Give up the struggle with anxiety

It’s not your thoughts or emotions that keep you stuck and keep you suffering, it’s your constant struggle, constant searching to get rid of them that does. If your open to anything there is no struggle. Less struggle = Less suffering, Less struggle = Thoughts and emotions change naturally. You can’t force or create a particular state through struggle or personal will, this just creates more of what you are trying to get rid of.

 
Be open to any state

 
My own recovery came when I saw enough to give up this fight to control and change how I felt, the same thoughts and feelings were there for a while, but I lost interest in them, without my interest, without the constant fighting, the constant struggle I started to feel some peace and I came out of these thoughts and emotions far quicker, they felt lighter, less serious, had less impact.

 
If a person was able to no longer fear any state they were in then recovery is inevitable. It is your fear of the state you are in, the story you put around it, the constant struggle. So much suffering is self created through lack of understanding, yet we think it is an outside force doing this to us, it is not. So let go and have trust that your mind and body knows how to heal itself without your constant attempts at manipulation.

 
Someone put this as a reply to this message on my twitter account which is so true.
“Imagine a world where we witness thoughts without becoming them & experience feelings without being overwhelmed by them.”

Paul

For more information about my book ‘At last a life’ visit www.anxietynomore.co.uk/the_book.html

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For more help with anxiety visit www.anxietynomore.co.uk

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874 Responses to “Give up the struggle with anxiety”

  1. Eliza Says:

    “Fear of the state you are in” is a phrase used in the book “Hope and Help for Your Nerves” by the late Dr. Claire Weekes. She helped so many people and continues to do so today through her CD’s and books. For those who have never heard of her it’s great to have someone else coming up with the same philosophies and helping so many more people who are suffering.

  2. Natalie Says:

    Hi Paul.
    I appear to not be able to post comments on your Official Facebook page – do you know why?
    Warmest
    Natalie

  3. Natalie Says:

    I would very much like to be a part of the Community to help overcome my chronic anxiety and panic. I’m 5 pages away from finishing your book.
    Warmest

  4. Chris Says:

    Thanks for the post Paul. I’m just wondering if this advice can be applied to specific fears as well? I’m sure alot of us have them, and I won’t go into great detail about mine, as I’ve already gone through it in the last post, but I will say that my suffering started the same way yours did – and this is my fear. Unfortunately I did alot of research on dr google/forums when this first came on, and even a few months ago (I’ve stopped now though), which reinforced the whole thing tenfold. Now I have this fear that my natural default setting is ‘broken’ as a result, and I won’t be able to recover (I also read that it potentially can get worse with time and can lead to depression, this thought really trips me up and I picture myself on a downward spiral). It feeds the anxiety big time and has manifested into obsessive thoughts, replaying all the scary stuff I read.

    I’m not really looking for any reassurance, more advice… Can I simply apply your advice to this hurdle I’m facing and recover with these fears? Claire Weekes mentions glimpsing or getting another point of view, but maybe it’s better to take a simple approach and just ‘do nothing?’

    No worries if you’re super busy as I know you get flooded with questions, but just thought I’d ask! Thanks.

  5. Rich Says:

    Chris of course this advice can be applied to specific fears. As mentioned on here many times, your specific symptoms do not matter at all.

    Thinking your different or worse than others or beyond hope is one of the standard tricks it plays on you. This is never the case.

    Be wary of reading anything. You’re hyper-alert, hyper-sensitive. Go easy on yourself and don’t burden yourself with any more fears than you have to.

  6. Sara Says:

    Hi all,

    I know i promised to write with a more positive note, but unfortuantly no progress:

    I’m experiencing “akasthia”, and very very deep disconnection, sort of dissociation. My thoughts are not clear and i cannot really get a grip.

    I’ve lost interest in so many things because everythign gives me a panic attack. My thining is slow and I cannot concentrate, nothing sinks in.

    Just when i try to bring my mood up and say “its just a phase” i get really tense.

    What a rut I’m in, I’m scared for my baby (13 weeks pregnant) as I’m not eating

    Doctor just wants to shove meds on me and refuses to start therapy without.

    I’m far from my family, getting worse by the day.

    I cannot begin to explain how awful my anxiety is and how bad a place i’m in right now. i really want my life back….but i can see it drifting from me.

    I know most of this is due to my new life situation: moved home and awful new job (can you beleive nobody really talks to me and I have a 10 hour shift without actually having work??? ALL DAY)

  7. Colin Says:

    Try mind pilot Susan ? Great app !!!

  8. Michelle Brown Says:

    Thank you for the post, Paul. I have given up the struggle with most of my symptoms, and it’s true, it makes it so much easier.

    Been trying lately to treat my insomnia the same way, as just another symptom of anxiety and if I stop struggling, my sleep will return. So far it’s persistent though (no more then 3 hours of sleep per night for 3 months), so I find I’m getting discouraged, thinking that the insomnia is something beyond the anxiety, like it is its own separate dysfunction.

  9. Rik Says:

    Good post Paul. I am accepting every facet of my anxiety now and sticking to the knowledge that once my sensitisation begins to leave me so too will the fears and thoughts and emotions. As i accept my thoughts as just thoughts things get easier. Not easy but easier. I know that if I stick to acceptance and letting time pass as it needs to that my mind and body will find peace again. I have had this recovery twice over the years and there is nothing sweeter than the other side of the suffering. The true appreciation of life and all it holds. It is waiting for all of us if we can just step out of the way and let our minds find their way back.

  10. ken Says:

    Can somebody answer this question im in a really terrible situation and very conflicted about things. But my question is vague but are “should have thoughts ruminations” or negative thought to let go. It would be nice to know. Because i have acidentally pushed my girfriend away and i have all these thoughts like i “i should have said this and i “should have done that” is it me ruminating or negative thoughts. It has gotten really bad since coming off of benzos thank you

  11. Rachael Says:

    I’ve spent the last year overcoming my anxiety and whilst I still struggle I feel I’m much better, However over Christmas I felt a little stressed, lonely and therefore felt myself becoming down.
    I’m now in a set back! I’ve become so fearful of becoming depressed that I feel I have made it happen, I’m now not wanting to meet with people in case I cry or have a panic attack….. my world is becoming smaller.
    I’ve now realised I’m avoiding lots of situations in case I panic or feel distressed!
    I’m sick of talking about it, reading about it and feeling it….I just want to feel ‘normal’.
    Can I do this by not giving my feelings thought, getting out, keeping busy or do I need meds? ( which terrify me)
    Will I get better or will this keep happening?

  12. Rich Says:

    Sara, You need to take control of your situation. Sounds like you have lots of time to think and worry in your job and life. Think what you can do in this time that is perhaps more positive and beneficial to you rather than think negatively. Eat little and often – nibble and graze if needs me. It will come back.

    Rachael, Can you do this by not thinking and questionning? What do you think based on the posts on this blog and the huge amount of advice available on here? Of course! To doubt is all part of the smoke and mirrors.

    Ken, Your questions are completely normal. Who cares if it’s ruminating or negative thoughts? Don’t worry about thinking this or that – it’s how you respond to it that’s important – and the trick is not to worry either way.

  13. Sara Says:

    Rich trust me i’m veeery disconnected, not even to say things to myself that i can believe. I’m trying to meditate to take things off my mind. And as i said positive thoughts are just not coming, not even if i really try, i can’t imagine them.

    My midwife is saying that I’m going through postnatal depression and need to take SSRIs as i have lost complete interest in everything.

    After stopping the meds cold turkey 7 weeks ago this has come as a shock and I’m unsure what to do

    I don’t know where your advice would be on this one

  14. Rik Says:

    I feel very similar to you Sara. I started off with anxiety in December but then had a scary depressive thought and began to become afraid of depression and now it is the kind of thought that pops into my head an awful lot. I have had a bit of improvement over the last week or so by just not reacting as much when the thoughts come. I too feel very disconnected and not at all myself. I know rationally I don’t care about these thoughts but my mind makes them feel so important and just keeps them coming and with them comes a drop in mood but I am working on that. I am working on changing my attitude to them but it does take a while for this to work. They are certainly less important than they were at first so I think that with time and persistence I can get through this and as my anxiety levels drop it will become easier.

    If you stopped meds cold turkey that could certainly explain what you are experiencing. You should always taper off them as otherwise you are abruptly withdrawing something which your brain was using and it did not get chance to adjust back to life without them.

    Just fyi stress, anxiety or depression can all cause a loss of interest. I have it right now but have had one or two windows in this in the evenings this last week which tends to coincide with when my anxiety level drops right down. When you are very anxious you just dont feel like doing anything. It is normal and to be expected. You will get through it I am sure. Just work on remembering that they are only thoughts and feelings and you can begin to work on the choice to let them affect you so much.

    If you need to go back on the meds for a while and then taper off again to let your brain adjust back then that is ok.

  15. Rachael Says:

    I guess I’m just struggling to see through the fog. The information on here is amazing and so reassuring. Anxiety is awful as we all know but with the help of this sight is becoming manageable, its just the down side I’m struggling with that’s all, I feel similar to Rik I think. I feel that is hindering my recovery right now, but I know I can and will crack it as we all will, it just takes time!

  16. Sara Says:

    Hey Riki,

    You seem like you have the attitude right and I think that’s essential :) It sounds to me like you are making progress and that’s really great to hear just thinking “Its just anxiety” is KEY and that’s wonderful though you may not see it. I hope that in a few weeks you’ll be out of this rut and feel less depressed.
    Read Claire Weeks on “depletion” it really makes the word “depression” less scary :)

    I can’t think clearly and am completly confused and disconnected from everything, I can’t just say to myself this is anxiety and beleive it: I’m in a weird place right now. Hard to explain, like DP but 1000* worse in a way.

    Yes cold turkey was probably not a good idea but that was my doctor’s decision! As taking AD during the 1st is high risk.

    I WISH THAT WE CAN ALL GET THROUGH THIS and that 2016 will be a promising year for us all.

  17. Rik Says:

    Hi Sara,

    Yes I have found Claire Weekes explanation extremely good and it gave the whole thing a new light for me. Not to say it is any easier but at least I have that hope that what has happened can be undone using acceptance and allowing time to pass. I read her book More Help For Your Nerves a few days ago and it seemed to change my outlook completely. I still get a lot of intrusive negative thoughts but I am able to see that a lot of this is habit brought on by the fear of it and focusing on it in the earlier days. I have allowed it to grow far beyond what it started as by being so scared of it and doing all the wrong things such as researching etc. I have now stopped all researching and am just letting things be as much as I am able. I know I will come out of this eventually. It is just a matter of time.

    DP is awful. I seem to have it a hell of a lot and that is what seems to allow the depressive thoughts to have such an impact. Because I feel disconnected from myself and the things I used to enjoy I have very little to counter the depressing thoughts with. I dont even try to now though and just let them pop in and then go again and remember that this is only temporary. Not an easy task but I think I am getting better at it.

    Dont worry if you cannot believe that right now. At the moment your fear and confusion is over riding the rational bit of your mind and it takes much longer for a belief to sink in. Just keep at it. I have been working at it for a few days and am slowly taking it on board. Just remember not to argue with the thoughts or resist the feelings. Let them come and go and that is what they will do.

  18. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Sara, first just take a deep breath :) You are OK. Your body is going through a lot of changes right now growing a baby, so be kind to yourself. It does sound like you may be experiencing some prenatal anxiety/depression – but guess what? That is OK. Many women go through it. I know I did. It might feel terrible and awful, but there is nothing wrong with you.

    Perhaps you can ask yourself if there are particular things you’re anxious about. Are you worried about being a mom? How you’re going to take care of a baby? There might be some things you can starting formulating a plan for that will ease your anxiety. I highly recommend getting a support system together. You’re going to need it after the baby is born!

    Also take some time to relax. Maybe take a bath. A walk. Whatever it is that you enjoy. Like I said, be kind to yourself. I know you feel like you’re confused and disconnected, but I can tell by reading your posts that you’re really not. You are probably just overwhelmed at that moment. Again, that is OK. It’s not wrong or bad to feel that way. Figure out what it is that’s overwhelming you and do what you can about it. You won’t feel the way you do right now forever.

  19. Sara Says:

    What’s overwhelming me: living in this country without my family and hardly any human contact what so ever.

    I’ve never experienced anxiety this bad and I can’t really talk myself through this and just beleive “its’s just anxiety or any othr thought”…..i don’t know if that makes sense

    The fact that i am truly depressed as i have now lost all interest in things and all i see is doom all day. I don’t feel myself, very dissociated really

    May i ask, how did you handle your depression during pregnancy? Did you take medication?

  20. Jen Says:

    I have been doing really good things where getting so much better. Something set my anxiety off again which I have been worrying so much lately. I just am tired of feeling like this and going through this. Will this ever end? I just need some words of encouragement now. If anyone has any that would be great. How did people that recovered or nearly recovered get over this blah numb feeling. Maybe im in a set back or something. I don’t know I feel off everyday not like my old self and I just want my life back. Sorry for the rant.

  21. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Sara, I didn’t handle it well. I didn’t understand what was happening to me, so I kept it to myself. But inside I thought I was going crazy. I never took any medication until six months after my daughter was born, when I developed post-partum depression. But the medication didn’t help at all (in fact, it only made me feel worse). What did help was getting sleep, help with the baby, simplifying my life, and TIME. That’s why I suggested getting a support system together. Figure out what you need. Formulate a plan. I imagine with how you’re feeling right now that the thought of preparing for a baby seems impossible. I remember every little task used to feel overwhelming. So get help. Is there some kind of mom group you can join? See what resources are available to you.

    But most of all, try not to let how you’re feeling now cloud your entire life. Do what you need to do, not based on how you’re feeling, but because it’s what needs to be done. Right now you might think you can’t do that. With practice and time, though, you’ll learn to be/do in the midst of your raging thoughts/feelings. You don’t need to talk yourself through anything or convince yourself it’s just anxiety. You just need to keep living your life.

    Try taking the focus off of yourself and onto your baby. Eat not because you feel hungry but because your baby needs you to. Etc.

  22. elena Says:

    can someone please help me
    I’m 19 I have suffered with anxiety since I was young
    It started with bad thoughts with help with the book
    I have seemed to have controlled them.
    A couple of months ago I went through a pretty traumatic month
    And now my anxiety has put me in this new low that I feel like i can’t get out of
    I can’t eat anything without It coming back up and I already skinny so my mum is so worried threatening to take me to a hospital but I feel so bad and never hungry and I won’t eat. I can’t even be around my bf without feeling anxious I just want to stay in bed.
    I feel like my only option is medication and I feel so down please help!
    I feel like I will never come out of this it was so hard to even eat a banana and when I go to work my mind is racing and I’m shaking I feel like medication is my only option I don’t want a eating disorder I feel like just checking myself into a hospital.

  23. Sam T Says:

    Hi there, I’d really appreciate some help with my miss understanding. When I’m calm I understand that by allowing my anxiety to be with me no matter what without any resistance is the key to recovery because my worrying and stressing is what is ultimately keeping me in the circle of anxiety. When at certain levels of anxiety I know this.

    But sometimes my mind is completely over run with anxiety bursts and I start to try and think my way back to this clear understanding which I have when I’m calm. So ultimately I’m fighting the anxiety by trying to get back to a calm frame of mind. But if I cant seem to think straight when I’m anxious and it takes me away with it how do I accept this state?

  24. Chris Says:

    Thanks for the reply Rich.

    I tried to let the thoughts be there today without react to some success, however I ended up ruminating over them and my mind decided to come up with some other scenarios and I felt quite detached/depressed as a result.

    Just a question. I happened to read a reply to a comment from Paul on his Facebook page today saying that we need to lose the fear of the state we are in in order to start recovering, and we are only truly accepting when we aren’t feeling so terrified. Well because my fear is based around this particular thing, (it’s basically to do with past recreational drug use from years ago, and the fear that I have brain damage and this is why I feel the way I do) do I simply just need to stop fearing that? Should I just completely ignore it and not put any energy into it whatsoever? My only symptoms are churning stomach, nervous energy through my body – mainly in the mornings, and symptoms of an emotional nature (fear, low moods, strong negative emotions etc). I wonder if it is possible to just suddenly not fear it anymore…

    Sorry just a bit confused and need clarification! I’ve struggled with this one for a while now. I guess I’m also asking because, if I can’t lose my fear of it, then I’ll never be able to accept. Thanks!

  25. Rich Says:

    To everyone with questions about what to do or how to handle something, or to people who don’t know why things aren’t getting better or easier despite your best efforts – please read Paul’s blog post a the top of this page. Especially the first paragraph.

  26. Rich Says:

    Chris you’re way too caught up in the details – Stop questionning and just leave the puzzle unsolved. Your symptoms sound like mine – but what they are isn’t important.

    It’s been said on here countless times (you’ve probably read the posts yourself) but to step back and just allow whatever to come into your mind, feel how you feel, is the thing to do. You won’t feel better – fear is fear. There is no Disney Fear where it’s all soft and cuddly – it’s crap, and will always be. But in not being bothered by it, you’re not fuelling it and making it worse. Then it will subside.

    Anything anyoned does to reduce the fear, remove the symptoms or speed up the process – no matter how good your intentions are, will just make it worse and for longer.

    You have to tolerate fear and anxiety in your life – learn to live with it and alongside it. This is a process of forming an amicable arrangement to allow it to exist in your life without you trying to remove it. In time, you’ll tolerate it and not be bothered by it so much. It is a long, gradual process.

  27. Matt Says:

    Nolan,

    Did you ever try to actually INCREASE the thoughts/feelings you had? Like, running towards them vs. running away from them? I’ve read about some people doing that in order to help develop acceptance of the feelings, since you can’t be afraid if you’re trying to encourage the thing you fear to come out. Anyway, I just thought it was interesting, and was wondering what you’re thoughts were!

  28. Colin Says:

    Elena
    Please don’t try to fight the anxiety !
    If you really feel you need to see a doctor ? Do so .
    The way this method works is acceptance .
    Read Paul’s books ? If you haven’t already ?
    It really works , but it’s not a quick fix ! There is an app called mind pilot that might help . The eating always comes back so don’t get in the cycle of worrying about everything . One step at a time slowly accepting that it’s only anxiety which is only a feeling and it can’t hurt you .
    Try to just carry on doing everything you would normally do in your everyday life . It will get better !

    Colin

  29. Chris Says:

    Thanks Rich.

    I tried to let it all be there today but the feelings/emotional pain is just too strong at the moment. This whole idea that I’ve damaged myself is very powerful and I’ve reached the point where life seems unbearable again. It truly is a living hell. Maybe I need a bit more outside help.

  30. Rik Says:

    Chris,

    I am right there with you as you know but I can assure you that you can move through this. For the last week and a bit I have been really working on letting thoughts be there and taking away my belief in them a tiny piece at a time. As I have been doing this I have noticed my overall anxiety levels have started to drop and this in turn makes the job a bit easier each time. I have actually seen some genuine improvement this last few days. Yes I do still get caught out a bit sometimes but I gently remind myself not to ruminate and divert my attention or let the thoughts blow themselves out. They may come back 1 minute later but then you just do the same again.

    What I am trying to say is don’t give up and keep going forward. You can do this but the first few days and even weeks of allowing are extremely hard and it is common to have a marked increase in thoughts as your brain thinks it has to keep reminding you of them as you were so scared of them. Once you break through the first few days you begin to realise that there is actually hope and you can slowly get through this. It is not easy at all but if you are brave you can do it. Eventually you will regain that trust in your own judgement and the thoughts become less and less as does the general anxiety and feelings of being down due to it all. Your brain is currently under immense strain from you so it is no wonder it all feels so overwhelming and painful. I was there too.

    If you need to speak to someone then that is fine and I would recommend finding a CBT therapist as last year when I suffered with harm thoughts it really helped me to speak to someone I could trust that had seen it all before. They will teach you the same thing about letting thoughts just be thoughts and not putting so much stock into them but in a practical way that may help your understanding.

    The reason the thoughts seem so real is that your mind is so highly sensitized and the rational part of your brain is not as active in this state. This is a common theme in anxiety as well as the constant introspection. If this wasn’t the case there would be no such thing as an anxiety disorder. I have come to realise this recently. It is total identification with our thoughts that causes the suffering. Only by true acceptance that a thought is just a thought can we move past it and also realising that we can actually choose what we do and don’t believe. That is something that comes with time though and glimpsing this fact. It is the same with physical symptoms. Only by truly accepting them as anxiety can people lose that fear that is keeping it all alive. I hope that helps in some way and just know that you are not alone in this.

  31. Debbie Says:

    Hi risk I feel like my mind is always on my thoughts as I’ve said my mind just gets flashes all day of dreams I’ve had or movies I’ve seen it scares me bot I carry on than that familiar feeling I never had this . Is this ocd or my own intrusives?

  32. Debbie Says:

    Sorry rik hit wrong key.

  33. Sara Says:

    EVERYTHING IS SO SCARY, just thinking of getting a drink gives me a panic attack.

    What is that??

    I dread the mornings because i suddenly wake up with this feeling of “Oh my God i’m here living, anxious, in dp mode”

    Thats me, ALL day, even when i try to tell myself its just anxiety i’m super duper scared, I can feel the adrenaline, the extreme fear. The feelings of dread and i’m avoiding more and more and more of my life.

    I can’t do this anyone, HOW ARE YOU SO BRAVE??? It’s too tough on me, i really want out…….this is too much, out of control

    I medidate twice a day to get relief and i even take sedatives sometimes but nothing has relieved. :(

  34. Sara Says:

    Oh and I’m BLASTED with negative images all day long, just vivid horrid images of me getting worse. Oh God oH God

  35. Rik Says:

    Debbie,

    OCD is just a term used to describe another type of anxiety disorder where you carry out neutralising actions or thoughts to counter or comfort against intrusive distressing thoughts, images or urges. I would almost certainly have qualified for an official diagnosis of it when I had my harm thoughts last year. But guess what. It is all just anxiety at the end of the day and is to be treated the same way. I got over that using acceptance, patience and understanding and will be doing the same with the thoughts I have now no matter how difficult it is. I know it is the only way to get freedom again. You cant beat stress induced illness by using more stress. It is like trying to heal a broken leg by breaking it again.

    Anxiety REALLY messes with the way you think and your ability to rationalise and makes all your thoughts seem so threatening and real. Believe me I know. I have been through this mill before. Your mind is so tired and stressed that it cannot think straight and then you add even more thoughts and fears to it by thinking about it and analysing thus tiring it further. Let it rest! It will fix itself if you do.

    Believe it or not the content of the thoughts truly does not matter. It feels like it does because the content is always that which you are most scared of. If you weren’t scared of it it wouldn’t keep coming up. Your fear is keeping it all alive as it is for me. I am working on reducing that fear by allowing any thought and building the realisation that thoughts are not under our control and we have a right to ignore them just as much as pay attention to them. You are the master not the slave in this situation but it takes a while to build that relationship back up.

    The best way to get through this is to let the thoughts come and go as they please and also work to build the belief that you can completely ignore them if you choose to. It is not easy at first and your brain will keep popping them up perhaps even more so when you first begin but you can do it. When the next one pops up just let it float away. Keep practising and don’t beat yourself up if you get sucked in. Once you realise you are ruminating just gently say to yourself ok time to stop ruminating and refocus on something else. As I said the same thought may pop back up 30 seconds later or even faster but then just do the same.

    I know this works as I have done it before and recovered. Too much stress and my own reaction to it put me back in the cycle.

  36. Rik Says:

    Sara,

    I can almost feel your tension and fear through your writing and I do feel for you as I have been there too. Right now you are probably going absolutely spare and that is what is putting you deeper into the condition. We have all done it. Even those who have tasted recovery have been sucked back in at some point as I have this time a few months on.

    You are in a position right now where you will find it all incredibly difficult and the concept of acceptance seems impossible. You just need to see a little bit for yourself that it works. If you haven’t yet read them I thoroughly recommend Claire Weekes’ books which will cover literally everything you are currently going through. It was a turning point for me this time round to read her work. I read more help for your nerves and it described exactly the stages I have gone through and the symptoms I have been having and gave me the realisation that this can be reversed through understanding, acceptance and patience. Just as we were the cause of the anxiety indirectly we can be the recovery if we are brave enough to accept and learn.

    I would first recommend arming yourself with knowledge by reading Claire Weekes and Paul’s books and then you will have a platform of knowledge from which to see your symptoms as just that. Symptoms of stress that you are magnifying beyond all proportions through fear. With knowledge you can take away a significant amount of the fear you are currently feeling and with each bit of fear you remove you are a small step closer to recovery. Your mind is extremely stressed right now but as it returns to normal all the symptoms clear with it. I have been through it myself. As you begin to recover it is the best feeling.

    Anxiety is all one big paradox. In order to beat it you must first accept that which is afflicting you. Until you are willing to fully accept it you cannot reach recovery as that fear will still be there causing further stress on your already exhausted mind and body.

    As Claire Weekes says. Recovery is simple but not easy.

  37. Jeff Says:

    Sara, and others in utter misery – give yourself a break. Yes we all try to get through this med free, but come on – if it gets bad enough, put a tourniquet on it. Life does NOT have to be that dark.

