New Book ‘At Last a Life and Beyond’

Hi Everyone,

Sorry I have not been on here posting for a while, I have spent the last 7 months writing my new book ‘At Last a Life and Beyond’, the book is now complete and just needs a few loose ends sorting out and then it will be going to print.

The book covers many things especially thoughts, which is what a lot of people seem to struggle a lot with. It is packed with information that will hopefully give people the peace of mind so they can finally allow the process of recovery to happen. When there is a fear and bewilderment about then it is much harder to allow what is happening to happen without suppression and resistance to what is. Your mind and body truly wants to find it’s way home, a lot of the time when you are struggling this is the body trying to get home, like a T.V that needs to go through the fuzzy stuff before it finds the perfect picture, yet a lot of the time we keep getting in its way and it never gets to find that picture. It was only when I stepped out of its way that healing began to happen, there was no instant answer to make it all go away, no answer to zap a symptom, I had to go through a process.

If anyone is interested in the new book I will let people know when it is available.

Thanks to Rich and Nolan for their support to others also, they talk so much sense and are a real help to others.

Paul

528 Responses to “New Book ‘At Last a Life and Beyond’”

  1. Tom M Says:

    Looking forward to reading this Paul, Thanks for all the help and information you have provided so far and to Rich an Nolan too, You’re all super stars.

    Tom.

  2. Steveo Says:

    Paul,

    I think this is probably one of the best analogy posts you have posted;

    “like a T.V that needs to go through the fuzzy stuff before it finds the perfect picture, yet a lot of the time we keep getting in its way and it never gets to find that picture.”

    Looking forward to having a read of the new book. I’ve recently hit a setback and the anxiety has come flooding back.

    Biggest anxiety question now is, can I FULLY recover…

  3. colin Says:

    Hi Paul, I look forward you your new book . Read the first one and here i am today feeling as good as I have ever been . The previous book has given me a great insight into my own anxiety . It has taught me how to just go with it and this has most definitely been a life saver for me . It’s a simple answer to a struggle so many people can’t find . But and I say but , they have to as you teach feel the feeling and just move on with your day. At the stage I am at just now I never ever say I won’t happen again to me . But if it does I have the tools and knowledge to easily get back on track . So Paul I would like to say a massive thanks . And goodl luck with the new book which I will be buying and reading .

    Kind regards
    Colin

  4. Doreen Says:

    Congratulations Paul. Sure many will benefit

  5. Steve b Says:

    Hi guys. Would be interested to ask. In those that have fully recovered. When you get the transition from full on anxiety to some very quiet moments and days when you are 90% normal does it start to feel weird. Like your mind has gone all quiet and the thoughts come with so much less noise it’s almost like someone has turned down the volume in your head and it can be a little disconcerting.
    Good luck with the book paul.

  6. Jessica Says:

    Congrats on your newest book and a tremendous thank you! I know it has been an up and down struggle for me over the past two years, but deep in the midst of it I stumbled upon your first book and this blog and man on man did it open my eyes. It has taken me a long time to finally start really implementing what you taught. I mean I would do it here and there, but whenever I was feeling better, I just went on with my life, but still feared anxiety in the background.

    I’m in the midst of probably the worst setback to date, but if I can say one thing–I am learning more than I ever have. I am finally seeing that you really need to face it. Face everything. You can’t pick and choose what you face or what you do. You have to allow it all–even as hard as that is. I’m seeing a psychologist who really preaches this theory. She has told me that you must allow the thoughts. The goal is never to get rid of them, but to just allow them to be there and stop caring so much. I mentioned your book and blog, and the advice that Rich, Nolan, and many others have preached and she said “Wow–that is spot on. They know exactly what it takes–nothing!”

    So thank you, and I am very much looking forward to your new book. I follow you on Twitter and saw the pic of you after running a half marathon and wanted to congratulate you on that as well! You inspire and encourage me. For so long I have let anxiety rule and dictate my life, being afraid of trying something new or even living because of it. You and others on here are really showing me that you must live life in spite of it. Live like you would if you didn’t have anxiety at all. Cheers and congrats!

  7. Pamela Says:

    Cant wait to read the new book loaned your other book to my sister & she loves it.

  8. Andy J Says:

    Delighted to hear the books finished Paul.

    I know every one says it, but thank you so much for doing this. You were whrte we are now and have come through it.

    You genuinely are a legend.

  9. Daniel Says:

    Congratulations Paul!

  10. carla Says:

    Great news, am looking forward to reading it, particularly as it deals with the thoughts side of things.

    One of the main problems I find with the anxious, repetitive thoughts (and heightened self-awareness) is that they immediately make you think that you’re doing the wrong thing. ‘Oh no, I’m not stepping out of its way, oh no I’m trying to fix things, oh no I’m going round and round in circles AGAIN!’

    And I think once we start thinking that we’re somehow ‘doing it wrong’ or ‘not able to step aside’ then the anxiety gets perpetuated.

    I think I just need to accept that I’ve always been pretty self-aware and a bit of a deep thinker. And, without the heightened adrenaline, these traits can actually be pretty useful :)

  11. Nolan Says:

    Congrats Paul!!!

  12. Meg Says:

    Great news I can’t wait to read it!
    I agree Carla the thoughts have been so difficult for me. I started with suicidal thoughts and let them be and eventually they went away. The last few weeks I’ve been thinking I may have a worse mental health problem and have been researching, going to the Dr’s all over again.. can’t believe I fell into the anxiety trap but it’s so easy to be tricked!
    I’m coming off anti depressents which has been hell but I can’t wait to be me again so I can properly accept without drugs dampening everything down.

  13. Diane Says:

    Well done Paul, Ilook forward to reading . i agree with some of the other posts that the thoughts are the hardest for me. I feel I have to neutrlise any negative thought. I have recently been unwell, I had a DVT and PE , thankfully I am on treatment that is working , but my anxiety has also taken hold over my recovery time. The fear comes and I feel cosumed with the thoughts and anxiety, when it passes I can look at things more rationally. my heightened awareness also is there. I am back at work part time, after 7 weeks of . Your booked helped me with anxiety over 4 years ago when my anxiety was ruling my life and I have re read parts of the book and coming onto blog again for support, thank you and let us know when book is out, take care Diane

  14. Louise Says:

    Hi everyone
    I’m really looking forward to new book coming out as the thoughts have been my worst symptom however I am improving a lot. I have been taking inisitol a natural supplement and it has def taken edge of anxiety of course I have bad days but am carrying on with living

  15. Paul David Says:

    Jessica Says: I follow you on Twitter and saw the pic of you after running a half marathon and wanted to congratulate you on that as well!

    Thanks Jessica, it was tough as I was injured with a bad knee, but I ran it all, I think I will stick to walking, swimming and cycling now though, pounding roads doesn’t half take its toll on the body.

    Thanks for the nice comments everyone and if it wasn’t for people here helping each other then it would not be the place it is.

    Paul

  16. Karen Colwill Says:

    Hi Paul

    A lot of women going through hormonal issues suffer with anxiety. Can you still deal with the anxiety if hormones are to blame.

    The reason I ask this is because If you can deal with it as a separate issue the I can go on their website and promote your book. You will definitely sell more.

    You truly are an inspirational man and are a hero.
    Karen

  17. Kevin Says:

    Hi all, it is very refreshing posting on a new blog post!

    I am going through the worst setback right now it seems. I am really struggling with thoughts and emotions that are really awful. I have realized that most of my life, I have bottled up my emotions. I fear that I may snap and do something awful. I know I won’t and that Its just anxious thoughts. But of course they seem so real. Currently, am looking to find an outlet for my emotions/stress/anger. I exercise everyday, which definitely seems to help. If anyone has any suggestions, I am open to them!

    Congrats on the new book Paul, can’t wait to read it!

  18. Catherine Says:

    Hi there

    I look forward to your next book, the first has really helped and does all the time. I feel that a lot of the symtoms have subsided because of your advice so I go everywhere and do all I can but I am left with what is probably an over production of adrenaline which always threatens to pull me under again. Any advice?

  19. Nolan Says:

    Hi Kevin,
    Along my recovery, moments when I thought “well, I’m done with that for good”, many times I found myself back in the pit of despair. The same thoughts and feelings would just bubble up.
    You start to realize that it’s not anything you did wrong to bring this setback about,… it’s just part of the whole process. They come on their own and they ultimately leave on their own.
    Let those thoughts and emotions be there for as long as they want to be there. It’s your attitude towards them that will feed them or starve them. Do whatever you want to do with your life just with the attitude that the substance of that anxiety is not going to dictate what you do and that you’re done trying to mentally or physically ‘chase the bad stuff away’.
    That peacefulness of mind and body will find its way back to you, all you have to really do is allow it. Allowing it takes patience and time. But trust me, Kevin, (and you may have already had glimmers of this along the way) but it is more than worth it.

  20. Karen Colwill Says:

    Thank you Nolan. You and Paul are truly inspirational. A lot of people owe you a lot. Xxx Karen

  21. Kevin Says:

    Nolan,

    Thanks very much for your reply. Your advice has been extremely helpful to me (and many others of course).

    Its of course very frustrating when you have all these feelings and thoughts that you just do not want. It almost convinces me that I am turning into a horrible person. I find myself analyzing all my actions, past and present, and my feelings towards things to reassure myself that I am a good person. Of course, that is not accepting and i am trying to accept. I do and have had glimmers where I feel like my old self and boy I live for those moments. Thanks again Nolan, will put your advice to good use.

  22. Rhian Says:

    Fab News! So looking forward to reading the new book. Your last one got me out of a very dark place and I would now say I’m 90% recovered. I do get the odd blip, but have learnt to accept them and just carry on. Thanks Paul!

  23. Jessica Says:

    Paul–knowing that you did that injured AND ran the entire way is even more impressive! My Mom was a longtime runner but had a lot of foot injuries and surgeries as a result, so she switched to cycling and is now hooked on it. Again, way to go! :)

  24. Louise Says:

    I am having day flooded with strange thoughts they come with sting and I sweat like mad but I’m getting better at letting them in its taken me 18 months of these bloody thoughts chopping and changes but I’m getting there at last a life is in sight

  25. Jessica Says:

    Hi Kevin!

    I know exactly what you mean, I too have been going through quite the setback, but still wanted to reach out. I can tell you are struggling with the content of the thoughts a lot and the emotions that come along with it. I know it’s hard not to. I mean it takes time and real patience to be accepting of them and that’s always the issue. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought “Well how can I be accepting when I feel like crap?” Yeah, it’s obvious I still didn’t get it. You have to learn to be okay with everything that is raging inside of you. Hard? Yes. Impossible? No.

    For so long I looked at recovery the wrong way. I looked at recovery as “the moment I will no longer have these thoughts” No. That’s wrong, wrong, wrong! Recovery comes when you can have these thoughts and accept them. The paradox of all of this is that when you start to accept these thoughts they eventually lift which leads to peace and recovery–but you can’t look at it that way. As long as you continue to chase feeling better, peace won’t find you.

    Don’t hold on to that rope so tight. Don’t hold onto those moments when you feel like your old self. Embrace it all. Look, I’ll admit, I’m still learning. I just cried the other night, screaming out “I want my life back!” It was a stumble, but I got up and dusted myself off and recognized that if I want to get better, I have to be okay with not being okay. Comfortable with the uncomfortable. Other safety behaviors or wishing it would leave just continue to feed it.

    I know when the despair sets in it’s really hard to ignore. I mean I get you 100%. I think it’s in those times though, that we can learn the most. I can honestly tell you that the day before my vacation (6/27/15) I was utterly convinced that not only could I not go with my husband and his family to the Caymans, but I was going to have to check myself into a hospital. I mean I was THAT worked up. My mind could not comprehend getting through that moment. But, you know what? It did, and I went on that vacation—and, wait for it, enjoyed it :)

    I have had really low moments since then, but really good moments too. Peace will come to me, it will come to you, it will come to us all. We just have to be willing to wait for it–which is probably the hardest part :)

  26. Paul David Says:

    Pamela I have reason to believe you are posting under 2 different names to get twice as much help on here, you are also posting under the name Ross, when you post it leaves a trail of evidence. I exclude everyone who does this for obvious reasons, I am 99% sure you are doing this and sorry but if you do it again you will be barred from posting, I would rather warn you than just exclude you to give you a chance.

  27. Beth Says:

    Paul i cannot thank you enough for all you have already done for me. I found your last book after battling with my anxiety really badly last winter. I think I’ve had bad anxiety ever since my dad was diagnosed with Brian cancer when i was 13. Last winter I was really struggling as I was doing my GCSEs and my dad was getting ill and my anxiety clearly got worse. I was literally at the end of what I thought I could take then I found your book. My dad was taken into hospital and without your help and words I wouldn’t have been able to have been there for him. Instead of letting how I feel win I would go visit him no matter how I felt and I’m so happy I did. My dad passed away in February and without your help I wouldn’t have been able to have been there for him. After he passed away I went straight back to school and had to do my GCSEs. Recently I just left and started feeling a little anxious again. I wasn’t sleeping great or looking after myself very well during the last few months. And I started getting these really bad headaches. I started panicking thinking I had a brain tumour or something seriously wrong. And then I started feeling out of it and not myself. I’m currently in a really bad setback and struggling really bad with what is think is depersonalization. I just don’t feel like myself anymore and I feel like trapped in my head? Is this normal for depersonalization and will it fade if I let it be. I cannot wait for your new book to come out and give me that little bit more guidance I think I need. Thank you so much for doing what you do!

  28. Jeff Says:

    Great attitude Jessica, and sound advise. It sounds like you’re almost out of it.

    It takes a lot of courage to take a trip when you’re going through this….

    Anticipatory anxiety – it’s interesting to note that it’s likely not the trip itself (or going to the doctor/dentist/or wherever), but the FEAR of how we might feel, how our bodies will react that scares us. Will I freak out or what?…and embarrass myself, my significant other, family etc….?

    It seems to me that recovery, from anxiety particularly, is multidimensional as well as non-linear. Not at all like recovery from a loss (grief)…which seems almost linear in comparison. And seems to take FOREVER. But as time passes we improve in almost imperceptible ways. It’s like we grow out of it.

    That’s my take anyway…

  29. Nolan Says:

    Thanks for the kind words Karen and Kevin :)

    Regarding those thoughts, I completely know what you mean. I’ve been there. A terrible, nasty, disturbing thought comes into your mind and it just sticks. It sits there, you want it gone but that only seems to fortify its position in your mind.

    Here’s what happened with me:
    My anxiety/depression occurred when my son was only about 6 months old. I was a husk of my former self. I was there but not there with my family (we all know what I mean by this). I would get these completely terrible thoughts of hurting my son. These intrusive and unwilling to leave thoughts were just one of my many symptoms.
    I won’t go into detail about the content of those thoughts. But they made me hate myself even more. I remember I would force my mind to think of a song instead… to play a part of a song over and over in my head. But then, that song got stuck in my head. Playing over and over. Now I couldn’t get that to stop. And it would be like just 4 words from a chorus…. like a record skipping and playing the same part over. It was exhausting torment. I use a method to get one thing out of my mind and now this new thing is driving me just as mad.

    It wasn’t always this simple, sometimes I’d forget or go reflexively into “fight it!!!” mode…. but… I would simply implement what Paul mentioned in his book. I let those thoughts be there, I gave them all the space they wanted to have, I let them build up as much in intensity as they wanted to build up. I let them have free reign of my conscious thought as long as they wanted to have it.
    make no mistake, this wasn’t ‘fun’, but, following Paul I was simply done with the fight.
    I still went about my day. If I wanted to watch a movie then I’d watch a movie and these screaming/tormenting/debasing thoughts got to come along for the ride. I took my son to the park with those thoughts. I read a book with those thoughts. I stopped fighting and I adopted the attitude of “so what”.

  30. Louise Says:

    Great post Nolan the thoughts are the hardest for me like you say you just end up replacing one thought with another it’s strange some freak me out for few hours then disappear from my radar but some stick and pop up every so often. Still causing a sting but not the panic I used to get

  31. Kevin Says:

    Jessica,

    It was a relief to see that you know how I feel 100%. The thoughts can feel so real but it gets easier day by day. Today i let the thoughts be there and already I can feel them loosening their grasp. I still struggle with irritable feelings and emotions but I know acceptance is still the solution.

    Nolan, your words are very inspiring. Thanks again.

  32. Diane Says:

    Hi all, the thoughts are and can be exhausting, I feel I have to naturalise my thoughts or something will happen to myself, loved ones or other people, of I leave it I can feel it get louder and physically stressed. I have had this since my youth and it get worse at periods of stress. At the moment I am dealing with the stress of recovering from a DVT and PE, this has set my anxiety high.

    It is good to read others advice and I am going to try not to neutralise and let it be, I know this OCD patterns wont be easy but it keeps my anxiety going, I will let you know how it goes…

    thanks for all the great advice and looking forward to the new book,

    take care all

  33. Horton Says:

    Hey folks, quick question.

    Lots of people mention that they feel normal after some deep breathing (repersonalized) or are symptom free after a workout or run. Other people mention that they just get moments of normality every once an a while.
    But I’ve had my disorder for 18 months now, and found Paul’s website 1 year ago (meaning it’s been one year of recovery for me) and I haven’t had a second being free from any of symptoms, depersonalization and different personality and all the others.

    Hmm… that isn’t exactly a question, more of a subject I need advice on.

  34. Jessica Says:

    Thanks Jeff!

    Yes, my anticipatory anxiety was all heightened about “how will I act/feel there” due to the past two times I travel I experienced very heightened anxiety and so my brain automatically assumed that it would be terrible. I conjured up all these situations in my head that I would experience. It’s not like I’m afraid of the trip, but how I would react once there.

    I agree with you about anxiety recovery being non-linear. It’s a varied rollercoaster filled with ups and downs. There is no straight line to follow. Sometimes I wish it was more straightforward, but I have come to try and accept and appreciate this, as life is full of ups and downs, nothing is ever straightforward. While recovery can take a long time, it certainly gives us many lessons along the way!

    Kevin–yes, the thoughts and resulting emotions feel so raw and real at times, but I’m always shown that it passes–even when it feels like it will not. Yes, acceptance is the answer. It may not be easy, but as you just said, when you don’t struggle and let the thoughts be there, there is a certain calm that eventually comes about as they begin to lift. Struggling is all part of recovery, I think without it, we would continue the same behaviors that got us here in the first place–I know I’m still working on that part :)

  35. Mike Says:

    Nolan,

    I can really relate to your experience with your son. I’m a new father myself and my son’s first birthday is this upcoming Sunday. My anxiety started back in February and has been ongoing since. I came across Paul’s book early on and I felt an immediate weight lifted off my shoulders. I finally knew what was going on with my body and I knew I wasn’t going crazy.

    The thoughts are definitely what bug me the most though. Having thoughts about hurting myself or hurting my son made me absolutely sick. I knew I would never do either of those things but just the thought of them would send me in a tailspin.

    Over the past few months I’ve have been improving but have seemed to plateau over the past month or so. I have good days and bad. Most days I’ll seem to have a few good hours then all of a sudden the thought of me having anxiety pops in my head to reassure me that it’s still there. I’ve seem to have strayed away from Paul’s methods and try to push those thoughts away and fear them when I need to just see them for what they are, thoughts.

    I’m glad I wandered back to this blog and to Paul’s advice. I’ve been trying to do things my way again and have been trying to fight these thoughts because I’m sick of having them and want to be back to the old me. I have to once again realize that recovery takes time and I need to accept and feel whatever happens to reach it.

    The past two weeks I’ve really been having some set backs. Deciding to take medicine again and experiencing bad side effects had only made my anxiety worse. I’m off the medicine again and am determined to not let these set backs make me feel like I’m back to square one. I’m young, just got married, have a beautiful son, and have a lot to live for. I need to learn to feel and accept my anxiety and one day I will reach my goal of recovery.

    Thank you Paul and Nolan, getting back to Paul’s book and this blog is really what I needed to give me hope with my recovery.

  36. Rach Says:

    Hi guys returning to see how everyone is. It’s been nearly 3 months since I started medication and not much joy to be honest. It’s helped my depression but my anxiety is still quite bad. Very up and down all the time.
    Just want to be normal!
    Looking forward to reading the new book!:)
    Xxxx

  37. Karen Says:

    Hi all, bit of advice if you don’t mind. At the moment my anxiety is sky high. It’s usually intrusives that trigger it and I am getting better at dealing with them but the last few days it’s like I’ve got ‘I can’t cope and I need to leave / run away’ on a loop in my head.
    I have no idea how to deal with this. I think I am engaging with the thoughts but not sure to be honest. I am carrying on with my day playing games with my kids, been to a summer fair with it screaming at me. Quite frankly I feel like I need to go to hospital but I know that’s a lie too.
    I suspect this has triggered as the last two summer holidays have been hell (that’s when it started). So I also suspect, maybe wrongly that it’s triggered to try remove me from the threat of the summer holidays???? Who knows.
    Anybody else felt like this? If so what’s the best way to deal with it? I can’t leave my family but right now my brain is telling me I should. I know I am obsessing about these thoughts instead of leaving them alone.

  38. Louise Says:

    Hi Karen
    I completely get where you are coming from with the thoughts they are my main symptom and I really struggle with them. When u think about you need be in hospital it the just the anxiety hiking up I’m sure like me in rational moments you know this not the case. All the time you are carrying on with life you are recovering hang in there you will be fine

  39. Karen Says:

    Thanks Louise. Intrusives I can let go now generally but because this ‘coping’ one is more real I think I believe it must be true. Does that make sense?

  40. Karen Says:

    Oh Nolan, you make it sound so simple and I know it is simple if we could just stop fighting. One day I will get there.

  41. Jackie Says:

    Well, I am back.. I haven’t visited this site in over a year because things were so great. But I am feeling anxiety once again. It might be the stressfulness of my job and new responsibilities, or the fact that the divorce (we separated a year ago) is finally about to become final. I also am interested in another man but we don’t share the same spiritual beliefs. I am just thinking about all this so much and I have the jittery anxiety upon waking. I am trying to remember the steps and get back to being happy and anxiety free. I am just afraid that I will forever be alone because of my relationship anxiety. Anyone have any tips on relationship anxiety?

  42. Louise Says:

    Hi Jackie I have had this if u look on last blog on April 10 th Kat replied to me which was great

  43. Louise Says:

    Karen
    I have just finished Richard Carlson book stop worrying start living greAt book about cutting off from thoughts. All the time you carry on you are winning though hang in there it will get easier just when I think I getting there I find something else to scare me lol. X

  44. Jackie Says:

    Thank you I read them… I will try to let time do its healing and keep moving forward!

  45. Louise Says:

    Jackie
    I never realised how common it was till I found this blog and read other people’s stories namely Kat and later in sept 2012 dawns story with Helen helping and both got over this form
    Anxiety it had taken me nearly a year

  46. Jackie Says:

    Yeah, I dont think I have ever had this before until I met my husband… Our marriage was turmoil and i felt so free when we separated but now that I am interested in someone else, fear is coming back.

  47. colin Says:

    Hi all

    A quick question . Is anxiety a chemical imbalance ie lack of serotonin ? Or is it something we create for ourself so? Six that was 2 questions lol
    Good luck to everyone suffering from anxiety . Keep believing in yourself a and don’t give up.

    Colin

  48. Meg Says:

    Colin, no it is not I believe after lots of research of my own and through reading pauls material that anxiety disorders are a result of our behaviour and beliefs hence why recovery is possible. If you need more proof many studies out there show that anti depressents are often no more effective than a sugar pill (the placebo effect) showing that the belief alone in getting better is often enough. The key is inside you, you just have to figure out how to use it but we all can by following pauls advice.

  49. Horton Says:

    Could anyone give my earlier inquiry a gander if they have the time?

    Also, any advice on how to better believeyou will recover? Just act like it is a certainry until you believe it?

  50. Andy J Says:

    Hi guys,

    I’m really glad the book is going to cover thoughts in some detail, because its what I’m currently struggling with greatly.

    I know its all classed under the same umbrella of anxiety, but I’m not sure if mine are specific to OCD.

    I keep having the same distressing repetitive thoughts. These are accompanied by an urge to do things and I start questioning whether any of this actually is anxiety, or whether something inside me has changed because of the deep distress I’ve been through. This then leads to all kinds of questioning, backwards and forwards thinking of how I should be thinking and how I should be handling the thoughts, basically adding to the issues.

    Regardless of how real these feel, should I just say whatever? I feel like I’m persisting with a way of handling the thoughts that probably isnt right and is probably just me ‘getting from day to day’. I’m also coming to the end of my therapy sessions provided through the NHS and feel nowhere near being sorted.

    Any advice would be great.

    Thanks,

    Andy

  51. Rachel Says:

    Why do things seem like there moving but they are not why is that xx

  52. Louise Says:

    Hi Andy
    Have look through obsessive thoughts blog it full of all types thoughts I think it was candid who suffered with all sorts thoughts and she struggled with acceptance but once she got it the thoughts started to slow down till gone

  53. Andy J Says:

    Hi Louise,

    Thanks for that. Its a really helpful blog to read.

    I guess we have to put faith in a method which may seem alien to us at first. We then have to persist with it, in the hope that eventually things will settle down and allow us to return to an anxiety free life.

    Its just making sure that the methods we follow are correct and haven’t been misunderstood, which is what I sometimes worry about.

    Thanks again

  54. Louise Says:

    Andy
    It’s hard and it takes time but they do fade and chop and change theme. Re read the book and def have good look through that blog mainly candie and Scarlett’s replys they both had these thoughts and went in time with recovery and understanding

  55. Bryan Says:

    Horton,

    Please refer to the post I posted to you on March 11 of this year. (Prior blog entry).

    The answer now is the same as it was then. We don’t recover by accepting for a little while and then demanding results. It takes some of us years to regain normalcy and some of us weeks. Once again, it sounds as if you’d prefer there was some other answer or that some different set of rules applies for your case. I have been where you are… and neither is true. We have to truly commit to these methods for as long as it takes and anything else is fighting.

  56. Beth Says:

    Hi I was just wondering if tension headaches is common in anxiety and depersonalization? I started getting bad constant tension headaches and began feeling weird and out of it like I was slowly forgetting who I was. Now I’m struggling really bad with depersonalization but I always have this tight feeing or headache? Is this just stress? I’d be able to accept it but it is still worrying me like I can’t accept and get over this because I still worry there is something more wrong? Sorry for posting something like this but I find so much support on here and was wondering if anyone could help :(

  57. Matt Says:

    It’s the “so what” attitude that’s been eluding me, and been keeping me stuck. I’ll try for a few hours, or a few days, and sometimes a week or so to be like “so what” about how I feel, and remind myself that nothing bad will come of anxiety. Sometimes my symptoms drop away in just a few minutes (not that is what I’m trying for), but the instant success makes me want it to happen more. When I wake up the next day, and the symptoms are still there, I get frustrated, which thus means I’m losing the “so what” attitude, because I’m frustrated that I don’t want the thoughts to be there, and they are. It’s so hard to realize that there are ups and downs and we have no control, other than our attitude. Some days you feel great, and others…not so much. It’s in the bad times that you make your biggest strides, because you prove to your body that you can have the “so what” attitude then, even at your worst.

    I’ve finally given into the idea that this is going to take a lot of time to overcome (not just a few weeks, a month, or two months). I’m expecting this to take a while, and I want to stop caring about how long it’ll take!

  58. Emma Says:

    Hi, this is my first time posting on this blog although I have been on the website and Facebook many times. My anxiety started three years ago and what a journey it has been. I am for the most part well and I now have many times when I’m anxiety free however I am due to go on a holiday in two weeks and I am strongly considering not going. It was the same last year I just become so anxious and panicky about flying and being far from home. I’m a mum with a husband and three children and really don’t want to let them down but my husband says its not worth it if I’m going to be in such a state. Any advice??

  59. John T Says:

    Beth – I have this EXACT SAME SYMPTOM – the head band, the weirdness of someone squeezing my brain, and the accompanying unreality, the headaches, wondering if its migraine, etc….

    Its simply a matter of what you’re afraid of. I don’t fear the heart shakes, the skipped beats, the sweaty palms, so I don’t get those – or if I do, it doesn’t last long. I’m not even worried if its a brain tumor, if that makes sense. I just don’t like the sensation; if affects my cognition at work and frustrates me to no end. However, someone else would simply blow this off as a tension headache, pop some Advil and not worry about it.

    This sensation is one of the harder ones I’ve had to shake, but with more practice and acceptance, I do feel it going away. It tends to come back and remind me, but again, practice and practice some more. I’ve found that reading takes my mind off it, so if I gotta read War and Peace, then fine…lol…even reading about anxiety takes my mind off it. Reassurance helps, even though I probably shouldn’t be doing that.

  60. Bryan Says:

    Beth,

    Yes 100% normal for the condition. Classic stress symptoms.

  61. anna Says:

    Very good quote I read “just like our body heals a scarb our psychological system will work in the same way and will heal our mind if given the chance to do so”.

  62. Andy J Says:

    Morning Gang.

    I guess my confusion is around allowing thoughts, without getting involved in them, AFTER you have already been involved in them. Is it still as simple as saying ‘woah, this is just your anxiety’?. It feels like because I have tried figuring it all out, that I now need to resolve the issues I have, and allowing them to be there just feels like avoidance.

    Where do we draw the line between allowing the thoughts to be there and then not getting involved with them? Can any one give me any of their own examples which would show the difference?

    I know I’ve mentioned mine are OCD, but im really concerned that this method wont be applicable to me. Also that Paul says, his didnt turn in to ‘full blown OCD’ which mine seem to have done now, also makes me worry. Perhaps I have now gone further than he did?

    I started off having Paul’s book for my GAD, but its since developed in to these obsessive thoughts. I guess its all tied in together. I’m just so disillusioned, I feel like I’ve got no where for any of my efforts.

    Sorry for the whinge….

    Andy

  63. Steve b Says:

    Hi guys. Anyone that recovered did they go through a period of feeling very low once they started to feel better generally?

  64. Clare Says:

    Hello just looking for some advice,
    I fully understand now why I had a breakdown and have unlocked the door to anxiety, I am trying so hard to carry on, but I can’t help but wonder the things that caused the breakdown- do they need to change? Seen as Paul says it’s a build up of stress until your brain can take no more, do you have to change these things in order to get better? I feel like I have a full understanding of why I feel the way I do but I still can’t move forward, I don’t know how to be ok with how I feel, I don’t know how to give up the fight. No matter what I do or where I go it’s always there. From the minute I open my eyes to when I close them at night it’s there. I have noticed that when the logical side of my brain is engaged it goes for a while so I try to strengthen that side, my emotional brain is completely knackered. I’m sorry if this doesn’t make sense, I’m desperate for help, I honestly feel suicidal.

  65. Sam Says:

    Hi guys
    I have been suffering from anxiety about 9 years, more specifically about health and particular disease I have had 23 tests for it but all negative but still cant seem to accept results or the anxiety..

  66. Kevin Says:

    Andy j,

    I cant really help you regarding where you draw the line between allowing thoughts and not getting involved. I do want to say that you are not alone in thinking you have “full blown OCD”. I had and still have overwhelming ocd thoughts about harming my family, my friends, dog etc… Started googling again about 4 days ago. Bad idea of course. I have antisocial personality disorder, then i have a mini panic attack. Then obsess for hours over it.
    I have looked back into my childhood and have had some questionable experiences that may lead to antisocial personality. I keep reminding myself of all the good ive done, and all the times that i was worried for other people. But i keep going back to my just being a selfish, heartless person.
    I read how people with this personality lie, manipulate, cheat, and have no remorse for their thoughts or actions.
    Well guess what? Now i feel no guilt or remorse for my thoughts. They dont bother me. I feel nothing. But that worries me and then i think that i like them. Then the urges almost seem like im resisting them, rather than being worried that im gonna act on them.

    Im just going in circles. Right now, i have this thought ” what if im manipulating all these people online to feel sorry for me” it just feels like my whole personality has done a 180. Honestly, right now my health anxiety and panic attacks sound pretty good, at least im myself! I could go on about how i feel but i dont wanna vent too much. Anyway, i know how you feel. Heck, i feel like i dont even have ocd anymore. It feels like this is who i am.

  67. Maria Says:

    Hello Paul and all! :)

    I’m so excited about your new book! Any idea when it will be available and whether or not it will be on the app?

    I too would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done. As you know, your book truly changed my life. I still have the odd anxious moments, but I just don’t react to them the way I used to. Hence, I don’t slip down that tunnel of terror! Your book was one big lightbulb moment for me. And this blog, and the exceptionally cool people here, have been the icing on the cake. To be able to read the wise advice from others as well as try to give some myself, has been so very helpful to me. It’s a wonderful way to reinforce all that you teach in your book.

    So, thank you again, Paul. I’d say that if given the possibility, hundreds of people would line up to give you a huge hug, and I’d want to be first in line. :)

  68. Beth Says:

    Thank you so much John t I understand what you mean about being afraid of it! I’m not particularly bothered about racing hearts or any of that so it doesn’t bother me but problems with my head and stuff and thoughts just get me and I try it so hard let them be. It seems the depersonalization has come since I started getting headaches? I have had a lot of stress over the past few years and losing my dad earlier in the year to brain cancer anything to to with my head really stresses me out :( at the moment thought I can’t seem to get out of this depersonalization? I started getting eye floaters and spots and became really over aware of that and I suppose over aware of these headaches and tightness and then I slowly started becoming really foggy and feeling not like myself? I feel trapped in my head and having loads of weird and existential thoughts and I just can’t stand it :( is this normal for depersonalization and is it normal to feel so hopeless? I’m trying to let myself feel weird and down and hopeless but there’s still a part of me thinking i need to fix this or there’s something seriously wrong :( I’m really sorry for being so down on such a good post but I love actually talking to people who understand :(

  69. Karen Says:

    Nolan or anyone else who is recovered. My question is this ………… what was the difference in your days before you knew about acceptance and after. I know a lot of the time it feels so horrible like we are just getting through the day until it lifts, surviving. If we are not avoiding anything or googling symptoms etc, what is the difference, indeed is there one? I mean we can’t stop the racing mind / the self focus / thoughts and are not trying to so how is it different? Does that make any sense actually. lol.

    Beth, yes I have the same symptoms badly at the moment. Don’t apologise for being down, this condition is a pain in the backside to say the least. It gets us all down at times. At the moment I feel at the end of my tether with it all, frustrated, broken forever, zero progress made in two years, back at square one etc etc All I am doing is trying to remember Nolan’s advice that it’s normal to feel all those things in a setback and I’m not going to stop myself. Acceptance I don’t think means you take it all serenely (I may be wrong) I think it means that whatever feeling comes your way you go with it … allow it. A massive work in progress for me.

  70. Sue Says:

    How do you stop inward thinking bringing all the anxiety from the past keep coming back when you are working to get better/

  71. karen Says:

    Hi Andy and Kevin
    OCD is just a form of anxiety I don’t think there’s much need to make a distinction. Anxiety causes obsessive thinking too. The key is to not avoid because of the thoughts and to try not to perform any safety behaviours.
    Kevin the fact that you are on here writing about these thoughts shows that they are bothering you and that the lack of remorse / emotion is bothering you.If they really were not upsetting you wouldnt be worrying about it. That in itself is causing you anxiety therefore these are definitely still anxiety thoughts. Once you had a thoughts try not to ‘oh no’ ‘that must mean’ , question or analyse it. Do not re enter the thought. I had a thought about …. That’s an anxiety thought …. leave it be. Hope that helps, not always easy.

  72. karen Says:

    Andy J you are doing something I do a lot … obsessing about how to accept, are you doing it right. Again, label these thoughts as obsessing or fix it thoughts then leave them be. Do not argue with yourself whether or not you are doing it right. I can go into an obsession for days ….. ‘what do I do about these thoughts, what do I do to accept them…. The answer is always NOTHING. Let them come and go. Sooooo difficult when they are repetitive and not very nice.

  73. Alex Says:

    Hey guys I’ve never actually posted here before but I wanted to share my story of anxiety to help anyone who feel stuck.

    It first began when I was 18 years old (2008) and I dabbled in light drug use (much like Paul). I began to feel extremely depersonalised and it scared the hell out of me, I had no idea what was going on and I just wanted nothing more than to feel normal again. This daily struggle literally went on for years, luckily I have a wonderful psychologist whose therapies very much revolve around the message of acceptance, much like Paul’s book. But this only helped me to talk about my anxieties, the message I used to recover are all available to you as well on this site.

    Honestly if I looked back at the last 6 years of my life, it’s only been the last two years where I’ve accepted that I am who I once was and all of the symptoms I felt were fleeting. And trust me I felt EVERYTHING you all worry about on here.

    – I’ve felt bewildering dizziness like I was on a boat (for months at a time)
    – I”ve felt eye and head pressure to the point I felt like I actually was going to haemorrhage
    – I’ve been terrified of going crazy, bipolar, schizophrenia etc
    – I’ve been so depersonalised I felt I couldn’t recognise myself in the mirror

    And I can honestly tell you I am now 25 and it all went away. I know how much it sucks in those bad days, I remember laying in my bed for days at a time looking out the window just wishing I had been born a different person.

    But if there is one thing I can recommend that you need to do to get over this is don’t bullshit yourself when it comes to true acceptance. Don’t come on here and ask me or others how to get rid of your symptoms because deep down anxiety doesn’t care if you’re on this forum fighting to rid yourself of how you feel. *Actually* get out there and *actually* attempt to start living a normal life again. I promise you if you do this, you’ll look back one day and laugh at how insignificant any of these symptoms are.

    I truly got to a point where I can tell you from the pit of my stomach, I did not care about how I felt. I literally accepted feeling ALL of my symptoms for the rest of my life if I had to because I’d shown myself I could be happy still. It’s paradoxical but you can still feel true happiness even if you’re dizzy, depersonalised, panicked, fatigued – it doesn’t matter.

    If you need to talk to someone about it, find a good psychologist or therapist, it’s very therapeutic to verbalise your movements toward acceptance. But it’s critical to know this takes time and no matter who you are you’re going to be okay one day, the length of time it will take you to recover is irrelevant but it will happen.

    I only got my hands on Paul’s book in 2013 and since then I’ve overcome an awful fear of flying and basically everything that scared me about anxiety. I now plan trips around the world and am truly living my life to the fullest.

    Happiness is not something to hold onto and anxiety is not something to push away.

    Just be.

    Hope this helps x

  74. Nolan Says:

    Test.

    I’m just posting this because I’ve been having problems posting here lately.
    If this works then I’ll respond to your question, Karen.

  75. Nolan Says:

    Hi Karen,
    You’re right: we can’t stop the racing mind, the racing heart, the hypervigilence of our focus on something. But, we can stop trying to willfully work it all out and make sense of it. To just let it be there.

    Letting it be there doesn’t mean that you’re no longer going to feel the effects of anxiety or depression. It will almost certainly still be there. The thing that’s changing is your attitude towards it being there.

    Think of two people who work in the same department. They’re both being told that now they’re going to have to work at a new location, 30 minutes further away. They’ll also have to work saturdays and that there is going to be a freeze on yearly raises.

    Initially both are really set off by this; but one is able to eventually say “this stinks, I don’t like it… but, it is what it is and I’m not going to brood over the negative stuff anymore”. Sure, they don’t have that immediate feeling of being at peace with it; they’re just done adding more fuel to the fire.
    But the other person can’t find enough people to complain about it to. He cancels fun plans to do things with other people because this is really getting to him. He almost refuses to look beyond it in hopes that maybe somehow he can change it all back.

