    Hi jo

    Please dont think you should be asleep by 30 mins, the idea is by getting up after not getting to sleep so you are not associating your bed with not sleeping. I have to admit this was hard for me and found that by just having a hot bath, a realaxation tape and by not clock watching helped, so maybe try this first. The other thing i have learnt is that it is an up and down affair and even before i had anxiety i had good and not so good nights sleep so dont expect your sleeping habits to change overnight. It will rebalance itself. Remember mind chatter is normal! I have lots of weird thoughts running through my mind before i go to sleep, the trick is not to get too involved x

  37. DCYL Says:

    Hi Everyone,

    The quote Paul wrote in his post is from another book / author. I know because I have the book. :) If anyone’s interested in the book, just search for the quote online and you will find it. I concur with the others about worrying. I think I used to worry a bit and the anxiety really made it “worse”.

    The flip side is that as I have gotten better over time, the worry has faded a bit. Paul’s advice to “not worry about anxiety symptoms” actually may help our worries for other things as well.

    To address Stephen’s comment above: My experience is that when you have “anxiety”, you can tune it out for “some time”. Sounds like the event did that for you. When the event ends though, some of your feelings creep back in because there is no longer something to distract you.

    I would say it’s fairly normal and you need to just accept it. Perhaps others have thoughts.

  38. Jamie Says:

    Stephen, I have not been on for awhile, but just happened to be reading…And Yes, that has happened to me…its like you are so happy something went perfect without anxiety, that subconciously you bring it on….I think because in the back of your mind, your thinking its too good to be true, etc…Just ignore it completely :)

  39. Jamie Says:

    But what DCYL says, has also happened to me before, sometimes once your distracted, you are prefect…till you get home…LOL

  40. Carlie Says:

    Hey everybody, I posted a few days ago but it had to be approved first (I guess because this is a new post, not sure!)… could anyone take a look at it and give me some advice maybe? Still struggling, but I’m not in as much of a state of panic as I was that night.

  41. DCYL Says:

    Carlie – up late but saw your post. Your body sounds like it is still sensitive to the topics of DP. There is nothing wrong. It’s part of our ups and downs. I have topics I get sensitive about though I am much better now.

    You just need to accept your state and let things ride out.

  42. Stephen Shale Says:

    Thanks. I’m just kind of stuck at the moment. It’s not heavily weighing me down, and I’ve had some good weeks. But my setback of the past few months, seems to be more than a setback now, as I’m just caught up it in again, trying to work it out. After being anxiety free for 6 months this year, I cant quite seem to remember how I got there. Reading Paul’s book for then first time suddenly lifted a weight and I knew what i had to do. I cant seem to get that perspective anymore.

    Its like I’ve had 1st prize for a while, but now I cant remember how I won it.

  43. Paul David (Admin) Says:

    Chris Desatoff, Ian and Alexa

    Just want to say I have just moderated your posts and they may be a little up the page and not be seen by all, but you are now free to post any time and it will show straight away. Last and not least what wonderful and positive first posts 😉

  44. Mark R Says:

    Hi all

    Not posted in a while as been doing okay generally. Last six weeks have been really positive. I had a trip to London and to Dublin without any troubles whatsoever. I’ve even added a new string to my business and started selling Records, something that I have a passion for.

    The reason for this post really is just to say how much of an up and down affair anxiety is. As I mentioned above, I’ve done a lot of positive things, when you feel well you generally just get back into the swing of things of life and have no mind on yourself. When I feel like that I can’t remember feeling bad. However the last 2/3 days I’ve been bogged down with crap feelings, symptoms and thoughts again. The same principle applies really and I can’t remember how good I felt over the last six weeks. I’ve taken the advice on here and just got on with it, I’ve not tried to feel good, not tried to remember how I felt. I’ve taken it on the chin, although I’ve had a little cry this evening.

    The moral of my post (sorry if its a little off topic) is that don’t be too impressed when you feel down as the good days will come back around if you let them. I’m gonna go and try and take my own advice now.


  45. Nicola Says:

    Has anyone else felt this way? (Repost) i don’t know if this is anxiety anymore.

    I don’t understand why I feel the way I do, I feel out of place in the world, i am overwhelmed by it. For me there is a feeling that is worse even than panic attacks and it is this feeling of dread I get thinking about how the world came to be, the improbability that life exists at all and yet it does. I feel really alone and vulnerable in this huge universe. At the mercy of something so much bigger than me. My anxiety when it hits is so strong that it has been known to almost paralyse me or knock me to my knees. I am surprised my head doesn’t explode, or my whole being doesn’t just die of fear. Sometimes when I wake from sleep I am soaking wet and freezing cold, I think it’s the anxiety. I feel like I’ll never feel normal again as the last two years of my life will probably traumatise me.

  46. Dave Says:

    Hey everyone,

    My name’s Dave and if it’s ok I’d just like to introduce myself and if possible, receive or share a little advice. This might be a long one, but there’s a lot to say!!

    I’ve been a semi-regular visitor of this site since the late-2008. Prior to that I suffered for 7 years or so with severe panic, depersonalisation (initially triggered by a bad marijuana episode, as many are apparantly!), crazy obsessive thoughts, all of it.

    This had taken me to a place where I was on heavy anti-depressants, and felt totally petrified of everything, yet I still had a “normal” life. I moved out, went overseas, got into uni, etc. Then I discovered Paul’s site. What a legend! With new knowledge I was able to come off the medication, and really open some doors that were closed for so many dark years.

    I’m 25 now, so pretty much all of my “growing up” years have been spent with anxiety at the forefront of my life.

    This year has been a huge one for me.. I’ve quit smoking completely (was pretty much a chain-smoker), stopped binge drinking, started exercising, been working as a tutor, and working on various music projects.

    Here’s the thing, I am struggling at the moment to push through to the next “level” of recovery.

    I still have a feeling of overwhelming DREAD of all these regular everyday activities, especially those I used to love before anxiety, and have kept up regardless, like writing/playing music, socialising etc. I still do these things, and always have done, but I feel so much dread towards them that even once I accomplish something, it feels like the next thing will be such an effort that it wont be worth it. If that makes sense.

    I’ve tried to eat healthily this year too, but this kinda resulted in an obsession with food where I feel like I want to eat all the time, to the point of salivating. I guess just another manifestation of anxiety, and I’m trying so hard to let it go and go about my life. I feel so close to recovery and there are times of the day when I get flashes of clarity and feel so good. But then WHAM punch in the face with the dread, or obsessive scary thoughts about food, or something or other that feels so horrible. I tell myself this is the last time I’ll read Paul’s site, I need to get on with my life! And then I feel so seriously overwhelmed with it all that I come back here after a few days, or less, just to feel some understanding. Any ideas anyone?

    I just wanted to share my story, it has been a lonely journey so far, I figure maybe it’s time to reach out. It feels so close but like there is a stone wall in front of me or I’m missing something.

    Thank you for your time,


  47. Josh Says:


    Welcome to the world of existential…Yes, certainly a symptom that i went through..I used to think is this planet am i such a tiny creature on earth..who am i?..Whats inside me..etc etc…No logic to these thoughts..Keep doing what you are doing and let these thoughts be in the background…Absolutely nothing to worry…

  48. Nicola Says:

    Did you manage to overcome it Josh?

  49. Deiku Says:

    Hi everyone!

    I’m 19 years old from Finland, and suffering alot of anxiety, dp, and some panic reactions aswell. (for 6 months now)

    I have read Pauls book, which really helped me. After reading the book, I felt really good and pretty normal for 3~ weeks. Then I thought I can give up medicine now, since I’m feeling good. Then I lowered the dose, and I was onle day without the medicine. During the time I lowered the dose, I started to slip again to that horrible feeling of anxiety, dp and stuff..

    Then I started taking the medicine again, and started taking even higher dose of that medicine, since I thought that would help with my racing mind.
    Well, it didnt. My mind went really anxious during the time I took that higher dose of medicine.
    Yesterday I went to see my doctor, and she told me to lower the dose, and reason why I felt like this was because of messing with the medicine.

    That information ^ took much weight of my shoulders thought, but this day has been pretty much the same as all the others during these weeks.

    I wake up early, can’t sleep anymore, go for a cigarette, get back to bed. Worry worry and worry, then I listen this meditation tape, which helps me abit with my racing mind, then I calm down a bit.

    I allways worry about this feeling, and how am I going to manage this day, and will I feel like this when it’s christmas?.. and I worry about tomorrow, and if I’m able to get any sleep, etc..

    Anyways, I’m able to do things, almost everything I normally do, but my racing mind follows me.. and I’m trying not to question myself, or fight, or analyze how I’m feeling.. but its really hard.
    Even tho I worry about evening in the morning, “what if I can’t sleep” or something like that.. but in the evenings i’m much calmer and I allways get sleep without having to struggle with it.

    Any advices? Sorry for the messy text, since I can’t concentrate that good.

  50. Doreen Says:

    Well done Mark R. You have come such a long way over the last months. You are an inspiration

  51. Joe P Says:

    Hello Lizb, yeah that makes perfect sense, I’ve made the mistake of making the problem of sleep an issue in my head, when I should of, just not worried about initially and got on with it. I will try a few other things like excerise and maybe a hot bath, however i understand it will take a long time, but as long as i see little improvements along the way, I’ll be over the moon.
    Thanks for the advice Lizb!

  52. Nicola Says:

    Thanks Mark R, just what I needed to hear right now xx

  53. Josh Says:


    Yes i did. Infact overcoming it time it occurs..i just move on..saying this is just anxiety playing tricks and i can carry on with my work..

  54. Shannon Says:

    Great post Paul.
    I too have the same question about health anxiety as Anne. i.e heart palpitations. This is a roadblock I’ve hit and I can’t quite seem to convince myself I’m okay. Every time I get one, I feel like I’m going to die, when I know it is a manifestation of my anxiety symptoms. Any advice?

  55. Carlie Says:

    DCYL, thank you for responding! I can’t figure out why the DP is killing me so much right now. I almost feel like I was better off this time last year, and I felt like I was much more anxious back then. Everything just feels so weird and I wish I could just break out of this. My anxiety feels like the most difficult thing in the world to overcome… I hope I can get rid of the DP before getting rid of ALL the anxiety, because that may be hard for me to do.

  56. Mark R Says:


    I know how you feel, the DP is so annoying and its always the last thing to go for me. Everytime I’ve recovered before the pattern has been the same, the anxiety goes and the DP lingers for months after.

    I’m the same as I was much better last year, I wasnt recovered but I was getting there. I hit a huge setback in April this year and it sent me back to the start again for around 6 months or so.

    We all want rid of it, no question but make sure you are NOT trying to be rid of it. Its best to accept it as part of you for the moment, take it in your stride and it will fade from the picture.