    I put myself through god-awful misery for a long time; and I KNEW what was going on, why it happened, and how to get out of it – you see I’ve been through it before. Didn’t matter.

    Your body is going to need some time to heal no matter what you do.

    The advise on this forum is priceless. But sometimes all the words encouragement and understanding in the world won’t fix TODAY. If you need your life back, burned out, hopeless, and in despair consider other options as well.

  38. Mo Says:

    I agree with this post, Paul. Thank for giving us more insight. I’ve been struggling with this for a while.I worry a lot if peoploe won’t aaccept my natural self or judge negatively, so what I do is try to change my thoughts or emotions, basically the state, and try to fit around it. It’s very exhausting because I never get to a place where its permanently peaceful.

    If I let go trying to change my thoughts and emotions and let it flow naturally, I know I will get back to peace permanently like before I started struggling in the first place and be naturally self confident.

    But I’m scared of people judging me when I become my NEW natural self.

    HOW DO I CHANGE THIS ATTITUDE, SOMEONE? THANKS

  39. Chris Says:

    Hey Sara, just know that I’m right there with you. I wake up everyday with my stomach/body churning nervously and I feel soooo detached right now. I feel like I’m living on a planet with no color if that makes sense. It’s awful. I literally react with fear to everything. It’s definitely hard.

    Thanks Rik. I’m just gonna take it one day at a time I think. My suffering has been very severe in the last few days, my body is literally wired with fear and I feel super low as a result. It freaks me out big time, but I’m trying not to add any further fear. Sometimes I think how can anxiety be this severe?

  40. Debbie Says:

    Thanks rik its a real struggle and battle you know you just feel scared of losing your mind and never getting it back i guess one of the tricks of anxiety.

  41. Colin Says:

    Guys
    Give yourself a break wow yous are not grasping wheat anxiety is is !
    It’s nothing more than a feeling !!!let it be and the natural process will suffice .
    Stop asking / searching for answers it’s plain to see ? Pauls book and this blog keep advising ? But you don’t seem to grasp the knowledge being passed on ? It’s simple ACCEPTED ANXIETY !!!
    Don’t fear it / feel it

    Colin

  42. Mo Says:

    Colin are you an ex sufferer?

    I understand the accept anxiety part. What about the part about getting rid of bad habits that can create anxiety or make you feel worse? Like smoking, eating excessively, drinking too much caffeine, etc.?

    Do I have to get rid of these for FULL RECOVERY AND PEACE?

    BTW IS IT WRONG TO NOT LIKE THE FACEBOOK PAGE FOR FRIENDS NOT NOTICE I HAVE ANXIETY LOL

  43. Ian Says:

    Hi Mo.
    I’m like you, although I’m not on Facebook but I want to comment on the Twitter page but haven’t due to having work mates ‘following me’..
    I’ve thought about setting up another account for me to do it, but not sure if this is a little fake as I’m hiding away from one myself.
    There are only a few people not inc docs etc who know. I’ve only recently told my closet friend and when I did a weight was lifted.

    A question to people who have gone on to recovery…
    What are thier thoughts on opening up & admitting to other about anxiety and acceptances??

  44. Ian Says:

    I thought I’d share a light bulb moment with you all.
    The other afternoon while at work, a thought popped into my head about something that had just happened. Quickly came the good old “what ifs”, I quickly saw them coming and instead of just standing there and letting them fill me I just carried on with my work and the thoughts left me.
    20 minutes later the thoughts came back but this time they caught me off guard and before I knew my old self stepped in, Questioning The thoughts then quickly came racing heart, light head and the looking for an exit feeling, I eventually saw this, started walking with a little smile on my face thinking to myself “this mind is so funny at times”, within seconds the thoughts/feelings had gone.

    I think penny had finally dropped
    But I understand it won’t be all plain sailing and a step forwards.

  45. Colin Says:

    Hi Ian
    Ian anxiety is much more common than you may think!
    At first when I suffered I told no one .
    This in its self didn’t help because now it’s all about acceptance ! And a part of acceptance is speaking about your anxiety.
    Most of my closest mates and family know that I did suffer from anxiety and I was not ashamed to share this with them .
    Recovery comes from a lot of different wee things like this.
    What you said on your other post about just accepting when at work is the way ahead for you mate !

    Just let it be there champing in the background .
    It can’t harm you if you allow it its space . When yo can do this , you won’t fear it the same and when you don’t fear something it has nothing n you !!!

    Keep doing your everyday things and before you know it you will have much more quiet moments like these and the happiness that comes with it is even more joyful than you could imagine !

    Good luck
    Colin

  46. Colin Says:

    Hi Mo
    Yes I am an ex sufferer!
    Giving up alcohol was probably my biggest part in my recovery .
    I used to drink 1 bottle of red wine just about every night .
    And through stopping doing this I have got to where I am now ?
    I just posted to ian about speaking openly about anxiety and sharing with friends and family . This takes a huge burden off your shoulders and helps on its self . It’s only anxiety after all , it’s not like you are a psychotic mad person ! You suffer from a natural phenomena , that every body on the planet suffers ( Adrenalin ) the only reason it turns to anxiety is because it s a cycle of worry and then fear then anxiety , search , fight , Google , am going mad , and on and on ‘ just take anxiety with a pinch of salt and let it be stop searching for answers and start enjoying your life again . I keep plugging this app !!!
    Mind pilot superb for mindfulness , sleep and pain relief
    A must for everyone on here . Please atleast do the trial

    Colin

  47. Jamie Says:

    Thanks for the posts Colin.

    I think it is finding that balance by not concealing the anxiety anymore and maybe telling people close to you that you have issues but not spending too much time constantly talking about it which just feeds the negative thoughts and keeps your focus on it.

  48. Chris Says:

    Hi everyone.

    Sorry I need to reach out for support today, I’m once again in a horrific spot. This is a cry for help. My mind feels well and truly broken and my suffering is so horrendous. My whole body feels like it’s shot, so much fear and my mood is as low as it can go. I’m feeling so many negative emotions and it’s horrible.
    My mind is against me and I can’t even count how many what if’s I have right now. They all stem from the drug gremlin. God it’s just awful and I feel 100% hopeless. I don’t know how I ever reached this point… But basically I’m at the point where I truly hate my life.

    I’m not sure this method will work for me. I’m feeling worse as ever, and I’ve been trying this for years. I have these obsessive thoughts which tell me I’m screwed for life basically.

    I had a conversation with a mate last night, and I was just after reassurance really. He told me he once took a synthetic drug once that he thought was LSD, but it was something else and it has put people in psych wards. Now my mind is telling me that I probably took it once and that’s why I am in this state now, even though the chances that I did are very unlikely. Well my stupid mind doesn’t seem to care about looking at it logically.

    How can I recover with all of these fears? Let me list my what if’s below. They are well and truly my worst nightmare and I wish they didn’t exist.

    What if a drug I probably never took caused me permanent mental illness
    What if I have brain damage from drugs
    What if my drink was spiked
    What if the anti depressants I was on made me worse
    What if the protein powder I used to take gave me brain damage
    What if I harm myself
    What if I never feel happy again
    What if it gets worse with time

    Can anyone relate. How do I cope with all of this? It weighs me down so massively… I’ve tried to accept today but it’s just too hard. I’m so full of anger towards myself, how did I turn into this paranoid weakling? My symptoms include strong intrusive negative emotions, nervous fear in my stomach, constant anxious thinking 24/7, depression, so much fear it isn’t funny.
    Sorry for the negative post, this is just another cry for help. Thanks all.

  49. Bryan Says:

    Chris,

    Did you read any of the responses to you in this or the other thread?

    Rik gave you some great advice, and he’s going through a struggle of his own as he’s stated… as we all have at some point. I’m deep into recovery but still have bumpy times but I have to say, the thing that helped me the most was to stop repeating how I felt to people.. and start putting their advice in place.

    We can throw water on the fire, or gasoline. When you ask if “people relate”… of course they do. There are thousands of posts here that are carbon copies of yours above with a different name. A better approach is to actually implement the advice given here. Simply repeating our discomforts won’t move the needle. We have to actually interface with and implement the advice.

    Paul wrote a great article above that essentially answers all of your questions. Have you spent time with it? Because it IS your answer. No matter how you feel or how you think you are different, it IS the answer. I only offer this viewpoint from having gone through the same thing in the past, and luckily being able to make progress actually USING the great advice from the mentors here.

  50. Chris Says:

    Hi Bryan

    Thanks for the response. I have definitely tried to implement the advice, but at the moment I’m finding all the thoughts and fears are far too strong. I feel I have too many fears and they are weighing me down big time.

    I have read the responses yes, I guess I am just feeling a little desperate today hence why I posted. I try to let the thoughts come and give no emotional reaction, but that simply isn’t possible at the moment. Should I maybe just let that emotional reaction come for now?

  51. Chris Says:

    Maybe I should accept that the drugs might have done something to me, and I will now live my life regardless. This might be the best approach?

    Sorry for the negativity by the way guys, I’ve just been having a shocker or a day.

  52. Doreen Says:

    Seems sad that a new and very straightforward post from Paul should be followed by so many angst ridden negative responses. Please folks, take time to read what he has said.
    Chris – you have for a number of weeks now repeated your reasons for believing you are ‘broken’. I am convinced that writing them down over and over again, far from being cathartic and relieving you of them, is doing the exact opposite and reinforcing your belief in them. And it becomes frustrating for others who are trying to help you see another way.
    Sara – I am confused as I thought you were pregnant but on one post you say your midwife says you have post natal depression. Either way, I hope you are being helped by the midwife who is there for you as well as your baby.

  53. Harry Says:

    I want to speak directly to the people desperately posting above, coming from someone who still has a way to go with this whole anxiety business, but who has come a long way. I have never posted, because every time I come here, I am quickly reminded that there is nothing I’ve missed, nothing new I need to learn, Paul truly has said it all. The problem is, I have just simply fallen into a goal oriented mentality once again, where I think to myself, “alright, I’ve faced a lot of my fears, I’ve done things that make me uncomfortable, made a lot of progress, so why am I not recovered yet, let’s find out on the site, because I can’t take this right now!” The reality is, it’s an attitude problem. You don’t “try out” Pauls suggestion in hopes it will save you. This is a personal attitude shift that must take place within yourself, no one can do it for you. An attitude that says, “hey, whatever it is, however bad it might be, however maddening this all feels, I will let it be, i will continue, and i will choose to feel it, no matter what, because I am bigger than this nonsense.” There is no goal to accomplish, it is not linear. Think about it. If you weren’t scared of how you feel, and didn’t give a f***, would it be a problem? The answer is obviously no. As he says, just let it be. There is no ‘it’ anyway.

  54. Mo Says:

    Thanks Colin

    If you don’t mind , how and what made you give up alcohol?
    When you say its okay to talk about anxiety with others, do you mean the subject itself or the content of the worrying that the sufferer is dealing with? I would imagine talking about the subject is annoying from a non-sufferer perspective Lol

  55. Chris Says:

    Sorry about that, I’ve just been a bit overwhelmed with the state I’m in. I’m not trying to bring anyone down. Maybe you guys are right though, I’m not really helping myself posting the same stuff here all of the time.

  56. Chris Says:

    I was just looking for reassurance I guess, I won’t make any more posts like that as I don’t want to bring the vibe down here and it’s not fair on others. Sorry everyone :)

    I find the whole seeking reassurance thing confusing actually. Claire Weekes says that a sufferer should be reassured as much as possible? I think I actually asked this a week ago, but maybe seeking reassurance should be a big no no for me from now on.

  57. Ian Says:

    Hi Colin
    Thanks for your reply.
    It’s nice to hear someone say that’s the way ahead with things.
    I’d love to shout it out from the roof top and really open up to everyone about my anxiety but not sure I have the personality for that.
    Even before my anxiety I was a personal person anyway.
    I’m not one for caring about what people think about me but I’m someone who is…. My business is my business..

  58. Rik Says:

    Chris,

    You are misinterpreting claire weekes words. She means reassured that it is anxiety and nothing more rather than seeking reassurance for the specific issues. When i did CBT i realised very quickly thanks to my therapist that reassurance is VERY short lived and compounds the problem. You have no trust in your own mind or judgement at the moment and seeking reassurance increases this as you are looking to external sources to put your trust in instead of cultivating it in your own mind.

    Believe me i know what you are going through. Friday i had a great day and was able to put acceptance into practise very well. It was my best day in weeks. Yesterday was absolutely awful and i was literally hammered by depressing thoughts and feelings and other awful thoughts all day until my body and mind naturally calmed down in the early evening. But do you know what i did? I accepted it all to the best of my ability. Was it nice? Hell no. Was it easy? God no. I gathered myself and went for a nice walk with family (which felt like i was climbing everest) and i accepted that i may not be able to enjoy it but i wasnt going to miss it. This is where the big steps are made. Anybody can accept when they feel ok but to really progress you have to look that which torments you straight in the eye and continue anyway. In time your mind and body naturally calm as you are no longer feeding back more stress into the loop.

    Anxiety is the king when it comes to doubts. You will doubt everything and will doubt that you can recover etc etc. But ultimately you still have the choice to accept that doubt instead of investing yourself into it. By accepting it we again remove more fear and thus more stress.

    It has to begin somewhere. But dont expect that a day or two of accepting will make you feel better. Dont even look to feel better. Just commit to doing it and over time recovery will come to you. If you seek it you are adding stress.

    This is all stress related. We cannot fight a stress related condition by adding more stress. Sorry for rambling but i really want you to understand this. When that anxiety climbs higher than ever just sit and observe it. Make yourself feel everything it has to throw at you and chamge your attitude of wanting to escape it to one of accepting it. In time your mind will then see that it is not to be feared. Another link in the cycle is then broken. It is not easy but be brave and give it a try. This way confidence is rebuilt. I am right in the same boat with you.

    I am now about to go out for lunch with my little girl and sister in law. I fully expect thoughts and feelings to come along too but they are most welcome. It gives me chance to progress. I will not be giving them my full attention as i want to enjoy my dinner as much as i am able.

  59. Chris Says:

    Thanks Rik, yes I sometimes do misinterpret some of the stuff Claire Weekes says. For example, the insoluble problem she speaks of in her books. I always recognize my fears as the insoluble problem she refers to, but I think she actually means real life problems, not made up problems.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to make such a detailed response. I’m going to stop the whole reassurance thing then, it’s obviously just compounding the issue. I think it’s time to be brave and let the thoughts/anxiety do their absolute worst. I know for a fact it’s not going to be easy but I’m not going to look for relief externally anymore, I’m not even going to try to and recover.

    I’ve done this before and came out of my first setback this way, so I’m sure I can do it again. I’ll stick around though and let you know how I’m doing!

  60. Rik Says:

    Its no problem. I have dealt with intrusive thoughts before and done heaps of research etc and have had a course of CBT and the one consistent thing i found in all the writings etc was that acceptance is at the core of recovery. This is because it allows your mind the rest it needs to heal itself. When you are so highly anxious though you need to take what feels like a dangerous leap of faith. It only feels dangerous because your mind is terrified.

    Just let them scream at you and then just let them fizzle out on their own because in time they will. Remember that the goal is not to rid yourself of them but to accept that they are there for now and stop feeding them. If you are no longer afraid of them it doesnt matter one bit if they are still there. A side effect of that is that they slow down and eventually become a bad memory as your mind recovers back to normal.

    You cant put a time limit on it as that will mean you are still looking out for thoughts or symptoms which is the best way to ensure they stick around. That is the paradox of anxiety and the very reason acceptance works.

    Im doing the same myself now and although not easy i have had significant improvements from where i was even last weekend. Im trying not to concern myself with how i have been though as tracking progress keeps it in mind.

  61. Milu Says:

    I just wanted to say how wonderful it is to read this site and to hear all of you. I am currently in another episode of my anxiety/depression and have been feeling very lost. I tried a forum where everyone posted how meds are the only way out. Meducation is not an option for me they make me worse as well and I can say that I have had horrible post partum and three other major episodes that I have come out of without meducation. Our minds are so strong and our bodies are listening.. It is very hard to challenge thinking especially when our brains are trying to protect us. I know I can challenge thoughts to a point, I find lately that my mind tends to start throwing out scarier and scarier memories and thoughts.. Almost like it’s chalkengjng me. Reading all of your posts has reminded me that we have to keep working at it, th only way out is in ?
    Sara when I had post partum I never thought I would come out of it, everyone around me didn’t know what to do with me it was very hard. My sister dvdn told me at one point that she thought that was it for me and I was going to lose my mind. Hello anxiety! I want you to know that my kids are 8 and 6 and they are the joy in my life. Looking back that was one of the hardest times in my whole life but I emerged. We all that will t survive and as small as the willl feels sometimes it is there . Just think that’s why we are so anxious our brain is telling us to do something about how we are feeling.
    To everyone else, thank you for giving me hope this morning. I am going to keep working.,.,
    Great book by the way!!!!

  62. Shawn Says:

    Rik, nicely put.
    I’m feeling a lot better after the Christmas period.
    I knew I’d go down a bit due to the fact this was when I went down last year, and I put myself under stress overthinking it, I still feel a bit rough in the mornings but it’s not bothering me too much and fades really quickly. I know I’m doing well because I didn’t sleep the best last night and it didn’t bother me either. I know that next Christmas will be better because I’ve shown my mind there’s nothing to fear and I got through it by facing up to those same fears.
    Also, I just spent the weekend in lectures at work, even at my best, before all this happened, sitting in a hall with over 100 people in silence would have seemed daunting, and I did it for three days at eight hours a day!! If someone had said I would be able to do this six months ago I would have laughed, it would have seemed impossible, unthinkable.
    I was told by my therapist when all this first happened that I wouldn’t just go back to my old self, I would be better than that and I can see this now.
    Chris, the drugs thing your talking about, I messed about with stuff in my teenage years, and when I was really bad about a year ago, it did give my anxiety an excuse to mess with my head as well. If it makes you feel any better I know now that this didn’t cause my anxiety, but worrying about it didn’t make the journey any easier. I’m in my late thirties now, so spent over twenty years fine and dandy despite what I took; I spent time in the armed forces under extreme stress sometimes and what I did in my errant youth never really bit me on the arse once.
    My recent issues are anxiety with a touch of depression added to spice it up and nothing more.

  63. Shawn Says:

    Just to add, at one point I thought I was developing schizophrenia, bi polar, psychosis, the lot. I really thought I was going mad, I had to take time off work for months; it really knocked my confidence as I thought I wasn’t “that type of person” (I know that means nothing now) if I can get to the stage I’m at with a few blips along the way so can anyone.
    I love the thing Paul says about witnessing thoughts without becoming them; for me that’s the key to getting over the irrational/ scary thoughts stage.
    If anyone has problems understanding this I would recommend mindfulness, it really helped me.

  64. Milu Says:

    Shawn
    Did you find the mindfulness was at first hard to do or have any kick back? I am trying and find that I sometimes feel worse after. When I was a bit stronger it was calming.
    Your words really resonate with me and I sm sure your encouragement and vulnerability is appreciated here.

  65. Rik Says:

    Great to hear you are doing well shawn. It is funny isnt it how when you are in the middle of all this you think your personality is lost but as you recover it finds its way back again. I am still waiting for mine but i know it will all come back in time. Just got to keep moving forward and accepting. All the best for 2016.

  66. Clare Says:

    Good luck to u all

  67. Nolan Says:

    Hi Matt,

    I never felt the need to actually “run towards” them.
    For me my goal was simply to live my life again with whatever wants to come my way. If those intense feelings and thoughts wanted to be there, that was fine. If they were going to persist for a long time, then I was just going to be fine with that again.

    I did think of the “running towards” approach. But, in my head I always thought “but it still seems like a way to put the whole thing on a time table”… that, this would somehow speed up recovery. And, at its core it seemed alittle misguided because of Paul’s approach is saying “hey, it really doesn’t matter…. and start living that way”. For me, “running towards” seems like a way to still struggle with it, to make it a big deal and something that needs to be challenged, fought, and ultimately beaten.

    I preferred the more passive route of saying “if it comes and it comes on intense…. so be it, I’m still going back to the way I used to live my life”.

    Just my view on the matter.

    Take care

  68. Shawn Says:

    Milu, it is hard at first because it’s just you sitting in silence with your thoughts, but it’s a great way of learning to accept thoughts and observe them for what they are, just thoughts, they can’t hurt you and have no basis in reality; and when I was really bad it was scary but interesting to feel a full panic attack but not react to it in any way because I was in the middle of a mindfulness session.
    I haven’t had any kickbacks from it and generally found it to be a positive experience which helped me when nothing else would.
    Also, when your doing it your encouraged to accept how your feeling and concentrate on the source of your pain; when you do this you realise it’s not as bad as when you visually imagine how your feeling (if that makes any sense) I don’t know if that’s such a good idea because your doing something, but it is really hard to do nothing when your in the depths of chronic anxiety, I think it’s easier to take a step back once it settles. I can only comment from my experience, which is chronic anxiety for about two months; DP the lot, then a gradual calming with setbacks along the way (but never as bad as that first experience)
    If you can do this without Mindfulness then so much the better, but sometimes we need guidance as to what “acceptance” really is; you don’t have to look far back to see people on this forum questioning whether they’re accepting or trying. I wouldn’t go into it thinking it will make you better and will cure the anxiety; if you do it for this reason your trying to avoid a feeling which will confirm to your mind that maybe there is a danger which needs to be avoided and will keep you in the loop. I went into it thinking that I wanted to generally improve myself, and to be honest don’t do it very often anymore anyway.
    I think the main thing which has helped me was going out and living anyway, it hasn’t been easy, and I have no doubts I will feel rough again before my nerves fully settle.
    I also observe my anxiety, I started off worrying about mental health, then my heart, then the state of the world, then my daughter and what if something happens to her, cancer and a whole host of other things, this means I’m able to laugh at myself and ask myself “ok, this is the problem of the day now is it?”
    Sometimes my heart still beats hard, but it doesn’t feel like a panic attack did before, I don’t get the psychological reaction to it, and I say to myself if I’m going to drop down dead then so be it.
    If I’m going to be honest, I’ve done more in this last year of anxiety than I’ve done in most of my life, I’ve bought a house (and moved to a new town away from my family) my wife’s pregnant again, I’ve lost my beloved dog and got through it, I’ve gone from no sickness at work to two months off and light duties for another few months, and accepted this, I’ve learnt about mental health and become a mental health champion at work and have been able to help colleagues, I’ve changed for the better in so many ways, I seem to get on better with people, I enjoy holidays when before I would whinge about going away and feel I am overall a better father, husband and friend. I think this was just something I had to go through.
    I would like to get my overall sense of wellbeing back, but if someone said to me I would be like this for another few years, I wouldn’t be dancing with happiness, but I would live.
    Rik, fair play to you for helping others when your not feeling too good yourself, your words bring hope to many, I can guarantee you there are loads of people suffering who never comment on threads but read avidly.
    Nolan, you mentioned the timetable thing to me a good few months ago, I get that now, I still have this urge to ask “how long” sometimes, but I know now it doesn’t work like that does it.
    Best of luck to you all.

  69. Sean Says:

    Hi , just a quick question , does your blood pressure be affected by anxiety , and what can you do to lower it . Or are they not connected at all ?

  70. Shawn Says:

    Sean, I believe it can raise your blood pressure temporarily due to your heart beating rapidly, but conversely, I understand it can lower it slightly due to hyperventilation. I think many things can cause your blood pressure to go up and down, such as exercise and what you eat and this is quite normal.
    As to lowering your blood pressure, I’m not sure how you would do that.

  71. Belgian Says:

    Maybe a somewhat weird introduction to a post but here it goes: Congratulations to everyone on here!

    Why?

    Well since you are reading up on this blog, it must mean that you are experiencing or have experienced anxiety in your life.

    If you are still struggling and suffering from “it”, you may have two reactions to my opening statement:

    1) This guy is nuts and should be locked away forever
    2) He surely does not understand my suffering

    Don’t worry, this would have been my reaction (I’d probably think both) for quite some time whenever I would read messages like these.

    But trust me when I say, we really are blessed for having anxiety in our lives. Anxiety – dealt with the right way – makes you more capable to direct your own life, makes you more appreciate life itself and will make you feel more human and real than ever before.

    On the journey to recovery, while walking the path of continuous acceptance, you will challenge yourself many times. As hard as they may seem, these challenges present more opportunity for internal growth than any other difficult life situation.

    Acceptance then is learning how to cope with yourself by opening up to yourself. By acknowledging and appreciating your own emotions, including anxiety. It’s learning to find peace in turmoil. To find peace in panic. To feel at peace with your ongoing struggle and finally to feel true peace within yourself.

    So still.. why celebrate this? Well, I know plenty of people who are not anxiety sufferers, but who are not really living their life as fully as we can. They are just experts in hiding themselves for conflict, anxiety, their own needs and finally for life itself.

    Anxiety for us is like a big warning sign stating that this does not go for us. As we do not immediately perceive it that way, we get afraid of it and start a war with it. But gradually, as the mists begin to clear and we begin to understand the trick we are playing with ourselves, the underlying emotions will resurface.