    One person, in time, will truly be at peace with it and maybe have the least bit of concern over the changes.
    The other is now bitter about it constantly. The complain about the job, their boss, the commute.

    Letting it be there is making your focus bigger than the thing that’s bothering you. Not trying to mentally work it out in attempts to make sense of it all and trying to convince your mind and body otherwise.

    It’s a willful decision to not let it dictate your actions.

  76. Nolan Says:

    This is what would happen to me at times.
    I’d go to close my eyes to fall asleep and immediately upon shutting my eyes it was like I was as hypervigilant as one could be. My mind would peacefully start drifting.
    This happened automatically.
    Then, automatically, dreadful thoughts would start coming: “how am I supposed to fall asleep when I’m automatically searching out sleep?! Why can’t my mind stop doing this? Will it ever stop doing this?!” and it would just snowball and snowball and snowball.

    I would feel compelled to willfully react. I’d try to force my mind to be less hyperattentive/hypervigilant …I’d beg and plead with God, or scream at myself, punch at the air, punch myself, start intentionally thinking negative thoughts “How will I be able to look after my son if I can sleep!?! WIll i lose my job?!!! I won’t be able to focus at work!”
    I’d get up, pace around, try to figure it out in my head, hop on line google search any possible combination of phrases to find people like me who came out of this.

    But after following Paul’s lead and reading his book I started to react differently:
    If my mind want to go into that mode I simply let it. If it wanted to be hyper attentive I just flowed along with it. Watched, with an attitude of “whatever”, where ever it took me. I stopped trying to work it out in my head as to why this was happening. When the despairful thoughts bubbled up I’d remind myself “eh, no biggie…. so, this is the burden I have to shoulder, oh well.”
    I stopped running on line to find advice, answers, similar people.

    in time I could feel it lessen. The setbacks came, but I treated them the same way.

    This is just one example of how it played out.

  77. Nolan Says:

    “How do you stop inward thinking bringing all the anxiety from the past keep coming back when you are working to get better”

    Hi Sue, don’t force the inward thinking to stop. You’re not intentionally doing it, right? It just happens. Almost like a reflex. So, start not caring so much that it is happening.
    An attitude of “oh, hello thoughts”… and go back about your day.

    Again, this does not mean that automatically those thoughts will stop. It just means you’re now changing your attitude towards them. You’re starting to be at peace with them so that, eventually, peace will find its way back into your mind and body. God bless.

  78. Natalie Says:

    Hi all, I have had a period recently where my anxiety has not been that bad but now it seems to have come back with a vengeance. I feel like I am trapped in a vicious circle of being anxious about going to bed, therefore not getting enough sleep and feeling ill. This leads to me being anxious about going to work which makes me unproductive when I get there and therefore work mounts up to the point where I feel (as I do right now), completely overwhelmed. I am now really scared I can’t cope and that leads to the numb, depressed feelings and thoughts of “what’s the point” and the intrusive thoughts about “what if I didn’t want to be here”. I also comfort eat and use food to ‘control my anxiety’ so have got to the point where I feel so unhappy with myself that my confidence is rock bottom and I find it hard to feel positive about anything or motivated in any way. I feel so trapped and that there is no way out/ I’ll never get better. It’s this time last year that things got really bad for me and things gradually improved over the last year. I know it’s stupid but I worry the same will happen again and I really don’t want any more time off work sick. Can anyone relate to this or offer advice?

  79. Jeff Says:

    Hi Natalie – I’ve too recently had issues sleeping. Couldn’t seem to fall asleep, then when I did, the sleep was lousy….. racked with anxiety. I’m sure you know what I mean…very light sleep, nasty dreams, tossing etc. Not at all peaceful.

    Thinking of time, ‘reminiscing’ of our joyous times with anxiety …this time last year, last month, last week I felt horrible/not as bad/ worse…what I tell myself is ‘that was then, this is now’.

    You can NOT roll back the hands of time to re-live good times, or bad ones (thank God). Fearing that you will somehow re-live past anxiety is easy to do. Yes you may feel those ‘old’ anxieties creep up on you. I certainly do. After past recoveries I would get little hits YEARS later…brief hits, but hits none-the-less.

    Last year was a rough one for me too. Having been through this before I know that there is no way I can re-live last year. It’s physically and mentally impossible.

    Please don’t fear past anxiety recurrences. Yes the anxiety may stick around from time to time for a while – but you will never return to the same ‘place’ you were a year ago. That was then, this is now.

  80. Jamie Says:

    This is a question for everyone.

    Does anyone feel there is a place for mindfulness / meditating when suffering with anxiety ? I have been meditating for about a year using the Headspace app, been on a couple of mindfulness courses and read a couple of mindfulness books. However, I still suffer quite badly with negative thoughts and anxiety (I can’t tell if I am better off or no different for doing the meditating).

    Anyway, I have come back to this site as I heard the new book is coming out. Re-reading Paul’s suggestions along the lines of ‘doing nothing’, ‘stop fighting’ and ‘stop trying to get better’, it makes me think that learning about mindfulness and meditating is going against how Paul ‘recovered’ as it is adopting safety behaviours and actively doing certain things to manage the anxiety better.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on this ?

  81. Sue Says:

    Thanks Nolan for your reply. I sometimes feel that I am doing it myself as though I am sinking into my head. I suppose I have been fighting to stop the thoughts keep coming back. Not used to having horrible thoughts so I will do as you say and try not to care. I have been trying not to tense at the anxiety and that seems to be giving some release and not making me so uptight. Hard to relax when your mind is coming up with all sorts. Some days the anxiety is not there and I get a bit of peace but then I think I am anticipating the anxiety coming back and this can make me irritable and on edge a habit I am again trying to break. I have sent for Pauls Book in the hope of more understanding into the condition. Like everyone just want it to go away.

  82. karen Says:

    Natalie, no advice really other than just keep going. It’s all you can do. Your post about sums up my condition at the moment too … back at square one etc. All we can do is keep trying to stop the fight. Try to accept it all. Read as many of Nolan posts as u can. X

  83. Natalie Says:

    Thank you Jeff and Karen, really appreciate your replies. I usually sleep pretty well, I just seem to have a fear of going to bed so I put it off until really late so I only get about 6 hours in bed. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I have that bad sleep but not all the time. I get so run down I get flu like symptoms often which makes some days a struggle to go to work. I guess you are right though, I can never be as bad as I now have so much knowledge. And thank you Karen, Nolan’s posts are so helpful. I hope you start to feel some peace soon x

  84. Sue Says:

    Does anyone find with anxiety they get part sentences coming into their minds and the mind is then trying to find an answer to the remaining sentence. Sometimes it can be a nice finish and sometimes it can be a nasty finish. It is as though the mind is battling to find a thought I am comfortable with.

    Yes Natalie I can relate to always feeling run down I have had ulcers in my mouth and a sty on my eye and generally tired worn out exhausted and well below par even though I manage to function on most days and go out. I am also going through the menopause and not sure if its this or the anxiety that can make me feel so crap at times. The anxiety came on when I started the menopause as part of hot flushes but the anxiety is how everyone describes here together with the horrible repetitious thoughts.

  85. Nolan Says:

    Hello,
    I’m posting something that I posted back in September 2013. I’m doing this so that people that are really struggling now can see that I also was once in the full pit of despair with it. Questioning if I’d ever get better, questioning why I still feel flooded with fear and symptoms even when I’m telling myself that I’m going to finally accept it. Here’s that post:

    “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”…..

    *****
    as I mentioned I posted under many different names back then. I wasn’t doing it to be sneaky it’s just that I was beyond being desperate. I was willing to do anything to find someone whom could help me.

    But, even with all of that I still recovered.

  86. Rosa Says:

    Hello everyone, hello Nolan. I haven’t posted here before, but have been following the blog for the last year or so. Nolan – thanks for posting the last post. It mirrors my feelings right now. I have read Paul’s book about 1 1/2 years ago and have been practicing acceptance since then. It is very difficult, but I really try to let everything just be there and get on with my day. I have a small son and also work and I think I manage my everyday life ok. But I just feel so horrible most of the times. It’s not always the same, sometimes I have little moments of normality and I can almost feel that everything is actually alright. A few months ago I even wanted to post and let everyone know that it really works and that I am getting better. But the last months were just hard and today I pretty desperate. I feel that my anxiety is so deep and thick and part of my life that I have to live like this forever. And I know it shouldn’t bother me, but I don’t know how not to let it bother me. I just feel that I don’t make any progress and that my feelings are as intense as they were 18 months ago. Does it really take that long to recover? Or am I just broken or do something wrong? I try not to think about recovery too much, but it’s there I the back of my mind and gives me normally the strength to continue. But today I can’t feel anything but dread and fear.

  87. Clare Says:

    Thank you Nolan,
    But how do you accept how you feel, and how do you give up the fight?
    I find I can’t talk to people, or even listen to them because my brain picks out every single word which then links to something anxious. My emotions are all over the shop, every day before work I am over whelmed with grief and I can’t stop crying, I know it’s ‘just’ a feeling, but how do you accept it when the way you feel is so real? I know my brain needs a rest I just don’t know how to give it a rest. I’m going round in circles because I don’t know how to do nothing.

    Any advice is appreciated, thank you.

  88. Andy J Says:

    Morning Guys,

    So. I went to see my Doctor yesterday and basically full on broke down in front of him. Literally tears.

    He’s recommended I restart taking my Citalopram, which I have done first thing this morning. I feel quite bad for needing to take it, but dont feel like I have any alternatives. Has any one else taken it before and did you find it helped?

    My therapist has been preaching the same methods as we all do on here. To accept that these are intrusive thoughts and to continue living, not lock myself away as Ill begin to look inward.

    Hope every one has a good day.

    Andy

  89. Sue Says:

    What is meant by not questioning your thoughts.
    Is it asking yourself would you or would you not that type of thing.
    Or is it the what ifs.
    can someone explain

  90. Maria Says:

    Sue,

    I think it’s just being ok with whatever silly thoughts pop into your head and not reacting to them with fear, which only feeds them. Recognize that they are just a part of anxiety (not a part of you!) and then just go about your day.

    Hope this makes sense and helps! Xo

  91. Nolan Says:

    Hi Rosa,

    Everything that you just mentioned in your post I could have said myself along my journey through this. Word for word, your concerns were at one point mine.
    I eventually got to the point where I told myself “I’m sick of caring how long this will take, will I ever recover, the percentage of recovered that I am, will setbacks still come”….

    Even after following the advice for sometime I was still having these ups and downs (which are perfectly normal). But, there was still this monitoring and questioning that I was doing.
    I eventually told myself that I have to stop caring how far along I am, if I ever will recover, if I’m broken or not…. telling myself “if this ultimately passes, then great… if not, then so what”

    If I was going to be like this forever then fine. I was just tired of still caring about it. So I literally abandoned all hope of complete recovery. All I wanted now was a life that was bigger than focusing on anxiety, and percentages of recovery.

    I was going to treat it like a person who lost a limb: it ain’t coming back. So, I might as well just start living this life again, regardless of how much broken I believed it was. A person who lost am arm isn’t going to get very far in life staring at what was lost…. same goes for my old self.

    Hell, if Paul was right then it shouldn’t matter. If he was right and then recovery would eventually find me… I didn’t need to find it.
    Now, I still doubted that I would ever be that old peaceful me again.

    And the unexpected happened: I found that peace of mind and body again.

  92. Nolan Says:

    Hi Clare,

    “But how do you accept how you feel, and how do you give up the fight?”

    I stopped making recovery my goal. As a matter of fact, I was tired of tracking how close to or how far from recovery I was at any given moment. Even after following the advice Paul offers in his book I still was doing this monitoring and mental reporting of movements forwards and backwards. It was exhausting and usually left me more upset than happy.

    Eventually I told myself I just have to stop caring if I ever recover. It was the only way to truly stop caring about how I felt. However I was at any given moment was just how things were…. no more expectations of “how long will this good feeling last?”, “Am I closer to being the old me today than I was 2 weeks ago.”

    I stopped thinking I had a goal in recovering.

  93. Meg Says:

    I was just wondering if anyone here has suffered with anxiety since being young. I remember experiencing bad anxiety from being about 7 or 8 years old starting with being badly bullied at school and it tends to bubble up around stressful times. A lot of people mention that when they recover they will be back to their old selves but this often discourages me as I can’t ever remember feeling like my “old self”. I do believe in pauls method as accepting has made my life so much easier than fighting not to feel anxious but I occasionally feel that this has been going on for me for so long it is going to be incredibly difficult to conquer. I was wondering if anyone can give me some advice or whether anybody has been in this position? I am seeing a therapist who is really good and has really helped me come to terms with things that have happened to me which have contributed to my anxiety.

  94. Rach Says:

    Meg I feel the same as you. I’ve just messaged Karen on Facebook about how I feel. I feel like this is me forever because I never get well. I’ve been anxious all my life too and can’t even imagine what this normal/myself even looks or feels like.
    I think it’s a case of trusting in the process..

  95. Meg Says:

    Rach it’s comforting to know it’s not just me! I am so glad I came across pauls book when I did as I think things would have just continued to snowball. I was put on antidepressents in march (cymblata) and they caused a huge increase in anxiety which I guess brought things to a head. Off cymblata now and having horrendous physical withdrawal even though I was only on 20mg but that’s another story! I guess if pauls book has shown me anything it is that my life can be very different and I am also becoming a much more positive person. Through therapy I’ve also realised that I have anxiois and obsessive thoughts as a way of protecting myself from the worst outcome, I almost prepare myself for the worst outcome just so I don’t feel hurt or surprised if it happens… It has felt like a massive relief to finally see this! I would love to hear a success story from someone who was a born worrier.

  96. Sue Says:

    Thanks Maria for explaining it to me. I have really tried today and have had a good day despite the horrible thoughts coming in. I also am trying to relax during the day even when I feel my stomach tensing up again. I think the thoughts are the worst part for me because at the beginning it seemed natural to fight them now I can see its not the answer as it makes you more anxious.
    Accept the person underneath as yourself and hope it goes eventually.

  97. Paul David Says:

    Hi Clare,

    “But how do you accept how you feel, and how do you give up the fight?”

    Nolan explains this very well Claire and him not caring if he recovered or not has so much truth in it, if you are forever chasing this holy grail of recovery then you will be in a constant state of monitoring, trying, effort, mental gymnastics. It is all very draining and pointless.

    Total allowing is the state I got to, it’s more of an attitude than anything. People use the word acceptance as some kind of technique, it is not, any technique just has you back on you TRYING to do something. Techniques don’t work because they are all about not feeling what comes up, they can work temporary, but they won’t work long term.

    Total allowing is allowing all the good and the bad to arise within you, people think if they feel bad then they must be doing something wrong, that is not true, it is all about not trying to reach a place of peace. My biggest mistake was I was always trying to reach peace and whilst I did I was always at war with myself, pushing bad emotions down, questioning why I felt bad, using techniques, trying to get back to peace, it was a constant war of trying not to feel bad. When I gave into it all, I did not care one jot if the bad emotions flooded me, I knew I needed to go through this to regain my balance.

    If my anxiety was high, if my mind was busy, if I felt detached then I had to fully enter into it and allow it all. I no longer attempt to use any technique to change my experience, I used no method to suppress it, I did nothing to distract myself, I was just at one with it all in a total allowing way, I did not try and get out of it. I truly let it manifest in anyway it wanted, I saw it all out until the end and let it go where it wished. With this new attitude everything I had tried to achieve through effort and my minds strategies that did not work came to me naturally, it makes total sense why now as my mind and body was allowed to go through what I call a detox period, a process to regain its balance, to lose these feelings I had to truly feel them, I had to release them.

    It can be confusing when you hear people talk about this attitude as it comes from a place of no fear and if people try to accept whilst still fearing how they feel, in a ‘ok I accept you now please go away’ type of attitude then they are not accepting or allowing at all. If we fear emotions and thoughts then we focus our attention on them, we try and suppress or run away from them. When I fully allowed everything to arise within me I started to lose this fear and I truly did not care if I felt like this or not as I knew that nothing could come of it and that a real change was happening, I felt a real shift starting to happen, my suffering was also a lot lighter and lasted far less. Everything I had done in the past had given fuel to my thoughts and emotions, basically my fear of it all which led to all my fruitless and counter productive attempts at trying not to feel this way.

    I basically only started to feel better when I stopped trying to feel better, which sums up what Nolan says about no longer caring if he recovered or not, all his effort to feel constant peace and reach a particular place had gone and the battle with himself went with it.

    Paul

  98. Tom Marshall Says:

    Nolan,

    I’m not going to ask you any questions because you’ve already answered majority of what comes into my mind hah!

    Everything you describe about your symptoms and thoughts is like a mirror reflection of my own mind and body, the sleep anxiety, intrusive thoughts of harming others around me, negative emotions and thoughts towards my girlfriend, The depression and the ‘Black Goo’ coated thoughts (Perfect description by the way hah)

    I feel like I have learnt so much from you these past couple of months which has really helped me pull through, I’ll be honest like most of us do I came on here looking for relief from the chaos in my mind, theres always that point in the day when your mind says ‘Hey a quick game of obsessive research could calm the nerves?’ hahah :’) But I’m not going to beat myself up over those kind of actions, theres no point and plus reading what you said really gave me the motivation to stop caring about it all. like yourself I kept looking for people who had similar experiences as me and then falling into the pit of despair when I couldn’t find anything which lead to the typical thoughts of ‘See look I told you it was something else’ ‘How am I going to get out of this?’ ‘What do I do… Wait I do nothing? Right, yes do nothing and accept it all! but wait? I highly doubt this approach would work for Bipolar Disorder, split personality disorder and Schizophrenia? and I mean you must have them??’

    Hah sometimes you have to sit back and actually appreciate the creativity and effort the mind puts into making all the scenarios and crazy thoughts, Imagine if we shifted that effort on to something els? The possibilities would be endless, think about it people 😉

    The bottom line is, I’m not recovered, I haven’t found some magic solution to make it all stop. I’m just slowly starting to realise that I can’t treat anxiety as the enemy anymore, why should I? This thing has kept us alive since the dawn of time! Trying to get rid of it would be a pretty bad idea, lets say I managed to get lost in the woods one day, and giant bear came bounding towards me, I wouldn’t have captain ‘What if?’ to come save the day! (highly unlikely scenario I’m no Bear Grylls)

    Anyway, thank you Nolan, Honestly I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all the advice you have put on here and obviously Paul too! I wouldn’t of got through this without your wise words.

    Tom

  99. Jo Says:

    Paul
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing your book. I have read it multiple times and every time i do it helps so much. In fact it is the ONLY thing that helps. My anxiety symptoms seem to be pretty much identical to yours. It is mainly obsessing about what people think. Everything you say resonates and gives me such relief to know the way i feel is normal and i am not going mad. I have a few setbacks where i spend days in an anxious state obsessively trying different strategies and then i remember to turn to your book and it truly is the only thing that ever helps! It should be available on the nhs!
    With much gratitude, jo

  100. Peter Says:

    Hey all, I really like Nolan’s post from a while ago, it just about sums it up:

    “Dominic said it the best….
    turn your “What Ifs” into “So What”.
    Stop caring so much. Like Paul said, allow your body or brain to feel or think whatever it wants to. Think of how liberating this is…. Nothing is off limits for your mind or body with respects to thoughts and feelings. Allow everything to come.
    Think of it like this…. it’s going to come regardless, right? When has freaking out, searching the net, frantically trying to stop it ever helped?
    So, open your arms up and embrace all it has to offer.
    I would have fears and doubts (doubts of ever recovering) so thick that I could feel it crushing me down. Any interest I had in life or things that used to provide enjoyment would be quickly snubbed out by this fear and doubt…. like trying to light a candle in a gale.
    It was only when, following Paul’s advice, I simply let everything come.
    I allowed myself to be scared, full of fear, full of doubt. I stopped running from those feelings. I stopped trying to rationalize them away (I mean, seriously…. has any of us ever successfully reasoned away these fears?).
    But what did I now do differently? Like Dominic said…. I turned those “what ifs” into “so what’s”.
    I’m personally not a fan of mantras, breathing exercises or any concerted effort to ‘accept’. Again, like Paul said…. actively doing things to make this burden lift just doesn’t work. It simply reinforces that this issue is actually a pretty big deal.
    But that’s not to say that I never had to remind myself. Sometimes I’d tell myself, “It’s okay, Nolan…. it’s fine to feel this way”. Or… “So what? Let it be there. I’m still going to live my life the way I want to.”
    These are different than mantras. I’m not endlessly repeating it over and over. I’m not saying it to make those bad feelings and thoughts lift. I’m simply reminding myself that it’s okay. That, in anything that happens to my mind or body, it’s okay.
    But remember, you still need to get out there and live your life. It’s one thing to say “Okay, I’m going to be at peace with this burden”…. but to say that and to come back to this blog on a daily basis is simply doing it the wrong way. Come back if you really need to. But if you find it becoming more habitual…. then stop.
    Remember, this approach is completely liberating. No thought or feeling is off limits. You are now letting down your guard. Let it all wash over you. Be at peace with the lack of peace in your life…. then, in time, you will find true peace.”

    That’s literally all you need to know. All you need to do is allow yourself to feel as terrible as you are going to feel without trying to “fix yourself” or something like that. I was looking at old posts and one from Patrick stood out to me; he said what he did was drop the subject and basically he forgot about even recovering, and it actually took him time to notice that he wasn’t anxious anymore because he had forgotten about being anxious!

    Our goal isn’t to recover. Recovery is an indirect result of allow ourselves to feel this way and not trying to do anything about it. It’s like…”You know what, if these feelings are going to be with me forever then so be it. I am going to live my life and do what I want. What have I got to lose?” Of course, the feelings won’t be with you forever as this attitude begins the healing process.

    Basically, resign yourself to feeling terrible and stop trying to work it all out, because there is nothing to work out. I used to spend so much time reading anxiety books, trying to fix myself and find out what was wrong with me. God, it’s so nice to be able to read books that I want to read, interesting books not about anxiety. I used to be chained to the computer all day searching for answers. But that’s what was keeping me ill!

  101. Meg Says:

    Really good post Tom so great to hear you feel that you’re getting somewhere! Acceptance is something I thought I had to actively do and having always been an anxious person Ive always been at war with myself! I do finally feel like I’m truly accepting now I’ve stopped doing anything. If I feel irritable or mardy then that’s how I feel, and if I feel happy then the same applies. Like I said, for someone who’s always battled to feel “normal” it can be a real journey in itself just to understand that you really don’t need to do anything at all :)

  102. Carla Says:

    Hi all,

    I’m doing pretty well these days but feeling some increase in symptoms due to holidays etc. I have LOADS of understanding I think and am also managing a fairly good degree of acceptance.

    I do still have a question though which seems to have been repeatedly bugging me throughout my recovery. And that is: where did those of you who recovered find this space of ‘not caring’ or thinking ‘oh well’ within you whilst the anxiety was raging. Logically it seems quite impossible as the adrenaline response is fear (fight or flight) and its job is to compel us to either run, problem-solve or fight. It’s job is to examine, ruminate and escalate a potential danger. To just sit still and allow seems a counter-intuitive, effortful process in itself, and I must say a bit of a mystery.

    And, also, how does one ‘surrender’ without feeling depressed? Surrender suggests laying oneself down before the jaws of a tiger and letting it rip you to shreds. Or, in our case, sobbing hopelessly in a corner, saying to yourself ‘ok, have my life, take everything I have, I give up’

    I guess I just can’t quite understand how to find that space of ‘not caring’ amidst the storm and also to grasp the art of surrendering without feeling hopeless.

  103. Nolan Says:

    Oh wow… some great posts.

    Paul, that’s incredible insight. That attitude of truly not caring if you even recover anymore and just moving on with your life came from your words in “At Last a Life”…. it was something that finally clicked in my head after numerous setbacks.
    Your book has done so much good for so many people.

    Tom Marshall,
    Thank you so much for the kind words. It’s funny reading those rhetorical questions you pose in your post…. those thoughts could have been plucked right from my head when i was struggling.
    That’s some great insight that you offer too.

    Many thanks to Paul for the book and the blog as well as all of the contributors that come here and share their experiences and wisdom they’ve accrued.

  104. Liam Says:

    I’ve been a worrier my whole life, started having a full-on anxiety disorder in 2011, found Paul’s site and book in 2013, and feel better than I’ve ever felt in 2015. Just wanted to say a big thanks to Paul and to leave a note of encouragement for everyone in the struggle. Maybe somebody can find something to relate to.

    At first, my symptoms were mostly being on edge constantly, some panic attacks, physical symptoms. Over a couple of years it blossomed into intrusive, disturbing thoughts that shook me to my core every day for months and months, even after I found this site. Whatever thought that pops into your head and scares you the most (for me it was fear of mental illness and a general feeling of despair), that’s the same level of fear I was experiencing every day, and was stuck hard in the anxiety loop trying to make the thoughts go away.

    This is going to echo what’s been said here a million times because it’s the right advice. Over time I learned to let the thoughts come in. You might find it helpful to frame it as, looking at your thoughts without labeling them good or bad. I learned to see them as just thoughts, not “the truth” or “instructions,” just mental noise that I could choose to listen to or choose to ignore, doesn’t matter. It did not feel natural at first! And I wondered the same things that a lot of you guys do, about whether I was “allowing” properly. Over time you just get a hang for it.

    One day I remember in particular, I was having a real crap day, couldn’t bring myself to do anything besides lay on the couch, but I said, I’m just gonna let these thoughts run wild. After a couple hours of my anxiety churning along at full tilt, it just all of a sudden stopped, a switch flipped and I felt incredibly relaxed and easy going. Like I’d let the thoughts take their course, and something in my brain went, alright I guess we don’t need to do anything about this after all, time to chill. And I went “ohhhhh I get it, I really just need to let my brain run wild and it’ll sort itself.”

    I would not have had that experience if I was trying to interact with the thoughts, “reason” with them, or label them “good” or “bad.” That certainly was not my last rodeo with intrusive thoughts because it’s hard to remember to remember to let go when your brain is getting rushed with fear. But over time, I got better at letting thoughts just be there, and as a result they stopped being so scary, and as a further result they just stopped coming so often.

    Sometimes I still get thoughts that come out of nowhere and spook me—this happens to just about everyone everywhere in the world, throughout their lives. It is not a sign of an anxiety disorder, it is a sign of your brain working properly. The difference now vs the past is that it takes a much, much shorter time for me to realize “oh yeah this is just mental noise, I don’t actually need to worry about this” and to let it go. Most of the time it’s like seconds or minutes to realize that, instead of hours or days. The jolt of anxiety doesn’t always shut off right away but it hangs around for a much shorter time than it used to.

    When I’m under heavy stress from work, poor sleep, poor eating, hangover etc, I’m a little more susceptible to falling for the “trick,” sometimes I’ll get stuck in a mini loop for a few hours, maybe a couple of days. And then I’ll come to my senses and the anxiety will fade. What’s important is that this does not stop me from staying up too late, eating a bunch of pizza and drinking too many beers if I want to (within reason of course, I’m not purposely trying to make myself tired and bloated, and actually I found that recovering from anxiety helped me learn to listen to my body, respect its limits, give it what it wants in terms of exercise and nutrition and rest).

    On that note, I found it helpful to spend some time thinking about anxiety and unwanted thoughts as natural parts of the system that is my body and my environment. I sometimes thought of fear and anxiety as the amygdalae (fear center in the brain) turning on and the central cortex (rational decision maker) turning off in response. I’m not sure that’s exactly how the brain works, but that’s the gist. It helped me realize that the bad feelings and scary thoughts are just a function of a part of the brain, and when the other part of the brain kicks back in, I will feel comfortable and calm. The trick, of course, is that trying to shut down your fear center makes the fear center perceive that there is a threat in your vicinity, so the fear center stays turned on to help you fight the fear center. A loop!

    Exercise, diet, meditation/yoga all worked to ease symptoms at one time or another, but not if I did them under the pretense of “needing” to make anxiety pass. It’s like Paul and the running example in his booth. The real recovery comes from understanding that anxiety is a temporary physical state, and trusting your understanding enough to let the temporary physical state play itself out. Treating your body right can help put you in a state when it’s easier to get comfortable letting anxiety play itself out. It takes time! I’m sure I have more days of anxiety ahead of me. But now I have an understanding, and that sticks around for good.

    Best of luck to you all! Paul got through to me and put me on the right track, listen to him! Hopefully you found something useful in my perspective as well.

  105. Tom Marshall Says:

    Thanks Meg! Haha yeah I was exactly the same for a very long time! ‘How do you accept this? Seriously!’ *Que google search on how to accept feelings’*

    Don’t get me wrong I still have trouble accepting what is at times but the most important thing is I realised it wasn’t some kind of acceptance mind muscle I needed to exercise!

    I had a beautiful train of thoughts last night that made me realise how much I was looking for happiness in other things instead of facing how I felt, ‘I just need a better job, this car, a better diet and exercise and then I’ll be fine!’ Paul wrote a post on that topic not so long back and I was pretty blind to what he was saying, It is great to have all these things but the really you just need to dive into the darkness to find the joy you’ve been searching for all this time. :)

  106. Sue Says:

    If anxiety and nerves are caused by a body that’s over worked and stressed then is it better to get as much rest as possible. Paul talks about exercise and running to relieve the symptoms but I feel too exhausted to do much at all. I go for a walk and have to sit down.
    I also am concerned about the awful wicked and evil thoughts that pass through my mind. I have never thought like this before not even when I disliked someone or something.Initially they frightened me to death but I am not as feared as I was but they still keep coming back. Sometimes after a few months of not being there and then they will come back out of the blue again.
    Today I just let them come and did not do a thing and I did have a better day anxiety wise than I have had.

  107. Maria Says:

    Tom Marshall!! Yay!! I love that you’re throwing a little humor in here! We ALL need the laughs! “Captain What If”!!! Priceless!! You gotta have a sense of humor about all of this wackiness, right?! Thanks for the chuckles! :)

  108. Paul David Says:

    Sue, all these thoughts are, are excess energy in the mind, a lot of mind momentum if you like, this is the only reason these thoughts come up, you labelling them as evil create a fear and resistance to them and they get more anxiety/energy fed to them, they get the fuel they require to seem solid and real and hang around. They mean absolutely nothing, this is when people do exercise they rarely think this way and the thoughts subside, the energy is burnt off for a while, but the anxiety sufferer has a lot more stored up energy so they usually come back. All they are, are accumulated negative energy in the mind finding a release, nothing else. I could think this way all day tomorrow and I would totally understand their presence, so they would be not one bit of fear or resistance to them and without any fuel they wither into nothingness.

    On the exercise thing, a lot of fatigue is a fatigue of the mind, if you continue to worry you do feel v fatigued, once my worry went down then my energy levels went up, not only that when my anxiety levels dropped then my body was not working as hard and I had more energy. But even when they were quite high I would still walk and swim etc, if I felt like it or not as I felt better for it with some energy burnt off and when I was exercising I was living my life and not at home brooding. It’s a choice though, not a must, I always tell people what helped me and looking after myself physically really did.

  109. Julie Says:

    HI Paul

    I look forward to the release of your new book, it sounds a like a good progression from the first book and I know it will help many of us that struggle with intrusive thoughts.

    I came here early last year and made alot of friendships, people that helped me so much. I still have intrusives about my children that I struggle with and the constant questioning that goes round and round about myself. I have improved in so many ways and my life has improved greatly. I recently hit a set back and in this set back I have had my intrusives back about my daughter, extreme fatigue that I have found difficult to accept and with the fatigue it’s brought back my fear of going far from home as I feel so weak and drained. I am battling through it but that’s my problem, I am not believing the exhaustion I am feeling is anxiety and that brings more questioning and fears I am physically unwell to be feeling so tired. My mind is being thrashed around all day with worries about the fatigue, worries I can’t go far because I am so tired, fear I am letting the children down this summer being so tired…. lots of things and I feel I need to jump off that constant merrygo round.

    I know the answer is to let it all be there, feel that tiredness and accept it’s anxiety and carry on with my day filling it with things I enjoy and not add any questioning but with me it’s automatic and I struggle to create that distance. When I feel this tired I automatically worry why and dwell on it, then fear I am not in control of myself, being so tired which of course brings on my harm thoughts. Tired mind loses its resilience as they say. It is most definitely brain fog.

    So I know what to do, I know I have walked out of this before so I just need to stay on that path. I will keep going and never give up as I know I have made huge progress. All I have to do now is truly accept my intrusives of harm about my little girl, and accept my physical anxiety. They are all that linger and I’d say my intrusives about my daughter are the very thing that never really left as I could not fully accept. I think your book will be a great read for me and for anyone else who suffers this way.

    Thank you

    Julie

  110. Tom Marshall Says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed my post Maria! Its true, We all need to have a little chuckle about it sometimes, seeing the funny side of it all can really take the edge off! I know this is easier said than done when you’re in the grip of worry and fear, but if you get the chance, don’t be afraid to let out a good belly laugh! EXPRESS IT ALL!

  111. Karen Says:

    I understand the intrusive thoughts and am able to let them go better now. I know they are just protection wrongly turned on by too much adrenalin.

    Can someone explain to me then what about the more depressive thoughts …. the ‘I can’t cope / I am useless / what’s the point / Should run away / everyone better off without me etc etc blacker and blacker’
    I know they are not the truth but they are not intrusive thoughts caused by too much adrenalin. I seem to be stuck on how to deal with these repetitively going round and round my head literally all day. They cause the mood to worsen and worsen. I know that arguing with the thoughts is the wrong thing to do but if I don’t they seem to suck me down deeper and deeper? This is newer to me.
    I know I am trying to recover in difficult circumstances …. my two adopted boys both have various issues …. summer holidays therefore incredibly difficult. It’s just a struggle to get through each day. How do you get better when that constant stress is still there. Yet I know in my good moments I deal with those stresses fine.

    Sorry to be asking so much at the moment.

  112. Karen Says:

    Any news on when the new book is ready? Can’t wait.

  113. Tom Marshall Says:

    Julie,

    I know how hard it is to accept intrusive thought, especially when they involve someone as precious as your daughter, I used to get them really bad about my Niece, Nephew and my Girlfriend, They come crashing down you like a ton of bricks, they always hit the hardest when they involve people you care about and the first thing you want to do is push the thought away completely because you feel like you’re protecting yourself from acting out the thought.

    It doesn’t matter what the content of the thought is, Like Paul says you are not that thought, its just you’re inappropriate levels of anxiety trying to protect you in a really bizarre way.

    Expose yourself to the thought as much as you can, this can be intense at times and terrifying at first, if these thought popped into my head while I was with my nephew and niece then fine, I would just carry on hanging out with them like i would if i didn’t have the thoughts and I took the same action with my girlfriend, my first instinct was always to let go of her hand or stop cuddling her, again I acted like I would If they wasn’t there and if I felt uncomfortable with it then fine! I wasn’t letting these thought dictate my life anymore.

    One last thing, theres a sneaky little trick the mind can play when these thoughts stop scaring you, ‘Well if you’re not fearing them anymore then you might actually do it!’ Don’t get dragged into that, Once they have stopped filling you up with with fear it just means you have seen the nonsense behind it all.

    I hope you enjoy the rest of the summer with your daughter, you will get through this.

    Tom.

  114. Jeff Says:

    Karen – it’s easy to feel beat up, down and out etc. after dealing with anxiety for a period of time. Many of us go through depressive swings as we slowly get back on our feet.

    I found (for me anyway) that emotions tend to run high during these episodes. I ask myself…how can a grown man cry over almost nothing? Well it’s not hard to fathom after being put through ‘the ringer’ for months and months by our old friend anxiety. Anxiety just plain wears us out.

    Intrusives…what worked for me;
    How I got past intrusives was when I realized that those nasty little thoughts were exactly the opposite of how I actually felt. And only targeted those I was close to, including me. Think about it…do you have intrusives about people you don’t know or particularly care about, like say a co-worker or a person walking down the street? What about intrusives about things like your car, or your bike? Probably not.

    A lot of folks seem to struggle with ‘acceptance’ and/or ‘not caring’. I mean, how can you not care about how you feel? What I personally did was ignore it. Easier said than done – but it was my way of accepting and ridding myself of fear.
    My reaction when anxiety was beating down my door…. tell myself that I have things to do, places to go – I ignore it. Try to think of it as a pebble in your shoe….an annoyance.

  115. Paul David Says:

    It is going off to the printers on Monday Karen, I have been working non stop for the last few days to tidy certain things up, basically giving it one last read through to make sure i’m happy and then changing minor things and rinsing and repeating until I finally read it through and was happy.

    It is all down to how long it takes at the printers now. Should be available in around a month.

    Paul

  116. Bryan Says:

    Congrats Paul. Look forward to the release day. Thanks for the hard work.

  117. Julie Says:

    Tom.

    Thank you very much for your kind reply :-)

    That’t it. I have learnt that they are the complete opposite to our character and the very fact we fear it proves it’s anxiety.

    I think with me I have had them 18 months now so I worry why they aren’t going, I haven’t had a day off from them. I think I am at the stage of being fed up of them when I know that isn’t the aim, the aim is to not fear them and just let them be there.

    Thanks again for replying to me.

    Julie

  118. Julie Says:

    Can anyone else relate to the fatigue? Have you felt that with anxiety? I don’t usually and am struggling with it to be honest.

    I am in a little setback and in recent weeks I have felt very fatigued. Not so much in the body, it’s more in my head as in foggy head and heavy eyes. I feel like I haven’t slept feeling. It definitely seems worse the day after exercise so I have even been doing less workouts and that isn’t good for me as I love my fitness.

    I just feel generally blurgh with the fatigue and it’s brought my intrusives/anxiety back to the surface and yes I worry what the fatigue is caused by. If the fatigue would lift I am sure the anxiety would as I was doing fine until it hit.

    I am having bloods done in 2 weeks time to just check my iron as I do have low ferritin but I am never anaemic. I don’t usually feel this fatigue with my low ferritin though, not constant anyway.

    I am sure it is anxiety causing it as I have had alot on my mind of late with my husband starting a new job, we went on holiday, school holidays and a little pressure from my mum to attend my sisters wedding despite us not speaking. So I think the pressure did kick things off again as I was doing so well until a month ago.

    Sorry to post again I just wondered if anyone could relate to the fatigue and how you overcame it with acceptance because I am carrying on as normal, but it’s a struggle feeling so tired.

    Julie

  119. Nolan Says:

    “Can anyone else relate to the fatigue? Have you felt that with anxiety? I don’t usually and am struggling with it to be honest.”

    Hi Julie,
    I was exhausted and dizzy consistently for about an entire year straight with no relevent. And I could rarely fall asleep peacefully…. 4 hours of sleep a night (a broken 4 hours) was the best I could get consistently.

    A poster named Dominic, who has the same thing, said (paraphrased) “If I struggled with sleep I told myself “so what… I’ll take what I can get”. If I’m exhausted during the day “so what””…
    it was that attitude of “so what” toward the struggles that eventually helped make it go away.

  120. Julie Says:

    Thank you Nolan.

    I do sleep though. I am asleep between 11-12pm and wake at 7am, I don’t have trouble getting to sleep. Yet I wake up feeling exhausted.

    I keep trying to be ‘so what’ but my worries about it creep through. It affects me going out and doing things with the children this summer as I feel just too tired. It’s horrible.

    Julie

  121. Nolan Says:

    Let them creep in…. just don’t care that they’re creeping or that they’re there.