  57. Lizb Says:

    Hi deiku

    Sorry to hear you are having a bad time at the moment. Please be reassured that all the symptoms you have described are NORMAL for someone with anxiety. I have woken up this morning with my mind in overdrive, worrying beacause i keep waking in the early morning and wondering if it will be the same tonight, worrying about work, worrying about why my stomach is sounding like theres a band living in there etc etc. remember you cannot stop thoughts in your head only your reaction to them. Listening to a meditation or relaxation tape is great by the way, but just dont let anxiety bluff you and ruin your day. I have suffered quite badly with sleep for a while now and if i feel myself worrying about it especially before bed i tell it your not going to beat me. One thing i have learnt is there is nothing rational about anxiety i can have a really bad day and think im not going to sleep and then i do and vice versa! You cant work it out and its unpredictable. Hope this reassures you a little x

  58. Lizb Says:

    Hi dave

    I am going through recovery and like you sonetimes i feel so close to recovery, ive had times when ive thought gosh i feel so calm i must be almost there and then like you say something comes back just to remind you you are not quite there. What i can say is well done you for getting on with your life despite it! Look how far you have come!! Can i just ask what your obsessive thoughts are about eating? Are you just thinking about food all the time? Food issues are very common with anxiety. I went from comfort eating for about a year and piling on the weight to totally going off food and rapidly losing weight when severe anxiety set in. Remember that anxiety also makes thoughts stick which would explain your obsessive thoughts about it. X

  59. Mark R Says:

    Blurgh, anyone had this winter vomiting thing? I was okay when I woke but then felt achey and weird and vommed allover the bathroom floor. I cant stop being sick!!

  60. eliza Says:

    Anyone here have health anxiety? I’m starting to think it’s part and parcel of having generalized anxiety disorder.

    Someone above mentioned “ruminating” and that’s something I’m having a hard time to stop. Also I am dealing with hypertension which I truly think is driven by anxiety, a mind/body thing, a sympathetic nervous system connection.

    I’ve just ordered Paul’s book, hopefully it deals with obsessive and “stuck” thoughts.

  61. eric Says:

    hey everyone. First time back in a week and its been a pretty good one so far. i posted earlier on this blg and wanted to post again. sorry for the typos i am on a new smartphone and it is very hard for me to type lol. one of my biggest symptoms on anxiety is chronic tension headaches. i have not had one all week for the most part! the first three days of this week, we moved my mom into a new house. i was so busy. then i picked up 40 hours at my part time job. i have not had time to even think about the headache. i am getting one as i type this i can feel it coming, and my anxiety shoots up. but i keep a level head and just kind of take it. i am feeling pretty good lately. still having panicky times and ringing ears with times of vertigo. fast heartbeat. i feel as if i have progressed so much, however now i feel as if i am stuck in a state of constant anxiety. not constant panic, althoughi doo have the occasional oom and panic, or anything that completely wiggs me out, just a constant state of unrelax and hightened awareness. the phone ringing jolts my adrenaline. a little thump while i am trying to fall asleep makes my heart sky rocket for a few seconds. i have been so busy this week that i have not given it much thought. which i know is a good thing. but what about when i dont work all these hours and go back to normal schdule? i know the answer is so what. but its hard :( has anyone felt this stage where they feel much better but stuck in a constant stress state. thats me at the moment. thanks all and merry christmas.

  62. Wendy Says:


    I always thought that you’re completely cured. Reading that you have to many bad setbacks is hard. I have the same fears as Nicola, it’s horrible, but with knowledge it seems to get better.
    Sometimes I fear that I’m not strong enough to overcome anxiety, it makes me pretty depressed.

  63. Mark R Says:


    No I’m not completely cured, alhough it may come across as I am. I’m in a place now where I can function day to day, I may not be 100% but I have interest in life and my old hobbies rather than myself. I have a rough time around once a month now, usually for about 3 days to a week.

    You probably don’t think you are strong enough at the moment but trust me you are, everyone on here as long as they follow the advice can overcome it.

  64. Michelle Z Says:

    Hi Paul – I know you don’t write much anymore, but I’m hoping you can give me some advice. I found out last tear I have an aortic aneursym, which is being monitored. However, they want my blood pressure to be low & I am struggling with anxiety & fear about it, which makes the BP higher. If I’m just having a stressful day, the BP goes up. I dont know how to not worry about it. I’m stuck in this vicious cycle. Any words of encouragement, would be appreciated.

  65. Wendy Says:

    Thank you Mark,

    Did you also suffer from strange thoughts? As I said I have the same thoughts as Nicola and I fear that they will always stay, because we will never get an answer to these questions about life and what happens after death. If you have thoughts about hurting other people you know that these thoughts are only caused by tired nerves and you will actually never hurt someone, but no one can say what happens after death and who we are and if life is real and all those stuff..can I really overcome these thoughts?

  66. Mark R Says:

    Hi Wendy,

    Anxiety makes a mountain out of a molehill……..try and think of times when you’ve been nervous in situations like a driving test, a date, a job interview. This is when you’re mind is throwing up all kinds of thoughts and you tend to believe them…..Were they real? No. Did any of them happen? No.
    The point I’m trying to make is when your mind is in that kind of state it gives you so many thoughts to chew on. I think when the anxiety lessens these thoughts will be meaningless, even laughable.

    I can’t comment on your particular thought, as an atheist I don’t believe there is anything after death so I am unaffected by this. One thing I can say is that I’ve learnt not to worry about the future, whatever happens, happens. Surely it’s best to leave those things to chance and enjoy this life? Afterall, worrying is a total waste of time to quote or paraphrase Paul.

  67. Mark R Says:

    Just one more thing, when I first suffered anxiety back in 2001 I was using a lot of recreational drugs. I had a panic attack and then suffered GAD for around 18 months. For the whole time I thought I had damaged my brain with drugs…..when I finally thought ‘So what if I have’ I began to worry less and less and forgot about it. When I recovered I this thought was absurd.

  68. Charles Says:

    Nobody have the feel like your going to cry when talking to people? Maybe it’s a sense of going through this bad anxiety and it comes out when I’m trying to fake it that nothing is wrong and I feel great

  69. Alexa Says:

    hello everyone again, I posted a bit earlier but it took a while to get moderated. As I said I’ve only suffered from anxiety for just over 2 months now, but I completely understand what everyone is going through and I am lucky someone linked me to Paul’s site early on – it was actually linked through a forum so although Paul opposes these, maybe they’re not always bad. However I have found Paul to make much more sense than a lot of other jargon – you just have to take anxiety for what it is and have no fear.

    What is true is how the anxiety comes of in layers. They come off so finely that you don’t even notice improvements – in fact the only way I am noticing improvements is by having to think right back to the beginning of the two months and how miserable I was. An important point is to not let the bad days get you down too much. I had another bout of dp a week ago but I just left my shopping trip a little earlier than i usually do and rested it away. Remember that it is only anxiety, which is only tired nerves and too much adrenaline, and that there is nothing more wrong with you.

    I guess I am a little more than half way there now, although I try not to define it. I have no social anxiety, no panic attacks, and my mood is normally a lot more cheerful. The only things that haven’t let up are my symptoms which are still very pronounced and kind of reminding me that the anxiety is always there in the background.

    One thing I am looking for advice on is getting a good amount of sleep, as this seems quite critical for recovery. I can normally pass out within 15 minutes of my head hitting the pillow however most nights I awake after 4 or so hours. The most I’ve had in two months is 6.5 hours in one night last week. Is everyone having this problem constantly and are there any tips to stay asleep/get back to sleep?

    Good luck to everyone in their recovery, this is truly something grueling but we will ALL come out the other end better people.

    Everything happens for a reason.

    And Merry Christmas! x

  70. Tiara Jazzie Says:

    Hi everyone!

    I am fairly new to this blog. I came across Paul’s website of course by researching or should I say, “googling” about anxiety. It didn’t really hit me until a month and a half ago how much this site will show and teach me. I’ve had anxiety before and managed to get rid of it for two years, however, I recently got it back. I have been applying the advices that Paul has given, and yes, they have helped me tremendously! I have so much more good days than bad.

    The only thing I need help with is, I clearly still get sensations, but there are times when they feel like I cannot shake them off or not give them any importance. Sometimes the feeling of giving it respect comes with it and it pushes me over the edge until I get scared and then that is when I feel the need to tell myself that it is going to be okay. Because somehow I know, by feeling like I am on edge, it is burning the adrenaline and I will feel better soon enough. There are days when it feels like I just have it sitting there and would feel so tense.

    Other than that, I have definitely improved tons! Very thankful for all the advices Paul has given and I know what to say to others who are going through the same thing as well.

  71. Tiara Jazzie Says:


    Hi there! Glad things are looking up for you! I am assuming that your anxiety may be bringing itself out through your sleeping routine. Don’t get me wrong, 6.5 hours of sleep is still good! I used to not be able to sleep no more than 3 hours. I cherished days when I have gotten full sleep. Perhaps, exercising to burn off the extra adrenaline around before bedtime? Or something relaxing. A nice massage or so. It will take a while for your body to balance itself out again, but surely, you are in the right direction!


  72. Carlie Says:

    Mark R, your comment was very helpful, thank you! I know how important it is to not focus on trying to get rid of the DP, since that only makes it worse. Much easier said than done, but I have to do it. I’m having a really hard time right now, but I remember feeling awful around this same time last year. My anxiety/depression issues have always been worse in the winter.

  73. Helen Says:

    Hi all,

    I just wanted to wish you all a ‘Whatever Christmas’. The reason I say this is because Christmas can be really hard when you are in the thick of anxiety as you feel that you should be happy and content but you obviously don’t. Don’t put pressure on yourself to feel a certain way over the holidays, just go with it and smile. If you wake up in the morning and feel terrible just accept it and don’t fight it because you shouldn’t be feeling like this on Christmas Day! Have a Whatever You Are Felling Christmas but smile knowing that one day it will be over. One day you will look back at how badly you felt, how you truly believed that you could never get over anxiety and be glad that you experienced what you did. You won’t look back and feel pain, you won’t look back and make it all come back again, you will look back and realise that you have learnt so much and that you are a stronger better you for the experience.
    Keep in your mind all the time that you just have to go with this, stop questioning and projecting forward how you think you might feel in the future, all you have is today, you have no idea what tomorrow may bring. So, however you feel today, go with it and be kind to yourself and those around you. It can and will go, so smile knowing that one day you will be free of it.

    All the best to all of you,

  74. Sydney Carton Says:

    Thanks Helen just what I needed to hear after 3 years > of various forms of torment (currently a relationship theme). Its a pity that the occasional periods of respite from anxiety do not not coincide with National holiday periods. God Bless and have a Happy Christmas and please keep up your words of wisdom for all the readers on this life saving blog.

  75. Lizb Says:

    Hi alexa

    I too have problems on waking in the early hours. One thing that helped me was to not clock watch. No more totting up how many hours you have slept and looking at the clock. I only look at my watch when i can see its starting to get light or my alarm goes off. The more you worry about it the more it will be a problem. Concentrating on outside noises, putting your hand on your stomach and just tuning in to your stomach rising and falling helps. Just allowing my mind to wander helps too, i know when im starting to relax as my thoughts get more random before falling asleep. X

  76. emma e Says:

    Helen, what a generous, honest & thoughtful post. It really hits the spot. Happy ‘whatever’ Christmas! :-)

  77. Sara Says:

    What a lovely post Helen, I think that is exactly what we all needed.