    I will not go as far as saying that it feels like being reborn again, but this experience has made me so much wiser and more in control of myself (ironically by letting control go :) ) , than ever before.

    No other life event would have had this impact and – although the experience felt horrible and has had negative effects on my life – I will never regret it.

    I can surely understand that you are not at all in the “mood” for celebrating when suffering. But I think it’s really important to share this view on anxiety with you.

    Most messages on here are from people who are suffering and this you can feel throughout their words. This in itself is okay, as we all need sometimes the opportunity to vent our pain and I encourage people to keep doing this whenever they feel they need to do this.

    But my message for you all – and I mean everyone also the one who is doubting this now – today is a positive one. It’s not the typical ‘I’ve got the cure’ type of message. It’s not the ‘it’s really not so bad’ message we hear too often from people whose intentions are good but don’t really understand.

    It’s a message coming from someone who has been in the same place as where you feel you are right now. Who has felt as desperate, alone, numb and most of all overwhelmingly scared as you.

    If you follow the advice from Paul, Claire Weekes and others on here you too will learn how to celebrate life and IN TIME will look back at this period of your life from another perspective.

    I do not wish you all the luck as this is something you do not need while walking down your road (at least not to cope with anxiety). In stead I wish you a lot of time, acceptance and wisdom.

    Belgian

  72. Bryan Says:

    Great job Belgian.

  73. Doreen Says:

    And Shawn

  74. Chris Says:

    Thanks Rik. I know this will be a long process, as I have alot of what if’s – which are pretty much all related to the same thing. I managed to put the acceptance into practice yesterday, and although I wasn’t feeling great I just let the thoughts be there. It felt uncomfortable, but I did have a few moments of peace even though they were a bit fleeting. I think I will read Claire Weekes and Paul’s books again tomorrow (I have a long bus journey so I will have plenty of time for this).

    I also managed to stop asking for reassurance yesterday in relation to my what if’s, which I generally do on a regular basis.

    I know this is going to take alot of perseverance, as my mind is conjuring up new tricks daily. It’s all what if this, what if that. Or – this has happened to you, or this is going to happen to you. I know what you mean when you say that doubt is king when it comes to anxiety. It’s like the worst case scenario is always going to seem the most real. It’s silly really, and hopefully I can see this with more clarity in time.

  75. Harry Says:

    Hi Chris, my comment above just got approved. But also, just remember not to wait to see it clearly, or for new information, you can begin now. As Paul says, and common sense confirms, if you accept how you feel “no matter what” it is, then your recovery is inevitable. You can do it bro!

  76. anna Says:

    Belgian well said!

    Im on the road to recovery. I don’t write much here, but follow.
    It has been a very tough journey. But believe in hope, faith and patience.
    Good luck to everyone.

  77. bobby Says:

    hello can someone help me identify if i’m suffering from anxiety based on my symptoms?
    after a traumatic event (job loss) last year I started to develop weird obsessive thoughts that i didn’t have in the past and to not make the story long, i’m currently in that anxiety cycle in which i’m obessing with myself all the time and not living in the “NOW” as you guys mentioned in some posts – that typically bothers me is how i’m doing something but in my mind i’m thinking of something else and that feeling/atmosphere stains the activity I may be performing at the time e.g. playing a video game/doing some work at the office – would this be associated to anxiety and derived from that obnoxious 24×7 focus on my own mind and what may be triggering these feelings? – thank you guys

  78. bobby Says:

    forgot to ask if anyone has felt this exact symptom, the feeling that you’re doing something but in your mind you’re somewhere else and hence the current task’s atmosphere changes due to whatever’s on your mind…

  79. Gareth Says:

    Hello All

    I complete agree with what Paul says, I see it clearly although like many I am struggling to practice it. I have a question alot of it is fear of the feeling and I have done this for sure.

    My main thing is obsessive thoughts. 1 of the things I obsess about is Climate chnage, I work in global education. Paul said in his last book that give your mind a break. Stop reading about anxiety read about something different. But My anxiety focuses on global issues they are 1 of my obsession, and that have led me into the anxiety trap on several occasion over the past number of years. ESpecially when I feel everything I do is adding to it, the food i buy, if I drive a car, the heating in my house etc

    How to I take a break and let my mind heal without avoidance?

  80. Rik Says:

    Bobby,

    Sounds like classic anxiety to me and yes I would say that most people with anxiety feel this way. It can almost feel like your body is going through the motions while your mind is racing a million miles and hour and thinking of all kinds of crazy things. Dont let it concern you and try to shift your focus to what you are doing at the time. Your focus on your symptoms is what keeps you in the cycle.

    Gareth,

    Obsessive thoughts is classic anxiety and can be overcome just as the rest of the symptoms can. You ask how you can give your mind a break so it can heal. It takes time and patience which isnt easy when also suffering with anxiety. When the thoughts come you must simply let them be there and not give them attention. That is how to rest your mind. Just let them come and go and make the decision not to invest your attention in them. It is very hard at first but over time it will get easier.

  81. Jacqui Says:

    Hi Nolan,
    I’m in the middle of a setback after being well for over a year.
    My issue is sleep, I try to accept and let my mind do what it wants. As soon as my head hits the pillow the panic starts, racing thumping heart. How did you deal with this. Also through the day I worry about sleeping, I say to myself it doesn’t matter, so what, big deal, I’ll cope. But I don’t think I actually believe this. Does that make sense? Did it take you a long time not to care?
    Thank you
    Jacqui x

  82. Mark Says:

    Hey guys.

    So after recovering for over a year I’m in the midst of a setback. After developing severe anxiety I remember googling to my hearts content in an effort to try to to fix myself. But as great a resource as the internet is, the fears I learned about online stuck like concrete in my mind. I read that anxiety can develop depression too. Of course, what do you think happened…

    After I recovered the first time (took me about a year to recover this was mainly due to Paul’s method) I experienced the best year of my life. Yes there we’re a few blips but I never questioned it. In October last year, after meeting a girl and worrying constantly about our relationship, my co-writer not being able to commit as much time to our work and a job change all contributed to major stress, which led to anxiety and depression.

    My biggest problem is I read articles online where people deal with anxiety and depression for most of their lives and swear by medication ‘oh if i don’t take it i’m in trouble’ That’s where my mood starts to dip. I think ‘Well maybe I’m wrong, what if I’m too idealistic to think I can recover through acceptance’

    During my year long period of joy after recovering, these stories never overly bothered me. But as I’m in a setback, thoughts like ‘well Robin Williams found it hard to cope with anxiety and depression, what makes me think I can?’ (I mention him because we are in the same industry. A great man, may he rest in peace) I’m not gonna lie to you all, I think I can overcome it. I just need to get it out there as I’m not surrounded by people who are open to understanding. Does anybody have any advice to not being swayed by articles you read online? Is it just a case of accepting that not everyone recovers because they aren’t taking the right steps? i.e. Pauls method. Thank you all, Your comments are truly inspiring.

  83. Milu Says:

    Shawn than you for taking the time to write in response. I have started trying small bits on the app everyone is talking about and will continue to try. My anxiety started in the fall when I became quite ill and it has seemed to linger quite a bit. There has been a few triggers along the way but it has been chalkengjng as I have been trying to allow the snxiety and panic move through but this week is worse so I am confused why it hasn’t improved. I do know that it will pass it just a matter of time and getting to that place where it all cones together.
    I read all the entries and hear the strength you all have.
    Thank you for allowing me some peace in knowing there are others who are fighting daily for their freedom of mind. Or not fighting I guess. Accepting where they are at and being ok with it.

  84. Milu Says:

    Oh and Shawn congrats on the new pregnancy mine are 8 and 6 and so grateful for them ??

  85. Sean Says:

    Did anyone of you have high blood pressure whilst trying to recover from anxiety ? If you had fast heart rate as one of the physical Symtoms surely your blood pressure would be higher than normal

  86. Rik Says:

    Sorry Sean I can’t answer your question as I don’t check my blood pressure. I am pretty sure if I did I would then have a new thing to worry about so I prefer to just leave my body to it to be honest.

    I suspect from your asking that it is causing you some concern and given you have anxiety I would bet that it is a worrying concern too that you are focusing on too much. All I could recommend is if it bothers you a lot then ask your GP but once they have given you information one way or the other accept that as the truth and dont keep worrying about it as otherwise you are adding more stress to a mind that really needs a rest.

  87. Nolan Says:

    Hi Jacqui,

    You asked:

    “My issue is sleep, I try to accept and let my mind do what it wants. As soon as my head hits the pillow the panic starts, racing thumping heart. How did you deal with this.”

    I went through the exact same thing and what I did was this: I stopped making it any bigger of an issue than it already was. If I couldn’t sleep that night (or if sleep came but was minimal)…. fine, then that’s what happened and oh well, I’m still going to live my life. I’m not going to complain any more about it, I’m not going to ask for any more help. And I still would have nights like that, Jacqui.

    If my mind started to race I just laid back and let it race. I was done trying to guide it this way or that way. If intense physical feelings came with it then I let those feelings wash over me, stay as long as they wanted to….. and didn’t pay it any more attention than that.

    “Also through the day I worry about sleeping, I say to myself it doesn’t matter, so what, big deal, I’ll cope. But I don’t think I actually believe this. Does that make sense?”

    I still worried about it. Meaning, that raw material of fear was still there…. I stopped trying to fix anything. I didn’t take heed of that worrying/fear. If it came on intense then “oh well, it’s intense…. but I’m not going to go back to trying to make sense of it in my head, I’m not going to search for more help online, I’m not going to keep on talking about it to others”…. I’m just going to let it be there as long as it wants to be there. And, if it actually ever passes then great. And if not, then so what.

    Did I necessarily always believe this would even matter? No. I still had enormous doubts. But, I didn’t let those doubts dictate my life anymore. And in times they went away entirely.

  88. Tom Says:

    Hi everyone! I have been suffering from anxiety for five years, and have been reading the blog for about year and a half. Since then, I have tried to apply the method of letting the anxiety just be, and it has actually worked: my mind got clearer, my mood lifted, and I felt an overall sense of calm. This has happened around 4 or 5 times in over a year, but the problem is it usually only lasts for a few days, after which I fall back into the same state, focusing on the anxious thoughts and it usually takes a few months after I can successfully apply the method again. I wouldnt call this a setback, since I dont think I’ve made enough progress in the first place. Has anyone had a similiar experiance? Any advice on what I’m doing wrong would be appreciated.

  89. Jacqui Says:

    Hi Nolan,
    Thank you for your kind reply.
    So you stayed in bed all night? I can last about 1 hour, then I feel compelled to get up. Try to fix it, do stupid thinks like smoke a cigarette have a glass of wine. I could go on but I shan’t. I know this is the wrong attitude.
    Thanks again for taking the time to reply.
    Jacqui x

  90. Gareth Says:

    Hi RIk Thanks for your reply, My obsession is Climate change end of the world type of things. My Fears are based on information that I have studied. I work in this area. It is hard to give your mind a break. Also Everytime I do an action or someone close to me does an action ie puting on the heating, drive a car, buy something thats not produced locally I feel that I am adding to it. So I am finding it hard to let my mind take a break when the way we live our lives is the fuel adding to my anxiety

  91. Matt Says:

    Nolan,

    That makes good sense. I’ve kind of toyed around with it, since I’ve read about that approach and also remember that Paul said in his first book that he would kinda ask anxiety if that’s all that it had, aka egging it on. But I totally understand that you mean that’s still acknowledging that anxiety is still something to be attacked.

    I’ve come to the realization that I’ve had a lot of resentment towards my anxiety internally, even though I haven’t changed anything in my life outwardly. I think it’s truly just my attitude that has been holding me back. Lately, I’ve just acknowledged that it’s there, and then I’ve allowed it to stay as long as it wants. My habit/reaction is to want it to be gone, and part of me feels panicky/angry about it staying there, but the other part of me just feels a calm, and not afraid that it stays. It’s kind of, well, bizarre. But I’m hoping in time, the patient part of my mind will take over as I continue to practice patients and non-caring.

    Thanks again for all your words, Nolan.

  92. Helen Says:

    Hi,
    I am looking for some advice. First I want to say that I have been following Paul’s advice for nearly 3 years and it got me out of the worst hole of anxiety and depression when I had a massive breakdown and I did it without medication. I really believe that this is the way to go, but its not easy! Paul talks about stress and worrying is what brings us to anxiety and I agree. But how to reduce it I don’t know, every little thing stresses me! Recovery for me is up and down and as I get more stressed about things, the anxiety builds up. I’ve come to accept this and do what I can to try to relax and not get worked up into a full breakdown which is what happened 3 years ago. I’ve been pretty successful, practicing mindfullness and doing some light yoga. However, lately I continue to have excessive worrying and frequent anxiety about the future because I feel stuck in limbo with a big decision to make about moving back to the UK where I am from and all my family is or staying in Canada where I have lived for 6 years but have no family except for my Husband and son. I get myself so worked up about the pros and cons, every option seems bad and fills me with so much anxiety, draining me. I just cant make this decision. I’m really scared that running back home to be close to my parents and have help with my son is just running away from the anxiety but I want to be happy and I don’t know if staying here will make me happy. I miss my family so much, but is that the anxiety? I don’t want to give in to the anxiety but at the same time I want to be happy. My husband’s family is here in Canada but he is prepared to move. My head says stay because we have jobs and it would be much more uncertainty and hassle to move, but my heart is so full of fear of being permanently away from family and coping with two kids if I have another. I wish I could just bloody make this decision! Any tips on how to find clarity and make a decisionwhen you get in such an anxious worry mess?!

  93. Nolan Says:

    Hi Jacqui,

    Essentially, do whatever you want to do. Just don’t take as much heed of the beast living with you. That doesn’t mean you need to ignore it, cover your ears, and pretend it’s not there.
    But it does mean not letting it dictate what you’re going to do.
    I cancelled plans, I stayed at home, I avoided doing the things I used to do to “figure it all out”. As if it was something I could workout in my mind alone. All THAT ever did, for me, was get me more stuck into the muck and mire of it all.

    Some of this will make more sense when your mind is a bit more calm. And trust me, Jacqui…. when things are more calm and peaceful with your mind it will simply make sense to you as to how you were never broken and how this test will eventually end. But, then the setbacks come, and it’s during those that it just makes sense that you are broken and that despair is the one constant.
    So, you don’t need to struggle to bring in the happy, calm thoughts. They will find their way back. All you need to do is live your life like it’s bigger than the presence of anxiety/depression and all of the symptoms that go along with those.

  94. Nolan Says:

    Hi Matt,
    you’ve got a great attitude about it.

    What happened with me was this:
    I wanted IMMEDIATE help and redemption from this. I had seen family doctors, counselors, psychologists, physiatrists, massage therapists, acupuncture specialists, vitamin specialists….. I took so many meds and had so many prescriptions that the color sienna would emit from my medicine cabinet (just kidding about that one).
    I had read so many books on the topic of anxiety, depression, sleep issues.
    When Paul’s was finally suggested to me I had no interest in reading it.

    A friend that I had made on another forum was suggesting I read it. I remember I was lying on my bed… distant from my wife and newborn son (as usual)…. and I decided I had nothing else to do. So, I started reading it. And, it made sense. I felt this little positive growth inside of me.

    I had two days of being okay, not great, but okay. But then that horrid doubt crept back in (as happens with anyone with anxiety/depression) “What if Paul didn’t write that book for me? He didn’t really mention the sleep issue as much as I would have if I wrote that book…. and for me sleep is my biggest issue…. then it couldn’t have been written for what I was struggling with”.

    And I went way back down into the spiral of doubt and despair again. Eventhough I had those two okay days (and I hadn’t had anything like that since months ago).
    Then I found this blog and posted under so many different user names it’s not even funny. Anything to get people to talk about my issue.
    I would get some comfort, I’d feel a bit more secure… have some good days and then the doubt would have my crawling back here again, to do the same song and dance.

    I was noticing this cycle and it was wearing me down. I was convinced that any bit of hope would always be snuffed out by the despair as soon as that despair noticed that hope was filling me up.

    Then, I found myself at my lowest. Some kindly lady on here had said something to the effect that “Good, you’re at your lowest…. now don’t expect to ever get better and now you can stop caring if you will”.

    I decided to stop coming here entirely. I felt like I was just teasing myself in doing it. I told myself “I don’t care anymore. If I’m broken for good then fine…. if I die then good, I just don’t care. But, I don’t want my wife and son to think that I didn’t love them… I don’t want their final memories of me to be a useless, pity filled lump that just stays cooped up and afraid in the bedroom.”

    I didn’t say any of that to try to warm up hope and chase off despair. I truly meant it. I was going to live my miserable life more for them and less for me…. and wow.
    November of 2013 I was carrying my son out of the bedroom to bring him to his bed and I was flooded with this sense of peace and calm. I could have literally dropped to my knees right at that moment.
    I hadn’t felt that way for a long, long, long time. But it faded, and despair came back. But I reminded myself: it doesn’t matter, you’re not doing this for you anymore.
    I carried back on with my life… some days better, some days worse. I started getting bit of insight on the better days. Those better days were more profound…. setbacks still leveled me entirely, but I didn’t care. I didn’t expect them to be easy and I never forced them to leave. But they always left on their own. And like Paul said, with each leaving it was like a very gradual rediscovery of my old self. It’s hard to put into words.

    Then I had my moment of true peace. It lasted an entire night. My mind was at peace. I wasn’t afraid. I could see the end to this. and, strangely enough I didn’t regret a thing about the pain, despair, anxiety, depression, sleepless nights. I could start to see how all of this was making me a different, better person.

    That was the most peaceful, happy I had felt for years upon years. Even before this anxiety and depression had started.

    Anyway…. here’s to hoping I didn’t type past the limit of a post :)

  95. Stephanie Says:

    Nolan, always good to read your posts! You have a comforting way with words. I just want to wholeheartedly agree with the part about not regretting anxiety in your life. In time you come to appreciate how this journey has changed you – for the better.

    Also, I hope your dad is doing well.

  96. Mark Says:

    Fantastic insight Nolan and everyone else. Thanks for sharing. I just had my comment approved above, if you had any advice it would be greatly appreciated.

  97. Rik Says:

    Mark,

    What you said could have been written by me. The depression thing only really hit me this time and was for the same reason as you. I became afraid of depression, googled it every day and lo and behold all I could think about was depression and depressing things. Perfect obsession conditions were laid out and that is what took hold. I can now see that this is exactly what happened and I spoke to my NHS therapist from last time yesterday and she said the exact same thing. Same obsessive anxiety nature just a different topic.

    The good news. For the last week or two now I have been applying my CBT knowledge that thoughts are in fact just thoughts and do not need to be taken in blind faith and I also committed to putting my faith in the method of acceptance of thoughts and feelings once more and this last week have had significant improvements. My mood has been better and my DP has not been quite as thick. The depressing type thoughts that had become automatic by this point due to the obsession are now slowing down a little and carrying much less force and I can see the road laid out ahead of me to recovery once more. It won’t necessarily be easy and there will be good and bad days but I can see through the fog of anxiety once more. I dont know how long it will take (and dont want to keep track either) but one day I will look back and think ‘what the hell was I so worried about’. I know this from experience.

    Your fear about anxiety recurring is a very fair one. I think something important to remember is that anxiety is a natural reaction to too much stress. It sounds like you had an awful lot of stress which naturally led to your mind turning back on the perpetual stress response. Nobody is immune to anxiety but what other people are better at is handling stress and emotion. They do things to reduce stress and also tolerate negative emotions. They also react differently to things than we do. We get worried or try to avoid and think that by worrying and stressing more we are somehow dealing with it but in fact we are just laying fertile soil for anxiety to take hold again. Most people do this automatically as they developed these stress reduction habits over their lives but for whatever reason we never did. In my case I relied heavily on cannabis for 6 years and it was only when I stopped and didnt replace the stress reduction with anything else and didnt know how to handle emotion that my issues with anxiety began. For the record it was a steady stream of stress due to my marriage last year that brought this down on me again. Had I dealt with the issues or somehow learnt to handle the stress better the anxiety may not have come back. I am trying not to look back and analyse now though. What has happened has happened and now I am trying to learn from it again and push forward.

  98. Colin Says:

    Hi Tom
    It’s a setback !!!
    Just keep doing what you have been doing and you will get more of the calmer days / moments as you progress with the acceptance .
    Don’t go asking yourself when this happens ‘ it will come back ‘ if it tears it’s head let it be just keep doing what you were doing .
    Before you know it it will be gone . It sounds like you fear it ?
    ‘ Don’t ‘ just welcome it in it doesn’t have the same affect Shen you can finally accept it . One thing I will say is I think personally that I will have some form of anxiety for the rest of my life . Do I give a damn No I don’t , because I am not frightened of it ! It doesn’t worry me . I think this is were I recovered ( no fear of anxiety ) good luck Tom and keep doing what you are doing mate .

  99. Colin Says:

    Sorry about typos sent by my phone lol

  100. Jamie Says:

    Can anyone relate to this scenario ?

    When I sit down at night when dinner is done and my daughter is in bed, my mind starts churning over and over thinking what to do.

    I then start thinking – shall I watch something on live TV ? shall I watch something on my Sky+ planner? Shall I watch something on Netflix? Shall I watch something on Amazon Instant Video? Shall I download a film to watch? Shall I play on my PS4? etc etc When I finally decide on which of these things to do, I am then 1) continually checking my phone to see if I have any messages or surfing the net for unimportant things and 2) wondering whether I have made the right decision and whether I should stop what I am doing and do something else.

    In a stupid kind of way, I think my mind is seeking out the ‘perfect evening’. It really is ridiculous and yet I do it night after night. I then get to about 9pm and think “what a waste of an evening” !

    By the time I go to bed, my mind is tied up in knots and when I get into bed, I spend another half an hour playing with my phone for 20mins or so just reading unimportant things, checking for messages etc etc

    Can anyone relate to this ? Are you like this now or is it just me ? More importantly, did you USED to be like this ?

  101. Doreen Says:

    Nolan – reading your most recent post reminded me of when I came out of my very worst bout of anxiety. I thought to myself one day ‘well if this is how I am going to be then the best I can do is not let it effect my family and be there for them’. My children were young then. And that was the day I started very slowly to feel better. I would actually notch up in my mind another day when I had let them be my focus rather than me and give myself a pat on the back.
    Big life events have provoked anxiety since then but never as bad. And I know myself so much better now and recognise that my response to stress is to become anxious, other people might get headaches or stomach ulcers. So that is what I call recovery for me, not dreading another bout on anxiety but knowing there is me underneath getting on with life anyway.

  102. Matt Says:

    Nolan,

    Great post. It’s reassuring (and helpful) to hear that returning to a calm self takes time and patience. That’s where I’ve gone completely wrong, is not having patience past two or three weeks. When I don’t notice a huge improvement, I let the doubt creep in, and I change course. However, I was watching a TV show the other day, and a celebrity was saying how she lost weight. The interesting thing was that she was saying that for two months, she dieted and exercised, and noticed almost no noticeable difference. It was after this initial time period that she began to see bigger changes. I imagine the anxiety is no different, since it’s just habit’s we’ve created in our minds. I would assume that change takes much time, and that expecting anything will only cause frustration and doubt. I plan to keep practicing my new attitude whenever anxious thinking pops up (so, almost every hour, haha), and in time, I hope that it will take hold. Thanks again for you story!

  103. Rosa Says:

    Jamie,
    I can relate to this. I used to get really anxious on Saturdays and Sundays when I didn’t have a plan for the whole day. And whatever I did, i.e. running, playing with my son etc., I had this nagging feeling that I did something wrong. That I should be doing something different. That something should be different. Before I read Paul’s book I didn’t know that this was anxiety. But this is what it is – anxiety. Treat it like you treat all the rest of it – let it be there, feel all of it and try not to be too bothered about it. It will pass! I am still not fully recovered, but I don’t have panic attacks anymore about a Sunday I didn’t make plans for :-) I have times now, when I just do what I am doing and I feel ok. And sometimes there is even a sense of peace and calm. This is a longterm project, so don’t give up!
    I hope this helps

  104. Sara Says:

    Milu

    Thanks for the advice, just wondering, how exactly did you get out of post-partum? I’ve got pre-natal depression and horrible images and thoughts about my future.

    Did you ever feel spaced out? I’m very disconnected at the moment and I get those moments of being overly aware like “wow i’m here, I’m sick, i’m pregnant” as if it’s the first time i realize.

    Chris: how are you doing?

  105. Jamie Says:

    Hi Rosa

    I can totally relate to what you said about weekends. I hear people at work say that they had a quiet / relaxing weekend. To me though, when the weekend approaches I’m desperately trying to arrange / think of things to do as if I’m not busy I might feel anxious or be left alone with my thoughts. The idea of just sitting down on a Sat or Sun afternoon and watching a film would feel outrageous to me as I feel like I should be busy.

  106. Chris Says:

    Hi Sara.