    Remember, the attitude change is not a magical invocation that will make those thoughts/feelings/symptoms immediately vanish. You’re still going to have to live with them for abit. Stop caring that you’ll have to live with them for awhile. So, even while saying “so what” (or, having an attitude like that) those fears will still be there.

    Now regardless of whether or not mine was a product of poor sleep or not…. the exhaustion and dizziness were constantly there. Yet, I still went back to living my life. I had those fears too “what if I collapse from exhaustion?!”…. oh well, then I collapse. If I need to sit and rest for a bit so be it.

    Surrender yourself to all of it and start moving back on with your life again.

  122. Jamie Says:

    Hi – I posted this a bit further up but did not get any response. Does anyone have any thoughts on this ?
    \/\/\/\/\/\/

    This is a question for everyone.

    Does anyone feel there is a place for mindfulness / meditating when suffering with anxiety ? I have been meditating for about a year using the Headspace app, been on a couple of mindfulness courses and read a couple of mindfulness books. However, I still suffer quite badly with negative thoughts and anxiety (I can’t tell if I am better off or no different for doing the meditating).

    Anyway, I have come back to this site as I heard the new book is coming out. Re-reading Paul’s suggestions along the lines of ‘doing nothing’, ‘stop fighting’ and ‘stop trying to get better’, it makes me think that learning about mindfulness and meditating is going against how Paul ‘recovered’ as it is adopting safety behaviours and actively doing certain things to manage the anxiety better.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on this ?

  123. Rosa Says:

    Thanks for your answer, Nolan. The comparison with someone who lost a limb was really helpful. Of course this person can’t hope for the limb to come back, she just has to continue to live her life as best as she can. I think I was still accepting all these feelings and symptoms with the goal to feel normal again and then was frustrated when I still felt horrible, depersonalised etc. One of my many anxieties is relationship anxiety – and today I managed just to concentrate on how I want to treat my partner and how I want to be with him instead of focusing how I feel when I look at him.
    I also wanted to say that this is a really helpful blog – it just helps to hear about other people who go through the same.

  124. Meg Says:

    Jamie – I also practiced meditation for a whlie, only stopped because I was moving house and was very busy and just sort of fell out of the habit. By the sound of it you have been meditating to try and lower/avoid/get rid off your feelings of anxiety…. The important thing is not to do it to make you feel better. If you keep checking if you feel better from meditating you never will because by checking you’re just reinforcing the self checking habits that come with anxiety. I personally enjoy meditating and think I’ll try and find more time for it but not to get rid of anxiety, just because it nice sometimes to have 20 minutes of quiet time when our lives are so hectic.

  125. Sue Says:

    Thank you Paul for explaining the reason for the horrible thoughts. It has given me a bit of release and comfort knowing this and that I am not cracking up.
    I understand now how exercise helps to release the excess energy that causes the thoughts.

  126. Julie Says:

    Nolan

    Great advice again. thank you. That all makes sense and I will take that on board in this set back.

    I have recently re read Pauls book and Claire Weekes and made a few notes. I was wondering if you could sum up recovery in a few lines or words even, how would you word it? How to you explain true acceptance? It’s always been a question of mine, I have always wondered how others think of it and to them what does it mean. I have gone through great times with my recovery but I wouldn’t say I have ever fully accepted some forms of my anxiety and I really want to. The intrusives are what hold me back, they are so random at times, the one that’s stuck is the harm one about my child but day to day they are if I see an item like a knife, tie, iron… I will then get an intrusive. All of these have happened for 18 months and I still get them now I just go through periods of them not bothering me so much but I haven’t seen them decrease over time really which of course then throws me into the fear cycle of is this really anxiety to cause such odd thinking.

    Thank you again for your great reply, very helpful.

    Julie

  127. Jackie Says:

    I am not sure how to get over this really. I feel awful because if I go a even a couple of hours without him contacting me I get anxious and think “oh hes backing away, hes about to end this” I dont want to be this way, I want to be comfortable in my relationships and realize I dont need to be in constant contact.

  128. Karen Says:

    Jamie I started practising mindfulness just over a year ago. I guess it depends how you use it, it’s quite controversial on the blog. As long as you are not using it to rid yourself of the anxiety that’s fine, though that’s not the point of it anyway. For me it’s usefulness is in the fact that it is slowly allowing me to see thoughts as thoughts and to let them float off without getting involved. It also gives me a little breathing space at times. I have also found it brilliant for letting me accept physical symptoms as the body scan teaches you to go towards the physical sensations and explore them rather than resisting them.
    The part of it I do struggle with is the bit that says notice the thoughts and refocus on the breath. If I did that I would be refocussing on my breath every minute. Sometimes focusing on the breath helps to ground me but this is the one bit I find hard.
    I try to be present in my everyday activities but again this is requiring a lot of practise.
    Everyone is different, some people like it some don’t. For me, it definitely has a place.

  129. debbie Says:

    Hi iam new to this site i had anxiety when I was 16 and I was agoraphobic I healed myself back than. Now iam. 57 and its back full force my thoughts are different from others my thoughts are just seeing images of movies ive seen ,streets ,houses just. Dont. Make sense that puts me in full panic attack and. At times everything seems famiar its so scary. Iam in hell while someone is talking. To me my mind. Is seeing. Some other place. Please help

  130. Maria Says:

    Hi Liam,

    I’m not sure how I missed your post, but I’m glad I went back through the comments and found it. (July 30, for anyone looking for it) What an excellent post! Very thorough in describing how you dealt with the intrusives. There is one thing though that I’d like to try to elaborate on if you don’t mind.

    You say, “The real recovery comes from understanding that anxiety is a temporary physical state, and trusting your understanding enough to let the temporary physical state play itself out.” This trust is what I found to be such a key part of my recovery. Once you’ve educated yourself and you know what’s going on with your mind and body, you HAVE to learn to trust yourself with that knowledge. Sure, it’s scary to let go of your perceived control, but while we try to control it, all we are doing is simply feeding it. Tricky little bugger, isn’t it?!

    Thanks again for your post, really very well said!

  131. Zoe Broadbent Says:

    Hi everyone,

    WOW reading all your comments reminds me of where I was 5 years ago. I just wanted to send a message of hope that you will recover, I know how hard it is to believe that when your in the midst of it all its so hard to believe that recovery even exist! 5 years ago I thought I’d lost who I was with Anxiety and crippling panic attacks, EVERY symptom of Anxiety I had but thanks to a wonderful family, and an amazing Dr who sadly is no longer with us and Paul’s invaluable advice I did it! It wasn’t easy by no means BUT it was the BEST journey I’d ever been on and I found myself all over again. I am now living my life and catching up on so many things I had missed out on due to suffering. I am also in a loving relationship with a man who makes my heart skip a beat, I travel around different places, I am me again and I am unbelievably happy!

    I’m not going to say you CAN have this, you WILL have this it just takes time.

    I wish you all the luck and don’t look upon Anxiety as the enemy look at it as your friend, your friend that is building the new you!!!

    Lots of love

    Zoe

    Xxx

  132. Hayley Says:

    Hello
    I have followed this site for around a year now and am having a bumpy ride! Overall yes I see I am improving as I learn as I have some great days but it’s as if I started my road to ‘recovery’ which at first was an eye opener, however rather ridiculously this now seems to be my problem lol!
    At first it was very ‘a ha’ but now I can’t help the frustration ruling me in how did I get there before! I’ve read the posts I get that I’m totally not helping myself in my thinking .. Oh god not sure I even make sense haha it is reassuring to see this blog however and that it is up and down and that’s that! Exercise is helping in general but it’s so blooming when you just can’t stop yourself trying to get ‘better’ I catch my self doing it!
    I seem to finally think sod it but I almost put myself back down the pile again! My number one word at the moment is frustration AAAHH I know I need to let it go but I try to let it go and it’s not helpful?reading here from time to time seems to reiterate to me – who cares ! And feeling more confident for it tonight we really do become our own worst enemy – I’m very productive and this I think is not massively helpful when it cones to anxiety!

  133. Jacob Says:

    Hello,

    New here–my anxiety started by a bunch of hormone issues combined with food sensitivites.

    I had absolutely nothing wrong in my life to trigger anxiety except the hormone problems. Now, the hormone problems are almost solved but I’m still anxious. And the anxiety itself is what is causing me distress especially cause I have no real reason to be anxious. Hormones seem to be the only explanation

    What am I supposed to do in the case where anxiety is being caused by hormone problems. These health problems themselves have caused tons of stress. I don’t have my social abilities back

    What do I do in this case where anxiety is being mediated at least to an extent by the physical issues going on.

  134. Bryan Says:

    Liam,

    Same here. Retread your post and what a great one it was. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  135. Julie Says:

    Peter- Great post from Nolan. Hits the main things we have to do to recover. Thank you.

    Liam-I loved your post. My anxiety has always been centred around intrusive harm thoughts or thoughts of going crazy. Lately mine about my daughter have returned and my anxiety has hit a setback. You’ve made me think about what I have to do. It sounds very simple. I am to just let them bounce around in my brain and dp nothing but what do you so if they’re constant and fear automatically kicks in?

    I do yoga, eat clean and workout and I have never done it to rid myself of anxiety but doing my yoga and meditation has been a great form of refocus and relaxation for me.

    Thanks again for your helpful post.

    Julie

  136. Diane Says:

    Hi Jamie,

    I a not an expert on mindfulness, but I think mindfulness is about accepting what every is happenining in the present, be it ok or uncomfortable and not trying to change it, so perhaps it does fit with Pauls theory in some way to just accept what is happening and learning not to act or question it, finding the right anchor with mindfulness be it taste, touch, the breathe or sound can help , it not easy but may help , take care

  137. Natalie Says:

    Hi everyone, there have been some great and insightful posts recently which have really helped me :).

    I just wanted to ask whether anyone else knows anything about anxiety causing flu like symptoms as there isn’t much info out there. I seem to get viruses really regularly and am wondering if these symptoms are actually anxiety instead as surely I can’t get ill that often. I am starting to get extremely anxious and obsessive over these symptoms as I can’t be off work sick any more. Right now I feel achy, stuffy head, headache, lethargic and a bit sniffly. This is getting me down a lot lately and I would love to be able to put it down to anxiety and understand why so I can try to remove the fear.

  138. Louise Says:

    Hi Natalie
    I have had this and a few others on the blog have too just carry on best you can I still went to work and once you immerse yourself in other things you soon forget about the symptoms. Chin up Hun

  139. Natalie Says:

    Hi Louise,

    Thanks so much for your reply, it means so much to know you’re not alone :). I get so scared to go to work feeling like it, worried I’ll collapse or something. Stupid anxiety!! It’s reassuring to know it can’t hurt me, it’s not one of the widely discussed symptoms of anxiety.

    Thanks again

  140. Emma Says:

    Hi, my post took a while to moderate so I’m just going to give it another go. I started getting anxiety symptoms almost 3 years ago after what the doctor described as post natal depression. I discovered Paul’s book and blog 1year in and it has been the single reason why I can say I’m for the most part very well. My issue now is holiday anxiety. I am going next week and I have been worried and anxious now for a number of weeks. I’m constantly having to talk myself down and nearly tried to sell my holiday to someone else. I have a husband and 3 young children and don’t want them to feed off my anxiety. I had the same problem last year and had a great holiday. I think it’s the fact of leaving my comfort zone. Any advice and words of wisdom would be really appreciated.

  141. Natalie Says:

    Emma, I had this before I went to Mexico in April. I just tried to tell myself it’s just anxiety and can’t hurt me. Don’t let it stop you going, keep living your life and let the symptoms be there if they want. I had an amazing holiday and felt the most anxiety free I have been for the whole 2weeks. The only thing I was anxious about still was what I ate as I have a vomit phobia. I slept so well, felt relaxed and rested and had the most amazing time. Hope you have a fantastic holiday :)

  142. Pravesh Says:

    Hello Paul and all..
    This is the first time I am writing to you and we are all new to each other but still our symptoms are so much the same.
    Just to let you have a brief about me. I am 32 years old mum of a sweet daughter and I suffered from anxiety some months ago which completely changed me from a happy to a depressive person.
    I am happy that I came through Paul’s website. I have nearly understand why I am having these feelings and thoughts (stupid, depressive and suicidal thoughts). My symptoms are trembling/shaking and difficulty breathing and I have many stupid/obsessive thoughts. On top of that I am pregnant and will deliver in 1 month.
    I have understand that to get better we have to live our life normally no matter how difficult it is. I have started doing this slowly slowly. I am watching TV, going out, reading books, talking to people though my attention is constantly on my thoughts and on myself. I am being positive and patient.
    I know that recovery is doing nothing and I understand that to recover we must change our reaction from negative to positive. But I am having slight confusion and would like to get your help on this…
    For example, whenever I feel shaky, I just remind myself that it is just adrenaline and tired nerves and get on with what i was doing however difficult it seems to convince our mind that this is actually what it is in reality. Similarly, as soon as my attention goes on my mind, I get this thought “what should i do now?’- I just remind myself that there is nothing to do… and let the thought be there however loud it shouts. I wanted to know if I am right by reminding myself or I should not even remind myself. I am really STUCKED here.
    I don’t want any confusion to stop my recovery. Should I react like this even if I get the same obsessive thoughts/feelings 100 times a day?
    Hope to have an answer from you Paul, because I know this confusion is hindering my recovery.

  143. Bryan Says:

    Natalie,

    I’ve made a lot of progress and you symptoms have diminished but my setbacks feel a lot like the flu. I don’t get sniffles or stuffy head so much as that carsick feeling, nausea, chills, weakness and of course ramped up mental anguish.

    I’d say some version of what you have is pretty common. Anxiety Centre has it listed a symptom with an explanation. It can be harsh but we have to let it pass without protest the best we can.

    Oh and yes you could just have a little virus. Either would require the same treatment so no need for worry. As you know, worry could only make either of these worse.

  144. Natalie Says:

    Hi Bryan,

    Thank you so much for your response. I had a look at the Anxiety Centre page and it was really helpful. They do have a great page for explaining all the symptoms, it’s so reassuring. I was off work last Monday and Tuesday feeling rubbish and so was my fiancé but he had a nasty cough and chest with it whereas I just had the generalised symptoms. I was fine from Wednesday apart from the usual fatigue then yesterday and today felt flu-like again. I’m starting to think it must be anxiety as they come and go all the time. Thanks again and glad to hear you are making progress

  145. Jessica Says:

    Liam, I just wanted to echo everyone else and say great post! I appreciate that you and so many others take the time to share their own experience.

    I’m on my road to recovery—albeit a slow one. I guess that’s only natural. I can still tell at times that I am completely resisting letting go and full on allowing the thoughts, symptoms, and feelings to be there. Some days they shout so loud that I can barely focus on anything else. I have noticed though, when I do move about my day instead of intensely focusing on them or trying to make myself feel better, it’s a much better experience.

    I have developed a lot of bad habits over the years, and even when I really thought I was “recovered” I can look back now and say I wasn’t. I know this because I still always feared anxiety coming back. If I was truly recovered, if I truly got it, I wouldn’t be so afraid, b/c I would know that if and when it came back I could handle it.

    I look at acceptance as a pool of water. For many years, I was sitting along the edge, afraid to really see myself in it. I would think that I was immersed, but really I was sitting along the sidelines, watching my reflection—not in the pool itself. Slowly, I have walked closer to the pool, dipping my toes in, but still very hesitant. I would feel I was ready, but then ran back to the shore. I thought that dipping my toes, my hands in it was enough, but I always found myself back near the water. I knew that I had to get in—fully in, in order to move forward.

    I would say right now that I’m half way there. My legs, my waist are in the water, but I still have a hand on the edge of the shore. I still haven’t completely let go. That is my goal. To let go and see what happens. Maybe I’ll sink. Maybe I’ll float. I’m still tightly gripping towards shore and I know that is what is holding me back. Someday soon I’m going to let that other hand go and then I know I will have let myself fully experience it. I have had brief moments of it, but I know it will take me fully letting go to get better.

  146. Jamie Says:

    Thanks Meg, Karen and Diane for your thoughts on my mindfulness question.

    This blog is the ONLY place I have found where you can interact with other people that have the same issues as me so I am grateful for that. I take particular note of the success stories on here as most of the time, there just seems no way out of the anxiety and I feel like throwing in the towel. I have ‘liked’ Anxiety No More on Facebook and read the updates but I don’t know about anyone else but I have not left 1 comment on there as I do not want anyone else on my friends list to know that I am like this underneath. Can anyone else relate to that ? I just carry on putting on a front to my friends and work colleagues. At least here, I can say what I want without any repercussion.

    Although I have seen numerous therapists over the years (some more useful than others), I have never really spoken to anyone face to face who suffers like me. For this reason, I am curious to know where in the world you other posters are from if you don’t mind sharing ? I am from Kent in the UK.

  147. karen Says:

    I agree Jamie, I won’t post on Facebook for that reason.

  148. Amanda Says:

    I also agree Jamie – I am 37 from QLD Australia and wondered how many Aussies are on this blog?

  149. Fleur Says:

    Hello, I am Ivana 23 years old and I had panic attack in January. That was the worst time of my life. But I don´t have panic attacks anymore. It was only 3-4 attacks in January and after consulting with psychologist I haven´t more attack. I am glad for it. BUT I have anxiety from that month. It was better in May and June, but now it´s worse again. I was afraid for example brain tumor in January, then serious mental illness, then I had anxiety from ordinary things, for example read a motivation book, then I had anxiety – fear of depression, then I had anxiety because I was planning trip to USA, so I had anxiety and worry about it. Now I am in USA all summer (I am from Europe) and I am glad that I survived this. But now here in USA I am with boyfriend. I am with him 5 years. I loved him so much. It was true love for me, I planned future with him. But now in USA I have a new issue. New anxiety FEAR. I thing everything would be good, because i dont fear anything , only that I don´t love him anymore.
    I don´t know what to do. I don´t want break-up. But I am very nervous next to him. We are together everyday. But I like other men, or I don´t know how to say, my body or heart wants something else. But it is against my brain. I am polite and I don´t want to lose him.
    Do you think is only anxiety, or I don´t like him anymore really. When this feelings are with feelings of anxiety together it is horrible for me. It is my the worst fear now, that I don´t love him anymore. He doesn´t attract me :(, but I want so much. :traurig001: :traurig001: I feel trapped. I hate anxiety.

    Please do you know this feeling? Thank you. I think that it is anxiety, because I was afriad so many things this year – so much fears that caused me the same anxiety like now. But I am tricked in the cycle again, now with my love feelings. Do you think that it will be better, and I will love him again?

  150. fiq Says:

    hi, i am from malaysia. your blog sure does help me a lot. there is not much therapist or psychologist in here. if there is one, they would only learn it from book. i am not taking any medicine as i found the best way is to understand the anxiety. i think i just had my second setback as i have successfully manage the first one. the second one is very not familiar to me and it is more physical. i lost all my confidence including driving and socializing. before i know it, i stuck in the cycle again. it would really help if anyone could share the physical symptoms and not the common mental and physical symptoms. as for me, now i am having a very, very bad indigestion problem. not that i never had one before, but this is very, very bad to the point i can even swallow or digest plain water. i loss more than 15 kg as i am getting more terrified to eat. i don’t know if this is dangerous or just a feeling of discomfort and should i just continue eating. what will happen if i am forcing myself to eat. the second one, is neck tightness even tighter than before. i could barely turn my neck and i feel it getting numb if i sit for too long and feel harder to breathe. i can’t do deep breathing in that condition. the last one, and the one that terrified me the most is faint. before this, i know feeling u are gonna pass out is common. but this time, i am literally can faint and pass out without notice. i know because i try to fight the feeling, but then my eyes beginning to black out and i have to sit. sometimes it even happen when i am lying. this certainly takes my confidence away because i feel like i can faint anytime without any signal. what happen if i am driving and suddenly faint.

  151. Sally Says:

    Jamie Sussex UK

  152. Maria Says:

    Jaime, I’m from the US, Missouri.

  153. Maria Says:

    Hi Fleur,

    I am sorry you are going through this. I haven’t had anxiety around my relationship before, but I’ve seen other people on the blog talk about it. I think the best advice I can give you is to not make any life changing decisions while you are still suffering from anxiety. Anxiety does love to trick us, and I’d hate to see you make a decision that you will regret later. Work on your anxiety issues and then decide. Good luck, hon. :)

  154. Jessica Says:

    Hi Jaime! I’m from the US—Austin, Texas to be exact.

    I know what you mean about having to put on a façade in front of other people, like co-workers or friends. When I first started suffering with anxiety, I did not want to tell anyone else about it—even close friends. I feared they wouldn’t understand. I always put on a brave face at work and around them. But in time, I slowly started disclosing my “issues” to certain people and was astounded to hear them relate similar experiences or say they had a friend or family member who went through something similar. The more I talked with people, the more I realized just how common anxiety was.

    Now I don’t disclose everything—not even here on the blog. :) Some things are just more personal, and not everyone’s experience is the same, not everyone has the same fears, and not everyone experiences the same intensity. But in general, it’s all very similar.

    I agree the blog has been a great resource and it feels good to speak to people that have not only gone through it, but are on the other side as well. Just wanted to encourage you that sometimes through opening up, you will find that others break down their walls too. You never know what they may be going through as well. :)

  155. Rich Says:

    Hi All, I’m from Leicester, UK.

    I’m Having a blip today. When I get them I usually come on here like so many other people to seek some comfort. Eveyone needs a hug every now and again. This community is mine.

    The same old things set off my pre-emptive anxiety – making me physically ill and feeling awful – resulting in either spoiling the thing I am worrying about doing, or just ruining my day and wasting my time all for nothing. At this point everything seems too much – I want to cancel future plans and run away.

    It’s so easy to lose perspective in moments like this – your view on the world and the actual situation is irrational and unbalanced by horrible feelings and symptoms. When I feel rubbish and consider myself ‘suffering’ I just long for whatever it is I’m worrying about to be over – but to do this I miss out on so much, and am wasting my life – worrying from one thing to the next, and feeling awful in the process.

    I am not quite at the stage where I am unphased by anxiety and its symptoms – I’m very self-conscious still and ‘scared’ of the symptoms I have. But, this feeling will pass, and I will feel better.

  156. Stephanie Says:

    I haven’t posted on here for a few months. I realized coming on the blog was becoming an avoidance behavior, so I decided to take a break.

    I’m still having all of the usual ups and downs. I know it is me holding myself back. I just refuse to accept that this is how I am going to feel for the time being. I won’t go out and do all of my normal things regardless of how I feel. I avoid. And so I continue to “suffer”.

    I like what Chris says in “Nothing Works”: We are the ones who got ourselves here, and we are the ones who will get ourselves out.

  157. Bryan Says:

    Take heart Stephanie. What you describe is normal. But you are ahead of the game in that your awareness of what you are doing is high. Keep up that attitude and you can and will apply the right mindset. It happens slowly for some of us. Stay the course.

  158. Meg Says:

    Jamie, I’m from sheffield in the UK.

  159. colin Says:

    Hi rich
    Blips are all they are ! Strangely enough I was away to centre parcs last weekend drank too much ate to much lol felt awful Tuesday slight anxiety !!! Thought to myself hope this isn’t a relapse and got more anxious. Then I remembered what I had learned from studying anxiety and just let it be and before I knew it was gone . As I write this I feel as good as I ever have .
    Just let it be mate and I am sure it will disappear . Chin up and good luck.

    Colin

  160. louise Says:

    Hi is this the Colin that had relationship anxiety if so are you over it now

  161. Emma Says:

    Hi guys,

    Looks like there’s a new Emma on the blog so this might get confusing. I’ll try to sign off with “Xx” so you know its me.

    Just want to say that I’ve been doing pretty well. Haven’t checked the blog in some time and this is always sign of a good run. I moved to the city, started a new job, took some adjusting — my anxiety was high and my moods were a bit low but it all settled. I think I’m really beginning to understand what is meant by allow the anxiety to rise and fall, not taking the feelings personally. What helps me is seeing the anxious/depressive sensations simply as ‘events’ and that my mind is the venue in which they take place. My mind and my awareness of these sensations is just the ‘space’ where they take place, and it’s big enough to hold anything, varying degrees of intensity and all sorts of pain and dread, so I need to let it.

    I think the hardest part is being okay with feeling absolutely horrific when you’re in the thick of it. It feels impossible NOT to catastrophize, not to concentrate only on the fact that you feel so terrible. That’s the thing about setbacks or those black tar moments, you just kind of have to relinquish your need to feel better. Period. Just let go of the need to feel good right in that moment. You’re going to feel like absolute crap, there’s no escaping it, setbacks and black tar anxiety days are bad like that — you aren’t going to escape that horrendous feeling, but if you can let go of all the narratives that you attach to feeling bad (“oh god, this is going to be the one that sends me to the ward” or “How much longer can I cope” etc), you can let it play out and focus your awareness on other things. This doesn’t mean that the thoughts aren’t going to be there, or that the low mood is going to lift — no, this means that you’re going to feel uncomfortable, but you just have to lean into that and let that be.

    This takes so much practice because we’re not at all conditioned that way, our brains are tightly wired to react the total opposite way. So this takes practice, but I strongly believe that if you cultivate this practice it will grow and grow like anything else that you cultivate in life. Actually, neuroscience has proven that the brain can be rewired so its scientifically possible to train your mind to relate to anxiety much differently.

    This isn’t to say that I’m recovered. I teeter with anxiety and low moods, but I’m learning to cultivate a new relationship with these tougher sensations. I have come to terms with the fact that anxiety will always be a part of me, that this journey is not about getting rid of the anxiety … it’s about developing a new way of relating to that anxiety, seeing it as completely benign (because it really is), no longer attaching an “i” or a “me” to the sensations and to let it rise and fall, recognizing them all as just anxiety, just thoughts or just feelings. Mindfulness helps a lot with this.

    If you got anxious but didn’t care that you were anxious, or saw the sensation of anxiety/ low mood as benign as that of a sound or a taste in your mouth, — your experience with anxiety/low moods would be much different, would it not? This is the goal here, in my opinion and that’s what is meant by “losing the fear.”

    For me, I don’t think there ever was a light bulb moment, I think it’s just been a matter of practicing acceptance and mindfulness (acceptance of thoughts and feelings). Still a work in progress. Anyway, hope this was helpful and hope everyone is doing well.

    Xx

  162. Rachel Says:

    Perdy how are you not heard from you in ages xx

  163. Ryan Says:

    Hey guys, been doing awesome lately. .have come off all medication, and have had the longest periods of clarity that I’ve ever had in the past three years. I know I’m on the right track, as I really feel myself accepting more than ever. Right now in a bit of a setback, and kinda struggling with an all day uneasy/sense of dread that seems to suck the fun and enjoyment out of everything. .I’m going out and doing everything I normally do, but seem to get fixated on this silly feeling. .having such a hard time not letting it hey to me. .so annoying! Any thoughts or others that get this feeling! ?

  164. Maria Says:

    Emma Xx,

    I’m not sure I’ve read a more articulate and, in my opinion, accurate description of how to live in spite of anxiety.

    I often thought to myself over the years, “If I could just retrain my brain to react differently to my triggers.” But that’s as far as I got until I read Paul’s book. I couldn’t figure out how to do it, but you’ve explained it beautifully. This is exactly what I am working on now.

    A recent post by Jessica posed a wonderful analogy, likening her battle with swimming. Are you hugging the side of the pool for safety or taking a dive in the deep end? For me personally, I’ve made it to the deep end but I’m treading water close to the edge, close enough to grab the side if I need to. Not quite trusting myself to really dive head first into the deep end. It’s still kind of scary there. But I’m getting closer. :)

    Thank you, Emma and Jessica. Really wonderful posts.

  165. Pravesh Says:

    Hi there..

    Could anyone guide me to my question up there?

    Thanks, Pravesh

  166. Rich Says:

    Hi Colin, Thanks for your reply – I felt awful all yesterday afternoon, but alas come the evening I felt fine, and actually had a great night.

    Anxiety warps reality and makes it seem so much worse than it really is. When you’re suffering with physical symptoms you have to work around them sometimes – if you’re ill, you’re ill and you have to not be hard on yourself, but like all other times I have had this, I just carried on and walked through the smoke and mirrors.

    It’s so easy to let anxiety pull you down, suck you back into the feeling of hopelessness and dispair it brings from knocking you for so long, but to rise up against it and show it you will live your life regardless is the way to overcome the fear of it, and see it release its hold on you.

    My journey is a gradual one, with some blip and setbacks here and there, but the key is to just keep going, and don’t hold yourself back.

  167. Maria Says:

    Pravesh,

    Hi. :) I think reminding yourself is a good way of retraining your brain. So instead of reacting with fear, you are reacting with rational thought. Your anxiety is pounding on your front door, waiting for and wanting you to react in a panicky way. How and whether you chose to answer the door is key to your recovery. If you run and hide from the knock at the door, it will keep chasing you. If you crack the door just a wee bit to peek outside, it will try to break the door down to get inside. If you open that door with confidence and tell it thank you very much for stopping by but I’m not interested and don’t need you, it will eventually dissolve and melt away. Sometimes it takes awhile for it to get the message, but stick with it and it will fade.

    Understand too that your hormones are very busy right now! Pregnancy is often the culprit of anxiety for many women. Just continue doing what you are doing. Be calm in your reaction to those thoughts and the shakiness. Let it know that you’re fine with it hanging around outside your door and it will sooner or later realize that you’re not feeding it and it will go away.

    I hope this help and I wish you much joy and happiness with your upcoming arrival!

  168. Stephanie Says:

    Brian, thanks for the encouragement.

    Rich, just chiming in cause I like what you said about working around your physical symptoms. I get discouraged a lot because I feel like I’m failing if I’m not busy running around all day like I used. But the truth is anxiety really does make us feel crummy – and that’s not just in our head! We really do feel tired, dizzy, nauseous, whatever. And it sucks. The key is to not let that get us completely down. We have to keep pushing forward, even if the steps are small. Even if we have to take a lot of breaks. Even if we get knocked down.

  169. Samantha Says:

    Hi,

    Really looking forward to reading Pauls new book. I suffered with anxiety for a long time and the first book preety much cured me for a few years. Unfortunately I have been suffering from a terrible set back which has lasted nearly a year! I have tried other books but I am coming back to Pauls as I know this method works I just need to re-train my brain! Does anyone else suffer from sleeplessness..I cant seem to not worry about this :-(

    Thanks

  170. Diane Says:

    Yes ,have to agree with you Maria, Emma Xx and Jessica,s post both helpful and wriiten in a really good discriptive way , thank you

  171. Debbie Says:

    My mind gets dejvu everything feels familiar and i see images of movies i have seen.and dreams it gives me panic what is. This iam so scared. I feel like i cant go on

  172. Nolan Says:

    Hi Samantha,
    Sleeplessness and sleep anxiety were my two biggest issues.
    Treat it the same: whatever sleep you get…great. If you struggle, so what.

    Let the fear be there and start caring less about the fact that it is there.

  173. Samantha Says:

    Thanks Nolan! It’s been going on for such a long time I feel convinced I won’t get better … I just have to put the book into action!

  174. Nolan Says:

    Hi Samantha,
    I know it’s not fun to do: but take the issue of recovery completely out of the picture. If you have a bad night trying to get to sleep or staying asleep or waking up too early…. tell yourself “so what” and move on with your day.
    How close you may be to recovering or how far away you feel from recovery… just stop caring about this.
    Make your life bigger than issues with sleeping.

    I bet there was a time in your life when sleeping was rarely even a thought on your mind. Maybe even back then you’d have a bad night occasionally too…. but you didn’t really care. You just went back on with your day. So, go back on with your day and life again.

    When you lie down at night to go to bed and close your eyes, if you feel your mind going into that high alert/hyper attentive mode simply let it. Don’t force your mind to calm down (we both know that never works). Passively let it lead you where it wants to lead you. If scary/dreadful thoughts bubble up (about being broken) let them and stop caring that their there so much.

  175. Stephanie Says:

    Hey Nolan, question for you. I know acceptance is more of an attitude than action, but sometimes I feel like I’m trying to force it. I’ll say to myself, “ok you’re going to do what you have to do and not care how you feel!” Then I’ll do that thing but the whole time I really am caring how I feel. I know it’s better to at least do something rather than sit around, but I can feel that my attitude is still fighting and resisting. In fact, I’ll often feel worse when I’m doing what I need to do because my attitude has gotten me so worked up beforehand. Do you think these moments of forcing myself are preparing me for that final attitude change?

  176. Nolan Says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I think where most people get hung up on is the fact that they think “letting it be there” means the crappy feelings/thoughts will immediately go away. They don’t. They’ll almost certainly still linger there for a bit (sometimes lesser/sometimes greater).

    So, if you get this automatic/reflexive (something you’re not intentionally doing) rumination of thought/intrusive thoughts they’re still going to be there for awhile even when you start giving them their space.
    You’re going to notice that they’re still there, it’s going to bother you that they’re still there.
    It’s just that you’re attitude is going to be “oh well, so what”. You don’t have to keep yourself as busy as a beaver so that you’re effectively able to ignore those thoughts. Let them be there.

    Here’s an example:
    I was mowing my lawn one day and the fearful thought of “I’m broken for good” was jumbling up my mind. In the past I would have stopped mowing the lawn, gone inside and went online to search for people who also had this thought, chatted it over with my wife, struggled with the thought to convince myself that I’m not broken…. but still ultimately feeling and thinking that way.

    Then a few times later I was back outside mowing the lawn again and thinking “i wonder if the association of mowing the lawn and those scary thoughts is going to make those scary thoughts come back”…. and guess what – those thoughts of being broken came back into my mind. My mind and body starting going into panic mode. I considered going back inside and looking for some comfort online or where ever. But I told myself “no, keep mowing the lawn. You’re scared of those thoughts? Oh well, be scared…. but move on with your life.” And that’s what I did.

  177. Debbie Says:

    Hi nolan question for you. I get one image after another of anything and everything feels like it seems familiar. That sets off panic images of things that dont make sense i feel so scared. Like i dont even know who iam . iam new to this site any answers for me. Thanks

  178. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Nolan,
    Yes, I’m sure I’m still wishing that the thoughts/feelings will go away. And I don’t think I’m quite there yet with the “oh well, so what” attitude. I’ve built such a nasty habit of being anxious that it’s quite overwhelming trying to go against it. I have all of the head knowledge; I’m just not putting it into practice. Honestly, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through – worse than giving birth!

    Thank so much for continuing to come on here and help people.

  179. Maria Says:

    Hi Debbie,
    What you are describing sounds very much like depersonalization, or what a lot of people on here refer to as DP. Have you read Paul’s book? There is a great section on DP in it that I think would really help you. If you haven’t read the book yet, give it a go. And if you have read it, reread the part on DP. It’s basically this feeling like you’re living a bit outside of yourself but also very much up inside your head. Not sure if that makes sense! But it’s just another symptom of anxiety. And it’s nothing to be afraid of. Please read the book, hon, I promise it will help you to understand everything that you are fearing right now.

  180. Louise Says:

    Hi Pamela
    Have you read Richard carlsons stop thinking start living it a good read about the thoughts

  181. Pamela Says:

    Hi louise will drop u email soon will look into it.x

  182. Louise Says:

    Hi Pamela yes e mail me let me know how you getting on.

  183. Diane Says:

    Hi all I have a quick question , has anyone tried the lindon method and is worth trying?

  184. Louise Says:

    Hi Diane
    Yes when I was bad back in sept last year before finding this blog I ordered it it is a crock of shit and I don’t believe his words he cured himself of intrusive thoughts in days by high levels distraction that in a nutshell is the linden method and if u complain it not working you are not doing it correctly please save your money and wait for Paul’s new book. Mr linden charges a lot money and I don’t have any time for people who charge that sort money when they have suffered themselves supposedly

  185. Diane Says:

    Thanks Louise,

    I am always a bit sceptical when they are charging so much, Pauls book and this blog really helped me the last time, therefore I will stick to what works , thank you for being honest, take care , looking forward to Pauls new book

  186. Louise Says:

    Hi Diane
    No probs would nt want anyone else shelling out for that method it contradicts with the info all the time. Clare weekes books worth a look she used similar method to Paul with accepting

  187. Debbie Says:

    Hi maria thanks for sharing that info with me i did get the book already on my kindle. Those images can be pretty scary most of my day i get them for the last 5 months . thanks again

  188. Meg Says:

    Diane – I did find a good book through this blog which deals very specifically withy the thoughts and I’ve found it really useful and compliments pauls book. Paul has written a testimony about this book also. It’s called the mind works by will beswick. Obviously I will still be reading pauls new book but found that’s the other book really increased my understanding of obsessive and anxious thoughts which is the main thing I suffer with.

  189. louise Says:

    Hi
    Yes I also have this confounds it hard going at first but really good book on the thoughts

  190. Joanne Says:

    Hi all
    I’m new on here. Just wondered if anyone has problems with pressure in the throat and problems swallowing? I go for weeks with this lump feeling in my throat and sometimes when I’m eating I go to swallow and I get this sudden rush of anxiety and feel like I can’t swallow the food in my mouth.would appreciate some advice

  191. Sue Says:

    Sometimes I do not feel anxious or fearful and yet I still can get repetitious horrible thoughts that seem to pop in my head even when I do not think them.
    Can anyone tell me why that is. I have bought Pauls book now and I understand the taking no notice of the thoughts but its when I am at home on my own they seem to come back again. When I am out and busy they can be there but not registering and yet at home they seem to go round and round in my head. I have also noticed when I am tired they seem to come on more.

  192. Sue Says:

    I also seem to have some strange thinking patterns and I try to change the way I think but then this is not what Paul says you should do as its not accepting of them. Any suggestions!

  193. Sue Says:

    Does anyone else find the nasty thoughts keep coming back even when they have not thought them for a while. Then they will pop up out of the blue again.
    Some have been going round my mind for 16 months.
    How do you stop yourself keep looking backwards to things that you have thought and felt in the past. I am sure this does not help keep going over things.

  194. Louise Says:

    Hi sue
    Sometimes I think if just a habit we fall into with thinking these thoughts almost testing our anxiety. I was feeling happy sun shining has nasty thought yes it came with a sting but i try not to ruminate over why I Had the thought

  195. Ryan Says:

    Hey guys, could use a bit of encouragement. .have had an amazing stretch of feeling great and almost my old self. .been the longest periods ive had since all this started four years ago. ..I really felt as if I was pretty much recovered, and finally on the tail end of all this. Then about a week ago a terrible setback started. .ive been doing gid with the anxiety, but I’ve really struggled with depressive stmptoms..having lots of trouble even getting off the couch right now, with crying spells. .this is so hard to take as I’ve been doubt so awesome. .I know it will eventually pass, but it’s just so stmptoms to function like this. .any thoughts?

  196. Natalie Says:

    Hi Ryan, that’s great that you have been doing so well :). I have had this before as well, just feeling so empty, hopeless and tearful in a setback. As hard as it is, try not to just stay on the couch and make yourself get up and keep doing things. I find when I continue to do normal things I feel so much better and forget about the feelings. This then makes you realise they are all a lie made by anxiety. And the key is not to get up and do things to make yourself feel better but do them to continue with your life whilst anxiety does its thing. The fact you have just had such a good spell makes it so hard but also shows you how you can feel. Hope that helps even a little.

  197. Ryan Says:

    Thanks Natalie,

    That is why this one is so hard to accept..after feeling so good for so long really throws me into despair. .like climbing up mountain finally getting to the top just to get knocked back down. .really tiring! But I know what got me back on track before. .just have to be patient I guess..
    So funny, as I was away from the blog for do long and doing so well I wad about to post a recovery story! Now I’m back on here asking for advice..aaarrgghh!

