Making space for your anxious thoughts and feelings

We can start with this post that was deleted as it was on my facebook page also, I will add more as the weeks go by so there is as much info on as there was before.

Today I wanted to talk about giving space to unwanted thoughts and feelings as I still read posts on here about people wanting to find ways to rid themselves of anxious thoughts and feelings. One of the best tools to do this is to give them space to be there and just see them as a passing emotion.

I used to wake full of anxiety and my head was all muddled with anxious thoughts. I would then spend the first hour of my day trying to make sense of it all, question it and try different things to make myself feel better. This used to have the opposite effect and make me feel worse most of the time. Then one day I remember waking and feeling awful and then just as I was about to start the struggle, I just decided to let the feelings be there without struggle or objection, just for once they were allowed to be there and take up my space. I did not do this to feel better, I had just had enough. The result was that I instantly felt calmer and more at ease and realised I then had been doing everything wrong. It was the struggle that was keeping me in the loop. These feelings needed to be there and the more I tried to shove them away then the more they knocked on the door. They were like a troublesome party guest that you keep trying to throw out, only for him to keep knocking whilst making more noise, the more you struggle to get rid of him, then the angrier he gets and the more he tries to bother you.

Another example was that I was awful at talking on phones for a long period of time. I used to get pretty anxious and would try and either cut the call short or ramble my way through it the best I could, I would also pace up and down whilst taking the call. I think the anxiety of how I was coming across was the problem. I was pretty advanced in my recovery at this point and it was just something that I thought I was stuck with and had no idea why. I then remember taking a call from an old friend and start pacing up and down whilst trying to hold it together by rambling on, when a huge light bulb moment came on and I realised it was my feelings I was running away from and I was not giving them space to be there. I instantly stopped pacing up and down and allowed myself to feel anxious instead of rambling and all this pacing up and down to cover it all up. Again the difference was immense and I started to feel far more at one with the conversation and not me. In a short space of time I was fine talking on the phone, it was me that was creating the problem by not giving myself space to feel anxious, instead I was anxious about feeling anxious, which just doubled the feeling.

This is also the way to get past anxious thinking, allow space for your anxious thoughts to be there. Don’t expect instant miracles or use this as a tool to rid yourself of them, just allow them as much space as need be without expectation for as many times as need be. It is all about being more at peace with yourself, people become anxious about being anxious, worry that they worry, anxiously think about their anxious thinking and then wonder why they never break out of the loop.

To finish anxious thoughts and feelings just want a chance to be there and then they will go quitely, if you keep pushing them away and go into struggle mode, then they will keep knocking to get in and you will constantly keep trying to keep them at bay. It is this constant struggle the causes the problem.

Just learn to give your feelings the space to be there whilst living your life and being you, don’t feel the need to be on guard for them or work them out, whatever may come just be at peace with it and give your feelings and thoughts space to be there. How you feel now is totally natural in the circumstances, so stop struggling with yourself and leave it be.

Hope that helps is some way


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340 Responses to “Making space for your anxious thoughts and feelings”

  1. Vanity Says:

    Great advice.
    I have suffered from intrusive thoughts/anxiety for a couple of years now. Pauls book helped me no end when I was first having tissues as it explained what was happening.

    It is a tough one as the feelings/thoughts I was having was aimed at the things I love the most, mainly my family. But as I am sure you all know, thats how it works.
    Through CBT I have improved greatly my therapist thinks I have OCD. Many people think OCD is hand washing, moving things, clicking light switches ect but even more people suffer with OCD which related to intrusive/harmful anxious thoughts.
    Remeber that OCD is effectively an anxiety condition (I hate the word disorder) so it all fall under the same umbrella.
    I have read, reread, googled, watched (info gathered) for many many many hours and I see it as an compulsion to relieve the anxiety (which it does do as a reassurance) Reassurance is a big no no which will only make matters worse. Dont think you dont need a good support network.. you do and will do for some time but you dont need reassurance because you dont need it.

    As Paul has said many times, whatever you are feeling/thinking.. let it be.
    Look at it this way. what is that you are so scared about? Well I will tell you..a thought or a feeling. Not so scary when you think about it is it?

    Good luck all and remember it DOES get easier if you work hard at it

  2. Mark R Says:

    ** Think we’re meant to be posting on this one, so i have copied it here**

    Hi all,

    Such a shame the other posts disappeared as there were some real encouraging posts on there.

    I had a chat with my old therapist yesterday and half way through our conversation I realised where I had been going wrong these last few weeks. I told him that I had been ‘okayish’ for around 6 months or so now where the symptoms and feelings hardly bothered me but up until a few weeks back everything came back in full force for one reason or another. He deals with acceptance and commitment therapy (basically the same as Paul’s method) and he agrees that the last few weeks I have been slightly pulled back into my old habit of fighting, working it all out etc. Although this is quite a vicious setback I keep comparing it to the others I have had and then getting upset that it has not disappeared yet, causing even more anxiety!!
    So the way forward is still the same (and this goes for all of us who find themselves in a setback at the moment) and that is to accept and carry on living. I know this is really difficult especially when the symptoms are at their very worst.

    Hope Bryan, Lucy, Nicole etc are doing well. keep pushing forward.


  3. Rachel T Says:

    Acceptance question

    Hi all, my day has been tricky at tines today. I woke with the flu have dreaded ever getting ill with this disorder as i knew it would exasperated all my anxiety symptoms. Carried on with my day regardless with some peaks of panic at times whilst outward about. Nothing i havent had before however!

    I have a question about acceptance. I have thought it meant allowing these good sensations and thoughts just wash over you, relaxed etc. Giving pretty quick relief If you can achieve it This ii fnd impossible to maintain if my anxiety becomes high. I am now wondering if it actually means not being impressed by the force of symptoms and thoughts, acknowledge they are horrid, feel the fear but that’s it, don’t engage and it will still hang around for a while and then it fades away This may seem subtle difference but for me it isn’t. Hope I’ve explained myself properly


  4. MikeStevens Says:

    One reason why I’ve been feeling so defeated is that I actually was having a really good night recently. My mood felt completely back to normal. I went to go to sleep and it hit me right then. All stolen away from me. That’s why it’s hard for me to trust this acceptance. Even when having a good night as soon as I laid down all of those fears came rushing back. It makes it feeling like this beast is just too big for me to beat.

  5. Mark R Says:


    You do realise the only ‘beast’ is you and you are summoning it everytime you go to sleep because you are fearing it and worrying it will come. Tell yourself it doesnt matter if it comes or not, if you sleep you sleep if not you’ll be tired. Worrying about sleeping is only going to keep you awake.

  6. TJ Says:

    I get the feeling from some of your other replies that you think I’m being harsh on you. Sorry if it’s coming across that way.

    Let’s quick look at this:
    What do you need to ‘do’ in order to sleep? Nothing. Sleep simply happens. You don’t perform some trick or some task to fall asleep, you just ALLOW your body to do it.

    You (and even I) don’t allow yourself to fall asleep.

    I mean, what’s the other option? That your brain is broken? It’s certainly exhausted but it’s not broken.

    Have you slept within the past week? From the sounds of one of your other posts you seem to have gotten some sleep lastnight. Voila. You’re not broken. If you were broken with respects to sleeping you’d NEVER get ANY sleep. But that’s not you.

    Accepting it. You say you’ve been working on accepting, but have you? Nothing in any of your posts leads me to think you’re one who’s been accepting this. And I mean this in a sincere manner, I’m not trying to be rude…. just as straightforward as possible.

    Here’s more than likely what happened with you.
    You struggled with some stuff in your life…. anxiety came on and you were unable to get some good sleep or any sleep. Maybe this even lasted for a few months (which isn’t unheard of). Maybe there was a stretch of time that your body was so jacked up with adrenalin and cortisol from this stressful situation that you just weren’t going to be getting any decent sleep. That initial thing subside but not the anxiety. Then the anxiety found the next thing to cling on to: your sleep.

    You’re obsessing over it because you’re still struggling with anxiety. Sleep problems are merely the symptom.
    I can go down the laundry list of other posters who said they greatly struggled with sleep too again…. but it doesn’t pay. You know you’re not alone in this struggle. it will get better.

    It takes some time for the symptoms to clear up. But the first step is stopping the fight.

  7. Rachel T Says:

    Mike. I only have a couple of tips. Camomile tea, herbal nytol, exercise and a hot shower. Works for me sometimes, not a magic cure. Good luck.

    Mark R. I believe the “blips” as am now going to calll them, happen when were venerable, tired, stressed, worried ( true worry) etc. Then something.subconscious triggers the memory of how you felt, then the fear sets in, then the habit begins again. I’m not sure how this stops being triggered. We come out the other side and take furthr steps forward though I know that much. Sharing how you feel and your fears helps though doesnt it. Sending you some strength


  8. Nicole Says:

    Nicole Says:
    September 18th, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Dont despair, I was convinced I would never sleep again, I became obsessed by other peoples sleeping habits and now I barely give sleep a second thought. I woke at 5.30 today and didnt get back to sleep and it really doesnt bother me atall.

    Today I got out of bed felt dizzy and had fast heartbeat and rather than keep saying to myself i accept this i accept this which loses its power after a while, I just decided to do everything I wanted to do irregardless of how I felt. I ran, shopped, visited a friend and cooked some lovely food. I felt really anxious all day but at least I was living real life and I feel so much better for it. That to me is accepting, anxiety is there but I want to live my life.

    Finally I have imposed myself bans on the blog but then realised that rather than relying on it, it is empowering me. My husband has recently lost his job after 27 years, my mum is battling cancer and I have 3 daughters to care for, I dont burden them but this blog is for me and one encouraging post can have an amazing effect.

    Do what you feel you need to do but know that this is not forever, it will pass!!

  9. TJ Says:

    Very nice response to Mike, Nicole.

    Maybe I am being a bit harsh in mine. I read yours then I read mine and I’m like, “chill, Winston”.

    Mike, if I came across as barking at you that really wasn’t my intention.

  10. Lorraine Says:

    Hi, this is the first time I have done a blog. I developed anxiety/depression a couple months ago, am also going through the menopause, wonderful ! At first I didn’t understand what was happening to me and my reaction was one of fear. Since reading Pauls book & C. Weekes book I have been having some success. Understanding really does help.
    Yesterday afternoon I found myself biting my tongue & instantly panicked, I know – the wrong reaction – I now seem to keep doing it & it looks it could be anxiety related. Its hard to find much information on it but have found some today & most people that do it seem to have anxiety related issues.
    Just wondered if anyone has had similar experience or has any advice.
    Much appreciated.

  11. SarahS Says:

    Tj you’re post is good really helpful so don’t worry although you did make me smile lots at second one. Nicole that’s brilliant, how you are handling anxiety is exactly it plus coping with the stuff youre going through, I’m sure it’s not easy but you will so get there with an attitude like that.

  12. SarahS Says:

    Mike you will be okay as the others say honestly you will. How about trying not to sleep? Get yourself sorted with a talking book, magazines, tv, radio, earphones, and go to bed to not sleep. Not sleeping is okay, I didn’t sleep for weeks so its fine. That way you are taking the pressure off.

  13. Mark R Says:


    There are hundreds of YouTube videos that help you sleep, waves etc. Try on there

  14. Charles Says:

    This is unrelated, but I came across this university lecture that made me realize how primitive the mental health area is.
    All the “diseases” and “disorders” are just names they made up to describe the symptoms they clinically observed. In all other health care areas disease are given names based on their causes.
    So if you visit your family doctor and he/she tells you that you have “anxiety disorder”, it’s like you walk in with a headache and they tell you that you have “pain disorder”.

  15. Bryan Says:

    Oh wow, these comments were lost too, huh? Bummer! This thread had some brilliant first-hand accounts. I think Candie had a bunch of great posts on setbacks here. Oh well, I’m sure we’ll see many more enlightening posts from those who have had success here.

  16. Rachel T Says:

    Acceptance question

    Hi all, my day has been tricky at times today. I woke with the flu have dreaded ever getting ill with this disorder as i knew it would exasperated all my anxiety symptoms. Carried on with my day regardless with some peaks of panic at times whilst outward about. Nothing i havent had before however!

    I have a question about acceptance. I have thought it meant allowing the sensations and thoughts just wash over you staying relaxed, calm etc about them. Giving pretty quick relief If you can achieve it This however I fnd impossible to maintain if my anxiety becomes high. I am now wondering if it actually means not being impressed by the force of symptoms and thoughts, acknowledge they are horrid, feel the fear but that’s it, don’t engage and it will still hang around for a while and then it fades away This may seem subtle difference but for me it isn’t. Hope I’ve explained myself properly

  17. Mel Says:

    Hi all, I have several questions I would like help with if possible. I’m currently enduring a vicious setback with my anxiety and I fear anxiety itself and what it does to me (loss of appetite, cannot eat at all, this can go on for weeks and weeks, I lose alot of weight and it is so hard to come out of) I have recently been trying to put “acceptance” into practice and finding it hard to hold onto the positive “just let it be” attitude for a long period of time.its getting to the point where every meal causes me soooo much anxiety (even if i have had a successful outcome In The previous meal) I just can’t seem to stop my fear of “what if I can’t eat now, which will lead me to feeling really anxious and not be able eat tomorrow or the day after etc). it’s as if my initial reaction to meal time is full blown anxiety (sick feeling in stomach and light headed) even before I have a thought. Any suggestions on how i can go about acceptance with my particular situation? I’m on holidays now from work and dreading it because I feel like keeping busy at work is my only cure, well for the time being anyway.

  18. Eve Willis Says:


    I’ve plucked up the courage to post on here so here goes :o)

    My anxiety seems a bit different (to me anyway) from others I have read on here. I have this awful ‘dark cloud’ surrounding me which seems to be every horrid experience that’s ever happened in my life from when I was young enough to remember. It’s a kind of frightening overwhelming ‘feeling’ really that’s just ‘there’ and it scares me silly. Also I have this silly irrational fear of nerve/muscle twitches around my face and ears. They only happen if I flinch waiting for them to happen, so I guess I’m making them happen because of my fear of them. By twitches I mean a small twitch in/on my ear or a split second feeling around/above my ear/forehead of a ‘pulse’/’squeeze’ type feeling. I know this all sounds so stupid and I feel embarrassed writing it down. I think though why I’m frightened of the twitches is because as soon as one happens the ‘dark cloud’ comes with them and so I’m guessing they go hand in hand.

    Anyway, I just wanted to ask if I should treat my symptoms the same way as other people’s symptoms by just accepting them, accepting this awful ‘dark cloud’ and giving myself time to get better. I’m really finding it hard right now not to be frightened, it’s like I’m in this bad dream that I can’t wake up from so I’d be really grateful if anyone could offer me some reassurance. Thank you so much.

  19. SarahS Says:

    Hi Nicole I just wanted to say how impressed i was with your post. It’s not easy is it and we are all trying and I find it can all seem and feel sooo serious. When the thing that will help the most is not to be :-), easier said than done at times but a laugh does help!
    I’ve been recovering for a while, about 3/4 years and I think it’s mainly because of how long I had such severe anxiety for and given all that time I was very good at building up fabulous fears, smashing safety nets, bosting bad habits, amazing avoidance techniques, oh yes I would have got an a level at least! So altho it’s it’s taken me a while to practice acceptance and letting go, worrying less about sleep and saying my so what’s to stresses, it’s still working, just taking time. Patience and time.
    I know you said about your stresses at the moment and I hope all goes well! Xx

  20. elaine Says:

    Rachel YOU HAVE GOT IT YAYYYYY . xxx

  21. elaine Says:

    lorraine once your mind latches on to something through your fear yes its anxiety.

  22. Lorraine Says:

    Hi Elaine, thanks for taking time to look & answer my blog, I was almost certain that was the case. You just sometimes thing you have got thing sorted and accepted and then wham bam something else to contend with & you feel back to square one. I am just heading off to try a new tai chi class as I want to do all I can to keep positive and look after my self, bit apprehensive but I really want to give it a go.
    thanks again

  23. Nicole Says:

    Thank you SarahS and TJ for your kind comments and Elaine and others for your support. It really means so much.

    Sarah some of your comments could have been written by me, my avoidance techniques and safety behaviours were so ingrained in me that until recently I was in denial that I was even doing it…..I can’t even begin to tell you how funny some of them are. So another day of doing whatever I want despite my body saying no don’t do it! I sometimes think on a bad day right that’s it, I’m giving up but I have to laugh as I’m not sure what giving up entails!! A trip to the Priory and never leaving? I don’t think so.

    So next week my birthday, parents evenings and concerts, for once not going to dread them and wonder how long I will be able to hold onto myself, time to just be for once and practice.

    Keep going everyone, sleep for those who fear it and peaceful bodies for those of us who really deserve them. xx

  24. Wendy Says:


    Did you ever feared driving? I will start with my driving license very soon and already fear having a crash or something.
    I am at the point where acceptance really works at times and I know so much about anxiety it does not really scare me anymore, but my symptoms are still there and it’s still up and down with a lot of dp.

    Thank you!

  25. emmae Says:

    Hi all, I posted on the ‘blog compromised’ post but it is still awaiting moderation. I have just read some of the posts above and, thanks SarahS, for your comments on the length of time your acceptance / recovery has taken. My biggest trap that I fall into is from the thought “surely I should be getting better by now … I must be doing something wrong”. I have had severe anxiety for a few years and have so many habits that slowly need reversing. I have health anxiety too, which is my main issue and am currently seeing the doctor about a health issue, which does actually exist! However it has sent my anxiety in to complete turmoil, which I am finding really difficult right now. This is where I find it really difficult to practice the “so what” attitude. However I know that there is nothing I can do to change things, although anxiety is such a ‘controlling’ condition it feels like there is something I should be doing and how could I possibly not worry about it!! I suppose I am just looking for a bit of support to encourage me to allow my head to conjure up all sorts of outcomes without getting too involved, knowing this is anxiety. SarahS – have you got any advice on how to start unravelling the bad habits as sometimes it feels like there are so many I don’t know where to start!? Thank you.

  26. Jordan Says:


    Recovered with CBT, Paul’s technique and Claire Weeke’s book about 2 years ago. (see, it can be done!). Last few months everything has come crushing back… googling symptoms, doctors trips, panic attacks, avoidance.

    I’m really struggling with my health anxiety – particularly because I am having a lot of ‘unsteadiness’ and kind of dizzy feelings. Docs put it down to anxiety, which makes sense, but there is that massive ‘what if its this/what if it never goes’ voice screaming at me. I’m not doing any exercise because it makes it worse and restricting my day to day stuff massively because of it. Anyone else suffered with this symptom?

  27. Mikestevens Says:

    Could some repost the thing about anxiety recovery being like a fog going away?

  28. Candie Says:

    Hi Rachel T, the second is acceptance. You feel the fear and move on with your day anyway. I like you used to think it was the first description, but it is impossible to feel calm and anxious at the same time! Anxiety is a passing emotion, we get stuck with it when we panic at it and struggle asif it’s permanent. The struggle exasperates it and as it sticks around because of the struggle we assume our initial fear of it been us forever is true and we struggle even more. It is perfectly natural to feel anxious sometimes!

  29. Mark R Says:

    Hi Rachel,

    I think everyone gets a bit mixed up with acceptance, if they think they accept all of their symptoms disappear. For me acceptance is to carry on regardless, despite feeling utter crap, notwithstanding the fact that I find it hard to practice what I preach!!

    I’ve been through the wars a bit these last few weeks, as you rightly say a ‘blip’ but thankfully the past 4 days have been so much more positive, actually starting to feel a bit more human again.

    Hope you are doing well.


  30. TJ Says:

    During anyone’s recovery…
    did you ever get the feeling that you were accepting of it but you still felt kind of bleak about ever getting back to normal?

    The acceptance, for me, has been coming much more easily. But I do get this kind of feeling like, “well, this is how it’s just going to be”. Make no mistake, I can certainly live like this now. This is manageable. I’m by far better now than I was then. And much better off knowning about the power of accepting over fighting.

    It’s just that, it’s kind of a feeling of being ‘ok’ with it…. but still not feeling like your old self…. and doubting that that old self of yours is even coming back.

  31. Carmen Says:

    Hi everyone, my panic attacks and other adrenaline rushes passed within two months, thank you Paul, and for some time after that I thought I was well most of the time. Still knew it was not full recovery because of the monitoring in the back of my mind. Now for the past month or so i am just afraid, nervous, especially in the morning which makes Paul’s post just perfect for me at this time. If I get any symptoms of anything i.e. allergies, headache, hurt muscles, etc. it gets worse. I am a long way from where I started last February though, so I’m trying to be patient but I am doing nothing to fix myself like I am supposed to. Can’t wait for full recovery some day. Thank all of you for sharing your experience, you are very helpful to me as it is lonely in anxiety city! Keep up the good work (no work) and have a great day :)

  32. Richard Says:

    Hi TJ

    I am 2 weeks into my recovery, I was diagnosed with GAD and have been through hell and back these past 4 months which ended up with a stretch (5 days in assessment unit) in the local nut house, only to end up being addicted to benzos, fed to me by the nurses! This experience scared the life out of me. I can relate to what you are feeling totally. I am still suffering from dp and still don’t feel like my old self but I refuse to accept I won’t in the near future. I still have a long battle to fight but fight it I will. I’m sure your old self will re-appear, why wouldn’t it? Just stay positive with me and we’ll get there. My next step is attempting the tubes so I can get back to work.
    I wish everybody well in their recovery, good luck.

  33. Rachel T Says:

    Thanks Elaine Candie and Mark R. I’m feeling quite excited. I saw my therapist today, shes fantastic. She agreed to go off piste today to help me conquer my fear of losing it. She fetched her DSM IV manual from her bag and we compared the diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia, bipolar and panic disorder. She also showed me a copy of her credentials, I’ve nowhere to run with it now, I do “only” have anxiety! Haha. I was awoken twice with panic in the night. I practised acceptance and went back to sleep! Im taking my two steps forward. X

  34. Mark R Says:

    TJ Says

    During anyone’s recovery…
    did you ever get the feeling that you were accepting of it but you still felt kind of bleak about ever getting back to normal?

    The acceptance, for me, has been coming much more easily. But I do get this kind of feeling like, “well, this is how it’s just going to be”. Make no mistake, I can certainly live like this now. This is manageable. I’m by far better now than I was then. And much better off knowning about the power of accepting over fighting.

    It’s just that, it’s kind of a feeling of being ‘ok’ with it…. but still not feeling like your old self…. and doubting that that old self of yours is even coming back.

    I often feel like that to be honest, when you kind of plateau at a stage where it doesn’t bother you as much but you feel a bit deflated and not quite there. I’ve come through anxiety 3 times in the past and know that this is just another stage really. I find at this stage is where I start lose interest in it and go onto other things and recover.

    I’m sure I read thought you’ve recovered a few times before (like me) so you know you can get past this bit as well.

  35. Grace Says:

    I’ve never posted here before. And part of the program I joined clearly states that researching my condition or going on forums isn’t going to help me but only make things worse or prolong my anxiety. But, I’m not perfect. And anxiety is a habit and it’s definitely a hard one to break. I just find that I’m always looking for reassurance…reassurance that I’m okay and that what I’m going through is just part of the process, just part of the world of anxiety. My sleep has been affected. Some nights are better than others. My latest fear centers around my breath – ‘what if’ I start to fear my own breath?!! I work a full time job. I go to coffee shops, have been to concerts, not afraid of being around people or things…my fears all center around my body, and not about getting sick but more with things that happen automatically, without the need of my input. I just get afraid that my body will turn against me and I’ll lose control and never find my way back. I think it’s important to keep busy by doing things we enjoy so that we can take our mind off of the symptoms and sensations, even when we’re feeling shitty and we’d rather curl up into a ball. We can’t THINK our way out of anxiety. Our disturbing thoughts are symptoms of anxiety. Of course, it’s important to stay positive but that needs to be coupled with action (daily living), otherwise, you’re just going in circles and the chances of being sucked into the vortex of anxiety is greater. Thanks for listening. It’s nice to know we’re not alone and that there is a way out of this.

  36. TJ Says:

    Thanks for the advice, Mark!!

    In the past I’ve suffered more from depression. However, there definitely was some anxiety with it too.

  37. SarahS Says:

    Hi Nicole yes know what you mean about giving up! Ha ha but what does it entail you’re right! I think though we are allowed bad days, for it to get to us and us to not have quite as much patience as usual! We are only human and if it was just a case of “this is how you accept, do it and you’ll be fine” then there wouldn’t be any need for this blog. Of course we are going to doubt, question, struggle, be scared, ask questions. It’s a process and its how we get better, how we learn to move on. We tend though to struggle, not get it, feel bad about that, do more questioning, feel bit worse. So yes I reckon we are all pretty normal, honestly, and how we are handling things in our recovery is quite normal, we are going through our own process and getting there in our own time and way. So what if we’re quite scared and everyone else seems to get it sometimes, that too is normal!
    It sounds like a busy week next week for you but hey it’ll go however it goes, no expectations, no need for perfection, however it goes will be just fine.