    I’m not too bad currently. I’m just learning to take a step back from my mind and let everything unfold as it does. I’m really starting to realize that the mind is absolute useless to us in this state, so what’s the point in listening/trying to reason with it? Had a few hard moments today, I managed to convince myself that I suffered from another illness, I won’t mention what it is as I don’t want to make anyone else anxious here – but it’s funny really and stupid how my mind can be so illogical! Instead of getting involved with these thoughts I applied the whole ‘whatever’ attitude and managed to float past most of it, and I felt better for it.

    Feeling spaced out used to be a huge one for me by the way, and really did scare the pants off of me, but it’s completely harmless! How are you doing?

  107. Rik Says:

    Chris,

    It definitely sounds like you are on the right track now. I had a good day yesterday. Not so much today. The disconnection is fuelling my thoughts massively. I am keeping on though and accepting my feelings now whether they are negative or not. If i dont accept then i never pave the way for positive feelings to return. The contrast between good and bad days can be difficult i find and can suck me back in a bit until i recognise this and remember what to not do

  108. Milu Says:

    Hi Sara
    I can tell you I remeber telling everyone I felt I would never get out of it because that is what I believed but I can tell you now that I was wrong and it’s hard to hear when you feel so awful, but keep that reminder in your pocket especially at your worst moments. That helped me to know others believed when I didnt.
    Well after they threw every pill at me and nothing was working (I am highly sensitive to any medication and even have a hard time with supplements sometimes) they sent me off to talk with a counsellor every week or other week. I also joined a talk group of other post partum moms. Not ute where you live but here there is a helpline for new or pre postum moms.
    I went for walk everyday and I remeber chanting statements like I can do this I am strong it will improve. Hormones don’t work for everyone and I am normally a bit sensitive hormonally. When pregnant and after there are so many changes happening and it takes time to settle. For me it started with insomnia and after 6 months I was a mess and couldn’t sleep more than two hous without hot flashes or panic in the night. It was the scariest time for me I was so scared .
    Just try to be kind with yourself. Do what you feel you can do. Try to eat well and get some rest . Get a little excersise if the anxiety is coursing through and you feel like you are going mad. Know that you are not alone and there are so many who come out the other end so much stronger. Oh and I had also had my vitamin d checked at that time and I was deficient. Not sure about your winters but you may need a boost of that ? where is that sun ha ha not here!
    Hang in there and happy to write if you need.
    I personally just had two weeks of crippling anxiety and yesterday felt relief, love reading everyone’s comments and using the tools.
    Great forum

  109. Milu Says:

    Oh and yes Sara I had those spacey thoughts often and it was a cycle of thoughts. Almost like I was subconsciously attaching my anxiety/depression to who I wAs. This is commongenerally for anyone with anxiety to do. Try to be aware of thought and say oh ok there is that thought again and go on with what you had at hand prior to the thought. I have been also ptexting this in my meditations and it is helps to desensitize to them.

  110. Sara Says:

    Hey Chris,

    So glad you’re ok and that you can apply the “whatever attitude” even though it can be tough at times.
    I had to be put back on those darn AD i hate so much because i had absolutly no appetite and that was a huge risk for the baby

    My anxiety was OVER THE ROOF up to 10 panic attacks a day, akasthia …etc

    I’m calmer now but still feel rather disconnected

    Milu:

    You know sometimes i wish i was sensitive to meds: it’s always been my safety issue and i’ve taken them for so long ( 7 years) i don’t know if i can function again without them.
    I live in Tunisia, so no groups/ therpay or even a good TCB doctor around :(
    Just the forums

  111. Mark Says:

    @Rik

    Thanks so much for the response man. I’ve noticed massive improvements recently, the thoughts still having an effect on me, but only at times. Other times they float by.

    I’m currently in the most stressful period I’ve been in for quite some time but handling it all pretty well. Obsessive thoughts are the worst, at times it’s hard not to believe them ‘change your whole career’ ‘what’s the point in life’ ‘you’re gonna end up a crumbling mess’

    Seeing people go through the ups and downs of recovery is inspiring, let’s carry on supporting each other.

  112. Rik Says:

    Mark,

    The good thing is that you have insight. That is key in my opinion as it offers a different viewpoint than what your thoughts and feelings are telling you. From this other viewpoint you can take the stance of acceptance that while you cannot change your thoughts and feelings you can accept them. This generally has the bonus of allowing thoughts and feelings to change on their own as Paul mentioned in the blog post. I usually find the insight takes a while to develop and requires a leap of faith as things are just too distressing at the start but once you learn enough about anxiety and start to believe thats all it is the insight follows and then you can begin to build on it and move the right way toward recovery.

    The thoughts do feel very real and scary but that is all just anxiety. It will pass and one day you will be happily living life and the whole anxiety episode will fade into memory. The more we search out recovery though the further away it can get as we keep everything at the front of our minds and keep the fear alive.

  113. Colin Says:

    Hi Mark
    Keep letting these thoughts float by mate . And if they do stick , just try to let them be ! After all it’s only a thought . Hope you continue to recover its not a race mate , it’s a marathon !! One thing that always worked for me when I did have a wee setback was to remember all those great days I had . This always brought a smile to my face . And gradually the setbacks became less frequent . And suddenly they where months apart and so on . Even now if I get that wee bit anxious ! I just welcome it in . Like I keep repeating your mind in an anxious state will be afraid . But if you can not be afraid then it has no substance . Then it will not bother you in the same way and the gear goes . Then RECOVERY !!! At Last. A Life !!!
    Good luck mark and yes we are a small family on here and we shall continue to support who ever requires our support .

  114. Brian Says:

    I thought that part of the plan on how to give up the fight was to surf as often as possible to get all the relevant information – and guess what – the more I searched the worse I would become. By searching I was only fuelling the feelings by keeping my mind focused on them.
    The real answer is on this site and the book – stop searching and let your mind and brain get a rest.

  115. Dustin Says:

    Nolan,
    I would like to direct this post towards you in hopes that you can provide me with a little bit of insight. I feel like I have completely stalled out in my recovery and stopped making progress. I remember my attitude changing towards anxiety about a year and a half ago. I would have periods when I felt better and periods when I felt worse, but I still felt as though I was out of the cycle. Even right now I don’t feel like I am in the cycle, but it seems as though I have hit a road block. I have been sick (cold and flu kinda things) for a majority of the past year and it has me exhausted at this point. I am not sure if a loss of immune system resilience can be a side effect of anxiety, but it sure feels like it. It has just caused the confusion and doubt to sky-rocket as I feel like I am mentally creating this illness (ridiculous I know). Nowadays, it seems like there is no up and down rhythm to this thing. I have felt pretty horrible for most of the past year (that might be a little bit of an exaggeration). I am just very confused and lost right now. I know I shouldn’t be putting a time table on this, but at the moment I have absolutely no idea how I could possibly be recovering. Of course I know that this should not be the goal. I guess I am just sick and tired of being sick and tired.
    Again any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
    -Dustin

  116. Brian Says:

    PS One other thing, I looked around and I didn’t see anyone else spending hours and hours trawling the internet, they just appeared to be getting on with their lives and normal everyday activities. I realised that I was making myself so exhausted and worse by being on the internet. Enough is enough, stop the searching!!!!

  117. Lauren Says:

    Jamie and Rosa: I completely identify with this aspect of anxiety. I find that it’s a characteristic that cannot totally be quashed without actively working through it. My therapist called those thoughts the “shoulds.” When you find yourself watching a movie on a weekend, just vegging out, and you think, “Why am I doing this? Am I wasting time when I should be doing x, y, z? Cleaning the toilets, organizing, exercising, etc.” We all have a million things running through our minds at any given time, and sometimes we just need to ignore those thoughts and “be.” It is very, very difficult for me – I have a preoccupation with not wanting to waste time. However, any time spent doing something you enjoy – even if it is just mindlessly flipping through stuff on your phone, or going down the vortex of Instagram – is perfectly fine! Sometimes your brain needs to zone out – it is healthy. Don’t let the “shoulds” get to you. They are always lurking, but you don’t have to listen to them!

  118. Nolan Says:

    Hi Dustin,

    I think we all get to the point where you’re at.

    Many of the things that you say in your post are kind of like: I’m accepting of this anxiety, but really not…. I’m okay with all of the things that come my way, but really not….. I understand that I shouldn’t set a time table for getting the old me back, but I really don’t.

    Now, I’m not saying that to be rude, Dustin.
    There were people on this forum (Doreen being one) who had to say the same things to me…. and I’m ultimately glad they did.

    I’ll just stress: stop trying to make sense of it. When you’re in it (and even if you’re in it for awhile) don’t expect it to leave, just get back on with your living. This doesn’t mean you have to perform the heroically impossible feat of completely ignoring the thoughts and feelings; but it does mean you can stop being so impressed by them, it also means that you can stop heeding their advice.

    When you have your good moments things just kind of make sense, right? It might still be alittle cloudy or murky in there, but it still makes more sense than when you’re at your worst. Our thoughts feel lighter, certain things just kind of click and make sense. The impossible task of convincing yourself of a happy or peaceful thought when you’re in the throes of anxiety/depression comes a bit more naturally when you’re not in those throes.

    So, when it’s bad or low it’s not a matter of convincing our minds and bodies contrariwise. All we really have to say is “okay, I feel bad, kind of low, maybe really low… but oh well, so what. When have I ever been able to think my way of it? So, If I’m just going to be this way, despite of any active effort on my part to change it…. then I’m going to stop the fight.”

    I used to conceptualize it this way: I’m in a boat, by myself, and I’m being buffeted by the winds and waves. I’m completely at the mercy of this storm. I can’t yell at it to get my point across to it, words read or spoken alone will not calm it. From my vantage there’s no safe harbor or other ship that could even help me. Now, I trust that there might be that safe, calm harbor…. but I really don’t know; and when the storm really swells I doubt it even more that there could be such a harbor. So what can I do? I’m in a really bad way. So I’m going to do what I can to make my life on that boat bigger than just the reality of that storm. If I ever get to drift into that calm harbor then great; if not, oh well….. but I’m done having my life both contracted and defined by this storm.

  119. Rosa Says:

    Dustin,
    I think I can relate to what you said. I read Paul’s book 2 years ago and I still have anxiety every day. The first year after I started to put his “technique” into practice I didn’t notice any progress – I kept feeling horrible. I didn’t fight it any more, but I still felt the anxiety in full intensity. Only after about 1 1/2 years I started to notice some progress – the pain became less intense, I had moments of quiet, I could forget about myself whilst being at work.
    I have had anxiety for a very long time and I accept that it propably will take a while before my nerves will have healed. Don’t give up if you don’t feel any progess at the moment; if you go with your anxiety and accept it you will get better – it’s inevitable. But be prepared that it might take a very long time.

  120. Lauren Says:

    Dustin – the immune system breakdowns you referenced are absolutely related to anxiety. Suffering from anxiety takes a lot out of you and that can manifest physically. My anxiety has taken so many different forms in my lifetime and that was certainly one of them – my senior year of college various factors contributed to me being sick with the same infection over and over again. One’s body gets tired. Self-care is important – don’t neglect it!

  121. Chris Says:

    Thanks Rik and Sara.

    Today is alot harder and I’m having trouble not getting involved with the story that my mind is creating, my anxiety loves to attach itself to things. It’s now telling me that I had serotonin syndrome while I was briefly on citalopram (after a conversation with a mate, which immediately made me think oh noes I had that – which adds to the fear of being broken lol), so I’m just trying to leave that fear alone no, I managed to not buy into it yesterday and apply the whatever attitude and I actually decided ‘if this is me for the rest of my life then so be it’ and actually felt a bit relieved, although today the emotional pain is very strong so it is a bit testing. I guess this is the irrational part of my brain in full motion, because the thought itself is pretty illogical!

    The compulsion to google it is strong, but I’m not going to do that and leave the puzzle pieces on the floor.

  122. Brian Says:

    Look, it has taken me so long to understand that to accept everything including how you feel is the way forward. I always thought how can you not fight this – it was so wrong it only prolongs the agony and makes it worse. Apply acceptance to everything just let it all flow.

  123. Rik Says:

    Chris,

    Avoiding compulsions is essential as that really feeds in an awful lot to your thoughts and cements them even harder. You are doing all the right things. It just takes a bit of time for these new habits to take hold and eventually they become the norm. I have been accepting my emotions now and not trying to change them as this was how I was before I became afraid of being depressed. Funnily enough I have had moments of feeling a bit better since I started doing this. How can I expect to feel happy when all I worry about it whether I am feeling happy :)

    I have the seratonin syndrome worry last time I had anxiety. Turned out to be totally false as did all my other anxious worries at that time. Put it in the bag of anxiety lies and leave it there. If it comes up again just let it float by. Dont try to argue with it in any way. Just let it not matter anymore. Your mind is desperately trying to find the reason for why you feel like you do which is why all these different things keep surfacing. Once it realises there is actually nothing wrong there then is no reason for it to search any more and normal feelings and thoughts can return.

    All the best
    Rik

  124. Chris Says:

    Thanks Rik. I also had the fear of depression big time, I guess I still do in a way. To be honest I have a whole bag of fears.

    I gave up the googling a few months ago, and I’ve had the occasional slip up but the compulsion to do it did die, in fact I was too afraid to actually do it again. I will admit the other night after a few too many beverages with mates I did briefly jump into google because I felt fearless at the time, however because I did this the next day it ramped up the anxiety big time. Big mistake, but I’m trying not to beat myself up for it. On a deep level though, deep down I can glimpse the truth. It’s hard though in the thick of it that’s for sure.

    I actually have the thoughts more or less 24/7, at the moment so it can be VERY testing and it’s hard not to get dragged in. It’s almost like I’m naturally in fighting mode alot of the time though, like I can’t completely let go, so I’m practicing ‘whatevering’ to the best of my ability.

  125. Lauren Says:

    Rik and Chris:
    This really jumped out at me: “Your mind is desperately trying to find the reason for why you feel like you do which is why all these different things keep surfacing.”

    That’s a really excellent way of putting it.

    Something I tell myself all the time – Anxiety lies. But those around you speak the truth. This is tough to reconcile when you always hear people tell you to listen to your gut. But for those of us with anxiety, our mind overrides our gut.

    For instance, before he left the house today, my husband made me promise not to Google or WebMD anything. So that tells you a lot about where I’m at!

    (By the way – I started posting on these blog threads nearly two years ago after discovering it for the first time – and while I have found reasons to post over the last couple of days, I don’t usually. Though I always check in to see the discussions going on after each new blog Paul posts. I hope it’s not bad to jump in out of nowhere every once in a while.)

  126. Rik Says:

    Lauren,

    I am glad that struck a chord. I find that understanding why these things keep coming up takes away some of the fear of it. Of course while anxiety remains, so does the doubt as your mind always wants to know with certainty so it can let go of the worry (intolerance of uncertainty is a huge factor in anxiety) but over time these small realisations begin to sink in and you start to realise that it is true and that you can begin to trust that the thoughts you have are not in fact based on reality but are in fact your deepest fears playing out in your mind as a result of the stress you are under.

    The feelings of anxiety are your reactions to those thoughts. Take away the importance of thought and the meaning you apply to it and the thoughts and physical symptoms gradually begin to fade. That is the part where acceptance comes in. You accept how you feel for now and accept that although you dislike the thoughts you must accept their presence for the time being. Not the content. Just the presence. We cannot forcibly change the content of a thought as it has already happened by the time we notice it so we must instead let it go after we notice it and retrain our minds to see that it no longer matters to us.

    A hard realisation for me is that I have actually been creating my own suffering by mistake. By being so scared of being depressed I have been looking for it everywhere. Look hard enough for something and you will find it. Look hard enough for negative meanings and you will find them. How can someone be happy when they are constantly scared and looking for negative meaning everywhere.

    I am still not recovered by any means but I am making very good strides now and today I feel like my DP has lifted and I feel much clearer headed. All because I decided to allow myself to feel down if I needed to and to just accept however I feel. I have after all had an awful lot of stress to deal with over the last 12 months.

  127. Nolan Says:

    Hey Dustin, regarding the immune system concern I wouldn’t put too much weight on it.

    Some advice might make it out to seem that “yes! with anxiety your immune system will be so depleted that the smallest thing will take you down.”

    Don’t put too much stock into that.
    When my anxiety was at its worst I was scientific to the smallest degree paying attention to x’s relationship to y (x and y being things about my body).
    I can get very bad migraine heachaches where the feeling of needing to vomit can come upon me. I had read (and heard) so many warnings that “anxiety will bring on headaches constantly!!”
    I was even terrified that it would happen…. but in reality, the relationship between the two was incidental at best. Some of my worst moments with anxiety and nary a headache to be felt.

    Same with my immune system. I heard so many laypeople and docs saying things like “expect to experience colds and fevers…. what with having anxiety and all”…. and again, same with headaches, the relationship between the two was incidental at best.

    Wrap up: don’t put too much weight on any advice that makes it seem like a certain effect that your immune system will necessarily take a hit from this.

  128. Sara Says:

    MILU: i was wondering if you and I could stay in touch somehow by email if you don’t mind?

    NOLAN: You spoke abut depression many times, could you please tell me about your experience of that. Currently i’m having a hard time “letting go”. Just when i try to be positive it’s like some part of me can’t accept that and I don’t…everything is negative and I’m very spaced out…depp in derealization.

  129. Jen Says:

    I am expierancing a set back with my mind jumping from one worrying thought to another. From this I believe I got caught in the worry cycle. Now I have been having a heavy chest. Has anyone else have had this feeling like something heavy on your chest after stressing and worrying? I also second sara on some advice of the depression and how what was expierenced and how to over come it. I feel like I have come along way however have this hovering depressed feeling along with the depressed thoughts.

  130. Milu Says:

    One thing I woukd like to add regarding the depressed feeling is my psychologist said that our brains regulate. So if we feel anxious and high then it is only natural for the brain to say oh that’s too high need to go lower and then we feel a bit down . I have noticed this and it helps me to remember that.
    Sara yes I m happy to email with you but as this forum is read by many and only written by a few I wonder how to give it to you ?

  131. Sara Says:

    Hey Milu

    I’ve just created a new account so I won’t have a problem putting it on this forum. You can do the same if you wish. Could you please send me a message on it that way we can stay in contact, thanks :)

    saraoua419 at gmail.com

  132. Colin Says:

    Hi Nolan
    Great post on the so called effects related to anxiety .
    I did suffer headaches , but again I just excepted them as a symptom of anxiety . If we don’t make to much of it, it soon goes as with the other symptoms that go hand in hand with it .

    You are so right in what you say . Just don’t read to much into the possibilities , and just accepted what ever comes your way !!!

  133. Dustin Says:

    Nolan,
    Thank you for your responses. They are greatly appreciated. I’ve been trying to come up with a response to your first post about not fully accepting, but it has been tricky. I realize that it is not something that I have to “do”. I suppose I made it sound like I have been scrambling around in my mind trying to understand it all in my post, but I truly don’t feel as though that is the case. I guess I just don’t know how to apply your advice (again, the term applying seems wrong). I suppose that my brain is just over-analyzing it all right now. Also, Your analogy of the storm is spot on.

    Rosa and Lauren,
    thank you both for your responses. It’s nice to know that there are others who can relate (not that we wish to feel this way).

    Thank you all again!

    -Dustin

  134. Milu Says:

    Rik I loved your post on jan 22. I am happy to hear of it lifting for you and I am sure your attitude and outlook are cintributing factors, great work. I too hVe had the fear of depression and I feel I have created it for myself as well.
    Sara I will set an account today was busy yesterday with kids activities.

  135. Jamie Says:

    A few successes this week for me I wanted to share:

    I met up with a mate to play pool on Tue (this wouldn’t have been a problem a few years ago but since my anxiety increased significantly 2 years ago, things like this really worry me) which was fine. He then suggested going to a nearby pub to get a bite to eat. This immediately filled me with dread as, for some reason, I now really worry about sitting down (particularly face to face and 1 on 1) with people as I worry I am going to get / appear panicky and have to leave. I went to the pub and although was a bit edgy it was fine.

    On Thu I went out for dinner with 5 or 6 work colleagues. Again, this now phases me when it didn’t used to but I still made myself do it. We sat in a circular booth in Nandos and the idea of NOT sitting on either end filled me with dread as I worry I would get panicky and be ‘trapped’. I did not sit on the end (not through choice!) and I was fine. In fact, I enjoyed it.

    Last night was the big one. I joined up a few internet meet up groups about a year ago to try and make some new friends. Since my marriage ended 2 years back (the cause of all this additional anxiety) I find myself with too much time on my hands and all of my friends are in couples, with kids etc. Anyway, I joined a new group near me and I went along to some drinks in a pub. This meetup event had 68 people going and how many people did I know ? Not one !

    I had a couple of drinks before I got there and found myself outside the pub for about half an hour (stupid eh) trying to pluck up the courage to go in. I ALMOST just turned around and went home again but I knew if I did that, I would really be kicking myself and be really down about it. After half an hour of standing there like an idiot, I went in, bought a drink, asked where they all were at the bar and went in. They were all very friendly and I chatted to probably about 10 people.

    A friend of mine text me this morning to ask how it went and called me “outstanding” for doing it as he (or his wife) could not have done it. Me ? I do my usual and just shrug my shoulders without congratulating myself.

    Anyway, 3 things like this all in a week have to help move towards recovery :o)

  136. ken Says:

    Hello can someone answer this for me. A girl i have been with for 8 years has not been around for about 2 months. She said things werent getting better. I did not know if she was gone or norlt and i would text her with no response not knowung if i lost her. I would go back n forth in my head. ” she gone, no shes not shes unsure, she said she needed. Space. I would try to ask what was going on all while worrying if she was with someone else or moving on. I have had these conversations in my head asking her to stay and. But now she texted me a picture of us. I didnt know what to say so i just said i like that picture. In my head i have been losing hope. And that she was gone. But im relived and upset at the same time. Like im mad she hasnt been around but relived she texted. But i panicked not knowing if inshould respond or say the wrong thing.

  137. Ian Says:

    Well done Jamie, sounds like a good week for you.
    The third one especially, I think this would of been hard for most people who lived without anxiety.. This must be a massive boost for you and your way to recovery.

    Yesterday I went into my local city for the day with the family (Missus & kids).
    This is a place I’ve been to so many times for days/nights out, but for no reason other than my own thoughts, this place as become a place that a scares me and I could easily avoid.
    while the day itself was very good and I found that I actually enjoyed it, The dream like/detachment feelings with the thought that everyone was looking at me wouldn’t leave me. A few times I’d find myself looking around to see if I could catch anyone looking at me, infact while writing this I’ve just remembered that the last time I went there I had the same dream like/detachment feeling over me all day
    But nevertheless I just carried on with the day and the smiles comes naturally.

  138. Rik Says:

    Well done Jamie. Nothing raises your confidence more than looking anxiety in the eye and carrying on. I did the same myself over the weekend by going swimming twice. Today I feel worse again but the weekend was ok. Just got to keep pushing forward no matter what. There will always be up and down days.

    Even in normal life people experience up and down days. Something my NHS therapist reminded me of when I told her I had felt down sometimes. She told me she had a feeling of being down on some days but the difference between me and her was that I worried about it instead of just taking it as part of normal experience. I find my anxiety makes me very concerned about thoughts and emotions which usually has the unwanted effect of making them stick around for longer. I am working now on just accepting how I feel from one moment to the next and the thoughts that come with these states.

  139. Ian Says:

    Rik, I also woke up today feeling a bit down today after a very good weekend, but I wonder if this is nothing other than a natural come down, A bit like the first day back to work after a holiday.
    But I will carry on with my day as normal.

  140. Rik Says:

    Ian,

    Yes I think it could be similar in my case also. Waking up to go to work on a grey Monday morning in January after a relaxing weekend very likely doesn’t fill most people with excitement but as I am so sensitive to any negative emotion or thought I really seem affected by it. As you say I am just carrying on as normal. Moods are transient and often our thoughts follow our moods. On Saturday I had a good day and found that my thoughts improved with that mood too and I was far less internal. I just need to retrain my mind to see that negative moods and thoughts are not dangerous and that my anxiety makes these magnify.

  141. Gareth Says:

    Claire Weekes in her book has a whole chapter about the Dreaded morning feeling. It was great to read it because I have always noticed my anxiety is worse in the morning she explains it. Worth a read

  142. Andy J Says:

    Hi Guys,

    Long time no speak. Just thought I’d come on and post an update.

    I have just been referred to a therapist with a slightly different company (its no longer directly through the NHS). I went for a visit last Friday and the lady seemed lovely, very supportive and reassuring.

    However, my anxiety and associated depression has not lifted. I’m currently still stuck in the middle of it and just trying to continue as best as I can. I’m finding the whole thing mentally draining and struggling not to read too much in to different bits and pieces. So as an example I can really be ‘up for’ going to the gym or for a run, but the next I just can not be bothered and my motivation seems lost. I then worry about this and as it doesnt have an answer, I cant seem to move on.

    In addition, I have my intrusive thoughts each and every day. I try not to do anything with them and just allow them to be there, but that isn’t really helping and I am convinced I need to do something else with them. This isnt my phobia, but the equivalent would be some one who has a fear of harming people, carrying around a knife for work duties, perhaps a scalpel. That person would be petrified of what they could do with the knife. The person has also read about incidents of people being stabbed, but this no longer seems to impact them, and makes them wonder if this is who they are now. There is no disgust or shock at these thoughts.