  198. Nolan Says:

    Hi Ryan,
    Stop caring about it. Let it all be there, accept it as what it is and move back on.
    Remember, we can’t argue it away. Arguing with it just gets us stuck further. But, when it lifts it will just make sense as to why you’re not broken.

    I had intense setbacks with both anxiety and depression. I understand what you’re going through.
    Let it all be there. I know how it feels when you get that close to being completely normal and at peace. But try to remember, those feelings of peace and calmness of mind and body didn’t initially come because you struggled mightily…. no, they came because you accepted this suffering as what it is with not expectations of recovery.
    So do that again, assume no recovery…. let all of this pain be there and move on with your life.
    One thing I would do, being Catholic, was offering the pain of it all up to God. Hoping that I would be able to carry this burden but that someone else (whomever) that was suffering would be granted some reprieve.

  199. Anxious Indian Says:

    Hi Paul and Nolan,

    First of all, a ‘Thank You’ as big as it gets, as you have been so helpful to me in my recovery.

    I thought I had recovered completely, but have suddenly faced a setback, and the symptom is so weird that I feel quite stumped by it.

    With your help, I was able to completely get rid of my anxiety and was left with this ‘attention on me’ / ‘memory of anxiety’ thoughts and feeling which too lifted for large intervals once I began to let it be there and even welcome at times.

    I thought I had recovered 100%. But I noticed a change/habit. I was having repeated thoughts. For example, if I thought of some small problem, that thought would keep popping up again and again no matter what I am doing. While that tiny little problem was not even worth it. I thought this is a habit I have developed out of the past anxiety experience.

    I then just thought to myself. ‘Oh this is not a good habit. What if I get a really bad thought and it sticks like this’ and then I immediately thought about my family dying and it created a pang of fear. And as expected, now I am stuck with this thought all the time!

    I do understand where it came from and how reduntant it is, but it’s there and I don’t know how to deal with this. Do I let myself have that thought all the time and feel the pain and fear it brings? Or do I neutralise it by a positive affirmation.

    Also, with a thought so nasty, the temptation to get rid of it is there. I know that will create a problem.

    Basically my ‘attention on me’ feeling has changed into ‘fear of thinking bad/painful thoughts’ which is now staying with me all the time.

    Please guide me once again! Thanks again for everything!

  200. Josie Says:

    Emma….. I’m not sure if you’ve gone on holiday yet. I’m really really hoping so!
    I very rarely come to this site nowadays but, once upon a time, it was my lifesaver alongside Paul’s book.
    I’m totally recovered. However, being away from home – especially holidays – is the one time I get anticipatory anxiety. I know exactly what you are going through. BUT, and you know what I’m going to say, GO ON HOLIDAY. If you are anxious? Then you’re anxious. If you’re not anxious? Great. Walk towards your uncomfortable sensations and feelings. You know nothing bad is going to happen. Let the anxiety be there. Will you like it? No, of course not. But will you still have moments of enjoyment on holiday. You know you will!
    Emma – take a deep breath and accept it might be difficult. Be brave. I came back from the most wonderful holiday just week ago. I was definitely anxious the weeks leading up to it. But each year it gets easier. Apart from struggling with sleep whilst on holiday (which I accept will happen) I truly had the best time.
    Emma – I hope you’re reading this from your holiday or I’ve caught you just before you go and it gives you just a tiny bit of confidence to go. If not, and you did decide to put the holiday off this year then that’s fine too. There willl be others and it will get easier.
    Good luck Emma.
    x

  201. Sue Says:

    Has anyone any advice for me on the 3 replies I have left above

  202. Nolan Says:

    Hello Anxious Indian,

    “Do I let myself have that thought all the time and feel the pain and fear it brings? Or do I neutralise it by a positive affirmation.”

    My answer to this: Yes, feel the pain and fear it brings…. with no expectations of it to get better/worse/or whatever…. Start having the attitude of “so what/oh well” towards it.
    It’s the struggling with it, the ‘trying to work it out’ that will just get us more jammed up. Allow it to be there with no expectations of it’s earlier departure from your life.

    I had numerous set backs during my recovery. And each and every time they came I was certain “this is for good”. I’d go through much of the same struggling with it. The terror and dread of “but I thought I was passed this!!!”…. but all I needed was to stop caring that it was there, stop reacting to it, and to stop letting it dictate my life.

  203. Nolan Says:

    Hi Sue,

    You asked: “How do you stop yourself keep looking backwards to things that you have thought and felt in the past.”….

    I’d have to say: if the looking back is more of an intrusive thought (like, you’re not intentionally doing it…. it’s just happening automatically/reflexively), then let it happen and don’t care so much that it is happening.

    If it’s more active and intentional (like you’re deliberately thinking of the how things used to be) then make the decision to stop doing that. I too had to make the active decision to stop filling myself with pity over reflecting where I used to be and where I found myself with the anxiety.

  204. Diane Says:

    Hi all,

    I am having a bit of a difficult time at the moment, my anxiety was pretty much not interfering with my life and I got a health scare , a DVT and PE, I am on treatment which is working but I have to go for a hysterectomy in afew months and I am so scared the what ifs, are really bad and my anxiety is difficult to cope with due to the thoughts , like I may not survive( anxiety takes hold with this thought) , and this just make me really anxious, I know most people are anxious about hospitals etc but I wondered if anyone has been through similiar and can give me some advice?
    Pauls book and blog have worked really well in the past, but I am struggling at the moment, any help welcome! Thank you

  205. Ann Says:

    Hello Everyone! Hello NOLAN :)
    I need some advice.
    Most of my symptoms are gone (except for the nonstop back of my head thoughts of nonsense/ anxiousness thinking) and whatever i try to think that anxious thinking is still there and that just makes me think inward and cant concentrate. I try to do activities and so on but seems its always still there. I’ve been going through this for over the past month. I know i should just let it be, accept, and time will heal but looks like i have reached a point where i cant move forward with my recovery because of this can you help me with some advice. Thanks alot and God bless everyone!!!

  206. Ann Says:

    And maybe I just formed a habit to think inward and constantly about it. So How do I reverse this habit or what advice can you please give.

  207. pravesh Says:

    Hello Nolan

    U understand anxiety so well… I just wanted to ask u if I can ask u some questions related to my recovery… I am stuck… If that’s ok with u send me ur email add on my viber num +23057015591.

  208. Anxious Indian Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    Thank you very much! I will put this into practice.

    One thing I did realise was that intrusive negative thoughts happen to everyone (people who don’t have anxiety) and they just dismiss it the moment it arrives. But in anxiety we make an issue out of it, and perhaps that is what makes the thoughts stick.

    Thanks again for all your help and selfless concern! You and Paul are collecting innumerable blessings everyday and I hope you have the happiest life ever because you both truly deserve it :)

  209. Elaine Says:

    Hi everyone
    Does anyone suffer with choking feelings and gagging ?
    I know it’s just a symptom but its very physical and is spooling my life because I’m afraid I ll gag when talking to people
    Many thanks

  210. Anxious Indian Says:

    Hi Elaine,

    I had this for months. Gagging plus nausea. I used to keep sucking mint to help with this. Once anxiety became low, this too went away on its own.

    Hope this helps!

  211. Bryan Says:

    Ann,

    You have to reach a point where you are truly ok taking these thoughts with you through your day. The reaction has to be one of emotional neutrality.

    What if you thought about cupcakes. Then again a few seconds later. Would you fret and worry over it? Of course not. But why? It was a repetitive thought right? Well yes but it was a repetitive thought without consequence. You believe your inward thinking is dangerous or “means” something. (We all fall for this anxiety trick at some point.). But your inward thinking and anxiety thoughts are meaningless. They are unimportant. They are like thinking of a cupcake. The sole thing that separates them is that you are worried about “getting rid” of them. You are not here asking how to get rid of cupcakes right?

    We have to not care. I know if can be torturous. I have physical symptoms at times that seem unbearable. But I’ve gotten back to living by letting them be there and run their course. The more we fuss about the symptoms the more they assume we need them around.

  212. Rosa Says:

    Hi Nolan,
    I have a questions about anxious/depressed thoughts. Today I observed my thinking and noticed that almost constantly negative thoughts pop up. I tried not to engage with them meaning I tried not to think positive thoughts or to wanting to solve the thought. I tried to go back to what I was just doing. But the next second another negative thought popped up and I was distracted and with my attention on me again. Is this struggeling? I tried to allow all the thoughts and use a “so what” attitude. Will this constant flow of thoughts stop eventually? Thank you!

  213. Ann Says:

    Bryan,
    Thanks for the reply :). You are right. Its those unpleasant negative thoughts that always stick, the ones we try to get rid of. It takes practice. I have to not care about those meaningless thoughts. Its like you have to built it in, attitude change. It takes time but not impossible. Sometimes we all need some reassurance.
    God bless you and everyone else here ! Were all on the same boat….Patience and Hope.

  214. Nolan Says:

    Hi Rosa,

    What you said is all pretty normal. Having a new attitude of not trying to mentally solve every scary or intrusive thought that enters doesn’t mean that at that moment you’ll be perfectly at ease again.

    Bigger waves will still come and all you have to do is not struggle with it so much. By struggling with it I mean digging deep into them to understand the “why” of it all or the “how” as in “how am I’m going to get out of this?”.

    You said, “But the next second another negative thought popped up and I was distracted and with my attention on me again.”…..
    All you really should try to do is to not care so much that those other negative thoughts are popping up.

  215. Nolan Says:

    Sorry pravesh…. I actually live in America. Might be a bit pricey to give you a call.

    But feel free to ask me anything on here.

    Take care.

  216. Debbie Says:

    Hi nolan do we ever fully feel our selves again? My only hope is reading this blog every day tosee if iam still sane. My mind is always trying to scare me with image after iamge of movies i have seen streets. Things feel familiar tv even scares me . has anyone had these symptoms. Help anyone .just would feel better.

  217. Rach Says:

    I’m fed up of being broken.

  218. Yolanda Says:

    Hi all, I hv recovered n started a new job. Some stress at work has brought back anxiety. I started having anxious thoughts and tried to talk myself outof it. Then I remembered this site n came back for some needed boost.

    I guess anxiety is pretty much a part of everyone. Some justhandle stress better. Unfortunately not I 😉

    All the best to all!

  219. Yolanda Says:

    Oh forgot to add that whn I was recovering this site helped a lot cos knowing that I m not alone n being able to post my feelings even if, it doesn’t get a reply def helped.

    Have a great day

  220. JoJo Says:

    Hi!
    I struggle feeling things that most people don’t describe about having anxiety. I struggle mostly with thoughts. They come in the form of questions usually. Lately it is questioning why I’m not happy or questioning what this uneasy or unsettled feeling is I have at times. I kept trying to figure out what is wrong in my life to make me feel this way and I never come up with anything worth mentioning. Most people describe feeling doom or fear or physical sensations that bother them but not feeling uncomfortable about life. Has anyone felt this way or can anyone make me see how it is anxiety. It’s funny if it’s not anxiety what else could it possibly be? Depression? Who knows

  221. Adam Says:

    JoJo….what you are experiencing is nothing more than normal, old, boring, run of the mill anxiety/depression. I can assure you, the symptoms you described in your post are very common symptoms and have been described on this blog by many previous sufferers-me included. My anxiety manifests itself similarly. In the beginning, much like you describe you are doing now, I too tried to “figure out” why I felt as I did, why I was anxious, what was wrong with me physically or emotionally that I would feel this way etc etc. And you know what? All that “figuring out” only fueled the fire that was keeping my anxiety burning. It wasn’t until I learned to accept the feeling for what it was (a feeling…nothing more!) and stopped trying to figure out why I was feeling it that it finally started to recede. Fast forward several years of practicing Paul’s method of acceptance with a “so what” attitude (thanks Nolan) and feeling this feeling that I am recovered. Yes, I can say that without fear…I am recovered…because I know that anxiety is only a big lie that cannot hurt me. Face the fear, feel it, accept it and do what you want to do anyway. Live your life with the anxiety right there with you. And ultimately you will lose your fear of it over time. The saying is definitely true: time heals all. Especially when practicing acceptance… Good luck. And take solace in the fact that there are oh so many of us just like you out here….

  222. pravesh Says:

    Hi Nolan.. no no I didn’t want to write here in case I confuse someelse.

    No need to give me a call… I just wanted that we communicate email on myemail(if u r ok with that, I am not forcing u).

    U just can text me ur email on my mobile.

    Hear from u. Thanks

  223. Elaine Says:

    Thanks for the response Anxious Infian thought I was alone on this one
    From waking to going to bed I feel like gagging which is pretty miserable but I know following Paul’s advice not to fight it but accept it but struggle to do it.

  224. Anxious Indian Says:

    Hi Elaine,

    You certainly are not the only one :)

    Once I realised that it was a symptom of anxiety, I stopped bothering about it. By ‘bothering’, I mean I stopped trying to think of ways to fix it. It is very uncomfortable and make my eyes all watery so it still bothered me technically.

    However, one related effect of this was that I got very conscious while speaking to people. I found it extremely embarrassing as they would ask me if I feel nausea and why I feel so all the time. I even ended up with weird nicknames because of this!

    But I realised that I couldn’t control it so I though let people think whatever they want to. I infact told everyone that I am suffering from chronic nausea for whatever reason. This helped me focus less on this symptom and what you don’t focus on, goes away slowly. I have been over with this for 7 months now :)

    Also, just to help with the physical discomfort, I used to carry around a packet of fennel seeds and cardamom and chew them, so that this did not affect me so much while I was at work meetings.

    My anxiety episode has taught me that whatever we try to get rid of, we end up focusing on it, and then it sticks around all the more.

    Although I must admit that I have found this easier to apply to physical symptoms, but when it comes to mental symptoms like ‘thoughts’, I am not sure what is the perfect way because I still struggle with them.

  225. Maria Says:

    Adam, great response to Jojo’s post. Jojo, I hope this helps you because he is spot on. It’s natural to question all the weirdness that comes with anxiety, but it’s when we fixate on it that we help keep it alive.

    Debbie, I can assure you that you are 100% sane :). When my anxiety was full on, EVERYTHING scared me. It was ridiculous! Your repetitive thoughts of images of movies are just your own personal intrusives. Everyone’s are different, but also the same. And just like all the other symptoms of anxiety that we endure, its how you react to them that will determine whether they stick around or not.
    Not to sound cliche, but for me, reading Paul’s book was one big lightbulb moment. I finally realized there was absolutely nothing to be afraid of. Anxiety is an expert trickster, it wants us to be afraid, it wants us to be uncomfortable in our own skin, that’s what keeps it alive. So this acceptance thing everyone talks about on here is just another way of saying there’s no need to be afraid. Because really, what are you afraid of? In a nutshell, you are afraid of a feeling. A feeling that tricks you into thinking you’re going nuts when in fact it’s just a basic chemical, adrenaline, surging through your body. That’s all it is.
    I think the easiest way to understand all of this is to just get back to the basics:
    1. Anxiety is cause by adrenaline that is released into our bodies.
    2. That adrenaline can then morph into the myriad of symptoms under the umbrella we call anxiety. Those symptoms may be physical- heart palpitations, dizziness, nausea, sweating, shortness of breath and so on. Or they may be mental- repetitive thoughts (intrusives), feeling outside of ourselves (depersonalization), agitation, amped up fear, depression, etc. These symptoms are all NORMAL responses when that adrenaline is released in our bodies.
    3. THE MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember- how we CHOSE to react….Claire Weekes goes into great detail about this in her books. Adding the second fear. If you react to these symptoms with fear, you feed the fire and help it to remain and even grow. Most everyone at some point in their lives will experience the “fight or flight” sensation. But that is because some situation has sparked that response. When the perceived fear passes, the adrenalin levels recede to normal and life goes on. For us oh so lucky folks that suffer from anxiety, those high levels stick around because of how we react to them.
    4. If you can manage to separate yourself from your symptoms and look at it from a “logical” point of view, you will see quite clearly that there really is nothing to fear. You’re having weird thoughts? So what. You feel uncomfortable? So what. You’re agitated and fearful? So what. Nothing bad is going to happen! You have a panic attack? So what. It will pass. As soon as you stop fighting and worrying and questioning, it will start to recede. It HAS to! It has to because nothing is feeding it!
    5. As hard as it may sound, you have to be patient and give yourself a break, give your body time to heal. Anxiety is a trauma to our bodies and minds. And as with every trauma, it takes time to heal. Be good to yourself. Love yourself. Take a deep breath and re-effing-lax. :)
    Blessings to you all. Xo

  226. Ryan Says:

    So frustrated right now. .feels like I am forever broken. .been dealing with this for four years now and this setback feels as bad as when this all started. So scared as it seems like others who have recovered have done so in much less time which makes me think I’m not able to. I’ve been really actively working on Pauls method for a few years, and have had some success, but nothing lasting more than a few months. .just really scared as I look at dealing with this for years to come and worried I won’t be able to stand it…ughh. so hard to accept these horrible feelings sometimes. ..

  227. pravesh Says:

    Ryan a hug for you from me as encouragement…

    I can really understand what u r going through… I am in the same boat. On top of that I am pregnant n will deliver anytime. Cry if u want u will feel better

  228. Kim Says:

    Hi Everyone,

    I’ve checked in on this site only a few times over the past few years, and last posted over Xmas feeling quite depressed as a result of being over stressed. I have felt fine all year and quite proud of myself for feeling quite ‘normal’!

    I have changed my job recently and and in the process of moving to a new flat which are both things ive been wanting to do for ages….and anxiety has absolutely knocked me for six. I have well and truly got back into the cycle that I have been in before…but it is so bloody deceptive!

    The same old thoughts that are so terrifying when they run through my mind…..what if i cant handle life because I get like this everytime i’m stressed…what if ive got another mental disorder…i must be bipolar…i must have Borderline Personality Disorder…etc. etc.

    I feel like every thought is 100 times scarier than they have been before and I just feel a bit of a mess. I know anxiety’s sneaky deceptive ways but I just can’t quite convince myself that these thoughts might not be true. It does upset me that even after getting through an awful bout of anxiety and coming through the other side…it is just always going to come back as I am so rubbish at dealing with stress.

    It is definitely starting to affect my relationship – even thought my boyfriend has been so sweet and supportive of my anxiety ever since we have been together. I get so over emotional when I think about it because I feel like he doesn’t deserve all this having to put up with me being such an emotional mess.

    I just need a bit of reassurance really. I went to the doctor about my anxiety when it first started years ago and I really wasnt offered much help. I found Pauls site and obviously found it immensely helpful. I just keep getting in these low slumps of terrifying thoughts that I should go to the doctor an get help because I’m mad – or if i don’t go and let it carry on then I will end up being suicidal. (this is also a thought that really sticks with me and scares the absolute hell out of me)

    This has just seemed to all come back and hit me at such force and so quickly.

    Hope you can offer me a few words of friendly reassurance.

    Kim

  229. Jeff Says:

    Kim – after a period of normalcy, anxiety often seems so much worse. We get used to feeling ‘normal’ – the longer we feel normal the harder it can be to deal with a good hit of anxiety….as compared to when we were dealing with it day after day non-stop.

    Add a little stress to a low ‘biorhythm’ (feeling down/weak/emotional, as we all do from time to time) – and here comes our old friend back for a visit. This can happen for a while. I remember being anxiety free for years – only to experience a ‘blast from the past’ during a stressful period.

    Let it go…..those silly intrusives too, they are nothing more than a stress indicator – and will fade as they always do.

  230. JoJo Says:

    Adam:
    Thank you for your response. Do you mean if my thoughts are telling me I’m not happy or why I feel not right about life that I need to not pay attention or listen or believe what they are telling me? I get you mean to ignore how you feel physically but this is for emotionally as well?

  231. Stephanie Says:

    Hi everyone,
    I am by no means recovered, but I had one of those “a-ha” moments last week that I thought I’d share. Friday morning I was getting gas alone while my husband and daughter were grocery shopping. It seems like such a silly, easy task, but my anxiety was on high alert. There was almost a 10 minute wait. My anxiety level kept creeping up. Thoughts ran through my head: “Maybe I should call my mom so she can calm me down. What if I faint while I’m pumping?! Maybe I should ask the attendant to pump my gas for me?” I wanted to leave! Even when it was my turn, I almost just pulled away. But, probably out what little pride I had left, I stayed. When I got out of the car I was having almost a full panic attack. My hands were trembling, my heart was beating fast and hard, and I had that kind of head rush feeling. I managed to swipe my credit card and get the pump in my gas tank. Then, while I was waiting, I had this split-second of exhilaration and empowerment. I said to myself, “I am OK.” There was this crazy storm raging inside of me, and I still felt awful, but I realized that I truly was OK. Then I realized something else: I had still been avoiding. All these months when I thought I was pushing myself (and I was, compared to how I was almost a year ago), I was still stopping short. Whenever it gets too hard, I back down. I rarely make plans because I worry about how I’ll feel. I call in sick to work if I’m having a rough day. And so on. But what I’m seeing is that you have to allow yourself to get to that climax moment of anxiety in order to prove to yourself and to your mind and body that everything is OK. It is not going to be easy. In fact, it is going to hurt like hell. It is going to feel like you’re dying. It will probably feel like it’s taking all of your strength and willpower. But it is the only way out. We can’t get around this. We can’t work it out in our minds. We can only go through it.

  232. JoJo Says:

    Maria:
    When you say weirdness do you mean the questions that my mind proposes or the feelings that I’m having about life that I don’t understand or can’t make sense of? Questioning if a thought or emotion that I have is really how I feel or only a feeling anxiety is causing? Sorry just wasn’t to clarify bc these are my main issues.

  233. Adam Says:

    JoJo…what I mean is thoughts are just that: thoughts. There is no more significance in a thought that you enjoy than there is in a thought that you hate. Each one is equally insignificant. You must learn that ALL thoughts are the “popcorn” of the mind. Like kernels of popcorn in a bucket, there are thousands of thoughts that we go through everyday with our minds. Further, the feelings generated by those thoughts are also not reality. Sure, they are our feelings and they make us feel good, bad, sad, happy etc. But they are not reality. Feelings are only our current perception of reality…AT THAT MOMENT. They don’t mean anything significant. Face them and your fears and you will find out after a while that feelings fade/become easier with time…and that once faced, a fearful thought becomes less fearful. Face it often and it becomes silly and eventually disappears altogether. Feel the feelings of despair and hurt and continue to live your life. And eventually, the despair, the hurt, they become less and less potent and you become less and less concerned by them. Eventually, you will move on with your life. So, keep living your life and moving and you will move on from anxiety/depression. This reminds me of an important gem of wisdom that was imparted to us by my wife’s Great Aunt Rebeth this past weekend. You see, Aunt Rebeth is 103 years old and when she was asked what her “secret” was to her long life…she responded…”You have to keep moving on even when you don’t feel like it”. Thanks Aunt Rebeth…even Paul couldn’t have summed it up any better.

  234. Maria Says:

    Jojo, there is absolutely no way I could have said it any better than Adam just did. I know it gets a bit confusing, but learning to be ok with both your thoughts and how they make you feel really is the key. I remember being confused by this when I was anxious too. Like which part of these thoughts are me and which are anxiety?! But Adam is right, don’t try to figure it out. You’ll see, once your anxiety lifts, that it was all kind of a jumbled mess that didn’t mean a thing. Does that make sense?

  235. Kim Says:

    Jeff –

    Thank you for the kind reassurance. Even reading this back to myself has almost stopped my panicking in its tracks.

    It is so scary how easily anxiety can trick us – even when we know how deceptive it can be.

    Kim

  236. Elaine Says:

    Thanks again anxious Indian
    I am the same when talking to people I m constantly tring not to gag
    Normally I’m a proper chatterbox but at he moment I dread bumping into people
    I know it will pass it has before but at the moment waking shaking sweating and choking feeling nit nice

  237. Anxious Indian Says:

    Elaine…I know how you feel and you have my sympathies :(
    But try fennel or mint or whatever helps and don’t avoid talking to people. Tell them yes, I suffer from nausea for whatever XYZ reason and excuse yourself if need be. Don’t be embarrassed!

    The reason I say this is because socializing is one of the most engaging and motivating activities as compared to other stuff ( in my opinion) and it helped me make the most strides in my recovery :)

    Even if it is embarrassing, trust me it’s worth it for the benefits of socializing which you will realize after a while of keeping at it :)

  238. Rosa Says:

    Thanks Nolan! I tried to put this into practice, tried to allow every thought without reacting to it. Sometimes I catch myself that I try to neutralise a thought or start to think my way out of it. It is such an ingrained habit, so difficult to stop. Today I my mind is a bit less muddled and I feel some sort of peace. I am still anxious, but I feel like I want to be nice to myself and compassionate. I feel like I want to hug and comfort myself. Is this a “good” development or still struggeling?

  239. Maria Says:

    Stephanie,
    That’s fantastic, hon! Those ah ha moments are so important to recovery. It reinforces the point Paul makes about going toward your anxiety in order to prove it wrong! I must admit I still do some avoiding myself, but I’ve gotten much better about it. In fact, just last night I went to the dreaded mall! I despise those places! Talk about a recipe for anxiety! The noises, the lights, the people, absolute sensory overload for me. But, I went. Yes, I was uncomfortable at times but I didn’t bolt!
    So, it’s a process, right? It doesn’t happen overnight, but the more we can do to prove it wrong, the better we are.
    Congrats, Stephanie, you did great! :)

  240. Ryan Says:

    Still stuck in this nasty setback..wearing me down. Just feel so exhausted and doing anything seems like such a chore right now. It’s my day off today and I usually go to the gym to workout but struggling to face the day. .frustrated but going back on a low dose of medication to help get me back on track. I know this will pass, but man these setbacks are really trying. .they always trick me into believing it will never end and get me so down. I wish I could get better at dealing with theses really hard times, as I feel liked is the last hurdle to true recovery. .I’m so thankful for his blog as out of all the doctors and therapists I’ve seen over the years, this is truly the only thing that has ever helped me. Now it’s just a matter of being patient. ..which is very very hard!

  241. Maria Says:

    Hi Ryan, sorry you’re feeling down and experiencing a bit of a set back. Try to go to the gym regardless, you will feel better. And since its your day off, try to fit in something you really enjoy. Take it easy on yourself. It’s totally ok to feel down about a setback. You know the old saying…”so what”, Right?! And remember, you have to be ok with feeling like it may never end. Because when you truly accept that, it will lift. :)

  242. Meg Says:

    Kim I can 100% identify with you as I have the exact same anxious thiughts. They often trick me so convincingly then feel so frustrated when it dawns on you that you have imadvettantly fallen for the trick again! If you ever want to talk Im here :)

  243. Ryan Says:

    Thanks Maria,
    I did go to the gym, but now just want to take a nap! My hang up is the depressive feelings…anxiety I can deal with and accept so much better. When I feel low like this I totally freak out and think I have major depression and I’ll be lock ed up. This is my biggest fear..being so depressed that I can’t take it anymore. .that scares the crap out of me. .even the word s**** make s me panic cause I’m so afraid that will happen to me. .I Jane the best life I could ever hope for with am amazing family and careers, that’s why feeling this way really messes with me. .

  244. Maria Says:

    Hey Ryan,
    I’m really glad you went to the gym! Good for you! And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to take a nap, go for it!

    Ok, so I’m going to play armchair psychiatrist here for a moment if that’s ok with you. Sometimes when we are in the thick of anxiety and depression, it can be hard to see what seems very clear to others. So here’s what I see….your anxiety has flared up recently, which bums you out because you were doing so well! Not only does it bum you out, but you think you may even be depressed. (Which, by the way, is totally to be expected when you have a setback. It sucks, so of course you feel down about it) Now your anxiety is grabbing a hold of that fear of being locked up, it (the anxiety) flares some more and you become even more down. So you see, you are feeding both the anxiety and the depressive feelings about the anxiety. Round and round you go! Your anxiety makes you feel like “what if I can’t take it anymore?!!” It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, or how wonderful your family is, anxiety and the accompanying depression can hit anybody! Try your best to be ok with feeling down about this. I’ve always found that when I can be ok with all these wacky feelings, the anxiousness and depression lifts.
    Don’t be so hard on yourself, what we deal with here is tough. So just be good to yourself. Hope this helps. :)

  245. Ryan Says:

    Thanks for the kind words Maria..sometimes you just need to vent a bit and coming on here always reminds me that I’m not alone in my feelings…which is nice cause it sure feels that way sometimes! Ill be happy to get back to work tomorrow as it is a nice distraction when I’m feeling so rough. Hopefully going back on my medication will help me hey back on track as well. Ive made this mistake a few times before when I have really good periods I drop the medication and back to feeling horrible again. .it’s something that I’ve always struggled with and jabber femur bad abort myself for taking it. .but now I just don’t care anymore. .if I take a small dose and it helps my quality of life,so be it. .hooper you all are doing well!

  246. Debbie Says:

    Iam just writing. To talk again my anxiety is really bad due to my sick dad being in the hospital since yesterday . i just feel plan out scared in my mind now iam rally getting images of anything i can look at a door and it scares me . i feel like my mind just left me and iam scared. Of everything even my own house. Just writing cause i want to feel better . its soooo hard. Than i feel like iam gonna start screaming profanity to even. Loved ones and it makes me feel horrible.

  247. Maria Says:

    Debbie,
    Read what I wrote to you several posts up.
    Xo

  248. Tom Marshall Says:

    Debbie, I’m so sorry to hear about your dad, I hope he is ok :) I know what its like to be completely scared about everything. I have similar experiences when i’m alone and its dark, 21 years old and I’m still scared off the dark haha! 😉 but like paul says and many others you just have to let yourself be with it all, I know its easier said than done when all you can think about is ‘When will this all end!’ but your body has its own way of calming back down without you interfering with it. there is no danger in your house, your sensitised nerves are just playing up which leads to your mind over exaggerating everything.

    The reason why you want to scream at your loved ones is because your angry anxious energy has have its release and when we can’t actually release that anger in the moment it tends to manifest its self into the thoughts of X, Y and Z so don’t feel guilty about it, I have experienced that same thing and thought ‘how could i even say that’ ‘Theres something wrong with me’ But you have to just let them be there without judgement like any other intrusive thoughts. If its really eating away at you I would advise you find a quiet place somewhere and scream whatever words come with the moment, this will feel strange at first because we have been conditioned to hold anger in. Have a full blown paddy if you need to! Kick, scream and cry, just express anything that comes up. I’m not saying this is the solution to it all but sometimes we just need to let it all out to move on.

    Tom.

  249. debbie Says:

    Thanks maria and tom for being supportive
    Xo

  250. Karen Says:

    Nolan can I just say the post about the lawnmower really made it hit home for me….. actually spelled out super clearly what ‘do nothing’ means. I get it, just carry on as normal with all the thoughts there too. Don’t question the thoughts or analyse them or try to block them or interact with them at all or google or ask for reassurance. Just carry on. Yes they are still going to scare you, that’s their point but just carry on regardless. In a good week at the moment and hoping I can remember how simple it is when I sink back down again. It all makes complete sense when I am doing well but as soon as it hits I go back into confusion and panic again. I guess that’s part of it too.

    Can we have more examples like this please.

  251. Steve Says:

    I am a little confused. When I’m sitting around ruminating and worrying should I just let those thoughts be and just keep on worrying and ruminating?

  252. Doreen Says:

    Good to see new people on here answering questions, supporting others and being so very wise.
    Pravesh, I am not sure if Nolan responded to your request for email exchanges, but the idea of the blog is that we exchange thoughts and ideas here, so that others can also read about folks with similar challenges to them and feel supported.

  253. Pravesh Says:

    Hello Doreen

    It’s nice to hear from you. At least someone there is reading my post. I thought I was alone. Well Nolan did not replied but it’s ok perhaps he is taken up and will revert back.

    Well let me explain exactly what is my story. I experienced anxiety some months ago, don’t know how but I was going under extreme stress at my work and on top of that I am pregnant. I could not understand what was happening to me but then I came across Paul’s book and blog. I could then understand what my symptoms were. I suffer from obsessive negative thoughts.

    I started reading the blog everyday, almost all posts. Now the problem is that my anxiety re-invented itself. This is where I am confused and I am going round in circles 24/7 daily. Whatever I am doing, wherever I am going, I can see myself looking for answers to this confusion mentally. (which I know I should not do). I cannot even watch the TV as my concentration has been disturbed.

    I read everywhere in the blog/Paul’s book that we have to just do nothing, just float, just live our live normally with anxiety. But I can also see some people here who have get better using sayings like “So what”, etc, etc. Now my brain is so confused that it does not know if recovery is a ‘do’ or a ‘not do’.

    Obsessive questions like the following are now stucked in my brain and are coming over and over the whole day daily and even disturbing me in my sleep:-

    1. Should I use a saying?
    2. Which saying should I use?
    3. How many times to use them?
    4. What should I do now?
    5. Should I remind myself when my attention goes on myself that this is only a habit?

    It’s already 3 weeks and they have sticked in there. I am unable to move forward and feel that I have done a permanent mess in my mind and will stay like this forever. Only my mum and sister are understanding me. I am crying daily with them, but my heart breaks to see them sad because of me. I really want to recover and be the happy person I was like before, so that I can look after my daughter, and the expecting baby and my husband.

    I can hear whatever I have read in the blog and book in my mind and even hearing myself saying that recovery is doing nothing… I am really stucked here and see no hope for me.. If anyone of you can relate to this and show me a direction.

    Sincere apologies for the long post and if I confused some else here.

  254. Rich Says:

    Steve,

    Sitting around worrying and ruminating is the worst thing you can do – unless you learn to distance yourself from the thoughts and observe them rather than engage with them – which when you’re anxious is almost impossible to do!

    Therefore, you can either sit and ruminate, or do something else more productive – sitting worrying and playing ‘worst-case’ things out in my head is something I am so guilty of doing – but this is nothing but a huge waste of time, as it tires your mind and body and robs you of your day.

    I’d much sooner be doing something else instead. I don’t think “what ‘should’ I do to get me over this” – I think “what do I want to do?” – and then I do it. Sometimes its sleep, read, clean the house – it doesn’t matter what it is, you just need to not waste the time – as nobody has ever, ever, worried themselves better.

    PS I don’t think ‘what’s the best thing I can do to help me recover from this? should I read a certain book, or meditate or become mindful and relaxed, or snap a band on my arm or jump up and down 20 times with panpipes playing while reciting a mantra?’ I just do something else. Purely to stop wasting my life. Then, I notice I’ve stopped worrying and feel slightly better, and time has passed and I’ve not thought about anxiety for a while. This feels good, and by doing it more and more, you learn that to feel anxious in the first place isn’t a big deal at all – which is the key.

    Recovery for me is a side effect to living your life regardless to how you are thinking or feeling. It’s a state of mind you reach indirectly by doing other things, rather than trying to seek it out directly.

  255. Doreen Says:

    I think Rich’s post above is the answer to many of the questions posted on here including your Pravesh.

  256. Jeff Says:

    Pravesh –
    You’ve over-stressed yourself. I’d venture to say that most everyone who reads or contributes to this blog has made the same mistake unknowingly. Some of the ‘hard cases’ (like me) have even made that mistake more than once (or twice)…. and has (and sill is) paying the price for it.

    As for you, it may be that you’re overcomplicating the concept of recovery. It looks like you have the right info -“…that we have to just do nothing, just float, just live our life normally with anxiety”. But you seem a bit confused over the “so what” attitude. Let me tell you that they are one and the same.

    A rose by any other name….whether you ‘float’, say ‘so what’, ‘whatever’, chose to ignore it, ‘accept’…it’s all the same thing….basically to keep on keeping on.

    I think your immediate challenge is to muzzle that FEAR. Not so easy at first. We can start to fear all kinds of silly things…..THEN we can start to fear the fear. Isn’t this fun?
    It’s scary until we truly get what’s going on and why. Even then it can still be scary for a while – I mean let’s face it, some of the symptoms can get really intensely freaky and scare the hell out of us.

    By doing what others on this blog have suggested – namely to keep on LIVING – that nasty fear will fade, as will your symptoms – as your body calms down. But it does take time and lots (and lots) of patience.

  257. Diane Says:

    Hi all, hope you are well, I need some support at the moment, I had appointment yesterday at the hospital to discuss a up and coming operation. We discussed all that could good wrong which ended in the fact that there is a small death possibility, this has set my anxiety of the scales and I feel terrified, does anyone have any advice on how to cope with this sort of anxiety, I would really appreciate any tips at this point, Diane

  258. Maria Says:

    Hi Diane,
    I’m not a medical professional, but I think EVERY time someone goes under anesthesia there is a possibility of complications. Doctors and hospitals HAVE to tell you this because of liability factors. Try to focus on the positive outcome of your surgery, how much better you’ll feel once it’s all over, and the positive impact it will have on your life. :) make a mental list of all the great things this operation will do for you!
    Think of it like this….every time we get in our cars to go somewhere there is a CHANCE something may go wrong, but you don’t worry over that each time you run to the grocery store.
    I guess it just comes down to trying not to worry and focussing on the positive and not the negative. I wish there was more I could do to ease your worry! Hang in there, hon, you’ll do great!

  259. Rich Says:

    I’ve worried about stuff my entire life. My biggest annoyance with myself is that I spend the run up to most things worrying about them and then when the things (whatever they are) come around, I’m tired, anxious or just plain worn out from all the time spent worrying about them. I used to worry about worrying in the bewilderment as to ‘why am I like this?’.

    My logical answer would be to stop lining up things that worry me – live a ‘safe’ life. This doesn’t work because life isn’t like that, and ‘safe’ is an ever shrinking circle.

    The actual answer is to stop worrying about worrying – just let it happen – safe in the knowledge and understanding of its limits. Do stuff while worrying, while feeling anxious. You can spend your time curled up in bed or on the sofa looking out the window at the world outside, or you can go our and be part of it. At first it’s a struggle, but in time it gets easier – I know where I’d sooner be.

    Make no mistake, anxiety, worry, stress and fear all feel awful – this does not get better or lessen – it is a horrible feeling and sensation. The trick is to feel all of these things but to rise above them and go about your life anyway – feeling scared / awful / horrible.

    When you feel awful, you have a choice – you always have a choice. You can retreat and feel scared / awful / horrible, or go on and feel scared / awful / horrible. With one choice you achieve nothing and make the next time worse, but with the other choice you take a step forwards. In time, your fear towards these feelings lessen and as a result, the feelings themselves lessen. This is a gradual process, done over time, but you have to just keep going forwards. Be the person you want to be.

    We cant avoid a lot of things in life that make us feel this way, but we can learn to deal with the feelings they generate differently – and in a way that we no longer worry that we’re anxious, scared or are worrying. It’s just how we are right now. You just have to kearn to live with it, and when you truly accept it as nothing more than it is, you go past caring, and then sun comes out – and it feels just fine.

  260. Steve Says:

    Thanks Rich for your response to my post. I am going on with my life accepting my anxiety and depression, but it’s still hard not to wish I felt better.

  261. Kim Says:

    Meg –

    Thanks so much for your reassurance. I’m sure you can understand how comforting it is. I get so frustrated sometimes that I will be like this my whole life and it is so upsetting to have that outlook!

  262. Ryan Says:

    Hey guys, being tripped up by the thought of s*****e.. Just was taking with some friends and a old classmate did this recently and has really thrown me in a spin. .I’m so afraid of this and the thought that I could do that someday if I don’t get better. ..it’s so hard to accept these thoughts add they feel so threatening. .reading a story about it or hearing the word causes tons of panic in me. ..anybody else navigate through this with success? I ve had many other intrusive thoughts through the years, but this one is so hard for me to get past for some reason and continues to be a huge struggle. ..any thoughts would be appreciated! Thanks for the help!