    Thank you :)

  78. Wendy Says:

    Thank you Helen!
    That was exactly what I needed. I’ve been ill for the last days and had to lie in bed. It seems as if my anxiety got worse because of that, because I couldn’t exercise or do something.

  79. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    Having a real rough time at the moment. Been ill with the winter vomiting virus, thought I’d recovered yesterday as I felt loads better. Woke up this morning with a panic attack and had vile symptoms since. I’ve not felt this bad for a good 4 or 5 months. I’ve got that vile nagging feeling you get that I’m back to square one again. Trying to see it as a setback as I’ve been physically ill but I feel really awful

  80. Mark R Says:

    Sitting on your own crying on Christmas Day is no fun at all

  81. Vamanan Says:

    Hi Everyone,

    I can relate to your suffering as I suffered from bad anxiety (which mostly fits Generalized Anxiety Disorder) during early 2011. I was begging for help while suffering in silence and Paul’s writings and the people in this Blog helped me going through tough times. You should know that many recovered just like me and you can and you will too. Its just a matter of time and being patience.

    Looking back, I realize that when I was suffering, both thoughts and feelings I had were complete lies of the situation as well as the future. For example, one thought came from time to time telling me that I am not going to come out of this and have to live with it forever. (This is false, I feel I am a better person today than I was even before 2011 as Anxiety doesn’t control me any more and I enjoy much more freedom than I did before 2011). I was constantly fighting these thoughts and worries. Most time I argued with them and sometimes I had self-pity with them. Slowly I realized I am neither going to argue nor going to believe those thoughts and feelings, as it is just adding more stress, I started seeing some light of hope.

    As Paul repeatedly advised in his articles, doing things that you used to do despite how you feel is also one of the key. It takes a lot of courage to do it but that is the path to recovery. I think when we do stuff, there are moments where we stop worrying about ourselves and these moments give the much needed break to our mind.

    After this experience I no longer fear anxiety (despite it showing up here and there. As I am writing now, I can see there is a worrying thought around about an event today but It doesn’t bother me much as it used to). When a worry or an uncertainty shows up I no longer fear them or try to find a perfect solution for them any more. It surprises me how I had all these wrong perspectives until 2011 and managed living with them. Its all about our perspective and how we see things. When anxiety is high, we tend to see everything negatively and brain naturally produces those negative thoughts which is O.K. but all we need is not to believe them.

    Despite what you may feel today, please believe that it will get better and you will start to see things clearly. If your thoughts and feelings doesn’t guide you, hold on to hope and courage as they will. I wish you all recovery and a better year in 2013.

  82. Maggie Says:

    Hi All,

    First of all, Merry Christmas to all! Hoping that 2013 will bring us some inner peace.
    My question is the following:
    I have all kind of racing and disturbing thoughts, questionning every single thing, do you think this is anxiety as well? If I try to understand or read about something I feel like my brain is not willing to learn or try to understand, questions start coming to my mind.
    Believe me guys sometimes I think that I am having a serious mental illness.
    Also to everyone here try to stay away from articles online or anywhere else except this site because they provide wrong and scary information.
    Cheers to all,

  83. Mark R Says:

    Hi Doreen,

    Just read your post about anxiety rearing its head after things happening. I can cope with the ups and downs of anxiety but setbacks are particularly nasty. I find myself in one now, where the feelings are akin to day one. Just hope I can pull myself through it pretty quickly

  84. Clare Says:

    mark my heart goes out to you no one should be alone on christmasday but it is just another day .i have been dreading it as last year ,it was the day I started to be depressed again ,after forty years I should know better.i
    Actually had a lovely day with my lovely daughter and granddaughters I did all
    The cooking, everything went well,so we can’t predict the future.
    also my sister has been in psychiatric four months she has never been like this before, thought this would bring down but I have coped I do hope you will feel better tomorrow ,have you no one you can talk to try to keep busy even if you don’t feel like it you are not alone as my thoughts r with u so goodnight godblessxxxxx
    keep strong

  85. Mark R Says:

    Hi Clare,

    Thanks for that, I hope I’ll be okay, if not ill just have to cope. Setbacks are always really hard to take when you’ve felt okay for a while.

  86. Alexa Says:

    Thanks for the sleep advice everyone – I will try and take it on tonight.

    Maggie those disturbing thoughts through anxiety are quite normal, just try your best to tell yourself they are meaningless and dont add anything to them. What I found most helpful was that I had a friend whom I basically spilled everything to and he constantly reassured me that I will break out of the cycle eventually. Better out than in I say. For me it is reassurance that this condition is not permanent that helps me through the most.

    Mark my thoughts are with you – I hope you get through your set back quickly, I think they are the most unfair part of this ‘process’.

    Personally one of the hardest things I’ve had to do is keep away from this blog – I said I would give myself a two day break over Christmas and see how I got on – of course I’ve been perfectly fine apart from being a bit up and down, but its always good to challenge yourself.

    Stay strong everyone

  87. Maggie Says:

    Thank-you Alexa!

  88. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    Thanks for the encouraging posts yesterday, a bit better today and more in the land of the living. I have a bit of colour in my cheeks again. Sometimes I think it’s harder when you get a setback after feeling okay for a bit as its such a sharp contrast. Yesterday was one if the most miserable days if my life. Walking in a park on your own crying on Christmas Day is awful. I was really winding myself up yesterday about going back to square one but today that worry has reduced. Still feel shaky and tense but an improvement nonetheless.

  89. Alexa Says:

    That’s good to hear Mark, literally just came on to check that you were doing okay, I will keep everyone in my prayers tonight.
    Quick question even though I shouldn’t really be on here, I am aware that exercise reduces the stress and uses up adrenaline however does it speed up the process of recovery? I know this isn’t the sort of question I should be asking but just wondering…

  90. Josh Says:

    Dear Paul & Helen

    Despite having gone through the thoughts and feelings number of times over multiple years and knowing that its anxiety..why does the mind still get tricked into beleiving that everything is true and something may happen

    At that instant, amidst the raging fear..what do we do to tell the mind and body that its just anxiety and you can carry on with the work…


  91. Tiara Jazzie Says:


    I believe since exercise not only burns off the adrenaline your body produces, it also increases your “feel-good” hormones. Therefore, rewiring your brain’s chemistry and also releases the tension from your nerves and muscles. If you think bout it, most of the time, my abxirty reaction starts with a sensation brought on by overworked nerves and tensed muscles.

  92. Will Says:

    I’m currently thinking about doing the craziest thing I’ll ever do – attend a music festival.

    It’s the Download Festival that comes round every Summer. My mates went to last year’s, and although they initially found it really intimidating, they loved the experience and want to go to the 2013 one too. Usually this sort of thing would be out of the question for me – camping, crowds, and worst of all trying to sleep – but for some crazy reason I’m actually thinking of going this time.
    Right now I’m struggling with whether or not I want to. I’m thinking about everything that I know will be negative, namely the camping. On top of already being the fussiest sleeper ever, it’ll be in a tent, amongst thousands of other people, away from home, and amongst the all-night noise. I’m not good out of my comfort zone, and sleeping is pretty much out of the question in that case.
    And then of course there’s the anxiety that comes with trying to sleep under stressful conditions: I’ll barely sleep, I’ll be shivering, and of course I’ll likely be having those “night terrors” that I mentioned a while ago. I’ll feel like I’m going insane.

    …But despite all of these issues, I’m still seriously thinking about going to the festival. Why? Because I want to go to prove to myself that anxiety can’t stop me from having a good time… but I’m still scared of it all. I KNOW that once I get used to it I’ll be fine and by the end I’ll be grateful for the experience (maybe I’ll even enjoy it because I’ll be with my mates), but I’m finding it hard getting past all these stresses.

  93. Alexa Says:

    Will, I think that sounds like a fantastic idea, you will really prove something to yourself and have a sense of accomplishment.

    Even if you cant sleep too well, remember its only for a few days and nothing will harm you permanently, maybe you’ll even use up some of that extra adrenaline jumping around in the crazy crowds and sweating it all out! Think of it as something to look forward to rather than something to dread. (oh and err, take some loo roll) 😀

  94. Mark R Says:


    I go to to 2/3 festivals a year, anxiety or not. In fact I went to one in August about 4 months into a pretty horrendous setback and had a great time. I made sure I didnt drink too much though, but it was great just relaxing in the sun and listening to bands on the night. I’m going to Glastonbury in 2013 as well. My advice is sod the stresses and go.


  95. Charles Says:

    Nobody have the feel like your going to cry when talking to people? Maybe it’s a sense of going through this bad anxiety and it comes out when I’m trying to fake it that nothing is wrong and I feel great

  96. Sara Says:


    That sounds like so much fun! Are you from the UK?

    And it’s exactly what you said, you know that you will be happy that you went through it in the end, and you might just find yourself having an amazing time.
    Try reading what Paul wrote about social events, don’t over think them or give them too much thought. Just go right in!

    Hope you have fun!

  97. Sara Says:

    Here is actually a post from Paul on social events:

    “Well again I would not be worrying about going to a social event pre anxiety, I would be looking forward to it. I then realised I was not scared of the event itself, I was worried about being anxious and how I came across. There is no instant switch to stop you getting anxious over a social event, but it taught me that I had to just take things as they came and that feeling anxious was not then end of the world and the more I felt it, then the less I would feel it. I had to get used to it and put myself out there and then I would train my sub conscious to realise there was nothing to get anxious about. So basically I went to social events and took them as they came, not worrying if I felt anxious or not. Most times I would feel some anxiety, but it was never as bad as I thought it would be and usually by the end of the night I was chatting freely and as expected in time it just got easier.”

    Hope that helps :)

  98. Charles Says:


  99. Sara Says:


    Go to the month of May and read what Paul wrote about acting your way through anxiety.

    My own advice would be- fake it till you make it. There is no need to cry, you will recover. Baby steps.

  100. Will Says:

    Thanks for the replies everyone!

    Sara – Yes I am from the UK :) And thank you for the post from Paul, it really put things into perspective for me. I can’t deny that I’m more dreading it than I am looking forward to it, but I’ve never been one to turn down a huge experience. I even went to New York a few years ago – for three days I barely ate anything and had fitful sleep, but looking back I’m so glad I went because I’d never get a chance to do so again. Then I went on a college trip to Dublin two years ago – I was dreading panic attacks, but while I was there I wasn’t anxious AT ALL. And it pretty much ended my panic attacks. So yeah, it’s an example that things can go right sometimes. Thanks again! :)

    Alexa – Thank you, that’s what I’m hoping to achieve :) They have fairground rides there too so that’ll release some adrenaline! As I said above, I need to start looking forward to it rather than dreading it.

    Mark R – Thanks, “sod the stresses and go” is exactly the thought I’m trying to condition myself with to reach a decision. Sure I’ll have a rough first few days but I just know that I’ll come out fine and grateful for the experience :)

  101. Paul David (Admin) Says:

    Been ultra busy over Xmas so not had chance for a catch up

    Just want to wish everyone a belated Merry Xmas and a happy New Year

    Let’s make 2013 the best year yet!