  38. SarahS Says:

    Reading back I sound a bit condescending. Don’t mean to be just my way of trying to explain. X

  39. elaine Says:

    Mark dont have ny expectations live your life with anxiety beside you , it will fade if you exept its anxiety it will not harm you in anyway. remember there not symptons there sensations due to high anxiety levels what is caused by fearing them .

  40. elaine Says:

    wendy yes i was scared of evrything.

  41. Mark R Says:

    Thanks Elaine.

    Had 4 better days but then was woke 3/4 times in the night with awful anxiety. Feeling ‘on guard’ now and pretty rotten.

    Setbacks/blips officially suck!

  42. Nicole Says:


    I wonder if I could ask you a question. Right, Im out and about doing everything I want to do, not really enjoying much and feeling pretty dizzy etc but thats fine. Im getting tied up in this idea of not engaging with it all and letting it be, Paul says no more questioning analysing worring etc as thats what maintains the cycle, but that does take effort to change this habit meaning when I feel dizzy or out of it I have to make the conscious decision not to go any further with it. But does that fit in with not challenging anything and making no effort to get better. I hope this makes sense and I have read the book, honest!!

    SarahS, not condescending atall, honestly I appreciate your comments. Have been updating my C.V. and am going to start a bit of tutoring next week despite my body and mind saying noooooooooo.

    Rachel I am pleased you are feeling so positive, makes me feel happy.

    Mark setbacks are awful but if I think back to a few weeks ago on holiday out and about laughing etc I know I am still there if that makes sense. Im i a horrid setback at the moment too but we need them in order to really recover.

  43. Mark R Says:

    Hi Nicole,

    Yeah I’m the same as you, 3 weeks ago I was having a great time on holiday – no anxiety whatsoever so I know I’m still there too underneath feeling bad and I know all my progress hasn’t gone to waste!

  44. Eve Willis Says:

    I forgot to say also that I’m so glad I found Paul’s book and website. It’s so comforting to know that you’re not alone and you can take heart from someone who has experienced anxiety and come out the other side. Thank you for helping people Paul :)

  45. TJ Says:

    Ouch…. got hit with a rough one lastnight.

    Crazy how a setback can make you think you’ve made no progress at all.

    Went to bed around 10…. closed my eyes…. started to drift off and then boom…. wide alert. This played out for about 3 hours. Fell asleep and then woke about 3 or 4 hours later. And just could not get back to bed.

    I’m certain it’s just anxiety. And I need to stop looking for the “why”, but it is hard.

  46. Lesley Says:

    Hi All, well I dont know if I have just had a moment of clarity, so maybe you all can help, I had a panic attack in December due to stress at work, I never suffered from anxiety prior to this, but after having a couple more attacks my anxiety started, clearly I was anxious about having another attack. However I havent had one since then, so why on earth am I letting these anxious symptioms bother me, so what if my chest is tight, so what if my legs wobble, does it matter their is no real reason I should be anxious, nothing is going to happen, I should be moving on with my life now and stop concerning myself with stupid things that would never ever bother me before….. I think I am on the right track….

  47. Tracy Says:

    I am back in a blip as others call is and so does my husband!..I am just curious if it is important to figure out the triggers or does that just add to the questioning? I know this will pass and I think peri menopause isn’t helping but when you are back in it all rational thinking something seems to be gone!!..So sad to see the blog was compromised as so much great info to go back to when struggling. Peace to all.

  48. Lina Says:

    Hi everyone, I’m new to the blog, my first time posting.Almost a month ago I realized I have anxiety. I’ve always been a worrier but I guess my mind/body couldn’t handle it anymore. I started reading ‘The Book’ a week & a half ago & it was like a light bulb went off. Knowing and understanding what’s happening has helped so much. I find it hard to just let my thoughts be when I feel really anxious, maybe I’m not strong enough yet but when I feel defeated it makes what progress I’ve made seem not a big deal.

  49. TJ Says:

    Woah, this is really throwing me for a loop.

    So much doubt is clouding my mind right now.

    Anyone who overcame sleep anxiety I’d really appreciate some encouragement.

    Lastnight I said to myself when I could fall asleep “just let your mind chatter away” and I still up for hours, mind not peaceful, heart beat racing a mile a minute.

  50. Bryan Says:

    Hey guys, if you go back to the old posts there are still some great posts from people like Candie who are now recovered. I found a great post of hers from when she was just starting to “get it.” Of course we all know she’s recovered now and gives great advice here. But below is a post from when she was struggling still, but had made the commitment to change…

    Candie Says:
    September 10th, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    Lorry- i am not back to normal, i still have anxiety i am just learning there is nothing i can do to change it. Once it really hits home you have no control over this, the fighting eventually starts to slow down.. then stops to a halt and recovery can begin. You will get better when you stop grasping to get better, recovery happens subcontiously when you give your mind and body a rest. So just for one day- tell yourself you can worry about how you feel, or you can feel like it anyway and get on with things. Why do you think you feel better at your lowest eb? Because you cant be bothered to fight anymore… so why not stop the fighting before you reach your lowest eb and give your nerves a chance to recover. Take that leap of faith and let yourself be- whats the worst that can happen? The truth is the worst that can happen has already happened, so you have nothing to lose in letting go of the fight.

    Take care x

  51. Bryan Says:

    Hey Mark,

    Remind me what your symptoms are? Not that it matters, but it’s just interesting because I think we have similar stories. (Made progress and then slammed with setback in August to now.) Mine are rolling panic, high adrenaline anxiety/fear and morning panic/anxiety. Most of my anxiety seems to be born from my body/mind trying to wake from the sleep cycle. Of course, I still have lots of work to do on my acceptance. At the peaks, I’m still not viewing this right and I know it. So, I’m trying to not put pressure on myself, and yet re-educate myself as to the proper mindset to keep.

    Hope you are feeling well and more importantly accepting and floating through this. Remember, like Paul says… we use setbacks to practice, not test.

  52. Grace Says:

    I’m wondering if someone could help me. I am new here. My fears center around my breathing right now and ‘what if’ thoughts. I’ve been working with anxiety since January when I had my first panic attack. I’m looking for reassurance and hope to find that within myself but I feel that I lack some understanding and so am looking for some guidance. Sometimes I have fears(thoughts) of having to breathe mechanically or thoughts that I’ll fear my own breath…and I’ll go over it one hundred times in my head trying to figure it out by comparing it to other fears…but bottom line is, “I’m being irrational, right?” This is all part of anxiety? My thoughts won’t hurt me. My reaction to them is what creates more anxiety, correct? I mean, I won’t stop breathing and I can’t develop a fear of breathing, right? It’s just that people have been known to be afraid of almost anything…so what’s the difference between being afraid of a thought versus a sensation? Thanks kindly.

  53. Mark R Says:

    Hi Bryan,

    I’m not gonna list my symptoms as I don’t think it ever helps but they are similar to yours. It’s weird but each day is different to be honest. One day no concentration, one day crying, one day laughing, one panicking…….its all very strange…..but we’ve no option but to roll with the punches.

    I’ve cried an awful lot today………one because I feel so bad and the other out of pure frustration, the frustration being that I was on the right track but feel my progress has temporarily halted.

  54. Rachel T Says:

    Oh Mark R, my heart breaks for you, I and Im sure many others on here have felt that same level of despair. It hurts the sensations, the distressing thoughts, the constant worrying. I dont know why setbacks have to happen but they do. The old you is in there, you’ve felt it, nothings broken. You will stop fighting again soon. Keep the faith and be kind to yourself. Rachel

  55. Rachel T Says:

    Hi all, I wondering if anybody else has ever experienced massive irritability? Today my closet friend seemed to get on my nerves everytime she saidor did anything. I felt so sad and worried. She’s my rock and has helped me sooooo much through this. Why was i being so mean? Of course I didn’t tell her! I have never felt like that before. Horrible

  56. Bryan Says:

    Rachel – yes on irritability. Oddly sometimes as my panic/symptoms pass and I start to feel a bit more “normal”… regular life stuff agitates me more than it normally would. Maybe it’s the contrast between suffering and then feeling good… and yet being hit with annoyances.

    It’s nothing. Pure anxiety. Just do your best to let it flow through you and of course, try not to take it out on other people… but don’t beat yourself up. We’re allowed to be crabby after what we’ve been through.


    I hear you man. I’m in the exact same setback boat. Worst in a couple years.
    No explanation, naturally. Just random. But, what are we going to do? We’ve got one choice. One way out.. the same way that helped us make progress in the first place. (Though you made much more than me.) You need to remember that. 6 months is an eternity to be mostly symptom free. I can’t even imagine what that feels like.
    But, I look forward to it. Though, trying not to look TOO forward to it so I don’t create pressure.

    Be well. Loosen, accept and float.

  57. Shashank Says:

    Hello everyone..I have a few questions in my mind related to anxiety
    1.Can anybody who has recovered explain what is meant by deep thinking of one’s feelings,thoughts and symptoms..Is it anyway related to DP..??
    2.Paul said(what I remember)that don’t push or escape your feelings or fears,invite them indeed for they are just fears nothing else..but then my question is by embracing fears aren’t we developing a bad or negative habit of constantly inviting fears.I means when will we be able to think a good emotion or a feeling..for example if we are constantly feeling bAd and then accepting that we are feeling bad or anxious will in what way help..I think I have confused myself y not properly understanding what Paul said..Please Paul or anybody who has recovered help me.
    3.I always think I should go there I will at least rid my anxiety a lot..I should do this or that to end my anxiety.. I even do this or that and I feel a bit better.

  58. elaine Says:

    Mark you have not come to an halt you have jut come to a bit of a blip. accept this carry on and go with the flow. ACCEPT ACCEPT . It will fade . you have to go through all this to recover. And once your mind tells you to stop fearing it will be this way for a while. ACCEPT IT AND LIVE YOUR LIFE .

  59. Mark R Says:

    Hi Bryan,

    I wasn’t symptom free. I’ve had this bout of anxiety since April 12 but the last 6 months the acceptance has been paramount and the symptoms mild and I’ve been interested in other stuff rather than me.


    Thankyou…..I already know this as I have made it through setbacks before, its just everything is really difficult at the moment, I’m sure you remember from your setbacks.


  60. elaine Says:

    yes i remember.

  61. Lizb Says:

    Hi mark r and tj

    Im still in a setback too. Had a stressful week and had a few good days where i thought i was coming out of it and then bam, last night before bed felt panicky out of the blue. This passed quickly and went to bed feeling shattered only to not sleep again. Had jolts, feeling of dread, breathing out etc. so frustrating. Im going out for my friends bday tonight and its the last thing i feel like doing but am going to hav to drag myself out as she wont understand. Its been 2/3 weeks now and feel rather fed up so know how you both feel x

  62. Bryan Says:


    You are so kind to stick around and provide guidance to those still coming up and through this. We all appreciate it greatly.


    I hear you. My last year was all over the map, but my baseline was overall much better than the prior year and life took on a much more normal look. This past month of roller-coaster setback has been hard because life hasn’t been as normal. Felt like I’ve been in “survival” mode, which I’ve been so happy to be out of.

    But, I know the solution. I’m just here looking to strengthen my beliefs on recovery and not so much for support, but for reminders, tips and to be inspired by people like Elaine, Candie and all of the others who have come through this the right way.
    Even you are an inspiration for the work you’ve done, Mark. I look forward to reading your posts when you’re back on track. You’re going to have so much more confidence. We both will. I can tell that because when this wave lifts a bit, I can see it. :)

  63. Mark R Says:


    Yeah I know the feeling, feel like I’m in survival mode too. This month has certainly been a rollercoaster and a sharp reminder that I’m not there yet despite all the progress.

    Just left me wondering though, what keeps a setback going? Fear? Non acceptance? Is it something that will just fizzle out?

  64. Bryan Says:


    Well, if you listen to those who have recovered or other experts like Claire weeks, they all insisted that it’s our attitude that keeps it going.
    Now, I do think there is a variable of unpredictability in all of this. I’ve read a lot on how the body responds when the nervous system is hyperstimulated. Apparently, as it attempts to reset itself and adjust back to normal, this is a very rocky process. So, that’s why you see people having good days and then all of a sudden for no reason things seem awful. It’s a non-linear recovery, and for some of us perhaps more than others. Of course, life stressors and things of that nature can play into causing or continuing setbacks. But for me, I think it’s more a product of my body attempting to find homeostasis and running into turbulence. But, I buy and 100% to the notion that our reactions to these setbacks can either prolong or shorten them and certainly increase or decrease suffering.

    I tried to look at it this way. Imagine if you have 500 negative thoughts in the course of the day. If you can react to 400 of those with acceptance and blow them off as something that isn’t dangerous, I believe that makes a major difference. Conversely, if we overreact and get involved with all 500 of those thoughts, logic tells us that it has to make things worse.

    Some no matter what the cause of these setbacks, the prescription for getting through them remains the same and there has to be a reason that everyone who’s ever recovered says the same thing. Except and flow-through, don’t get engaged, realize it’s not dangerous, and it all goes away.

  65. Mikestevens Says:

    I wish I wouldn’t have come back. I decided to check in and see that TJ is back to suffering. I hope it gets better. But this really reinforces my thought that this fear of not being able to initially fall asleep is vastly different than other anxieties. There’s an escape for social anxiety; avoid the situation or at the very least acknowledge that you have your nights to sleep. I struggle to even fall asleep. It can take 3 to 4 hours and then I’ll wake up 3 or 4 hours later; sweating, exhausted, alone, with still 3 more hours left for sleeping that I’m stuck with my mind messing with me: letting me dose off for 2 minutes only to rip me right out of sleep. It’s a terrible feeling.

  66. Pia Says:

    I haven’t posted in awhle but wanted to update. I’ve been doing really well, I think. I already wasn’t avoiding anything and was bringing anxiety along but I’ve gotten better at accepting it and not forcing it away or wondering when the feelings would end. I completely usderstand that this is not a disorder or broken brain or anything outside of myself. I realize that I bring it on myself by anticipating how I will feel before it happens. Lke this morning I decided to take my car for service. I was fine alone then started thinking of the ride home and got myself all worked up. I freaked at one point and pulled over thinking I need to call for help. I gathered myself and said f*** it and got back on the rode and was home in 10 mins. Feeling a little tired now but not really care.

    I’ve come to accept that my mind is going to always have a rebuttle when I ratinalixe a scary thought and I’ve come to accept that I test mysefl with these scary thoughts. It’s alot easier sometimes and sometimes it’s harder. I know these thoguhts aren’t true but I can’t keep fighting and raionalizing I just have to let them be. I told myslef that no more reading or googling but that me want to do it more.

    I’ve realized that coming to this site is more like a habit not an addiction. I just come to read and see how everyone is doing. I try to only read uplifting posts especially from Candie, who is great. I told myself Ihave to stop thinking about this ordeal but that makes me think it more.

    I’m pretty much just going with the flow and reassure myself that this is all in imagination and not real threats. If I have a bad day so be it. But I’ve realized that the bad weeks have turned into bad days then bad hours then bad minutes. It’s decreasing because I know I’m in control. I know my mind is not always my friend but trying not fight with it. The news, life experiences, etc have put these ideas in my head. This is not how I really feel and I know that by the way I react to these thoguhts. I’v talking about it all the time to my family and friends. I told them I’ll tell them if I’m not feeling well because them asking and me constantly talking about it just leaves the wound fresh.

    i’m really starting to see through the fears and stupid thoughts. I still have some doubts but try to just blow past and I know the feelings always pass.

    Thanks for listening. And Candie, you are great and such an inspiraiton.

  67. Pia Says:

    Oh and I think it was RachelT that said a great analogy about a scary thought i dont remember word for word but will try to recap. “They are like a firework(prime thought) that sets off that spawns the sparklers(secondary thoughts)”. I loved it and explains it wonderfully.

  68. Mark R Says:


    You make a lot of sense with that post and pretty much answered my question.

    In terms of just getting on and letting it be I think I am doing well there as I still continue to do the things I was doing before……..going to work, eating properly, playing golf, seeing friends etc.
    I try not to get involved as well with the thoughts, but there are one or two which keep cropping up and leaving me with doubts which is why I come back on here for reassurance.

    Maybe I can’t ask anymore of myself at the moment then?

  69. SarahS Says:

    Hi mike your fear isn’t any different than any other anxiety. I’m 100% sure of that, not even 99%! There are many symptoms of anxiety and the ones you don’t mind so much don’t stick around that long, the ones you hate will do just the opposite. You really dislike and fear this sleeping business so yes anxiety will latch onto this and be full force at times. There’s no denying its really horrid, feels vile, so uncomfortable, etc. it’s difficult also to think straight when do worked up. I was exactly the same as you apart from I didn’t sleep at all.
    So I decided in the end that I had to a. Get on with it (I felt sorry for myself alot before recovery started) b. try at least to understand the concept of what others were posting about sleep being no big deal, so what and c. Believe that it was my fear of all the issues I had around sleep that was keeping me in the cycle so I began to allow myself to not sleep and to be scared. I went to bed with a puzzle book, fan on as I was so boiling hot and in such a state, low music on the radio, low light on, talking book ready and I would be set for a night of not sleeping but at least I was in bed and saying so what to the whole darn fear! Before that I was up all night pacing, going on Internet googling about sleep, being obsessed by everything to do with sleep etc. so this was a good start. And it went from there …….

  70. Mikestevens Says:

    Thank you so much! I’m actually in tears reading your post. I feel so much pity for myself and I know it does nothing for me. Thank you

  71. Mel Says:

    So I just thought I would let you all know that I’m about to leave to go and have breakfast with some friends and my husband. This entire its situations like these that i have been trying to escape nearly my entire life. But since reading Paul’s book and trying to really dedicate myself to “acceptance” I’m trying soooo hard to not fall for my safety behaviors anymore so I made the decision to just go and if I feel sick to my stomach and lose my appetite (my ultimate fear/symptom of anxiety) then I’m just going to really try To accept it. If you can give me some last minute uplifting words or advice that would be greatly appreciated ????

  72. Rach Says:

    I can see how exposure therapy works but mine has had the opposite effect. I’ve had the whole week with my boyfriend this week and I am constantly looking at his face to check how I feel. I can’t concentrate on conversations with him because I’m so absorbed in how I’m feeling but I can’t help it there’s just this constant fear feeling there all the time but I don’t get how after time how it goes because I just find I’m now bored of him because he’s on my mind constantly.
    So what do I do not look or speak to him? I’ve been diagnosed with OCD.. And can understand how he is my obsession and my compulsion is to keep checking how I feel but I just think it’s always on my mind and embedded so deep it won’t go.
    I also have this thing about being happy and laughing.. Always noticing when people are or whether I am.. Is being happy and laughing an automatic reaction because I find I can’t relax and be this way because I’m watching it.
    I don’t understand how I can get out this cycle. Just feel anxious all the time.

  73. Rachel T Says:

    Morning everybody, hope everyone is good today. I’m so sorry but I really need to vent

    . I am just totally sick of it. I’m sick of being shakey inside. I am sick of feeling dread for no reason. I am sick of feeling like I’ve just narrowly escaped some tragedy. I’m sick of feeling sick. Im sick of feeling dizzy and DR when we really get cooking. But do you know what im really sick of? Most evenings i feel normal for a few hours, if I’m with “safe” people and distracted I feel my sensations peel away. But if its daytime and im on my own? Cripes no! I feel all the above at full force from the minute I open my eyes and can’t stop myself it seems cranking It higher and higher. Proof time and time again that this whole thing is created by ME! I long for the days I used to wake up contented and get on with the day and thought about other things other than myself constantly! I understand anxiety now, I know how it works, i know what I need to do, i know im scared of nothing. Im just not crossing that line and I don’t know why? I’m over the agrophobia, im back at work, running my home, caring for my son, socialising but doing it feeling like ++++ most of the time. I acknowledge it and carry on, it fades for a few days, I feel relief and achievement, its working, and then I have to work on It again as it comes back full force. Its exhausting! So sorry to rant.

  74. Rachel T Says:

    Mel. How was breakfast? Keep pushing through anything you avoid. I absolutely promise you exposure works 100%


  75. SarahS Says:

    Sorry Mel only just spottec your post. Good for you! That’s a good attitude to have just what will get you there in the long run. Remember it doesn’t need to go perfectly to be a success, it will be what it will be, the symptoms you describe are normal as you face things and move forward, say so what, so I’m not so hungry ill just have a cuppa for now!

  76. SarahS Says:

    Go Rachel T yep you describe anxiety and the route to recovery perfectly! Don’t worry, the majority feel/felt the same! It’s a big pain in the a****! And you feeling how you do is all part of the process and shows your strength and determination to kick ass! You are already getting there, you’ve just told us that, so have your time to vent, realise that yes it will crank higher during the times youre still scared of which in time will subside too, and carry on your journey of recovery. You’re doing a grand job!

  77. SarahS Says:

    Hi Rachel not go

  78. SarahS Says:

    Hi mike it doesn’t but its understandable, sometimes you will be a bit better at just about seeing it through than others so in your case your evenings. Don’t expect too much espec as you are scared, it will come in time but for now you are doing what you can, understanding more and you are making bits of progress, this will add up but give it time, patience and perseverance.

  79. Rachel T Says:

    Thanks SarahS. Just need to keep the faith!? Just what I needed to hear.

  80. SarahS Says:

    Defo keep the faith, well after your good vent that is :-) you are already doing great keep going despite the ups n downs n inbetweens !

  81. Mark R Says:


    You are on the right track believe me. I’ve suffered anxiety on and off now for 12 years but this bout has lasted since April 2012. Unfortunately last year was a total write off, I felt awful for most of the year and on Christmas morning I had a massive setback and woke in a panic after suffering with a stomach virus.

    Since Christmas I have been on a steady incline, just carrying on with the things I wanted to do, generally feeling a bit crap, with constant DP but my focus was more on the things I enjoyed rather than the anxiety. I had some days where anxiety would make me ‘feel bad’ again, where i would feel awful and start to question everything but these were few and far between. I had a slight setback in April where I felt terrible for a week or so but just carried on.

    If I look back at the last 6 months to others I would seem recovered, I never whinged, I never came on the blog, I just carried on. I started dating again, I went to Glastonbury, I took on some part time additional work ti support my income so overall this year has been a success.

    In August I went on a driving holiday across Europe and was anxiety free for the whole time but since I came back I have been in a massive setback. All those awful thoughts and feelings which I thought were behind me came flooding back. It’s been horrendous, I’ve had panic, no appetite, vomiting, depression, crying, no interest in other things……….we all know the score.

    What’s kept me going is that I know my progress over the last 6 months has been down to my own hard work. For whatever reason the setback has come back and I’m struggling at the moment but I’m looking forward to getting back on track, the only way I can do that is with acceptance and persistence.

    What I am trying to say is don’t give up. You mention you do everything but feel crap………well that’s the right process believe me. You will take less interest in your anxiety and more in your daily things until you notice its not there at all.

    Where you say it fades for a few days and comes back, well then that’s great. Those gaps will get longer and longer just like mine this year and hopefully again soon for me!

  82. Mark R Says:

    Just to add as well, someone wrote on the blog (which has sadly disappeared now) that they recovered by just being okay however they felt……….be it sick, anxious, depressed. I take a lot of heart from that.

  83. Nicole Says:

    Hi all,

    Especially to those suffering.

    Last few weeks have been awful for me, going round all day saying accept accept accept but believing none of it, all symptoms in full force. Then deciding to do everything I wanted to do and not avoid anything….slight improvement but still doing things through gritted teeth. So last few days have simply stopped trying. Really really abandoning myself to it all letting thoughts get as crazy as they wanted and letting my body do WHATEVER it wanted to do, no trying to calm down with breathing and no “set phrases”.

    And I love it! By allowing everything I don’t worry so much and then my mind starts to turn to other things but with no forcing at all. If I want to think about me, that’s fine, if I think I’m going to start screaming which out shopping that’s fine too!

    Yesterday my mum who has cancer called me in terrible pain and I had to rush her to casualty. We spent 5 hours there and the whole time I just let go. If I shook I shook, if I felt faint talking to the doctors that was fine too. No fighting and it was all ok. Today I am going back and if I feel bad so be it, they will just have to admit me!

    I know it’s early days but more than anything I feel a sense of freedom and I’m making the most of it. I think my body was so so fed up of fighting that it was showing me how to give up.

    The exact same principal is what cured me of sleep anxiety. I barely slept last night as back late from hospital and worrying about mum but so what.

    I hope this helps someone. X

  84. SarahS Says:

    Mark r and Nicole – your posts are so good. That’s exactly how it goes and that’s exactly how you push through, face whilst on your way to recovery!