  263. Sue Says:

    Does anyone find when they have not slept at night the anxiety is worse the next day.

  264. Sue Says:

    I think it is the odd and strange thoughts that bother me the most and I find it hard to let them go sometimes. Sometimes I find myself searching for the most horrendous things I can think. That’s when I get most anxious knowing this is not normal thinking. Its as though I want to keep myself in an anxious state and that is not the case. I would love to be how I was over 16 months ago. Even though I had life problems I was not anxious about them then.
    It seems to me I am searching for something to be anxious about when really I have nothing stressful in my life at the moment to make me anxious.
    Why all these horrible negative thoughts.

  265. Meg Says:

    I do and it’s such an annoying thought! I’ve been following pauls advice for a few months now and have come off anti depressents and now km starting to have more periods of feeling myself (anti depressents made me feel worse they didn’t work for me at all) so I know pauls advice is the right way to go. It’s so frustrating because when you feel ok and rational you can easily see its anxuety but it creeps up behind you every so often and latches onto the thing you fear most. I’ve noticed as I’ve become calmer the anxiety comes in different ways almost like it has to be less obvious to be able to trick me now!

  266. Tom Marshall Says:

    Great post Rich, I felt that really pin pointed on the fact that you just have to do nothing about it. I still at times have days where I go back into fight mode before I’m going to do something, ‘I need to fix myself before I do this’ but then I realise, hold on a second? Why don’t I just go as I am now and just go with it and if i feel like crap then whatever. Its the same for when we are doing something and our thoughts start telling us a story and the feelings come up, we have a choice to go figure it all out or just carry on with our day. The second option isn’t fun but its the only way to move on.

  267. Diane Says:

    Hi Maria,

    thank you so much for kind words of reasurance, I have never had a operation before therefore it is the first ime I heard all that could go wrong and about mortality risks, which my anxiety has hung onto and keeps me scared. I will try as you advice to think of the positive the operation will do for me, thank you so much, take care Diane, I will let you know how it all goes

  268. debbie Says:

    Just sitting in hospital with my dad he is still. here . Doing a little better. Iam trying to keep that anxiety in control. Yesterday was a bad day my mind saw image after image of anything every. time an image came I. got a surge of adrenlin. I just did what maria said accept sometimes it workred sometimes it didn t.but I survived another day. My mind felt like a scared nut. Just writing on blog to vent .

  269. Maria Says:

    Hi Diane,
    please do keep us posted. When is your surgery?

    Hi Debbie,
    Sitting in a hospital is stressful in itself! But I’m glad to hear acceptance is helping. I know it sounds weird, but don’t “try to keep that anxiety in control.” Just let it be. Don’t fear it or feed it. It will fade on its own.
    Hope your dad is better really soon!

  270. Debbie Says:

    Thanks maria for your kind words

  271. Diane Says:

    Thanks Maria,

    I am having a hysterectomy in October/November, will keep you updated, take care, and thanks for your supportive words

  272. Maria Says:

    Oh Diane, those are so routine these days, you’ll do great!! And you KNOW how much that will improve things! (To be honest, I’m a tad envious! 😉 )

  273. rawnit Says:

    hello everyone
    i want to ask that i suffer from intrusive thoughts.and some times anxiety gets severe when i try to control it. my whole day is consumed in this.. i tried to accept these things but i still strugle. i just want to ask to you guys that how to develop the attitude of “what ever “.
    my whole life has been tormented due to this.. some times i feel very helpless.. and plz guys tell me the way to recover.
    thanks

  274. Diane Says:

    hi Maria, thanks for that!, there was an added complication of a dvt and pe a few months back , but the speacialists are all working together to make it as safe a possible. It just doesnt help when you have anxiety issues on top of that too, am trying my best to stay positive and not go down the anxiety route,
    you sound like a lovely person and thanks you once again for the support

  275. Maria Says:

    You’re quite welcome! Forgive me, but what is dvt and pe? If it’s not too personal?

  276. Diane Says:

    Hi Maria,

    a DVT is deep vein thrombosis and P E is pulmonary embolisim, which they thik was caused bt a fibroid in the uterus therefore the hysterectomy was suggested,

  277. Peter Says:

    Praveesh,
    I struggled with all of this too…if you want to say so what you can, it doesn’t matter if you do or don’t, what you need to do is stop trying to work it out, shrug your shoulders and allow yourself to feel awful, give free reign to your feelings, let any obsessive thoughts into your head but try not to figure it all out. I personally advise taking long breaks from anxiety sites because I would just come on here to work it out….you need to eventually take the plunge and allow yourself to feel awful for as long as anxiety wants…you have to call its bluff

  278. Emma Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I’ve been doing so well lately, really thought I was on the tail end of all this. In my last post I was in such a great place and felt really confident and stable. The last 2 days my anxiety (low mood especially) has come back with a vengeance. I’m not sure what’s causing it. I think my hormones affect my mood sometimes (pms, time of the month, etc). I’ve been taking natural herbs the last 2 weeks to help with my hormonal acne which has been a problem I’ve been dealing with the last little while for some reason. I suspect the herbs may have altered my hormonal balance a tad bit and maybe triggered some of this… but I can’t be entirely sure. To be safe, I stopped taking them yesterday. The depression is still here though.

    It’s hard to describe how I feel right now, it’s like a big brick of anxiety/depression is lodged in my chest right now. I’m doing my best to be an observer instead of a participant, as they say in mindfulness — just trying to let it be, allow my mind “let it all out.” But this is hard right now.

    The feeling isn’t associated to any particular thoughts right now, just a “free standing” feeling of anxiety/depression… or as Meg has once put it an “anxious ache.” When I’m better I always underestimate how horrible it feels when it come back. I have been having that “urge to cry” sensation, and just an general feeling that something is horribly wrong. I feel so emotionally uncomfortable at the moment. I woke up today with morning anxiety and it’s just been there all day mixed with depression. I haven’t felt this bad in a few months. I just hope it settles and doesn’t get much worse. Anyway, sorry for unloading, just feeling discouraged and…scared even though I know there’s nothing to fear. I should know better by now right!

    Emma x

  279. Emma Says:

    I just noticed how many times I used the phrase “right now” in the post — sorry! lol.

  280. Meg Says:

    Emma – I’m in the same place right now! I’ve booked to go in holiday next week and that’s what set it off but I’m approaching it differently. I’m letting it be there and just making the best of everyday by forcing myself to do things I had planned, going to work and just crying if I feel like a good cry! I’m finding it so much easier than fighting like I used to. Yeah I feel crap but I genuinely don’t care I know by stating calm that next time anxiety flares up it won’t be as bad as I am gradually teaching my brain and body to react very differently :)

  281. Julie Says:

    HI, I was wondering if anyone could offer me some advice about my son. I am fighting the tears as I write this.

    My eldest son is 13 and 3 years ago he suffered anxiety, we took him to the GP and he had therapy for 9 months. It all started after my brother turned up at my house and unexpectedly attacked my husband infront of my children. I have of course blocked family out of my life to protect my children and myself. My brother has apologised and he is in therapy for his mental health and violent issues. So that’s the background as to what triggered his anxiety. He is now happy and fine, no anxiety issues at all.

    My other son is 11 and about to start high school. I noticed last year he became quite clingy to me and didn’t like going anywhere without his parents. This year I have really noticed it and as it’s the summer holidays he has refused to play outside most days. He has been out a few times but come home after an hour and said he felt his heart racing. I had a little chat with him saying it’s normal if you haven’t been out for a while and maybe it’s a bit of separation anxiety. Earlier this year he had 2 big panic attacks in class so I took him to the GP who referred him to CAMHS, which is the centre for children with anxiety and other issues where they require some support. They saw my older son and were great. Well they wrote to us refusing to see my son and gave me a few self help book ideas to try. I of course bought the books and have done all I can to help him.

    I have seen a few improvements, he went out with his friends last week for an afternoon and he seemed happier. He even went to a sleepover at the weekend and came home happy. On Friday night though we went for a meal and he asked if I’d step outside with him to get a breather as he felt a little anxious. It broke my heart but he dealt with it very well and just took some air then went back inside. This morning he broke down crying to me, he told me he feels quite low and often cries himself to sleep. I asked why and he said he hates himself :-( he said he thinks he is a horrible person, he thinks he is fat and ugly. He hates his anxiety. I had to fight my tears and I am torn up inside :-( I am so frightened, my best friends brother ended his life when he was 15 due to anxiety and depression, I have always lived in fear of my children ever doing that so of course it’s made me worry so much about my son.

    I am considering paying private for him to see a therapist but what kind of therapist should I be looking for? I have done my best, I have tried to teach him to accept and all that Paul teaches. I have had books for children to understand anxiety but it’s not helping very much, well I thought it was until he broke down today.

    He is 11, going through puberty pretty early. He has spots and hates them. He is 5ft 1 and 9 stone, so a tall stocky boy. He loves his food and I do my best to make him eat healthy but he often feels he is being hard done by if I don’t let him have a treat and his siblings are. I try to let him have treats but of course watch in a day how many calories he is having without him noticing I am keeping an eye on him. It is all so incredibly difficult and upsetting. I feel lost and unable to help my son and I have done everything I can :-( Why is there no help in the UK, I had to go private to get support for myself.

    He starts high school in 2 weeks and I am terrified what if agoraphobia sets in and he won’t go. I blame myself as I had agoraphobia, I now go out and my children are so proud of me but I am now worrying this is all my fault :-( He told me it’s what my brother did, it scared him but it’s only hit him now and when he goes out he is afraid what if someone hurts him like my brother hur his dad :-( I have very little contact with my family, I am civil with my sisters and mum but haven’t spoken to my brother in 3 years after what he did. We are much happier and life is calmer and safer now. My brother has serious mental health issues. My family resent me for not forgiving him but I did after he hit my husband and gave another chance but a year later he came after me to try and do the same thing. I then cut out all toxic people and we are now a lovely strong family the 5 of us. I am so upset this is now affecting my son :-(

    Sorry to have rambled on. I just feel so upset and don’t know what else to do.

    Julie

  282. Ryan Says:

    Hey Emma,
    Sorry you are having a rough time right now. ..just wanted to say im in the exact same position as you right now after a long good spell..your symptoms mirror mine excatly,and your description is spot on. All I can say is we have been here before, and it will pass again. ..we just need to allow it to do what it wants, and not get involved. .just know you are not alone! Hope you have a better day!

  283. Emma Says:

    Ryan – I’m sorry that we’re in the same place. It’s always good to know I’m not alone but you’re right by saying that we’ve been there before. It will pass and this is another opportunity to rewire my brain on how to react with these uncomfortable emotional and mental sensations. I do feel quite vulnerable with it these days and have this feeling of just wanting to retreat to the sofa with a blanket. But I know I have to keep on trucking. One of my favourite quotes comes from Winston Churchill who struggled with depression: “When you’re going through hell..…just keep going.” I try to remind myself to just keep going and that it will pass. Hard to be with these sensations at the moment though. Xx

  284. Nolan Says:

    Hi Julie,

    Sorry to hear about what your son is going through.

    The advice is pretty straight forward: tell him it’s okay to feel that way (if those feelings do come), to not fight or struggle with them, and to simply move about his day regardless.

    It’s in the fighting and struggling with those anxious thoughts and feelings that exacerbates them.
    This isn’t a quick fix approach, however, it’s probably the most rewarding…. in the sense of learning things about one’s self and life in general. Struggles in life provide us with the raw materials to shape us into better people. I mean, how many great people became that way by sitting on a couch, eating chips, and watching TV??

    My advice to anyone struggling would be: let the pain be there (thoughts, feelings, and symptoms), stop fighting with it, expect/demand nothing else (meaning, don’t tell yourself “I’m going to let this be here as long as it leaves ASAP!”) and I would say that most certainly peace will find it’s way back to you. And a level of peace that is more profound than would otherwise have been possible in one’s life.

  285. Honey Says:

    Just popped back on here to see purely out of interest when Paul’s new book is available. Been feeling great lately. Few good days and bad days here and there but brushing it off as normal part of life and accepting. Getting to a point with it where I am accepting I may have it forever and I’m starting to care a lot less. I know that life can be lived without ‘getting rid’ of anxiety. I’m just accepting that it’s ok. I never avoid anything out of fear and if I feel anxiety I try to remind myself that it’s not going to actually do anything to me. I just have to let it go over my head. Also terrified of he dentist and went a few times lately for some work. First appointment I was a wreck! I just breathed through the injection and treatment to a point when I now am not scared at all of the dentist! I’m more like bring it on!! Just wanted to add something to the blog that is positive.

  286. debbie Says:

    Just still sitting around in. Hospital dad is still here . Very anxious today feeling that strange dejvu feeling scarey and getting those nutty images of streets states movies like iam a nut real scarey at times feel like there gonna drag me off to mental ward ha ha. May we all. Get over this hell . Like what they say the only way to get out of hell is to walk through it. My dr says my dignosios is I think much and I will. Never get better without meds iam not a medicine person so I will try my best on my own I read pauls book all the time cant wait. For. His new book .

  287. Tom Marshall Says:

    Debbie,

    My thoughts are with you and your dad right now, I hope he’s ok. I can promise you no one is dragging you off to the mental ward, the mind will do everything it can to try and convince you that you’re crazy, especially when you stop giving attention to those thoughts and the fact that you have the conscious ability to question if you are crazy or not really just proves that you are not crazy. Now this is just my opinion about meds, Don’t bother with them. Yes the doctor will tell you that this is the only way to get better but thats only because he doesn’t know any better, I genuinely don’t think most doctors and therapists have a clue what their talking about purely because they haven’t experienced it themselves, So whats the easiest option? ‘Here take this pill and get on with life, you’ll be fine’ they don’t understand that you just need to let your body find its way back to peace again and these so called ‘anti-depressants’ just numb and cover up whats really going on.

    So I’m saying you can recover without those pills, you do have the power to do it, I believe in you and anybody else who suffers on this planet. I know deep down inside all of us is the amazing people we are meant to be and we will see that once we let the storm pass without resistance.

    Also I don’t want to sound like I’m bad mouthing our doctors and therapists, I’m grateful that there is help out there for people, I just think that sometimes their ignorance towards it all can be quite shocking.

    Take care Debbie.

    Tom

  288. Debbie Says:

    Thanks tom well said !

  289. Debbie Says:

    Thanks marshall well said. We will keep fighting. Thanks for thinking of me and my dad.

  290. Tom Marshall Says:

    No problem at all Debbie :)

  291. JoJo Says:

    I just don’t understand this whole thing. I know Maria and Adam said to just not pay attention to the thoughts. I just have such a hard time knowing what is real or not? Why does my life feel like crap when it is so blessed. Why do I feel like I’m not happy when I know I should be. Why can’t I stop fighting myself and having feelings or thoughts I don’t understand. I feel like I’m in a deep ditch and I can’t get out and if I can’t get out my mind says well you can just end your life which I know is not the answer. It’s so hard to stop fighting something you don’t understand or something that causes so much distress in your mind. Just having a bad day. Any advice would help?

  292. Elaine Says:

    Hi everyone when you get the thoughts mine are I’m feeling like in choking gagging and are really physical
    How do I pass through them
    Many thanks

  293. pravesh Says:

    Thanks Jeff and Peter.

    I am from an island where we speak french n creole. Perhaps that’s caused the confusion.

    Anyway the direction to recovery is so simple yet so difficult when applying.

    Blessings to all of u

  294. Debbie Says:

    Well they finally figured out what was wrong with my dad he has infection around his heart valves endocarditis so that puts me in sheer panic because i just found out 9 months ago i have aorta and mitral valve leak. My dad had his aorta valve replaced 10 years ago. So now my mind thinks thats how i will end up. That what brought me into a relapse when i found out about my valves .?so now my anxiety is picking at my brain about. Me getting an infection from that oh the anxious mind.

  295. Rich Says:

    Debbie, Everything you’re going through is enough to send anyone through the roof with anxiety – it’s a completely normal thing to feel in your situation and is nothing to worry about in itself. I’m sure everyone else would be the same. Don’t worry about feeling this way or that.

    Elaine, Your post sounds like you’ve not read or digested anything written before it – in this post and the ones previously published on this blog. All the answers are there to be absorbed and put into practice. It does take practice. Stop questioning – this is just how it is with you right now.

    JoJo, You sound like so many people who have been, and are in, your position – including me for a long, long time. It’s easier than you think to stop fighting – because it involves putting up your hands, putting down your guard and opening up your mind to anything that comes at it – and it is when you give up the fight that you realise there is nothing to fight, and when you let anxiety in, you actually let in acceptance, then peace, and calm – and anxiety gives way to it all because it no longer feels it has a job to do.

    The longer you fight your thoughts and feelings, the longer recovery from thinking this way and feeling this way will avoid coming to you.

  296. Sue Says:

    I find sometimes that the memory of the things I have thought can keep coming back. Do you have to let more time pass before the house and everything you have thought of in that house diminish and you are comfortable with it again. I moved house while I was in an anxious state and had a rough time at the beginning. Even though I am trying to relax more I still feel strange the memories linger. I have nothing to compare in that house as I felt before all the anxiety. I brought it with me.
    Has anyone else experienced this and how did you come to feel you again in the new house

  297. Bryan Says:

    Honey,

    Congrats on your progress and attitude. Great job!

  298. Diane Says:

    Hi all ,
    wondering if anyone can identify, I entioned earlier about going for an operation and them telling all that can go wrong, ofcourse my anxiety grabbed on the the death word and I now my mind is full of what if this happens, i feel sad and anxious with thoughts that keep going around my head, for example , I will miss my life and the people in it, funeral etc. I have suffered from anxiety bouts on and off since a teenager and Pauls book has helped plus ALL THE SUPPORTIVE advice from people on this blog, Maria really helped by saying they say thi to everyone before an operation. I am terrified and my head cant seem to move on from the fear. Has anyone elso had something like this? thanks for reading, take care Diane

  299. Elaine Says:

    Thanks rich

  300. Nolan Says:

    You kind of have to trust that peace will eventually find you, that you don’t need to find it.
    But even then, I don’t think you need to hold on to the hope that peace will even come back to you…. but it still will, primarily because its presence in your life was never the product of you successfully capturing it and holding it hostage… lest it escape you and its void being filled with anxiety/depression (and all of those symptoms).

    I completely doubted that I would ever get better. Even after reading Paul’s book. My level of brokeness seemed so definite. As I had mentioned even old, once happy memories were now stained with this blackness. There seemed to be no escape from it. My life felt defined by it.

    I just had to let go of the fight and the struggle (and for me: even the hope of recovery) and live my life regardless. And to live my life for things other than personal happiness. The big “oh well, this is how it is now” and to get back into my life again.

    And as I said the peace still was able to find me.
    I visualized it at times as me being lost at sea in a perpetual storm with no safe harbor for me anymore. And I just had to be okay with that. To not let my focus be solely on the perpetual storm.

    In doing that, in letting go of the struggle to right the ship…. the course was still set for that safe harbor.

  301. Sue Says:

    Paul says that he decided not to do negative thinking anymore and to not look back. What happens when the negative nasty thoughts just pop in your head and looking back seems to be a habit you cannot help it just happens

  302. Doreen Says:

    Diane – I am not sure that anyone will be able to say anything different to what has already been said already by Maria. Like others before on this blog you seem to think that there will be a new magic answer. Everyone has had their own particular fears but the acceptance of them is always the same

  303. Maria Says:

    Hi Sue,

    I think that habit of thinking negatively sticks around for awhile. But slowly, as you start accepting your anxiety, the habitual reactions change with acceptance. Just give it some time. You’ll notice that you no longer have those thoughts because you are not fueling them. It’s like the thoughts are your form of anxiety and as soon as you stop worrying about them and questioning them, they fade and new habits are formed.

    I hope this makes sense and helps!

  304. Melissa Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I am in the process of reading Paul’s book, and I have had many good days. I recgonized that last night and today were not great days. I know it is part of the process and I cannot be mad at myself for having a bit of a set-back. Problem is that I began googling things. I came accross Borderline Personality Disorder. I started panicking and diagnosing myself as having that. When my anxiety first started, I thought I had scizophrenia. Today was just not a great day overall. When I am in a rut I have a hard time rationalizing with myself that I am just dealing with anxiety and stress and that’s what it is.

    Does anyone else have feelings that they are convinced that they must have a personality dissorder or another mental health issue?

  305. Fleur Says:

    Nolan, you wrote this: “I just had to let go of the fight and the struggle and live my life regardless.”

    I live my life too :(. I am in USA /work and travel/ all summer, I work all days like housekeeper, I live with 5 young people, I am with them, I live my life, I travel. I am not at home and I am not crying in bed. BUT still anxiety is here. I don´t understand why, I go to work every day, I talk with people everyday. And still everyday I am afraid of anxiety. But it supposed to be good no? When I continue my life how you said.

    I have various fears. That I don´t love my boyfriend anymore, then that what if I hear voices, then “what if i commit s*****e someday”. These fears are my anxiety! I don´t want to be afraid. I live but with this fears. I know that it is all anxiety. But then I don´t know how I must accept this. How I can accept something, what I am afraid of. I know, I must believe that everything will be good. But I am afraid of serious mental illness, how i can defeat this fear. 1 month is better, i dont afraid and the? again i think all days about what if i have some serious mental illness.

    I am afraid that this is me forever. But it is happening to me from january this year and I did big step in my recovery, because in january I had panic attacks, now I live my life, I am abroad far from my country this summer. It is all big experience for me, but anxiety is all summer with me. Like this is me forever :(

  306. Diane Says:

    Thanks Doreen, I will try acceptance and allow the thoughts just to be there, you are right it doesnt matter what the fear is it is how we deal with it, I wasnt looking for a magic answer, just wondered if anyone else had been through this, thanks

  307. Tom Marshall Says:

    Yes Melissa,

    Everything you described there is me in a nutshell, I’ve convinced my self i have everything, Bi-Polar, Schizophrenia, personality disorder heck I thought at one point I thought I genuinely thought I was a cover narcissist! The thing is you don’t have any of these illnesses but when you read about them your body goes into panic mode and says ‘What if thats whats wrong with me and not this anxiety’
    I strongly belive all this stems from the fear of loosing control and once that fear rears its head and your mind will start to analyse all the symptom and give you reasons as to how you as a person can relate to it. In reality your mind isn’t trying to scare you on purpose its trying to protect you, But it doesn’t realise its doing at terrible job at this moment due to sensitised nerves. So let these thoughts bounce around in your head for a little bit until they’ve had their say and In time you will realise you don’t have these disorders, Just an extremely tired mind.

    Tom :)

  308. Tom Marshall Says:

    Oh and one last thing Melissa, I would advise to stop researching mental illnesses I did this over and over and have fallen back into the anxiety hole many of times because of it which just leads to more questioning. I know it almost feels like an urge to find out cause your mind wants ‘certainty’ but just resist the temptation to look it will take a lot of the stress out of your mind.

  309. Melissa Says:

    Thanks Tom!
    It’s crazy my mind is so sensitive to everything recently. I cannot even have conversations because it is too depressing and makes me feel so down. I was thinking of having a psychological evaluation done just to rule out anything that may be the cause (just to be on the safe side).

    I still don’t understand how I got to this point. I used to manage stress so well and now I’m so sensitive and fragile, can really disliking your job, moving, planning a wedding cause this much anxiety?

    I don’t recognize myself anymore.

  310. Maria Says:

    Hi Melissa,

    Just had a little chuckle reading your last post. “Can really disliking your job, moving, planning a wedding cause this much anxiety?” Um, HELL YES!! Honey, just one of those life events can cause anyone to go into a major tailspin, and you’re going through three at the same time! OF COURSE you’re feeling anxious! There is a boatload of change and stress in your life right now.

    Don’t bother with the psych evaluation, save your money! And please, stop googling anything mental health related. Finish reading Paul’s book and start putting his method into action. And most importantly, give yourself a break. I think once you truly accept that how you are feeling is just anxiety with nothing at all to fear, you will start feeling better.

    Maybe try writing down a list. If I were going through everything you’re experiencing right now, my mind would be one big cluster ____! When I get like that I tend to just spin in place and I make no headway. So…what is it that you can actually change in a positive way right now? Make a list of what would make the most positive impact on your life. Perhaps it would be getting completely unpacked and getting your new house in order. Or, maybe checking off a few things on your wedding to-do list. With all that is going on, it sounds like your job situation might be something you need to just deal with for now, until life settles down a bit. Being proactive instead of spinning in place helps me to feel much more positive. If the anxiety is there, so what. It’s not going to hurt you. And if you can get some things done that help you to feel more at peace in your life, I bet the anxiety will settle down all on its own. :)

    Hope this helps, and truly, be kind to yourself!

  311. Rich Says:

    Melissa, I’m in the same kind of situation with work, wedding planning, honeymoon planning, juggling other commitments and all the while managing stress levels and anixety levels.

    Maria’s comment above is absolutely spot-on and is what I try to do – one thing at a time. It’s easy to ‘flit’ between things, or worry about something you can’t deal with while you deal with something else – this is a sure-fire way to stress you out. Worrying lying in bed or when you feel vulnerable to anxiety is also likely to make it worse. Catch yourself doing this, stop yourself – because worrying saps time and achieves nothing.

    Just to do one thing at a time. When you relax, properly relax, and make time to relax – don’t use it as a chance to run through all the stressful things you still have to do!

    So many times I gave to stop myself from worrying – what is the point? What good could possibly come from it? What a waste of time it really is. Sometimes I have to reason with my anxious self, sometimes I have to decisively take control and get my self into gear and motivated to do something if I don’t feel like it. Sometimes I catch myself worrying – that’s almost fun to do at times.

    It’s all about perspective and keeping your feet on the ground. Anxiety is like a huge weight on your shoulders – weighing you down and making you feel awful. The thing is, so much of what you do adds to this weight.

    It’s horrible to read so many bewildered posts sometimes – I dread to think how much money has been spent on help, therapy and books. How many hours spent online searching, reading, searching – when that time could have been spent doing something else. All the while adding to the weight of their burden, and the pressure to recover from it.

    Nobody has ever worried themselves better. Likewise, you can’t read yourself better either. You can’t learn the secret and ‘be better’. You have to learn the secret and then actively ‘not do’ anything to slow down your recovery.

    You have to resign yourself to your current state, put down the fight, stop the search and just ‘be’. Recovery is a result of the passive acceptance of your current state and your active decision to not let it bother you.

  312. Pamela Says:

    I actually relate to your post above rich this was so me googling searching for answers etc but to get my life back in track I’m now in process of starting my own business from home selling products

  313. Melissa Says:

    Thank you everyone for the support. It’s so amazing to have this group of people to bounce successes and fears and concerns off of.

    I am still amazing how it feels that anxiety has hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew I was always a person who worried, but I was able to cope…all of a sudden I’m so overwhelmed with life that I am off of work for three weeks on leave.

    I am back at work now and trying to get a handle on my life and love myself again. The biggest lesson I have learned is that resting does not mean you’ve failed.

  314. marcus Says:

    Brilliant post Rich, I’m nearly back to feeling like my old self again thanks to Paul’s book and this blog, but I still love coming on here to read the helpful comments. Some of you have a real talent for getting the message over, keep it up!

  315. Punee Says:

    Hi,

    I am a path of recovery.I just want to thank u paul. Im using ur app And its really helpful. Sometimes it is very difficult and mind just thinks of fight mode. I actually had some days whr i didnt think of it and did feel better. Which made me trust even more that this is the way. What actually led to anxiety is a change of routine in my day. Whr is felt odd then thought of it and yes the cycle.i know it needs work from my part. Anyway. Cant thank paul for showing the way.
    I

  316. Maria Says:

    Hi Melissa,

    I’m so glad you took some time off! Why is it that we think stressful events shouldn’t get to us? You’re right, NONE of all of this is a sign of weakness. In my opinion, it shows that we feel deeply. And it really, REALLY proves that we need to stop fighting with ourselves.

    It’s funny that you say you always knew you were a worrier. I would never and still don’t think of myself as a worrier. A lot of things that “classic worriers” fret over don’t really bother me. And, I’ve always felt that worrying is a waste of time and effort. That being said, there have been a few times in my life where anxiety has hit me like a ton of bricks too. So I think that goes to show you that anxiety affects all sorts of different people, in different ways, for different reasons.

    Hang in there, hon. Take care of yourself and just slow it all down. Rome wasn’t built in a day. :)

  317. Peter Says:

    So it really is as simple as allowing ourselves to feel terrible without trying to work it out…that’s a relief

  318. Steveo Says:

    Nolan

    Your posts are amazing – you are doing great offering so much support to others!! Well done you.

    Would you say you are almost fully recovered now? :)

    Keep up the good work!

  319. Sharon Says:

    Just a quick question. I have suffered from acute anxiety since the birth of my baby 13 months ago. At thimes I am doing ok but have been going through a rough patch lately. I suffer with depersonalisation but the persistent “inner voice” is the one that really gets me. Just when I am doing ok I get thoughts like “you will never beat this”, “you are not strong enough” and I feel sick to my stomach and it ruins my day. How did you deal with the inner voice telling you would would not be ok. This is the worst part for me. Thanks

  320. Nolan Says:

    Hi Sharon,
    I had (and at times will still get) the same thing. Stop caring about what it’s saying.
    When it’s there don’t expect it to leave by a certain given time.
    Just say to yourself something like “oh, hi there” and move back on with your day.

  321. Sharon Says:

    Thank you so much Nolan its great to find a place where someone knows how I feel. Can I ask you also how exactly you let go of the fear of your symptoms. This is the real hard one for me, my main symptoms include constant inward thinking, depression and scary thoughts. This should be the happiest time of my life but unfortunately it has turned into the scariest. I just hope I have the strength in me to recover. Thanks again Nolan.

  322. Bryan Says:

    Steveo,

    I won’t speak for Nolan but from reading his posts for many months (years?) I would speculate he would say to move your focus off of “fully recovered” as the target. Even Claire Weekes says we can still have symptoms now and again. The point is to not care and know it’s not to be concerned with.

    some people may have no symptoms and some may have occasional flareups and both could be considered “fully recovered .”

    I think we ask questions like “are you fully recovered” as a sort of credibility check when people post advice. But Nolan’s advice has never been about percentages. It’s been about getting on with life and reclaiming our purpose back away from anxiety.

    Just my 2 cents.

  323. Steveo Says:

    Thanks Bryan – I know that is the answer but you know what it’s like… I suppose the questions should be;

    “Do you feel that you are fully recovered but still have up and down days like ‘non-anxious’ people”.

    Because we are anxious/anxious people we strive for perfection when in reality it doesn’t exist. I have very good days and a couple of bad. The problem with the bad days are that you fight them and want them to not be there.

  324. colin Says:

    Rich
    Very good words . That is exactly what’s needed . I was at doctors today and she asked me how I was getting on withy anxiety . I told her about Paul’s book and how I had paid for CBT . Hence wasted money !!! She asked who this paul fellow was ? I told her about book and blog etc and she took down notes on what I had said . On leaving the surgery she said colin I am going home tonight to look up this book, and research it. I walked out of there and thought yes , she may pass on this priceless information to others . I think everyone on here should spread the word about Paul’s book ?

    Colin

  325. karen Says:

    Rich …. how do you stop yourself worrying? Is that as simple as notice you are doing it, nod your head to it then try distract. I keep reading Buddhist things that say worrying is a waste of time and energy. Totally agree, but you can’t stop the worrying from coming. That’s blocking and it makes them come back more. It’s like the ruminating on how you feel….I try to acknowledge it then refocus but it’s hard and sometimes it’s constant.

    recovery is simply don’t go into panic about any symptoms, don’t Google or research symptoms, dont question thoughts, just get on with life despite feeling awful and let all symptoms do their thing.

  326. JoJo Says:

    Rich:
    Thank you for your response. In your opinion when you feel like your are stuck and there is no way out and you feel scared and down about it you just accept this and then slowly it goes away? I feel like I genuinely feel down but that is not a real feeling? Today at work I was feeling like its getting worse and I won’t be able to do my job or have another baby cause I am on Lexapro etc etc. how do you stop yourself from freaking out?
    And when I’m not thinking about that I feel like I’m doubting if my love my husband and if that’s why I feel the way I do? It all just sucks

  327. Melissa Says:

    Hey everyone,

    So I am back at work for the fourth day today. I can honestly say that I am doing a lot better….aside from the setback on Tuesday, this week has been good. I am just letting work stress be work stress and I am not trying to please everyone. I have also been able to learn to be okay with not being happy with my job right now (although some moments are easier than others).

    The only lingering feeling I have been having that has been lingering is the feelings of losing control. I am scared I will snap at the teens that I work with, or that I will get suicidal thoughts, or that I will have a breakdown or something. I am trying to remember that this is just my anxiety, but at certain moments it is easier said than done.

    Do you guys have any idea as to why the other symptoms may leave but the agitation and feelings of losing control still remain?

    Thanks (again and again),
    Melissa

  328. Debbie Says:

    Hi melissa my anxiety dos the same thing. I get agitation so bad and i also feel like iam gonna lose control. and just start screaming but, i havent yet. My thing is intrusive thoughts but, not of anything bad just image after image of anything a dream ive had a movie ive seen anything than the feeling familiar feeling really scary and spookie feeling but, iam trying to pay it no mind. And it is just anxiety. I have it my whole life but never had the images. we will all be fine ? my friend always tells me fear is just an illusion ha ha . feel better melissa try like. Me dont make it your enemy somedays are better than others and right now my dad is dying. Iam trying

  329. Julie Says:

    HI Nolan

    Thank you re my son. Lovely advice that I tried to talk to him about. I think at 11 he finds it hard to accept, and he fights it naturally as he is frightened.

    I took them on a day out the other day to a farm park. He loved it, and on occasion told me his legs felt weak and he felt anxious inside, I said that’s ok, I feel similar coming to a busy place but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy ourselves. Don’t worry about it, let it be there and focus on what’s around you. He did and he enjoyed himself.

    I have found a counsellor for him, someone to talk to and who can help his anxiety. I think he finds it hard to trust what i say as I am just his mum, he has asked to talk to someone who can help his anxiety so I have gone ahead and found a young persons counselling service and they say they help anxious children just to talk out how they feel and to give them ways to accept the anxiety and live their lives. I hope it helps.

    He told me he hates himself because he is over weight and he has no confidence and is terrified of going to high school. I understand as I think we all felt like that before going, maybe that’s alot to do with why his anxiety has spiked more so this summer. He does need to lose about a stone, he is 129lbs at 5ft 1 so he is a little over weight. I am working with him to lose some weight, I am being strict as I have myself to blame letting him comfort eat this last year or so. Not that he ate rubbish, his meals are healthy but I was too slack with his snacks. Now I am on the ball and working with him to combat the comfort eating and some exercise each day but in a fun childrens way 😉 So far, so good.

    Thanks again.

    Julie

  330. Chloe Brotheridge Says:

    Congratulations on the book. What an amazing place of support this blog is, wonderful.

  331. Nolan Says:

    Hi Sharon,

    You asked: “Can I ask you also how exactly you let go of the fear of your symptoms.”…

    I didn’t. I don’t even know how one could do that. If at a fundamental level you feel afraid of something then that’s just how it is (at that moment).
    Because, that kind of fear was never placed there by rational thought. meaning, you didn’t come to some well thought out conclusion that “I should be really afraid of this” and then voila you became afraid of it.

    But that’s not a bad thing. You’re not required some herculean task to come up with an even better argument to chase off the ‘intensely negative feel’ to those thoughts. All you need to do is let it be there for as long as that ‘negative feel’ wants to be there and stop concerning yourself with it so much. And knowing that…. for the time being…. that negative feel is still going to be there.

    Here’s an example from my life:
    One of the things that brought me here was poorly handling stress. At my work there was a guy who just did not like me and he’d make fun of me whenever I walked past his cubicle. I’d get so worked up whenever I had to walk past him. Running through thoughts of how I can get him to stop, if I should say anything back…. my heart would start racing as would my thoughts. I tried to keep a look of indifference when it bothered me greatly.

    But, then after all of this anxiety stuff I realized what I needed to do: nothing. I would still walk past his cubicle and those same thoughts would bubble up, my heart would start to race but I told myself “bubble up thoughts, race away heart…. I don’t care anymore” and I was done entertaining them. I noticed them when they came up but I paid them no heed. I expected them to come up and I didn’t expect them to magically cease just because I was no longer going to play that game. And for some time the full intensity was still there…. but I was done caring if it was there or it wasn’t there. All I knew is that “he can say and do whatever he wants… and that’s fine by me”.

    Now? Now it doesn’t bother me in the least. Heart doesn’t race, nor my mind, when I walk past his cublice.

    This is just one example, of course.

  332. Nolan Says:

    Sorry about that, Pravesh.

    Work has just been very hectic and kind of odd here. Didn’t mean to ignore your question. Just a misunderstanding on my part about the email.
    I have no problem emailing with you… Doreen, is it fine to post my email in the comments? Or would you be able to give my email to Pravesh?

    Thanks

  333. Bryan Says:

    Steveo,

    Absolutely. I still get those days and like you, that instinct to fight can still reappear. We all need grounding and anchoring from time to time. Keep at it. We know this works when we just let it run its course without fanning the flames. But yes, it’s easier said than done some days.

  334. Rich Says:

    “Do you guys have any idea as to why the other symptoms may leave but the ~insert symptom here~ still remain?”

    Anxiety is all about getting you out of danger – real or not. In our cases, the danger is never ‘real’ danger, but our mind thinks it is – it’s kind of messed up, whch is why we’re all here reading this instead of doing something much more fun instead!

    I would hazard a guess that the feelings that remain are the ones you fear the most – and therefore remain the longest. Your mind knows that these get your attention – because you prove to your mind each time you experience them that it’s tactics work – that they get the reaction your mind wants from you – fear, and thus avoidance, and thus safety from perceived danger.

    I would love it if my anxiety problems caused me to experience fear of Martians, or Volcanos or Dark Chocolate – because I don’t have these in my life – they wouldn’t bother me! But anxiety latches onto what bothers you the most – your deepest fears – because this is what gets your attention and gets a response from you.

    How do you beat this then? It’s easy (and surprisingly easy to actually do too) – you just don’t give it the response it wants. The smoke and mirrors disappear after a while – as you show yourself that the tactic doesnt work.

    The fear is still there – it is still ‘real’ fear – it’s not some kind of ‘fun’ fear or ‘this isn’t so bad’ kind of terror – it’s still horrible to feel, but you just say ‘so what’. In time, the fear lessens, and the occurance of it becomes less frequent, and then one day you notice you don’t have it any more – which is a surprise, because you’ve not been checking for some time…

  335. Rich Says:

    “Rich, in your opinion when you feel like your are stuck and there is no way out and you feel scared and down about it you just accept this and then slowly it goes away?”

    I hate fear, and I hate the symptoms – they’re a massive inconvenience. Adrenalin from panic attacks cause me to be really uncomforatable and the energy makes my muscles tense and makes me very tired and exhausted.

    This will never change – this is just how it works. Accepting this is the case and this is how it is when it happens is like giving in – resigning yourself to it. After all, nothing you can actively do can help speed things along and get it ‘out of the way’ – you just make it worse in wishing this. But, in giving in, you’re no longer giving it what it wants – you’re withdrawing the fuel from the fire. You’re walking away from the fight.