  102. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    Having a rough time in setback at the moment, trying not to question it all etc. I think they are particularly hard to deal with when you’ve been on the upswing for a while, which I have since around September-ish. It’s a sharp reminder really of how bad I felt as I’ve not felt as bad as this since the summer. It’s true as they say, when you’re in one state its very hard to remember another… November and December I managed trips to Dublin and London with no bother at all. I can’t remember that now.

    I’m trying to just push on though, last night I cried on my mom and dad, but then thought I need to keep occupied so I came home, fitted my new stereo up, fixed a speaker that needed repairing and anxiety kind of faded into the background. Not sure if it was the evening that helped as well as I always feel better late at night. I’ve woke feeling very rancid today but I’m gonna try and keep busy so I’m not feeling sorry for myself.

  103. Diane Says:

    hi all,been doing well,a bit on and off but tonight I tried to go out for something to eat and then to a ballet but ended up leaving not once but twice, felt anxious but tried to push on then felt really exhausted and a bit spaced out and detached,burst into tears and came home, feel I have really let my mum down,itry to keep the anxiety from her but it all came to a height tonight, I am going to try to just cut off and chill, and not over worry about things,sorry for moaning just I have been doing well but then I try to do something out of my comfort zone and wham ,it allcomes rushing back,spaced out dizzy thoughts racing anyway, not worth making things worse Ifly home tomorrow and back to work on Monday, then another good read at my book, hope your all doing well x

  104. J.J. Says:

    Hello everyone, I first had my anxiety attack about 2 years ago. At the time I purchased my first house and had to put down my dog right around the same time so allot was going on. It hit me and I had no clue what was happening to me. For the longest time just random thoughts kepted coming up and I couldn’t control them. Had headaches, couldn’t sleep and concentrate and was getting pretty depressed. I couldn’t watch or listen to the news because if something horrible happened I would start to think what if that was me and then I would start getting nervous and constantly think about it. I finally overcame everything but still had a few ups and downs but they weren’t as bad as when I first had it happen to me. The past few days it seems like it’s coming back and now I’m following victim to the constant worrying and obsessive thoughts. Was just wondering if anyone can help or give some advice. I appreciate it, thanks!

  105. Sara Says:

    J.J. ,

    With anxiety, you’re bound to have a setback. The trick is to not let it bring you down. Let it pass, let it run its course. The less respect you give it the quicker it will pass. And the less frequently they come with less power.

  106. Stephen Shale Says:

    Hi, so I thought I would summarise my year, and hopefully get some tips to set me up for next year, and start it on the right foot. Well, it has been a year now since I found Paul’s advice, and it’s helped so much. I managed to go on my honeymoon in January, then from March to October I was totally free from anxiety! But unfortunately the past 3 months I have fallen into a setback, and into the same cycles again, which have led up to my nemesis: Christmas. My biggest symptom is how much it affects my appetite, and the thought of getting together with various families for a couple of days, for big meals, really gets to me. However, this year went pretty well, yes I had some symptoms, but overall I’ve come out the other side feeling positive about it.

    But now comes what is probably my biggest problem. Now that I am past christmas, I guess I was expecting to suddenly feel uplifted, and happy, and recover again. But the past few days I’m just feeling worse. What’s getting me down more is the feeling of positivity slipping away. At the beginning of my setback, I still felt confident that I’d recovered once, and I could do it again. That feeling is just not as strong anymore. Mark, you are so right, when you are in it, you forget how the other side felt, and vice versa. I guess I am also worried, that I’m not going to get that epiphany from Paul’s advice again, as I had a year ago, I need to just trust, and do what he says.

    I think this next year could make or break me really, and I think it is all down to the acceptance, and trying not to lose myself in the feelings and question what is happening and why. I cant help but try to work out what has caused me to feel rubbish each time. And it’s when there isnt a reason, that really annoys me. So much happens subconciously, reacting to memories you forgot you had, that suddenly you’re so run down again, its still bewildering.

    So some advice on acceptance and keeping the positivity up would be great, hope you all have a great New Year.

  107. Mark R Says:

    Hi JJ/Stephen,

    Its very true that setbacks are hard, really hard. When I read posts on here about people having setbacks, I think they generally mean the usual ups and downs of anxiety…… okay one day, down the next. To me, from personal experience and also experience of reading other peoples posts, a setback is feeling like you are back at the start for a short while as the feelings and thoughts seem to come back temporarily as acutely. Again, from personal experience when you have an episode of anxiety it takes months and months to improve, in setback you seem to go through the same process but in a fraction of the time………so instead of months, it takes days and weeks etc, this may not be the same for everyone though. I had a panic attack on Christmas morning, which pretty much wiped out the whole day. I felt so tense and upset, all I could do was just sit there and cry. I had no dinner or anything. At the start of anxiety I would usually be like this for weeks on end, in setback this lasted a day, day and a half at the most.

    I think setbacks are hard to take when you’ve had a bit of a break from anxiety. For me I haven’t really had a break but as I’ve got on with normal life it’s meant less and less. From around September I’ve still struggled but I’ve been able to do more stuff freely, even forgetting about it at times.

    To deal with it the same principles of this brilliant site apply. accept the feelings no matter what, stick to your usual routine and get on with your day. There are a number of old posts/threads on setbacks you can search through, I had a scan through these on Christmas day which really helped.

  108. J.J. Says:

    Thanks guys!

    Set backs are always hard to go through and accept after doing so well beforehand. My whole life I’ve always been nervous so it’s bound to happen to have a setback once in awhile. For me now there’s a girl I really like so I over analyze everything and get down on myself when things don’t go well. So I’m going to try and move on and not let everything bother me.

  109. lorryt Says:

    hi all

    have recently been having small set backs on a daily basis, but i guess after my recent life changes they are to be expected. and one thing i know is that if i hadnt of found this place several years ago i know that i would not be strong enough to move on with my life. Although i have never suffered from socail anxiety , i dont always feel comfortable in lrge groups of people as i am partially deaf and can not always follow conversations!!. But it is just case of forgetting yourself out there and really not caring about others thoughts.

    I am going to follow pauls advice and get fit which will help me immensely mentally and confidence wise. I am determined to turn my life around after always being the one to fix things for others. i want to fix me !! xx

  110. angela Says:

    hi, i havnt been on here for a few months, i am now back to a stage in my life were i dwell on stuff!!! i am having feelings of dread. and whats the point and my jobs rubbish, im dougbting feeling for my husband again etc.. also a big one is groundhog day every day and there is more to life, .. even though i know this is all anxiety AGAIN..;{ i am struggling with it all over again.. and its getting me down again, i find myself looking in pauls book to see if it will make me feel better. i am ok in other parts of my life now its just anxiety. but this is the one that keeps coming back and im stuck, weve been under a lot of stress this year, as it seems every year lol, but a hard year so it doesnt help i know. HELP!! anyone else feel like this x

  111. angela Says:

    also my ten year old son has started to suffer with quite bad anxiety about a month ago.. some stuff has happened but the school are not equipped to deal with it they said!! i just dont no who to turn to he has adhd and its been under control for years, this is seperate. im afraid if we go and take him somewere and he talks like us (WHO SUFFER TALK) they will think he needs medication and thats not happening.. i no its anxiety 100% but telling a head doc is difficult, i work mentoring in a secondary school and am thinking maybe i could just do the course with him i run at school.. im hearbroken about this because im worried knowone will listen or if they do it will be the wrong kind of listening.. :( im stuck..

  112. Wendy Says:

    Hello everyone,

    two days ago I went to town alone and it was really good!i had nearly no anxiety! I went into many stores and in a restaurant and took the metro without anxiety! I could also feel how my strange thoughts went away for this time it was just a great experience!

  113. Lizb Says:

    Hi all

    Just wanted to recommend a yoga dvd which i am finding helpful. Its called yoga for stress relief with barbara benagh. You can buy off amazon. It has a main menu with lots of subsections on specifics such as back tension, headaches, digestion problems, insomnia etc. would highly recommend.

    I also go to a yoga class once a week and walk or go for a gentle jog when its not raining! As paul says dont expect it to cure you as it wont but It has built my confidence up and my body is starting to feel stronger.

    The other bit of advice that has helped me onto a road to recovery is getting up and knowing how i feel for the first few hours does not dictate how the rest of the day will be. Secondly have a to do list. When i was signed off work this really helped me have a focus. I still do one for the week. Hope this helps x

  114. Mark R Says:

    Hi Liz,

    Thats good advice, feeling really bad in the mornings is inevetiable. As Claire Weekes said ‘A difficult start need not mean a difficult day’. I always have a rough time in the mornings, especially the drive to work. By the time I’m there, had a cup of tea etc and got into work I usually feel better.

  115. Maggie Says:

    Hi All,

    @Mark R, and @ Lizb I am into that feeling as well mornings are the worst.
    Totally agree that doesn’t mean your day will be bad.
    I had to quit my job because it was a long drive that was stressing me, also the company had me on a renewable contract which I wasn’t happy about. I tried to forget about my anxiety by going to work but the commute made me sick (or may be I should say I was sick of it).
    I wish everybody here the best.
    Cheers to all,

  116. Maggie Says:

    @Angela, I will not suggest you to check online but from my personal experience, Stress has a lot to do with Anxiety. It is one of the triggers.
    That’s how I get my terrible Anxiety scenarios where I can not cope with my daily tasks anymore.
    Panic Attacks, GAD, racing thoughts, Insomnia,….the list is long
    Believe me you are not the only one, we females are more exposed to Anxiety because of our hormones, on top we have family responsabilities(that doesn’t make it easy at all, you feel like you can never relax, when what we really need is some time off from everything).

  117. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    Feeling pretty crud at the moment so when I feel like this I often look at old posts on the blog. Here’s a couple I found which help with a setback, if you ever find yourself in one……..

    Paul David Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Generally I feel I am welcoming this, and feel OK about it, almost excited as I know I will feel even better the other side of this.

    That’s exactly the way I looked at it, I always came through stronger and better, it was like another storm passing by and the sunshine would be along soon.

    It’s just those moments of intense fear that pop up – I’m like, “whatever”, but they are so unpleasant!! So be it.

    Yes Patrick, it is still unpleasant, no doubt about it and that is where the need to try and ‘do’ something about it comes in at times and has people spiralling back into old habits, trying to fix it, make it better, question it all over again. But it’s like a broken arm, we can’t make it better, we just have to wait for it to heal itself, time really is a great healer. The more we leave our body to do it’s own work without getting in it’s way, the better. You do get second sense in time to make the most of your day however you feel and not become a victim to the way you are feeling.

    It’s up, it’s down, it has eureka moments, one day the world could not be better and you feel you can touch recovery, the next it my seem far away, but it’s all part of the process trust me. So many people who come back here to say how well they are feeling, many who are now totally recovered will recognise that pattern and will have been through it the same way as I did. Some people who have suffered a short period of time don’t have the same habits and memory’s as the person who has suffered for years, like me, but I understood it would not be a simple straight line to recovery. Others who have suffered a short time can feel better pretty quickly, we are all different in our recovery process, but all recover in the same way. I too could feel great for weeks/months and think that’s it, Im free now, only to feel awful again, but the same principle applied, been here before Paul, it’s not important and will pass and it did every single time and each time I felt better and stronger than before. The setbacks came less and less and with less power, as they had been given the cold shoulder by me and I had not labbled them as important or a problem.