  85. Bryan Says:

    Congrats Nicole. That’s a big v

  86. Bryan Says:


    I e been compiling a few posts around here on a word doc I found inspirational.
    I’m searching for some takes on setback from people who may have dealt with bigger ones like we are. I’ve found great general advice. But it’s always nice to read individual stories.

    Hang in there and keep working. This is a temporary state by its very existence. If this state wasn’t temporary it wouldn’t feel so abnormal.
    We have to float through.

  87. Diane lee Says:

    Hi all, haven’t been on here for a few years’, Paul’s book and the support from this website, life got back to normality work shopping friends etc’, I must admit I still had moments of anxiety and I do worry a bit to much., I have had a stressful few weeks and then this week felt a bit run down and had a really sore pain in my stomach last night, and what did I do, yes started googling getting anxious and worrying, I have noticed the anxiety kicking in over the past few months, watching myself anxious thoughts etc, I am however going to start to try now to get back on track, re read Paul’s book this blog , the anxiety thought of going back to where I was a few years ago has been on my mind, I know this is how anxiety can work, thanks to Paul’s book and I am going to try just to let the thoughts be there and not give them to much worry anxiety! Thanks Paul again for all your words of wisdom and the people in this blog,take care ,recovery is possible x

  88. Mark R Says:


    I’ve been doing the same to be honest along with normal life obviously, I know its rough but I don’t want to drown myself in the subject.

    Looking back at my previous post it seems I’m looking back at the last six months with rose tinted glasses, they have still been really hard but easier than it is now.

    I spoke to Paul on facebook a while back on how I was feeling and I was still far off recovery……….he said not to aim for that but just to aim to feel better. I suppose that is true acceptance.

  89. elaine Says:

    Nicole that is the attitude i adopted when led me to recovery, i let go i did not give a damn anymore and it faded . well done xx

  90. Nicole Says:

    Thanks Elaine, it’s all feels so new this feeling of letting go but no wonder after 2 years of fighting x

  91. mary Says:

    hi i have been suffering from anxiety and scary thoughts for more than 5 years, it is always the same .. what if i die young? what if i have a weird illnessor my heart is getting sick due to all this stress and anxiety, i fear dead itself , i dont want to
    leave my kid without seing her grow … how can i handke this is a cycle i cant escape :( get all weird symptoms and thoughs aboyut my heart health

  92. Mikestevens Says:

    I don’t know how I’m supposed to be accepting of this. As soon as I close my eyes a feeling of dread comes over me. I start sweating like mad, my mind becomes so fixed on that dread, thAt feeling of being broken. I tell myself ‘just accept it’ but the fear doesn’t even budge. It’s hard to relax because my mind is in so much turmoil and doubt.
    My body is just overheating and buzzing, and it just seems to be getting worse. This is going on 8 months of this now

  93. Mikestevens Says:

    It’s not like I’m anxious about some other thing and it’s that thought that’s keeping me wired. It’s that my mind starts freaking out when I shut my eyes that I won’t be able to sleep. I just don’t understand how I’m supposed to even let it just chatter away.

  94. Dockies Says:

    @Mikestevens accepting is hard isn’t? Because there’s just too many symptoms of anxiety we have deal with every time we decide to accept it. Let me enumerate some of my symptoms in the past when I close my eyes and trying to sleep: There is what I want to call electric shock, feeling of dread, sometimes I feel like I am falling from a high place, palpitation, sweating, overheating, and a lot more… but I realize that my biggest hurdle in accepting my anxiety is not my symptoms but my wrong perception about it. Our perception about ACCEPTING is: It is the KEY, it is the SOLUTION, and accepting is what will drive my fears away. well all 3 of them are true but if most people here will be honest to themselves they will found out that for them accepting is: it is the INSTANT KEY, it is the INSTANT SOLUTION, and accepting is what will drive their fears away INSTANTLY!
    Remove the instantly in the equation and you will soon realize that you have the answer to your problem all along, you just don’t want to wait and see.

    When I was still suffering, whenever I read Pauls advise I am a little disappointed because he keeps on saying to his book that accepting gives him the way out of it… but is it not working for me? I need it to work when I have to go on a vacation, I need it to work when I have a very important thing to do, I need it to work when I am with friends, I need it to work NOW! Not tomorrow :( but sad to say whenever i decide to accept it, i also unconsciously check myself if it’s working… and lo and behold it is not 😀 But when i accept it every day and forget when it will work, i often get surprised with the result. I was not even thinking about it…
    ACCEPTING is not going to drive your fears away, accepting is what will give you the courage to live a normal life even if your still afraid, doubting and sweating :) in time your normal way of living will consume much of your fears and you will be surprised that it is all over before you even know it.


  95. Shashank Says:

    Hello…Can Mark R,Candie,Doreen,Elaine or anybody help me out with acceptance point…Paul said”Acceptance is whatever attitude and Not a need to remind yourself to accept how you feel as again it then becomes battle by saying to DO something..”And this is where I get confused..I want to just progress and the first step is understanding anxiety which I have..but the second is acceptance which I have instead of cnfusing myself further I want help from you guys..please..I am literally feeling very down and low right now…Its better to get help rather than confusing yourself further..

  96. angela Says:

    hi, I havnt been on here for about 2 years, im having a bit of a bad time, I feel its all starting to creep up on me again, im not too bad at the moment but ive recently had an op, then gone back to work, and started college, and now on top of it we are soon to be moving house!! the stress is obviously high, but my mood is getting lower and lower, I hate being in the house but am too tired to do anything at the moment. I hold my breath all the time (again) I cant keep awake, it very frustrating as I know what it is but cant seem to put everything into practise this time.
    like letting it in and not being scared and living alongside it. this is my first major setback in 2 years and im worried that its going to get bigger :(

  97. Mikestevens Says:

    Thank you Dockles. Did you just lay in bed or would you get up when those feelings of panic overcame you? I’m not certain what to do. Then there’s the thoughts of dread, where I just wish I was gone. This was one of my hardest nights ever.

  98. Nicole Says:


    I have been through exactly the same. I used to feel like I was in a boat in bed with electric shocks running through me. Sweats, tingling hands, the works. Eventually with much patience and paractice I’m fine. I just lay back and pretended I actually was in a boat and let EVERYTHING happen to me. But it takes practice.

    Don’t give I, I became obsessed with other peoples sleep patterns and would watch my sleeping family enviously. It’s just another offshoot of anxiety no more pleasant or unpleasant to the person going through it, than any other type of anxiety.

    Hope this helps.

  99. Dockies Says:

    @Mikestevens yes I just lie there. I remember every night i am almost crying because i have this feeling that this might be my last night :( or what is the purpose in waking up tomorrow if i will be like this again and again. I am alone in my apartment and no one seems to understand my situation, or if they do they don’t know how to help me and i also don’t want their help because it only adds to my depression (I always think highly of myself and always in control, so having that scenario only makes me more depress so i refuse.) so yeah im complicated :p

    But as for my advise… don’t get up just let your mind sleep through the bouts of anxiety this will teach your brain that its ok to sleep and nothing will happen even with all the symptoms your feeling. The way i describe it is like this: I don’t like horror movies so whenever theres a scene that i have a feeling will scare me, what i do is i close my eyes until the scene has pass and i can look again. That is how i feel, when i close my eyes i feel like something will happen to me, my heart beats hard, my body feels an electric shock, im sweating like crazy but i close my eyes try to relax and before i knew it… its morning and i do have a good night sleep :) then i repeat it night after night.

    Your mission here is to make yourself familiar to the point that your body will do it unconsciously. Train your body and your mind to obey you and not your anxiety (nothing will happen to you and you know it). :)

    Just a head’s up it will require a lot of time before your mind and body get used to living with anxiety, but when they do… man your free from it. I ASSURE YOU THAT!
    When you feel like giving up just remember im almost there, i can do this :) and try to go outside and be with friends no matter how hard it is. The reason is… your brain needs to be reminded of how it feels like to live a normal life again… You can do this.

  100. elaine Says:


  101. emmae Says:

    Hi, I posted last week and just wondered SarahS or anyone else if you have any feedback? Thank you.

  102. emmae Says:

    Hi, just looked back over the posts and, just to help find my post rather than writing it all again (!) it was on Sept 19th I posted. It took a while to show up as it needed to be moderated. Thank you.

  103. Charlotte Says:

    Hi Emma’s

    I have also experienced severe anxiety, and I could easily suffer from health anxiety but I am mainly bothered by intrusive thoughts. I totally sympthise with your comment ie it must surely be getting better by now as I have said it so many times myself !! I think it’s important to remember it will pass, you won’t always have anxiety, and every time you get anxiety think of it as an opportunity to practice acceptance .

    Sometimes progress is so small that we can’t recognise it but its there and then suddenly u realise you haven’t thought about anxiety for 5 mins , 10 mins etc.

    Hope this helps in some way

  104. Lizb Says:

    Hi mike

    Im in exactly the same boat as you at the moment. I have nights where i dont sleep at all or can only drop off in the early hours and have to drag my body into work. I had just started to get a more settled pattern of sleep after a year or panic and anxiety and then bam a bit of stress and im a mess again. I kno how you feel and i want to cry with frustration. Im holding onto the hope thats its just a blip and will pass again. I have the annoying jolts, heart racing, breathing out etc. i try and think of all the people accrosd the world that are having sleep deprivation too, new mothers, shift workers, the ill and in pain, the insomniacs etc etc. it wont forever. I completely sympathise i have cried. few times this week out of sheer frustration and exhaustion. We must believe it will pass (as it will) this is just a temporary state x

  105. Mikestevens Says:

    Thank you for all of the encouragement. It’s just that this is so confusing I don’t understand what is wrong with me. I was having a good evening but then I went to lie down on the couch and take my son for a little bit. And as soon as I close my eyes this feeling of dread and terror of sleeping bubbled up in my head. It just came on from nowhere. And then when I finally went to bed around 11 o’clock that feeling was still there. It was such a frustrating feeling I didn’t know what to do I did my best to just let let it be but that had no impact on the terror and the fear were still there. I was tossing and turning all night getting in and out of bed are you been asked my wife if it would be better if I slept in the back spare bedroom because I I’m starting to wake her up with all of this. Sometimes I just don’t know how this will Ever go away. It just seems like something that I’m always going to have to struggle with because I don’t know how to tackle the problem. I’m so scared right now I even called in sick to work and I took a Unisom at eight in the morning hoping that I could maybe just catch a couple of hours of sleep. I know I shouldn’t do this I need to still live my life but it is very very very hard. Aside from the fact that I’m so scared and I feel so broke I have a wife and a son and I’m just not there for them. This just feels so different from other forms of anxiety that I’ve read about because I’ll be peaceful one moment but then it springs on me from out of nowhere and it’s terrifying. I want to stay lying in bed while it’s happening but then I think in my building of a bad association with my bed and not being able to sleep and I don’t want to do that I don’t want to further reinforce this problem but I’m not certain what to do. Thank you for all of your patience with me I don’t mean to keep on bringing this up I’m just struggling very very much

  106. Rachel T Says:

    Thanks for the reply Bryan re being irritable, thankfully its worn off a bit!

    Mark R, thanks for taking the time to detail your journey, I can see so many positives in there! It’s hard to remember the time we’ve felt “ok”. It will come again quite quickly but until then were not alone in any of these feelings, not unique, not special, its anxiety! You’ve carried on regardless and enjoyed life, you can get back there, we all can.


  107. Rachel T Says:

    Hi mikestevens, it sounds to me like panic attacks triggered by your sleep anxiety? I’ve read others replies re not aiming to sleep. Calm yourself from the panic and then aim to stay up all night! No pressure then. There is a great website which is free that discusses panic. Same principles as Paul’s. Not sure if i can name it though?


  108. JOE PRO Says:

    To Mike Stevens: I have been exactly where you are with the sleeping issues and have fully recovered. Very simply your putting to much emphasis on sleeping or falling asleep. What I did was I told myself that this was simply a chance to rest and it was up to my body take it or leave it. You really just give your body and mind the opportunity to sleep and eventually it will if you don’t pressure yourself to have to sleep or be symptom free. Allow whatever your feeling to come fully and experience it 100% percent it won’t get any worse than it already has! Once you allow your self to not hold back or try and stop these sensations feelings or thoughts or it will begin to get less severe because it will have no fuel to feed off of. Its the build up of adrenaline that keeps you up but let it flow until its empty and the other side is peace %100 percent. You need to desensitize more than anything else like I did but you need to feel all of it over and over again with out and emotional reaction. Say to yourself ohhh here comes the adrenaline push again and TRY and make it worse inviting it to get as big as it wants. Guess what it can’t get any bigger when you ask it to because now your directing it and regain control. It will subside no matter what cause our bodies don’t have an infinite supply of adrenalin and we experience a deep release. YOU control these feelings by letting them be and giving them the challenge to be as bad as you can make them. They will never overcome you because there actually there to protect you so allow them to do so. Then soon your body will achieve homeostasis and you will feel a controlled freedom you will always appreciate.Please do this for you and your family! I have 3 small kids and a Wife as well who kicked me out of the bed plenty of times haha we laugh at it now cause nothing will EVER happen to you that your body cannot handle and that is a FACT. Get back to your life and forget about sleeping and you will sleep like a baby eventually.

  109. SarahS Says:

    Mike letting it be there won’t have an impact on the terror not to start with. You are terrified, so be terrified. I was exactly the same it was a huge fear if mine. You are no different at all in fact we all think we are different it’s part of it too!

  110. Mark R Says:


    There are quite a few of us in the same position at the moment, I’ve had my worst setback since Christmas, Bryan for 2 years etc.

    When you’ve felt some progress/peace for a while it can be a shocker when it returns. Sounds like you;re under a bit of stress at the moment and you’ve made a lot of changes so its only natural that it can come back.

    It won’t get worse I promise you. I’ve had a real bad time this month after loads of progress but its slowly passing and I’m left with quite heavy DP which I’m happy about as its an improvement on how bad I was feeling before.

    Just remember by their very nature setbacks are transient so sit tight. It’s almost impossible to apply acceptance in the midst of it but just try and be okay with however you feel.

  111. Grace Says:

    I really feel for all of you. I’m on the road to recovery. We all are. But something should be noted…I don’t think it’s a good idea to always come on here for ‘support.’ I think most of the time, it just keeps us in anxiety mode, keeps us questioning what’s happening to us and makes us more anxious. A few days I wrote here looking for support, but I didn’t get a response. And now, I’m kind of glad about it. After a while, it doesn’t mean much to me to know that other people are going through what I’m going through. At first, it’s comforting but then, not so much.

    Acceptance and action have to go hand in hand. Thinking our way out of anxiety is impossible. Anxiety is a habit that needs to be broken like any other habit that isn’t good for us. And it can’t be done by talking about it over and over again. Yes, it’s supportive but again, it keeps us anxious, keeps us thinking there’s something ‘wrong’ with us. WE ARE FINE. WE’RE JUST EXPERIENCING MORE ANXIETY THAN NORMAL – hence the shitty sensations and thoughts.

    We need to live our lives and that means DOING even if we don’t want to, especially when we feel like a mess and the world seems like a monster. Our road to recovery will come from LIVING OUR LIVES – doing day to day things as well as engaging in activities we haven’t tried before or would like to try but feel that we can’t until we get better. We get better by doing, by getting our minds off of our anxiety. It’s the only way. So that anxiety, with practice and over time, loses its grip over us, so that the thoughts don’t come flooding in with such force.

    To MIKE – I understand what you mean. I used to sleep like a baby but when I had my first PA last January, my sleep was deeply affected. I used to have night frights – just had one the other day after months of not having one. I get it. The reason you feel this way now is because THIS IS ALWAYS ON YOUR MIND. It’s consuming you. It does get better and you need to learn to get out of the way. HOW? Fill up your time as much as you can. Don’t just sit around because you feel horrible. Anxiety is supposed to feel crappy. And that’s all they are – just crappy sensations and thoughts produced by Anxiety. If you didn’t have anxiety, you wouldn’t have the thoughts or sensations. So, find something you enjoy doing and stick with it. Just get caught up in it – lose yourself in it. Make it a practice everyday at the same time, if you can. Make it your God. Learn something new. It’ll feel weird at first, but like any other habit or new behavior, it will become second nature. You’ll see your anxiety slip away.
    I wish you all well.

  112. DCYL Says:

    Hey All,

    Been busy lately and since I can’t easily post at home, couldn’t post anything until now.

    I wanted to reply to something before the previous posts got deleted. The question was something along the lines of: “When you recover, do you feel no anxiety at all?”

    Paul’s answered this in his book and others have responded as well. I wanted to point out that “recovering” doesn’t mean you don’t feel any anxiety. You’ll still feel anxiety when you going under stressful situations. Maybe it’s a first date. Maybe you’re getting married. Whatever the case may be, you’ll feel nervous and may have an anxiious thought or two. The difference is once you’re recovered, you won’t feel it as deeply. Your mind may race but your nerves won’t react with fear.

    Even thought I am doing “pretty well” in comparison to years past, I think I still have some past memories to deal with. When I start sweating a bit, I get reminded of how I was a few years ago. i have to train myself to snap back into the present moment and not dwell on how I feel.

    It’s a pain in the ass, but if you change the habit of focusing on yourself, you can get better over time.

  113. Jaz Says:

    Hello everyone! Now does anybody feel off balance and dizzy all the time? Well I do when I’m laying down or sitting down. I can feel my heart pulse like on my hands when I’m holding something and feel it my throat. when I’m sitting down Indian style I can feel my pulse to moving me. I’m feel tense all the time and dizzy and I’m always thinking what If my bp is up or what if my heart fails. ;( I’m tired of it all!! I wanna be back to my old me from 15 months ago. I mean I feel much better than a yr ago. If only those few symptoms would go away I would feel 98% good. What should I do?

  114. emmae Says:

    Hi all, sorry for my persistence! I was just wondering if anyone could respond to my post. Just feeling pretty lost and needing some support and encouragement. Thanks all.

  115. DCYL Says:


    It’s a little late for me but I’m still up. I’d say that there isn’t anything you can do except to live your life. That’s what Paul suggests. Live your life and let the anxiety be there. Also, one habit we all get into is focusing on our anxiety. Focus on snapping that habit. Keep busy and have things to do. It’s not always possible to do so. Once you can break on focusing on your anxiety you will be better off.

  116. Nicole Says:

    Hi emmae,

    All I can say is the attitude I’m working on is “anything goes”, any thought, feeling, sensation no fighting it, no challenging it nothing. Some moments I feel terrified some tearful some dizzy but it’s there and I’m not going to try and stop it. It’s the complete opposite of what I have been doing for nearly two years but that fighting wasn’t working so I took a huge leap of faith and this is where I am at now. Early days but feel better than I have in years already.


  117. emmae Says:

    Thanks for that. I am just really confused as to how to deal with the constant attention on myself and my mind’s running commentary on me and my anxiety. Is it about re-directing this back on the present moment whenever I notice that this is happening? Any other replies would be really appreciated. Feeling a bit lost :(

  118. emmae Says:

    Thanks Nicole…I am really pleased that you are making progress with your new attitude. Good for you. The thing I am finding difficult to understand is that I hear so much about focusing on external things etc but how is this possible when my mind is completely fixated on me and anxiety? Any words of wisdom?!

  119. Nicole Says:

    Well, I went through a phase of trying to be with the moment, focus on what you’re doing etc but that seemed to put even more pressure on myself. I now let myself think about myself whenever I want without worrying about it. I think it is good to have outside interests just as it’s good for non sufferers. I danced with my daughter on the wii yesterday for about an hour and my attention was constantly reverting to me, I should be enjoying this more etc etc but I did it, didn’t worry about what my thoughts were and am really now looking forward to doing more later.

    Hope some of this makes sense x

  120. Mikestevens Says:

    Is this how I should be viewing it?? When the fear comes I shouldn’t run from those thoughts and feelings. Let them be there for as long as they need to. While at the same time taking a “so what/big whoop” attitude to the focus of those fears ‘if I don’t sleep well tonight, big deal’.

  121. Wendy Says:

    hello everybody,

    the last days my anxiety levels were very low and i could accept it. i felt so happy and confident and now, just a few minutes ago i suddenly felt as if i would pass out every moment. it felt as if all the anxiety that was gone for the last days came up all together and it was just a shocking moment. i had these overwhelming feelings very often, but this time it was worse.
    at the moment it’s better, but it also seems as if all the anxiety is back again and i am in the state where acceptance does not really work.
    maybe elaine or someone else could calm me a bit down :)

  122. emmae Says:

    Hi Nicole, thanks for your response. I really appreciate it. I was feeling at such a low ebb this morning just sick and fed up with it. Possible sick and fed up of fighting it. Well today, after your post, I thought to myself, Emma you have nothing to lose. You feel like hell on earth anyway so why not allow your mind to think about anxiety all day long and stop controlling it. It felt like such a risk, like I was going to really lose it if this happened. Yes, I felt anxious most of the day and pretty low too, detached, out of it but it felt like I had put my hands up and said “the fight is over”. Do you know what I mean by feeling as if it is risk letting go? I had a pretty difficult time growing up where I had to be super alert. I suppose trying to control things became like a norm for me. So, to let go feels really scary but as this blog advocates, the only way forward. I have been terrified to be on my own as I don’t want to hear my head going round and round all day but today I drove to my aunty’s house with my son and there was no pressure on me to focus on things to distract myself and “I must be in the moment”. When I was in the moment, I was in the moment and when I was in my head, I was in my head. Before this anxiety really hit me in such a severe way I didn’t ever “try” to be in the moment or give myself pressure to be focussed on everything! I was just me and ok with that. Does this make sense? So, now it’s about me developing this attitude and alot more kindness. I can be very hard on myself and this also needs to shift. Less perfection, less expectations and more “I am who I am, I feel as I feel”.

  123. Will Says:

    Hi everyone,
    I mentioned before that I have a long-time fear of becoming a perv or a paedo. Whenever the subject is brought up on the news for instance, I immediately go into anxiety mode, scared that one day I’ll be like that for some reason or in some way, and thus began the classic “what if” thoughts. I’m nearly 22 now and I’m scared of turning like that as I get older. I know full well that I’m not attracted to children or young girls, I know I won’t do anything to them, and the very thought disturbs and horrifies me… So why do I keep thinking that I will be?!

    Anyway, the reason I’m typing this is because of something that happened today. I was sat on the bus and was aware of a young girl in my peripheral vision. All was well, but then my mind began focusing on her in the corner of my eye on the whole journey, although I was looking out the window, and I suddenly became anxious. And then for some reason my mind started to focus on my crotch, as if I was checking myself for the slightest feeling of arousal. It must have been because of the acute focus on that area that it actually stirred a bit (which I’d say was caused by the anxious adrenaline or something), at which I felt a stab of panic, thinking that I’d become aroused for a short while. Needless to say I felt horrified. I know it’s just my fear playing tricks on me but I’m always thinking of horrible doubting thoughts to counteract my reasoning.

    To be honest the same thing happened about a year ago when I had a fear I was gay. I was avoiding looking at men for fear that I’d get aroused, but sometimes force myself to look as if I’m trying to test myself and provoke the anxiety further. Even though I knew that I was perfectly straight (I’d know by now what sex I’d be attracted to and I’m very certain about it), I still felt scared at the thought. This current fear feels like the exact same thing except, because it’s a more serious subject of course, it feels more severe and scary.

    See, a habit of mine is thinking too much about the psychological aspects of everything. I’m looking for objective answers in a subjective field. All day I’ve been trying to justify today’s anxiety with theories and thoughts to combat the doubting thoughts as I’m positive that all along my anxiety was just trying to test me, and won. The doubting thoughts and mixed theories flying around in my mind are really making me feel uneasy about this, as well as the fact that my crotch stirred slightly (sorry for any imagery!) under the anxiety and tried to make me think I was aroused. As I’ve made clear, I’m not attracted to young girls and I KNOW that I’m not, so why do I keep thinking that I will as I get older? How much more convincing do I need?
    These “what if” thoughts are like “What if I really am but I don’t know it?”, “What if it’s against my will?”, “What if it’s because I’m scared that I won’t change as I get older?”, “What is ‘anxiety’ and what is ‘me’?”, and so on. And they’re really making me worry today more than ever.