    A watched pot never boils, and watched anxiety symptoms never, ever disappear. Resigning yourself to your present situation lifts the pressure of it off yourself – you cant do anything about it, so why bother trying. In doing this however, you actually free your mind to recover – to stop worrying, to stop feeling it has to get you out of here or stop you from going crazy.

    Feelings don’t actively fade before your very eyes – they lessen over time. They’re still horrible – but as you let them be, and don’t resist their presence, they lose their power, so in time don’t bother turning up to the fight – as your mind realises you’re not bothered. This is how they go away.

  336. Rich Says:

    “Rich …. how do you stop yourself worrying?”

    I’ve always been a worrier. I used to sit and list in my head ‘all the things I had to worry about’. I used to look forward into my life and identify all the things I had to ‘get through’. It is no wonder that I used to dread them and feel anxious towards them – because I had already told myself I was going to feel awful and struggle and have to ‘survive’ them.

    I still do look ahead and worry – catastrophise, ‘worse cast scenario’ and automatically worry about panic attacks, feeling ill, embarassing myself – I ‘go to’ my ‘go-to’ fears – my favourites – my aces. All I was doing was reinforcing my fear of them to myself – making sure they offer maximum fear and terror when my mind decides to throw me into anxiety mode or a panic attack.

    It’s so hard not to do this, but it is something I notice myself doing now wheras before I didn’t know I was doing it. Now, I see this practice as negative – fear reinforcement. I see the time spent doing it as wasted, the negative conditioning of my brain as counter-productive. I can see this, so I can stop it.

    Now when I notice I do it, I smile to myself – ‘gotcha’ – and chalk a point to ‘me’ for being better than the old me. I then think ‘well, you’re worried about this or that, but in reality, there’s no need’. I then look at the positives, the things to look forward to. I see ‘what if’ thinking and now think ‘so what’ or ‘who cares’ or ‘that’s ridiculous thinking!’ and sometimes laugh at how daft some of my worst fears are – fuelled by anxiety and blown out of proportion. The game is up.

    As I get older, I stop caring about my symptoms where before they’d cripple me into avoidance.

    It took a long time of catching myself worrying to be able to identify, rationalise and suggest alternate thoughts to myself, but in time and with repetition, it gets easier.

    I think I’ll always worry – maybe I’ll never change this part of me, but now I posess the ability to suggest other options to myself – and I know which I prefer to think about. I think my mind does too – because I’ve noticed it too prefers to think about the positive options automatically – and it’s a welcome return to how I thought when I was younger – a state of mind I thought I’d lost.

  337. Rich Says:

    Sorry to post again but I hope this will help people…

    If you read my posts and think ‘I can’t think like that’ or ‘he can’t relate to my specific situation’ or ‘that’s fine for him, but I’m different’ – guess again.

    You can assume that the posts I’ve written above are me looking at anxiety in a non-anxious state. That I was feeling fine when I wrote them – that I was having a good day.

    Now, let’s say I was in an anxious state of mind, and that I didn’t feel fine, and I was having a horrendous day I just wanted to end…

    I could’ve written a post on how I was feeling – all negative, to get it out of my system. God knows, I’ve been there. I’ve done it – a problem shared is a problem halved and all that. I’d say how horrible it was, how hopeless it all is, and all the usual stuff. How can I be all puppies and rainbows when I feel so awful right?

    The point is, is that if you talk negative, write negative, be negative, you will be negative.

    In order to help retrain my brain and get out of this cycle, I had to open my mind up to alternate thinking – alternate to the negative gloom my anxious mind was throwing at me. You have to do this by acting at first. Be positive, write positive, do positive. Even if it’s not really ‘you’ right now.

    This is my biggest piece of advice – become the person you want to be. Act it, fake it, bluff it. You can’t read and learn your way to recovery – you have to do it. It’s a game you can play, and you’re good at it. Better than you think. In time, you will convince yourself, and you can re-convince yourself again and again when needed.

    Don’t listen to the ‘you’ right now – listen to the ‘you’ that you want to be, and you will meet them soon enough.

  338. Tom Marshall Says:

    Brilliant post rich and what an amazing outlook to have! I can relate to what your saying, There has been many a times when I’ve seen people in my life going through a hard time with something similar or just aren’t having a good day and regardless of how I’m feeling in that moment, I’ve always given the most positive and helpful advice I can possibly give. Don’t knock what he’s saying people, Honestly you might surprise yourself with what you come out with!

    Tom.

  339. Sophalina Says:

    Hi, I’m 36 weeks pregnant, live in the U.K (Leicester) and have been suffering from anxiety, OCD and depression for 6 months. Are there any other pregnant sufferers on here that I can talk to?

  340. karen Says:

    Fabulous Rich Thankyou so much.

  341. Bryan Says:

    Nice work, Rich. Really a great post.

  342. marcus Says:

    bravo! encore!

  343. JoJo Says:

    Rich:
    My is still anxiety even though it’s not panic attacks or strong physical sensations but more fighting with my thiughts and feelings? Is the cure the same?

  344. Sue Says:

    I had a good day yesterday and felt good most of the day.
    Only to wake up with anxious thoughts and feelings. Do others find when they have an anxiety attack that all the same bubbling negative thoughts well up again to try to unnerve you again.
    It is as though the anxious mind is saying I will find something that bothers you for a reaction. Then it goes away.
    Do others have aches and pains with the tension that anxiety creates. I have tried to relax and do some stretching exercises but still feel tense in my arms and body. Anyone know how to relax it all a bit.

  345. Sue Says:

    I think one of my biggest problems is looking for reasons why I feel the way I do. Even past events that are long gone and not stressful anymore. Why, how what scenarios. Trying to blame things for my anxiety. I know a lot of mine is to do with changing hormones but somehow that thought just won’t sick and my mind goes into over drive thinking whats triggered it off this time etc. Perhaps the anxiety is causing me to think like this. Then the daft thoughts come in like I need to get away and I will be better when this when that. Some days like yesterday I had none of this thinking I was happy to relax in the lounge and read. Do others think this way or am I causing my anxiety.
    I think if I could just accept the anxiety as my own body doing it I may understand it more.

  346. Bryan Says:

    JoJo,

    Yes. 100%.

  347. Beverley Says:

    Hello everyone, I’m new to the blog here, but not new to Paul’s book and I’m looking forward to his new one.
    I’m really struggling with my anxiety right now, to the point where I feel that it could destroy what life I have. I’m worried about losing my job as yesterday (Friday), I couldn’t face going in and dealing with all the anxiety.
    I constantly have a head full of negative and scary thoughts. The anxiety makes me feel nauseous and sick , therefore I struggle to eat. This in turn causes more anxiety, which adds to the worry and I wonder if I’ll make it through the day without losing complete control or being sick or passing out.
    I seem to only be able to eat bananas when I feel really anxious so I rely on them to keep me going, and some full sugar coke to supply some energy. But I know the coke isn’t a long term solution.
    I feel scared of everything. It’s as if I’m scared of life itself at times.
    I seem to have trouble just letting the feelings and thoughts be there. I automatically want to try and stop them coming, but I haven’t quite figured out how to just live alongside them – because how can you just allow yourself to feel this way when it is so unbearable and scary. These feelings truly scare me. And yet because I try to resist I know from reading Paul’s book, this won’t help.
    I would appreciate any advice that anyone may be able to offer.
    Thanks .

  348. Rosa Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    Can I ask you a question again? I got myself in quite a state recently. I noticed that I was making plans all the time and felt like I was never okay where I was, always felt like I had to be somewhere else, doing something else. So I decided to just let some days unfold themselves, maybe have a rough plan but not having my day planned from minute to minute. And I got so confused – I didn’t know if I did the right thing or not. I thought maybe I should do something, maybe this is fighting again if I consciously decide not to have a plan. This feeling of confusion makes me so anxious and then I get frustrated because I think, there is no way that I can recover like this. Because I will always have to make decisions.Thanks

  349. karen Says:

    Jo Jo I am the same … it’s more a constant high level of anxiety for a few weeks then ok for a week. Been following this pattern for over a year and a half. I think Bryan is right it’s all the same, all acceptance. Though I find with the constant level it’s tough as there is no reprieve.

  350. karen Says:

    Sue … yes in my good weeks things don’t phase me. When it bubbles up again it focuses back on stuff I have been doing fine with and tells me I can’t do them again. It’s all an illusion. The way you are thinking is a symptom of the anxiety. Try not to engage with it, difficult I know.

  351. JoJo Says:

    So my anxiety experts:
    Rich, Nolan, Maria, Bryan, etc:

    I need to accept and I understand that part of healing. But how in your experience do you accept these thoughts and feelings? How do you accept feeling down or bad negative thoughts or doubting the love for your spouse, how on earth do you accept these feelings?

  352. Doreen Says:

    Nolan. I am not moderating the blog now – it is Rich who does that. However, when I was doing it the guidance I was given was to suggest that people didn’t put their email addresses on the blog as possibly someone as supportive as you might be inundated. Also maybe not a good idea to publish email addresses to the wide world. I would sometimes act as a postbox and pass on email addresses from one person to another if both had requested it. Not sure whether that is something Rich might do. Hope that is useful

    ===

    Hi Nolan, I’d also recommend you don’t publish your email address here as it would attract a lot of emails. Posting on the blog benefits everyone rather than just individual people. It’s important I think that people read the advice and follow it for the advice – rather than rely on just specific people, who may not always be there for them. – Rich

  353. Ajdon Says:

    Hi Paul, Nolan, Rich
    Thanks for providing great support. I got into anxiety cycle September last year. Loads of physical symptoms, obsessive thinking. Blog helped a lot. Currently I feel stuck, I obsessively think about my relationship, whether it’s right for me? There is a lot of guilt about things I did wrong in this relationship, extreme fear of marriage. These thoughts are 24×7 minus sleep time. I have been a worrier, I am 46, the thoughts a creepling by their continuous presence, with these thoughts in churning in the mind I do not enjoy the activities that I used to love doing. What do I do? Please help, it’s been like this for 4 months now

  354. Bryan Says:

    JoJo,

    Scroll up a ways and look where Rich has a few posts right in a row. He addresses this topic directly and with a few of the best posts I’ve seen on these blogs. All of what you ask is answered in great detail. I even copied the posts to a document I save to help people. (And myself during the harsh times. )

  355. Maria Says:

    Hello everyone!
    This is in response to a response that Nolan made a couple of days ago to Sharon. Sharon asked, “how do you let go of the fear?” And Nolan answered, “I didn’t. I don’t even know how one could do that. If at a fundamental level you feel afraid of something the. That’s just how it is.”
    I had to give myself a couple of days to chew on this one. I realize that Nolan was saying that you need to be okay with the fear, but something different happened for me when I started putting Paul’s suggestions to work in my life. I really did stop fearing the fear.
    When I read Paul’s book, first and foremost I felt a deep sense of relief that someone out there had gone through exactly what I had gone through and came out the other end of it with his sanity in check! And he had answers to how he got there! That alone lifted a great burden off my shoulders.
    Secondly, I finally realized there really wasn’t anything to be afraid of. None of this was going to hurt me. The thoughts, the depersonalization, the panic attacks, none of it was dangerous. Scary? Yes, very. But when you take all these symptoms that we suffer from and look at what they really are, you can see that there is nothing there to be afraid of. I’ve said this before on here, but if you educate yourself so that you really understand anxiety, you’ll see this.
    So I have a suggestion for all of you. Take a minute to write down your specific symptoms and or fears. List them, 1,2,3,4,5 etc. then take a good look at that list and ask yourself what you are really afraid of, what are you afraid might happen. And then think about how realistic that fear is. Here’s an example of mine:
    1. I’m afraid if I go to the mall I might have a panic attack or freak out and lose control.
    I use this because I did go to the mall just last week. Haven’t been in ages because quite frankly I hate the mall. It’s the sensory overload that gets to me. It’s just too busy, too much noise, too much light, too many people. Just too much everything! But, I had to go. So, I put on my big girl panties and said ok, I’m doing this and whatever happens happens. When I first walked in and was hit with the too much of it all, my stomach did a little flip and I felt a bit flushed and dizzy. My first instinct was to turn around and leave. Like, pronto. But I didn’t. I just said to myself, “ok, so this is a bit uncomfortable for me but that’s ok.” And I just went on with my errand. So, instead of reacting with fear and panic I just said “so what” and continued. And you know what? The slight panic that I initially felt subsided. I didn’t feed it so it didn’t stick around.
    I think a big part of anxiety is over analyzing every little thought and feeling we have. We pick it apart and try to figure it out. What’s causing this, why am I feeling like this (“this” being whatever your particular symptom is) We fight it and worry about it and question it. Is it really anxiety? Am I going nuts? What the hell is wrong with me?! As Tom Marshall so eloquently put it, we become Captain What If! (Love that!) We complicate the hell out of something that is really quite simple. It’s all anxiety, guys. And once you realize that, you can start moving forward. No matter what it is, physical, mental or both, once you accept and understand that it is anxiety, you can give it all the big “so what!”
    So in closing (haha! I feel like I just made a speech!) step outside yourself for a moment and really look at your symptoms. Understand they cannot hurt you (anxiety’s secret little trick is making you think they can) and that there really is nothing to fear and you will begin to heal. Step out of its way, let it be there as long as it needs to but don’t give it any fuel. It will fade if you don’t feed it, I promise. :)

  356. JoJo Says:

    Maria:
    Reading your post above one of my main fears is questioning if or not I love my husband. I guess what I’m really scared of would be divorce and having to be alone. The hard part is that the thought and feeling feel so real. So now that we know the fear and what I’m scared of what do I do with it to make it go away or lessen?

  357. Maria Says:

    Jojo,

    The point is to not try to make it go away. Let me say that again. The point is to not try to make it go away.

    When you focus on trying to make it go away, you fuel it.

    When I was at the height of my most anxious state, I had all kinds of weird thoughts including thoughts about my relationship. One of the many things I have learned through all of this is to NEVER make any life changing decisions while you are in that anxious place. Because you are simply not thinking clearly.

    So my best advice I can give you is to not question, fight with or worry about those thoughts and feelings. Just allow them to be there. When you give them their space they begins to fade. And once it has all lifted then you can figure out how you feel about your husband.

    I hope this helps.

  358. JoJo Says:

    Maria:
    Thank you but there is not a chance the feelings are real is there? That makes me feel even more anxious.

  359. Anxiousness Says:

    Hi jo Jo
    Thoughts of not loving your husband are awful I have suffered with this if you look on last blog on April 10 th there is a post from Kat as she had this and really struggled. Also go on sept blog 2012 lady called dawn had this and they recovered. If it frightens you then it not real. Plenty suffer from this form anxiety even Clare weekes mentions it in her book

  360. Tom Marshall Says:

    Jojo,

    Its a pretty common side effect of anxiety, ‘What if i don’t love him/her?’
    I get this too, the fact that its causing you a great deal of anxiety does kinda shows that you do love him, or these thoughts and feelings wouldn’t cause you so much distress, its an OCD type of thought process, intrusive thoughts that usually go against that persons personality and it usually comes up with silly little reasons as to why you don’t love him, the mind picks out silly little things about our partners that didn’t bother us before due to our highly sensitised state. This can leave us feeling quite numb at times and makes us tense further to say ‘Well If I feel like this, it defiantly means I don’t love him’ You may of seen people on here and other forums talk about thoughts like ‘I fear that I will hurt my Child or molest him!’
    again its just a little story that the mind has now created and because we are thinking it we think it must be true, If we had just recognised that thought as just a thought It would not have manifested its self into something bigger.

    I’m going to take a wild guess and say that you’re probably In a healthy marriage with a kind and loving husband, because you didn’t come on here saying ‘My husband keeps treating me like crap, I feel like I don’t love him anymore’ you came and simply said ‘I fear I don’t love my husband’ What you fail to see is the amount of love that actually went into that sentence, it bothers you because you do love him so much but unfortunately fear has reared its head and distorted your thinking temporarily.

    So In this case you have to allow these negative thoughts and doubts flow through and make love a choice rather than just a feeling, Love him just like you always do regardless of how disconnected you feel, I know how hard this is believe me, but if there are no major red flag issues in your relationship then don’t let these pesky little thoughts and feelings pull you away from your team mate in this life.

    The world makes out like love has to be this perfect state of bliss we must constantly feel for another person and if you start having doubts then he’s or she clearly not the one for you. thats why we question if he or she is ‘The one’ or not.
    Theres no perfect person to be with on this planet because nobody is perfect and thats the real beauty of a relationship, to accept each other for all of our imperfections, To take a leap of faith even though we don’t know if it will work out or not. The mind just wants what it simply cannot have because it does not exist and that is certainty.

    I would recommend you look at sheryl paul’s work, she has an amazing knowledge of relationship anxiety and how to deal with it, but its not far from what Paul advises, but it might just put your mind to rest.

    Ps: Maria, I’m glad you found ‘captain what if’ entertaining, It does act like a right little captain haha!

  361. karen Says:

    Maria and Tom …. fabulous.

  362. carla Says:

    Hi Maria,

    I liked your post and it’s completely logical that people can get better in the way that you describe. In fact, this is how I got better 20 years ago when I was hit with anxiety for the first time – it happened just as you describe. I read Claire Weekes, felt great relief from my new-found understanding and the anxiety gradually faded whilst I carried on with my life alongside it. I would describe it as a fairly textbook recovery.

    I was anxiety-free for 18 years (so at least I know it can be done I suppose)

    But this episode, which hit me around 8 months ago, just seems so profound, so slippery and so negative in it’s form that I’m really struggling to apply these principles second time around.

    Perhaps it’s because I’ve got small children and more pressure/less structure in my life, perhaps a little depression is thrown in there too – I’ve even wondered if I’m peri-menopausal. It certainly doesn’t help that there was no obvious, single trigger kicking it all off. I’m not quite sure really but I’m simply struggling to lose the fear and accept this time.

    I’m not scared of any particular symptom/place or situation. I avoid nothing. But I am quite literally terrified that I’ll never feel ‘normal’ or see the world in all of it’s glory ever again. I’m devastated at the thought of it always just ‘being there’, making me feel constantly scared for no reason and dominating my thoughts when I want to be enjoying my kids, chatting with my husband or simply watching TV.

    Today I’m feeling like I just can’t sodding do this anymore. I have so much understanding of anxiety and there are so many wonderful people like you offering sensible and knowledgable advice.

    But I just can’t do it.

    I wake up, feel it there again and spend the first couple of hours of the day trying to adopt the don’t-care attitude (which quite frankly can feel a bit like looking for the Holy-bloody-Grail). But inside I’m hating it and screaming for it to go away and leave me alone. Leave me to be the calm, kind, funny person my children see and I know that I am.

    I keep going back to hating it and fearing it. Hating this stupid, harmless nothing.

    Which, then in turn, makes me feel pretty stupid.

    Trying to rationalise my thoughts makes me feel worse, staying positive makes me feel disjointed, ignoring it is impossible and I can’t even manage to ‘take it all with a pinch of salt and let it be.’

    And, you know what, the only thing that sometimes makes me feel a tiny bit better, is when I finally give in to the self-pity and sob and sob and sob. Maybe it’s because I’ve finally stopped trying to be upbeat, nonchalant, rational or some other helpful emotion that I’m just not feeling. Maybe it’s because I’ve finally admitted that this is utterly awful and what I’m actually feeling is deeply unhappy and quite bereft. Maybe it’s because I’ve finally said to myself ‘screw this for a laugh.’

    Maybe this is what acceptance sometimes feels like. I don’t know.

    I apologise if this post seems deeply negative to those who are actually feeling quite positive right now. But, perhaps it may resonate with those who are struggling, and validate some of the darker, less constructive feelings that can accompany anxiety.

    Best wishes to all and many, many thanks to those who contribute so eloquently to help others.

    Carla x

  363. Beverley Says:

    Hi again, I just wondered if anyone struggles to eat when they are anxious? I do and this in turn causes more anxiety. Am I the only one or does this trouble others too? I hope someone can reply.

  364. karen c Says:

    Hi Carla. I know exactly how you are feeling. I have suffered with anxiety for two years. I have never been an anxious person to the extent I am now. I am sure it is all hormonal based. Menopause is the cause of anxiety I believe.

    Maybe someone could answer this question for us ladies. how do we deal with anxiety if hormones are creating it.

    Great to see everyone helping each other.

    Karen

  365. Jim Says:

    Hi Paul,

    Will your new book be available electronically like your previous book is in your app, or are you only planning on releasing it hardcopy? Your work to date has helped me immensely, and I can’t wait to read what you felt like expanding upon in your new book. You remind me of the late Allen Carr, but for anxiety disorders!

    All my best

  366. Clare Says:

    Carla,
    I completely understand because you have pretty much summed my life up right there.
    I eagerly await a reply to those questions also…

  367. JoJo Says:

    Tom Marshall:
    Thank you so much! Your post was so great and helpful. So funny because I read Sheryls stuff all the time and have had phone sessions with her. She is amazing. And yes no red flag issues and yes in a healthy loving marriage. You had me pegged :)) So to move forward let these feelings and thoughts come and go and don’t react or worry or fight them and then this will bring peace and healing?

  368. Tom Marshall Says:

    Wow what a coincidence! Thats amazing that you’ve had phone sessions with her too,I imagine she’s a great person to talk to! majority of what I put in that post was influenced by things I have learnt from her. But yes you are completely right, it isn’t fun I know, but make sure you don’t try too hard to make them pass if you understand what I mean, It can start a battle of ‘Right, I need these thoughts and feelings so they can go then I will be better’ I did this because again I was trying to ‘Do’ something instead of not doing anything I am defiantly one of those people who read the words ‘Accept’ & ‘Let it all be there’
    and genuinely thought this was some kind of magical technique I had yet to master because In the way that its worded it does kind of seem like its something you do especially to an anxious person who is constantly trying to do something to get rid of their current state.

    Honestly I’m so glad that i’ve been able to give you some kind of help, the second i saw you post that I knew I had to say something because I know how awful and paralysing that thought process can be.

    You’ve got this JoJo! we all do

    take care :)

    Tom.

  369. Maria Says:

    Hi Carla,

    Ugh, I’m so sorry this has crept back into your life. But, you said so yourself, you know what you need to do. You need to wake up tomorrow and tell yourself, well ok, I feel like this again, so what. By worrying that you’ll never feel like yourself again you are feeding the anxiety and it’s oh so happy to stick around. You can do this, Carla. You absolutely can. You proved that to yourself years ago.

    I know there are a lot of different thoughts here on “distraction”, but I found it to be enormously helpful. What I mean by distraction is to get moving with your day and with things that interest you. For me, it was DIY projects. It was a way to keep my mind occupied and not focussed on the anxiety. Yes, the anxiety was still there at first, but once I was no longer afraid of it and I busied myself with projects, it began to fade because I wasn’t think only about anxiety. Live your life, be with your kids, do things you enjoy doing and give your mind and body the time it needs to heal. I saw a psychiatrist once that likened intense bouts of anxiety to any other major trauma the body could experience and he reminded me that as with any trauma, you need to allow time for healing.

    And girl, if you need a good cry then by all means, bawl your eyes out. Crying is a great release. I liken it to exercise in that it helps get some of that adrenaline out of your system. And be good to yourself, don’t beat yourself up about this. Hang in there, hon! X

  370. Adam Says:

    Hello all…..I made a promise to myself back when I first started my recovery that I would come on here to contiue to read and/or post for those still struggling with anxiety,if I ever recovered. Well, the “if” part of that statement has happened and now I want to help and share my recovery experience for those still struggling. So, for those of you new to this recovery method who may still be questioning its validity or the approach or if it truly “works”, let me assure you that the answer to your questions is most certainly YES. But yes and only yes if you stick with it. As many on here have already said…there is no quick fix to anxiety/depression. This/ Paul’s acceptance method is most certainly NOT a quick fix either. The two most important principles in its success fly in the face of a “quick fix”….complete dedication and time. What I mean by that is…you must commit COMPLETELY to acceptance as your method and you must give it time to work. Provided you do those two things….I firmly believe that EVERYONE can and will recover. And why do I believe that? Because that is my experience and what I have learned about anxiety/depression in my recovery experience. You see, anxiety = fear. And fear has NO POWER to make you do ANYTHING when you accept it. None. Zero. Fear cannot make you do anything, it can ONLY make you afraid (i.e. feel fear). And if you accept that fear and feel it…and still continue to do whatever it is that makes you afraid…ultimately over time you become less and less afraid of feeling that fear and less afraid of the original situation. Eventually, over a period of time that varies for all of us, you stop fearing altogether because our minds are wonderful things. And one of the things it does better and faster than any other animal on this planet…is learn. Thats what makes us most uniquely human: our minds ability to learn. Anyway, its that ability that we are relying on when we practice acceptance: teaching our mind that everything is ok…no matter how we are feeling. And accepting that its ok to feel down, nervous, scared etc and all will still be ok. The sun WILL come out tomorrow and life WILL move forward. Nothing is static, and everything changes with time. So, learn to accept EVERYTHING and ultimately, eventually, you cannot fail to recover. It is a certainty…true acceptance will provide you recovery in the end.

  371. Tom Marshall Says:

    Carla,

    I’m not really an expert at giving advice, but I can see how distressed you are by what you posted so I’m going to try my best to help you out.

    First of all, I’m sorry to hear that its all come back, but as you have said yourself, You’ve recovered from this before so you can do it again, the only problem is for every single sufferer is the little story the mind creates called ‘You’re stuck like this forever now’ – Written by- The thought that some how acquired a crystal ball.’
    How you feel in this moment does not determine how you will feel for the rest of your life.

    Its always causes to feel like this when anxiety hits us harder than its ever hit before and thats when we start to think that it may be our health, the second we try to figure out why it has all come back we wonder if its something in our life thats made us feel this way again. Well so what? its back, It will pass if we let it.

    I don’t want to bombard you with the knowledge you already know, cause by the sounds of it you’re already clued up on what to do, In a way, whats happening is similar to the saying ‘Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink’
    In your case you see all this advice and how to get through it, but your mind says ‘No You can’t do it’

    I really do understand how you feel right now, this is one of those states that can make us feel like we’ve lost all hope, because the one thing that we thought could get us through this has now become impossible which makes us come to the conclusion that were stuck like this forever.

    But the thing is, You’re trying too hard to do everything right to get rid of it and I’m sure you are aware of this which frustrates you even more because it does the same to me. Try to stop beating yourself up about it all, because you are not stupid, you just need to take a step back from this all and realise that you don’t have to scream at it, tell it to go away, spend hours saying ‘So what’ to it all, trying to be positive, trying to rationalise with thoughts, trying to take it with a pitch of salt ect.

    As I said to JoJo we misinterpret how things are written when we are anxious ‘Just accept it’ ‘Take it with a pinch of salt’ ‘Let it all be there’ we see that and our natural instinct turns that into I need to ‘do’ this to recover so we try and try to do what we belive is this almighty technique when there is no technique its just to live our life regardless of what we our feeling, through that comes acceptance that isn’t forced.

    I know how much you want to just enjoy, been with your family and kids again, it must be hard feeling so much freedom for so long to be thrown back into it all again, which is probably why you are so scared and it may scare you for a while, but that fear will soon die when you don’t identify yourself with it so much.

    The thing Is even though in some parts of that post you say that you feel like you cannot do this anymore, I can tell that a small part of you believes you can and I too believe that you can, I believe that all of us can because we know deep down not to resist and run away from it all , there comes a day when we have to say ‘I surrender, do your worst, I no longer care’

    Look at Paul, He suffered for 10 years of his life and by the sounds of it had the symptoms 10x worse than most of us have, I’m not trying to make you feel guilty or implying you have it easy compared to him, I’m saying that even though everything In his body and mind probably pulled tried to pull him away from his own recovery he knew deep down inside the fight was over and all he had to do was trust his body and mind to return to normal with out him getting involved.

    I wish you all the best Carla.

    You can do this.

    Tom

  372. Debbie Says:

    Tom iam trying really hard with my anxiety my dad is slowly dying . which has made my anxiety worse 6 months ago i could not travel bymyself now i can . iam just stuck on crazy intrusive images of anything its crazy and scary it can be dreams. Memories a street etc . you feel like your mind is just running amuck. Iam on this blog cause iam up just thinking i have been practicing the not caring it works sometimes and than it dos not but i try.anxiety and fear is hell. But we will all conquer it. ?

  373. Tom Marshall Says:

    Debbie,

    I’m truly sorry to hear your dad is still going through this, I hope he pulls through, What you have to understand is that your situation is enough to make people who don’t have anxiety react this way, so the fact that you with anxiety is going through this will make it seem like its amplified x10. On a positive note, I’m glad to hear you can travel by yourself now, that proves right their that you can overcome the myths of the mind.

    But what your doing right now seems more like you are trying to beat it rather than allow it but thats ok because when we are in this state its only what our instinct is telling us too. Try to not see it as something to overcome and conquer, see it as something that will soon pass with time and patience.

    As for the thoughts, regardless of how scary, awful and unacceptable they are, they are just thoughts releasing through your adrenaline, remember you are in an extremely sensitive state right now, but the good thing is, your body already knows what to do to calm its self back down, you just have to let it without forcefully trying to calm it down. Don’t try too hard to adopt this attitude, remember you are not saying ‘I no longer care’ to feel better, you’re saying it because you no longer care if it is there or not.

    Don’t go too hard on yourself, you will get there one day! Time is always our greatest healer.

    Take Care.

    Tom

  374. Tom Marshall Says:

    Great Post Adam! Its always good to see a positive post like that :)

  375. Debbie Says:

    Thanks tom you put words so well.

  376. Debbie Says:

    I also wanted to say every one on this blog has helped me so much at times more than dr s and therapist . only people who go through it truly understand. Thanks !

  377. Tom Marshall Says:

    No problem at all Debbie, we are all here to help

  378. Tom Marshall Says:

    No problem at all Debbie, we are all here to help :)

  379. Carla Says:

    Thankyou so much Maria and Tom – you are both just what the doctor ordered. A few more tears (of gratitude) this morning whilst reading your posts but, this time, I feel a little calmer, with a few seeds of hope and resolve thrown in there too.

    Adam – thankyou for coming back to share, fantastic :)

  380. Elaine Says:

    Anxious Indian
    Sorry to bother you again
    I’m really trying with my anxiety what would you do if you started heaving when out shopping
    This is my biggest fear stupid I know

  381. Lucy Says:

    Adam – just wanted to say congratulations on your recovery 😀 That’s fantastic – well done for seeing it all through and carrying in despite it all. I don’t post here, but I’ve read many of your posts, and I know what it takes to reach the place that you are in now. Great job, and thanks for coming back to help the rest of us.

  382. karen Says:

    Carla …. right there with you but we must just keep going x x x

    Jo Jo the telling phrase for me was ‘there’s not a chance it’s true is there. That makes me feel more anxious.’ That shows that the last thing you want is for it to be true …. how much love does that show? X

  383. karen Says:

    Tom that’s a fabulous reply to Carla and I know I am guilty of the trying to accept too hard. What I struggle with is that I carry on with life as normal and I still hit massive setbacks constantly and feel horrendous even a year and a half down the line. I don’t get it. I know I built up lots of avoidance the first year and I still pale at doing some things eg husband going away, work. Is that the reason it continues? I simply haven’t done these things enough for them not to trigger me? X

  384. Tom Marshall Says:

    I’m glad to hear you’re a bit better this morning Carla :)

  385. Tom Marshall Says:

    Hi Karen,

    Yes I am also guilty of these, as well, because we end up thinking it is something we have to consciously do, when we don’t have to force anything at all, the more we tense to accept or say things like ‘just breathe with it, let it be there, don’t fight’ we are actually causing ourself more tension by reminding ourselves not to do anything, on the other hand, sometimes these thoughts can just be a natural reflex which confuses us even more because we might ask ‘Why am I still reminding myself?’ you will find your flow with it all once your mind calms down though. Will Beswick who wrote ‘The Mind Works’ covers everything I was talking about there, I would recommend reading his work, but remember don’t drown yourself in the subject, I’ve done that many of times and it only makes things worse, do everything at your own pace.

    Don’t put a time limit on this, there is nothing wrong with having a lot of set backs, I know it can be hard to accept that but we have to know that this will take time and patience to recover, if certain things still make you spike, then let them make you spike. I know this can be quite disheartening but we have to trust that this will work.

    Have a great Monday :)

    Tom.

  386. Melissa Says:

    Hi again everyone,

    I experienced something yesterday and I was wondering if anyone has lived through it.

    For the past month I have had (what feels like) one million thoughts going through my head at any given moment. Yesterday I woke up and my head felt empty. So naturally, instead of just living on with the day and enjoying the calm I started worrying. Accompanied with this ’empty’ mind I also felt a little down and weepy. Nothing happened for me to feel this way I just felt it.

    I still wake up at 6 am every morning with violent thoughts and feeling very agitated, so I know the anxiety still lives in me (and I get it so it’s okay), but this lack of thoughts feels so weird.

    Can I get s bit of insight into what this could possibly be?

    Thanks!

  387. Rich Says:

    Hi Everyone, Thanks for your kind comments on my comments.

    “I just wondered if anyone struggles to eat when they are anxious?”

    I wanted to address this question because in my darkest spell, this was me. I lost my appetite, would worry about lunch and dinner times, would honestly worry about starving to death. I went to the Drs (I kick myself for doing this now!) worried I’d starve to death as I hadn’t eaten for 5 days. The Dr said I wouldn’t, and low and behold, I didn’t.

    Your mind and body to an excellent job of looking after you – it’s amazing to realise that when it needs to, it will look after you all on its own.

    When anxious you’re in a state of ‘fight or flight mode’ and in this state, your priority is not to relax and eat, so your body switches off the impulse to eat. Likewise, it often switches off your other emotions – like love and caring for other people – because your mind’s priority is not on other people at this time – and this is normal for the state you’re in.

    I still find mornings the worst for my anxiety – waking up and switching to ‘auto-worry’ mode. I find I’m best at the end of the day – after ‘surviving’ the day and (at the time) the mealtimes I’d have to get through. I’d begin to feel hungry when safe at home with worries behind me, before waking up the next day and repeating the hellish cycle. In the day, I’d just eat smaller, healthy food, easy to eat or ‘graze’ on food like yoghurt or crisps (potato chips for our US friends).

    Anyway, in time, like recovery generally, the fear faded as I just got on with it my day and took on a ‘so what’ attitude to eating. My appetite slowly came back and now I don’t think about it that aspect at all – it’s just another symptom, and like all other symptoms, the way to get over it is just to not be bothered by it, accept it’s just because of the state you’re in, and tell yourself it’s no big deal – even if at the time it feels like it is. Now, if I’m not hungry, so what. If I lose my appetite, so what.

    I lost 2 stone during this period – people said I looked thin. Since then I’ve put 3st back on and now need to lose some!

  388. Maria Says:

    Hi Rich,

    I went through all of that too. Absolutely no appetite. In fact, food repulsed me! I had to force myself to eat, trying to keep up my energy and strength which had been completely zapped by the anxiety. But you’re right, as the anxiety faded my appetite slowly returned. I agree that it’s a very common symptom.

    And Tom,

    Do I remember reading that you are in your early 20’s? If so, kudos to you for figuring all of this out at such a young age. And even more kudos for wanting to share what you’ve learned with all of us. I do believe that there is a reason and a purpose that we all go through this. As hellish as it is, we come through it with a much better understanding of ourselves and are stronger people for having gone through it all. Keep up the good work, young man. :)

  389. Bryan Says:

    Maria/Rich….

    Really great takes from both of you.

    Did either of you deal with the strong physical setbacks or was it mostly situational/mental?

    I’m very far into my recovery but still get knocked with days of strong physical setback. I may be guilty of pushing too hard once I feel better. Not sure about that one. But, making great progress. Just wondering your guys’ takes on that side of things…

  390. Maria Says:

    Hey Bryan,

    Mine was always sort of a combination of both. Depending on the level of anxiety, I would get all the typical physical symptoms like the flush of heat, the heart pounding, the shaking like a chihuahua, dizziness, all coupled with the nutty thoughts. All of which left me quite exhausted both mentally and physically. What do you mean by strong physical setbacks?

  391. Tom Marshall Says:

    Yeahhh Maria I’m 21, You have no idea how much that made me smile then, thank you for that! In ways I’m thankful this has happened to me all now, I’ve become much more in touch with my emotions, I think for guys it can be quite intimidating to do as we are conditioned from a young age to ‘Man up’ and basically told that crying and showing any sort of uncomfortable emotion is classed as weakness. I completely agree as hellish as it is who people become after they recover is amazing, I mean look at what Paul has created any many others through their own suffering. it aways seems to be an ugly start with a beautiful ending.

    Thanks again :)

    Tom

  392. Nolan Says:

    wise advice, thanks Doreen!!!
    You’re right, I get my email flooded with enough stuff to begin with :)

  393. Nolan Says:

    Hello,
    Regarding a comment I made: “I didn’t. I don’t even know how one could do that. If at a fundamental level you feel afraid of something the. That’s just how it is.”

    I wasn’t saying this as gloom and doom that you’ll never move beyond that intense feeling of fear. Just that, at the moment one makes the decision to let it be there it’s not as if that negative feel will just evaporate.

    As with me the fear eventually just did go away. Same with the obsessing and the constant focus.

    My point is just that that fear is not there because through good argument you convinced yourself to be afraid. So, likewise, it doesn’t require a good argument to convince yourself that you shouldn’t be afraid. Because, at a fundamental level we just feel that fear. Now, that will subside (sometimes more dramatically/ sometimes less). But it’s consistent with the same experience people will say “I felt so good when I was reading this bit of advice, but then a set back came and it just didn’t make sense anymore…. my brokeness seemed more convincing than this argument.”

    But, then when that storm passes it just makes sense again as to why you were never broken to begin with.
    That moment of peace didn’t come as the result of a great struggle to convince yourself that you’re not actually suffering.

  394. Nolan Says:

    Hi Ajdon,

    My advice would be to not be so impressed with the intensity of the negative feel to those thoughts. Let them be there, expect no early departure of them, and move back on with your life with those cruddy feelings being there.

    Let your mind churn away and still do the things that make up your life. Those thoughts are going to pop up in a way that will make you aware of them…. and that’s fine. That happened to all of us. Lessen your reaction to them by making your life bigger than this anxiety.

    This isn’t a quick fix. It probably means that you’ll still feel the full intensity of that negative emotional reaction. Just know that that’s normal. All you’re doing now is sending a friendly reminder back to your body that “it’s okay, I’m good now…. but, send whatever you need to send for the time being.”

    This is a reaction approach that works well with anxiety, depression, as well as those little stressors that can snowball into anxiety and/or depression.

  395. Tom Marshall Says:

    Nolan your Post’s never fail to amaze me

  396. Bryan Says:

    Great stuff Nolan.

    Maria,

    Oh I just meant that my “version” of this revolves very little around circumstance. I don’t fear my job, relationship etc. (No offense to those who do, I have had intrusive thoughts at times and they are a real challenge. )

    For me, basically I lead a very blessed life and I’m extremely happy at this point. I went through a period of overworked and stress about five years ago in the condition started then, but I’ve been working on recovery method properly for the last couple of years and really my average day is just fine. I spend more time on these boards trying to help people than anything else. But admittedly I have my spells of time that are confounding.

    For me, things just improve and look pretty good and then it’s just a sudden attack of debilitating symptoms, I can be there in a panic, flu like symptoms, G.I. and mental symptoms etc. it’s like a pack of ninjas attack me. Lol!