    Can you see how that cycle, albeit not the same topic, is causing me so much grief? My total intolerance of uncertainty is making my life very hard, and it is almost 18 months of non stop intrusive thoughts, meaning I can no longer enjoy or look forward to things, because whatever I try, I know these will return tomorrow and the battle will begin once more.

    Apologies if this sounds like self pity, but I am having a hard time.

    Hope every one else is doing ok.

    Andy

  143. Rik Says:

    Hi Gareth,

    I have read the claire weekes books and they are excellent.

    Andy,

    I too suffered with crippling intrusive thoughts last year but I overcame them and was well into recovery before I became extremely stressed due to life events and got very anxious again.

    One thing i can tell from your post is that you have not yet taken that leap of faith with your thoughts. In order to move past intrusive thoughts you must allow them to pop up as much as they need and any associated thoughts also and allow yourself to start to believe that they really do not matter. Believe me i know how hard it is but you can absolutely do it. You have to accept all the risk you perceive there to be in this and let your mind scream and shout and terrify you while not adding a second wave of fear or thought other than what happens naturally.

    You mentioned not being afraid anymore. I had this too and this is called a back door spike. Basically your brain gets that used to hearing the same stuff over and over and habituates. This is actually the goal of ERP for OCD. But what can happen is you then get scared that this means you like the thoughts which sets the cycle off again. It is at this point that you must take that leap of faith that you dont need to pay them any attention. You must let go. It is the only way to move on. If you still think they are so important how will they ever hold little enough fear for them to subside (which they will over time).

  144. Jen Says:

    I am breaking down and going to the dr for maybe some medication. I am so drained and tired and maybe it will give me a little help to not believe my thoughts and calm down my worrying about everything and anything now. I can’t stand it I’m tired and I just want my life back with my husband and kids. All I want to do is cry I have zero motovation for anythinf I don’t look forward to anythinf it’s like I do t even know myself anymore. Anyone have advise?

  145. Jamie Says:

    I have challenged myself over the past week and succeeded in each challenge (as I mentioned in my last post). I did not feel too bad over the weekend but have gone back into work today and not felt great, getting progressively worse over the day. I have noticed over the last few months that if I push myself that I then feel unwell afterwards e.g. sore throat, flu like symptoms etc.

    I am not doing my usual and analysing it / trying to fix it as much as I usually do. The best way to describe it as a feeling of ‘fuzziness’ across the top of my head, forehead and across my nose. This also makes me feel quite lightheaded and it feels like everything is moving from side to side. I have had a lot of inner ear / balance over the last 20 years so feeling dizzy / lightheaded really does not go down well.

    I am not seeking reassurance from anyone as I know it is just an offshoot of anxiety. I just wondered if anyone else feels like this sometimes ?

  146. Milu Says:

    Hey jen
    You are not alone, I can see the frustration in your post and I understand. It is hard to continually feel like this but have faith in the recovery of so many. Your husband and children still see you as mommy and wife despite how you are feeling. My husband always tells me that I hide it so well from them it is hard for them to know how I may feel.
    We all do what we feel we need to get better. When I am at my weak points I try to cry it out or even journal. Just remember how strong you are!
    Last week was a very bad week but this week Is offering a bit of peace. I wish the same for you.

  147. ken Says:

    Ok so idk what to tell her my anxiety has been really bad. And my girl i was with for 8 years says she cant be around me because i maje her more anxious. But she has been avoiding me and i was somewhat neglecting her and i was trying to tell her to talk to me then and not hold it in or run away a whill im doing the same thing. But i oersonally feel that if we were to talk that we could work things out but she doesnt want to. I personally feel we are vecoming more distant but i feel she is the one. She is saying that she needs to wait until her anxiety is gone so she can come talk to me but i feel its going to make both of us worse because i have things i want to sat to her aswell. Im not telling her what to do but i was trying to tell her the more she waits the worse it will be and we are going to be pulled apart. Idk what to do

  148. Doreen Says:

    Ken – I don’t mean to sound dismissive but relationship difficulties are not really anything that can be advised upon. Helping you with coping with symptoms of anxiety and moving on from them is the function of this blog

  149. Rik Says:

    Jen,

    I feel for you I really do. You are very much still in the acute phase of anxiety and it can feel extremely overwhelming. I would recommend taking the time to read Paul’s books again but would also really recommend Claire Weekes book More Help For Your Nerves. I find she explains very clearly what we go through and how these things can build one on top of the other if you allow the fear of your symptoms to go on unchecked.

    Your mind is under incredible stress right now and you quite rightly feel overcome by emotion and fear. You can get through this though and there will be a time where things start to settle down and acceptance becomes a little easier. You must make the choice to start though. Only you can do that. Meds can help to take the edge off symptoms when you are at your worst so if you feel you are desperate then there is no shame in getting a little relief for a while if that is what you feel you need. At some point thought the spirit must rise up inside you and you must accept the things that are going on inside you and make the choice to not let them rule your life any more. It is not easy but recovery only ever lies on the other side of what you fear.

  150. Andy J Says:

    Hi Rik,

    Thanks very much for your reply.

    Its so difficult, and this is my main anxiety block at the moment. Logically I should know that all of this is anxiety driven. I have had anxiety and mental health issues in many forms over the last ten years, yet a part of me still believes this is something else, that I am some kind of evil person. Often it is only one of the intrusive thoughts which set me off, and then all my good intentions for the day are ruined and I am back to square one.

    I’m tired, frustrated, depressed, hopeless, just generally fed up. I can’t actually remember what normal life is like and having things to look forward to. Life at the minute is a total grind and to be honest, an absolute nightmare. I repeat behaviors to keep me safe, but all this does is strengthen the grip anxiety has on me. Its just I’m too scared to try anything else.

    Thanks again,

    Andy

  151. Rik Says:

    Andy,

    As hard as it sounds you need to allow yourself to truly feel that fear and not give it any extra reaction. You need to take a risk on letting that thought pop into your head and scare you and then let it sit there as long as it wants to. You don’t have to like it or even change your natural reaction to it or in fact even have a reaction to it but just truly let it be there. As you do this you will see that it will fade away. It may come back again after a few seconds but it will always fade away. What you do with a thought and how you choose to behave as a result of it is ALWAYS your choice to make. This is a crucial thing to understand as it takes the power away from the thought. You have two choices. Continue to think it means something or finally admit to yourself that in fact it is just a thought like any of the other thousands you might have in a day.

    Here is a little tip that I found useful last time I had these thoughts. Next time you go out make yourself think about taking all your clothes off and running round the street. Or think about yourself slapping someone round the face with a massive trout. I bet you everything in my wallet that despite having had that thought, even if you find the idea funny, you don’t actually do it. Why? Because you dont want to. It is that simple. Just because you have a thought it does not make it true or reflect what you want to do in any way. It is just a thought that you are scared of which lends it power. You are scared of it because you applied a meaning to it. You applied meaning to it because you are so anxious and stressed and your mind is scanning for what you perceive to be dangerous (thoughts!) It really is that simple. I know it doesn’t feel like it but please trust me. I have been through the same as you and I know how real the thoughts feel. I overcame them and anxiety and was completely back to my old self. Since my setback as a result of ongoing stress I have been dealing with a new type of thought that has been extremely hard for me but I am making progress now.

    One day when you have been doing the right thing for long enough your overall stress state will lower sufficiently for you to no longer be on the lookout for scary thoughts. When this happens you wont even realise. You will only realise when you remember about it and even then the thoughts will no longer matter as you are not sensitized and will be able to view them as just unwanted thoughts. How long this takes depends on how long you continue to be scared of them and let them rule your life. Only you can make the choice to follow the correct path which is total acceptance of the thoughts. Not the content. Just their presence. You must rebuild the trust in your own mind and this takes time.

  152. Mark Says:

    Hey guys,

    just to keep you updated. I had really accepted thoughts and feelings and the depression and anxiety had begun to leave. The sun shined, the birds chirped. Beautiful. I got on with my days without even thinking about how good the days we’re that I was having.

    I didn’t sleep well last night, got up this morning and I felt down. In my weak state i casually clicked on an article which conveniently popped up about depression and the need for medication. Bang, thoughts and feelings right back.

    Time to begin accepting all again until I can be strong enough to let these fears go!

    The important thing I would say is I noticed the habit that brought me back to this state. However hard it is convince myself that that’s all it is.

  153. Rik Says:

    Mark,

    Well done. I am going through the same thing so it is great to see that you enjoyed success. Keep up the good work. A minor blip is all this is. You will be back there in no time.

  154. Mark Says:

    Thanks Rik.

    I think the important thing for everyone here (including myself) is to remember that I and so many others with all different mental issues and physical feelings such as Rik, have recovered before.

    We got sucked back in. But it’s another chance to cement acceptance into those tired and scared brains of ours. There is nothing wrong with us emotionally.

  155. Andy J Says:

    Thanks again for your post Rik.

    I know what I need to do and should have known this all along. Its just putting the theory in to practice.

    Thanks again,

    Andy

  156. Colin Says:

    Hi guys
    Wee question regarding anxiety !
    Do you think there are different levels of anxiety ? Eg
    Mild , moderate , severe ?
    I think when I suffered anxiety it was probably of the moderate sort !
    At the time in my anxious way I thought it was severe ?
    Now looking back and reading a lot of you guys posts . I think I would have been the the moderate bracket .
    Would it be possible out of interest to say what each of you feel your level is ?
    I think some people on here are more severe than others ? And are still using the blog as a technique . Eg they come on here giving advice about how to just accept and then ask for help ?? I absolutely think this blog is of great help to a lot of people , but some need to use the knowledge on here and move on ?

    Hope I don’t sound critical ? And really do wish everyone on here and anyone suffering with anxiety a full recovery . It really is possible to achieve this state . My biggest word on my personal recovery and still is , Acceptance !!! I still to this day accept that I have anxiety ( we all do ) and will always have it . But I don’t care , fear or avoid having it . I talk freely to my friends about mental health . I laugh and joke about my anxiety . Believe me all these things are acceptance . Sore head ? Upset stomach ? Can’t sleep ?
    All things that I suffered and might probably suffer one day again ? But you know what I couldn’t give a shit if it does .
    Move on guys ! Yes it’s hard but life can be hard ! We are a special few , that when recovered you will be a much more humble understanding liberated person.

  157. Rik Says:

    Colin,

    Those of us that have dealt with certain issues before and overcome them in the past are very well placed to give advice to others who may be suffering from something similar.

    Do some use the blog for constant reassurance? Yes. Does that mean they don’t deserve a kind word or bit of advice that may click with them a bit better? Absolutely not. For some people the drips of reassurance they get can eventually lead to them plucking up the courage to accept and attempt to make their life bigger than anxiety. Some take longer than others. It is a process with as many stumbling blocks as victories. Of course we should always stress to them that they need to put the advice into practise as soon as possible rather than just asking again and again.

    When my anxiety came back in December I would definitely say I was in the extreme bracket. So much so I even asked for reassurance myself a few weeks back despite having overcome this twice before in the last 8 years using the same acceptance method. The rational mind just does not get a look in when you are that bad and when your stress levels are that extreme.

    I have been accepting it all now for a few weeks and have already seen significant improvements which has made my mind clearer to offer advice to the likes of Andy who are having a very hard time of it with intrusive thoughts.

    I do think that being stuck with distressing obsessive thoughts is incredibly difficult. I would have taken a million physical symptoms if I could have been free of the obsessive thinking at the start. It was crippling me. Sometimes just ‘putting it under the anxiety umbrella’ can be extremely difficult and it can take the person to see it from a different perspective or have it explained to them a certain way for them to begin chipping away at the fear and then take that leap of faith to stick it under the umbrella.

    Im not sure who you are referring to about giving advice and then asking for help as I haven’t seen all that much of that myself but as we all know it can be one thing to know the theory and another to put it into practice. One day you can feel good and the next a complete wreck. On the good days you may pass on advice you feel has helped and on the bad you may need a bit of reassurance to keep pressing on.

    We all post to support each other.

  158. ken Says:

    Doreen thank you and that was the first ever response i ever had on here and it was because i didnt follow guidelines. But i guess my issue is i have a hard time speaking up for mayself. And saying how i feel. Thank you

  159. Jen Says:

    Thanks Rik and Milu for responding. It really means alot. I guess I have to have the inner strength to not play into these worrying thoughts. It’s hard

  160. ken Says:

    Can someone maybe explain this to me. My confidence is very low and have alot of anxiety but this popped in my head and dont know what it means

    “You cannot rely upon your own intuition in deciding how to deal with OCD.”
    For some reason i feel like its saying i cannot trust myself. Is that incorect. Kind of confused
    Thankyou

  161. Ryan Says:

    Hey guys, been doing fairly great and off the blog for quite some time.. But of course dealing with a tough setback right now due to a diagnosis of gastritis. I have severe indigestion, and stomach pain. Have never dealt with this before, and my anxiety is back with a vengeance…it’s hard for me to eat right now because I have so much pain when I swallow. They have put me on very high doses of Prilosec, but decided to stop taking them because they don’t seem to be doing much and I feel as if they are increasing my anxiety..my question is has anyone else dealt with gastritis, and were you able to help or stop it naturally by diet? I’m trying not to stress cause I know that’s what caused the gastritis in the first place, but hard to let it be when I’m in pain and can’t eat.. Been having to take Ativan the past few days as I have taken a huge step back.. Which is really frustrating as its been probably 6 months since I’ve taken one… Any thoughts would be appreciated!!

  162. Bryan Says:

    Ryan,

    Went through gastritis and yes with time, diet and stress reduction I got past it. I would avoid the Ativan for other reasons if possible. You don’t want to create more problems. Setbacks are natural and if you approach this like you did anxiety originally it’ll fade in time. Worry and stress reduction are paramount.

  163. Debbie Says:

    Hi Ryan I have had gastritis on and off my whole life I went the natural approach as nexiam and the others caused me anxiety. Here is what I do I take dgl it is a form of licorice , drink butter milk it coats your stomach keep away from any spice or anything with acid in it . Also aloe Vera juice helps and coconut water harmless coconut water is the brand it’s pure. Hope this helps .

  164. Colin Says:

    Hi Rik
    Sorry if it came across like I was criticism anybody for coming on here for reassurance! I just think in my own personal journey ( with Paul’s book )
    That constantly searching by asking questions over and over would only make things worse ? The whole theory of this is to let go !!! Be free of anything it throws at us . Take it for a ride if it rears its ugly head . We have to stop looking for answers . The answer is preached every day on here . Accept ,Accept , Accept !!! Even when I suffered a setback . Yes I felt the effects of it but I knew what it was and knowing what it was and not fearing it . That’s when it had much less of an impact on me . So by not fearing it and accepting yea I have anxiety it had no strength !

    Even as of now if I get a twinge of anxiety . I don’t give it the time or space to have an impact on me . This is such an easy way of recovering from anxiety . Or maybe like I was asking about various strengths of it ? Mild moderate or severe ? That’s what I was asking and maybe this is why I have recovered quicker ? Let’s all get back to the basics ? Even if it means reading both of Paul’s books again then do it , get the knowledge you need again . Refresh the mind on the subject , start from scratch . Take the advice handed out on this blog and put it into practice ???

  165. Sally Says:

    Hi Ryan yes I have had gastritis I now have duodenitis inflammation of the duodenum,the treatment is the same.The meds you are on do not cure these conditions they merely stop you making so much acid giving your body the chance to heal itself.I have been on these meds for years even so it flares up from time to time usually when my anxiety is off the scale.Diet is very important in the healing process ie no fried lay off butter cheese etc alcohol is very irritant to it.If you don’t take the meds it will not heal because acid is aggravating an already sore stomach.Hopes this helps and it takes time so be patient Sally

  166. Rik Says:

    Hi Colin,

    I do think some do get much stronger anxiety than others but usually this is down to their own reaction to it over time or they could have much worse life circumstances that are ongoing increasing or maintaining stress levels. As you say, if we all accept then the power is taken away. Knowledge is key as you also alluded to. Read the books, get the knowledge and a few tips or explanations from those who have been through it before and then commit to acceptance. Simple but not easy by any means :)

  167. Nicola Says:

    Hi Sara,

    I suffered pre and post natal anxiety if you ever want to talk about it. I admitted myself into a psych ward as I was becoming suicidal so it was pretty bad! Still is but there’s nothing about anxiety and depression I haven’t experienced and I’ve managed to survive this far. 5 years down the road – nearly 6 xx

  168. Julie W Says:

    Anybody struggle with signficant self awareness? I take it with me wherever I go, and some days it’s worse than others. It’s hard to enjoy myself when I am always thinking of me. Trying to just accept this, but it is really hard. This is my biggest symptom right now. I guess I need to just let it be, and live with it. Any other advise?

  169. Nicola Says:

    Julie, yes absolutely. It’s horrible!

  170. ken Says:

    Does anyone have advise for head conversations. A girl I have been with for 8 years is unsure because my severe anxiety but I’m having these head conversations saying I need her and everything. I have been trying tontwlk to her but I get anxious around her now the conversations hppen a lot and inworry what she will say. What do I do

  171. Amanda Says:

    Nicola
    Can I ask if you take meds? And if they help?
    I am almost 12 months in and can’t imagine suffering for 6 years. Some days are better than others but it’s always there, I do everything and live my life going on holidays, working and raising my small boys but it never leaves I am always focused on me and how I’m feeling.
    Cheers
    Amanda

  172. Nicola Says:

    Hi Amanda,

    It’s difficult. I have recently begun taking a steady course of Venlafaxine 150mg a day as at the end of last year all the anxiety and set backs led to a nervous breakdown and a period of extreme suicidal depression, BUT, I should say that I was trying to do far too much in my life. I was running my own business, studying for a diploma, I’m a mother etc etc… I honestly don’t believe our brains can cope with that much stress, and mine just gave out and said ‘enough’. Now I respect and listen to my brain and body. I gave up my business and managed to finish my course and get my diploma. I applied for benefit, CBT and finally admitted I needed help from doctor who put me on meds. Now finally I seem to be on the up, but I hit my lowest point. I had had so many setbacks and periods of depression that I had lost all hope. I’m agoraphobic, and can hardly see anyone but now I have begun to broaden my prison a little and will keep working on it. I learned to deal with panic attacks and have stopped having them. I have diazepam as a security blanket. It’s been hell on earth, but if nothing else anxiety has given me enormous self respect and strength. I never knew I was so strong!!

  173. Nicola Says:

    And with all respect I think Paul said he had one panic attack in the 10 years he had anxiety – I’ve had hundreds and gone on to suffer panic disorder and that’s a whole new level of anxiety! if I had anxiety without panic my life would be entirely different!! I am constantly aware that I could lose control at any minute and that’s a difficult thing to stop being afraid of! However, neuroplasticity allows for brain change and I firmly believe that if I can create new habits and thought patterns and break old pathways I can beat this thing. For now I’m just accepting that I will be this way the rest of my life. That way I can just give up the fight. I’ve had problems all my life and used alcohol before I got pregnant – sober since, so I would hope nobody would get as bad as I have xx

  174. Amanda Says:

    Thanks for replying Nicola, I truly understand how painful it is, I hope you are on the right path now.

  175. Nicola Says:

    You’re welcome Amanda. Thank you xx

  176. Doreen Says:

    Well done Nicola.

  177. Andy J Says:

    Hi Julie,

    Yes, I suffered with that significantly up until about 18 months ago. The feeling of always noticing how you are and being unable to think outwardly. I longed for how I used to be, thinking about what I would do at the weekend, then maybes getting distracted and thinking about something else. But constantly returning to myself and how I was. I would just try and allow it to be there. You know it is anxiety, and that it cant do you any harm.

    Unfortunately for me, that lead me on to my new wave of intrusive thoughts which have continued since then. 18 months and counting unfortunately. I just cant seem to reduce their impact or allow them to be there. Each time I have one it panics me as much as the first one ever did. I’ve tried and currently still am on medication, I’ve tried talking therapies, mindfulness, books etc, yet nothing can seem to shift where I am.

    I find I am stuck in the same old cycle, each and every day. All it takes is one thought to panic me. I cant stand being alone and have placed numerous behaviours in to my daily life to protect me. I know it is only enhancing the thoughts, but the alternative of acting on them scares me witless. I have absolutely zero trust or faith in myself, and dont know how I can begin to turn this around. I’m hoping to speak to a different therapist who can give me some techniques in the interim.

    As mine has turned in to more of an OCD, I’m not really sure if following this guidance is for me.

    Hope every one else is doing ok.

    Andy

  178. Nicola Says:

    Hi Andy, the picking away at scary thoughts and trying to analyse my way through them is something I struggle with too, have you ever noticed though that you can have one scary thought for say two weeks or whatever only to have it replaced by another – and when you look back at the original scary thought, it’s not scary anymore! The thoughts are only scary because we are scared at the moment of thinking them. I’ve had some mad thoughts go through my head. Now I recognise them as just that – thoughts. I am learning to choose how I react to them. Best of luck

  179. Andy J Says:

    Thanks Nicola.

    I guess because I have had them for so long, my reaction to them has changed. Where at first I would be petrified and guaranteed that this was not who I am, the duration has changed my perspective and started me worrying that this is not anxiety, but actually who I am now.

    Needless to say if I acted upon these thoughts, then my life would be over and so that is really distressing. I just dont want to have these thoughts anymore, but I am becoming so entangled with what I am and what I am not thinking and how to deal with different scenarios, that panic just sets in and I go back to square one every time.

    Good luck in your recovery.

    Andy

  180. Rik Says:

    Andy,

    You need to take that leap of faith. You could begin to be free as of today if you just started taking that leap of faith each time that you can let the thought be there. The trust in your own mind comes back over time. I have had all the thoughts you have and then some but when I committed myself to just letting them be there and trusting in my own choice not to act they began to fade and my anxiety began to drop. You are keeping the cycle alive yourself by not realising the simple concept of choice that you will always have. Let them be there. Its not easy at first but it does get easier. When the doubt thought comes ignore that too. Anything whatsoever on that theme simply ignore it. It is all created and perpetuated by anxiety and fear. Fact. Remove the fear and they fade away as you are no longer interested in them.

  181. Nicola Says:

    Andy

    Your brain is supposed to be a tool for good. Use IT – don’t let it use YOU!

  182. Milu Says:

    Andy I hear your frustrations I too am constantly surrounded with thoughts all day everyday, none of them seem present day relevant. I have been just allowing them to flow for about 6 weeks and all I fibd is that there’s is another be one right behind it. I have for through anxiety and depression before and know that it is only a temporary state. just remember that others feel your pain as well and that there is hope.
    Nicole, panic attacks are definitely hard to embrace. I had not had them for many years and they have come back, although familiar they are far from comfortable. T sounds like you have made positive changes in your life that are helping you in your recovery.
    Rik your words are always so offering and level headed. Thank you for the support you give to all in this forum

  183. Sara Says:

    Hey all

    I just wanted to update my status in order not to leave any negativity in the forum as I know i hate to read people really suffering and automically think i’ll be that person crying for help.

    I’m feeling TONS better and i wanted everyone to know that i went through horrible cold turkey withdrawal…..give your typical worst day of anxiety and bump the meter about 1000% and you get the state i was in. I’d also stopped eating unless i was forced and couple that with the vomiting and early pregnancy: Well you get the drift!

    So for anyone looking back on my comments PLEASE don’t think that’ll be you, i was under tremendous stress and pressure and circumsances that will probably never occur to you.

    That being said some ladies handle cold turkey during pregnancy pretty well so please don’t take me as an example.

    I wish you all lots of courage and ACCEPTANCE as that is all we need.

    I’m taking a break from the forum and really focusing on my health right now i hope to come back soon to read recovery stories from the following:

    Mark r- you’ve been a great help to everyone here and you truly deserve the best

    Milu- You’re so strong and couragious here’s to a happier and healthier new year

    Jamie and Chris: You guys just need one last push and you’ll be giving advice in no time

    To the rest LOTS OF SUPPORT AND POSITIVITY (is that a word?)

  184. Rik Says:

    Great to hear you are doing well Sara. I am still in the throws of this setback but doing my best to accept all that comes my way. It is incredibly difficult but I will not give up.

    Milu,

    I like to try to help those who are really struggling as like you I have been through this all before and come out the other side smiling. It never feels like it at the time but feelings and thoughts can change and you can be left feeling proud that you stayed the course and didn’t give up. I find the feelings of depression the hardest as I feel no joy for anything I used to most of the time. I am just letting this be though and continuing to do the things I would do if I were not like this. I am sure that in time it will all blow over again.

  185. Andy J Says:

    Thanks again Rik.

    I guess I’m just having a bit of a blip. I haven’t really seen a lot of progress but perhaps I am not really accepting everything.

    Hoping for a better weekend

  186. Derrick Says:

    Nolan or Colin –

    I would love to hear your thoughts on my situation. I am sure that Paul’s advice is sound. I have been dealing with high anxiety for 5 years now, and I have made a lot of progress. I definitely notice that when I am feeling great and enjoying life that I am not getting caught up in the anxious thoughts, feelings, and sensations. I am just living my life. This feels just like what Paul and Claire Weekes are teaching.