    H Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Patrick, think I am at a similar stage to you. Have had several weeks of feeling good, then out of the blue hit a setback – had a couple of days feeling really crap and even a minor panic episode, BUT noticed a subtle difference this time, I didn’t feel overly concerned. I didnt dwell on it as I would’ve in the past, and analyse the hell out of it. Then to my surprise have had a few days now feeling great – even with a stonking hangover yesterday from celebrating my birtday on Saturday. I believe it really is the memory of our initial encounter with anxiety that pulls us back, the time when we were uneducated and bewildered. That was a scary place, and memory and association prompts a strong emotional reaction – the truth of the matter is we are now educated, and despite what our emotions tell us at times, we can never go back to square one – which I guess is our ultimate fear. I think I am now daring to trust that I have lived through too much (and survived!) and learnt too much to worry about falling back.
    Armed with education from Paul’s site and living through setbacks, recovery is inevitable. This is fact. You cannot fear what you understand, and what cannot harm you, the only enemy becomes patience and time.

    Some encouraging things I have noticed:

    – Good days will come to you out of the blue, when they do, you will realise that anxiety is a much thinner veneer than you think – normal feeling is much nearer the surface than you think is possible.

    – When in the midst of anxiety it feels like you will never be free, when good days come, you won’t believe you will suffer again. This proves it is just a temporary state of mind.

    – Eureka moments usualy come during the darkest times – you WILL have moments when things just click. Each time you will absorb a little more understanding and dissipate a little more fear.

    – You may have a paricularly scary thought which troubles you – the thought content itself is insignificant. It will be whichever thought caught your imagination when at a low ebb, it was just a lottery which thought it was. It is not real, trust me, in time you will look back and wonder why it caused you so much grief! You will become a master at spotting anxious thoughts and not giving them attention. This is a good habit, which you can use when recovered to enrich your life further. I look back now and can see much of my life was governed by ‘what ifs’ before anxiety became a problem. Not now, I am more likely to say ‘why not’ these days – but I am still practicing.

    – Anxiety is a process, both in and out, which is common to the human species, yes symptoms may differ slightly between sufferers (much like flu), but ultimately if one person can recover, everyone can recover. All it takes is UNDERSTANDING and TIME. We are all engineered the same.

    You may be thinking, yes, but you obviously didn’t suffer as bad as me (everyone thinks that!), not true, I was an absolute wreck, I had suffered terribly for 4 long years, I experienced pretty much everything in the book. I only improved after finding this site, and Pauls book. So take heart, you are in the right place.

    I too think that a ’success’ forum would be a great benefit. Pauls blogs are truly inspirational, but equally so are successes that re-inforce the information that Paul provides.
    those are the posts that helped the mostest. x

  118. Anthony Says:

    You know how there are so many religions out there that claim to be the true one? You know how there are so many diets out there that claim to be the true one to work?

    Well, the anti-anxiety world is a lot like those too. My email is full of stuff from places like Panic Away or Auto Calm, and they all claim to be the one to work. But it all comes with a price.

    What I love so much about this place is how it’s free. As it should be. I am now in a financial position to be able to try ordering some of this stuff, but I fear it would be a waste of my money. was there for me when I didn’t have any money. It helped me get out there and find a job. Because of this site, I now work full time. I owe a lot to this place!

  119. dave Says:

    Hello Everyone,

    I have posted on this site on and off for the past 16 months. I was 30 years old when I become a father, which I was not prepared for in anyway. When my daughter was 6 months old I suffered a panic attack at the gym. I found Paul’s site and Dr.Weekes books, but it wasn’t until I recently fully accepted my anxiety and everything that comes with it. I was just happy half applying the method and having a few good weeks/months. I have had a setback and went back and read Paul book I finally understand and believe I can recovery fully, with time and understanding. I was chasing the ghost of recovery and not letting it come to me, if that makes any sense. Sort of like half recovery, that is why this setback has been such a blessing.

    It been a journey of great self discovery, I need to change my habits of negative thinking, and not try to control every little thing. Letting go of this has been a great relief, I am dropping things I don’t need to carry.

    I was wondering if someone could please explain why do the DP and anxiety Symptoms are worse in the morning and become less intense as the day goes on? And I am aware true accepting and floating will lead to full recovery but this is more of a self knowledge question.

    I will do an update post in a couple of months or so, I am going to stay the course with the practice of acceptance and mindful life changes. (thinking/outlook) etc.

    Thank you for everyone and there support on this site. ESP Paul


  120. Lizb Says:

    Loving the recent posts, all positive and helpful, thanks mark r for finding those quotes, they have given me strength, a great way to start your day. I read a quote recently which is, ‘when fear holds you in its grip fighting against it will only tighten its clutch. When you say to yourself and trust that all will be well, you’ll feel it let you go’ very apt for our road to recovery, keep perservering! Think what better people we will be because of anxiety, we will no longer take life for granted. As buddha says, practice kindness, practice patience and practice contentment. Boy arent we all practicing patience, So thats one ticked off the list! Wishing you all a peaceful new year x

  121. Mark R Says:

    Hi Liz,

    No problem. Those old posts are always helpful, especially in times of setback. I have to confess though I don’t feel anxious today but I can’t stop crying. It seems to be neverending.

  122. Wendy Says:

    Hello everyone,

    I just want to wish everyone a wonderful new year!
    I wrote a list of things I wanna do in 2013 and the first thing is ” fear “.

    F-ace E-verything A-and R-recover
    That’s what Paul wrote in his book and I liked it.

    Next year I want to try to just live my life. When I look back on 2012 I spent most of the time home alone and missed so many nice things.
    In the next year I want to socialize more and I just wanna live, if anxiety wants to come with me, so be it!

  123. DCYL Says:

    Hey All,

    Happy Holidays to everyone. Hope everyone is going well! Let share with you how up & things are! I hit a rough patch in 2011 but fortunately stumbled upon this site and it’s been helpful. Though like everyone, it took some time to sink in.

    The past few weeks, things had been fine. However, when I went off work for a week, a few things happened. Some stress occurred. With no work stuff, I spent a little time at home doing the usual (watch TV, surf internet, etc).

    However, quiet time wasn’t that good for me in 2011. With no distractions, my mind wandered back to how I was feeling. So with the extra quiet time, I fell back slightly though I managed ok.

    Yesterday, a little more stress (family / parent stuff) and I think it got me good. I felt odd most of the day though I did what I needed to do (get haircut, deposit a check and then went to library for a while). I was sweating a bit, thoughts were a bit all over the place, etc). Yet, when i got home, things just calmed down.

    I’m just sharing this because a lot of people experience setbacks when they are taken out of their comfort zone. When you have a routine, it’s easy to settle into it and feel “fine”.

    But when things disrupt it, it’s easy to feel like “man, what happened”. I’m curious if others would concur this is the case. That is why Paul says to “Just Live” and let things roll! Because, lots of things happen that we cannot control.

  124. Lizb Says:

    Excellent wendy, i like your new year resolution! I would ditto the live and socialise more! Mark r, i too have days where i have that pernanent lump in throat or have a good blub, let it come and it will go, its only a release. It always passes.

    Happy new year x

  125. Sara Says:

    I want to wish you all an amazing New Year!!!
    I hope that 2013 is one of the best years for all of you.
    My resolution this year is to simply refuse to let anxiety win.
    Come if you may but you will not win in any situation this year.

    Here’s to recovery, and progress.
    Keep moving forward


  126. emma e Says:

    Really positive messages…thanks everyone. Really need it at the moment. Have had a really difficult few days. Happy new year to you all. Let’s all continue with our courage to accept & stay with all the feelings & have faith that one day our efforts will be rewarded x

  127. Anthony Says:

    So a while back I said that I got my job (which I also confirmed in a post I wrote yesterday) and Paul David invited me to post back and report how I’ve been doing, so I’m more than happy to oblige!

    I’ve been doing very well, to be honest! Despite my constant anxiety, I mostly forget about it while I’m working. I have a consumer service job, so helping people is a good plus for me. It’s full time, ten hours every four days with three days off.

    I work in the mornings, so I have to get up really early to get ready and be there on time. And yeah, morning anxiety really really stinks. I think I’m getting over a bad thought one day and not letting it bother me anymore, then it’s back to overreacting to it in the morning, which I really really hate. I wish I could tell myself a thought doesn’t bother me anymore and that would be that. But the anxiety is always coming with it. And I hate how my mind always seems to be searching for the next thing to obsess over and cause more anxiety. But maybe that’s a sign I’m making progress since I realize the problem is anxiety in general and not the thoughts?

    In any case, I’m doing so much better than I was earlier in the year. One of these days I’ll be getting Paul’s book. Waiting until I purchase a Kindle Fire though. 😉

  128. Mark R Says:

    Hope everyone (including me) has a great year in 2013.

    My ambitions for 2013 is recovery, or if that doesn’t happen to at least feel better, grow my business and to travel a bit more.

    I’m pretty feeling rotten in a setback / dip at the moment so I’m having some tough days. I’ve spent about 3 or 4 months not caring how I feel but at the moment it’s hard not to. Feel tense, miserable and really upset.

  129. Lizb Says:

    Mark R

    Big hug to you. I read in ‘get some headspace’ about a man who was suffering from anxiety and the author told him instead on focussing on his anxiety to focus on his resistance to his anxiety and feelings. Dont know if this will help in anyway. The idea is you resist nothing, i know its harder said than done.

  130. emma e Says:

    Hi Lizb, I see a psychotherapist which has been really helpful & something that I have learned for the times when I am feeling resistance is to just be with it & accept that too. I think that is a similar point to yours? I am having a horrible few days where my mind is searching for answers, ways out etc. I am just trying my best to keep feeling it & being as kind as I can to myself knowing that there is nothing to work out. Finding it really hard to concentrate on anything. Looking forward to this passing in time!!

  131. Doreen Says:

    Mark R – I think times which are considered ‘special’ such as Xmas and New Year bring added pressure as we are supposed to be feeling happy and relaxed. So feeling bad on an ordinary day is somehow less distressing and can be more easily shrugged off.

  132. Lizb Says:

    Hi emma

    You have the right outlook! So it will pass. I am still learning on this journey and am still working things out myself but understand more than i did a few months back. I kept reading about this thing called acceptance and thinking what does it really mean. I’m not 100% there but it makes much more sense. I can remember my occupational health therapist saying to me at work a while back ‘just try and relax into it’ i thought to myself what does she mean, how can i relax when ive been through hell? A few months on and i am only now understanding what she really meant by that. X

  133. emma e Says:

    Well…it sounds like your doing great. I must say the whole acceptance thing has taken me a long time to fully understand & implement. Sometimes I find the terms “staying with” or “allowing” & “letting in” more helpful. Much of a muchness but sometimes different words click with us more than others. I am not 100% there but I now know when im not accepting so at least can acknowledge that and stay with that. Your post was really timely for me because it helped me acknowledge my resistance today…so thankyou.