    Then some days later, things play out and I’m back to a better overall recovery timeline again. OK generally it will last a few weeks but those bills are much shorter these days.

    So basically, I’m just moving forward trying to follow the advice of people like Paul and Nolan, and things are going well. But I suppose human nature gets the best of me and at those the times of suffering, I do wonder how other people got through “my version” of this.

  397. Maria Says:

    Nolan,

    Oh no! I hope I didn’t offend!! As that was not at all my intent! I only meant that what you said really struck me, I had never really thought about it that way and wanted to show how it had happened for me. But I completely understand your explanation, I just had to think on it a few days to get my thoughts about it straight. Again, hope I didn’t offend. :)

    Tom,

    Me thinks you are a wise old soul, no matter your age. :) As a woman of cough50cough, I’ve known so many men who clearly feel the same way. Personally, I find a man expressing his emotions much more “manly” than those that don’t. Keep up the good work, you’re well on your way. :)

  398. Maria Says:

    Bryan,

    I’ve never experienced the flu like symptoms, but yes, I forgot about the GI symptoms, lovely, aren’t they?! Sounds to me like you get the occasional panic attack?

    If I’m not smack dab in the middle of a panic spell but rather just feeling a bit anxious, I always try to somehow, somewhere, find a bit of humor in it all. Like if the GI stuff is hitting I think to myself, well hey, at least I’ll be able to fit into my skinny jeans tomorrow. 😉 It does me a world of good to try and see some of the absurdity of this whole thing.

  399. Beverley Says:

    Hello All, and especially to Rich and Marie. Thanks for commenting on my question about the eating issue. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who has had to almost force food down their throat, but when I suffer this anxiety that’s what I feel I have to do, therefore I try to eat easy food, as you mentioned such as yogurts, or saucy things like chicken curry with rice and plenty of curry sauce, or milk, or bananas. If I manage to eat something then sometimes I can relax a bit, other times I stay anxious. It varies. But thanks again, you seem like a great bunch oh here and am grateful for support from you all. Best wishes.

  400. Nolan Says:

    Hi Maria,

    Please don’t feel the need to apologise. I’m glad you did make the comment that you made. Because when I re-read that initial post I left out the part of the storm still passing. I did seem as if I was talking “gloom and doom”….. just a slip up on my part which I’m glad you referenced so that I could clear the air with it.

    It’s funny: sometimes for me the fear (anxiety/depression/despair) would just switch off. It was a profound moment of peace that I would feel (inline with what you were talking about). I can think of a few of those times where it was just a moment of complete peace and understanding. I try not to reference that all that much simply because I don’t know how common it is. And, I’d feel bad if I got someone’s hope up that those times do come and if, for whatever reason, they didn’t experience that.

    For me, more often then not, it was this gradual lessening of the fear. But, there definitely were those profound switch-moments where I just felt completely peaceful…. kind of like the positive version of a set back…. let’s call it a spring forward :)

    And thanks to you, Tom, and Bryan for the kind words!

  401. Tom Marshall Says:

    You’re too kind Maria! and hey age is only a number! Its a shame to see really, I honestly believe that if people were aloud to express emotions freely with no judgment the world wouldn’t face as many problems as it does, I genuinely don’t think we would turn to alcohol and other substances to make us feel better, I don’t look down on those people cause I’ve been that person my self and I understand why people do it, we want our confidence back, we want to feel free, we want to let go its and not a lot of people teach us how to do that properly, anyways I won’t get into that too much! The positive is people now have places like this blog which is going to make a massive difference!

  402. Melissa Says:

    Hi Again,

    Nolan that is exactly how I felt yesterday…it was so strange.

    I have a job interview on Friday and I am freaking out. I have been at this current job for over 5 years and as much as I dislike it, the idea of change scares me so much! I know I am competent and completely ready for a a new work environment, but the anxiety I have been feeling for the past month is making me scared of messing up my interview.

    So many what ifs…what if they can tell I have an anxiety problem, what if I just ramble and ramble without realizing it. What if I mess up.

    Super scary…I am trying to remember that this would be hard for anyone (anixety problem or not), but it just seems so hard to rationalize.

    Also, did anyone on here have a really easy time falling asleep, but a hard time staying asleep after a certain time? My body automatically wakes me up at 6 am and I have such a hard time going back to sleep. If I do fall back asleep I have really vivid thoughts and emotions. It is exhausting. I then proceed to Wake up feeling EXTREMELY on edge…almost like I hardly slept but had 3 cups of coffee. Please tell me I am not the only one dealing with this. It freaks me out!

    :(

  403. Anxiousness Says:

    Hi everyone. I came across a Clare weekes vid on you tube it hour long and really worth a look.
    I mainly get the intrusive s about relationship which I know is crap as in anxious free moments ( have them now and again) I can glimpse the truth. And weird intrusives which come with a whoosh some days better than others but to be expected I guess

  404. Sue Says:

    Mellssa,

    I too wake up about 6am sometimes earlier.
    This morning I woke up feeling very calm, Then suddenly all my body started tingling, my heart was pounding, then it felt as though a wush of whatever went from my feet to my head and I laid there with all the negative crap that had happened to me in the past wizzing round my head. I got up and I was so tense and felt I was going to burst. I had my breakfast feeling that way and went out but it was a good hour before it seemed to settle down. Then I had the nasty repetitious thoughts keep popping in my head most of the day. Like you it leaves you feeling exhausted. One day never seems the same as another. When you wake up you do not know what to expect. It baffles me how I can wake up feeling calm and then it all starts the body and mind off from nothing.
    Can anyone hear tell me how they manage to relax of an evening. It is OK to keep busy during the day but by evening I am tired and just want to sit but sometimes find it difficult when the body is pulsating all over and time to dwell on myself.

  405. Sue Says:

    Melissa,

    I too have an empty mind at times when I am thinking nothing at all. It feels strange so it seems as though I am fighting to think something before any negative thought jumps in especially when the physical symptoms are there.
    Perhaps we watch ourselves too much when we should just be. I cannot remember watching everything I thought before all this started and it is very wearing.

  406. Sue Says:

    Does anyone find they have become more needy with the anxiety. Before all this started I never bothered much with family and distant friends now it seems I am always looking for people to be with and making arrangements to go out. I am not keen on being shut in anywhere and prefer to be outdoors.
    I f this anxiety is still with me by the winter months I do not know how I am going to manage stuck in the house day after day. I cannot keep running to friends and distant relatives

  407. Melissa Says:

    Hi Sue,

    I don’t know if the word is needy, but it definitely makes me not want to be alone. I try my best to keep myself occupied by seeing friends and family (but only the ones that are positive and uplifting). I cannot be around people who are negative because it drains me too much.

    I used to love to be alone and now I have a hard time…mainly because of my thoughts and how agitated I feel all the time. What I tried to do is spend more time alone to show myself that there is nothing to be afraid of. I Watch movies, I read and I just enjoy my apartment. Some days are easier than others, but when I was going through my roughest period I spent a week straight at my parents house (my dog lives there, and being with him helped also).

    I think showing yourself that spending time alone is okay and safe may help. Try to find things you enjoy doing alone.

    Hope this helps :)

  408. Anxiousness Says:

    Just found new book on kindle so downloading now

  409. Debbie Says:

    Tom i downloaded that book. I couldnt buy the book due to me living i. United states thanks for the idea. Thanks. Tom ?

  410. Debbie Says:

    The mind works that s what i down loaded . sorry i didnt put the name.c7F

  411. Tom Marshall Says:

    Aw nice one! its a good read and My girlfriend lives out in the states! :)

  412. louise Says:

    Hi everyone

    Have started reading Paul’s new book,it is fab so far and only 2 chapters in I love the back pack story something I can relate to doing. Constant googling and reading about anxiety

  413. Ajdon Says:

    Thanks Nolan for taking time to reply to my post. You are great job helping people.

  414. Rosa Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    Sorry to bother you again. Did you read my question from a few days ago? I got really anxious about not having any plans and confused about it. I find decision making really hard at the moment. Whenever I do something, my mind questions what I am doing and then I think that I should do something different. It’s all so confusing. Thanks

  415. Catherine Says:

    Hi All

    I have been reading this blog for a while and wanted to comment on it finally as it has been such a great support for me along the way. I have suffered badly, having had a breakdown last year, developing GAD and only finding Paul’s book in May. Since June I have come back to my life, work, social activities and moving through everything as it comes at me. But my God it has been so so tough, I can honestly say that I will never ever face anything as tough and yet as rewarding as this. When you reach that moment when you feel as if the world is crumbling around you, right at its upmost peak of anxiety, that is the moment that is the making of you. If you can welcome it right to its peak, you can get through anything. I have had days where I feel like I will never be better and cannot face it all again but in fact I’ve realised that those low moments are the where the biggest strides for recovery are made. It’s the biggest trick out there and it still fools me over and over again. Yet, those moments where it doesn’t fool you, even if just for a second, are just the most magical moments I’ve ever experienced, honestly happier than I’ve ever felt! It truly is a glimpse, as Claire Weekes puts it, then it’ll be gone again and can’t be hung onto, but it shows you how good you will feel all the time when all this is over. All I can say is, keep going and keep facing all this emotion as horrific as it feels, because one day, it will all be so very worth it :-) thanks for the fantastic blog and for the single most important thing provided here that is not provided in many other places – Hope.

  416. Adam Says:

    Is Paul’s new book now available? I saw Louise’s post above saying she is reading it but I didnt see a post from Paul saying the book was available…. If so, can someone direct me to where I can purchase the book (prefarably in Kindle version)? …thanks…

  417. Pamela Says:

    New book is available on kindle from amazon.co.uk

  418. JoJo Says:

    Hi! Sorry for all the posts lately. Today at work I’m working with customers and there is just this uncomfortable feeling. It’s not panic or wanting to run out but almost like a bully is just pestering me. Enough that it makes me want to come on her to get reassurance it’s just anxiety? Does this make sense about the feeling or thought I am describing that I can’t put into words but it makes me uncomfortable?

  419. louise Says:

    Hi Adam
    Yes I bought the book in my kindle well worth reading a chapter on the thoughts is good

  420. Tom Marshall Says:

    Hi JoJo,

    Yes that sounds completely normal, I imagine people who don’t have anxiety will experience this from time to time and I can see how you have pieced this together in your mind, ‘No panic? No anxiety? but its uncomfortable what could this be? Is it something else? The crazy thing is the because you were expecting to have the usual panic and wanting to run away feeling, thats probably one of the reasons why it wasn’t there, in that moment you didn’t care about it so it didn’t surface, however your mind will start to look for problems when some thing new arrives. I have experienced what you are describe, It really is just a nagging uncomfortable feeling or thought, nothing else. So don’t worry about it too much, carry on with your day and let it be there.

    I hope this helped :)

  421. Melissa Says:

    Hey everyone,

    Sorry for posting so much lately. I feel so lost.

    I feel like the irrational thoughts are pushing me down a very depressive road.
    Has this happened to anyone before? Having a hard time seeing happiness in my life. Is this normal? Any tips on how I can overcome this?

    Again I appreciate all of you and all of this so much.
    Melissa

  422. Tom Marshall Says:

    Hey Melissa,

    Yes I have experienced this before, sometimes they do start to wear you down and can make you feel quite depressed, it happens to all of us. The reason why you can’t see happiness in your life is because your mind is temporarily distorted by rational and depressing thoughts and this does leave us feeling quite lost.

    So allow these thoughts to come, let them feel how they want to make you feel, if you feel depressed then so be it, You need to remember emotions and thoughts aren’t made to be their forever we just add so much fear and resistance which never allows us to truly release it all. There is nothing to over come and there is no need to question anything. Think of your emotions like waves in the sea, sometimes they are huge, scary and can take us down with one hit and others can be quite pleasant and peaceful, We know that there is no control over that, thats just how they are.

  423. Tom Marshall Says:

    I was meant to say irrational not rational thoughts, Sorry! haha

  424. Melissa Says:

    Thank you again Tom.

    Were you ever scared of becoming suicidal?

  425. Tom Marshall Says:

    Yes, the very fact you are fearing it shows that you wouldn’t consider doing anything suicidal , even if you had those thoughts you don’t need be too concerned about them. The real reason why people have these thoughts is because our mind is trying to come up with the best solution to help us out of our situation, sometimes when it feels there is no way out this can be the process of thought. But at the end of the day it is presenting you with an idea, what is an idea to begin with? Nothing. Just a thought really and we are always in complete control of how we respond to those thoughts. Your mind at the moment is just a little confused so again its coming up with ideas ‘What if you become suicidal?’ in a weird way your mind is already trying to protect you from not doing something like that so chances are you won’t even consider it. You will pass through this Melissa, it just takes time and patience. :)

  426. debbie Says:

    Hi tom I was wondering if you ever had the images of things that seem strange like your talking to someone and get flashes of a street a dream you have had moviess you have seen and than I get a deep scary feeling. Thats what iam stuck with now its flashes all day do u know anyone with this I just need some reassurance at this time is this dp or intrusive images ? Also if I look at someting has to remind. Me of something else . I. Do try like paul says not to make. A big deal over it . I have had panic disorder my whole life and I have recovered. So I. Know I can do it but my mind never experienced this before. With images. Something new. It started in my teens now iam in my 50.

  427. JoJo Says:

    Hi Tom:
    I usually don’t get the panic feeling, it is normally what I described above. Is that still anxiety to you? I then question why am I feeling this way and then I say is it my job, is it my relationship isn’t right enough, etc.. My anxiety seems to manifest itself into thinking it’s something not right in my life. I’m so confused Tom :(

    also what Melissa said about the suicidal thoughts. I will get those too but do not think I would act on them: sometimes they are like statements of a way out or just pop in out of nowhere. They don’t don’t always have a what if I front of them which scares my mind is getting so down and out that it is thinkin this way. Thanks for all your help lately.

  428. Tom Marshall Says:

    First off, a big yes to taking Pauls advice, don’t make a big deal out of it. I’ve had all sorts of disturbing and weird thoughts come through my mind that have absolutely terrified me. But it doesn’t matter what the content of the thought after all it is just a thought, our minds are extremely creative unfortunately when you combine that with an anxious mind it can make you feel like you’re thoughts are a sign you are crazy. Which you are not, You are perfectly normal. don’t try and figure out where its coming from. It doesn’t matter if its DP, intrusive thought or anything else, as Paul wrap it all under the ‘Anxiety Umbrella’ Its ok to seek reassurance sometimes because it can give our minds a rest from all the worrying. I know that scary feeling isn’t pleasant in time it will stop scaring you as much. like you said, You have got through this before so you can do it again,

    Take care Debbie :)

  429. Debbie Says:

    Thanks tom

  430. Tom Marshall Says:

    Yeah that sounds very much like anxiety JoJo, it starts to make you doubt everything, Why? Because its trying to protect you when there is no danger. Your mind is trying to interpret the feeling, ‘Is it my relationship? My Job? What is it!?’
    I did a post a few days ago further up about relationships because this is one that completely crippled me for a long time.

    Also I had that exact same worry, When a thought comes as more of statement rather than a what if, Yeah that side of it doesn’t really get spoken about much, Every thought doesn’t have to have a what if behind it all thats just a common example people use when giving advice and of course once the mind gets a hold of this realisation it we think ‘This isn’t anxiety its something else’ it can manifest itself into ways that will scare you like that, so don’t be too concerned about how the thought is presented or what it is, just know that it is a thought.

    Tom

  431. Maria Says:

    Great posts, Tom! :)

  432. Tom Marshall Says:

    Thanks Maria! :)

  433. JoJo Says:

    Hi Tom,
    Ok I got it :) so no more worrying what it is, just continue to go on with my life and eventually my mind won’t think it is in danger anymore and I will heal? Let the despair, frustration, depression, thoughts I don’t want just be there and let it all go?

  434. pravesh Says:

    Hi Nolan

    Read ur post only today. Please reply me on this blog itself. It can help others also. You know what is my exact problem, as I said my anxiety just reinvented itself.. the symptoms and feelings no longer bothers me…

    My problem is that I decide firmly to cut off negative thoughts by saying so what(which I say using sayings).. This has worked for me. Infact my anxiety returned after 6 years…and I always thought I was 100% cured. That’s why I am in this state today.

    I do not know why there is a question stucked in my head going on and on like this: Should I use a saying? I can’t stop it… It goes on and on… Even in my sleep. Then I start getting doubts… My head starts figuring again that I should do nothing… It tries tricking me again. Then I feel lost. I can’t function normally… I am locked in my mind.

    Your help would be gratefully welcomed.

  435. Sharon Says:

    I know this question is answered several times but I am very low at the moment (finding it hard to eat and sleep) constant racing mind. I just cant get my head around accepting these thoughts, for you that have recovered, did it take long to accept feeling so bad. I am so afraid I will never grasp the concept and will be left this way for life. Thanks

  436. Rich Says:

    I’ve just approved a post above by Catherine which I recommend everyone scrolls up and reads (Aug 25th) as for me it confirms how I feel about conquering the fear of anxiety. The night is always darkest before the dawn.

    I never asked many questions (like “is this normal” or “does anyone else…”) because inside once I knew what I had was ‘just anxiety’ I knew the answer – and the answer was always the same.

    I was bewildered for several months before I realised this, but once I did, everything became easier. Such a load was lifted from my shoulders and space for my mind to rehabilitate was made available. Then, in time, everything I thought was lost forever came back to me and more.

    Accept it’s just anxiety. If you can’t, try. Try giving yourself advice – try to think like Tom or Nolan or Paul or Maria – or the ‘you’ that ‘you’ want to be. It’s easier than you think – because it’s what your mind wants you to do. Condition yourself to and it will happen. If you don’t believe it will work at first that’s fine, but keep going and you’ll start glimpsing the moments you strive to experience once more.

  437. Rich Says:

    I am sure Paul will post a new blog post about his new book, but as some have already noticed, it is now available on Amazon as an e-book. I’ve included a link to it on Amazon here for those interested:

    Amazon.co.uk:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Life-Beyond-Paul-David-ebook/dp/B01494XZCM/

    Amazon.com:

    http://www.amazon.com/Last-Life-Beyond-Paul-David-ebook/dp/B01494XZCM/

  438. pravesh Says:

    Hi sophalina

    You can talk to me. I am pregnant too. I think I will deliver today.

    Will keep u posted.

  439. Maria Says:

    Rich, thanks for the heads up on Catherine’s post.

    Catherine! Well said! I think the most poignant thing you mentioned was to WELCOME anxiety as that is when the most strides to recovery are made. I can’t stress how important this was in my recovery. I had many moments where I dared anxiety, think, “Come on ______(insert favorite derogatory word here), is that the best you got? Really? Cuz that’s nothin’! ” and I swear, just that change in my attitude toward it made such a huge difference. And you know what? Anxiety tucked its little tail between its legs and scampered back to its dark little hole. Point for Maria!

    I know it sounds scary, but I explore you all to try it because you will feel so incredibly empowered when you do it. Just trust yourself. :)

  440. Jeff Says:

    Yes nice post Catherine.
    As time passes it becomes easy for me to forget just how bad things were during the darkest of my darkest hours…those many months ago. But (like you mentioned) brief moments of clarity do indeed start at some point, then increase in frequency. The joy at first is almost boundless….and is often our first glimmer of HOPE. A feeling of….my God, I might actually get through this!! And if I can get through this, I can get through anything.

  441. Tom Marshall Says:

    Yes Jojo, let it all be there, try not to see it in the way of ‘Right if I do this then I will finally be better!’ What your really doing is just allowing our natural emotions and thoughts to flow again without resistance, Paul covers this perfectly in his new book .

    Also great post Catherine! Its always great to see posts like yours :)

  442. Sophalina Says:

    Does anyone know when Paul’s book is available as a hard copy?

  443. Sue Says:

    Can anxiety at times make you feel alone. Sometimes I get a feeling of being on my own in the world even though I live with my Husband and family and it is not a nice feeling to have. It does not matter how I try to fill my day sometimes it just comes up and I feel as though I want comforting.

  444. Maria Says:

    Sophalina,

    Scroll up a few posts. Rich posted links to where you can buy it.

  445. Debbie Says:

    Just got paul s new book on kindle cant wait to start reading it yaaaa?

  446. carla Says:

    Arggh, knots, knots and more knots!

    Anyone around here any good with knots?

    Following a pretty decent patch, things have taken a bit of a turn for the worse for me over the last few weeks. (I suspect a rainy summer holiday with the kids may have something to do with it!)

    But my question is this….

    Ach, I don’t even really know what my question is!

    Basically I’ve been waking and experiencing that uncomfortable feeling of anxiety appearing as habit and memory begin to kick in. My mind then seems to begin an automatic process of trying to scan for the ‘dangerous thing’ that has caused the anxiety. It just keeps click, click, clicking round trying to ascertain the root of the fear is.

    The thought process as I wake is a little something like this….

    ‘Oh yes I’m anxious aren’t I? I’m going to get that feeling again. Ok, try and move towards it. If I move towards it successfully then I’ll be able to feel the feelings and see them as just a discomfort – I’ll be able to use my understanding to look down on the feelings as ‘just anxiety’ and then carry on with it there in the background.’ The anxiety then begins to get stronger and feel more threatening, it starts penetrating my ‘core’ so to speak and I start to feel the fear building inside and my thoughts start feeling a little more like this:

    “Oh no, I’m beginning to lose control of this, I’m scared now, properly scared. Now if I truly believed and understood that this was ‘just anxiety’ then the fear wouldn’t feel this strong. If I was recovering I’d be losing my fear of these symptoms but here I am getting fearful again. There must be a thought or misunderstanding somewhere that’s making me scared. I must be identifying with a thought that’s frightening me. But I just can’t quite put my finger on what the thought is. I think it might be something to do with not being able to stop thinking anxiously but I’m not sure. Lots of people say that if you can disassociate with you anxious thoughts then you’ll feel better but I’m not even quite sure what my anxious thoughts are. Argh, I can’t stop thinking, I’m trying to ‘puzzle it out’ and shouldn’t be doing this. What if I can’t stop puzzling it out? Oh God, I’m not trying to think myself better am I? Oh no, I’m trying to solve anxious thoughts with anxious thoughts! Think, think, think, think….

    Now, this kind of looping monologue basically sticks around for the large majority of the day. Phrases like ‘let the thoughts flow’ or ‘let the anxiety peak and fall away’ have me panicking because this is exactly what I feel unable to do. The thoughts feel automatic (a logical response to a perceived threat I guess?) and they stick and repeat, stick and repeat until I basically have a huge migraine, down a glass of wine and then fall into bed exhausted.

    But, if thought-stopping is impossible yet ‘puzzling it out’ fueling the anxiety then where do I go? Do I accept that these kinds of thoughts as the ‘racing thoughts’ that are part and parcel of anxiety or are they a sign that my mind is still perceiving a threat and I’m therefore not accepting correctly?

    I think the lack of proper focus in the day isn’t really helping – I seriously need a job now my youngest is starting school in September. I’m thinking omething like a paramedic or a leading politician. You know, something REALLY meaty to focus my attention….

    Anyway, any insights into relentless, looping, intrusive anxiety-related thoughts would be greatly appreciated. (Although if someone tells me to just let my thoughts ‘flow’ or that I can’t ‘think myself better’ then I might cry (again!)

  447. carla Says:

    Sorry, that was a bit of a crazy post!

    It’s basically the contradictions between certain sets of advice that’s leaving me unsettled. The first being statements such as:

    1) racing, looping thoughts are a normal part of anxiety. Go towards repetitive thoughts. Willingly allow yourself to think inwardly etc. etc.

    A second type which say things such as:

    2) Don’t complicate things. Don’t try and solve the puzzle. Don’t add secondary thinking to anxious thoughts. Don’t try and solve anxious thoughts with anxious thoughts. Let thoughts flow in and out. Analysis is paralysis etc…

    And then, thirdly, the CBT model which actively encourages us to work out what our fears are and then challenge them with rational thoughts.

    I guess the advice from the first list generally makes me feel better than the second. But the second haunts me somewhat as I see it repeated so often and I’m worried that I’m unwittingly falling into this trap and delaying my recovery. And the CBT approach also keeps niggling at me too because I can that it’s based in very pure and logical foundations yet it really encourages more thinking and focus onto the anxiety.

    See, I told you it was a knot!

  448. Bryan Says:

    Carla,

    On a scale of 1-10, how important is getting rid of these thoughts for you?

  449. Carla Says:

    Hi Brian,

    Umm, Honestly? A 9/10 probably. I would love, love, love to be able to flit from thought to thought and concentrate on everyday life without constantly reverting to this issue.

    I guess that suggests a pretty poor level of acceptance ?

  450. Carla Says:

    But I think I’d possibly find them easier to accept if I felt that they were a symptom of the anxiety rather than something I’m doing wrong that’s making the condition worse.

  451. Tom Marshall Says:

    I think I see whats going on a here Carla, eventually those thoughts of reminding yourself to do something can be automatic, So I imagine your thought process goes a little something like this ‘Negative thought- Just let thoughts flow through -Wait I can’t keep remind myself that isn’t acceptance – Am I accepting this properly? -I need to figure out how people just let thoughts flow without constantly reminding myself’ You may then go on to try and suppress the thoughts of not reminding yourself which makes you think them even more and now you’re getting even more frustrated because you feel your doing everything wrong and finally the mind will say ‘Look see, I told you! You couldn’t do it’ ‘This isn’t for you’ so in a way you are still trying to change the way you think. Don’t feel too bad about that because I did this exact same thing. if the thoughts just pop into your head about it then let them, it doesn’t matter, its when you jump in consciously that creates the dilemma,
    I would recommend not reading anything for a while about the subject either, let your head clear out a little bit, because the more you try to figure it all out the more you are trying to ‘Do’ something and the more you try to do something the more your mind will spin out of control.

    Anxiety is extremely confusing at times and it can lead to everything you just described in your post, you see people write ‘Let it be there and accept it’ and that makes 0 sense when you are in the thick of it. But it really is that simple and it is not a technique we have to master.

    Tom.

  452. Nolan Says:

    Hi Rosa,

    Regarding what you’re saying my advice would be let those doubting thoughts be there and still do the thing you intentionally decided on doing.

    Please correct me if I’m misunderstanding: but, you make some decision to do something (whatever that may be) but then these doubtful thoughts surface that undercut your desire to do the thing you had already decided on doing. Those thoughts surface and then you find yourself confused as to what to do: do the thing you said you were going to do, or follow the impulse of these thoughts to either not do it or to do something different.

    If those thoughts are of an anxious quality (charged with a negative feel to them) then just let them be there while you go on doing the thing you initially set out to do. Let those thoughts be there while caring less that they are there.

  453. Nolan Says:

    Hi Pravesh….
    Over the years the focus of my anxiety shifted, contorted, contracted, expanded so many times that I just stopped caring about the object of that anxiety. Paul mentioned something like this in his first book where he says that he didn’t think it paid to break down all of the different ways that anxiety can make itself manifest because there’s almost an innumerable amount of ways in which it will do that. I had sleeping anxiety, swallowing anxiety, breathing anxiety, intrusive thoughts, depression, relationship anxiety, …. I could fill line after line with the different ways it morphed or expanded, but I’ll stop here.

    Regarding using a saying to kind of counter your anxiety:
    I had things I said simply to remind myself that “it’s okay to feel this way”…. none of this was said to chase the anxiety away. I knew that wouldn’t even happen. So, it wasn’t like a mantra. It was simply to remind myself that ‘whatever is, let it be’ and move back on with my day… with the full brunt of that negative baggage hanging off of me or heavily wedded to every thought as much as it wants to be.

    So, with your concern…. let it be there. When it’s ready to be gone it will be gone. If you find yourself overly concerned (reflexively, overly concerned) with something then that’s fine, because that’s what anxiety does to us. “Eh, I’m automatically running these thoughts over and over in my mind…. big whoop.” and move back on with your life.

  454. Nolan Says:

    Hi Sharon,

    You said:
    “I just cant get my head around accepting these thoughts, for you that have recovered, did it take long to accept feeling so bad.”

    Think about what you’re saying for a moment (did it take long to accept feeling so bad). You’re already ‘accepting’ it, right? Because it’s there. I’m not saying this to be harsh at all…. because I was exactly there at one point, saying the same things. Whether you make some mental decision to accept or to not accept the cold reality of it is that it’s going to be there regardless.

    So, it’s no so much allowing it to be there (because it’s going to be there), but having a different attitude towards it being there. And that attitude is shaped primarily by how we react to those thoughts: do we take their heed? Or do we go back on living our lives with no expectations of those thoughts leaving as soon as possible.

    So, accept or not accept…. it’s going to be there. Then change your attitude towards it. Stop trying to make sense of it all. Stop trying to work it all out…. and live your life like you used to.

  455. Melissa Says:

    Hello, I have been struggling with severe panic attacks for about over a year now. I came across Paul’s book and it has helped me in so many ways. I thought for sure I was 90 percent cured a week a go and boom was hit with the strong horrible feelings of panic. I’m not do emotional anymore but am dealing with the depersonalization feeling and the horrible dizziness for about six months now. I try to ignore the symptoms as much as I can, however it seems so impossible most days. I truly don’t know how I make it through the day. Has anybody experienced dizziness for so long?? Pressure in ears and head?

  456. Nolan Says:

    Hi Melissa,

    I was constantly dizzy for about a year. I don’t have that feeling anymore.

    My advice: stop concerning yourself with how close to or far from recovery you are at any given moment (like estimating percentages of recovery you were at one point). I did this myself, and the end result was always me being more frustrated. I stopped tracking how I was at any particular time. If I was worse one day and better then next…. so be it.

    You said that you try to ignore the symptoms as best as you can. Now, we might be using the same words to describe different things but I don’t think you need to worry so much about ignoring it. My mind would race a million miles a second with thought after thought…. I didn’t try to ignore this. Trying to ignore it would almost have certainly driven me more anxious and exhausted. I simply let my mind churn away as fast as it wanted. If I found myself noticing it, that’s fine…. I was just done thinking it was all that big of a deal. I would still go about my day with the storm spinning on and on. I realized it wasn’t my job to ignore it or to distract myself from it, it was just my job to have a different attitude and reaction to all of it (an ‘oh well’ attitude… and a reaction of not letting it dictate what I was going to do).

  457. Melissa Says:

    Thank you Nolan for the inspiring words. It is so inspiring to receive such good advice from people who have actually gone through this as well. And to know we can recover from this at its own time without waiting for it. I do have many days when I feel I can’t no longer continue. I am very religious and I have the most strongest reason to keep going; my kids. Once again, Nolan thank you so much for taking the time to respond to me. I wish everyone on here the best of luck on the journey to recovery.

  458. carla Says:

    Thankyou Tom!

    I find that writing out my confused thinking can sometimes help to clarify things so I’m going to attempt to answer my own question here and hopefully it might help others going through similar.

    For me it helps to view anxiety as primarily a physical state which has arisen through no fault of my own (the causes tending to be shock, trauma, stress or unhappiness.) Mine was prolonged stress. This physical state brings on a whole host of symptoms, including emotional upheaval and anxious thinking.

    When that state is very intense, the feelings and thoughts can be very fearful. Sometimes this fearful feeling latches onto something specific but sometimes it can just be felt as an unexplainable feeling of terror. Again, all generated by this physical state. None of it our fault, all of it normal in the circumstances.

    Now, it would seem logical to me that, if the body and mind is in a fearful state then the rational part of the brain will automatically step in to try and reassure – which can then lead to a bit of an exhausting mental interplay between the anxious mind and the rational mind.

    CBT works on the premise of exercising the rational part of the mind so that it ‘wins’ against the fearful mind. I think, in some cases this can be helpful and sometimes not but one side-effect is that it can increase mind momentum and generate a kind of ‘fighting’ mentality. And, of course, keeps the focus firmly on your thinking.

    HOWEVER I do think it’s quite a natural (even automatic) response once the anxious thoughts begin to kick in. And, in many ways, I’m not sure it’s even possible to stop it. It’s all just part of the merry mess once the anxiety starts building.

    So, for me at least, I’m not going to beat myself up over any of it. If my anxiety is high one morning and leads to fearful thoughts and overthinking then so be it. That’s what it blooming well does. It just means that I’m still in an anxiety state.

    I’m just going to keep practicing going towards all of it.

    Nolan, the final paragraph you wrote to Pravesh was helpful and I think a more succinct way of expressing what I’m trying to say!

  459. Pamela Says:

    Hi everyone hope your well can I ask anyone how do u get passed the constant analyzing how u feel think & worry u broken forever & the panic that u will need more medication & constant questions in your head I dont suffer any physical symptoms purely crazy thoughts which wont stop.

  460. carla Says:

    Pamela,

    My recent posts have just been covering this.

    And, you know what, I just keep coming back to good ole Claire Weekes, god love her.

    She’s written quite a few sections on repetitive thoughts, over-analysing, inward thinking and what she terms a ‘binding awareness of self.’ She writes in a wonderfully non-punitive way and explains that ALL of these things are perfectly normal off-shoots of having anxiety. You are not doing anything wrong by having these thoughts and you should practice going towards them so that they begin to matter less and less.

    But, whilst you’re practising this, I don’t think it hurts to fill your life with things that are not anxiety-related. Take little breaks from the subject, have a think about a new project you could get started on that might tweak your interest. For example, I’m thinking about developing a derelict property and also painting a series of modern landscapes to exhibit in the spring – nothing like being ambitious!

    What’s your daily life like Pamela?

  461. Tom D Says:

    Hi all

    What a great community this is, I have always been browsing round but never made a post and I would really appreciate some help or insight in to my dilemma. I know that I shouldn’t be looking for reassurance and asking questions but I feel as though I have hit a brick wall this time.

    A quick insight basically is that I have always been a slightly nervous person but nothing out of the ordinary, I had the odd blip with anxiety but nothing where it was recognised as a condition or anything that stuck with me, I think completely ‘normal’ amounts.

    Basically when I was 24 I was hit with a massive panic and anxiety attack out of no where when I was under massive amounts of stress with all sorts of crazy upsetting family issues, I didn’t know or understand anything that I was feeling, my head was racing and I had crazy physical symptoms, it was unbelievable what I was going through, I thought I would end up locked up in a hospital. Anyhow, I came across Paul’s book and honestly, it changed my life, I called it my bible and I didn’t even read the full book, I went from thinking my life was over to taking everything on board which was in the book and I had 3 amazing years, I was back and bright, I thought I would never go back there. I was literally back at work running my business with 20 staff, I got married, moved house, I went through everything, no anxiety, I knew how to deal with this now, I didn’t even have to think my way out of anxiety, I was just free and me.

    Any how a few months ago, I had a health scare which really frightened me, followed by my business struggling and all sorts of stresses, I just knew the anxiety was creeping and I couldn’t hold it back so I decided to drop back on to Sertraline/Zoloft which I had used previously but not for too long. I had mega side effects of crazy intrusive thoughts, followed with more and more stress and worries and I just couldn’t shift these crazy thoughts of causing harm to people that I love, they stick to me like glue.

    I decided to go to see a therapist, this is all whilst reading Paul’s book and still following his message. I felt I just needed to let some steam off and talk to someone, anyhow I have been going to this therapist, relaying what I am going through and they are convinced I have OCD, the Pure O type where you obsess over intrusive thoughts and you can’t get rid of them.

    The dilemma I am in is that I have never had any sort of OCD, ok these racing thoughts I struggle to get rid of but now I feel petrified that I have a new problem, that it isn’t just anxiety and I am going to have to do exposure therapy, take higher medications and learn a whole new topic.. ‘OCD’ , I have a new challenge to over come but I don’t see how this is so

    One comment Paul made which sticks with me is that we shouldn’t treat things as individual problems, we should put EVERYTHING under one umbrella, which is.. anxiety. My worry is that OCD doesn’t go under that umbrella, I have freaked myself out as OCD seems so hard to overcome but I keep getting told that is what it is, I have no rituals or compulsions, just a racing mind of silly things that I struggle to get rid of, to me it is just anxiety

    What path should I go down? is that path Paul speaks about definitely the one for what I am experiencing or do I need to move on to accepting it could be OCD

    One minute I am following everything I learnt before and then the next minute the therapist says that won’t get rid of OCD etc. its just horrible, I can’t believe its taking me so long to get over this hurdle after having 3 great years

    I would appreciate any responses people can give and sorry for the big post but I wanted to explain my story.

    Thanks,
    Tom D

  462. Pamela Says:

    Hi carla I work 4 days a week part time & also just starting my own business selling forever living products my days r filled when not at work & at work on the constant checking in on the how I feeling thinking can I cope etc

  463. Melissa Says:

    Hey guys!

    I have a job interview in a couple of hours and those anxious thoughts are starting to take over again. So many what ifs. Any advice for ways to focus on the interview and not the thoughts inside my mind?

    Thanks!

  464. Sophalina Says:

    Paul’s new book is only currently available on KINDLE as per the links provided by Rich above. I do not own a kindle so am hoping it will be available as a hard copy asap. Carla, I love your posts, they resonate with me. I too still struggle with the concept of letting the thoughts be there and letting them bounce around without attaching to them. Am hoping I will finally “get it” soon!

  465. Rich Says:

    Sophalina, Changing your approach to feelings and thoughts is the hardest bit, but is also the most rewarding when you achieve it. You see them not as the absolute truth but as a ‘version’ of the truth that you can then look at and judge for yourself whether it is indeed the truth of the situation or not.

    Instead of noticing the feelings or thoughts and jumping straight into ‘panic mode’, you notice them and then you notice you going into ‘panic mode’. You can then decide whether to react to the panic or not by making an educated decision – knowing at that time what is happening, why it is happening, and that the reality it is trying to convince you of is not the actual reality at all.

    You’ll still be in ‘panic mode’ and it will still be horrible, but in time, the time you spend in this state shortens, and its occurance becomes more infrequent. You notice it quicker, decide to ignore it quicker, and soon enough as you continue to do this, you re-train your brain not to lead you down that route at all. You begin to regain your grasp on ‘real’ reality – and repeatedly reject your anxious mind’s interpretation of reality.

  466. Maria Says:

    Sophalina,

    Do you have a smart phone of any kind? If so you can download the Kindle app for free and then read it from there. :)

  467. Maria Says:

    Rich,

    It’s funny, Paul always talks about there not being a step by step method to recovery, but your advice above is the PERFECT step by step method of NOT doing anything. By learning NOT to panic when we feel the fear, we truly are retaining our minds to take a new and different path. Excellent post, Rich!!

  468. Rich Says:

    Thanks Maria! :) It’s a technique that is hard to do as it goes against strong urges and instincts your mind wants you to take notice of and do – but your mind can only suggest – you always make your own choice as to what you actually ‘do’.

    Sometimes physical feelings are too strong to ignore and you have to concede defeat – this isn’t an instant fix afterall – but the trick is to keep trying – to be determined in your attitude to beat this, and be confident (fake it if necessary – you’ll surprie yourself) enough to keep trying, and the tide will turn, and with results comes belief and with belief comes strength – and that’s all you need.

  469. Sophalina Says:

    Thanks Rich and yes Maria, I do have a smart phone do will try and do as you suggest.x

  470. Sophalina Says:

    Rich, I see that you live in Leicester? Me too!

  471. Tom Marshall Says:

    Yorkshire! Yorkshire! Yorkshire! 😉

  472. carla Says:

    Tom,

    I completely understand your experiences because I went through something very similar and, like you, it was triggered by therapy.