  124. Roy T Says:

    I would like to thank Paul for his website and book.Both have been so helpful and I’m still using them to help with my recovery. I know now and under stand that I have been fighting Anxiety since my school days.(I’m 53)I have had Paul’s book about a year,but it has only just clicked where I was going wrong!So the last 3 week have been unbelievable. I see how I’ve been so full of self pity and looking for the thing that was wrong. Now I just let the anxiety come and its losing its hold. I’m starting to enjoy my life and all the people I’m lucky enough to have in it. they say how much better I am too, especially my wife and son. I’m still up and down, mostly waking up in the night with bad anxiety dreams, but I keep your book close by and it soon gets me back on the right track. thank you so much. Roy

  125. Bryan Says:


    I am not an expert on obsessive thoughts but I know one very common thought for parents is that what if they hurt their children. And of course like you, they never will. The idea horrified us which IS WHY it sticks!!!
    I’ve been lucky not to have these kinds of fear thoughts but I’ve had others and I’ve heard some of the silliest stuff you can imagine. One woman had a fear she might be a spider! She was totally notmal. She was a nurse. She was completely sane. But a fatigued overstimulated brain can latch onto anything silly that scares us! It’s like a bad dream. Do you believe what you dream? Of course not. You wake up, shrug it off as a tired brain doing exercises and move on. Obsessive thoughts are no different. Read through past posts. Learn to accept and let your mind refresh. I’m still working on recovery myself but I know this is the path.

  126. DaanVT Says:

    Anxiety will play the weirdest tricks on your thoughts. When my anxiety was at it`s worst I used to make up so many weird things to be affraid of. I worried about the strangest things which all had in common that if they would be true, they would result in people around me rejecting me.

    The truth is that many people have these thoughts but dont even pay attention to them. They turn up once and then they are forgotten because people know they are untrue. But us anxious people get a strong reaction the first time a thought like this comes up, and then we develop an even stronger reaction by adding anxiety for the tought itself. Resulting us to dwell on it for days, weeks or months.

    The only answer to see these thoughts for what they are. They are nothing more then a symptom of your anxiety. Let them be and try to laugh at them.

  127. Mark R Says:

    Just thought I’d post this as it was posted by TJ on the last blog but sadly lost:

    Coming out of a bout of depression/anxiety is alot like a fog lifting.

    At first it’s real thick and you just can’t see beyond the fog. Then it starts slowly lifting…. and you are able to make out other things. The fog is there but so are these other things that you’re able to be more aware of.

    The fog lifts a bit more and those ‘things’ (the things of your life, the things that make life worth living) become even more clear.

    Make no mistake, the fog is still there. If you wanted to you could focus all of your attention on the fog…. and demand answers as to why you can’t see those things as clear as you used to. Or, you can take pleasure in the fact that you’re heading in the right direction. You might not be able to see them with as great of clarity as you used to…. but they’re certainly there. They allow you to fill your mind with other things, aside from how miserable you feel.

    Then one day, after a long journey through this fog, after focusing more and more on these other things…. you stop and look around and think “where did the fog go?” And it’s gone.

    I’m not there yet. But I know what direction I’m headed in.

    I still have doubt, lack of confidence, fear, exhaustion…. but not as bad. A day will come when this trial will pass.””

  128. TJ Says:

    Thanks for finding and posting that, Mark.

    I won’t link to the forum. But if anyone’s interested, if you google “My Depression Recovery Tracker” you’ll come across a site where I was tracking my recovery from this bout. That’s where I first posted the “depression/anxiety fog” analogy. I posted under the name Doug77.

  129. Will Says:

    Bryan and DaanVT – Thanks for the replies, guys. I just have this irrational fear of becoming some sort of sicko later in life. It’s just that there are so many reported cases on the news and I think to myself things like “How did those people get to be like that?” “What happened to them?” “What if I just WILL turn into a sicko anyway, even though I know better?” and then I’m scared that that’ll be me someday. Somehow.
    But I guess that as long as I know that I’m not like that and that I am in fact scared of being so, it must mean that I actually WON’T turn out like that.

  130. elaine Says:

    will you need to laugh at these thoughts, i had thoughts i would kill my dog . when i read pauls book i started to recover . Then when the thought popped into my head i used to laugh and say well frankie mums going to try not to kill you today. Laugh about it and stop caring and your thoughts will fade away. Your fearing it will happen ,it wont . I wish people would start following what pauls says , believe what hes telling you , do what he says and you will recover. FEAR BREADS FEAR, . I wnt you guys to feel what i feel now and that is peace x

  131. elaine Says:

    Wendy you will never lose control !!!! let it be there let it rage and one day you wont give a damn . It takes time to stop fighting but one day i woke up and though what the hell if i faint let it be , if i go mad i will , if i kill my dog so what they will lock me up. you know what i gave up i didnt care and i started to recover. Please listen to what i am saying nothing will happen behond your control never, so just let go. Iknow its hell i have been there my hubby had 6 months off work with me , i had the crisis team out , but hey looking back now for what a sensation a feeling thats all it is. So let go wendy and you will start recovery. You dont need me you need to believe in what paul is telling you xxx

  132. elaine Says:

    Emmae you have got it girl now believe it xx

  133. elaine Says:

    Nicole this is what paul means , i am so glad you have let go and feeling better xx

  134. Pia Says:

    Nicole, I completely agree with trying to be mindful. When this first started, I tried it and it made things worse. I would try to focus on the bubbles when washing dishes, really in the moment scrubbing the floor etc. It felt so unnatural and drove me crazy. Who really wants to enjoy scrubbing the floor. I told the therapist at the time that I think I’m too mindful of myself already and need to take my attention away from myself. I did the same with the meditation. Drove me crazy to sit there and do nothing and just watch my thoughts.
    I’ve been doing well I think, the thoughts still get to me and make me feel horrible but I just let them go and do remind myself when I think I’ll go crazy or need help that it always passes on it’s own. I posted a few days ago but they weren’t approved to post yet
    Just gotta keep our heads up cause it always passes.

  135. rachh Says:

    Just wanted toask..
    Does anyone find they start having the thoughts they feared but without the fear and then start worrying why the fear isnt attached and that they might be true..
    For instance last night i was watching music video and started thinking how i would love to go clubbing and be single and not have to worry about my boyfriend.. Then this moved to i must want to be single because i find other men attractive and fun to be around and my boyfriend boring. This thought didnt scare me but i feel it should have because this is the kind of thing my anxiety surrounds..
    Another day i woke up with suicide on my mind and i made myself fear it because i thought if i didnt fear it it might mean i want to do it..
    Hope this makes sense and someone can help..

  136. Will Says:

    Rach – I think I know what you mean, I experience something similar. For example, I can’t look at needles, syringes or injections although they never bothered me before. I remember one day thinking “This is something most people are sensitive to, maybe I should be as well” and then since then I just kinda started to make myself fear them. This is further evidenced when sometimes I look at something I’ve made myself fear with no anxiety at first, and then a second or two later I seem to think to myself “oh wait, I’m supposed to be scared of this, aren’t I?” and the feelings kick in again.

    And yes I know what you mean about feeling that you have to make yourself fear a thought. You feel as though you HAVE to fear it in case that NOT fearing it is a worrying sign? I’ve had the odd obsessive thought I’ve since gotten over and can now think of it without any fear attachment, but I used to do the same thing as you.

  137. rachh Says:

    Thanks will im so fed up of this. Im not ready to accept i just want it all to go away cus im so sick of fighting it is such an emotional struggle im so so tired and drained.

  138. emmae Says:

    Elaine …thanks so much for your encouragement. I have been fighting this all my life and I absolutely agree with what you say that acceptance is a real process. It has taken me forever but I now feel closer to it than ever. I have my own small business and, at times, have just felt like giving it all in but have held on to a tiny drop of trust that one day I will start accepting and be able to let it be. I have some amazing habits to unravel but I believe it is doable step by step with the attitude of “I feel how I feel”. I felt awful this morning and for the first few hours but it has subsided slightly and rises and falls, rises and falls. I can now hear a kinder voice underneath all of this telling me that I am on the right path and that I am not alone with this. My nervous system is so sensitive right now but I know that with this approach in time will gradually settle. One step at a time … Thanks again Elaine. It’s great to have people cheering me on :)

  139. Shirley A. D. Says:

    Rachh. In order to return to your old self you must give up the fight. To fight is to still give the Anxiety the attention it wants. The emotional struggle will keep you tired and drained but you can’t not feel that whilst you are fighting. To accept is not a great moment but it should bring a feeling of calmness which is far nicer than being all wound up like a coiled spring.

    Elaine….. well done on the support. I have left you a message on the Coffee shop blog.

  140. Bryan Says:


    Read a few posts below you. Someone had a fear thought of killing their own dog! These thoughts are so ridiculous. I’ve had so many. It doesn’t matter what the thought is. You are still trying to reason with the thought.
    Yes… You are correct. People don’t just turn into sickos. Sickos don’t know right from wrong or don’t care! But more importantly we need to cultivate the attitude that these thoughts are all BS. They are a big bluff. Don’t make the mistake of trying to engage and explain away each one. Believe me, I have and sometimes still make this mistake.

    You will see once your mind calms down. You have nothing to concern yourself with.

  141. TJ Says:

    Talk about being at peace with the struggles that come your way.

    In the downtown area where I work there are quite a few homeless people. If I’m by them I’ll chat with them (because what can be worse for a person than being avoided by other human beings…. being viewed so lowly they wouldn’t even want to cast a glance in your direction?).

    Two guys stand out in my mind; Eddie and Michael. I’ve met them on separate occassions. Their attitudes amaze me.

    1st Eddie. I first saw him in a downtown restaurant eating the sugar from sugar packets. I asked him if I could buy him lunch and he kindly turned the offer down. I was stunned. I pressed the issue again and in the same manner he said “thank you, but i’m good”. My skeptical mind starts thinking, “He doesn’t want me to buy him food, but I’m sure if I offer him money he’ll take that to buy booze or drugs”. So I then said, “can I at least give you some money?”…. a simple, “no, that’s okay. Thanks though”.

    Since then I’ve seen Eddie around the downtown. Dirty brown pants and a beaten up blue hooded sweatshirt. Sometimes in really bad ways too; like leaning up againt a building looking like he was going to pass out. Just today I saw him sitting up against a building and I went up to him, “Hi Eddie, is there SOMETHING I can do to help? Food, money, anything?”. Eddie’s response, “that’s very kind of you, but I’m alright”.

    Then there’s Michael. I saw Michael walking along the river that cuts through downtown. He looked really bad. A confused, gaunt look on his face. We were going to be walking past each other and as I came up towards him he lowered his head to look away. I stopped and asked him how he was doing. He looked up at me and then I saw how bad of a way he was in. He had to be close to blind. His eyes were bad…. blood shot with cataracts. Michael responded, “oohhh, I guess I could complain if I really wanted. But I get to wake up in the morning and look up at the beautiful sky that God gave us….. and it’s hard not to be thankful.” I could have started crying right then. My mind was racked with anxiety about being able to sleep and I wanted to just give up. This guy is homeless, practically blind, treated like pariah by the bulk of his human fellows and he’s able to still focus on the beauty in life?

  142. Shirley A. D. Says:

    TJ – yet another very realistic description of how other people can be so much worse off – it puts it all into context doesn’t it. They have hardly anything but are grateful for everything. When I read it it brought tears to my eyes. Putting Anxiety into the context of being ‘uncomfortable’ for a while but you know you are going to come out on the other side is probably a good positive way at looking at the current situation. When I worked as a volunteer there was a lady who came into my place of work, she was a twin. She had just been diagnosed with something that was going to change her life and then when her twin walked in – they both looked at each other and told me that in fact they both had!!! That day I realised that I was feeling uncomfortable with the anxiety but it certainly wasn’t half as bad as what these two ladies had been told. It put a lot of things into context for me.

  143. Lucy Says:

    My heart goes out to Will in particular, I know the cycle of being stuck in these weird/crazy/scary/irrational obsessive thoughts! Mine particularly latched on to having something like schizophrenia, I reasoned that if I was then that must mean I’d end up doing something terrible to myself or even worse a loved one. I couldn’t watch the news or read newspapers for fearing stories related to any awful thing like that. I wasn’t convinced at first it was anxiety, but I have seen this too many times now to know that it is and that’s all! I have asked myself all of the same questions believe me. And now when I get them? Well, I’ve survived this long without doing any of those “what ifs”, so I don’t think it’s gonna happen in the future. They pass and lose intensity. I am one of the softest, sensitive of people and I would NEVER be capable of anything like that, I cry even after a heated argument for goodness sake. Lol. Just let go of trying to control them and how bad you are for thinking it etc. They are just thoughts, and no one can see them either. Trust that you will be okay :) this really was one of my most terrifying symptoms but just acknowledge you thought it and move on, don’t add to one scary thought by adding five more!

  144. elaine Says:

    will i have replied to your posts and you are not responding

  145. Wendy Says:


    thank you for your advice!i really try my best to follow paul’s advice, but whenever my anxiety gets worse again i tend to think really negative.
    i don’t really feel as if I lose control, it just kinda seems as if the world around me loses control. well, this sounds very weird, but i always question my own existence and my whole body scares me. i always think like: woow, i am made out of skin and blood, and how does this all work? am i really a human being?” this is so weird but really my biggest fear.

    how does it actually feel being recovered? does everything makes sense now and are you the same person you used to be before your anxiety?

  146. Will Says:

    Elaine – Ah, sorry. I did read them but I forgot to get back to you. I’ve had similar thoughts related to your worry about killing your dog, which I’ve found out is caused by something called cognitive dissonance. An example would be if you are standing at the edge of a cliff with someone and the thought comes into your head that “you could just push them off”. I can see why people with anxiety would perceive these thoughts as true and frightening, obsessing over WHY they have them.

    I did take your advice on board and today I actually felt a lot better about my aforementioned thoughts. I’ve still been having them, but they barely bother me and it’s easier to dismiss them now. I still get the occasional sinking feeling in my heart, but it’s not all the time now and I just get on with things. Yesterday I just felt numb and disconnected while my mind was in overdrive, but after everybody’s advice I’ve felt so much better today. Thank you for your reply :)

  147. Nicole Says:

    Thanks for the encouragement Elaine, advice from people who have come through this is what had really really helped me.

    I am not fighting anything but what I have found is that by not fighting feelings, anxiety, sadness, frustration, fear it’s quite painful. I have fought to subdue everything for so long that I am realising how damaging this has been. However the more I allow these feelings in, they seem to fade all by themselves. For once I am actually allowing myself to feel anger etc and somehow it feels right.

    Pia, your post made me laugh, the number of times I tried to mindfully brush my teeth!! I think it didn’t work for me as it was something else to do and potentially fail at. With pauls method you don’t have to do anything at all!

  148. Marco Says:

    Hi all. I can also relate to these scary/obsessive thoughts. I’ve had many but there is one that keeps coming back – the thought of the world not being real. It scares the crap out of me. My mind will then look for ordinary things & make them seem or feel unordinary – as if they would only happen if the world wasnt real. If that makes sense? Almost like it’s trying to find proof & convince me of it. I don’t know if it’s linked with DP/DR, I can never tell whether the thought comes first, or the feeling comes first. Either way, it scares me. I also get images in my head of random places which fills me with fear for some reason. My head feels like a mess at the moment. So many things going on inside, I’m finding it difficult to just relax & not let it bother me.

  149. Maggie Says:

    Nice post Lucy!

  150. Jaz Says:

    Hello everyone! Does anyone feel off balance and dizzy all the time? Well I do when I’m laying down or sitting down. I can feel my heart pulse like on my hands when I’m holding something and feel it my throat. when I’m sitting down Indian style I can feel my pulse moving me. I’m feel tense all the time and dizzy and I’m always thinking what If my bp is up or what if my heart fails. ;( I’m tired of it all!! I wanna be back to my old me from 15 months ago. I mean I feel much better than a yr ago. If only those few symptoms would go away I would feel 98% good. What should I do?

  151. emmae Says:

    Hi Jaz,
    I had an unbalanced feeling for a long time and I also thought …”if only this would go I would feel so much better”. But guess what, it has gone, only to be replaced by other stuff! I still sometimes get it now, especially at night when I’m tired or if I get up in the night when my little boy is crying out! I also get the feeling as if my body is pulsing up and down and forward and back when I’m sitting or lying. I have had this for a long time and I know it is just adrenaline. If I am doing some relaxation, for example, and it starts happening I just try to bring my attention to other areas of my body and just let it be. I hope this helps in you feeling less alone with these particular symptoms. My mum suffered with anxiety in the past and sometimes, we compare things we’ve had in a very humorous way and just end up laughing our heads off at how many different ways anxiety can manifest in the mind and body. It’s not always easy to laugh in this way, especially when your feeling fed up. Allow yourself to feel fed up for now, that’s ok. But how great that you are feeling much better then a year ago. Welldone you.

  152. Shashank Says:

    Hello everyone..I have a few questions in my mind related to anxiety
    1.Can anybody who has recovered explain what is meant by deep thinking of one’s feelings,thoughts and symptoms..Is it anyway related to DP..??
    2.Paul said(what I remember)that don’t push or escape your feelings or fears,invite them indeed for they are just fears nothing else..but then my question is by embracing fears aren’t we developing a bad or negative habit of constantly inviting fears.I means when will we be able to think a good emotion or a feeling..for example if we are constantly feeling bAd and then accepting that we are feeling bad or anxious will in what way help..I think I have confused myself by not properly understanding what Paul said..Please Paul or anybody who has recovered help me.
    Can Mark R,Candie,Doreen,Elaine or anybody help me out with acceptance point…Paul said”Acceptance is whatever attitude and Not a need to remind yourself to accept how you feel as again it then becomes battle by saying to DO something..”And this is where I get confused..I want to just progress and the first step is understanding anxiety which I have..but the second is acceptance which I have instead of cnfusing myself further I want help from you guys..please..I am literally feeling very down and low right now…Its better to get help rather than confusing yourself further..

  153. Lucy Says:

    Hi Jaz – I have felt my pulse in all sorts of places I never knew I could. Thought it’d always just be my neck or chest, but I can feel it in my tummy or like you say, hands, head, anywhere. Sometimes I’m even watching my t-shirt to see if my heart is moving it! I am sure we just have to treat it like any other symptom by having the same attitude to it, and as Emmae says, I have seen off certain symptoms only to be greeted with new ones which can be just as upsetting/frightening. Have faith in the fact that you are better than you were, and that a little longer on the journey will see more improvement :) continue as you are, you have obviously had the right attitude so far x

  154. Mikestevens Says:

    Reposting this because it looks like it might have been lost:

    Thanks everyone for the encouragement!! Thank you Joe Pro. You’ve given me much hope. I’m curious if anyone might be able to offer an explanation for what’s going on: I’ll close my eyes to fall asleep, my mind starts to wander off, then I’ll have thoughts that I’m not consciously willing (like I’m about to go to sleep), and then the next thing I know is that I’m alert and awake again. It’s like I got right to the edge of falling into sleep and then my mind becomes alert. This will happen a few times in a row. It’s frustrating, it usually boosts my fear and anxiety back up. But I’m working on being accepting of it and at peace with it. Just curious if anyone else ever felt this and if anyone might be able to explain what’s happening.

  155. Bryan Says:


    Just wondering if you’ve seen some relief? I have a bit but still choppy.
    Trying not to watch myself though admittedly finding myself doing a lot of “refresher course” homework reading the success stories here and reading advice from those who have recovered.

    This relapse seems to want to lift. Our bodies/minds are trying to get there all the time. That’s so true what Paul says.

  156. Bryan Says:

    Also, I know Paul doesn’t answer questions around here much anymore. (Understandably.) But, I wondered if those who have practiced Paul’s method for a while might have an insight here. Please bear with me as this is kind of a nuanced point…


    So, let’s use today as an example. I woke up with morning panic, right out of sleep in “survival mode” where it’s hard just to keep my head above water and do my tasks. It’s high level anxiety/panic chemistry. I know what it is, I’ve had it for a few years and it’s not always this bad.

    But, my question revolves around HOW to “allow” the symptoms and thoughts to be there. So, what I mean is… I’m very familiar with Claire Weekes’ methods, much like Paul’s. I know it’s not dangerous and I know acceptance is the key.

    But, the thoughts that keep coming up are the usual suspects… “maybe I’ll never get better, maybe this is just me, maybe there’s a physical mechanism keeping my brain in panic,’ etc. I know these are common. But I was just thinking this morning… you know, I can “allow” these thoughts to be there, but isn’t that to an extent somewhat allowing our brains to stay in a place of worry and concern?
    Now… I KNOW we can’t PUSH them away. I get that too.

    But, part of me thinks I need to kind of redirect my thoughts back to my tasks, or onto other things. If not, it’s like I’m just “allowing” myself to ruminate. I understand that we’re trying to take the fear out of the condition. But, to do that… don’t we need to actively take SOME slight action when the thoughts arise?

    Am I making sense? I know it’s a subtle point.

    So… symptoms crank up and fear-thoughts follow…do I allow them to just sit… or is there a semi-active role we play in gently redirecting our thoughts back onto our tasks and using normal activities as distraction.

    Hope the question makes sense. I know it sounds like splitting hairs, but I have a feeling it’s an important question for me and possibly others. Thanks for any input!

  157. Nicole Says:

    I get what you are asking Bryan.

    For me in the very early days of recovery it’s a case of no thought being off limits as you can’t control what you think. A thought for me might be “I hate this so much” or “what if one day I completely lose the plot?”. Well instead of tensing against the thought or trying to analyse or rationalize it i am just letting it be there. Adding no, as Claire weekes would say, second fear. Without adding second fear to any thoughts, feelings or sensations she said full recovery is inevitable. What an amazing statement and one that echoes pauls advice.

    At the end of the day, Elaine said fight nothing and that is just what I am doing!

  158. Grace Says:

    There’s acknowledgement in the moment that we’re feeling horrible and that there is fear around our sensations/thoughts but then we need to redirect by diverting our mind onto something else and that would be getting back to doing the tasks or other activities and daily routines – even if it feels crappy and we’d rather not. I think that’s key. I think that’s what Paul meant as well. If you just sit there and tell yourself these are just thoughts, just sensations over and over again WITHOUT BEING ACTIVE, you’ll become more anxious. Anxiety is a BEHAVIOURAL condition so in order to lessen our anxiety level, we have to ACT our way out of it. Anxiety is a bad habit that needs to be broken. It’s impossible through thought to do that. Acceptance is an active process. Hope this helps. Find something you love to do and keep at it. Our minds need something new and exciting to focus on so that anxiety isn’t the first thing we think of in the morning or the last thing we think of at night. All the best.

  159. Bryan Says:

    Thanks Nicole. I hear you. I’m all in favor of losing the fight and I think I’m doing that. Sometimes I wonder, though. I wonder what not fighting looks like. Sometimes I feel like trying to exist with the fears without them upsetting me is the answer… but then I wonder if that’s almost a challenge. Other times I feel like gently redirecting to other activities/thoughts is the way, but is that “avoiding?”

    It’s a fine line, and I’m still trying to figure out exactly where to land, even after a couple years of believing in this approach.

  160. Grace Says:

    HI Bryan,
    Did you read my post above?
    It’s not avoiding…By redirecting, you’re also accepting the fact that you’re feeling bad but going about your business anyway. That’s living!

  161. Nicole Says:

    Yes Bryan it’s a fine line and a personal one. Some things work better than others for different people. I find it hard to redirect my thoughts deliberately so I don’t. But what I do is just do what I need and want to do even if it feels awful.

    Not fighting for me feels like still having the horrid symptoms, still feeling awful at times but not questioning or worrying or trying to work it all out and THAT feels great even when you feel bad! Feel like I’m rambling but hope it makes sense. It also feels like for once I’m free x

  162. Nicole Says:

    Well said grace!

  163. Mikestevens Says:

    Sorry for bringing this up again, but has anyone experienced what I posted earlier today? Thank you

  164. Lucy Says:

    Bryan I you’re right, others want to know too.. I think ultimately acceptance is the same, but slightly different for us all. Once you find YOUR way of being comfortable with it, you will know. For me I can’t be “comfortable” as the physical sensations are so damn uncomfortable, but I just go on regardless and Nicole is right about the second fear. The feeling in my stomach is unbearable at times, but I do not add to it but questioning why or how, or think “if I do this or that, it’ll go.” It takes practice, but today anxiety has just been in flashes here and there rather than constant. When it’s popped into my mind, it’s left almost as quickly.

    Grace thanks so much for the emphasis on it being behavioural, so many people put it down to “mental health” and although it kind of is, that term always makes me feel like it’s so much worse than it is! People assume it means you have those kind of problems, when we really don’t and it is a fully recoverable condition!

  165. Bryan Says:

    Grace… your post slipped in as I was writing mine, reading now… thank you!!

  166. Bryan Says:


    I’ll bet you everyone who’s ever posted on this board has experienced that.
    Sleep-related problems are almost always the first sign of overstimulation.
    Being “jerked” out of a half-sleep has a name… something like hypnogogic wakings? I cant’ recall, but it’s harmless. I’ve had that, I’ve had it where I am awake but can’t open my eyes for a minute. (Freaked me out the first time!) It’s a type of sleep paralysis which is not harmful. Night terrors, insomnia, it’s all normal for elevated stress/anxiety. I’d say in order of “popularity”…
    1. DP/Dizziness
    2. Muscle aches/twitching
    3. Sleep issues
    Those are the top issues experienced in nervous illness. I personally have much more problem with sustained panic and high adrenaline anxiety. But, I guess this affects us all differently.