  134. SarahS Says:

    Mark R, I think Emma, Doreen and Liz all have really good advice for you. I know it’s hard, we all do, and forgive me for being honest but I think you are looking for a way out, for some sort of answer, for re-assurance rather than going with it, having faith that you will come out the other side, rolling with the punches. That’s not to say it’s easy, it isn’t of course but it does get easier the more you go through the setbacks as you begin to really have faith that last time you came through it by doing nothing but going with it and not letting it hold you back and this time you will too. It’s understandable that you will want re-assurance, we all do sometimes but then what you have to do is take it and move on, however you feel, going against instincts to gain more and more advice and re-assurance.

    You have done really well in the past. Have faith, go with it for as long as it takes and you will come out the other side, only this time stronger.

  135. Mark R Says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Yeah you’re right. I realised this last night and tried not to come on here during the day, its pretty much consumed me over the last week as it been so vicious and the feelings have mattered again. As I said previously the last three months or so have been better as the feelings didn’t matter and that was only achieved by getting on with external things. I’ve been giving loads of advice to others before so I need to practice what I preach in effect. Back at work tomorrow which will probably give me a bit more structure to my day.

    Hope you are doing well.

  136. Teresa Says:

    Here’s wishing everyone a good 2013 – I think Helen’s post on not wishing for things to be too perfect is an inspiration. Thank you Helen for all your inspirational posts and personal help you have given too.
    Whatever we face we will get through, it’s the same with or without anxiety just our reaction to it is different.
    Mark R – you have had a rough time over the past few weeks – although you cannot see it the rest of us know how strong and brave you have been and that this will mean that you will bob back up and be out there doing well again. give yourself time, don’t be hard on yourself and things will move foward again. Hope 2013 brings you all you wish for.

    Doreen – I am sorry to hear what a hard time you have been having, it must be very hard for you. Your response is an inspiration – hope things get better for all your family soon.

    Lorry T – Have a good 2013.
    Paul – Hope 2013 is a really good one for you – you have helped so many people. Hope your achilles heals soon and everything else too.
    all – take care for 2013

  137. SarahS Says:

    Hi Mark – I think routine and structure does help so yes work will help I think. And Teresa’s right about not being too hard on yourself. What you are going through is all part of the process I think, plenty of ups and downs but becoming stronger each time. And I think it’s you who said when you are feeling better you can’t really remember what it was like to not to. When it’s vice versa though that’s when we have to remember to have complete faith that things will be okay again and just let that happen.

    I’m good thanks for asking.

    Keep smiling Mark.


  138. SarahS Says:

    Hi Teresa, good to see your post. How are you doing?


  139. SarahS Says:

    Oh one more thing! When I’m not at my best I do tend to get quite serious about things, I can feel myself being very, very serious. So I’ve tried to make light of stuff more so and it’s actually worked, it takes the edge off things and the bonus is that my jokes are very very funny hee hee, well I think they are.


  140. Jamie Says:

    Hi Paul

    It’s not often I come across genuine people who have devoted a lot of their life to selflessly help others with something as common as anxiety! Just hit 20 a few months ago when I was very much in the midst of my anxiety nightmare – it’s now January and although I’m not ‘recovered’ I’m a damn site better.

    It’s almost as if you become a completely different person when you’re caught up in the anxiety ‘trap’. I found myself consistently scanning my own thoughts and body when something felt wrong, hypochondria gone absolutely mad! I couldn’t stop thinking that something terrible was going to happen to me. Advice to anyone would be, as Paul mentions so many times, STOP TRYING TO MAKE YOURSELF BETTER!

    The best thing that I have done is stop counting the days in which I’ve felt fine, because whenever I would feel anxious I would reset that counter and feel worse than ever. Once I stopped this, my life began to and continues to feel more prosperous.

    I was a shadow of the man I used to be during the summer, some of the lowest times of my life so far. I was on holiday and everything felt like I was in a dream, I couldn’t focus on my life and enjoying myself without thinking about when the next set back would arrive. But look at it objectively – I WAS ON HOLIDAY! What reason do I have to be upset? None whatsoever! I am just angry at myself for letting it go on this long.

    Be strong everyone, if you’re feeling worried or alone, I and a lot of others here have probably been in the same situation as you, you’re not alone! Keep your head strong and live your life, you deserve it.

    P.S. Google searching your self-imposed symptoms is not a good idea, you automatically assume that it’s relevant to you as you’re almost looking for an explanation for your feelings even if it’s something bad, you want something to blame the anxiety on when in fact you should be blaming yourself! Stop letting anxiety win :)

    Hope you all had a good new year’s!

  141. Ian Says:

    Hi ALL ! Happy New Year.

    I’m starting this year with a positive attitude and its working !!
    I’ve decided to start a Karate class too, I know the guy who runs it from when we were young so that will make it a little easier on that first session. Also stopping smoking and start eating better.

    I turn 34 in four weeks and its just hit me with a bit of a shock and as I start mulling it over I realised how many years I’ve let social anxiety run, control and ruin my life! and I’m not doing it anymore. I’m going to believe in my own confidence, tell myself positive things, be kind TO MYSELF!

    So just wanna say, stay positive everyone.

    Ian x

  142. Tiara Jazzie Says:

    Happy New Years, everyone!

    I just wanted to share some positive words I came across to everyone in here. We have all helped each other in one way or another, and I am sure that a positive attitude and spirit will take us a long way!

    *Turn a SETBACK into a COMEBACK!
    *Your journey is unfolding exactly as it should be.
    *Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.
    *The past is behind, learn from it. The future is ahead, prepare for it. The present is here, live it.
    *Remind yourself that it is okay not to be perfect.
    *The trick is to enjoy life. Don’t wish your days away waiting for better ones ahead.
    *Nothing worth it comes easy.
    *What you do today can improve all your tomorrow.
    *If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.
    *Progress is impossible without change. Those who cannot change their mind cannot change anything.
    *Don’t start your day with the broken pieces of yesterday. Every morning we wake up is the beginning of the rest of our lives.
    *Being strong sometimes means being able to let go.
    *Everyday is a new beginning. Take a deep breath, and start again.

    Last but not the least… Hakunah Matata.

    Stay strong everyone. There will be good days and bad days. But in order to fully live life, we must learn how to live with grief and sadness. They are a part of life.



  143. eliza Says:

    Great post Tiara, very inspiring, thanks !

    Hakunah Matata indeed!

  144. Mark R Says:

    Thought for the day………

    “Opening the door to unwelcome feelings and thoughts is like an unwelcome guest, they stay for a while and leave. If we bar the door, the guest simply stays outside hammering.”

    Professor Mark Williams.

  145. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    I got the above quote from a few books and things I’ve been reading. If you are interested just tap the guys name into Youtube and there are a few good videos and a full lecture on there. Sorry if I am breaking any rules with this (feel free to delete Paul/Doreen).

  146. lorryt Says:

    hi all

    am sort of in a quandry!??…. i have recently been experiencing a lot of very high anxiety. its almost as if i have made some life changing decisions and getting my live back,but in the process i am so busy working , sorting kids out etc house, i am running on adrenelin. and in turn running on adrenelin its making me very edgy again. i dont seem to be able to find a balance betwen it all. i am going to try and burn some adrenelin off by walking to work and try and get some swimming in, but i really dont want to end up getting myself in a state about it. i find it tricky at themoment being on my own although i am more at peace with the decision i have made i am still concerned about the way forward. its a scary time for me, and i think i panic about things. ooooh not really sure what i am asking for but support and to stop me trying to think my way through it.xx

  147. Maggie Says:

    Hi All,

    Happy New Year!
    @Tiara, I really liked the following:
    *If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.
    I was diagnosed with GAD, and it is really how I feel and that’s what’s holding me back in the Anxiety circle.

  148. DCYL Says:

    Hey all,

    Tiara – thanks for your words. I also liked the point Maggie made. I’ve been anxious, not about myself but my mom. She was the main reason I got into the cycle in the first place. Just worried about her as she ages and you see some things happening (memory, etc, etc).

    I need to “accept” the situation and work with it, rather than “worry” about the future. That will take care of itself. Still a struggle though!

  149. Lesley Says:

    What a great post/advice from tiara!

    Don’t really know why I’m writing on here because I seem to know my own answers but sometimes it’s difficult to actually put them in to practice. Long story cut short……had panic attacks when I was about 15 but I soon got bored of them n I didn’t worry bout them anymore so they fazed out bout 16/17 but then had a little anxiety early twentys nothin much but really started at 28 after my second child, I still was able to carry on with everyday things, then saw a councillor at 30 which I found really helpful she made me realise I just needed to get out there face fears n live my life so following that I had a good two yrs few odd days where I felt but funny but didn’t bother me, I love my life have to beautiful daughters wonderful hubby/ family my horses etc but since June I’ve been in a horrible setback which I know is just hangin around because I’m gettin frustrated with it, all started as I had gone to the doctors for routine checkup (contraceptive pill) but my blood pressure was sky high! I don’t like the particular nurse who I saw anyway but was sent to see my own doc n it was still high n suggested I had a 24hr monitor for home ( in the meantime my anxiety is now playin havoc as you can imagine) I could of sworn the results would’ve comeback terrible n I was on verge of god knows but they came back perfect…….. My problem now is I’m due again for my yearly check up n for the past month I seem to be a wreck worried sick bout this whole Blood pressure thing again :( also In between all thismy family doc has retired n I’ve had him my whole life so but anxious bout my new gp, don’t really know how to just bloody calm down grrrrr, poxy white coat syndrome lol x

  150. Tiara Jazzie Says:


    So do I! I try to tell myself that all the time and it is true. I also like to keep in mind something that Paul had mentioned before which was to stop worrying about the future or the past, and just worry about with what’s going on right now.


    I totally understand! I still have days when I feel as though this is just how I feel and I can’t help it.


    No problem! My aunt used to text me positive saying all the time to lift up my day :)

    I just need a bit of advice from anyone who can give it to me please: Has anyone gone through pregnancy while having GAD? I have a very strong feeling that I may be pregnant and the feeling of lightheaded and fatigued is a little bit disturbing. For the most part, I feel okay. However, I’m dreading the whole “morning sickness” part.

  151. Paul David (Admin) Says:

    Tiara they are great quotes and so very very true

    I may put some of them on the main site with some others I have thought up myself and tweeted to others and create an anxiety helpful quotes page

  152. lorryt Says:


    Tiara, liked the bit about living in the future, and being anxious, puts it into perspective for me. I just need to live in the day and get back to what is happenning now, rather than project and try and predict what is going to happen. it all terrifies me at the moment. I am in quite a scary place really, and i think i am running away from it by just keeping super busy. i need to slow down and address my feelings or at least acknowledge them and move forward. Acceptance it comes down to really. back to the beginning and start over i think !!!!xx sorry to go on, but it helps me.

  153. Arun Says:

    Dear Paul David,

    Thank you so much for your posts and wealth of information you have provided in your website. While I have been suffering from a bad health-anxiety and possibly generalized anxiety, your words have shown me light in my dark shaded life. Your words of confidence are of great worth to me. I thank from deep of my heart.