    The problem is when some thought, feeling, or sensation comes on strong enough to grab my attention I slip back into focusing on anxiety and trying to work it out to get back to feeling good. I start feeling like crap and sliding into setback. No fun, as I am sure you can relate.

    I try to really not give my feelings, thoughts, and sensations any attention or respect, but it seems that when I am anxious my mind is going to chew on the thoughts that yell the loudest. And this is what happens when I am in setback. Paul says not to try to change your thoughts, so I just keep doing what I have to do. Is it OK to try to consciously focus on other things when the anxious thoughts are trying to get all of my mind’s attention? I’m not sure if this is using a “technique” or not. I’m just not sure how to move my mind in a better direction when I’m experiencing anxiety. Is there a way to focus on other things that fits in Pauls teachings?

    I hope this make sense, and I would love to hear your thoughts.
    Cheers

  187. Maria Says:

    Hi all,
    Haven’t been on here in quite awhile as I’ve been doing pretty well. But today has been tough! A dear friend of mine was rushed to the hospital last night with a tear in his aorta. He’s been like a brother to me since we were kids. This morning I was updated and learned that things were very serious. I decided to cancel my work day and head to the hospital. On my way I started getting a bit anxious as I really hate hospitals! I parked and took a deep breath and headed into this huge, crazy maze of a building. Took me 15 to get up to his room and by then I was a hot mess! I stayed for a bit, got an update from his wife, gave him a kiss and high tailed it out of there. I had several little panic attacks while in there, or maybe just one long high level of anxiety. Call it what you will.

    I am home now with some quiet time, waiting to hear how surgery goes. And my anxiety level is understandably still pretty high. But what I know now since reading Paul’s book is that this is ok. I need to give my body a little time to chill, for the adrenalin levels to come back down. I may always find myself in situations where I feel anxious, but how I respond to that anxiety is key. Writing this to you all is a reminder to myself and hopefully helpful to some of you. If I’m just patient and allow all these cruddy feelings to do whatever they need to do, they’ll subside.

    I think the brain of an anxious person reacts very habitually. I look at it as my job to start retraining my brain by allowing the anxiety to do its thing, rather than freaking out and trying to fight it. It’s hard, very hard. I’ve reacted with fear for 30 years, so it going to take time. But I have the tools now and so do you.

    I hope this helps and would appreciate any feedback from anyone that this makes sense to. :)

  188. Rik Says:

    Andy,

    I think by what you said you know what you need to do and why you are still stuck. Take the leap. Trust and accept. You can do it.

  189. Debbie Says:

    Marie i understand how you feel my dad died 3 months ago and 4 days ago my sons wife left him and i have 4 grandchildren and i also have a leaky aorta valve which is what started this whole anxiety 1 year ago i have spoke with u a few times anxiety can really mess u up. It plays its nasty tricks as u remember my are intrusives of any movie dream i have had i feel like at times as iam talking to someone my mind is in that scene its scarey . But i get threw every day. And scarry dejvu i always looked for a label of what this is because i never hsd anything like this only physical symptoms .sending u hugs do u live in the us?

  190. Colin Says:

    Hello Derrick
    Sorry to hear that you are not coping at the moment .
    What you are experiencing is a setback ! Pure and simple . Please try just letting your mind do what it wants . Just try doing what you know is best for you ? When I had what you are experiencing. I would just try to settle myself ( relax breathe ) this would let me slip back into my own sense of well being . I would become grounded again ! At one with myself ! ( mindfulness ) it lets you come back to where you belong . Don’t let this setback deter you from your recovery . Go forward and recover again mate !

    Colin

  191. Chris Says:

    Hi all. Just wanted to share a few successes. Also have a wee question at the end.

    Yesterday I was the best man at my mates wedding. I started off the day feeling awful as per usual. In spite of that I attended the wedding, gave a three minute speech which everyone loved, and drank too much expensive champagne! Lol.

    Anyway. This morning I woke up and the awful anxiety was there once again with all the thoughts, it felt overwhelming. This time I thought I would try something different. The thoughts were destructive as usual, so I decided to say to them ‘so be it’ and I completely submitted to every thing my mind was saying to me. If this is going to happen, then so be it. If I never recover then so be it. The feelings still hung around for a wee bit, but my mind decided it didn’t need to keep going over the subject anymore, because of this ‘so be it’ approach. I then came out the other side of the moment, feeling quite normal, and the burden of anxiety felt slightly lighter. It was a bit of an aha moment. I thought that I had to work on all my belief systems to recover, but the truth is these aren’t my belief systems at all, they are ANXIETY’S belief systems. When I came out through the moment, the whole thing just didn’t matter so much.

    I have been holding back and shying away from my thoughts a fair bit. I am now going to think whatever I want, whenever I want. I am going to let my thoughts and feelings cause absolute havoc. They are going to anyway probably. I don’t even need to glimpse, all I need to do is completely submit to everything. It’s the only thing that has actually made me feel better. The more we resist, the more it persists.

    I always thought my fears (I posted about them earlier, probably no point in repeating them) were the insoluble problem that Claire Weekes referred to, and I would need to get counselling or something. It seems like this maybe isn’t the case at all, because we all have specific fears. I’d love to get an opinion on this actually.

  192. Nicola Says:

    Does anyone ever feel like they just don’t know what’s real and what’s not anymore. Like you just don’t have the clarity you had pre-anxiety? Like the world you thought you knew so well has disintegrated in your mind in a sense? I don’t have psychosis or anything. It seems to have happened after just having anxiety and depression for so long. Like my brain has changed, which it undoubtedly has.

  193. Nicola Says:

    On the other side of that I seem to have flashes of complete pre-anxiety normal. I don’t let if affect me too much so perhaps I’m on the way out of this!

  194. Rik Says:

    Hi Nicola,

    Yes absolutely. During anxiety i feel a completely different person and totally disconnected from everything. I put this down to my brain trying to protect me from things i feel i cant cope with which when i am at my most anxious is pretty much everything. I have learnt a lot about anxiety and the way our brain works etc which now helps me to understand what it is happening. Having had anxiety in the past i also know that my old self is still there and when recovered i feel 100% normal and connected again. It is a horrible thing and for me has contributed hugely to feelings of depression and thoughts along the same lines. I now see what is happening though. I cant feel for anything because my brain thinks i still need protecting and has shut off all emotion to protect me from further stress. Of course at the start i questioned it all and tried to fight it but now i realise that all i need to do is step out of the way, trust that my brain will right itself eventually and just take the depression thoughts with a pinch of salt. I didnt think like this before the anxiety so i know that i wont once it is gone again. It is just a temporary protective state that my mind is in. My brain doesnt realise that i would overthink it and make it worse.

  195. honey Says:

    Honestly I don’t know why I am bothering to post but I’m having a bad day so once again I’m reaching out to those who have recovered or understand this stuff better than I do. With anxiety comes all these symptoms. Some are obvious and acute eg heart racing and nausea. Some are more subtle and thought based. But there’s this one thing that happens that just completely.renders.me. It comes over me out of nowhere, I may have been fine for weeks or months and then there it is. It’s like a cloud descending and Robbing me of all the happiness in my life because right there in that moment nothing else matters but solving this problem and googling. I am so confused. And in my worried state I jut think to myself that recovery is basically just another word for ‘learned to cope with feeling awful’. I’ll never be normal again. Because it’s always lurking there. And even when recovered do you just think oh I don’t care if it comes back? But when it does how do you know you won’t go back to old ways of struggling? I’m so confused. I’m just not ok with coping. I feel defective like there’s something wrong with me when everyone else just copes with life’s ups and downs but I fall apart. Something as minor as a holiday throws me into despair, self pity etc.

    Does anyone else get that feeling I described? If so does it go when you’re recovered or do I just need to learn to deal with it always poppin up now and then.

    Like I’ve said many times I’m ok with feelin normal anxiety levels but it’s not normal to struggle to hold myself together when I’m out for lunch with my friend. Or struggling through work all day every day. I know we are all going through this but I feel so angry at the world today and self pitying. I know these are all the wrong things to do,

    Colin can you shed some light please? Or anyone recovered?

    Feel free to be blunt. I need telling off for going round in pointless circles I am so fed up with myself and with anxiety which I know I create myself.

  196. Derrick Says:

    Colin –

    Thanks so much for the response. I feel like my acceptance level is once again increasing, and I’m not reacting so much to the sensations and thoughts. Your advice is excellent! I know I will come completely out the other side one day. I’m feeling very hopeful.

    Cheers

  197. Milu Says:

    Hi all just a quick question for anyone trying meditation out there – do you find that you get more constant thoughts? They are sometimes random memories sometimes random thoughts but I wonder if by meditating that I sm releasing more thoughts? I started a meditation class in the new year and then had two weeks of very strong all day long anxiety, it ha subsided but the thoughts are still there. Any opinions? I have heard that meditating us cautioned for depressed people but not sure why?
    Honey take comfort in the fact that you have emerged and you will again. I think we get stronger me learn more about ourselves in these processes.

  198. Nicola Says:

    Milu I tried some meditation for a while. My anxiety increased but then I found some periods of calm. I think it’s about learning to allow your thoughts but without clawing into them and picking them apart like so many of us do. There have been stories of it triggering some mental health problems in people but I can’t help but think these people had underlying problems anyway and as its a change for the brain it should probably be done carefully, especially if you are hypersensitive to change xx

  199. Milu Says:

    Thanks Nicola I think I will go back to my guided meditations as I found this quite relaxing, it has been the sit in silence that I think has affected me. Hypersensitive is my middle name lol

  200. Fleur Says:

    Hello, I want to say you about my experience.
    I am from Slovakia, and I sometimes read one slovak forum about health. There was one post from one boy who was desperate. He said that he has OCD, GAD, anxiety-depression… So much labels. From his writing it was clear to me that it is anxiety.

    He wrote because he wanted a help, and he got only advice about medication, and psychiatrist and very negative posts. I wanted to encourage him so I wrote him a post, something like this „don´t worry, I told him about labels, that he has only anxiety and those labels are symptoms, that it´s possible to be free again. That the best thing would be doing things like before, accept…

    Then he wrote to me a long hateful post :-o: „Please, Fleur, I hate these conspirative tricks. Stop. Don´t write to me these bulls*its.“ And then other people agreed with him. That anxiety is serious illness, etc etc…

    I am very sad from those posts. I wanted to help someone, but they were angry at me. I am sensitive and It didn´t help me with my anxiety. Such a BIG negativity. I will not go there again.

    I write this because I want to thank you Paul David, and everybody who is posting here. It is really very positive and unique blog. And of course books. I love this positive approach. I am so much better thanks to you.

  201. Nicola Says:

    Fleur I am shocked that they replied to you in this way as your reply to him was correct! We know anxiety has serious effects on people but they didn’t need to be so horrid about it. Hope you’re ok xx

  202. Nicola Says:

    I have only been able to travel a couple of miles from home for about 3 months since my nervous breakdown. Today I managed to travel 14 miles from home to visit my parents who I haven’t seen in a long time because of fear. Today I decided that I just didn’t care about the anxiety. I didn’t care if it came – I have coped with it all before. I didn’t allow it to take primary focus in my mind, I just wanted to see my mum and dad. It just so happened that I was listening to Claire Weekes on my way over there and she said something that struck a chord – she said ‘with interest aroused, fear takes a back seat’ you cannot be interested in something and fearful. I wonder if like me, any of you have found that you just don’t enjoy anything anymore because fear is always at the forefront of your mind, and everything has become a chore. Try for one day to set the anxiety aside and just not care that it’s there – you can go back to worrying the next day if you want. It’s amazing what else comes up in your mind when you put the anxiety aside. I find myself thinking about things I might actually like to do. I had a wonderful two weeks once where I decided that I was just going to get on with life and sod the anxiety and I was genuinely free for those two weeks before something out of my control happened and I was flooded (mental panic I could get control over) – had it been allowed to continue for longer – those two weeks I mean, my mind would have naturally adopted those new habits of being. I think I might be getting there again.

  203. Nicola Says:

    I have honestly forgotten what ‘normal’ feels like, so I am no longer fighting to regain this elusive ‘normal’ feeling. I have finally truly accepted that anxiety is my lot and from this I no longer try to change things or hold on to or keep replaying bad episodes – after all this is me now so what’s the point. I think I have found the true meaning of acceptance and from here I can only get better. I’m not TRYING to accept, I HAVE accepted. A strange relief comes with this.

  204. Chris Says:

    Hi all, me again!

    I’ve been re-reading parts of at last a life again as a refresher, and wanted to ask a question in relation to positive thinking.

    In the chapter Born to Worry, Paul explains how we need to change our negative thinking habit to a positive thinking habit. However in his later book he advises us to basically give up on our thoughts altogether, and to not take them seriously.

    This is a little bit confusing. The first advice says change your thoughts, the other says give up on your thoughts. Is anyone able to elaborate on this? Thanks.

  205. Nicola Says:

    Does anyone else ever just feel a terror sweep over them for no reason and feel like they are just overwhelmed by the world?

  206. Rik Says:

    Nicola,

    I would say feeling overwhelmed and afraid is pretty much the basis of most acute anxiety attacks.

    Rather than try to unravel each aspect of it instead try to assign the blame squarely on anxiety and work on accepting it and floating through it.

    I couldnt even begin to list the different physical and mental symptoms i have experienced in my times with anxiety.

  207. Rik Says:

    Chris,

    You are reading too much into it in my opinio . Learn to accept and negative thoughts change to positive over time once you become more involved with the world again and feel better in yourself. It is incredibly difficult to feel positive when you are so anxious etc but it comes back over time.

  208. Nicola Says:

    I think it’s derealisation/ dissociation ??

  209. Jamie Says:

    Hi Sara

    I’m really pleased that you are feeling much better as I know you were in a bad place a month or so back. I am not sure what you did differently to get through it but it is brilliant news.

    I am not used to people saying positive things about me so what makes you say I am one last push from actually giving other people advice ?

    To be fair though, over the last couple of months, I have had small glimpses of sunlight which I think is the best way to describe it. I have done some challenging things and really put myself out on a limb which I think is helping me move toward accepting / recovery. I am not putting a timescale on anything but it is only after these events that I realise that things are getting a bit easier.

    More successes this weekend were – I had a friend come down and stay over for the weekend which I was very nervous about. The thought of someone with me for nearly a whole day with no escape (I may have a panic attack etc etc) was very anxiety inducing. Anyway, I picked him up from the station, we went out for some food, he stayed over, we went to the cinema today and I drove him back home (an hours drive) stopping for a bite to eat on the way home and popped in for a cup of tea the other end. All of these things were really big as I have not been used to doing these things for a long while but I did all of them irrespective of how I felt / thought about it.

    I wish everyone the best and well done Sara. I know he doesn’t post much here these days but I want to say another special thank you to Nolan. I have said this before but something in one of his posts about 6 or so weeks ago seems to have made something ‘click’ in my mind and the glimpses of sunlight have followed soon after :o)

  210. Jen Says:

    Would ocd be considered the same as anxiety? I read it can’t be cured do you guys think thats true? Would I apply the same method to ocd as with what paul says? Or is ocd different.?

  211. Nicola Says:

    OCD is anxiety and can be cured xx

  212. Nicola Says:

    Anyone else take medication?

  213. Rik Says:

    Jen,

    OCD is basically anxiety but you get too concerned with your thoughts and can find it almost impossible to ignore them. It can be recovered from. Last year I had very bad Harm OCD. I recovered from it fully. It was only when I was under long term stress again at the end of last year that my anxiety came back full force.

    Nicola,

    I am on 50mg of Sertraline which doesn’t really seem to do much for me. I am told is isn’t even considered a therapeutic dose.

    Jamie,

    Great to hear you are still moving forward. Keep up the good work.

  214. Andy J Says:

    Hi Nicola,

    I currently take Citalopram, although I don’t really feel much better for taking it. I’m in the unfortunate position that I don’t want to come off it in case I get any worse. As with most medications, starting or stopping can cause negative effects in the interim.

    I’ve had a mixed weekend. I still continue to live my life, going to different places and exercising but I still can’t seem to make progress. As soon as I see any positives, a negative returns in its place, making progress pretty much impossible.

    The depression has really started to kick in. Not dark thoughts that I want to act on, but just a total hopelessness and I wish I wasn’t here. It isnt fair to have to live this way, and I really empathize with any one who is in a similar position.

    I liken it to giving some one the wrong medication constantly. So some one who has a chest infection, giving them medication for their heart. I think I am trying to apply methods and techniques which just arent working for me. I’m just completely and utterly lost.

    Andy

  215. Nicola Says:

    Andy I can identify a lot with what you have said. It’s like the negatives far outweigh the positives making recovery seem impossible. I have stopped chasing recovery and just try to survive each day – I think that’s the key for now. Acceptance. I take 2mg of Valium about twice a week when I get desperate which allows me to stop worrying about the panics and that is a huge help xx

  216. Nicola Says:

    When depression comes as well you just lose the will to go on don’t you. I honestly would recommend listening to Claire Weekes audiobooks in the evening. They are so comforting and remind me why I feel the way I do. It’s like CBT everyday :-) xx

  217. Andy J Says:

    Hi Nicola,

    Yes it can be difficult.

    I guess the key theme on here is acceptance and the ‘do nothing’ approach. However, I find that difficult when it comes to the feeling down. Surely doing nothing then will only make things worse?

    I also struggle with just putting everything down to anxiety. I have always been some one who needs to rationalise things in my head. Once I know how something works or what its impact will be, I can understand it and move on. Then there is no fear.

    The way I have been feeling and the thoughts I have been having, have no rational explanation. The only explanation would be that I have become some kind of monster and a bad person. Urges, impulses, thoughts etc, combined with a total lack of any kind of shock at them, now has me worried even more. Add this in to my time suffering and all the potential issues I could have if anything ever arose from my anxiety and the stress is just immense.

    Andy

  218. Vadim Says:

    Hey guys Nolan I hope you can help out with this.never posted here before, though I read here a lot and it helped me recover.

    I did everything that Paul said and i felt myself and everything was perfect.

    Until i started getting close to a girl (im engaged) and realised i went to far and fell inlove with her. The fear of this while understanding that i dont really love my fiance was horiffying. This time seems like it was not toughts that was just a realse of adrenalin but the truth i avoided for some time.
    This affected me so much i couldnt eat or sleep or think of anything else, it wasnt classix anxiety like i had it and wasnt afraid of it

    The thing is that i decided to split with my fiance and it gave me relief and i felt at peace with myself and was able to do everything again for a day. I tought that once i felt the freedom and let my forboddin feelings to be felt and my engament felt so logical and convincing i could go back apologize and carry on, but this inability to focus and unease just keeps on going like i never knew it. Suddenly the things i was sure of a minute ago doesnt convince me and i dont know if its just anxiety or anything else since i delt with anxiety and felt different, but a person in a relationship conflict with himself is pretty common but they dont feel like this.

    Im very confused since its a new situation for me and i need to understand whats going on to know how to deal with it.

    Thanks for your help,

    Vadim

  219. Belgian Says:

    Again a message of hope for everyone here,

    – although you don’t need more hope than your regular Joe down the street –

    I wanted to share with you that I can now honestly say that I am truly recovered.

    It’s difficult to explain, but it feels like as if there is a deep understanding of everything I used to worry about. It seems there is still a difference in what the mind knows and what the heart does.

    It’s one thing – and already a very important first step – KNOWING you should let go, knowing you shouldn’t worry about your worrying and knowing you shouldn’t feel anxious because you feel anxious. It’s another to actually FEEL you don’t longer need to do this.

    I now feel very emotional about it all. I mourn about the things I’ve lost or missed out on, but most of all I feel a strength without comparison. Looking back at myself when I was in my darkest hour, nothing has changed really. But my world now looks so much brighter and bigger than it did ever before.

    It seems that we tend too easily forget the pain, disappointment and fear that accompanies any progress in life. Sometimes we get stuck in those difficult times by actually wanting to be too brave or by trying to run away from it. Acceptance then gives you the oxygen you need to move quietly on and beyond your own hard times.

    There really is nothing to discover in your heartache other than the possibility to change your approach to it. It’s a fact for every living organism that life will bring its pain, its sorrow, its end. Happiness and luck are just the other side of this coin.

    There was no magical cure, no magical pill, no divine intervention which has brought me this wisdom. There was Paul’s message, Claire Weekes’ message, lots of love and support from the people around me and most of all trust in the change time brings. You can start this journey too, you only have to let go….

  220. Ryan Says:

    So frustrated at this setback. I really had thought I was in my way as I had many months of great times… I was still anxious many times, but dealt with it fine…now after having this gastritis problem I’ve dropped into despair again, with all day crippling anxiety and a deep scary depression. It’s inly been a week, but just feel back at square one, and feel hopeless that I can ever overcome this as I’ve been at it for many years with small success. But every time I get challenged and anxiety gets really high, I crumple again and fall into the same traps.. It’s as if my brain refuses to accept sometime and wants to just sit and feel sorry for myself..as sad as I have really, really enjoyed life this past year, but now down in this dep depressing place and having all my terrible intrusive s******* thoughts again which really scares me… I wish I could just let go and stop fighting…

  221. Andy J Says:

    Hi Belgian,

    Thanks for that post. Your words always seem to resonate with me.

    Its always good to hear from those who have recovered. Sometimes people like myself get bogged down with the ‘will I ever recover’ thoughts.

    Thanks again

  222. honey Says:

    Thankyou Belgian. Stories of hope always help to remind me that I’m on the right path with all this. I always struggle to really understand what full recovery is like. I know you are left with its memories but would you say the condition remains the same but you don’t care about it anymore? Or does the anxiety disorder actually go away with recovery? Because I’m still so confused and I guess it’s good to know what to expect from recovery so I can be realistic about my goals. I’m ok with just not caring about anxiety anymore and willing to just go through it mindfully but is that all I can expect. I have this vision that recovery is this beautiful place where I just get anxious in normal circumstances rather than eating dinner with my partner in a restaurant for example and where I just feel like a normal person rather than someone who can’t cope with anything! Is that just a dream or could it actually be an expectation that is realistic?

  223. Rik Says:

    Honey,

    I am in a setback now after almost reaching recovery last year as I still had heaps of stress going on in my marriage and never truly accepted my thoughts but i can tell you that once you reach recovery or even once you are nearly there you are no longer sensitised and the same things that affected you so much during your illness just no longer hold any weight at all. You still remember bits (your mind is good at forgetting the hard times) but they don’t hold the same fear. You no longer have an anxiety disorder. You may get nervous before a presentation as any normal person would but the difference is that you see it for what it is. You can think clearly, laugh and joke and basically you are a normal person like anyone else but with an insight that most people never have. You enjoy a whole new zest for life.

    For me when I got better it was like I was completely back to my old self. I loved the things I used to and had fun like I used to and i pushed myself to do things I wanted to but had been too scared to do. Normal stresses are dealt with with ease as compared to anxiety they are nothing. Recovery is not something people can explain to you when you are suffering. You just can’t comprehend it. I can attest to that as I cant imagine it now that I am in a setback but I know it exists and that hope is all I need to know that if I do the right things again I can get there again. You have to trust that one day you will get there and then you will know how amazing it feels. I didnt quite reach full recovery as like I said I had enormous stresses going on at work and at home that I just wasnt dealing with. I was trying to bury my emotions and ignore it all but it caught up with me one morning at the beginning of December.

    I am now working back at acceptance and for the first time I am starting to allow myself to feel my emotions rather than try to bury them. If I feel sad due to how I feel then I allow it. That’s not to say I choose to wallow in it but rather that I am learning to appreciate that I am human and should not be trying to avoid natural feelings. I have a lot to learn about dealing with emotion but I have started the journey again and will get there in time.

    Andy J,

    I had the worst intrusive thoughts you could ever imagine last year during my last bout with anxiety. Trust me when I say that you can move past them. I have replied to you a few times on this post. Take a minute to re-read them and then work at what you know you need to do. This is ALL anxiety. It truly is. I didnt believe it either but once the anxiety faded so too did the thoughts. Give them no respect and move on.

  224. Nicola Says:

    It was nice to read that post Rik

  225. Belgian Says:

    Honey,

    The ‘anxiety disorder’ is a label. A way of telling you that you are letting anxiety taking over your life. A lot of people experience inexplicable anxiety symptoms at odd moments. It only becomes a disorder as you are reaction to anxiety by adding fear and ultimately by capitulating for this feeling.

    I totally get your point though. What can I expect? What if this is as good as it gets? These are questions anyone suffering from anxiety are asking themselves and I asked myself too.

    My answer to this is the same as Claire Weekes’ answer: recovery always lies on the other side of panic and you only get there by finding peace in the middle of it.

    What she actually says is that by finding peace in the midst of it, in time you will lose your fear for it. Read your post back again.

    You say that you ‘are ok with just not caring about anxiety anymore’ but a few sentences later you say: ‘where I just feel like a normal person rather than someone who can’t cope with anything!