    Suffice to say, what you described is normal, and I’d bet even people WITHOUT anxiety see a good deal of that. Absolutely nothing to be concerned about.

  167. Bryan Says:


    You’re not rambling. I love hearing how people fine-tune their approach to make it work. Both you and Grace gave awesome examples. I think for me, “not trying to work it all out” is easy when my symptoms are at 7-8 out of 10. But when they hit 9/10…. it’s harder and I’m not sure why. I know it’s not dangerous, and yet my mind seems to cling to the idea that I need to keep an eye on it, monitor it or figure it out when it’s at the ultra-high end. But I agree… if I could lose the notion that there’s any need to tend to it, I’d only be dealing with physical suffering which I could handle.

    I’ve seen it work, I’ve made progress using a form of this technique for over a year.
    But, I think I’m in a relapse and potentially not all the way recovered because maybe I’m not managing myself efficiently at these peak times. It’s a work in progress and I very much appreciate the detailed insight. Because for a lot of us… saying “just let the thoughts be there”… is a little trickier than it sounds, because that needs a definition for us.


  168. Mikestevens Says:

    Thank you so much, Bryan!!

  169. Bryan Says:


    Just for curiosity’s sake… how long have you been in an anxiety state overall… and how long working with these methods?

    I’m about 3 years into the condition, about 15 months now working on a CBT-type/acceptance approach. Have seen choppy but notable improvement over the past year. Though, been set back significantly in the past month so I look forward to getting back to that better baseline I had achieved. Of course, I’m trying not to look TOO forward to it, as that defeats the purpose of acceptance, right? :)

  170. Mark R Says:

    Hi Bryan,

    I don’t like the word relapse as that implies that we are back where we started, much prefer the word setback. I’m in the same boat as you really, the water is still a bit ‘choppy’. I haven’t had a bad day for a while but still feel a bit edgy and the DP is dead high at the moment. I’ve not let it stop me from doing anything though, still been to work, still go for meals, still play golf etc.
    I think setbacks are like spoilt children, it will do everything in its power to get what it wants, stamps it feet and get in your way but you just have to hold firm and carry on.

    I’ve been reading a lot about acceptance this last month, how Buddhists view it and Eckhart Tolle. What I want to know is why my anxiety sticks around for a couple of years at a time. What I gained from this was the main reason was that it is resistance. Our minds have evolved to ‘fix’ pain, which includes negative emotional feelings. This is a bit of a design fault, as the mind volunteers for a job it can’t do. It tries to find the source of the problem and get rid of it, without knowing that it is the source of the problem itself. If you think of this in Paul’s teachings if we accept the thoughts, feelings etc we must get well……….ie not feeding the mind and trying to fix the problem. When I say resistance I mean my refusal to feel these feelings, my mind tries to fix them, push them away etc.
    I read that Nicole has just let herself feel bad, this is what I have been doing over the last week and I feel better for it. As soon as I feel myself struggling, I just think ‘no resistance, let it come’ and I find myself in a calmer place.

    I’ll leave you with a quote that has helped me over this last month……..

    Accept – then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life. Eckhart Tolle.

  171. Grace Says:

    LUCY – Hi! When I understood anxiety is just a bunch of sensations and thoughts, it took some of the fear away. I mean, that’s ALL anxiety really is. Then when I realized it’s a habit like any other habit – well, wow! it means I have control over this and it starts with NOT REACTING. It means that I ‘accept’ this is what’s happening even though it feels awful and go about my daily life. We are in a unique position compared to others who have never experienced this. We become stronger and when we get to the other side, oh my gosh, we experience a kind of happiness and freedom some people just won’t. Period. We all know how hard it is to break a bad habit or make new positive ones – a smoker who wants to quit, wanting to lose weight, learning to play an instrument, learning a new craft, etc. Our way out of anxiety is to LIVE and to become engaged in activities we enjoy. That way, we create new habits. Anxiety goes away without having to fight it because that doesn’t work, as we all know. And we have to remember – ANXIETY COMES FIRST, then the persistent and disturbing thoughts and sensations. Our thoughts don’t produce anxiety – our reaction to them does. When the anxiety goes, so does everything else.

    MIKESTEVENS – I responded to you in an earlier post, but you may have missed it. I’ve been through what you’re going through right now. I used to sleep like a baby. After anxiety, well…it was just horrible. Hard to sleep…didn’t sleep for weeks…maybe a couple of hours or so a night. First thing you have to do is STOP PRESSURING YOURSELF TO SLEEP. Don’t make it a chore to go to sleep, like it’s some contest you have to win. Because you want to sleep, you won’t because you’re anxious already. You’re focused too much on your anxiety. Get involved with something during the day – rearrange your room, do something you love, anything to get your mind off of yourself. You’ll see that you start to forget you even have anxiety. The point is to feel tired at the end of the day so that when you hit your head on the pillow, you’re ready to doze off. Your body is on red alert. Think of your anxiety as something that is trying to protect you from harm and it’s getting mixed signals right now – that’s all. You want to sleep but your mind thinks you’re in trouble so as soon as you’re about to doze off, your body jolts you up. Your mind needs new information – non anxious information. Focus on other things, not through thought alone, but through DOING – a change in behavior is key to getting rid of anxiety. So, if it’s 3am and you’re frustrated about not being able to sleep, get up, watch tv, make some tea and don’t look at the clock! It will get better. Some days will be better than others. Then you might feel you’re going backwards after a good spell but just hang on. IT WILL GET BETTER.

    BRYAN – I’ve been in this anxiety state for eight months – had my first PA last January. I’ve gone through phases over the years of anxiety as a child/teen but didn’t know that’s what it was. Never got help for it and then over time, just went away. I believe it went away, based on my understanding of material, because I was busy doing other things (going to school, studying, playing, learning new things, etc.) This time around and because I’d never experienced a PA before, just felt different because I felt like I was being tested in a whole new way and was dealing with so much more. I mean this has been a trying experience, to say the least. Our way out of anxiety is through behavior. I believe it and I see that it works! There are times throughout the day when I’m involved with other things, and I’ve forgotten I have anxiety – actually, the anxiety doesn’t exist during those moments. It means my mind and body are getting a break from me getting in the way all the time. That’s how our body will heal, by processing new information, information that has nothing to do with anxiety. Hope this helps.

  172. Tracy Says:

    Nicole, you are doing great and I think you have nailed it with the right attitude. Have you been able to do all this without meds? I have been on this curvy road for a few years myself and have tried everything..acceptance is a.tricky one and your posts are encouraging me to just “be”.
    Keep it up,

  173. Lucy Says:

    Bryan, I had my first panic attack in January, same as Grace and I spiralled very quickly into high anxiety after that because I had no clue what had hit me, although also like Grace looking back I definitely had periods of anxiety from childhood. Probably from about 7 but never knew through those times what it was. I can also see looking back that those stages passed so quickly because I didn’t worry about it, the difference was this time I completely turned inwards and focused on myself 24/7, became anxious about being anxious.. We all know the drill! I found Paul’s website about 3 (very intense) months in, I suppose I was lucky I found in sooner rather than later but it is surprising how quick anxious habits and thoughts can become ingrained in you! But I’d like to believe no matter what the time frame, anyone can recover when they unmask anxiety for what it truly is! I have been to an anxiety work shop and this past Monday the lady who I see recommended putting me forward for one on one CBT. Initially I worried that, okay, I must be kind of bad for her to say this.. But I’m just going to view it as the start of a positive change for me! I had a really good period where the anxiety was there, but it felt amazing compared to how strong it had been, then fell into a set back a month or so ago. We just have to trust that they prove to us how capable we really are when we thought we really weren’t and that recovery comes at it’s own rate. This blog benefits me just as much as the book due to the recovery stories and other people who actually KNOW these feelings and thoughts we are talking about. The art of accepting can still be a sticky one when you’re in the thick of it but I know there is progress, so that’s all that matters right?

    Grace – I could not agree with you anymore. I honestly believe that life after this will be better than before, I’ve read that statement and thought “how can that be possible?” But I really believe that’s how it will go. I let anxiety rip every single thing I ever enjoyed or loved away from me, so the gradual return of all those things will therefore make them more valuable to me in the end. You are totally right that it’s just feelings and sensations, horrid ones at times but still, that’s all they are. I really wish more doctors recommended this approach or at least made people aware. Your post was spot on :)

    Mark R – I facebooked you during the time I was completely unable to post on here for some odd reason, because you were the only person on the Facebook group I seemed to recognise. I’m glad you’re still out there doing what you need to do, you’re definitely facing things the right way and good quote too!

  174. Mikestevens Says:

    Thank you very much for the reply, Grace!! I’ve been doing a bit better with the acceptance. A wave of panic and dread came over me two nights ago and I just said “so be it” and accepted it as well as the fact that I probably won’t sleep much that night. And that wave ended almost immediately. But the little boosts from sleep as soon as I dose off have been a bit more frustrating. Manageable, but frustrating. Thank you for taking the time to reply!!

  175. Grace Says:

    Hey Mikestevens,
    Definitely try listening to music, make some tea, watch a movie. It’s hard not to focus on sensations and thoughts when they’re right there! They take up the whole room, don’t they? At least, that’s what it feels like. It’s okay. Anxiety is supposed to feel horrible and that’s all they are, just horrible little sensations/thoughts that are powerless and produced by an anxious mind and body. Try not to feed them with more fear. You have a fear come up – feel it in the moment (acceptance) and then focus on what you were doing (acceptance) and if you weren’t doing anything in particular, find something to do. You can’t really do that lying in bed because it’s just you and your habit and since the habit is strong, you won’t be able to change anything by lying there or hoping for sleep. You’ll get sucked into the anxiety loop because again, anxiety is a habit. You’re working with anxiety related insomnia. So, just know that your sleeplessness is a symptom of your anxiety. When the anxiety level drops, your sleep will get better.

  176. Bryan Says:

    Hey Mark,

    I hear you, though to me “relapse” implies you’re simply re-covering territory you’ve been over. (Which I clearly am.) Setback to me implies a few days or a week, or a few symptom flares. I’ve been deeper in symptoms this past month than I have in possibly 18 months. So, it’s more than just a bump.

    That said, they are just words. I’m fairly sure that Paul would suggest we don’t let EITHER word scare us. Six of one, half-dozen of the other.

    But no matter which word you choose, I personally don’t see the implication of “being back at the beginning”… at least not the way I use it.

  177. Bryan Says:

    And thanks for all of your responses as to your mental strategies. Very interesting and I find they are similar to mine, but I’m certainly learning more and more reading your posts. I agree with Lucy, this board is an excellent addendum to the book, almost better in ways because you get to read REAL people who are recovering… not just throwing meds at the problem or sitting around whining about symptoms all day. (Though we are all allowed to whine now and again. :)

    Hope everyone has a great weekend!

  178. rachh Says:

    Morning all..
    How os everyone doing?
    I feel so down, i went to bed crying and have woken up crying.. I dont think its the anxiety so much now its the depeession. I juat have no energy or want to do anything anymore :( im fed up with the whole saga.. Im fed up of thinking about my boyfriend, being round my family – i keep having a go at everyone and im so negative all the time.
    Dont think it helps when everyone else seems so happy and is trying so hard to cheer me up.
    Can someone give me a pick me up to just get on with it because im so tired and dont feel i have the energy to move on from it.

  179. Sally Says:

    We all have a condition we hate but at the end of the day we have to help ourselves and I am sorry to say this but you are in self pity mode and that just feeds it all.Believe me I have had this condition most of my adult life and self pity and beating ourselves up because we cant make it go away is one of the worst things for making it all so intense.Say to yourself as I have done many times I HAVE A LIFE we are not disabled physically so we can still do all the things other folk do So chin up keep practicing acceptance and as Claire Weekes says in her books keep on trucking keep moving forward.And I say dont wallow in the past it is not helpful.Good Luck Sally

  180. Lucy Says:

    Rachh I had a real tough few days where I was just consumed with the “this is me forever” thoughts, and then I realised I was just feeling sorry for myself. It is very hard not to at times but I also realised it certainly wasnt helping. Someone mentioned before about giving up, but when you think about it what does giving up actually entail? We have no choice but to go on and you will have days better than this in future. We all know it can be a very up and down affair, just try to take it as it comes. I had a full 10mins when I woke up this morning where anxiety didnt even register, when I remembered it was sort of like it was saying “hey, don’t forget about me!” But we do. Whether its today or tomorrow if we emerse ourselves in every day life and the tasks that need to doing, it fades. You won’t feel this way always!x

  181. Nicole Says:

    Hi all,

    Some great posts!

    Thanks for everyones kind comments.

    Tracy, thanks, no I don’t take anything at all, sometimes I wish I did but, so many people I know are on anti depressants etc, but I just feel inside that it’s not for me.

    Bryan, I’ve been suffering for just over 2 years, bought pauls book about 2 years ago and it’s only in the last few weeks that I have finally understood his message. I don’t think I was ready to give up fighting before now, just couldn’t release the hold I had on myself. Early days, but seeing small improvements all the time.

    Mikestevens, hope you are sleeping better, I woke in the night and felt like I was lying on an electric drill. Did I worry? No, I laughed at what anxiety can do to your body, turned over and went back to sleep. V hard to get to this point but it can be done.

    MarkR, it’s amazing how just letting things happen can help, just loosens the grip even slightly and starts retraining our stubborn brains. Each time I let go and don’t resist I imagine a new pathway/memory being created which will one day overtake the old habits.

    Lots of other great posts, graces emphasis on living your way through anxiety is great, however bad we feel we still have the power to live and do what we want even if we feel we don’t.

    Great weekend to all.

  182. emmae Says:

    Hi everyone, just reading through the above posts from the last few days. Bryan … just to go back over a few things you were mentioning about whether to re-direct thoughts etc. I can really relate to the high adrenaline anxiety where thoughts are just firing out automatically about never getting better, be like this forever, I wish I was someone else, what’s the point etc. I spent many many many months, if not years trying to re-direct, re-direct but this seemed to just be adding tension and resistance. I could actually feel the resistance but didn’t know what else to do. I just didn’t really know what acceptance was or felt like. However coming on this blog and lots of therapy (!) I began to understand that I was still fighting fighting fighting and by re-directing my attention away constantly was cranking everything up. A few things that helped me get to the point where it clicked was a post from Candie on here who said something like when you are at your lowest ebb and feel like no longer fighting and you just let your mind and body do what it likes because you have had enough you suddenly feel a little peace. Nicole also said something a few days ago along similar lines that she was just letting everything be just as it was – no “trying” to focus on something else. So, when I woke up on Tuesday morning and felt so bad I didn’t know how I was going to get through the day with my son, with all those thoughts you mentions, anxiety sky rocketing, I just did NOTHING. I let myself have it all. ALL OF IT. No re-directing. Still doing things but with all of it there. I felt like it was going to eat me up and I was going to fall down this hole, never to re-appear! I know that sounds really dramatic but demonstrates how much I was trying to control and resist it. I couldn’t even be on my own as I didn’t know how to distract myself from it all and didn’t want to hear what my mind was churning over and over. And, the results of loosening my grip is that, yes I still feel anxious but the level has definitely come down a notch. My mind is wandering all over the place and the attention is on me most of the time but I am not controlling it so there are many moments when I haven’t even thought about anxiety. Yeah! I feel more at peace with myself than I have done in a few years. When I have been thinking about it and then suddenly come back in to the present I just acknowledge that. No judgements. I hope this helps a little Bryan. In a nutshell, I suppose what I’m saying has worked for me is letting all my thoughts be there, no re-directing but doing things alongside this and naturally my mind has engaged. I haven’t needed to do that myself. Our natural states are to be in the present. However anxiety takes us away from that. It takes a long time for our brains to de-condition and whilst that is happening acceptance and kindness are invaluable. I hope you all have a good weekend. I’m cooking dinner for my parents and really looking forward to it. xx

  183. Mark R Says:

    Hi Bryan,

    Either way they are just words, but amount to the same thing. I have to disagree with the fact it is more than a bump/setback etc. It is exactly that although it feels worse, setbacks can last for a while and the symptoms can be as acute as the beginning. Not splitting heirs just don’t want you to think you are worse than you are!

    I like analogies and see setbacks like this:

    Suffering an anxiety disorder is like being in the middle of the sea in a rowing boat. At the start the storm is violent and you are helpless, flapping around not knowing how to survive, thinking you will drown at any moment. After a while though you begin to steady it (with acceptance) and learn to row through the storm. You know by intuition that you are going in the right direction and even start to see a bit of sunlight through the clouds and a feint glimpse of the shore. You get waves come but learn to ride them (ups and downs) and you make progress towards your destination.
    Then out of nowhere the storm comes again, almost as heavy as the first days (setback). You begin panicking, worrying, you’ve forgotten how to row the boat, where has this storm come from? I thought it had gone!! After a short while you remember how to row through the storm (acceptance returns) and you start to see glimpses of sunlight again and continue towards the shore. The storm is then forgotten about.


    I don’t remember seeing a message to be honest. If anyone wants to add me then please feel free.

    My name is Mark Riley, if you look under AnxietyNoMore I have posted a few times.

  184. rachh Says:

    Thankyou so much for your encouragement guys! I had a pretty gd day today randomly. Didnt stay in googling symptoms and anxiety tips.
    Went to see a friend who has just had a baby. Did not want to go but forced myself into the car with my nail enhancement stuff and went all the way to wolverhampton and did her nails. Whilat i was there felt a bit awkward but as soon as my mind moved onto other things it gave me some peace. Its like my mind saying ahhhh thanku. Not feeling anxious but practising letting my thoughts be tonight whilst im calm until the storm begins again in the morning.

  185. Mikestevens Says:

    Does anyone get this feeling? One moment you’re feeling good and confident.. The next you’re struggling with doubt and fear over whether the object of your anxiety will ever subside?

  186. Bryan Says:


    Also 100% normal. I’ve had it multiple times this morning. lol!
    That’s one of those that you have to chalk up to anxiety and know that the real you is the person you’ve been your whole life. The anxiety is transient, and hence doesn’t deserve your attention.

  187. Bryan Says:

    Thanks for the posts, Mark and Emmae…. both great reading!

  188. Bryan Says:

    Nicole said…

    Bryan, I’ve been suffering for just over 2 years, bought pauls book about 2 years ago and it’s only in the last few weeks that I have finally understood his message. I don’t think I was ready to give up fighting before now, just couldn’t release the hold I had on myself. Early days, but seeing small improvements all the time.

    Very encouraging and I can relate to this. I’ve been trying to implement acceptance for a long time, but I’m also just starting to realize that my understanding of what Weekes/Paul teach may have not been fully sinking in. I’ve been trying to get rid of this USING acceptance. I know, subtle point… but I think it may have been making a difference for me, negatively. Thanks again for the input.

  189. elaine Says:

    thats the way rachh well done.

  190. elaine Says:

    The best way to recover is do nothing. No googling , no visiting here , no nothing live your life as though you dont have anxiety . It will fade. stop fearing it your feeding it with your fear. ANXIETY IS FEAR

  191. Mikestevens Says:

    Thanks Elaine.

  192. Rachel T Says:

    Elaine, your comments are wonderful. I now come on here and scroll to see if you’ve written.

    Great to see Nicole doing so well, very encouraging. It’s amazing that there are a few of us on here who have all realised we were misdefining acceptance, it doesn’t feel comforting, it makes you stronger which then makes you feel better! This too has been a huge help.

    I have a question. During your recovery if you felt venerable for other reasons and your anxiety crept up how did you implement your acceptance? I find i almost forget and begin the despair ( oh no) and the struggle ( I can’t get shakey and dr I have to go blah blah) when i stop and realise accept accept its too late, I already feel poop and I’ve almost awkoken the anxiety again for a while. Will my instinct just change in time? Also will this initial feeling of dread before I switch on acceptance ever truly go? I want to lose memory of the past soon and settle into my new way of living with this until it eases to nothing but that dread feeling will remund me.

    Thanks all

  193. elaine Says:

    Rachel , when despair come its only sensations and fear what is causing it, let it be there dont fight accept the despair and carry on as normal but dont try and distract thats fighting. Its simple ACCEPT AND FLOAT THROUGH YOUR DAY.

  194. Lucy Says:

    Elaine I have always wondered what the “floating” is, exactly? Thanks

  195. elaine Says:

    Lucy its just getting on with your day slowly no rushing around and no distracting on purpose. Do the things you did before anxiety

  196. Tiara Says:

    Hi guys.

    I just have a question. Has anybody ever experienced something like this? It feels as if your brain sorta blanks out for a second? I’m not sure if that is your body fainting and you catch yourself or my mind paused? I’m confused. I can’t really distinguish if I catch myself about faint (never fainted) or that is caused by tension on my neck. I can’t really describe it.


  197. Lucy Says:

    Thanks Elaine, I do everything even though I feel like it’s taken so much from me. I know I need to stop fighting, just going through a rough patch where Ive forgotten how to stop the struggle

  198. Charlotte Says:


    I’ve not posted for a while as had a really good phase of accepting/forgetting and consequently not feeling anxious. However now havin another setback, probably triggered by a number of things, which are always the same and always involve me worrying about what may happen in the future, then me getting anxiety symptoms, getting scared of the anxiety symptoms and ending up back in the anxiety cycle again.

    Anyone else recognise the above ?

    My triggers are always worrying about my son who is 5 . He often cries when I leave him at school, but stops within seconds of my leaving and is subsequently very happy in school ! But I chose to worry what if he is unhappy, won’t go to school, won’t get an education etc. I can see how silly it is when I write it down, he is only 5 !! But still doesn’t help in the moment.

    My job is also uncertain as we face being outsourced or moved, or maybe neither but the company won’t say so we have uncertainty for a while, which does not sit well with me and my anxiety !!

    So my intrusive thoughts are back, about what if I get depression, what if this is the worst ever anxiety episode etc, what if I go off work again etc. also feeling teary and anxious, and hate feeling like this as I don’t want my children to be aware.

    Anyway, post over suppose better get on with doing some ironing !

  199. Lui Says:

    Hey there. I am losing hope. I had anxiety all my life. I always try to overcome it, try to improve my social skills, try to uphold conversations, try to figure out who I am. I read several books about the topic but still I am getting more and more agressive. It’s horrible. I don’t know what to do anymore. Any advise?

  200. elaine Says:

    just read the book. nothing else to say. please take note of what paul is saying

  201. Mark R Says:

    Hi Charlotte,

    Quite a few of us have experienced this over the last month or so, just read mine, Lucy’s, Bryan’s, Nicole’s posts on here.

    It’s completely normal too, setback is all part of recovery although it feels tragic at times! You are still recovering in the background. Everything you have mentioned I have experienced this last month after months and months of ‘not caring’. It’s difficult when the front line anxiety comes back and has you questioning but its important to note it will pass no matter how bad it feels now.


  202. Charlotte Says:

    Hi mark,

    Yes I completely agree with you but it’s soooo annoying it keeps coming back ! I’ve managed an ok evening in the end, my main problem that I know I always repeat is intrusive thoughts and the incessant mind chatter, it literally does my head in !!!

    Just trying to watch downtown to relax ! Lol !

  203. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    Blog is dead quiet today. I’ve been feeling dead crap all weekend but still managed to play pool, golf, visit a friend, go to the zoo, a castle and for sunday lunch.

    Even when anxiety tried to stop me I just said to myself….’go on make me feel bad, as bad as you can’ and usually the opposite happens……….the tension breaks and I feel a little free. Just proves the fact that this state is kept in place with our reluctance to feel it.

    Just to leave with something from Claire Weekes……

    Have the courage to think ‘Even if I have to go through the ultimate in suffering let it come.
    Invite the ultimate. When you do the moment will melt.’

    How you doing Bryan?


  204. rachh Says:

    Hi everyone..
    Just been reading through the very first posts from 2007 – 2008 and found lots of useful information.
    Glad i read some of it especially one relating to trying to find an outside issue that has caused the anxiety..
    Anyway think we could do with some positivity.. Have been practising not ruminating this weekend and feel slightly more positive to be fair..
    After reading one of pauls older blogs he suggested posting at least one thing however small it my be that is positive in our lives..
    Although i have felt anxious as usual..
    One thing i have done that is positive this weekend is.. I went to bingo tonight and although i had very silly thoughts about not remembering the numbers that are being called or maybe i have blobbed the ones that hadnt actually been called i won £28 woop! Lol sad i know but i liked bingo before anxiety so thought i would do something i used to enjoy..
    Lets hear some more little positives..

  205. elaine Says:

    rach well done , you are doing so well , proud of you.