    I was having some issues with sleep anxiety and a new therapist started digging into my bedtime rituals and habits – OCD was mentioned even though my routines were pretty bog standard. I then became very anxious about having OCD and started panicking every time I dithered over a decision or felt anxious about doing something a certain way. And, like you, I’ve never really had any OCD tendencies but the anxiety just latched onto it and I quickly became terrified by the labels, particularly pure O.

    So, after a reassuring chat with a friend, I somehow came to the conclusion that my behaviour was not particularly compulsive and that fear just faded. Whoohoo!

    But then it shifted onto ‘sticky thoughts’ I’d been having about my daughter struggling with friendships at school. ‘What if I can’t stop thinking about it? What if I have Pure O (which is a bloody terrifying term by the way; who the hell invented that?!) What if I become locked in my own mind?’

    Googling OCD and pure O was no picnic in the park. Loads of stuff about how to stop these thoughts that ruined lives, jargon about brain chemistry, various medicinal routes, different types of therapy, TONS of frightening language. No, no, no, NOT a good one to search when the anxiety hormones are already flowing.

    Do you know what Tom? I think you need to ditch your therapist. Yes you’re having anxious, sticky frightening thoughts but so does pretty much everyone who suffers from anxiety. Your history does not indicate OCD.

    HOWEVER, I do think that the exposure therapy which forms the basis of OCD treatment is fairly consistent with how we deal with any type of anxious thought – the idea being that we practice going TOWARDS the anxious thought, be it a frightening thought, a repetitive thought or just an inward, self-awareness. Practice recognising that they are harmless symptoms of a heightened anxiety state and let them come as often as they like.

    Have your read any Claire Weekes, Tom? She does a brilliant job of explaining frightening, obsessive, scary thoughts – all under the umbrella of anxiety. No scary language, no labels and no radical medical interventions. Just good, sensible advice about allowing the thoughts whilst glimpsing that they’re just products of a sensitised body and a tired mind.

    Charles Linden actually has really good video on YouTube (I’m not his greatest fan but…), where he explains frightening thoughts and how they’re almost inevitable in an anxiety state. Basically he explains that when our bodies are anxious then our brain automatically searches for a danger and, in the absence of anything concrete, it will either invent something scary (insert frightening thought) or just keep looping round searching something to hook onto (racing, looping, problem-solving type thoughts). It is all normal and all part of your sensitised state, brought on by the stress you’ve been under.

    I hope some of this helps, I think we do have to be very careful about therapists when dealing with anxiety. Have you looked at the anxiety coaches website? They offer coaching from people who have all recovered from anxiety themselves and it’s all hung around the acceptance approach. They also offer group coaching which is very reasonable. I’m actually considering this myself – I think therapy can be great for letting off steam, like you say, but we do have to be careful not to fall into the hands of somebody with little experience who may just end up fuelling our fears.

    All the best,

    Carla x

  473. Maria Says:

    Hi Tom D and welcome to the blog!

    I’m not sure that there is much I can add to what Carla said ( By the way, Carla, excellent advice!) but I’ll give you my take on it just the same. One of the other Toms on here gave himself the oh-so-appropriate label of “Captain What If”. The what ifs and how comes and ohmygod I’m going nuts thoughts are all too common for all of us. And some of us have thoughts of harming ourselves or others as well. Thoughts that just circle in our heads and seem like they’ll never leave!! If you have read much of this blog, you will see that many people suffer from exactly the same sort of intrusive thoughts that you do.

    Your symptoms sound like classic anxiety, and OCD type behavior or thoughts can fall right smack dab in the middle of all of this. I think Carla is right, give that therapist the boot. You’ve read Paul’s book so you know how to handle this, by living along side these thoughts and not giving them any fuel by fearing them. Just allow them to be there without worrying about them or questioning them. Once you stop paying attention to them the will begin to fade.

    It also sounds like you may have a lot of stress in your life which tends to trigger these tough bouts? Maybe you should think about some stress reducers like exercise, or yoga or whatever appeals to you to help with those stress levels.

    I bought Paul’s new book this morning but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. From what I understand it goes into more detail about intrusive and “sticky” thoughts than the first one did. You may want to consider giving it a read, the kindle version is available on Amazon.

    And of course you can always come here and we will do our best to help you out and support you through this.

    Hope this helps!

  474. Tom Marshall Says:

    Great posts guys! I completely agree. In the end it doesn’t matter what label we are given by the doctor/therapist, its all just anxiety and the same rules apply to every single type. The list could go on and on for the longest time I would add so many different labels, which just made me identify with it even more. Obviously sometimes when you read about a certain type it can provide the relief needed to stop worrying so much, but after that its time to stop classing it as part of our personality and finally break up with Captain what if and just like all ex’s they will keep pissing you off trying to find new ways to make your life hell, but they move on eventually. Excuse my language.

    Tom.

  475. Amanda Says:

    Hi all
    I am looking for some advice please. I have had tis anxiety thing since March this year, it is my second major episode, since finding Paul’s book I have not avoided anything and really tried to live alongside this until it fades ( hoping) the obsessive thoughts have faded slightly and a lot of the physical panic symptoms have faded a bit too, my main concern is the detached, emotionless foggy, cloudy dream like state I am left in this makes me panic at times and makes me feel as tho this is more than anxiety, it’s leaves me really depressed and can cry for days because of it. Also I would really like to connect with someone as I would love to chat with someone going through a similar experience at the moment, my friends and family are supportive but really don’t understand he bad it can be.
    Many thanks
    Amanda

  476. Amanda Says:

    Carla
    Your story sounds so similar to me right now – second
    Major episode and massive fears of not recovering

  477. carla Says:

    Hi Amanda and welcome!

    Sorry you’re feeling rotten, you are certainly not alone in that. This forum is a fantastic place to come and hang out; lots of people going through similar stuff and always fabulous support and advice.

    There is loads of stuff about DP here in the archives which you may find reassuring. But it sounds like you probably know what it is and what causes it, in which case it really is a case of going towards those feelings and understanding that they’re harmless. Again, Claire Weekes and Paul describe these symptoms very nicely in their books.

    But stick around for a while. Whilst it’s important to keep going with our lives as normal I think it REALLY helps to be able to chat with people who understand what we’re going through and can reach out with some virtual support.

    We’ll get there Amanda, it’s such a shock when hit out of the blue like that; I’ve heard it likened to a major trauma, I think it will just take time.

    Do you have kids?

  478. Amanda Says:

    Thank you so much for your reply, yes I have 3 little boys which makes this even harder this time but also so much more important to recover again

  479. Sophalina Says:

    Morning everyone,

    This is quite a long post but I would be grateful if you would read it…

    My current episode of anxiety/OCD/ depression began in February when I discovered I was pregnant. The baby was very much planned and wanted and I am very happily married and have a very supportive husband. I went downhill very quickly…I was signed off sick from work and could barely eat, my days were spent alone at him begging my husband to come home from work. In May I decided to move back to Leicester to live with my parents as I couldn’t cope with being alone all day. I made a huge mistake at the beginning this episode..i behan googling ny symptoms and cane across DP and DR which I had heard of before and never taken much notice of. Fast forward a few month and many hours googling and I have ended up with an irrational thought that people aren’t real. It particularly distresses me when it concerns my husband/family or unborn child. I have this fear/thought all day no matter what I am doing. I dread seeing people, even those closest to me because I cant “feel” that they are real. I look at them and think “how can I prove that they are not just a product of my Imagination?” Did they ever exist? Do I even exist? As you can imagine this thought ruins the time I spend with my loved ones. I want to hug them and get comfort from them at this time but am scared to be around them. My baby is due in 4 weeks and I realised that I am not looking forward to it all. All I feel is dread and fear. I feel so guilty about it but can’t help feeling this way. I saw a private CBT therapist for 10 sessions ending 3 months ago but could never quite get a handle on this thought of people not being real. I have tried exposure ie agreeing with the thought, I have let the thought be there and continued with my life but it continues to cause me great distress. Any advice would be much appreciated. Sophie x

  480. Tom D Says:

    carla/maria/tom

    Thank you all for taking the time to read my post and respond, I really do appreciate it.

    I just get so wound up with these intrusive thoughts, I feel as though I have all of the knowledge to overcome anxiety and anxiety related issues. I think I could offer good advice to many people, just as you guys have me. I overcame it before and had 3 good years but these intrusive thoughts are just getting so hard to get rid of.

    I feel I could help anyone but myself at the minute and I don’t know why.

    I have days where I have really good moments and periods of time where I have no intrusions hardly at all. Then today I am at work and the intrusions are going absolutely crazy. I guess it is stress related, i do have a lot going on and this is what is fueling the anxiety.

    Has anyone had similar intrusions to mine of the ‘harm’ kind, I understand that the people who get these are the total opposite, I have never hurt a person and would never dream of it, thats why the intrusions bother me so much. Have people had these and overcome them? What is your practice when they come in your head? … I have seen some success stories but everyone is doing different techniques and I think I am giving myself too many options, too many books and just getting in a big mess

    Am I right in thinking that Claire Weekes is one of the authors Paul followed. Which is her best book for these issues would you think? I really need to throw away some of the books I have, the only ones which have helped me is Paul’s and Michael Singer’s Untethered Soul. I started to read Brain Lock on a recommendation and I think that was one of the worst decisions ever, that book would convince anyone with intrusive thoughts that they are full blown OCD, that it is biological and a problem with their brain and the way out of it is not all easy and you many never fully over come them. Safe to say I won’t be reading any more of that!

    Thanks guys

    Tom

  481. Rich Says:

    I saw a therapist and it was the catalyst I needed to push me into action to beat my anxiety-anxiety. I saw tham for 6 sessions including 1 consult and 1 summary session, and haven’t seen them since – but regard them as one of the most influential people I’ve ever met in my life.

    I think if you see a therapist and continue to do for any prolonged amount of time, the only person who would be benefitting would be the therapist.

  482. Tom Marshall Says:

    Ey up Tom!

    Right, first off I have experienced what you are talking about, with causing other harm to people and sometimes even thoughts of a sexual nature. Yes I know how disturbing these thoughts can be, mine slipped into every part of my life, even ones about my relationship which crippled me the most. Because we have a conscious we think ‘WHAT IF I DO THAT!?’ The very fact we worry we might do it proves that we won’t in a way. Remember you are in complete control of your actions. So when these thoughts pop into your head, Let them. Its not fun at first and I know how horrible it is to just allow them when we find the thoughts completely unacceptable.

    I remember I was at work once in the office and a thought popped into my head of me getting up from my desk and slamming my bosses head into the white board for no apparent reason. So you know what I did? I got up from my desk and stood next to him, to discuss the work we had for that week with this thought constantly looping and you will never guess what happened? Absolutely nothing, this didn’t get rid of the thought, It just proved the silliness behind it and eventually they stop scaring you as much and don’t bother coming at all. But don’t be bluffed by that one either, ‘If I’m not scared of the thought does that mean I wouldn’t be bothered about doing it?’ No its the complete opposite it just means you recognise that thought as just a thought and nothing else. It really doesn’t matter how disturbing the content is. When you don’t make a problem out of it neither will your mind.

    Tom.

  483. Tom Marshall Says:

    Sophalina,

    What you’re going through is something called existential anxiety, I don’t like to put labels on things but thats pretty much what it is, first of all congratulations on the baby, I know you are full of fear right now but all I see in that post is a caring soon to be mother who is scared because you want to be in the best state for when your child gets here. So basically these thoughts of ‘How do I know this is real? Who am i? Who is my husband? What is the world why is it here? Am I going crazy? I can’t be thinking like this!’ I know how crippling thoughts like that can for the simple fact we are questioning our own existence, again this is just the mind having a little paddy and because you reacted to the thoughts and I’m presuming you’ve tried everything you can to reason with them/stop them coming. So they start to become a little story on repeat. A guy called ‘Will Beswick’ has a line in his book ‘The mind works’ that says, ‘You can’t control what comes in, but you can control what comes out’ something along those lines anyways. and that statement is so true, once a thought pops into our head, it has no intention of staying there for ever and it doesn’t define who we are, intact if we let those thoughts creep in they would soon leave and we would forget all about them, because we gave them no importance. Its all just imaginary fears we turn into problems by questioning and trying to unravel why they are there. Sometimes the best option is to live with questions unanswered, just accept the uncertainty of it all. Trust me once you do this, those silly little thoughts will soon stop holding so much power over you.

    I wish you all the best.

    Tom

  484. Bryan Says:

    Rich spoke about the thoughts coming and the panic coming as almost an instinctual response and I just wanted to say that I have never seen the choice before you laid out better than he explained.

    The intrusive thoughts I had, which were almost all harm-based and of the what-if I lose it variety, were crippling to me only a short time ago. I moved in to a house and my anxious mind latched on to one object in my house that I would never even have noticed in the past. No need to get in to details but it sent waves of fear down my spine every time I saw it or thought about it.

    It is at that time that I really took Paul’s advice to heart and realized not only why they are there but that in my current state they SHOULD be there. I no longer feared any of the physical symptoms yet still had excess anxious energy coursing through me. It only made sense that it latched on to the one thing left that still bothered me and got a reaction out of me.

    I made a decision at that point that I couldn’t stop them from coming and I couldn’t stop my inital reaction to them. But I could choose to not add second fear to it and prolong the experience, just as Rich laid out. Without fail, once I made this choice of non-doing I began to feel a weight off my shoulders. Don’t get me wrong, I still get thoughts and the anxious feelings still come… but they come with far less frequency and far less urgency.

    When you really create this attitude all the time some of the more rewarding periods of your life can come. Just a simple thing like having two days where anxiety was barely registering in my mind was a simply amazing experience. Yes, it came back but it doesn’t matter to me at this point and it came with far less intensity. I know what I’m (not) doing and where I’m going. It’s an inevitability with this attitude.

    One thing that I think is crucially important to the path of recovery is that you realize when you have days or moments of clarity it is not a fluke. It is not anxiety just choosing to leave you randomly. It is absolutely you who did it through the state of allowance and acceptance. It is so necessary to understand that even the briefest moment of clarity is progress that you made happen. This understanding is what will help spur you on moment after moment and what really helps you “get it.”

  485. Bryan Says:

    Maria,

    Great job. You give good advice in a very kind way.

  486. Maria Says:

    Hey Tom Marshall- you’re getting pretty good at this. :)

    And hey Tom D – the thing that popped out to me from your post is “these intrusive thoughts are just getting so hard to get rid of.” You know what I’m going to say here, don’t you? 😉 You need to stop trying to get rid of them. As hard as it is, just let them be there. Stop googling, stop reading a bunch of different books and basically stop fretting over the thoughts. Allow them without reacting to them. Every time you react with worry to them, you give them a little more fuel. Lots of people on this blog have had just these sorts of intrusives and as far as I know, no one has acted on them. Ever. Your anxiety is doing what it does best, it’s grabbing onto your biggest fears and taunting you with them. Nasty little buggers! Try your best to observe the thoughts without reacting to them. Try thinking, huh, there it is again, oh well. Instead of oh sh*t! There it is again, what if?????!!! Take a deep breath and just let them be.

  487. Maria Says:

    Thanks, Bryan! :)

  488. Tom Marshall Says:

    She always give nice advice does Maria, Its proper like a mum coming to comfort you after a right bad day haha! Great post!

  489. Tom Marshall Says:

    gives* you’ll have to excuse me at times, i have a tendency to write like a caveman 😉

  490. Maria Says:

    Haha! A mum, huh?! Do I sound that old? 😉 Tom M, check your FB messages, in the “other” inbox, I tried sending you a message.

  491. JoJo Says:

    Hi Tom Marshall and Anxiousness:
    I know you experienced this, so what is your advice when you can’t feel the love for your significant other? How do you get over this? How do you stop questioning it? It’s like that emotion is cut off at times. My mom will ask me well do you love him? And I can’t feel anything and then the fear kicks in. I have had months where I feel good and loving but then I never know when it will go away.
    Tom I know you said love is a choice. Did you ever wonder if you were in love versus just love. Could that be why I feel the way I do. Sorry confused today

  492. Rich Says:

    Hi All, Paul’s just published a new blog post – please direct all new comments to the new post to be sure they’re picked up and read: http://anxietynomore.co.uk/blog/2015/08/28/422/

    Bryan, Thanks for the kind words in your post above. What you describe for me nails the whole process and the attitude to take towards it. I hope you too are making progress with your own journey.

  493. Sophalina Says:

    Jo Jo, when your are anxious and depressed its very hard to feel love and trying to force a feeling and constant analysing about whether you feel it or not will only serve to contribute to a greater sense of detachment. I disagree that love is a choice, love is an emotion, there is no logic to it. Emotions are not logical, anxiety is an emotion and cant be controlled with logic otherwise people would be able to logically talk their way out of anxiety.2

  494. Bryan Says:

    Jojo, I certainly am no expert but I think a lot of what you are experiencing is similar to DP/DR. What is anxiety at its core? An overactive fight or flight response. This response is designed for survival and when the body is in this state it is only natural it would filter out all bits and pieces not designed for survival (in other words, all the fun/good stuff).

    Your lack of feeling is something I felt as well and it was one of the hardest things to accept. I initially misinterpreted it as being depressed but then came to realize it wasn’t sadness, it was just… nothing. No feeling happy, no feeling sad, no feeling love, just nothing. I would talk to my wife and feel like I had no connection to her. I would look at a beautiful sunset and everything would seem blurry.

    I have come through the fear of feeling that way and most of the feeling itself by really understanding that it was a natural reaction to my body’s fight or flight state. Why fight something that is doing exactly what it is designed to do!

    Hope that helped a little..

  495. Rich Says:

    Bryan – your words echo my thoughts on this too. It’s just your body going back to basics and concentrating on what is important for it at the moment.

    As you accept this and stop worrying about it, all the good stuff actually begins to come back to you. It’s a great feeling, and a welcome return to feelings you think you’d lost.

  496. Tom Marshall Says:

    Hey JoJo,

    I wasn’t saying love is a choice in the sense that you just have to force yourself to love somebody, Its almost like a choice of action, we choose to hold their hand, to kiss them, to tell them how much we care about them regardless of the doubt in our head. In a way we crave for certainty that this is the right person for us and there is no guarantee for that. Thats why in the end you have to take the leap of faith and say I don’t know if this is going to work but i’m gonna do it anyways!

    At the end of the day you have become so identified with this thought of ‘What if I don’t love him’ that you’re starting to believe it, You are probably cut off from your emotions right now, from all the worry stress and fear, when they are strong feelings like love and happiness don’t matter because your mind is more focused on the danger. I know its awful to have our feelings cut off just like that but we also need to realise that we aren’t supposed to feel constantly involve 24, 7 for it to be the right relationship, but obviously right now the numbness is a little heart breaking. Your mind is making an extremely big deal out of one little thought that says ‘What if this means you don’t love him’

    I’ll try and give you an example of what i’m trying to say. When someone who has an extreme passion for something they do and love, they don’t just have a constant burning fire to do it all the time, these people will have days when they don’t feel like getting up and doing that thing. They know that deep down this is what they love doing, so one little lousy thought or feeling isn’t going to stop them from doing it.

    You clearly care about this man more than you think you do, I can guarantee you wouldn’t be questioning it as much as you are. Also Paul has a part in the book which sums it all up perfectly,

    Maria! I wasn’t calling you old! Jesus I need to watch my words! haha I’ve noticed but it just comes up as ‘Facebook user’ So i can’t reply back to it….

  497. Tom Marshall Says:

    Bryn you got that right on the head mate!

  498. Tom Marshall Says:

    Bryan, you hit the nail right on the head there pal!

  499. Tom Marshall Says:

    Hahahaha, I didn’t mean to post that twice, guess I couldn’t make up my mind how I wanted to write it, ahhh dear you have to have a laugh at yourself sometimes

  500. Steve Says:

    Bryan. In reference to your above post dated Aug. 28, you said when you have an intrusive thought you choose not to add second fear to it. Is that second fear an intrusive thought too that you are pushing away instead of just letting it be? Lets say you have the thought ” I am never going to get better” Should you just let that thought be or choose not to think it?

  501. Bryan Says:

    Steve, I would never not try to think something. Cardinal rule number one. You won’t be able to not think it that way!

    What I mean is that allow the thought to be there however long it wants to be. Even now I still get that “rush of blood” feeling when one pops in (I’m a ways from truly recovered still but that’s OK) and that is simply because my brain still falsely interprets it as danger subconsioucsly. Of course it isn’t fun and doesn’t feel good still. Hwever, I do realize that if I don’t add anything to it eventually my brain will stop interpreting thoughts as danger just like it does for any non-sensitized person.

    After that inital panicky thought and instinctual reaction you have a choice whether to believe it or to accept that it is simply an anxiety trick. This is where the magic happens. I’m to the point where while it still feels awful to have these intrusive thoughts, I actually welcome them. How else can my brain learn there is no actual danger than have the thoughts and see me not going crazy trying to figure them out?

    Trust me, I read all of the same stuff I am saying and it seemed almost hard to believe that it was possible to be able to do that. But it does get easier over time. I was at a point where I would have one thought and would wrangle with it for hours or days even not too long ago. Now I get them occasionally (today is actually a worse day for me but I think you call from my tone that it is what it is… I can’t control it) and I get the energy release and that’s it. They mostly go away within minutes.

  502. Bryan Says:

    One more thing I wanted to add is to be sure to not get frustrated or upset with yourself when you do get involved with a thought. I don’t care what stage of recovery you are in, it happens. Just 90 minutes ago I walked across the street to lunch and I had an intrusive thought based on something I read on this blog that I got too involved with. I spent 20 minutes wondering about it instead of just living my life. I realized it after a time and got back on with my day.

    And I also need to take some of my own advice and do something I feel is VERY important to get over that last hump. Take a step back from anxiety in general. I have a bad habit of using this site and Paul’s book as a crutch. One that, at this stage of my recovery, I probably don’t need and is doing more harm than good by reminding my brain that I have anxiety!

    I hope I helped a bit!

  503. Steve Says:

    Thanks Bryan for responding to my post. I understand a lot of what you are saying and I’m going to try to apply these principals.

  504. Bryan Says:

    Uh oh. Looks like we have a new Bryan, also with a Y as luck would have it.

  505. Bryan Says:

    And for reference of people like Steve I may have interacted with in the past, my last post was my compliment to Maria above. Anything between that and this last post is a new Bryan, not me. Too bad the system allows for exact duplicate names to be created.

  506. Maria Says:

    Bryan (the Bryan that’s not new :) ) Maybe you could add something to your name next time you post. Like “The Original Bryan” :) Just a thought as this will get pretty confusing!

  507. Maria Says:

    Rich,

    I want to pose a suggestion to you as I know you’re the new moderator here. I think the blog would be so much easier to follow if there was a small change in the format allowing people to comment directly under a particular post. It gets a bit confusing trying to scroll around looking for whatever post someone is referring to. It should be a pretty easy thing to change for whoever designed and maintains the blog. Could you perhaps suggest this to the powers that be?

  508. JoJo Says:

    Tom Marshall,
    Thank you for your great help and advice. I guess I’m not realizing that I’m believing a false thought and therefore acting on that. It’s just hard when this morning I was facetiming my husband with my daughter and when I am looking at him I’m always analyzing how do I feel about this person in this exact moment. It ruins it if your always monitoring how you feel. The part that gets me worked up is I’m looking at him and feeling negatively or not good about it and I don’t know why. How do I work through that part? Do you think me believing it’s the relationship makes me look at him negatively? I hope this was not confusing.

  509. Sophalina Says:

    Hi Tom M, thankyou so much for replying to my post, your words make a lot of sense. Xx

  510. Tom Marshall Says:

    Hi Jojo!

    I completely understand what you are talking about, I know how confusing it may seem when negative thoughts/feelings come up towards your husband, because we thens say to ourselves ‘Hey wait I don’t want to think like that about them! Thats completely unacceptable!’ and by this point we make have already made a big deal out of it, so our natural instinct says ‘I need to fix this!’ ‘What do I do again, how do i work through this?’ The minds our best problem solver so its no wonder when we react to this in such a way do we feel such a strong urge to fix it all. This is where we need to teach the mind that there isn’t a problem and its 100% ok to have negative thoughts, it does not mean there is a problem in our relationships. Like I’ve said before, were bombarded daily with the idea that in order to be happy in life, there is no room for negative thoughts and feelings and if we are in a relationship then it has to be 100% perfect with no doubts or it isn’t love. Its a completely false message to be putting out to people.

    Me and my girlfriend are long distance from UK to USA, so we Skype quite often, there has been plenty of times where I’ve filled myself up with guilt and shame over the negative thoughts and feelings. If we Skype now and they come up, then so what? I try not to make such a big deal out of it, Instead I just carry on talking to her like I would if they weren’t there. They will leave when they want.

    I hope this helped :)

  511. Tom Marshall Says:

    Sophalina,

    I’m glad I could help :) Remember we are all here for each other on this blog. You don’t have to suffer in silence.

  512. Melissa Says:

    Hey everyone,

    Been having a really rough few days. I had two job interviews ( on Thursday and one friday). Good news, I got the job I interviewed for on Thursday. I was so happy….and then the anxiety started. I woke up at 5 am with constant thoughts and what ifs. A few examples: ‘ what if I am so bad at the new job’, ‘what if anxiety takes over and I cannot function’, ‘what if my current boss is mad that I am leaving?’ And so on and so on.

    Since the. I have been so anxious and I haven’t been able to sleep much. Today I had so much DP because of fatigue that I could barely get a thought out.

    I haven’t been happy in my current job for over a year (been there for 5 and a half years), I should be happy to be leaving but instead I am petrified. They say the devil you know is better than the one you dont.

    I need help, positivity, something! I am so tired and weepy I’m having a hard time.

    Thanks again,
    Melissa

  513. Tom Marshall Says:

    Hi Melissa,

    First of all, congratulations!

    I got made redundant about a month ago and last week I had an interview for a job, the second I got off the phone after been asked to come in, my mind had the usual ‘What if I stumble on my words? What if I mess it up? What if I can’t answer the questions properly?’ and so on. I expected those thoughts to come, people without anxiety have those same thoughts, but I let them come and said ‘so what? I’m going to this interview regardless, What will be will be’ I didn’t try to consciously force positive thoughts or change what I was thinking. I still felt anxious about it all but I didn’t care.

    The interview was absolutely fantastic, Nothing what my mind had worried about happened and funnily enough I got the job. The same sort of thoughts popped up when I received that phone call ‘What If I’m not good at this? What if I mess up?
    Well I’ll just have to wait and see, If I sit here and try to think of ways to be 100% perfect at it then I’ll drive myself crazy, Sure I could research the job title and get some information to help me, But In the end all I can do is turn up to that job and do it to the best of my ability. If It doesn’t work out then its time to move onto something else, Yeah I would probably be a little sad but there is nothing stopping me from moving on after that. You will soon realise that when you stop giving so much importance to your negative thoughts, Positive ones will follow without you asking for them.

    Whats Important is that you don’t create a barrier from an illness that is trying to protect you from imaginary fears. If anxiety and DP are present while your working, then so be it, You work to the best of your ability, I know it can be hard to focus and concentrate. But there is one thing it can not stop you from doing and that is living your life. Also you would be surprised at how understanding some work places can be, I’m sure if you explained your situation they would help you through it.

    Good luck! 😀

    Tom.

  514. JoJo Says:

    Hi Tom,
    What do I do when I’m trying to ask myself if I love my husband and I can’t seem to feel it or know it. If I keep believing my thoughts and mind how will I ever recover? With health anxiety you can get checked out and know your ok. But there is no love test so this fear can just go on and on. I know I don’t want to feel this way or think this way. My current therapist said if the facts don’t match the thoughts or feelings go with the facts until the feelings match up.
    It is so weird cause this was gone about my relationship for over two months and was focused on my mood and being down and how to get out of this hell hole. Now that is gone and back on the relationship subject. You would think I would be smart enough to see life and issues don’t change month to month and see the lie but instead I fall each time. I just want to scream at it and say I love my husband screw off but I can’t even do that bc I don’t feel strong enough in my belief about that. Any advice as always.

  515. Bryan (new one) Says:

    JoJo, anxiety is a weird thing. It will pick and choose to latch on to the issue of the moment. You say that it latched on to your mood before and now it is on to your relationships. That is the nature of the beast.

    I can’t tell you everything the last year what mine has latched on to. It started with numbness in my wrist then moved to health anxiety, then to dizziness, then to intrusive thoughts, then to DP/DR, then back to intrusive thoughts, then to worrying about getting depressed and so on and so on. That is why Paul stresses so much to just accept that all of it is anxiety in one form or another. It’s so important to understand that.

    When I would feel nothing towards my wife or family at my worst I thought about it all the time. But the reality is that I had such severe DP/DR I had zero feelings towars ANYTHING. Happy, sad, angry, etc. I just had no feelings. It’s only natural in this state that you would dwell on your feelings towards what you actually hold most important.

    The very fact that your feelings towards your husband worry you so much shows, at least to me, that you really do care deeply about him. If you really didn’t love him why would these worries scare you?

    I know it’s a very hard thing to grasp when in the anxious state but please believe that it is anxiety and accept that you are not going to feel the same emotions that you do when you’re healthy. Anxiety is designed that way. With patience and understanding those feelings will come back to you.

  516. Tom Marshall Says:

    Hey Jojo,

    I can see how distressed you are right now and trust me I have been there, I’m not recovered yet so I still get there sometimes. I’m going to post a page from Paul’s new book which had a massive impact on me.

    ‘Someone recently contacted me because he was having thoughts about no longer loving his wife and these thoughts really bothered him. He said he was sure he loved her, but maybe he should leave her and finished the conversation off with “I really don’t know why I think this way because deep down I’m sure I do love her”. I said “That final statement should tell you everything you need to know. And that is that your thinking is not you. Who is that person questioning why you think this way? That illustrates the fact that your thinking is separate from you. It is something that happens within you, but it’s not you. So you are the one who can decide to take these thoughts seriously or not. You can decide whether or not to follow your dysfunctional thinking and let it control you or you can smile at it and take your own path”.

    He sent me an email later and said he was no longer identifying with his thoughts. He could see the lie behind them now. He could not understand why there had been such a shift in his thinking. The same thought came up, yet it seemed so silly now and he realised he loved his wife more than anything. He said “I can’t believe a thought made me question leaving her and you’re right, I did have a choice to take my thinking seriously or not. Before I just saw it as the truth, but it seems obvious to me now that thoughts are not reality and they are just something that pop up; only we can make them appear real. As you mentioned in a previous session, I was stressed at the time, my mood was low and so was my thinking. I was blaming my wife for my misery when it had nothing to do with her. When our mood is low, so is our thinking, and when it is high, the opposite is true, yet nothing in the outside world ever changes. Just seeing this has helped me to no longer take my thoughts seriously -thank you”. So remember: Thinking is not the problem; you can think whatever you wish. It is identifying with your thoughts and seeing them as fact, which causes suffering.’

    Please remember to not put a time limit on this as well JoJo, take it one day at a time.

    Tom

  517. JoJo Says:

    Hi Tom:
    I read this in the new book too. But of course anxiety always tries to find a way to prove itself to you and my mind says see this guy says he knows he loves her deep down. Where I have trouble knowing or saying or believing that.

  518. JoJo Says:

    Hi Bryan:
    Thank you for your email. It’s just hard cause I do feel love for my daughter and family. I just obsess and question what is love versus in love and maybe I’m not in love which is why my thoughts question the relationship and leave me feeling this way. Very confused

  519. Ryan C Says:

    Hi everyone, I have been a silent reader of this blog for a long time, I aslo have posted a few times. I have a simple question. When I was 20 I started lifting weights and martial arts, I then succumbed to anxiety and depersonalisation and my own hellish journey has lasted for ten years without any answers until I finally found Paul’s book a whilst back. Since then ive taken every setback on the chin, had the worst days and symptoms like everyone. Aside from the fact I was obsessed with trying to rid myself of these symptoms everyday and trying to figure out what was wrong with me like everyone until they found their answers, the only thing I had left was my training. I always keep it up, but finally after ten years and trying my own personal remedys to fix myself I ended up making my self way worse and I had another nervous breakdown on top of my existing anxiety and sent myself into the deepest abyss I think even possible. That’s when I found Paul’s book, unfortunately it was then I realised unknowingly I had actually came so so far before I made myself so much worse. After I did so, and before I found the book I spent 5 months in total despair again, and finally I found the book and started healing :) my simple question to Nolan or paul is this: I love the gym, even through my worst days I still kept training and I competed as a natural bodybuider and came 2nd in Scotland 5 times. I even started boxing and loved that too despite my dire situations the fire in my heart never stopped me but this was my greatest tool to fight my symptoms. Of course it kept me in the loop along with my never satisfied mental state of never knowing what was wrong with me. However, after I had my second breakdown, found Paul’s book and have cam so so far, my beloved training seems out of reach. Everytime i lift weights or go for a run or shadow box or skip or anything I feel hurrendous the next day like I have crushed myself, I feel broken and defeated, I feel more anxious than ever full of adrenaline, ive even halfed the weights I can lift and I still feel dreadful. Of course, I just get along with this and my training is something I now very rarely do but whenever I do it always makes me feel so bad even putting me into setbacks for days. The strange thing is, even through those ten awful years before I had the second breakdown I never felt this way after the gym? Like I’m literally exhausted if I run even a mile! Is this just another thing to care less about? Should I go and deal with how I feel after anyway and just keep pushing on? I’m not using exercise to rid myself of how I feel but I certanly don’t want to pointlessly increase my suffering because my body is not in a strong enough state to handle the gym. Paul mentions in his new book about techniques etc not being correct as they already add to a body and mind which is tired from effort, I agree, is my training an unnecessary effort that I need to give my body a break from until I recover? To throw a spanner into the works when I do eventually overcome the feelings I experience from my training each time, I come out stronger and further ahead. I just am a bit disheartened that it takes so much out of me when I used to always be able to do it. Any suggestions? Thanks.

  520. Sue Says:

    Hi Bryan,

    I can relate to your post dated the 28th August when you mentioned you had moved house and latched on to things in that house through your anxiety.
    I too moved house while I was in an anxious state and have had a lot of intrusive thoughts about the house and where it is. My latest one is about the neighbours who I do not even know. All negative and nasty thoughts. I know it is all stupid thinking but somehow I cannot seem to let them go. I can go out all day and think nothing about the house. Then when I am going home the intrusives come in again about the house and the neighbours. Of an evening I relax and do not bother. it just seems it comes up when it wants to. I can forget it for a few days then one day get up and its there again. Then I question do I like the house, do I want to move and I will go crackers if I stay and it all causes more anxiety I think. How did you accept it all.

  521. Bryan Says:

    Ryan,

    I can definitely relate to you here. One of the things I have learned over the past few years is that while we don’t want to avoid things out of fear, at a certain point it is logical to implement common sense. Like you, I trained very hard before I had my stress breakdown. After that set in, I found that I was just not able to push myself as hard as I did before, otherwise I would spend days or weeks paying for it.

    So, I made the logical decision to allow my body some time to recover. However, I never stopped moving, I would start with just walking, then adding light weights, then in some jogging. Lately, I have been able to add in more weights and my body is starting to come back to what it was before. It is a slow process and I can still set myself back at times, but I am feeling it out and just using common sense.

    Paul is a master of the mindset that we have to implement with this condition, but I do believe creating space for our bodies to recover is the flipside of that coin. It’s the old analogy about running on a broken leg, you can do it just to prove you can do it and that you aren’t scared but you’re not going to help the thing heal any faster. ( Paul does a horse recommend common sense and all of his writing.)

    But I think for some of us, this sets in physically and affects the nervous system in a way that it may not for others. And if that is the case, we need to bring ourselves along at a pace that makes sense and your body usually pretty clearly lets you know what that is. Distinction has to be made, we are avoiding strenuous workouts because we are afraid, we are avoiding them temporarily because our body is in the process of desensitizing. Each of us can feel out what that means exactly. Paul talked about jogging helping him at the peak of his condition. If I would jog or work out heavy at the pick up my condition a few years ago, several days later I would pay a massive price for it.

    So it’s Okay, and while perhaps a bummer, we can recognize what our body is telling us and implement a plan to bring it back to normalcy.

  522. Bryan Says:

    Oh and this is original Bryan, Ryan.

  523. Jennifer Says:

    Hi,

    I found this blog through search and just thought I’d leave a comment, I’ve never done anything like this before. I have always been quite anxious since a young child and always found a way to get over it. When I was 18 and went to uni it was like I completly overcame everything and was the most confident happy person. I am now 22 and have been travelling for the last 3 months and had the time of my life. Coming back home I have felt unwell and felt dizzy, heavy head and eyes and no appetite i went to the docs and he put it down to vertigo or something similar. I have been obsessively anxious since and wake up each morning with dread and sometimes wanting to cry and I have no idea why. I feel anxious to do anything even to go to a friends house which is just ridiculous, I start to feel panicked in social situations and its making me so so down. I have always had slight pangs of anxiety and similar symptoms but never this bad. I am going to go back to the docs but I just feel rubbish from the moment I wake up.

    I just want to be back to my normal self again, which 2 weeks ago was happy and up for anything.

    Jennifer

  524. Sue Says:

    IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG WITH WEBB SITE CANNOT SEEM TO GET MY QUESTIONS ON WHEN SUBMIT AFTER CAPTCHA CODE

  525. Anxious Indian Says:

    Hi Elaine,

    I am sorry, I saw your question to me really late.

    If you find yourself heaving when outdoors, as you said you know it is not necessary. So why do you think this is happening? Because some part of our mind has convinced itself that we are in danger. You should treat that part of your mind like a frightened baby. Take a deep breath, smile at the heaving, smile at the absurdity of it all and continue your task as best as possible.

    Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

    Instead see this as a perfect opportunity to teach your mind to not be frightened. This is a great OPPORTUNITY to retrain your brain to not react with fear in harmless circumstances. Be grateful for the opportunity and use it to your best. And the more you do this, you will realise you can go about everywhere without this heaving happening after a few rounds of practice.

    Hope this helps!

    P.S. I am planning to take a break from this blog, so in future if you want any help from me, I can share my email with you. Do let me know. All the best!

    IMPORTANT TIP: All symptoms of anxiety are self created habits, never fear them. Smile at them, and live your life as if they don’t exist. Easier said than done I know, but it is the truth, and will come naturally after a while with practice :)

  526. Shelby Says:

    Hi I just started reading your new book. My anxiety comes and goes. I can go for months and feel great and then it hits me again like the first time over again. My question to your advice on thoughts. It says to not pay attention to my thoughts. I can’t remember how you worded it but something in that sense. It kinda started freaking me out a little. I started questioning , well what about the good thoughts ? Do I disregard those ? I mean we have to pay attention to our thoughts to some extent or how would we function. Am I taking it too literally?

  527. David h Says:

    Hi Paul. How is this book different to the last. It was my bible for many years. I’ve suffered too much for 20 odd years. I’ve been to the docs for meds as it was too much. I’ve had counselling, CBT, anxiety management and mindfulness. I feel like I could never properly recover. I will buy your book as I understood the 1st one. It made complete sense but I really didn’t manage to put it into practice. I only found out about the new book as i was looking to recommend the old one to somebody else. Thanks for all your hard work and I look forward to reading it.

  528. Wendy Says:

    Hi Paul,Just finished reading “At Last a Life”.
    I found it very helpful to me at this time because I am going through a bout of anxiety and I’m also an OCD sufferer(thoughts)
    I started to feel better as soon as I had read the first few pages.It was strange,but all through the book I noticed things that were a lot like me and I get it.
    I am putting it all into practice and I will be buying your 2nd book.
    Thank you Paul!

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