    You are more than halfway down the road to recovery. You know you shouldn’t care, but you are not yet feeling this. Instead, you’re still afraid of it and obviously you don’t WANT to feel that way.

    Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s a process everyone in our position has to go through and you WILL get there too!

    So what is this ‘there’ then?

    Recovery does not mean that you never will feel fear anymore, but it’s about knowing in your heart that it does not matter one bit.

    By going down that road, anxiety will gradually lose its sting. And as it loses its sting, it will not show up so often anymore.

    BUT – and this is very important – it can resurface at any time since it’s a human emotion and it carries the burden of so much past suffering for you.

    The good news is that recovery means that you carry in your heart the memory of coming through this suffering too.

    At any stage you have the choice to let yourself be guided by the way you suffered on the one hand or the way you came through your suffering on the other hand.

    I am confident that we can learn to go for the second option.

    And the more we are confronted with anxiety, the more we can practice this.

    Recovery for me means this.

    It means that anxiety doesn’t play such an important role in our lives, but is just one of the many feelings that color our lives.

  226. Nicola Says:

    I think that’s the key isn’t it Belgian – not to let the anxiety be your primary focus. I had two weeks before I got bad again where I can honestly say I was anxiety free. It was amazing. I just woke up one morning and didn’t care that I had anxiety, I was interested in other things more. The problem is when depression comes too so you don’t enjoy anything enough to do it.

  227. Debbie Says:

    Hi rik i was wondering the images of movies i see and dreams i have had is that intrusives or has it become ocd.? I am like 75 %there but those images are errie feeling . Weird .

  228. Nicola Says:

    Anyone have existential thoughts that frighten them? Like how are we here? Trying to comprehend the size of the universe, wondering if anything is real? Etc….. I know it sounds odd but when I am in that worrying cycle, the fear feels warranted. Like I should be afraid. I wonder if these things scare non anxious people?

  229. Nicola Says:

    Intrusive thoughts are down to your brain tying to find the cause of your unease. One day Debbie you will look back on those thoughts and wonder what you were ever afraid of. I’ve experienced this, where I have an intrusive thought that scares me stupid, but then it gets replaced by another thought and the original thought is no longer scary! Anxiety anxiety anxiety. Now I have scary thoughts but I just trust that it is anxiety and that they don’t deserve my attention. I can’t of just get on with it anyway. I am drained, but I know I am in a place of acceptance.

    As a side note, I have found exercise very helpful, here’s why:

    In addition to the creation of new neurons, including those that release the calming neurotransmitter GABA, exercise boosts levels of potent brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which may help buffer some of the effects of stress.

    Now when I get anxious, I just get up and exercise. This isn’t avoidance, I’m happy for the thoughts to continue but I don’t have to sit and take notice of them.

  230. Nicola Says:

    It also burns off any accumulated
    adrenaline etc.. Allowing the body to better relax

  231. Andy J Says:

    Thanks Rik.

    I know this needs to be persistence. I do things and if I feel ok it seems to settle but then if I have a setback I forget everything. It’s just going to have to be patience.

    I really appreciate your advice.

  232. Debbie Says:

    Thanks nicola . I also try to walk 2 miles every day.i have a leaky aorta valve that is what started this whole deal and a few deaths inthe family .i would not travel by my self but now i do i followed pauls advice .

  233. Rik Says:

    Debbie,

    Forget the term OCD and instead just think of it as anxious thought. They are one and the same, only if you think of anxious thought it can be seen for what it is rather than becoming scared of a term that makes you think it is some incurable thing. OCD is completely recoverable by the way. I have done it in the past and know others who have too and it only came back with my anxiety this time as I was scared of it still so I kind of caused it myself by looking out for scary thoughts. Ask any person with any kind of anxiety though and I guarantee you every single one of them has some kind of fearful thoughts each day that they obsess over. The only difference is with OCD you are fixated on one theme as it scares you so much. The theme could be anything but it is always whatever you are most afraid of. Otherwise you wouldnt obsess over it as you would just not be bothered.

    I could choose to identify with the label of OCD but does it serve me to think of myself as having OCD or is it far better to realise that OCD is actually just an anxiety disorder like any other? The main difference with OCD is that you have certain fearful thoughts or themes rather than a broad fear of many things. In my case I had both. I feared lots of things but usually I will have a main fear that takes up most of my thinking time and keeps recurring against my will. I know how to tackle it now though after having successfully overcome extreme harm OCD last year. By tackling my anxiety with acceptance and allowing the thoughts to just shout away it all loosened its grip and left me over time. Without anxiety there is no obsession as the sensitisation is not there any more to keep it all alive. It is just a tired sensitised mind that needs a rest that it doesnt get. Paul has it spot on.

    OCD is treated in exactly the same way as anxiety. Acceptance of the presence of the thoughts and realising that you can allow them to be there and carry on with life as though they werent. No matter what the thought you ALWAYS have the choice about what to do with it whether it scares you or not. This realisation is key. You can also utilise ERP in extreme cases but at the end of the day the goal of ERP is to expose you to something until your mind habituates to it over time. Pretty much the exact same thing as acceptance does but in a more direct way! Please do not get hung up on labelling yourself. This just creates a feeling of permanence and fear that is not warranted. Step away and let it be and take away its power.

    Andy,

    The best way I like to think of how I must act with relation to acceptance of thoughts is to be consistent and persistent. It is the same with anxiety in general. Be consistent in your acceptance and persistent in your will to accept and live your life.

    In the times you feel you have slipped a little just remember to stick to your guns. It is the hardest thing to just sit and let your thoughts run rampant without feeling the urge to try to stop them or counter them or unravel them but this is where you build the trust back in yourself by proving to yourself in real time that you can do just that. That uncomfortable almost itchy feeling of needing to attend to the thoughts fades over time as it is replaced by the trust and realisation that you were in control the whole time. It is only your anxiety that makes you doubt this. When a doubt comes. Ignore that too. It sounds so simple but I know first hand that it isnt. You can do it. With each successful acceptance or ignoring of the thought your spirits will lift a little and that trust seed can be watered. If you haven’t seen them before I really recommend watching some youtube videos by a lady called Katy Daath. They are very good at explaining how acceptance of the thoughts actually results in them fading. Well worth a watch.

    Sorry for the wall of text guys.

  234. Rik Says:

    Nicola,

    That is what started this all off for me again. I got very anxious and stressed, then DP and then started with all those damn thoughts. Like you I am applying the same acceptance to them now as I know that when I am not anxious I couldnt give two hoots about thoughts like that.

    If someone without anxiety thought a thought like that they would have forgotten it 2 minutes later. We are just so highly sensitised that thought seems dangerous as the fearful part of our brain just sees us have a negative reaction and stores that and reminds us of it to try to resolve it. Only by accepting we dont need an answer do we send the correct signals to that part of our brain and over time the neural connections are broken again. It takes one bad reaction to a thought to make it come back and the more we attend to them the more they stick and the cycle begins. We are the only ones who can break the cycle.

  235. Nicola Says:

    Absolutely agree Rik. By placing no importance on your thoughts your brain doesn’t feel the need to keep analysing them. I am doing just what you have written above and am finding that my mind turns instead to positive things that are of interest to me.

  236. Debbie Says:

    Thanks rik for the info.you are helpful.

  237. jen Says:

    Rik, or anyone have you ever had worry thoughts come back after years ago and now are coming up out of The blue which I then try and figure them out and try and replay the time frame out in my head to figure out the worry thought which thrn makes it worse because it go’s to the worse case? Why is this happening? I already feel so low this just make it so much worse. Because I can’t remember everything it makes me more anxious and more anxiety happeneds. I keep thinking to myself oviously these thoughts are not true since I was able to dismiss thrm then but now it’s hard because of this stupid anxiety circle I’m in

  238. Nicola Says:

    I have a word of caution about anxiety and the acceptance approach. Although it is of course correct, I forced myself to go through 5 years ‘acceptance’ with no medical help. Sometimes I would suffer 3 hours of panic attacks but still I’d push on. I was suicidal every set back. Eventually I had a nervous breakdown and 3 months later bed ridden with my worst suicidal depression yet – it was triggered by an anxious thought and I just lost the will to go on. The diazepam I had avoided for 5 years saved my life that week and after that I had no option but to go to docs for an antidepressant. Now I am recovering and much better able to cope with the anxiety, antidepressants don’t effect my anxiety they just help with the depression. My doc gives me diazepam for when times get really rough and that allows me a safety net so that I don’t have to constantly worry about having panic attacks.

    My point is don’t be afraid to ask for a little help if you need it, I should have done it much earlier, I’d probably saved myself a lot of suffering….

  239. Doreen Says:

    Nicola – you are very brave. I noted that you said you forced yourself to go through 5 years of acceptance. I guess what you have now learned is that it isn’t possible to ‘force’ acceptance – in fact the two words are contradictory.
    It seems with the lift that medical help has given you now feel stronger and more able to ride the anxiety rather than fight it.
    Well done.

  240. Amanda Says:

    Just wondering if anyone has seen the movie “Numb”? about a guy with dp apparently based on a true story. Just wondered if it is worth watching and if it was helpful at all?
    Thanks
    Amanda

  241. Nicola Says:

    Yes Doreen I was always TRYING to accept and there’s a big difference between that and actually accepting. My brain has cleared more in a week of true acceptance than it did in 5 years of TRYING to accept. What strikes me is how quickly when you do really accept your brain manages to start restoring itself.

  242. Adam Says:

    I’m currently reading your book (two-thirds done) and almost all the content resonates with me. However I am still stuck on “acceptance”. I have been in this degraded state for about 10 years and I am a chronic worrier and have severe anxiety/panic and depression as a result. I am seeing a counselor and in the past year we have also been working on “acceptance”. However I am not sure how to get there. I tell myself “I accept how I feel” and “this is OK” over and over and over, day after day but I just don’t feel it. I go to work everyday, carry out my life as normal as possible but my worries/anxieties are still ever present. I still haven’t felt that “mind clearing” as others have described. I try to think positive, but I just can’t seem to get over that first hurdle. Thank you.

  243. Tim Says:

    Yea I’ve been on the road of acceptance for many years now too. I improved a little but I’m still so depleted..when I try to do anything I get jittery and shakey soon and I just have to pace myself constantly or things get out of hand.

    What I came to discuss about is this; basically you have to let anxiety be and it calms down and it kind of fades on it’s own right? Well I have social anxiety too and whenever I talk to someone (online) it always comes up like what do you do..what have you been doing..right? It’s normal. But then I explain like I’ve had a difficult period of anxiety and developed like depletion (chronic fatigue syndrome) and it makes me so anxious to talk about it. It’s such a big and serious subject and it scares people away. Talking about it just makes it stronger and more present but when relating with other people it’s hard to avoid if you’re whole life has been a mess for many many years because of anxiety depression and chronic fatigue. How could I deal with this?

  244. Tim Says:

    Also when you tell people you have an anxiety disorder.. They’ll be like oh.. You should get professional treatment and blah blah.. There’s not much point in explaining it can’t really be treated you just have to leave it alone and it calms down..people just don’t get that. They think it’s a real disorder as if it were a “thing” while it’s just a process..a vicious cycle you have to stop feeding. People just don’t understand but still it’s what I’ve been dealing with for so long..

  245. Belgian Says:

    Nicola,

    Existential thoughts, like any other thoughts, are never anxious by themselves. It’s your reaction towards them that make them scary.

    Of course, everyone sometimes feels lost, tiny and insignificant when we are confronting our existence with the overwhelming universe that surrounds us. In fact, I firmly believe that religion thrives on this ancient fear for insignificance, for losing our individuality. Why else do they all talk about the after life?

    The reason why it makes such a deep impact on you is the fact that you are sensizited.

    You have three options at that point.

    One, you can fight this feeling by trying to run away from it, deny it. I am sure you know the outcome of this path.

    Two, you can have faith that your life means more than this by divine intervention. Hence, you will accept anxieties presence by finding an explanation that is satisfying.

    Three, if you are not religious, you can still acknowledge its presence, understand why it has such a deep impact and therefore accept it.

    As soon as you have accepted it, you will make room for other things to come up again.

    None of these three attitudes would in fact change something of your reality, but I hope you realize how much your own happiness can depend on it…

    My personal look on this has changed over the years. As a teenager I was very afraid of the fact that my life will end at some point and also from the utter insignificance of it. I tried to be religious, but it does not fit my personal beliefs.

    Now, this insignificance has its merits for me. It opens the gate for a “putting things into perspective” attitude, for not making too much a big deal about something. And at the same time, it’s an invitation for me to make my life as meaningful as possible. When facing death every small nuisance we encounter becomes something very unimportant and at the same time re-evaluates the life we are living, the choices we have to make.

    I love the books of Yalom on this. He’s a psychiatrist who writes beautifully of these existential feelings and claims that almost all of our fears are born out of this one. (very short, in fact too short, summary)

    Anyway, I think this is truly a good example on how our attitude towards a feeling determines our reaction towards it.

  246. Bryan Says:

    Nicola,

    Most people I know we’re not helped by drugs or if they were it was only very short term. The notion of drugs helping us accept” is generally a false premise because drugs like Valium which you mention are notorious for horrid withdrawals and actually make the condition worse for a considerable portion of people.

    You use the word “caution” which I find to be quite ironic because it is the person who chooses to take drugs who, I believe needs to exercise great caution. These drugs have consequences and are generally nothing more than a temporary band aid which only makes the pain worse once you rip it off.

    So for anyone reading this… please understand that there are two sides to this story. Some may find temporary help by drugging themselves but many are made worse.

  247. Bryan Says:

    And inherent in the sentence… I take drugs so I don’t have to “worry about panic attacks” is a major flaw in reasoning.

    Anyone who has read Paul’s book knows this flaw.

    Panic attacks are harmless events our bodies create for self protection. They are not threats to be drugged away and treated by worrying about them.

  248. Tim Says:

    Yes so true!

    Also..I took ssri’s for like 8 months and I was in an even more horrible state than “normal”. (I don’t have much nice things to say about psycholgists and psychiatrists..kinda resentfull towards them for not teaching me how one gets out of this mess..).

  249. Colin Says:

    Hi Amanda
    Is this a recent film ?
    A lot on here asking how to accept !
    Try just letting every thought / feeling be there without analizing it . Yes it’s there but so what . Let it just float by and leave it alone . Just do what you do daily . For some strange reason I felt slightly anxious yesterday . I noticed it , and nearly gave it some my attention ( o god it’s back ) but I didn’t I have said on here on numerous occasions that I personally think our anxiety will now be with us for life ? But so what if it is ! I will just carry on regardless, and by not caring it disapates . This is a process of acceptance that really works for me ! Take today , no anxiety !!! Just a normal day . I also do believe that since 1st suffering anxiety 4 years ago I have changed as a person . I am much more aware of my world and don’t take things for granted , I am more grounded and considerate . I actually love life so much and try living it day to day rather than months ahead !
    This all works for me !

  250. Nicola Says:

    And Bryan again 5 years with panic disorder, I know how to come through a panic attack, in fact I haven’t had one for ages and that’s not down to diazepam. There’s only so much depression and anxiety a mind can take before it breaks in my opinion and I chose to help my brain get some rest. Claire Weekes sees no harm in using tranquillisers when things get too bad and neither do I.

  251. Nicola Says:

    Plus I don’t take drugs to avoid panic attacks. I said they are there as a safety net. Psychological. I don’t actually need them.

  252. Stephanie Says:

    Nicola, I don’t believe Bryan was referring to your personal choice to use medication. It was more the fact that your post portrayed medication as a quick fix. Those of us who have had negative experiences with medication like to make sure both sides are heard. For some people, medication seems to make a big difference. And that’s great. But it’s unfair to assume that this will be the case for everyone.

  253. Nicola Says:

    Again with respect to Paul, he had one panic attack in 10 years. Try having hundreds..

  254. Steve b Says:

    Nicola. Stay. It’s not the first time Bryan has given his opinion on meds and then went on to quote some random nonsense.
    Bryan. If they don’t or didn’t help you then fine but stop making generalisations. Some people need both Paul’s message and extra help.

  255. Tim Says:

    Let’s just say that whether u use no meds or do use meds..the way through anxiety is the same. And it’s that (let’s call “it” acceptance) which will get u off meds if ur on them now.

  256. Nicola Says:

    When I said a word of caution I just meant that if people needed extra help they shouldn’t feel like they’ve failed or anything.

  257. Bryan Says:

    Nicola, my prior response may or may not have come through so I’ll just recap it…

    I’ve dealt with it for 5 years as well, a good portion due to drugs I was put on, and would probably be totally recovered had I not been.

    Criticizing Paul for not having panic attacks is not fair. We all experience this differently. One person’s panic attack is no worse than another person’s DP,

    If YOU felt it helpful to take drugs, that’s your choice. But if you offer it here as a “caution” to an audience primarily made up of folks who have either had no success with drugs… been harmed by drugs… or want to do this naturally, I’m not sure why you are so offended by someone else giving THEIR side of the story?

    Again, I’m not sure why someone disagreeing with your drug choice is so offensive you are brought to tears? We have all suffered here, or we wouldn’t be here. These drugs nearly ruined me, as I didn’t know any better and was suffering. Those who are now in the same position I was… deserve to know both sides of the story before making a choice to start taking them.

    And Steve is correct. It’s not the first time I’ve offered the truth about my experience with these drugs, as have many many other people here. And when the topic comes up next time, I’m sure people will offer their opinion.

    It’s beyond me why this is such a hard concept to understand. There are two sides to the drug story, and those who have been harmed… aren’t going to sit well with this cozy notion that they are just a gentle helping hand.

    We can all make our own choice, and I get that some people are under the impression its is a last resort for them. So be it. That’s their choice. But there is noting wrong with people here being honest and no one side of this topic deserves free reign to “caution” people in one direction, in my opinion.

    i truly wish you continued success with your recovery.

  258. Steve b Says:

    You are missing the point.

    This is an anxiety website. If you are suffering from anxiety you are scared, frightened etcetera. If you are scared and frightened but are also taken meds how do you think your ramblings make them feel? Julie a case in point.

    I havnt noticed anyone say that not taking meds is dangerous. No, They just say not taking meds is a choice. It should be the same when commenting about meds. It’s a choice. You choose not to take them. No extra comment needed.

  259. Belgian Says:

    Bryan,

    I do not think that your comments are in anyway helpful.

    Please be more considerate when writing here as people who are visiting thuis website are in a fragile state.

    Your opinion on medication is very much colored by your own experience. And your statements are put as generalities which they are not.

    You can’t even grasp the idea that there are cases in which medication saves lives.

    Which they do.

    Be modest about what you believe is the truth.

  260. Amanda Says:

    Thanks Tim
    No I think the movie is quite a few years old now.
    Cheers
    Amanda

  261. Tim Says:

    Belgian, when people (begin to) grasp the idea of this site any need for medication becomes obsolete. Acceptance saves lives in the end! It’s what this site is about not meds for gods sake

  262. Tim Says:

    He had a horrible experience with them, I had the same. Some had better experiences. Maybe a reader is on meds, maybe a reader is not on meds. The message of the site is the same for us all.

  263. Colin Says:

    Guys
    Let’s not dwell on the drug issues again please!
    This is a democratic blog . Bryan is allowed to express is opinion on here as is Nicola .
    Nicola I remember when u first suffered anxiety , I was all over the place and would have taken anything to take away the awful suffering u was going through . I was prescribed an AD plus Valium . And a beta blocker . I used the lot of them initially and then through time removed one at a time as I got better .
    If you need the help of meds then this is your choice . They might work for you but not for others . To be honest though , the real road to recovery only starts by using acceptance . I am where I am today by using this acceptance and a bit of attitude towards anxiety . But by no means would I knock the potential initial benefits of meds . And to be totally honest here they are what probably saved my life !!! We all know exactly what anxiety can do to our fragile minds . So please all make your own choices regarding meds . But do also embrace your anxiety with accepting it .

    Good luck all and please Bryan is a very knowledgable gentleman on here that is within his right to his opinion .

    Colin

  264. Debbie Says:

    Hi nicola today been a bad day feeling axious like i want to scream and yell at people feeling angry.

  265. Nicola Says:

    I was practising acceptance, it’s the depression caused by constant stress that I couldn’t cope with. I no longer wanted to. I’d had enough.

  266. Nicola Says:

    Hi Debbie. I’m sorry to hear you felt bad today. I hope you have a better evening xx

  267. Bryan Says:

    Belgian,

    Of course my experiences color my opinion, what person wouldn’t say that? I’ve also met with and spoken with hundreds of people and browsed thousands of stories of people who have been damaged by these drugs.

    When you say that my opinion isn’t “helpful”… To the contrary, I had someone been honest with me about the dangers of the drugs when the doctors gave them to me I would’ve avoided nearly dying and two additional years of suffering.

    So again, we can agree to disagree and you are free to take drugs if you choose to, but this does not give you a right to silence other people from giving their truth.

    And if people are in this delicate state you speak of, that’s all the more reason they should be made aware of what these drugs can do. Why would you want to shield someone from having the complete story about taking drugs if you purport to care about them?

    Again, this is my opinion and you don’t have to buy into it but it’s certainly not fair for one side to silence the other on this issue.

    I stand by what I posted, there are thousands of stories out there and a little bit of research will open most peoples eyes on this issue. If people preferred to keep their eyes closed to factual information, that is their own decision. My decision is to be honest about what the drugs did to me and what I have seen them do two scores of people.

    And I do not think your attempt to silence one side of a topic are helpful either. So again we can simply agreed to disagree. I’m going to continue to have and post my opinions and you can continue to have and post yours.

    If the goal here is to truly help people, van complete honesty from everyone involved should be welcomed. My honesty on this issue is to help people avoid suffering by having all of the information. I’m sorry if that doesn’t fit with your agenda

  268. Nicola Says:

    How does scaring people with horror stories about meds help people?

  269. Jamie Says:

    I just wanted to check in as I have had a tough couple of days after having quite a good weekend.

    My ex-wife text me yesterday and said she wanted to get divorce proceedings underway (we have lived apart for 2 years so I guess it was on the cards). I do not have any feelings for her anymore but getting the text really increased my anxiety, worries and made me feel pretty down. Whether it is true or not, she said part of the reason she wanted to end it was because of my issues. I have my doubts about this as there were clues (these only highlighted after the event) that she had met someone else towards the end. I asked her this straight out and she denied it. She is with him now.

    Anyway, getting the text has dragged up all the thoughts like 1) did it end because of me ? 2) am I any further forward than 2 year ago ? 3) will I ever meet anyone else ? 4) what if she states my unreasonable behaviour as reason for divorce ? 5) what I have to go to court or to see a solicitor and be in a room with her ? etc etc. All / most of these thoughts are irrational but it has all come to the fore and given me a very bad tension headache last night and all of today due to ‘overthinking’.

    I had been seeing some signs of moving forward over the last couple of months so this has given me quite a knock.

    I will do my best to distance myself from the thoughts, just accept how I feel and not let me knock me off balance….

  270. Bryan Says:

    Colin,

    Thanks for the kind words. No need to dwell indeed. I offered an opinion. Nicola offered an opinion. People can choose for themselves. It’s a public blog where people meet and offer experiences. We can all benefit when we keep our minds open to the whole story IMO.

    Be well!

  271. Bryan Says:

    Jamie,

    I was divorced during my struggle, similar to your story. I now look at it as a blessing. Met the best woman I’ve ever been with and couldn’t be happier.
    When someone leaves you during the struggle, you learn all you need to know about that person.

    You will rise above this and I suspect look back in time and realize it happened for the best. Hang in there.

  272. Steve b Says:

    Bryan. It wouldn’t have been the drugs old chap. It was the fear of them. I can see that from your posts. For Julie it might be the shops, for someone else relationship anxiety. For you it was blaming all your problems on medication.

    A wise women once said to me that if you broke your leg would you worry about putting a cast on it. Would you worry about what the cast had done to your leg?

  273. Bryan Says:

    Steve,

    To the contrary, I was not afraid of drugs at all when they gave them to me. In fact I was like most people and figured it was the way to go. I didn’t have any education and no one had warned me about the potential dangers. I went from feeling bad and having normal levels of panic and anxiety to losing so much weight the doctors put me on a liquid diet, missing the only three weeks of work I’ve missed through this whole thing and forming gastritis among other elements, none of which happened before the drugs. I went from a 6 on a scale of 10 to a 10 AFTER taking the drugs. Coming off took months and I was worse than when I started. I could give more details but there are tens of thousands of similar stories out there if anyone simply wants to open their eyes.

    So unfortunately your story is inaccurate. I was not afraid of drugs, I was naïve and quite eager to “cure “my anxiety. So unfortunately your story is inaccurate. I was not afraid of drugs, I was naïve and quite eager to “cure “my anxiety. What happened was the worst months of my life and then dealing with the damage the drugs had created.

    So you have your facts wrong. And you don’t know me so I’m not sure why you would think you have any facts anyway?

    Had someone simply show me Paul’s blog and give me the right information instead of giving me drugs, I wouldn’t have suffered the way I did. I’m not sure why this is so hard for you to understand because you’ve heard the story around here from plenty of other people.