  154. Mark R Says:


    You are not back at the start, honestly. It may seem like you are but you are not! I had a few days over Christmas where I felt really bad and was convinced of the same fact, they passed and although I feel super crap at the moment I know its a little dip.

    Acknowledging your feelings and letting them in is the best way………I posted this quote yesterday, its very true……..

    “Opening the door to unwelcome feelings and thoughts is like an unwelcome guest, they stay for a while and leave. If we bar the door, the guest simply stays outside hammering.”

    No need to start over either, just trust in what you already know!


  155. Maggie Says:

    @Mark R, Well said I really like your quote as well! Thank-You for making me laugh. The right comparison.

  156. Carly Says:

    Hello everyone.

    I am reaching out to you because I am feeling at my worst since I was at my worst if that makes sense. It’s hard to call this a setback because usually I have the hope that I will get better. This time is different.
    I REALLY feel like I am downward spiraling and very fast. I was doing so well and I had all these things I would tell myself that would make me feel better are only making me more anxious
    Has anyone ever gotten to the point during recovery or not when they just feel completely defeated. That no matter how hard they try to let go and continue living, it just seems to take over.
    I have been feeling like this for the last couple of days and I am not too sure how to take it. Everytime I have a setback, I am able to keep moving forward and not let it bother me.
    It is weird because this time no matter what I do, there is a voice in the back of my head telling me it is wrong or it won’t work or there is no point…
    blah blah blah
    Has anyone else experienced this when they recovered. This nagging voice that is telling you you can’t do it. That there is no point in trying. This voice makes me so anxious. For some reason I am just feeling back at square one if not worse because I feel like I have failed.

  157. Doreen Says:

    Carly – so sorry you are feeling c… at the moment. The way I see it is that your ‘imp on your shoulder’ as I call it is peering round and staring you straight in the face if you understand what I mean. That is the part of you that is giving you such negative messages. But that us all they are – negative messages and I suspect that you are feeding them rather than just letting them be there. I think the key to this is that you had things that you told yourself would make you feel better – no pressure there then!! And the desire for them to work has caused the exact opposite effect because you have stressed so much.For a time just live with the anxiety, don’t put any additional pressure on yourself and I am sure you will find it slowly lifting. Just do things that you would normally do, carry on life in a normal way. As the previous blog from Paul said ‘ The best way to treat anxiety is to do nothing’.

  158. Nick Says:

    Hi all, hope everybody is improving steadily. I must admit I feel like I have been but it just seems to be external stresses that get to me far more than they should now, and I hoped somebody would be able to give me a bit of a helping hand. Now this is a small problem i know, but hear me out… I am having problems with a security light at home (which is the 2nd one now in the space of about a month) where the sensor seems to be triggered constantly. We have also found evidence of a mouse in one of our cupboards and i seem to think that the mouse may be contributing to the light problem by chewing cables. Now when i see this light going on and off, on and off, i get an irritable churning in my stomach because the fact that it is the 2nd light doing this again is extremely annoying!! My girlfriend keeps telling me not to worry about it but i just can’t help but get annoyed at it as I don’t want to be going through the hassle of buying a new one, getting the landlord to fix it all again etc etc. So clearly i am worrying too much about silly little things.

    I understand how anxiety makes a mountain out of a molehill but as i have mentioned before, i can’t help but get irritated by these little things. Does anybody know how to deal with this?



  159. Will Says:

    Hi, does anyone else every feel like their attention is drawn to things like their heartbeat or their breathing? Right now I can’t stop paying attention to my heartbeat, as if I’m worried it’ll become irregular or stop or something. Feeling a bit “not quite here” too, but that might just be caused by the anxiety from it.

  160. Carly Says:

    Thanks Doreen

    I have come through it once before. Instead of trying to tell myself those things that I usually do, I am just going to let them be but start focusing on outward events like physical exercise. I need to put the energy somewhere else.
    People always tell me to think positively, but the harder I try to think about good things, the less likely they are going to come and the more likely I am going to feel discouraged. It really is about letting yourself feel this way and knowing that you are not alone really helps.
    I need to remember that people have come from having these negative thoughts for years and being super depressed from them to having a life of peace and joy.
    I have only felt this bad for a couple of days so I am blessed in that sense.
    I am just going to keep moving and not stop to think about how I am feeling. I am not ignoring thoughts, but I am distracting myself and putting the energy elsewhere.
    I know I also need to stop looking at today as if it were to be the rest of my life. I need to take each day at a time and as it is.

    Thanks Doreen I appreciate you listening to me

  161. lorryt Says:

    Hi Mark

    Thankyou, its tricky at the moment.and I try to accept but I keep telling myself things will be ok and I will get through it, and the more I say it the more I have to believe it. i guess i am scared of the feelings that i have, that sums it up really !!. thanks for the advice xx
    hope everyone else doing well xx

  162. Lizb Says:

    Hi all

    Just been reading some of the posts on negative thoughts and Nicks about Small things effecting him. Both i have struggled with. About small things, if i tell you that i got really anxious for days after thinking i had put the washing machine on when i actually hadnt. In my head i was convinced it was on and even thought i could hear it in the background! I can laugh at how ridiculous this is now but at the time it really bothered me! It passed though. Re negative thinking i too have days where i think whats the point etc, but i always pick myself up again and u will because the instinct to survive is in us all from the beginning of time. I have also had obsessional negative thoughts. At my worst with ‘what ifs’ like what if i become possesed by an evil spirit or what if its not that and im schizophrenic, completely irrational and obsessive but again it passed and yours will too x

  163. Steph Says:

    Hi everyone
    I too am in a little setback at the moment. I can relate to social anxiety I’m not really a shy person Ido put on a frOnt if I’m anxious but do try and go and do most things even if feel that way. I do constantly worry what other people think especially my loved ones more so when anxious don’t think it bothers me when I’m not! My self esteem and body image is not the greatest and I’m always comparing myself to other women how they look body’s etc wether I’m good enough go my partner it seems silly but this is constantly on my mind and worrying about my relationship trying to analyse it try to get it perfect and it’s driving me and probably my poor boyfriend nuts! It’s got to point I’m worrying about the smallest things that I know is pointless its draining me causing friction, making me irritable experiencing DP which sets off anxiety cycle again like a vicious circle and I know it’s me causing it.. The worrying and lack of confidence is the last to go for me and so frustrating! Paul David
    You are an inspiration and have helped me more than you could imagine all though I don’t post often I have visited numerous times over the years. I’m really sorry to hear about your break up.
    Lizb I have also done things in the house and not realised iv done it or been convinced I had its because my mind is that frazzled at time with worrying don’t know what day it is! Also thought I had severe mental illness or house was haunted or going mad wtc literally waiting to hear or see things which doesn’t make u on edge or anxious even more does it!! Sounds so stupid when read it back! Anyway good post thanks Paul

  164. Joe P Says:

    Hello Everyone, Just a little realisation I fallen upon today which I wanted to share.
    When I get anxious, I sometimes tend to try sort out all of my anxieties all at once for e.g. (in my head) going through a list of things I’am anxious about, trying to understand them better, in hope of losing my fear of them or using other self help mantras to lessen my symtpons.
    I realised this was completely futile, so now instead I will take things as they come, and try to sort or understand (if need be) my anxieties one by one and as they happen. Its like the anxiety makes you want to fix all your perceived problems all at once, weird.

    Also, wanted to get some advice on something i’ve been suffering with recently. When I was working today I felt like I couldn’t get my focus off my stream of conscious thoughts. To stop this, I gave myself a little mantra “stop the focus on your thinking and keep the focus on your work”, then whenever I start thinking loads of about something, I repeated that mantra and my focus switch to what I was doing for a very short while, then I find myself being more concerned with my thoughts again automatically, (not anxious thoughts, just thinking about lots of random). It felt like a mini battle i was having myself, the more I tried to put the focus on what I was doing the more it went on my thinking. The constant thinking really gets on my nerves, the best way to describe is, its like Im doing a running commentary of my life in my head and its annoying because I want to be more in the present moment. But using mantras, is the wrong thing to do isn’t it,to snap you back in the moment rather than just thinking about things.

    It’s like as soon I try to do something about my constant thinking, it becomes a much bigger problem, is the way to overcome it, to let myself think loads without judgement and with time and patience, I will lose my anxiety about it. I suppose the reason why I find it so hard, is because i feel the volume of my conscious thoughts is something I can control. I have posted about a similar problem before on the blog, but this is a little different i think and hope fully this post articulates my problem at little better.

    Some advice would be much appreciated!

    Joe P

  165. Mark R Says:


    I totally get the trying to think positive thing, this is usually advice from people who haven’t felt this way. You are not going to get positive yet, so I would stop trying! Allow yourself to feel however you are feeling, be it good, crap, tense, anxious, happy or anything. This is the only way forward.

    PS if anyone else wants to add me on facebook my email address is

  166. Kat Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I hope that you all had a good holiday season, no matter what you were feeling.

    As many of you are currently experiencing, I too have been dealing with an increase of anxiety/panic/depression since about November. This seems to happen to me every year at the same time, and I haven’t quite figured out why. It makes for a very difficult Christmas each year, as the pressure to get the shopping done (I am a very inward person; going shopping is very difficult for me), and create a ‘perfect’ holiday for my loved ones is always heavy. As a result of my reaction to the stress, I tend to disliked Christmas more and more each year. It used to be my favourite holiday, so this is very disappointing.

    The thing which I seem to be obsessing about at the moment is my family, and the possibility of one or more of them dying. My partner, who I have discussed here before as my anxiety had attached to our relationship and I was questionning whether I still loved him, is now my first concern. I worry so much that he will die and I will be left to care for our daughter, which is so bizarre, given that I still haven’t completely recovered in regard to our relationship. We are solid as a couple, but our intimate life has dwindled considerably, mainly because I have no libido whatsoever when I am in ‘anxiety mode’. I am always worried that he will have a heart attack, or develop cancer, and I become depressed and exceedingly anxious, even though I know logically that I could never control the situation if it were to happen. Then, I start to worry about my parents dying. The, I start thinking about how I am getting older, and things just go from there.

    Obviously, this, along with a nasty flu which I and my family have all been struggling with for a couple of weeks, has made my anxiety spike. I have to return to work on Monday, after two weeks off (which I, admittedly, have loved because it meant I didn’t have to go anywhere), and I am worried (there’s that word again), that I am going to sink further and further into this cyclic thinking. To top it all off, I read in the paper yesterday that a former co-worker of mine had passed away, and it was all I could do to not burst into tears. Death, I understand, is part of life; however, obsessing about it and letting the fear of it cause extreme anxiety isn’t. Have any of you dealt with this? If so, how did you learn to accept it and move in a more positive direction?

    Any thoughts on the matter are appreciated.


  167. Sara Says:

    Question for Paul about the book,

    I’ve already purchased your book but I gave it to a classmate who confided in me with their anxiety. I would like my own copy again though just to reread. I purchased it from your website but it took some time because I am from America. Is there anyway else I can purchase it again but with quicker shipping?

    Thank you!