  206. elaine Says:

    mark well said

  207. Marco Says:

    Hey everyone. Just having one particular thought that I’m constantly struggling with. It’s the idea that life is a dream. It’ll happen at random moments, I’ll just think about it & then it floods my mind. It scares me. I worry that I’m going to soon believe that life is a dream & go mad. It feels SO real when it comes into my head. Anyone relate to this particular thought? Or something similar? Thanks.

  208. Bryan Says:

    Thanks for asking Mark! Glad you had a productive weekend and got out!

    My last few days have been up and down. Struggling today but Fri and Sat showed promise. Trying not to monitor too heavily but I’m still in a setback.
    I can feel myself almost rising out at times but then I get dragged back. Usually this hasn’t lasted as long this past year of recovery. But, it is what it is and my job is to accept and know I can get back to upward progress like before and even better.

    Hope things settle out for you. Keep us updated and keep floating!

  209. Jaz Says:

    Thanks Lucy and Emmae :) for your feedback it helps a lot. Thank you again

  210. Charlotte Says:

    Hi all,

    Am having a rough time , feel so anxious and scared this morning, and I have my daughter to look after today, plus pick my son from school etc.

    Am feeling so scared as I even take meds and changed a few months ago to c if it would help. It seemed to be as I was doing so well, I had returned to work, and just met with occ health to discuss how much better I felt and agreed to return on normal hours !!

    My mind is racing with awful thoughts and I keep crying I am never going to get better,

    I know I’m in feel sorry for myself mode but am just so scared


  211. rachh Says:

    Just wanted to ask a question..
    I would say i am a chronic worrier and i developed anxiety when i was younger because i couldnt prove my boyfriend loved me so i plgued him day after day do u still love me.. This was when i was 14.
    Could someone tell me how i can control the worrying (not the subject). Can we choose to ignore it, can we condition ourselves not to worry?

  212. Charlotte Says:

    Hi Rachh,

    I’m exactly the same, I can worry about anything, I’m especially good at worrying about worrying !!

    I think what u learn is to initially recognise what you do, then learn to manage it and then I hope we will see that worrying is pointless !!!

    Good news on your bingo win by the way !

  213. rachh Says:

    Im such a deep thinker its a nightmare.
    Made myself a list of things to do today so i dont sit in going over the same old questions..
    Thanku lucy lol!
    I like bingo y am i worrying about being a gambling addict arghh!
    Dont engage with the thought right?

  214. Charlotte Says:

    Hi Rachh

    I love shopping and order loads of stuff online. I worry I got bipolar as I Order so much stuff I think I must be in a manic phase !

    Got to laugh

  215. emmae Says:

    Hi everyone, Charlotte and Rachh – I too worry and have done since I can remember. It’s mainly focussed on myself and my health. When I start to worry about other things I am much better at allowing it and seeing the worry as thoughts and saying “it is as it is”. However when it’s about me and my health, that’s what I find really difficult. This is a really entrenched habit of mine, which I am trying to unravel. It’s like any health issue that I get is a matter of life and death when these are all things that everyone else experiences but without anxiety they have less of an impact perhaps. I’m not talking life changing illnesses but things like colds, viruses, women’s things! This next bit is probably more relevant to the women on here (sorry to the guys!) – but I have noticed in the last 2 years when my anxiety has been at it’s highest I have experienced lots of UTIs, thrush and problems with periods, mainly irregular cycles and I am sure it is all stress / anxiety related. This has increased my anxiety because it is all health related stuff and then the cycle continues. So, I am working on even having the “what will be will be” attitude towards my health as I cannot control this. Like anxiety, my body will do what it does and apart from influencing it via food, exercise etc there is nothing else I can do. I know it sounds obvious but anxiety makes you always think worst case scenario so the smallest of things get completely blown out of proportion or prevents you from seeing the bigger picture. Well, this certainly happens for me anyway. It can become all consuming and has a real impact on living life now. Keep it up all … we can do it xx

  216. Charlotte Says:

    Hi Emma’s

    My main worry is on me and my mental health as I can’t seem to accept intrusive thoughts. Just like u I am able to better dismiss worries about issues, but any thoughts about mental health and intrusive thoughts I find so difficult to accept.

    I have always worried but after my children when I had post natal anxiety, the anxiety has found loads more things for me to worry about. It has settled on my mental health and anxiety itself if that makes sense?

  217. emmae Says:

    Hi Charlotte, yes it makes perfect sense. My little boy is 16 months and my anxiety has been much higher since having him. From an outside point of view, others reading this would suggest that we need to employ the same technique we do to other worries, even if it feels really difficult and almost impossible. I try to be really firm with myself and say “enough now” – and even if the thoughts and feelings continue I am at least moving on with my day rather than googling, checking for health problems. Over time it probably gets easier to do but it is the initial leap of faith that we need. My anxiety used to be on my anxiety and mental health but when that eased as I became less bothered it was like it scanned for everything else that I “need” to be concerned about!! I think it is that acceptance that this is what your anxiety is focussing on right now and you cannot change that – but what you can do is know it is anxiety, that it is not true (although it feels like it is at times) and it is important to be kind (which means sometimes being very firm with yourself). xx

  218. Mark R Says:


    You are making the mistakes I made a few weeks back which was to think ‘I felt great the last few months, what have I done wrong? This is never going to shift.’

    You need to see setback as part of recovery………you are still getting better in the background I promise you.


    Yeah I’m okay, still keeping on despite feeling utterly awful. I have to say though it’s getting slightly easier to do things, most of which I think is down to my efforts. The only reason it is sticking around is because we dislike it so much………..and you know what I’ve asked for more. I want more stress, more crap feelings, more DP, less concentration.

    I found this paragraph useful in the Claire Weekes book particularly for those of us who appear to be in setback at the moment:

    f you continue to accept despite setback, you will find gradually the symptoms you dislike so much will come to mean less and less. As they mean less , they grown less intense, come less often, because they depend on your dislike of them for their very existence.
    Utter acceptance removes anxiety, removes bewilderment, removes tension and so removes the symptoms of stress. Your symptoms are no more than the usual symptoms of stress, however unique they seem to you.

  219. Charlotte Says:

    Hi Emmae

    I have an 18 month girl and a 5 year old boy. I have really related to your posts, I replied to one on 23 sept but it got held up in moderation so not sure if u saw it but its there now. I used to get a repetitive thought that I wished I wasn’t me and was someone else, I saw you said exactly the same in one of your posts and I felt such relief someone else had had such a thought ! That thought still has the power to scare me today but I am working on acceptance and dismissal but I link it to my mental health ie how and why would I have such a thought, which if I meant it, I have to be me , I must be mad etc.

    Anxiety is a tricky business !!

  220. Mikestevens Says:

    To those who had sleep anxiety: would you ever lay down and think “now what am I supposed to think of to fall asleep?”… Or you’re thinking of something, you start to dose off only to notice you’re back awake again?

  221. emmae Says:

    Hi Charlotte, wow you have your work cut out then. Welldone you. It’s hard enough raising children let alone doing that living alongside anxiety. I think it’s a very common thought with anxiety. I get it quite alot but I now ignore it. My mum said she get’s it sometimes and she doesn’t suffer from anxiety anymore. So, many people probably get it but dismiss it. Anxiety is a very tricky business and manifests in so many different ways in different people. I feel in a real whirlwind today and pretty tearful. But I am just going with it and trying to get on. I am so much more accepting of my feelings and thoughts now – my main hurdle to recovery is working with my health anxiety. But I think I have had to get to the point I’m at now before being able to move any further. We all have our own journeys and own pace and it’s sounds like you have made lots of progress Charlotte and like MarkR said, this is a setback which is to be expected and accepted. Take care and keep in touch xxx

  222. Charlotte Says:

    Emmae- thanks so much !

    Mark R – u r so right, I am berating myself for having done something wrong as to why it is back again. I’m going to read c Weekes bit on setback again

  223. Mark R Says:


    Paul has some great topics on setback on the homepage too.

    I think you have to live in a glass case to avoid a setback, its very rare that you don’t have them. We all live busy lives, and its hard to avoid stress and change.

    I think my very first bout of anxiety I had none, which was awful for the first half then kept getting better and better. My last 3 bouts have been up and down with a fair few setbacks. I prefer to have the ups and downs to be honest.

  224. Shashank Says:

    To anybody out there did anybody get or gets ankle and lower back pain due to anxiety and then a thought of not being able to do any physical work due to this arose???how was this overcomed..I have started fearing it and the uncomfortable feeling of pain is awful…it also starts to increase and it terribly hurts which adds up more fear…..

  225. elaine Says:

    dont think anxiety causes ankle pain , get it checked

  226. Kyara Says:

    The past 3 days have been my most anxious days. To the point where I want to cry. I’ve read the book. I don’t know how to do ‘nothing’ when it comes to the anxiety I guess. Anxiety doesn’t stop me from going anywhere so I still do all the things I used to. I work and I have 3 kids. I let myself have a panic attack, the feelings of DP, the eye floaters, chest and back pain. I let it all be there. How do I get onto the right path? I started taking my Zoloft Saturday because I feel my body needs help getting over this. Panic attacks daily. Is this normal? I’m not reacting to my intrusive thoughts but I am battling right now with ‘Maybe I’m so worn I need to be admitted to an ER or something because I’m not getting the break that I need.’

  227. Steph Says:

    Hi everyone
    Im finding it hard to accept new symptoms and when these arise think there start of another mental illness as iv not had them before.. Like now for instance I was tired and all of a sudden I’m wide awake in bed and felt he urge like I wasn’t tired at all then thought what if it’s biolar as I’m not that scared but feel quite hyped up?? Then read a couple of posts with names of people I know on here and thougt wonder if that’s them then got wave of anxiety thinking I’m being overly paranoid and could be another condition!! Annoying me now! Other physical symptoms like vibrations in body weird and new so kinda freaking me out! Obviously if I was losing the plot I wouldn’t be reeling it off like this would I? Thus is def the last to go for me.. Is it normal to develop new symptoms?

  228. rachh Says:

    Hi kyara..
    I feel your pain..
    I dont know if you have taken anti depressants before but lots of us have and it does make you feel worse initially until your body gets used to them.
    I used them but didnt like how they made me feel so came off (from the advice of gp) however lots of people find they defo help!!
    I have had these bouts of feeling like i cant cope the last month or so and i can promise u they definately pass!!
    Be reassured that most of us on here hve felt the way you are feeling and you come out the other side feeling much better.
    Treat your thoughts of not being able to cope as just thoughts.. Let them come and dont ruminate or believe them. As hard as it is just watch them go.
    If you can speak to some friends or family and explain how you are feeling and take some comfort from them.
    If not i can promise you however much u feel u cant cope u will come out the other side because it always passes.
    This time 3 weeks ago i couldnt get out my pjs or let my mom be out of eyesight.. Shaking crying panic intrusive thoughts the lot. Today i feel i can cope.. Float through this horrible time and see it as a horrible time that will pass because they always do the less respect you give them the better.
    Anxiety is a bully but you are bigger and better than it..

  229. kelly Says:

    i have read your book recomemended by somebody who as suffered the same, it was fantastic it as made me feel not mad anymore, i can relate to depersonalation alot it occurs all the time, the only thing is i have good days and finally think yaaaaay im getting there when boom it starts again, sharp pains n my head, feel wierd, heart attack thoughts of death. then i go around n a cirlce thinking yes there is something defo up with me, how do u get out of that circle?

  230. Shashank Says:

    Elaine-and what about thelower back pain ???and ya those negative thoughts that i won’t be able to walk or run????

  231. Doreen Says:

    Shashank – you deal with them like any other negative thoughts. Of course you will be able to walk or run.

  232. rachh Says:

    I have similar thoughts shashank about not being able to smile or laugh. I think its a case of ignore and not give them respect

  233. rachh Says:

    Is it normal to find it hard to keep plodding on when your coming out of a setback. Im so tired and bored of the anxiety saga.
    (Another thought i know)
    Also is anyone else a deep thinker over analyser by nature?

  234. elaine Says:

    yes rachh

  235. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    Seems I’m never happy really to be honest. This setback has been hard for me to say the least and although its got easier, I’m still trying to rush recovery in my own head and the impatience to be well again is clearly standing in my way.
    Two weeks ago I would have loved to feel like I do now, but now I’m there I want to feel good again. ACCEPT MARK!!! ACCEPT ACCEPT ACCEPT!!

  236. rachh Says:

    Im the same mark in a major setback almost lasted 6 weeks feeling loads better but fed up with it all.. Im getting better at floating now. Its hard to learn to live with it when tou hve been through a setback and improved again..

  237. Kyara Says:

    I started reading Claire Weeks book yesterday. This has helped. I see now that anxiety is finding different ways of popping up since I am not responding to old triggers.

    Rachh, this is my second time on Zoloft. I first was on it for 11 months and stopped because I still felt the anxiety, but I now realize I was still scared of the anxiety when I came off. I started again because I felt the depression setting in and have a lot going on and felt that I needed a little push to help get me over this. I’m still trying to figure out how to truly truly accept the anxiety.

  238. Matt Says:

    For all those currently have a setback, I know I am.

    There is always calm after the storm.

    Know it will improve it always does

  239. Lucy Says:

    Rachh I’m definitely a deep thinker and over analyser by nature! I’ve taken the plunge with the decision to move, it will be so much better for myself and my daughter, better area, way better property, I’ll be pretty much neighbours with my best friend.. But STILL my brain needs to think of every outcome of why I may not like it, why it may not be the best thing, what could go wrong, etc. I’m not even sure if this is the anxiety or me because I have always been a rubbish decision maker. If I can’t pick from all the brands of toothpaste how can I pick where to live?! If anything the deep thinking/over analysing probably contributed to the anxiety coming along, in my experience, because I always feel the need to predict how something is gonna turn out. And most importantly I haven’t missed out a scenario that COULD (but 99% won’t) happen. For some of us, I think we just have to accept that being that way is a part of us, and to realise I actually can’t say how something will go, be it good or bad or whatever, especially if we never even try :)

    I am making a conscious effort that the anxiety lives with me, not I live with the anxiety, if that makes sense? I am fed up of it thinking it can decide what I do and don’t do, I am the one who decides! Today I definitely feel the setback is slowly passing, but ask me tomorrow and it could be a different answer. It’s just understanding that’s all part of recovering.

  240. Charlotte Says:

    I am still stuck in my setback at the moment. I just keep repeating really unhelpful comments like I can’t believe it is back, I am never going to get better, what if I can’t cope, what have I done wrong to deserved this, what have I done wrong for the anxiety to come back.

    How do you view setbacks/ return of feelings as part of recovery when it feels like the opposite and it just makes you want to cry ? Any help and support gratefully received !

  241. TJ Says:

    How to view a setback

    A few things first:

    Anxiety isn’t a bad thing. Anxiety is your body’s response to a stressful situation. Your reaction to that stress, whatever it may be, is what ultimately lead to your anxious condition.

    Why anxiety? Well, when you’re in that stressful situation you’re sending messages to your body that you’re not in a good place. So, your body preps you to flee or fight. Certain things like rest, relaxation, enjoying simple things are ditched by your body because of the message you’ve been sending your body.

    Repeatedly, poorly handling stress eventually sends the message to your body “uh oh…. not good. Need to have fight or flight response to go on autopilot”.

    But, we’re also thinking beings. We don’t just react to the situation. Your conscious mind notices that things are wrong: you don’t have the appetite you used to have, you’re not able to rest like you used to, you’re not chatting with friends like you once did, or whatever. So, you start fretting these issues now. Sending the message back to your body that “uh oh…. things aren’t good. Must stay on high alert.”

    Your conscious/fearful recognition of these symptoms of your elevated anxiety levels is what is perpetuating the anxious response.

    Your fight or flight response needs to be automatic. Say you’re in the forest and a wolf is coming towards you….. it’s not ideal for the body to have this be more of a reflective action. Meaning, if you needed to think “hmmm… that’s a dog. I wonder if it’s nice or mean” before you acted…. chances are you’d be a goner. So, this system works PRIOR to conscious thought about the stress at hand. It just REACTS. You perceive the stimulus/stressor (wolf) and your body goes into high gear.

    Now, that fight or flight response doesn’t know if it’s a bear, a wolf, or some more mundane first-world-problem (an annoying neighbor, rude driver)…. it kicks on regardless. Your reaction to that stressor is what is activating the response.

    Now remember, this system is meant to keep you safe. You’ve probably been struggling with anxiety for a long time, right? You’ve been struggling with the symptoms too (sweating, racing thoughts, rapid heart, can’t relax, can’t sleep, no appetite)…. you start fretting the actual stressor as well as the symptoms that come from the activated flight or fight response.

    Is that system going to shut down right away? No, of course not. because for so long you’ve been (we all have been) poorly reacting to the initial stressor as well as the symptoms. We haven’t been accepting of them long enough.

    So you start to work on acceptance and not letting it bother you. It’s a rough row to hoe at first. It doesn’t come naturally…. but then you start kind of making sense of it.

    Now, that fight/flight system which is meant to protect you has been activated and on high alert for so long because of the messages you’ve been sending it. Now you’ve been sending it messages back along the lines of “no, everything’s okay…. the stressor and the symptoms don’t bother me anymore. no need to be on high alert”. But it takes awhile for that system to be lulled into complete relaxation. Why? Because its main focus is keeping you safe.

    As we said it actually precedes conscious thought. It turns on prior to your thought telling it to. And it needs to do this because it needs to keep you safe from what it very well might think is soemthing that could compromise your life. If you needed to think out the process “Hmmmm…. lion is approaching me…. is this a good thing or a bad thing” you’d already be gone.

    Because for such a long period of time that system had been in high alert mode and because you were reinforcing it to stay on high alert it’s going to take time. Because the system needs to be anticipatory of potential threats (because for so long you were viewing so many non-threatening things as being actually threatening) what do you think that system is going to do? It’s going to be anticipating potential threats and kicking that system back into action….. for the time being. So, that’s what a set back essentially is. Your system is anticipating possible threats so it’s kicking that response back on. And it’s anticipating it because for a very long period of time you were sending that message back to it. Just takes time for it to finally get the drift that everything is ok.

  242. Charlotte Says:

    Wow what a fantastic explanation, am going to print it off, or somehow get it into my phone so I can keep referring to it.

    My current situation matches exactly above, recently I have had triggers that my anxiety recognises as previously causing me to worry, ie my job is either going to move or we are going to be outsourced, I started worrying again about my son saying he doesn’t like school and crying.

    These are the exact same triggers that prompted my last bout of anxiety.

    Thanks Tj, lovely of you to take the effort to write this, I really appreciate you doing this.

  243. rachh Says:

    Thanks lucy so nice to speak to like minded people.. Interesting post TJ although i dont really know what was stressing me out so much although i can think of a few things that were kind of bothering me but not to the extent of causing anxiety. I lost a load of weight on a crash diet got really drunk drinking the same as i normally did and woke up having an anxiety attack.
    Going to see a counsellor tomorrow because this is the 4th time this year ive had time off work and they want me to get some help..
    Had another ok day moments pf dodgyness but letting it pass.

  244. Mark R Says:

    Spot on TJ,

    We have to remember that our pain and suffering is still raw and until bodies and minds are completely healed any renewed stress or even a memory can trigger a setback.


    I have had thoughts like that to be honest, the exact same ones and its been hard but you have to take the positives where you can. The positives for me really are the fact that this setback has highlighted the progress I have made over the last few months. If I hadn’t made progress then I wouldn’t have noticed the contrast of the bad feelings of this setback to the relative peace I felt before.

    The bigger positive for me is the fact that this setback has been really enlightening for me. The reason I say that is because the penny has finally dropped for me after all these years thanks to Eckhart Tolle, Claire Weekes and Candies old posts. The penny being the fact that I have realised that suffering for me (and for most on here) only continues due to our resistance to it and failure to accept, subsequently keeping me in the loop. This condition cannot exist without our dislike for it which is why acceptance is so important.
    Candie states that she spent 7 years thinking she was accepting when she was only putting up with, using words, blogs etc for reassurance and trying to push the problem away. Well that has been the same for me up until now, but its time my attitude changed.


  245. Bryan Says:

    Cheers TJ!!!

  246. Charlotte Says:

    Thanks Mark, I always find it interesting that others can have the exact same bought a, guess its just further proof it’s just anxiety !!!

    Who is eckart tolle and what kind of stuff does he discuss etc ?

    Rachh, hope your counselling goes well. Your work sound ver supportive to you ?


  247. Jess h Says:

    Hi steph I’m going through a little set back now I think it’s not so bad as it doesn’t scare me just frustrates me with these scary intrusive thoughts it seems one goes another is quickly there waiting to test me!! I too am finding the acceptance side of things difficult I need to stop seeking reassurance from my family and boyfriend and learn to let it all be!! I find that difficult when the thoughts are ao so strong and there stopping me in my tracks! I would say iv been lucky in the fact my anxiety was never dp or physical symptoms just pure horrible thoughts iv had them all trust me!! Never thought these things were possible!! But hey that’s anxiety for u! I too am having intrusive thoughts re mental health I work In an environment were I come into context with people who suffer mental illnesses and always walk away worrying over thinking why are they like that maybe they started off like me I’m going to end up mad and in a mental hospital as surely they were normal one day I have it all and it’s constant!! I worry I’ll go mad and why haven’t I gone like these people I see! It’s horrible! So know ur not alone!! Iv had months of being anxiety free I know it’s there just is gonna take some time!! I love this blog and being able to talk on here! Any how I’m rambling !! Just need to live and let live I guess! Allow these thoughts to come and go easier said than done!! Xxxx

  248. Charlotte Says:

    How come u can go to sleep feelin ok and then wake up feelin all anxious again ???

    Time for me to keep on accepting! But when u have overslept, got a husband away, a mother in law ‘helping’, an awkward 5 year old and a stroppy 18 month old, incompetence at work, and suffer with anxiety then I suppose its a bit understandable !!!

  249. Nicole Says:

    Amazing post T.J. Makes it sound so simple and reversible.

    Just what the doctor ordered!


  250. rachh Says:

    I cant believe how similar we all are! Everything anyone ever describes on here is how i havw felt or feel.
    Getting up in the morning for me is a nightmare i just feel so vile. Itslike i hve to pull myself out of some kind of gloopy substance. Such a struggle.
    I really strughle with intrusive thoughts when i have a setback i rhink because im so ao scared my brain picks out literally anything to be scared of, i cant even watch tv – only light hearted programs like the great british bake off and the chase lol. Jeremy kyle the wright stuff and eastenders just play havoc.. Although now im coming out of the setback its not too bad.

    Just out of interest does anyone use the anxietynomore facebook?

  251. Doreen Says:

    Seems to be a different group use Facebook with a bit of overlap.

  252. Lucy Says:

    Charlotte I went to sleep fine, woke up this morning and had a pretty powerful panic attack this morning. Ordinarily it’d ruin my day, kind of feel like it has, the effects last for a while after for me, high anxiety, intrusive thoughts etc. The thought that this is me forever. It’s amazing how it can make you feel like you are right back at square one. I’ve been slowly accepting this setback, felt like it was starting to lift a little but after this morning I don’t know. I know like you say it’s all more accepting, accepting, accepting! Feels so difficult sometimes, haven’t felt this bad in a while.

  253. Sally Says:

    Good post TJ thanks

  254. emmae Says:

    Hi everyone, acceptance for me has been a journey in itself and pretty long to get to the point I am at now. I had been fighting for years, trying so hard and consequently feeling worse. I now accept my anxiety, which for me means letting my mind wander and think about anxiety and everything my mind finds to worry about as much as it wants and letting it naturally come back into the present moment, feeling the physical sensations, feeling detached and unreal … all of it. By doing this, I no longer have to try to do anything to get rid of my anxiety. I find some things can help when my mind is becoming very obsessed, like phoning a friend, going to do something. I don’t think you have to like anxiety to be accepting but to be ok with things as they are to the point where you are not striving for them to be different. But on the other hand not accepting to get rid of either! For me there are a few things I would like t change in my life to balance things up a bit … but again this isn’t going to take anxiety away but is about enjoyment and pleasure, which can be really helpful when our minds focus so much on anxiety, negative thoughts etc. This set back for me has been the longest, most painful but ultimately I have learned loads about myself. Yes, I am on a journey that I never signed up for (!) but I’m here now and I can only move forward. I thought I would fall in to a big dark hole, never to re-surface when I first experimented with accepting all the thoughts and feelings, giving them as much room as they needed. But, I haven’t yet and I am doing alright. My mind and body is doing what it likes and I am still here! I am not striving to feel better, I am just grateful that I have given up the fight. I was so exhausted and didn’t know how much longer I could go on like that. There are lots of things that I am working on and I am prepared for this all to take as long as it needs. De-conditioning is not a quick process but well worth it I’m sure. xx

  255. Rachh Says:

    Good post emmae..
    Accepting to me is being ok about all the symptoms/intrusive thoughts/wierd sensations/sleepless nights.. and that for now they are going to be there because of tired nerves and not searching for a cure to get rid of it all.. especially NOT googling symptoms.. dear god scary stuff (thought i had scizophrenia or a rare personality disorder at one point)
    Something i do find i have to do something about though is obsessing and the constant what if/working out/following scary thoughts through and more than anything believing and listening to them..
    When they pop up now i see them come and dont add any further respect.. they have become a bit of a habit over the last 10 months so still working on it but i do feel a lot better.
    Im off work at the moment so i find structuring my day helps for example yesterday i wrote of list of things i need to do which i havent done for a while.. book an eye test, walk the dog, pop to the supermarket.
    I want to add though how i sympathise with people aren’t ready to go and do things. I was in such a bad place a few weeks ago getting in the car to take the dog to the park sent me in a panic and i sat in my bedroom ruminating and stressing all day.
    I am still struggling with the relationship anxiety a little though so will have to keep going i do feel like im on the right path though..