  168. eliza Says:

    Hi Sara,

    Try, you may be able to get expedited shipping.

  169. Mark R Says:


    You can get a PDF copy which is instant

  170. Mark R Says:

    It comes through to your email address.

  171. Carly Says:


    I seem to be dealing with the stupidest fears lately. I mean I get anxious over the thought of becoming afraid of everything. For example, I had the strangest thought the other day that was “what if I get anxious when I eat, then I am never able to eat again because I am afraid to, and then I will die because I can’t eat anymore”…. It seems so strange, but for some reason I feel anxious anytime I think any kind of absurd thought.

    It just becomes overwhelming and makes me feel like I am going crazy. Like I am going to eventually be afraid of absolutely everything and won’t be able to live a normal life.

    This must just be a tired mind? I feel like I am the only one who experiences this stupid kind of questioning.


  172. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    I need to vent this really.

    Everyday like everyone else I am living and accepting these feelings and getting on with my life, which is hard but I’m doing it anyway. I try to be okay with how I am but then sometimes it just hits me how my life has become and I just break down in floods of tears. I’m sure everyone has felt the same frustrations as me.

    I was almost recovered in March last year, almost myself then bank it hit me again in April with a vengeance. I just feel after almost 3 years I’m never going to be me again and even if I get near it, it will come back to spoil my life. I can just about remember the Mark in 2007 to 2009 which was totally different, full of confidence, happy and achieving. I haven’t seen that person for a long, long time.

    These tears are tears of frustration because I see my housemates happy and fulfilled and I want to be the same. I want a girlfriend, and to enjoy my activities and work like I used to.

    I’m sorry if I’m ‘negging’ people out here but I find it helps to let this out some times,

  173. lorryt Says:

    hi mark

    its not negging people out, this may be how you see it, but sometimes you need to get these things off your chest. i tend to do this and it does help. others can put a different perspective on things and offer advice. the thoughts thing is a tricky one, but like you said you saw the old mark for a period of time, and over time you will return to that. Keep faith with what you know and look how far you have come. i can only tell you that i am experiencing a particularly crappy timeat the mo, and my thoughts are constantly racing through my head. i too want to get back to the happy calm person who was at peace and could enjoy every moment as it came, we will get there. guess it is just about patience and acceptance, neither are my strong points. you were there once and you can be again xx

  174. Mick Says:

    Carly,I can so relate to what you say about having absurd thoughts and the anxiety attached to having these thoughts in the first place.I have been suffering this for a while,just when I think I have overcome this by applying the whatever attitude,as Paul says in his book,bang,a bit of stress and seems like I am back to square one.Oh well been through this before,so I am just going to carry on regardless.Anyway Carly it is comforting to know we are not alone.Good luck and chin up.

  175. Doreen Says:

    Carly – what you have described is class anxiety thinking. ‘What if’ can lead anywhere and most of them are blind alleys. Anxiety can latch itself onto anything – I remember being afraid of the sound of cars on the road outside. The reality was that I was like a coiled spring with tension and anxiety and the sound of a car made me jump. But it was so easy to think that the cars were making anxious. For a time I couldn’t walk along the road as every car made me feel I was going to pass out. So don’t be fooled by your thinking – cos that is all this is – thoughts rather than reality.

  176. Clare Says:

    tommorow is anew day what is the worst thing that happened today . Nothing

  177. Sara Says:

    Thanks Eliza and Mark!
    Although the file sent to my email would be really quick I prefer a hard copy!

    I will try amazon.


  178. Sara Says:

    Tomorrow is the first day of the new college semester. I am confident that it will go well. A little positivity for you guys…

    “Today was the tomorrow you were worrying about yesterday”

    Everytime I think of this quote I laugh. Laugh at myself. Because tomorrow comes and it is never as scary or bad as we worried it to be the day before.

    Well wishes to you all x

  179. Tiara Jazzie Says:


    Simply read this to yourself:

    The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see,

    The past better than it was,
    The present worse than it is,
    and the future less resolved than it will be.

    That is one of my mantras and it is absolutely true.


    Love that saying! I am actually writing it in my sticky-note pad in my laptop. Thank you for sharing.


  180. lorryt Says:

    hi all

    it seems at the moment that i am stuck in this thought cycle that i cant get out of. the mornings are tricky again and although i continue to carry on, it seems to be getting harder. yesterday felt fantastic,today feels crap, i am tired and stressed and cant seem to make any headway. i know we have just got through xmas and nobody likes january etc, but i just cant seem to accept it all. i used to be able to say i feel crap and move on , btu it seems like i am fighting again, maybe thats y i am stressed. i have no motivation ,and am constantly suffering from a headache which then gets my thoughts into overdrive. i cant seem to be able to let the thoughts pass.even to the extent of exchanging texts from someone and then i had taken the outcome to the extreme. i need to invest in pauls book again i ithnk and i need reminding how to cope with it all. i know i am under stress, or am i putting myself under stress, or , or , what if, what if. it seems complete madness. i know why i am here as i need support but cant seem to find it from within to sort out my head and leave things alone. i know i am the only one who can do it, but it appears as an impossible task at the moment. i once truly though the world was my oyster and i could achieve anything. today i can only manage to get my head off the pillow and get it tangled up in knots. i know what has triggered it all but need to accept crappiness comes before happiness!! sorry i seem to be leeting off a lot of steam on here lately and not being very helpful to others.xx

  181. Doreen Says:

    lorryt – I know this may sound bizarre given how you are feeling but in the fact that you are the only one who can ‘do it’ is the way forward hard as this may be for you to believe. Being dependant on someone or something else leaves you vulnerable to this happening again whereas your own resources, strength and patience are what will get you somewhere more comfortable in the long run. However, that is not to say that extra help in the form of therapy or even drug treatment is to be discounted as for some people it gives them the support they need to carry on and do the rest for themselves. This may be something you have considered. Please don’t feel a failure if you do need to go down that route.
    Letting off steam is fine. Also knowing that you are not alone is what this blog is about.

  182. TW Says:

    Hi all,

    Just wondered if anyone had any advice on this. I started suddenly getting anxiety attacks about six months ago. Now I’m in a state of constant anxiety, with full on adrenaline soaring through me all day since beg of Dec. It’s very uncomfortable and painful, on top of that I’m only eating when desperate. I’m trying to help myself and have been doing meditation and have Paul’s app but there is one thing that I keep doing that really worries me.

    I keep singing in my head, constantly, it is the same song, same line, over and over again. I read up on it and someone mentioned this could be mania! That completely freaked me out. I was wondering if anyone else had experienced this because its made me feel I’m losing my mind. I know I shouldn’t let it freak me out as this adds to the anxiety but trying to see where it fits in is difficult when your trying to create clarity. Is it OCD brought on by anxiety? If anyone can help please let me know… :)

  183. Paul David (Admin) Says:

    Sara says: Question for Paul about the book,

    I’ve already purchased your book but I gave it to a classmate who confided in me with their anxiety. I would like my own copy again though just to reread. I purchased it from your website but it took some time because I am from America. Is there anyway else I can purchase it again but with quicker shipping?

    Thank you!

    Sorry Sara it has been a while since I checked in. I do supply Amazon in the UK but not the US. The only ones you will find on there maybe the odd one that has been used. Delivery to the states should take 2-3 weeks and no more.

    On another note it’s great to see a lot of positivity round here and so many helping and supporting others. I will in the next week try and post a little more.


  184. Chris Says:

    Iv only had the book for 3 days and I’ve already brought my anxiety down by 80%. Iv been suffering for about 30 years and once agen no one can help me. I was sexually abused as a child n I was ready to end it all only 4 days ago. It’s all in the mind!! My social skills were down to 0 and i was struggling to get out the house and now iv been out and iv spoke to friends n held a conversation for hours without shutting down because of a paranoid whirlwind of thoughts and stresses. I haven’t expiranced that for years now. Iv found myself giggling every time my heart starts doing backflips wich stops it in its tracks followed by me saying iv got you mate your days are numbered. As from now anxiety is my little buddy that likes to trip me up but I accept that now n like I said iv lowered it by 80% with slite ups n downs.but it’s only been 3days. I feel like I’m in heaven. Thanks Paul ill be keeping up with your good work. After all its how much you want to step into the light n breath agen.

  185. Mohammed Khan Says:

    This is the first time I am posting a comment on your blog and I really enjoy your book that I had bought in May. I noticed that its taking me more than 1 time reading it to grasp your good concepts. To the actual question, I am a junior in college and I also work in a banquet hall on weekends, I also suffer from a bit of Social Anxiety, sometimes its worse than other days and sometimes I’m fine. I have a problem with being my self in classes because I worry a lot about how I come off when in groups/crowds as well as talking to a classmate/stranger.I am in the business school and there are a lot of extroverts as I’m an introvert. How can I truly accept myself and not care anymore? I do workout/exercise to build confidence as this is actually a hobby for me. Lately I have been going out more instead of going towards avoidance behavior. Any responses would be helpful

  186. Aaron Says:

    When were at our lowest we think the whole world is against us but this is a trick that anxiety plays . A simple thing like making eye contact can be hard but even some people who dont suffer from anxiety dont make eye contact so because the state were in we try and copy but if you think about it its them whos not joining in the conversation. Being a individual is the best way forward with your own opinion and beliefs and not caring if you have upset someone because if you do you will always be taken for granted

  187. Sean McAlevey Says:

    Hi Paul and others,

    My question is two-fold. First, now that I’ve learned so much about anxiety thanks to you, I’ve realized that I’ve always had intense anxiety when it comes to romantic situations–asking a girl out, going out on a date. I had always been able to talk to girls just fine, but as soon as it became even remotely romantic, I suddenly had the anxiety back. This had caused me to almost always avoid romantic situations even though girls seem to always like me. So my first question is: does this mean that I’ll always have this anxiety, since it has always been around for me?

    Second, I realize that I can go into conversations with an alright attitude when I’m feeling mild anxiety. I can get through them, and usually they get easier as the conversation progresses and I start to relax. However, when I’m in an intense anxiety phase, I feel like I wouldn’t even be able to speak. That’s not the worst part though: when I feel really awful I feel like I’ll have a panic attack any time I’m in a conversation. If that happened, I would look like a complete idiot and the attack would continue, and I’d likely lose that friend as they would think I’m nuts, all doubled over, sweating, and acting crazy. I guess my question is, how can you have a conversation somewhat normally (doesn’t have to be perfect) while having a panic attack?

    Paul and others, you have helped so much thus far, but I’m seriously stuck on this issue and I’m considering going on meds to help get over this. Please help.

    All the best,


  188. Alex Says:

    Hi Paul / everyone
    I’m getting so much from reading these blog posts and completely supoort the simplistic approach to dealing with anxiety. I have one question in regards to letting the anxiety be there, acknowledging thoughts are not reality, and going on with your day. When the thoughts are particularly negative what is a good approach to getting through the day? I still dont understand how to let myself feel however i feel, which one day might be quite anxious and down, but at the same time not react to my thoughts Ie is spending some quiet time at home Instead of socialising that night letting my thoughts dictate me, or is it giving my thoughts space to be. Does anyone have advice they can share?

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