  256. SarahS Says:

    I think there’s been lots of helpful comments here. I can relate to alot of what most people are saying so think it shows how we are all so different but yet so similar in our reactions to anxiety!

    I’m well on my way to recovery and like alot of you I can see how we can work towards accepting the symptoms, sensations, feelings and when we do we do get better, albeit in time. I do get a little stumped at times though and for me it’s worry. I totally agree that worry is pointless, but try telling my head and body that! I’ve always been scared of illness, death, public speaking those sort of things but I’ve begun to face them rather than avoid as realise that by facing them the strength if fear will start to reduce. And I have made progress but now I’m going to say there’s a but! Ha ha! BUT I guess I’m sti a worrier and stressful situations do still provide my body with quite strong physical symptoms as much as my head is saying go with the flow, it is what it is, face it. Is this normal do you think and is it possible for my lifelong worries to be reduced much more? Much appreciated x

  257. Charlotte Says:

    Lucy, I sympathise I am with you! Did u say before you have. 5 year old ? I find it really hard to manage anxiety with the children do you ? I feel guilty for being anxious and the impact it can have on the family.

    Emmae, you sound so where I want to be but just cnt get to. When I have intrusive thoughts they still upset me and I cant help but react and feel anxious and teary and scared. When I feel like that, I then just get more and more upset, I just can’t seem to grasp the acceptance of it and that nothing will happen, as I always think but what if I have a breakdown, end up in a psych hospital, lose my house etc ie all the catastrophic outcomes I can possibly think of.

  258. Charlotte Says:

    Emmae, Lucy , Rachh

    Meany to say I also suffer with feelings of unreality and acute awareness of myself and sometimes feeling like I am watching myself. Do you or any

  259. Charlotte Says:

    Whoops hit submit by mistake ! I find these symptoms so hard to accept as they feel so scary and wierd. Do you have any of these and if so how do you accept ?

  260. Jimmy Says:

    Hi everyone. First of all please let me say a big thank you to Paul and everyone on this blog. The book and this blog has been a source of much needed reassurance and direction for me over the past many years.

    I haven’t posted here before, but I feel the need now, as my suffering is becoming quite unbearable for me. First, a little bit about my anxiety – as brief as possible:

    I have always been an anxious person, but about 11 years ago I started feeling spacey constantly, and then a few months later got hit suddenly with full on derealisation and anxiety. I’ve been stuck that way ever since, and have found life very hard, although I have taken some enjoyment from it still. I just never have any inner peace, and feel a shadow of my former self.

    I read Paul’s book quite a few years ago, and have tried acceptance but never felt I could do it. Recently though I feel as though I ‘get it’ more, and see that I still live in fear of my symptoms all these years after developing them.

    However, I recently came off my medication that I have been on for a decade, which was clearly helping my anxiety more than I realised. I’ve sunk into some pretty serious anxiety and derealisation. I’m finding it impossible to just get on and do stuff. Even if I feel I am facing my symptoms rather than running away, the derealisation can be, and usually is, *so* intense that I feel like I might drift off into another dimension at any moment. And I can just *no way* take any enjoyment from anything when it’s like that.

    I’m just worried this is not normal anxiety. What if my problem is derealisation that is permanent, and anxiety is a second condition, caused by the derealisation? Or what if these are all symptoms that are actually caused by drink and drug abuse (I have nailed both pretty hard back in my youth). If the answer is that it could all stay forever and I just have to accept that, I don’t know how because I feel so bad I couldn’t face a life of this.

    Do I just continue facing every symptom, no matter how scary and unnatural it feels, and try and lose the fear? I just can’t imagine other anxiety sufferers feel this ‘out of it’ with their derealisation. Sorry, that could sound rude and I don’t mean it too. I’m just scared my anxiety and derealisation is different and I can’t recover.

    Thanks for reading,

  261. rachh Says:

    Yehh charlotte ive had a few bouts of this. It is when my anxiety is high. Then i try and force myself to focus on other things and get friustrated.
    I look at it in a positive way because when your watching yourself in this way u can see your thoughts popping in and practice seeing them come in and not reacting just ignoring. Which is a good habit to get into.
    Self awareness does fade.
    Hadmy counselling session was good and have an apt with my boss HR and occy health on tuesday next wk.

  262. Lucy Says:

    Yes I do Charlotte, well 5 in 10 days :) I know exactly what you mean, I feel extremely guilty sometimes, worry if it’s going to effect my ability to provide for us when it comes to working, if she will have to go through this in the future, etc etc. But I can also say, all those times I thought I couldn’t cope? Guess what, I did! We still go places even if I dread it, cos I can’t keep her in the house all day. I do wonder what she picks up on though, probably more irritability than anything which makes me feel bad. I don’t understand how I got to the point of being terrified when we’re alone together of 1. Intrusive thoughts 2. Something happening to me and her not knowing what to do, when I used to literally love the fact our life was just the two of us! But I will get back to that one day :) you sound like a fan (or not) of the biggest catastrophes you can think of like me! I really do believe I will look back on this time of my life and think how silly I was for wasting all this time worrying about the things that never came. Also, my mum has had depression/some anxiety for a huge chunk of my life, I used to have to do so much for/with her as a teen and I wouldn’t change her for the world! We have the strongest relationship, and your kids will adore you no matter what. It’s hard to keep everything away from them but you are doing the best you can, I’m sure raising children for someone who doesn’t have anxiety is stressful enough, and we still carry on with it around! Guilt doesn’t help the recovery so yet again, that word “accept” is back 😉 I’d say the same for unreality, you just have to see it for what it is and carry on with your day, being scared is horrible but literally none of this can harm us x

  263. Doreen Says:

    What great supportive posts at the moment. Well done all of you for sharing your symptoms and thoughts but then giving hope to others by your tremendous efforts to move on.

  264. rachh Says:

    Hi jimmy.. Lots and lots of people have suffered with derealisation.. Including Paul who explains in the book.
    I dont think your accepting because you still say your facing it.

    I am no doctor but by the sound of your post you are 100% suffering from anxiety. When anxiety hits it makes you think of everything in a fearful scary way including looking back at previous memories that are poignant fearful times for you and then you think that you have been this way your whole life. Everyone get nervous and anxious in life including myself and when i was in the thick of it all i really couldnt see what to do to make me better and continually analysed my past.

    With regards to these thoughts “maybe im going to be like this for life, i used drugs and drink so i might be doomed forever, bla bla bla.. These are empty anxious thoughts which your feeding with evidence it *might* be true. This is feeding your anxiety loads and this is why you are kept in the circle.

    To accept you need to see the thought and let it go, dont believe it dont back it up with further thoughts, dont sit in ruminating thinking and worrying! It is a waste of time and wont help you. I know how hard it is when your suffering from derealisation but just try and get a bit of structure in your day.. Write a list of things you need to do and do it and take the feelings with you..

    To give you a bit of reassurance with the drug alcohol issues.. I know 100s of people who i work with, who have taken drugs most of their life and a few of my friends also.. They do not suffer with derealisation because they are not anxious.
    Your anxiety may have been caused by drugs but recovery is just the same as everyone else!!
    You need to do things in the now as your thoughts are not you.

  265. SarahS Says:

    Hi jimmy anxiety always feels like its going to last forever and as its so unpleasant it also feels like no one else can possibly be this bad or feel the way we do. But they do and you’re not strange or different. Our symptoms do tend to be different to the next person but are still essentially the same!

    I think recovery is also v individual and it will take as long as it takes. You seem to understand plenty about anxiety and so you will soon be able to accept more and more, it can take time and practice and a bit of reading and posting here before it clicks. In my experience of you’ve been an anxious person/had anxiety for a while then it can take a little longer in recovery. It’s taking me a while and it can be hard but it’s also liberating and great to see how far I have come. The feelings/symptoms that stick around the longest ate the ones you really really dislike but that’s quite normal as unpleasant as it can be. With anxiety anything goes so symptoms can be quite strange but that’s normal too, just put them all under the umbrella of anxiety. I’m still a worrier and find it hard to switch off from worrying nut I’m working on it. It’s all a process so hi e yourself a bit of a break you’re doing your best, bit by bit it will get better and you will be able to accept more.

  266. SarahS Says:

    Sorry typos, typed on my phone!

  267. Marco Says:

    I’m having horrible thoughts about committing s******. I don’t want to bring that kind of thought here but I need some help. I don’t want to do it (or at least I don’t think I do), but there is something that keeps telling me I’m going to – a feeling, I think. It’s horrible. Makes me feel extremely anxious & makes me think/feel like I’m going to do it; not in that moment, but that in the near future I’m going to. It feels so real. I just worry that I’m going to be convinced that I’m going to do it. It’s filling my head at the moment. Anyone relate to this? Really struggling at the moment. Thank you.

  268. Lesley Says:

    Hi All well my last post didn’t last long when. I thought I was on the road to recovery, I have found out I am not… Cannot get through a day without a drink…. I go to work but its all false I just pretend all is ok when it isn’t… The only peace I get is when I am asleep.. Anybody else feel like this

  269. Wendy Says:


    this is a very common thought, but believe me, you will NOT do it!
    A while ago someone ( i think it was Candie?) posted the following on the blog:

    If someone really wants to commit suicide, they are not scared about it.
    They do not worry about it or question if they really do it or not.
    They would welcome the relief of their life being over.

    I had these thoughts too, but I understood that they are just another trick from anxiety. The fact that you are scared of this thought shows that it’s not real.
    And also if you feel like passing out or losing control, you won’t!
    No one with anxiety ever lost control!
    A lot of anxiety sufferers also fear that they could hurt other people or that they could kill their children. these thoughts are very similar to yours.
    But no one with anxiety ever lost control or went crazy and killed someone.
    It is just anxiety that tries to make you believe all the rubbish!
    Once you are recoverd you will laught at these thoughts and just think : ” yeah as if ! ”
    Hope that helps :)

  270. Rachel T Says:

    Hi all. Charlotte andLucy, I think im in a very similar place to you both. I too have the same scarey thoughts re crazy, losing home etc. I’m also have an 8 year old and wonder if this is why those fears are our most feared ones as we have this responsibility fear also.
    I have had a few days off recently, underlying anxiety but easier. However yesterday it slapped me again, all evening i started having waves of panic every few minutes and have been awaken by it this morning aswell. I am trying to not engage or be frightened by it. Pit isnt stopping though and Im getting exhausted. Im shaking inside and feel so sick. I’m not sure if this is going to carry on all day but I have so much to do at work today and my child to get to school etc. I dont want anyone In the world to feel like this but get so much comfort from knowing its not just me? I really feel I’m recovering but then old sensations come back. Must be two months since i had waves of panic like this, why when im feeling like I’m making progress and why is it continuing when I’m not adding to the fear, is it frustration fuelling it? Sorry for rambling!

  271. rachh Says:

    Marco ive just come out of a setback after having this thought i woke up one day with it in my mind and a funny kind of urge and had no real feeling of anxiety and then i started to question it and get worried that because i didnt feel the anxiety with the thought it must mean i want to do it (very confusing) it really really upset me and i couldnt be away from my mom. Rest assured it is a poxy anxiety thought again and it fooled me into my worst setback ever. Dont listen see the thought come and ignore it.
    RachelT i can relate to the shakiness inside just accept that the road to recovery is a rocky one and this is one of those bad days which the more you try to float through and get on with things not obsess the better it gets. Bad times always pass even when anxiety tricks you into thinking it doesnt.

  272. emmae Says:

    Hi, SarahS – I always find your posts very helpful and encouraging. I read one from you yesterday about worrying. My mind loves to worry and if I’m having an ok time – it usually throws a worrying thought in to keep itself busy, and then my body reacts etc etc. I am not sure how you can stop this from happening … but what I tend to do is just ‘know’ that it is a worrying thought, try not to get involved and let my mind burn in itself out. I have tried stopping the worrying thoughts and distracting myself but this feels like fighting. I can remember a post from Patrick a good few months ago who said he had recovered – he said he is still a worrier but just sees these as sensations of the mind/thoughts and that his mind wanders all the time. I found this really helpful because it stopped me striving towards being a “non-worrier!” In the past I would have become so caught up in my worries, seeing them all as true and real. Now, I try to name them as a worry – and sometimes I even check it out with someone else, so as not to dismiss that part of me, but then I try to get on with things. Sometimes it settles, sometimes it doesn’t. Dropping it as a problem has helped. It sounds like you have done so well SarahS, so it sounds like more of the same. All the best xx

  273. Rachel T Says:

    Thanks Rachh. I’ve read your post that says how far youve come. I can relate to the slightest thing triggering sensations at the beginning. I used to panic If i thought about what to make for tea!

    Anxiety and panic are a horrible thing when normal and terrible to deal with when your over sensitised like we are at the moment. I think in my case i go looking for troublesometimes, checking how I’m feeling, am I acting normally, has anyone nogiced im talking faster etc. I know this raises my anxiety level but i. still do it. I don’t understand why? Also when I’m starting to feel better l have recurrence of thoughts iive had before that i have gone on to rudicule but then frighten me over again ? I then have a run of different sensations I’ve had before ( like these waves of panic) they stopped bothering me, morphed Into derealisatiion instead)Why? Does anybody understand this or have this, its like plugging leaky holes! Haha

  274. Charlotte Says:

    Rach T, I am with you and also don’t wish his on anyone but knowing there are others who feel exactly as we do does help. I had a day like got are having yesterday, I’ve got so much on at work and can’t get into it as I’m distracted by anxiety and all the what it’s. I literally wanted to cry all day yesterday, it didn’t lift until really late last night.

    I think I right about the responsibility part havin children, and as our kids mean so much they are an easy target for anxiety !

    I’m at work now still putting off my million and one tasks I have to do ! If u still have your waves of panic at work how about jus taking small sips of water and practising some meditation or deep breathing at your desk if that’s possible ?
    Lets know how you get on.

    Lucy thanks for your lovely post ! You sound like u manage fantastically well to me with everything !

    Lets keep in touch !

    Right now I am definate going to tackle my ‘to do’ work plan !!!

  275. Marco Says:

    Wendy & Rachh, thank you both! Wendy what you say makes so much sense to me, if I really wanted to do it, I wouldn’t question it or worry. I’ve tried telling myself this, but it always seems to hit home more coming from someone else! Rachh, I’ve definitely had the same problems. When a thought comes & my body shows no anxious reaction, it worries me. Just got to remember that it’s still anxiety playing the same old tricks. Thanks again!

  276. rachh Says:

    Worrying a bit after seeing counsellor last night.. Dont really know what triggered my anxiety attack and he seems to think its because i moved back home with my mom and dad and its a more controlling environment.
    So ive started worrying that it will never get better whilst im at home and that yardiyar can someone give me a bit of a slap please. Was started to feel better and now im analysing my life my past everything to try and think what i need to be in control of to be happy and how to lose control.
    Gods sakes!!

  277. elaine Says:

    dont focus or even try to find out what started it . your feeding it . let go and accept you have it

  278. rachh Says:

    Thanks elaine xx

  279. Charlotte Says:


    I agree with Elaines comment, it doesn’t matter what triggered it and you will never know . Like you I used to be obsessed with trying to figure out why my anxiety started. My started as post natal anxiety and so I used to worry myself so much that I had anxiety because I shouldn’t have had children because I couldn’t cope.

    It was my mum that one day turned to me when I was saying this and said, its funny how that thought never even crosses your mind when you are not anxious, and the reality is you actually enjoy your children more than anything!!

    It made me realise that my thoughts when in an anxious state are just a load of crap and not true.

    It’s just anxiety Rach !! No reasons ! We r just worriers!

  280. Lucy Says:

    Rachel T yes I definitely think it’s the responsibility of another life.. I get caught up in that sometimes and think “what if it means I should never have had a child” but this is rubbish as I’m sure it is to all of us with anxiety and kids! It just tries to get at you wherever it possibly can. Sounds to me though that you are anticipating when it will go again, which is what we have to not do. If the panic subsides later today? Great. If you wake up with it again tomorrow? So what. I do find it more difficult facing the panic than anxiety though, but you can do it. As said many times on here we will never lose control, pass out, etc even if it feels that way. I also agree that we get past certain symptoms only to meet new ones, and definitely the ones we dislike most stick around longest, that’s definitely the panic for me. I panicked over silly things like making tea too, 99% of things made me panic at my worst, but everything slowly passes and you only have to look at your better times to know this is true and you can do it.

    Charlotte whether your mind is on it or not you are still going to work, coping and doing what you need to do. Just try to let it be around and carry on with tasks, I find once I get into something my mind comes off anxiety even if for only 5mins or so before it pops up again, then gradually the time between gets longer. Would be great to stay in touch and keep up with how we are all doing!

    Emmae I was a worrier before anxiety so I’m sure I will still be in recovery but that is naturally me! I care too much, but again, that’s always been me. I often think maybe I won’t worry so much after though as I will have learnt to deal with everything better by then.. So maybe our lives will actually be better after all this than they were previously! I have definitely read that before.

    Rachh it’s just trying to suck you back in, it’s so very up and down sometimes but you will get there. You can recover no matter what your situation, maybe certain environments help more or less than others but either way it’s doable. I’ve seen you give some great advice to others so you definitely know! It’s natural to fall back sometimes just don’t stress about it.

  281. Shashank Says:

    Does in any way overcoming a setback means getting removal of symptoms ????

  282. elaine Says:

    yes for me shashank in between set backs i was anxiety free , but WAM when it came back it was bad. My last ever set back was so bad the worst i have ever been lasted 2 weeks .

  283. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    Hope all is well. Still finding it difficult at the moment, sometimes this setback gives me peace and wants to leave then other times it wants to give me hell.

    I’ve been reading a lot of Claire Weekes recently and realised that all of our thoughts we are having are our OWN NORMAL thoughts magnified by our nerves and minds that are tired. The fact that our nervous systems are overhyped means it will overreact to the thought, and is eager to please. Try and bear this in mind when you have a scary thought…….try not to dismiss it.


    I’ve been there with counsellors in the past trying to find a reason for everything. Elaine is right, don’t bother trying to find a reason for a panic attack as it really doesn’t matter anyway. You can recover anywhere, its not the situation that is in charge of your recovery, it is you. If you lived on the hard shoulder of the M6 and accepted you could still recover.


    Hang in there, having a hard time at work is especially tough but try and remember that setbacks are temporary and these days will pass. I was there very recently, highly anxious, being sick, crying but it passed. I now have constant DP and inward thinking now which is like pulling teeth but I’m still at work. Just go along with however you feel.


  284. rachh Says:

    Thanks charlotte lucy mark and elaine.. Going to eat out tonight which i really struggle with. God knows why but i get really nervous. Pushing the boundaries abit though.. Been to doctors today and they have signed me off till november.. Saw a lovely doctor who really understands.. Other than the one i saw a while ago who told me to imagine a lovely scene and count down in threes lol.

  285. elaine Says:

    rachh enjoy your meal , accept your nervous just do it

  286. elaine Says:

    mark that inward thinking will go , mine was so bad and dp . once it does not other you it will go

  287. Kyara Says:

    I recently had one of my worst set backs and started reading Claire Weekes. I followed her advice and during a panic attack just sat there and let it pass. I didn’t tense up I relaxed my body as much as possible and kept breathing. I did this through 2 panic attacks and gained confidence in myself. I wasn’t afraid and realized there is no reason to be. The thoughts that scare you are absolutely anxiety. They don’t define you. Once you gain a certain confidence in yourself you will never be as afraid of the anxiety as you once were. Accept the shaking limbs, racing heart, racing thoughts, tight chest, pain in the back etc etc what ever you feel during your attacks let it be there and relax. If your sensations are gone and you still have racing thoughts maybe it isn’t completely over so stay relaxed until you notice those rational thoughts come back. Absolute acceptance is what we need to over come.

  288. Mark R Says:

    Hi Elaine,

    Yeah I know, I spent the majority of last year with DP and feeling awful, but this year it started to lessen slightly, this setback has brought it back to the front of my mind. Urgh!

  289. Jimmy Says:

    Thanks for the replies rachh and SarahS :)

    Yeah I guess I can see that other people with anxiety probably do have as intense symptoms, and that the one I hate most stick around the most. I just really don’t see how I can accept this though :(

    I think a decade ago it wasn’t as bad, and looking back with what I know now, I could accept how I was then. But now it just all seems too much, and my derealisation is just so intense I am worried it is from a neurological problem. I know Paul said his disorder did get worse over time though.

    I’ve been researching derealisation today, and am very worried this is my main problem. Apparently this year it for officially defined as a primary condition. It doesn’t have to be caused by anxiety to exist. What if my drug abuse has damaged someone, or flipped a switch that can’t be unflipped, and now I can’t process normal reality anymore? Maybe that is why I am anxious…?

    It suddenly occurred to me today that I haven’t experienced the outside world without derealisation for over a decade now :( I really miss normal reality! I just want that pure, clarity feeling where happiness can exist properly. The best I get now is a muddy and hectic type of slightly happy feeling. In fact come to think of it, I’m not sure I really know feelings any more. I just… Exist, and am sometimes miserable and sometimes a bit happier.

    There do seem to be a lot of people on the net who have derealisation that doesn’t go away. Looking back now, that’s as his my symptoms began. I mean I was already anxious, but the derealisation came first in the anxiety *disorder*.

    One last thing… Recently I have developed numb legs and arms which bother me greatly. My clothes feel horrible against my skin. The doctors can’t find anything wrong with me and say it is most likely anxiety. Could it be depersonalisation? I’ve had derealisation for over a decade but never this intense numbness, just numb hands and feet.

    Sorry… I’m waffling now :/

  290. TJ Says:

    “”What if my drug abuse has damaged someone, or flipped a switch that can’t be unflipped, and now I can’t process normal reality anymore? Maybe that is why I am anxious…?””

    Acceptance, peace, patience.

    Try this:
    Be as at peace as possible with these feelings. You don’t like them, they’ve been there for a long time…. so, just try to be at peace with them.
    Sincerely, truly, being at peace with them. If you feel that way, then feel that way. Don’t add the extra, “oh no…. I shouldn’t be feeling this way! I can’t possibly be feeling this way any longer!!”
    Be, “oh well… I feel this way. So what. I’m still going to live my life”

    Next step?

    Live Your Life. You’ve already established that you feel this way. Well, you’re not going to chase those feelings off…. not the way you’ve been trying to. So, you’ve made peace with those feelings. Now life your life as you want to life. As if you could careless that you have these ‘feelings’.

    Next step?

    Start retraining your brain to focus on the good in life, the positive. Don’t force feed yourself happy thoughts. But, slow, steady, simple….. Maybe you’re walking home, you feel like ‘ugh’…. but you look up to notice the sun set. Or, you’re going to watch some young kids playing in a field and just take enjoyment in that. Taking enjoyment in the fact that THEY are happy.

    It will come.

  291. TJ Says:

    Or minds/brains get used to ways of thinking…. so much so that certain tendencies become reflexive.

    A couple of examples:
    One night a friend and I were out for drinks and we were doing this dumb thing to see how long we could rhyme our sentences. If we’d say one thing, the next sentence needed to rhyme with it.
    Funny at first but then it started coming much easier. Like our minds were anticipating a word that would rhyme.

    I went home that evening and when I was talking to my wife I actually had to fight the urge to talk in rhymes with her. No lie. Sounds silly. But give it a try if you doubt. Take about 3 to 4 hours were you just keep talking with one sentence rhyming with the next. Eventually you’ll be doing it when you don’t want to.

    Your minds get used to things you habitually do.

    Another example:
    I like looking for change on the ground for my son. I’m pretty good at finding coins on the ground since doing this. Now I do it reflexively. My wife asked me one day when we were walking, “is everything okay?”. I responded with, “yes, of course…. why do you ask?”. She said, “you’re head is down. I thought you were in a bad mood.” I wasn’t even intending on looking for change. I didn’t even know I was doing it…. but I was doing it.

    Force of habit.

    Well, if you can make it a habit to look for coins on the ground when you don’t even want to. Or for your mind to anticipate words that rhyme with other words you’ve already said…. then why not make it a habit to focus on the good in life? It’s just as possible.

    Walk around and make it your goal to pay special attention to anything with the color blue. After a short order of time doing this you’ll notice blue things much quicker…. even when you are no longer concerned with noticing blue things.

    So, while you’re accepting the suffering you’re going through…. make some new habits. Find the good in your day. You’re in a funk, you feel like garbage, but you’re being accepting of it, and you’re walking past a forest, look up, notice the leaves changing color and take some enjoyment in it. Start small, be consistent. You’re mind will start to focus more and more on these such as these.

  292. SarahS Says:

    Hi Emmae thanks for the reply. You make loads of sense and yes more of the same but couldn’t quite see that until you said. Support here is so useful when you’re brains in a bit of a muddle and you’re trying to figure it out and do the right thing. The difference in how I was trying to sort the worries with how you have explained is only slightly different but it makes all the difference! Thank you!
    Jimmy you are full of what ifs which are so true to you that at the moment you can’t see a way out but they’re part of the anxiety and once you start treating the what ifs the same way as you treat all the other symptoms then you will be further on the road to recovery. You already are despite the intensity of your symptoms by understanding, posting here and putting it in practice. For me I was never going to get better because I’d had anxiety almost all my life, I felt truly awful, awful is too pleasant a word tbh, I had felt so poorly for so long how on earth would I ever get better. But I’m a million times better and you will be too. It will come,

  293. SarahS Says:

    Really like TJs posts.
    I agree with Doreen too there are such good comments on here really helpful. Hope things are good with you too Doreen.

  294. SarahS Says:

    Hi Lesley it’s very up and down so it will be like that for a good while. It seems your crutch is to drink so you may need some support with that but I’m sure you know the only way is through it with anxiety, not round or under it but facing it, feeling it and going through it. You can do it.

  295. SarahS Says:

    Kyara that’s fab you should be really pleased. That realisation is exactly it! It’s how we all practice to eventually reach that point. You’ve experienced it now and can do more of in the future no matter what!

  296. Lesley Says:

    Hi SarahS, thank you for the kind words, it does help to know that what is happening to me is to be expected and very common, thanks again

  297. Doreen Says:

    Thanks for asking SarahS – I would sum up me and anxiety as said by somebody further back. I am me and anxiety travels along side sometimes or words to that effect. Think all the posts are just so supportive just now.

  298. Sally Says:

    If you read Claire Weekes she says although it may be interesting to find an initial cause for anxiety it rarely helps the sufferer now.So dont waste time and energy on the past keep moving forward practising acceptance X

  299. Sally Says:

    Like you I have had this condition many years and have a bad set back at the moment.I have tried it all from meds to relaxation tapes counselling the lot.Believe me Pauls way is the only way to relieve the intensity of it all.One of the best things is try not to be anxious because you are anxious accept you have a condition and treat it like any physical problem you would have,like if you had a broken leg it would hurt but you would not ruminate about it all day you would just carry on with things.Hope this helps and as you can see by this blog you are not alone with this condition there are many of us out there X

  300. Jimmy Says:

    TJ that is one of the most amazing and helpful posts anyone has written to me. Something kind of clicked when I read it. Thank you.

    Sally, thank you for your reply too. I see now I really do need to focus on this method.

    I still find it hard to not worry that this is all permanent for me because of my drug and alcohol abuse. I just want that guarantee I can get better- but I know that searching for it is pointless as best and probably even counterproductive!

    Can anyone relate to numb sensations in their body? My legs and arms are really very numb now, and clothes feel permanently uncomfortable. Just the simple act of moving my body can be quite unpleasant now :/

    Thanks to all of you here- this is a great community :)


  301. Wendy Says:


    is it normal that towards the end of recovery the up and down thing goes faster? One day is good, the other day is bad, the next day is good again and the other one goes so fast up and down and at the beginning it was like: 3 weeks feeling bad, 2 days fine.. you know what i mean?

  302. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    Good advice on here as always.

    Like a fair few really going through the mill at the moment, some days setback appears to be lifting then other days I feel sodding terrible. I know what I have to do though and let myself feel terrible, which is what I am doing.

    Keep getting the thoughts that this setback has lasted longer than the previous ones, so there must be something wrong, am I back at the start etc….. Need to try and remember though that this is another thought and let it float around.

    Urgh feel pretty rancid.

  303. kisha Says:

    Just want everyone to recovery is possible in anyone just had the best 3 weeks of normalcy until today with another setback with all this government shutdown stuff. But i will feel awful for the moment and keep pressing on. And by the way i am doing it without meds. Thanks again Paul.

  304. emmae Says:

    Hi Jimmy, yes I can relate to the numb sensations in your body and the skin sensitivity etc. I had this a while ago and it passed. Somebody told me that it was all “nervous system” related and the fear of it keeps it going. I used to sometimes feel itchy all over. I get this very rarely now. I assure you that it’s all related to our over sensitive nervous system and over time with knowledge, understanding, acceptance and kindness it will all gradually fade. When I first got it I freaked out so much and it just got worse and worse. I hope this gives you the reassurance you need on this issue. x

  305. elaine Says:

    wendy , near recovery i went days , then weeks with out symptons. then one day i thought this is ridiculous theres nothing wrong with you girl and one day i woke up had a diff attitude and it wen. but i was bad i had 24/7 anxiety had the crisis team weekly and hubby had 6 months off work with me. i got better so will you

  306. Rachel T Says:

    MarkR. You have lots of experience with anxiety I gsther from your posts. Your fighting, we can see that in what you write (Frustration? Me too!) We know in our hearts and minds if we can just STOP recovery moves forward again. I honestly believe all the thoughts and feelings that come up during a setback are the ones that you avoided thinking about when you were feeling improved? I had ones that came back during previous setbacks, I lost the fear and now they’ve gone. Is that recovery process? I think so.

    I am trying to sit with my panic, its me for now, add now second fear and trying trying to be kind to myself. Join me anybody? Rachel x

  307. rachh Says:

    I dont know about anyone else but all this child stuff on the news at the moment is causing me to stress abit..

  308. elaine Says:

    even i stress and my hubby about things like that its normal and we dont have anxiety. cruel and very upsetting

  309. Mark R Says:


    You’re dead right. I’ve had a god awful day, been feeling utterly horrendous and i keep trying to reason with this setback as per my post above.

    I know I can get passed it, as I had awful setbacks before and came out and my recovery went forward a notch. Just when you’re in one you can’t think of anything else!!

  310. Mark R Says:

    …….but I have realised as per my previous post that I am sensitised at the moment due to setback and my normal thoughts are scary, real, grotesque even. The thought that I’m back at the start is only a normal thought supercharged with adrenalin.

  311. Rachel T Says:

    Yep totally Mark. Anxiety is horrible but youve felt the worst you can ever feel before. Im terrified of my current symptom. I have waves of panic continually all day for the past three days. Second fear added by horrid mean thoughts. But they aren’t what i believe, i know this. Youll notice I said terrified, thats why its still with me. When i lose the fear it will fade off. We are all having the same struggle with this and the answer is to atop the struggle. So easy and yet so hard. The comfort being were not alone or different. Sit with your fear for a while and make a start with your “re” recovery. Thats what im doing this evening.

  312. Bryan Says:

    Yeah Mark, if you were back at the start you wouldn’t have all of this perspective you have.

    What will happen for us is when the setback starts to lift, we will accelerate into a better place again because our bodies/minds know how to get there.

    That said, we have to allow that, too… which is part of the work we clearly still have to do. I’m in a process of overhauling my definition of acceptance.

    I think it was Candie who posted here at one point that she thought she accepted for years but realized she wasn’t. I can relate to that. I accept sometimes, other times… not so much. I’m guessing you relate to that as well.

    Onward and upward!

  313. Rachel T Says:

    And rachh, yes me too. It makes me feel physically sick. I’ve always ben overly protective and anxiety made me worse. I had to hand it to anxiety when I started to question if i cared enough for my own child though, lovely stunt, Yuk. Im also avoiding the radio now. I swear it must be like when your pregnant and see babies everywhere. Everytime I put the radio on its something about mental health! Jeesh……

  314. elaine Says:

    rachel you have not got any mental health probs. anxiety is not an illness

  315. Mark R Says:


    I think it just feels the same as back at the start as the feelings are the same, although the situation is different………..but logically its impossible to be back at the start, as the start is in the past.

    I suppose its like breaking up with two different people at different times. The feelings of hurt are going to be the same but obviously the situation is different.


    I like this on acceptance:

    Accept it.

    You can’t leave it, you’ve also decided you can’t change it. So it’s time. Unclench your jaw, soften into the idea and ACCEPT. Begin to embrace all that is the cause of your fear, annoyance and discomfort and see what happens next…

    When you begin to slow down, take a deep breath and accept you start to realize that you were your own worst enemy.

  316. rachh Says:

    Thank god Rachel T.. Ive had a bad day with thoughts today.. Does my head in because before this anxiety i wouldnt have even questioned any of these thoughts but they just seem to plague me..

    I really wanted a baby before i started questionning my relationship and doubting that i could be a good mom..

  317. Nicole Says:

    Hi all, up and down time for me too, but slowly seeing improvements and that’s all I need for now.

    Just was thinking the other day at how proud we should be of ourselves and how strong we are. We face so many challenges on a daily basis that the average person may never experience yet we largely keep going, smile when we can and still hope. I sometimes stop and think when I do something despite my dizziness, racing heart etc that actually I’m not weak but strong for continuing to do these things.

    It’s this strength that will eventually lead us to recovery.


  318. RachelT Says:

    Hi everyone, I was doing better recently than I had realised I think. Up until three weeks ago I felt the anxiety there, it rose If i did anything to stretch myself but it I was moving forward. I then had a wobble and felt stronger sensations again , have had days I’ve felt i was coming back out of it but the past three days the panic is back. It started as tiny waves , I sat with it and let it flow, relaxed as much as i could and dint think I added any fear. Two days i shrugged It down and carried on. I was really proud and felt i was practising what ive learnt and it was wirking. However they have got longer and stronger. Now Its bad. I’m having the flight response, my limbs are tingling. I’m not scared of the attacks so much, i know they will end and wont hurt me but I’m devastated ive slipped back towards this. I’ve worked so hard on not avoiding, exposure, accepting the fear. I haven’t had a single day in 10 months that I havent felt some anxiety and this Is my third setback so i must be doing this wrong . I’m past panic so please excuse my rambling.

    Sorry for bringing negativity to the forum.


  319. RachelT Says:

    Feel awful for appearing negative in my last post. I feel a bit calmer now. I was scared by the intensity of the panic attack after a long time without any. I knew what was happening to me and kept my head as straight as possible but got hit with a huge wave of despair afterwards. I’ve just read a post of Paul’s saying to just accept all of it. So I will try and accept Im feeling anxious and panicky today and that’s ok to feel like that. I feel I should go out but I’m quite scared in case it comes again but I’ should carry on regardless shouldn’t I so i will. Come back braveness I need you now more than ever. what a morning!

  320. Mark R Says:

    ‘I haven’t had a single day in 10 months that I havent felt some anxiety and this Is my third setback so i must be doing this wrong.’


    It’s okay to blow off steam on here, we all know how frustrating it is. I haven’t had a single day in 18 months where I’ve had no anxiety and this is my third setback. You’ve done absolutely nothing wrong, setbacks are part of getting better.

    I’m finding I need an enormous amount of willpower to do stuff at the moment, a few months ago I was doing them with ease.

    Don’t be so hard on yourself, setbacks are not your fault.

  321. RachelT Says:

    Thanks Mark. I try telly hard to stay positive and sometimes it just grips you doesn’t it. I want so mych to pop the panic bubble. I want to do what people say and go through it and out the otherwise and like the fear so its gone. Has anyone achieved this and can they describe the process?

    I push far too hard. I’m tough on myself and its never quite good enough. It’s constant “trying” for me and I need to try and stop. Haha I can see the irony in that sentence so I’ve left it here! Can I ask Mark, do you have a pressured job and was your anxiety triggered by stress? I have and it was for me but I have totally changed my outlook to it so its not a trigger now. I have changed so much for the better I believe. I feel more human now if that makes sense, I feel more. We have to anchor to the positives dont we.


  322. Mark R Says:


    I can’t really help with panic attacks as I’ve only ever had about 3 in my life. What I can say though is Claire Weekes says ‘invite the ultimate and the moment will melt’……… don’t struggle with it, ask for more of it and it will pass.

    I don’t have a pressurised job any more than most. The trigger for me always seems to be with my stomach. When I’m really anxious I’m sick so when I get a stomach bug I think anxiety is coming back then I get a setback. It’s stupid on a logical level but it always happens.

    I’m feeling rotten today, same as yesterday but I’m just carrying on knowing that this misery is temporary. I know that I’ve come through setbacks before and so have you, just remember this!! x

  323. Charlotte Says:

    Hi Rach t

    I have a high pessure job and am beginning to learn I put most of the stress on myself by setting myself such high standards at work and at home. Most of all I give myself a hard time for having anxiety, and I think this is key for me that I don’t give myself a break.

    I’m ok ish at the moment but still on guard for intrusive thoughts and panic feelings, so I know I’m still not at the true acceptance phase.

    Hope you and everyone else’s weekends r going ok !

  324. Charlotte Says:

    Rach t

    Meant to say I’m also a perfectionist which maybe u r aswell as we sound quite similar ? Perfectionism and high standards coupled with being caring and emotional all make up lovely ingredients for anxiety to build up in!!

    I have counselling which I find helps me a lot, do you ?

  325. Sally Says:

    Rachel T
    One thing you are missing is let time pass.As soon as you feel the anxiety you want it gone.This is not possible read Claire Weekes she says even if you are doing well it will come back for quite some time memory and habit alone will do that So keep moving forward practise what Paul has taught us and let time pass be patient.By the way I have been to my granddaughters birthday party this afternoon and have had awful anxiety but he ho tomorrow is another day.X

  326. RachelT Says:

    Sally, you went! And great attitude he ho! Impatient I truly am, your right
    Charlotte, yes I am a perfectionist, terribly so, i hadnt realised how bad I was untul anxiety arrived. Thats one of the reasons I am grateful, its hard work trying to be Peter Perfect. And Im frustrated with myself for having anxiety aswell.I’m a fixer and i cant fix this, it goes against my grain. Just 5 mins ago I waved at my neighbours parents. They are living in Cyprus havibg just retired. The mum then got a diagnosis and they come back for treatment. Theyre always smiling! You can imagine my mind talk re feeling sorry for myself. I need to give myself a break for sure. I’m in the middle of stage 3 cbt. I wonder if that may be giving me the wobble too. They say it can make you feel worse before better.luckily she understands acceptance therapy so is supporting this method with me. Also I’ve an underactive thyroid and u had my bloods done 3 weeks ago and I had gone overactive so have had to lower my meds, this too can cause anxiety apparently. So think i have a perfect cocktail going on.

    Mark, have you tried cbt for the trigger fear?


  327. Wendy Says:


    can anyone give me some tips on how to think positive.
    I think my negative thinking really became a habit and it makes me feel very depressed. I don’t even feel extremely anxious at the moment, but my depression is so bad. The up and down thing makes me crazy..

    Thank you!

  328. Doreen Says:

    Rachel – for some people CBT is really helpful but not all of us have had a trigger fear. In my case ongoing and unremitting stress over a long period just wore down my coping mechanisms which led to the usual anxiety symptoms of feeling anxious about anything. So although I knew what was behind the depletion of strength, I nevertheless still had to deal with the outcome. In fact I panicked more about little things (losing keys for instance) than I did about my grandsons awful illness (one of the stresses). So my priority became managing to live along side ‘meaningless’ anxiety and accepting that if another real crisis happened I was likely to react at some point even if I had dealt well with it in the immediate. So I ceased to be scared of the anxiety but cannot say it is much fun either.

  329. michelle m Says:

    Hi all

    Hope everyone is feeling better today. I just want to ask whether anyone deals with the “urges” thoughts. I have intrusive thoughts about my daughter mainly which bring with them a huge amount of anxiety. The worst symptom is the urge. I feel like I have to do whatever (obviously I dont and never want to) just to prove to myself that I am not safe etc…

    Its all crap but does anyone here know what I am on about or have these urge type feelings?

    I can usually deal with everything but this scares the s*** out of me!



  330. Charlotte Says:

    Hi Michelle

    I understand COMPLETLEY. I have had exactly the same with both my children and I understand the ‘urge’ type feeling that accompanies the thought, but please believe it is just anxiety, and I think you do know that but at times like me you probably doubt yourself.

    Anxiety often picks on the things that you care about the most, ie your daughter, so maybe u can turn the thoughts around and think you are having them because of the intensity and love you feel for your daughter.

    It is only anxiety and the fact that I and I’m sure some of the other mums and dads on here will confirm have had the exact same thoughts and feelings confirms it further – even though it doesn’t need confirming as the thoughts r nothing more than stupid anxious thoughts !

  331. michelle m Says:

    Hi Charlotte

    Thanks for your kind words and I know that you are so right!

    It just gets to me at times and makes me feel like such an awful mum. I think the stories in the news have got to me this week, like others. I have been wondering what made them like that to do those things. I know that I am NOTHING like them!!

    Thanks again for your reassurance, which is something I shouldnt be looking for.

    Michelle x

  332. Sally Says:

    Hi Doreen totally agree with you I had no trigger fear had CBT not helpful for me but then we are all different and different things work for different people x

  333. Lucy Says:

    Michelle, I second Charlotte! And I know the “urge” that goes with it too, but you really never will. This was my most terrifying symptom and went on for quite some time, because I was so scared obviously. I nearly chucked away my biggest kitchen knife because I thought “what if I hurt her?” every time I had the handle it, but I didn’t because I realised that would only give strength to thought. I have been washing her hair and thought, “what if I drown her?”, putting her to bed and thought “what if I suffocate her?” It’s like my mind looked for any danger in any situation! It was so devastating to me at the time, because that fed the “why am I thinking these things?” thought, followed by the hundred anxious answers that my brain came up with, which were also rubbish! It felt heartbreaking, I questioned if it meant I didn’t love her anymore, and like you said, made me feel an awful mum. But the bottom line is they are anxiety and nothing else, the sooner you truly see and believe that, the less distressing they are when they come. They do still pop up sometimes, but I don’t pay them half as much attention anymore because I know they’re the biggest load of BS. I can almost kind of laugh at them now. I think it’s also because they’re one of the hardest things to talk about with people who don’t “get” it, and they seem so far from normal which is why they upset us, but for people with anxiety, you only have to read posts on here to know they are normal. If you really wanted to carry out any of the thoughts, you sure as hell would not be scared of them. I agree the news has been a bit much lately, I have questioned many things like how do people do that or get to be like that etc, I don’t have the answers but that is not how we are. All we are going through is anxiety! I am also a sucker for reassurance so don’t feed bad, it’s better than going silly wondering if something is unique to you x

  334. Michelle M Says:

    Hi Lucy

    Great answer – thanks very much. I agree with every thing you say and today I can look at my thoughts and not believe them one slightest bit! It truly is an awful part of anxiety and makes life difficult and very sad at times.

    I am definately getting better at this acceptance business but some days I get bogged down with it all and cant cope and then I look for reassurance.

    I am happy for you that you are better with your thoughts and they dont bother you as much. I used to take the knives off the draining board and put them in the kitchen drawer and feel that that was the safe option. Yes, of course I could just open the drawer again, but it made me feel better that they were out off sight. Stupid I know.

    I even told my eldest daughter who is 15 that I had these thoughts and she just laughed and said “you would never do anything like that mum so why worry”. She took it all in her stride, and manages to sleep at night still without worrying im coming after her with the whisk ha ha!!!

    Sometimes we do have to laugh at these ridiculous thoughts…

    Thanks again and wish everyone all the best.

    Michelle xx

  335. Lucy Says:

    Ha, my mum has said the same, as I’ve also had them towards her and she is not worried either! It’s good to have understanding people around you, I can be the biggest sap at times and have never hurt anyone or anything in my life, so I don’t know how that thought became such a focus for me. I think it is true that it sticks itself to the things you love most. I am not even sure I could throw so much as a good punch! You really will be fine and come out the other side, acceptance takes time to truly get and is an ongoing thing. It’s enough just to know you’re headed in the right direction. x

  336. Michelle M Says:

    ME TOO!!! – about my mum I mean! How weird??

  337. Lucy Says:

    I don’t know about you, but I am a single mum, making my mum and daughter the most important people to me so naturally that’s why it attaches to them because I love and care about them the most! I once read something in a Sunday newspaper from a brother who’s sister had killed their mum, I had to leave her house there and then because the thought terrified me. Looking back I can see how utterly silly it was and even sillier to leave but it the moment the fear is overwhelming. You just have to see that the thought is an anxious thought, and the feeling that goes with is just adrenaline. Nothing more. I know others who have had these thoughts, but not a single one who’s followed it.. !

  338. Chris Says:

    This is a great article. It takes a bit of practice to do this successfully obviously because it’s a mental habit to react to these thoughts, but it get’s so much easier. I find that my mind can focus on other things now after practicing this, instead of worrying 24/7 about anxiety.

  339. RachaelT Says:

    Hi all,

    I wondered whether Paul or anyone who has recovered could offer me any advice on relapses after recovery. I will soon become a mum for the first time and am devastated that my current relapse (2 weeks into it) is ruining what should be a joyful time for my husband and I. I think finding out I was pregnant was my trigger for this latest bout to be honest.

    I have had bouts off anxiety in its various forms on and off since I was five. In the past I have always came out of the bouts after a month or so thru getting on with my life and gradually forgetting it. I even believed after 6 years of being anxiety free at one stage that I would never experience it again, I lost my fear of it. Sadly I was wrong, and about 5 years ago I had the worst bout of anxiety to date. It took me 2 years to recover from that very dark time in my life and I still had relapses on and off every few months for a few years after, every relapse led me to believe I would never fully kick anxiety – cue more anxiety and the cycle went on.

    Until recently I enjoyed 2 relatively anxiety free years since the ‘mega bout’ due to the fact that I threw myself into planning my wedding and I think the fact that I had such a large gap gave me confidence. I did occasionally remember anxiety and mildly worry, however I managed to refocus my thoughts successfully with work or just living whenever it crept back in. Despite this, I think at the back of my mind I still maybe feared going into that ‘dark place’ again. My entire fear is based on relapsing and I 100 per cent belief I always will as I have so far. It has become self perpetuating so even when I do seem to recover I relapse down the line and I can’t seem to crack this cycle.

    I truly worry and 100 % believe that I will spend my life digging myself out of the anxiety pit only to fall back down it again and this thought gives me an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness. Eeven when I am well I still know that I will relapse at some point whether it be weeks, months or if I am lucky a couple of years. The belief that at any time I can worry about getting anxiety/despair again and get unwell leaves me feeling vulnerable and starts the cycle. I don’t suffer panic attacks and am not scared of the physical symptoms of anxiety, I am scared of the wave of despair that washes over me when I feel like this. I also have a horrid feeling of apprehension and not being safe from the wave which can strike at any time, at the moment mostly all day.

    I am struggling with just letting my wave of despair be there, however I have a tendancy to dwell on this, so I really feel like I have to fight off the negativity with a more rational/positive approach or at least distrct myself a little so I don’t start my own pity party. Long rant – sorry. I feel so lost and overwhelmed right now. Do you think people get better and stay better beacuse they believe that they will never relapse again? I don’t have this belief. I am even convinced that at some point I will worry about getting anxiety after I have had my baby which will impact on my family and therefore I will do argghh. Any advice is welcome.
    Sad and feeling a little lost right now

  340. vanaR Says:

    Dear Paul,

    Today is my birthday and it would not be a happy one if I didn’t take the time to thank a complete stranger across the pond for the gift he’s given me this year.

    I can’t remember how I stumbled upon your book & website during my most desperate days and I can’t tell you how many times I thought how grateful I was that I had! I won’t bore you with the details of my suffering as you state many times it is up and down, feeling good, really bad, oh i got it, no i don’t, yuck, great, etc… Can I say I’m fully recovered? Who knows and honestly I don’t care! That was sooo important for me: letting recovery seek you. It was also probably the one thing I didn’t really understand until a lot of trial and error. Yet this simple understanding (although again very hard to do) was very significant in shifting my attitude which, well you know where it goes from there.

    Paul David you’re the best!!! I know you work very hard in helping people that you’ve never meet. That’s very admirable and I’ll thank you forever for that.

    “Only the wounded physician heals.” – CARL JUNG

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