    And yes I am persistent but no more persistent than you who always seems to confront me when I offer my truth on this issue.

    Again, we all have our opinion on this issue and for one side to try to silence the other is not a sign of true caring.

  274. Doreen Says:

    Reading Nicola’s helpful posts to others on the topic of acceptance it seems that she has a vey clear understanding of what it means and is feeling much better as a result.

  275. Doreen Says:

    Reading Nicola’s helpful posts to others on the topic of acceptance it seems to me that she has a good understanding of what it can mean and is feeling much better as a result.

  276. honey Says:

    I just wanted to say Thankyou to Colin and Belgian for replying to me the other day. It means a lot that I can come here for support when I most need it, so Thankyou both

  277. Bryan Says:

    True Doreen and I’m happy for that.

    And you should also mention Tim above who overcame being harmed by drugs and also understands Paul’s tecnique.

    Let’s not only support those who are pro-drugs, OK?

    Everyone here deserves to have their story heard.

  278. Nicola Says:

    Actually I am not pro-drugs. I became aware that my depression was probably caused by chemical changes due to anxiety problems. I tried a hundred other things to rectify this before I reluctantly began taking anti-depressants. It was an act of desperation.

    For me, thankfully, they are helping to cope at this time.

    Thank you Doreen for your kind words

  279. jen Says:

    I think we all should just agree to disagree with the whole med situation. It works for some and not for others. I think what is being missed here is that this site is for encouragement and to help others in time of need. I don’t want to see this site closed because of the arguing. I come here for positivity. I am taking meds again and I hope and pray they will help take the edge off like the dr said for me to put all this into practice.

  280. Bryan Says:

    I actually agree, Jen. Take drugs, or don’t take them… share your experience, and let’s talk about how it helped or hurt us.

    I’m always a little shocked at the attempts to censor one side or the other. We’re all adults… and in the name of helping one another, we should all be able to express our experiences with things in regards to recovery.

  281. Chris Says:

    Haha oh noes, are we really going down this road with the meds discussion again. This is starting to look very familiar to the last thread. This sort of discussion just feeds peoples fear in my opinion, as anxiety sufferers are so suggestible. I know everyone here has good intentions when they comment, just saying :)

    But anyways that’s not why I’m here…

    Thanks for the reply Rik, Yeah you’re right, I’m overthinking things and asking too many questions. At the moment I have too much idle time on my hands so my over active imagination gets to reek havoc alot. I’ve just enrolled for a web design course and it looks like I will be moving cities to do this (pretty scary thought considering the severe state that I’m in), but I think this is going to help me alot.

    The one part of Paul’s advice I haven’t been putting into practice is ‘go out and live your life just as you would if you didn’t have anxiety’, well I’ve been sitting around all day mostly in my room, mainly only gaming and occasionally going out to visit friends. No wonder why I feel so depressed haha. So I’m going to go out and live an active lifestyle. I’m going to study web design and become the best I can possibly be at it. I’m going to go back to the gym and get in the best shape I’ve ever been in. I’m going to start creating music and I’m going to join a band again and get super famous (heh well that part is probably unrealistic), and I’m going to do all of the above, not to make me feel better, but because I am tired of letting anxiety dictate my life.

    As for my fears, I’m working on adopting a ‘so be it/whatever’ attitude. Instead of trying to prove them wrong by debating with them and playing games in my mind, I’m just going to let them do what they want.

  282. Nicola Says:

    Is dissociation a part of anxiety? Does anyone else get this?

  283. Nicola Says:

    Sounds like you have the right attitude Chris. Exercise helps me a lot xx

  284. Doreen Says:

    This is what Bryan said, which I think reads far more strongly and critically than just putting his side of the story. He makes it as a statement of fact. Words like ‘drugging themselves’ are very pejorative and nowhere have a read such critical language from people who are using medication about those who aren’t.

    “These drugs have consequences and are generally nothing more than a temporary band aid which only makes the pain worse once you rip it off.

    So for anyone reading this… please understand that there are two sides to this story. Some may find temporary help by drugging themselves but many are made worse”

  285. Doreen Says:

    With reference to my post above – that was one of the reasons I commented on Nicola being brave in her post about medication because I knew what she would get back in return.

  286. Nicola Says:

    Yes it was the drugging themselves comment that I found so upsetting. Made me feel like a failure.

  287. Nicola Says:

    And I’ve only ever done my very best.

  288. Belgian Says:

    Bryan,

    I do not want to silence you.

    You can share your experience, but if you would re-read your posts, you will have to admit that the language you use is harsh and not in the least bit moderate.

    You make it sound as if medication is always making things worse and that the danger is so significant it outweighs any possible positive effects. In fact, it seems you are on a crusade against medication and crusades are most of the time misplaced..

    I can only tell you that here in Belgium a recent study has shown that around 10% of the population is on anti-depressants. If the risk would be so high as you indicate, a staggering amount of people here should be housebound, suicidal or even hospitalized. This isn’t the case.

    Fact is that these anti-depressants are probably prescribed too quickly, but that’s because in a lot of cases they are the only thing we have… They do save lives.

    Where it goes wrong is when there isn’t an adequate follow-up by a medical team. For example, anti-depressants in the beginning MIGHT make you feel worse and sometimes it takes a while to find the right medication for you. Also, you can never stop taking them on your own accord. A medically trained person should always guide you through this.

    I am taking fluoxetine for more than one year now as at that time I was so lost that working on my anxiety was simply impossible. In the beginning they did make me feel worse, but I was warned for this so I knew it was to be expected.

    Furthermore, I was also explained that these anti-depressants would never be a solution to my anxiety. They are simply there to make it able to work on your anxiety related issues. They lift the bar a little bit so you don’t get overwhelmingly panicky too soon.

    This is very important as this indicates that you should still work on your problems.

    I know I am very lucky to live in a modern country with excellent affordable health care and acknowledge that this isn’t always the case, f.e. in the US.

  289. Rik Says:

    Chris,

    That is a fantastic attitude.

    I try my best to get out and do everything but find it very hard due to a feeling of total flatness and detachment. I think this is DP. It is like I feel lost to myself at the moment.

    I am still going swimming and trying to see people when I can though and haven’t missed a day of work yet.

    If anybody else has had DP is that what they found with it? That they felt like they could not access their personality at all? I feel almost drunk at times and just not myself.

  290. Nicola Says:

    Yes Rik, I’ve had DP/DR, it’s caused by an over stressed mind trying to make you feel better by disconnecting you a little from your surroundings. Unfortunately for anxious people this only makes things worse. I had it for two days recently and just felt like nothing was real. I knew what was happening, I accepted it and it passed. Just remember it is the anxiety, accept it will pass and calmly carry on. You’ll be ok!! It will go xx

  291. Rich Says:

    Once again everyone, please consider the wider audience of this blog and the longevity of your posts put on here before commenting and entering into specific discussions with specific people.

    Everyone has the right to their opinion but negative and unsupportive comments will be removed as they do not serve to benefit the wider audience of this blog long-term.

  292. Rik Says:

    Thank you Nicola. I feel this contributes massively to me feeling so depressed at times or at least thinking thats what it is as I can’t seem to access who I am and what I love and when I look at things I used to love there is no emotion there at all and things dont seem real. It is hugely frustrating. I am trying to just let it be there and allowing myself to feel this way now. Not easy at times when it is coupled with very scary thoughts or depressing type thoughts. My major fear when all this started was depression and so you can imagine the thoughts that pop up all the time when I feel so out of it.

    I feel a bit dizzy, drunk and disconnected all the time at the moment with the exception of an hour or so in the evening when I am far calmer. Sometimes I find it very hard to believe that it is anxiety doing it to me and that my normal feelings will ever come back.

    I should know better though as I have been through this before albeit I don’t remember it being this bad.

    This morning I woke with extreme anxiety again but I simply let it be there. I have been doing this for a little while now. After a bad nights sleep last Sunday I felt absolutely awful. My whole body was vibrating and I was a mess all day but I still went to see a friend for a while and took my daughter swimming. It was all very difficult with the level of disconnect going on.

    I am determined to get through this though no matter what it throws at me. It is weird as it is like I somehow know that once I am back to a normal mind state and not a stressed and anxious one that all the things I am worrying about or the thoughts I am having just wont matter any more. It’s like I know that this isn’t the real me and it is just my anxiety doing what it does. Of course I doubt at times though.

  293. Chris Says:

    You’re not a failure for taking meds Nicola, I’ve been on them short term and I can see many others here have been on them too.

    Thanks Rik. I’m doing my best to maintain this attitude, it’s hard when I get into those depressive states but I have some direction in life now so I’m feeling good about that. I think I’m close to a point now where I’m ready to stop trying to recover and just start living with anxiety/dp regardless.

    That is definitely DP you are experiencing. I’m the same, my personality is nowhere to be found at this given point and time, and I can only very rarely experience positive emotions. I’m very flat most of the time. I can still feel sort of happy, but it feels kind of fake/empty. Very weird! Definitely no feelings of being content that’s for sure. And the drunk feeling yep that has recently come back too, the physical side of it is something that I hadn’t experienced in a long time actually, but to be honest it doesn’t bother me too much.

  294. jen Says:

    Don’t feel bad Nicola your not a failure at all. I’m on meds to and I think it’s the best for me. Let’s all just try and help each other. I know I need encouragement I’m going through alot right now with this anxiety and letting my worries take over which now in return is only focusing on myself and nothing else.

  295. Nicola Says:

    Hi Rik, yes anxiety has a terrible way of making you feel that your fear of your thoughts are justified and so your brain wants to keep picking at them, and yet our brains are so very tired that this is why we have this anxiety in the first place. It’s a nasty cycle. You have to trust that no matter how bad you feel or how bad the thoughts seem – it is anxiety playing its tricks. When my brain has a nagging need to keep picking away at thoughts I now don’t let it, and when I truly accept I feel surprisingly quickly connected to the world again. You’re not alone buddy :-)

  296. Nicola Says:

    Thank you Jen, thank you Chris x

  297. Rik Says:

    Thank you for the support guys. It really does help. Today actually feels a bit better than yesterday which is great. I am trying not to place any importance on that though and just carrying on accepting and allowing. I got a better nights sleep so that almost certainly helped.

    DP and obsessive thoughts are by far the most annoying symptom for me. It has been constant for weeks and feels like my mind just totally shuts off all emotion and feeling leaving me feeling like a shell. When I have a down thought there is nothing good to come back with due to the DP and just not feeling like me at the moment. I think I will just let the thoughts do as they please and put my trust in the knowledge that once I am back to normal these things will just not matter any more or they will at least be dealt with in a rational way by my brain instead of nothing but fear and belief.

  298. Jamie Says:

    Thanks for the reply Bryan.

    As my ex and I have a daughter and I have my daughter regularly, I find this very difficult. Staying in contact with my ex by text and seeing her when I pick up or collect my daughter is very tough. Whenever i get a text it makes me anxious and also when I see her. This makes me frustrated that she still has an effect on me after all this time. I then criticise myself for still having the issues that she originally cited as part of the reason the marriage was over.

    If we had not had a child together and I could have made a clean break 2 years ago and I’d not had constant reminders of her, I can’t help but think that I would be further forward than I am.

  299. Bryan Says:

    Jamie,

    Exact same here. We have a daughter and she was about 6 when we split.
    We did a very slow and cautious transition and she’s doing great now. She lived more with me but sees her mom a few days a week. She’s adjusted nicely which was my chief concern. There is no hatred or drama between my ex and I and none of that will trickle down to the little one. My suggestion is Thant you do your best to just focus on taking great care of your daughter through this and when time allows… This is a topic you can work through in therapy.

    Again, I don’t know you but listen to your story sounds very familiar and my guess is that you gain more perspective as time goes on here and eventually end up looking at this as a blessing. Keep doing the recovery work and do your best not to blame yourself because obviously, that’s ridiculous. No one would choose to be in that state.

    You’ll come out on top. You just need time.

  300. Bryan Says:

    And my last comment on the drugs issue… no one said anyone was a “failure” who took drugs. I was given them. Am I a failure because they harmed me and I didn’t know the dangers? Of course not.

    This is such an emotional issue for people but the bottom line is it comes down to being informed, and if the concern here is for the wider audience, then absolutely people should know all possible outcomes before considering drug use. That’s not a criticism or a failure or any other unnecessarily emotional reaction, it’s simply factual that people should understand the benefits and potential risks when considering anything of this nature. It’s really just common sense.

    Aome here who took drugs without issue have felt free to purvey this information. It would be uncaring and frankly bizarre not to respect the many who have had negative experiences. Why would we choose to silence those who have been harmed? Does that “protect” the next potential user who is wondering what the true outcome might be?

    We can have this discussion without resorting to name calling or overreactions.
    It’s the right and decent thing to do to consider EVERYone, not just half.

  301. Rik Says:

    I have to say I agree Bryan. It can sometimes come across wrong on a medium such as a blog but everyone is entitled to an opinion and as long as it is expressed respectfully there should be no issue. I feel it is such an emotive subject that it will always end up with crossed words but as long as it can be kept civil there is no problem.

  302. Nicola Says:

    Is paranoia a part of anxiety? Anyone else get it? Or dissociation?

  303. Nicola Says:

    I don’t have paranoia btw….

  304. Colin Says:

    Hello ALL
    Can I make an observation. I have noticed quite a lot when a new post from someone who hasn’t posted or is new to the blog is no replied to . Could we all make a concerted effort to either answer or welcome them to this wonderful place ? We all know how difficult it is to express our thoughts on this subject , especially when we are new etc . So glad we are all here helping and offering support ( arguing lol ) about all the issues that go with this subject . The one thing u always notice on here is how articulate you lot are ! Strange how anxiety or this blog seems to attract a more understanding bunch of people . No foul language is used on here . Or have I just never seen it ?
    Let’s all spread the word on acceptance being the best way forward for recovery of anxiety and all that goes with it .
    Good luck with our journey folks !

    Colin

  305. Debbie Says:

    Colin you are the best !such a peace maker.

  306. Rik Says:

    Colin,

    I think it could be because the newer members posts are waiting to get moderated so when they finally come onto the blog once approved people may not scroll all the way back up to see them. If I felt it was something I could offer help with I would certainly or at least welcome them.

  307. Jamie Says:

    I think a “reply” option to an each individual comment would be a great addition but I don’t know how easy to add that would be

  308. Jamie Says:

    Bryan

    Wow – we do have similarities as my daughter would have been 6 when we split too. Where are you based ?

    My ex has turned into someone I just don’t recognise now and when she initially said she had reservations about our marriage at the end of 2013, my anxiety went through the roof. The thing that sticks with me is she was not the slightest bit interested, supportive or sympathetic at that time but as you say, it is obviously for the best that we have split.

    May I ask if you would class yourself as completely ‘recovered’ now ? What suddenly made the whole ‘acceptance’ and living with it click with you ?

  309. Peter Says:

    I think there should be a forum. Why not? I know it was tried once a long time ago, but it’s not a bad idea if properly moderated.

  310. Bryan Says:

    Hey Jamie,

    I’m not recovered as in 100% symptom free but have improved immensely from the dark times for sure. Most days are pretty good. I have some stinkers and setbacks but I’m ok with that. Life is good… I just may not feel perfect all the time. I spend more time helping people than asking for help anymore so I suppose that’s a good sign.

    Acceptance didn’t click for me so much as I had to just practice over and over and get on with life. It’s been a slow recovery for me partly due to various circumstances like meds… divorce… hectic work demands etc. But alas… I’m grateful to be feeling better and I’m better for having gone through it.

    So I know right where you are. I was in the thick of it when my ex lost interest in things. Showed her true colors and that’s fine. Like I said, I hit the girlfriend lottery after that so things worked out. lol. Seriously thiugh, I cringe now thinking back to what I put up with. But I got a beautiful daughter out of it who is happy and healthy so it all worked out and it will for you too. Mark my words. You’ll look back and be glad this happened some day. Not glad for the pain but glad for the end results.

  311. jen Says:

    Hi Rik. I had dp I believe and never really the worrying thoughts only so much self awareness I was getting better with thr accepted center and bam the worry thoughts came flooding on in after a something that put me in a set back. Now all I have are these worrying thoughts however the dp has gone. I think it’s because I stopped focusing on it. I would read others say this but never could but it to effect until it happened. I don’t know what’s worse worrying thoughts or dp. I’m hoping they calm down and I can think rationally. What do you do for your thoughts? How do you not let them bother you? I sometimes can brush thrm off but then get the same thought and play right into its trick.

  312. Albert Says:

    Hello,
    What is the difference between accepting an intrusive thought and ignoring it or dismissing it ?
    My main problem is the amount of intrusive thoughts i get (100 s a day) and im having a certain amount of success but when i get a lot of them in find im “dismissing” them ,im unsure if this is the way to go ?

  313. Rik Says:

    Jen,

    For my thoughts I just do my best to let them go and assign them to anxiety rather than me. It is incredibly hard when I am very anxious but yesterday I had a good day and found it much easier.

    Albert,

    Accepting is basically ignoring it. You don’t technically need to ‘do’ anything. Just let the thought come and then let it fizzle out on its own. It is very hard at first but with practise it gets easier. When we are tired or very anxious it can be very hard to do but just keep doing it as best you can.

  314. Nicola Says:

    If it helps anyone, exercise burns any excess adrenaline the body stores in the muscles. I do cardio everyday and it helps a lot xx

  315. jen Says:

    Thanks Rik. It sure is hard when they feel so real and then they spiral to the worst case and give you that fear and before you know it you are playing into it. It’s hard to see them.for what they are when you are anxious.

  316. Rik Says:

    Jen,

    I know exactly what you mean. It can feel so hard to just let them pass by but it is essential. If you catch yourself getting sucked in just make the decision to let them go again.

  317. Bryan Says:

    Albert,

    Dismissing is perfectly fine, and is really just a form of acceptance.

    To me acceptance is simply defined as any non-fighting state.

    We’re not always going to like something (like a symptom) but we can allow it to be there/pass without engaging and getting tangled in a battle.

    Dismissing to me sounds like…. “Eh… I don’t have time to fuss with this stuff.”
    Which is terrific and sends the brain a great message.

  318. Jamie Says:

    Bryan

    I have found going on dates with people since my split incredibly difficult due to my anxiety (worrying how I may feel, come across, I may get panicky etc) and the idea of entering into a relationship with someone absolutely massive also.

    How did you find it Bryan if you don’t mind me asking ?

    People say to me “don’t you find going on dates with people exciting” ? Little do they know….

  319. Colin Says:

    Hi Jamie
    I haven’t had to experience what you are asking Bryan . But I do understand that it might seem a massive thing , but also might be beneficial as part of your recovery ? As doing all the things and just carrying on as normal is what we want to be doing. Yes you might feel panicky 1st time but I bet after you have done it , you will wonder why you were worrying!
    Go out there mate and try it and I promise through no experience on the dating but what I did . Accept how you may feel get out there , do the norm and start living and loving life again !!! Please give it a go ?

    Colin

  320. Sue Says:

    Can anyone explain why I am a lot better than I was and a lot of my intrusive thoughts have gone but every now and again On e or too creep back in and it is as though my mind wants me to carry on keeping them alive.
    The other morning I woke up and thought I had nothing to think about and nothing to worry about and by the time I had had my breakfast I had thought various anxious thoughts again as a form of habit. these thoughts are the same all the time and I wonder how I will ever stop thinking them.

  321. Rik Says:

    Hi Sue,

    Having beaten intrusive thoughts in the past I can tell you that the goal is not to never have them again but instead to not react if you do. It is not realistic to want to never have them again as even people who have never had anxiety get them.

    I am in the throes of anxiety again and i am again dealing with awful intrusive thoughts but not of the same type as last time as well as bad dp.

    This evening i sat and just allowed it all and sure enough after a while the dp faded and the thoughts slowed down. I consider this a huge success. I far from recovered right now but will keep going.

    What you have to remember is that these thoughts are deeply ingrained in your mind due to just how much you thought them and it takes time for these neural pathways to be severed.

    My advice would be dont go looking for them and just allow more time to pass and remember that you dont need to stop having them. Just to not give them the time of day anymore.

  322. Albert Says:

    Appreciate your reply Bryan.
    My thoughts are lessening, but just when you think you have cracked it , they (the thoughts)try and sneak back, there very cunning
    For example, i havent been out for a meal for a while, the thought suddenly came into my head “What if you havent been for a meal because deep down your scared of having a panic attack when out for a meal”
    My response was dont be so stupid, but by doing this it “locked” the thought in, i then started thinking, “yes, maybe just maybe i might be scared of having a panic attack when out for a meal, should i now go out for a meal to prove i can handle it”
    Cunningly i had been “sucked ” into reacting to the intrusive thought, which i now cant seem to shake off.
    It can be so hard to accept my thoughts
    Any advice anyone ?

  323. Rik Says:

    Albert,

    I have posted a few times on this blog entry regarding intrusive thoughts. It is something I suffered immensely with last year. It may help you to have a look. Long story short is just let the thought come and do nothing with it. You dont even need to respond to it. Just let ut fade out again.

  324. Chris Says:

    Hi everyone. Apologies in advance, definitely not intended as a ‘pity party’ post. Just been having a rough day. I literally can’t experience any positive emotions. I feel very low/depressed, fearful and I’m very grumpy most of the time… haha. It’s strange, but the world looks lifeless and I feel like an empty shell. It’s a dark experience and I feel as though I’m completely lost. It’s feels like I’m only functioning at 50%, and I get a sense that I’m carrying some sort of burden with me. My thoughts are constantly inward too, and they are pretty negative. Luckily I haven’t lost my creative edge and I’m still writing good music, but there’s no real enjoyment in it. I was at a party earlier but I decided to leave, as I couldn’t really engage in any conversations as I had no interest and was feeling very self concious… I also felt quite off balance and spaced out, but these are physical symptoms and they don’t bother me as much.

    Sorry if this is negative, but can someone please assure me that the above falls under the anxiety/dp umbrella? I guess these feelings are my biggest hurdle, and I still can’t muster up the courage to fully accept them. Thanks all.

  325. Rik Says:

    Chris,

    I have been feeling the same stuff as you buddy. Things that used to hold enjoyment currently feel flat to me. I do think it is to do with the stress our minds are under. I am just allowing it to be there. I have had some moments today of actually feeling ok and laughing at work despite feeling a little not with it. Now I feel a bit flat again but I also started thinking more so I assume it is DP and the constant inward thinking that is the cause. I am not fighting with any of it. If I feel a bit fed up or flat then it is little wonder really given that I have done nothing but stress out for the last 2 months!

    One thing I do remind myself of is if I am scared or anxious how can I possibly expect myself to enjoy something? During times of extremely high stress our minds will shut down our emotions and make us feel flat. This is quite well known.

    I actually nearly posted myself about this about half an hour ago to ask anybody if the enjoyment comes back eventually. I would be interested to hear if the rest of you suffer with these kinds of feelings when you are anxious.

  326. Chris Says:

    I’d definitely be interested to hear too actually. The anxiety is one thing, but it’s the emotional side I still really struggle with. It makes sense, that we are under such stress that all our positive emotions are drained. But it just feels so overwhelming sometimes, that emotional pain can really feel soul destroying. Yesterday I had a great day with letting the thoughts be there, today, well they really did knock me down and I got that desperate kind of depressive feeling, can anybody relate to this? It really is hard to put into words, but it’s such a dark place. It feels like total defeat. Boy I’m painting a lovely picture aren’t I, haha.

    Oh and Rik, from personal experience after previously getting out of setbacks, the enjoyment definitely comes back.

  327. Rik Says:

    Chris,

    The emotional side is what really knocked me off this time around. I started with anxiety then after a few weeks I noticed I had a complete lack of enjoyment in anything and felt very flat. I think this is where the DP really kicked in to be honest and it has hung around since. This then produced heaps more anxiety as I started analysing why. Big mistake lol.

    Now I am simply letting myself feel however I do and letting my thoughts just come and go. I know that when the anxiety and DP are gone I will not be remotely bothered by such thoughts. Funnily enough I was sat in work today and the other guy next to me (who has no anxiety at all) turned around and said ‘god I can’t be bothered with anything today’. Exactly how I have felt at times due to being so anxious and stressed and yet he was not anxious or anything like that. The difference between me and him is that I feel the need to find a reason why I feel like that and he just doesn’t care. It is his attitude that we should be aiming for with anxiety symptoms including thoughts. To just be and not care about the whys and wherefores. This is how we give our minds and bodies the break they need.

    If we didn’t care about the symptoms any more there would be no more anxiety :)

  328. Bryan Says:

    Jamie,

    I actually waited quite a while to start dating mostly because I was just sun a wreck from the stress disorder and withdrawal. As I got better physically and the sickness/anxiety lessened the thoughts of normal living (i.e dating) returned.

    There’s no rush. Give yourself time and space to get your legs under you and build confidence. You’ll enjoy dating again and it’s a great feeling when you do. But It takes time to put the acceptance tools and stress reduction in place.
    Go easy on yourself and let that confidence build back up.

  329. Andy J Says:

    Guys,

    I’ve got a few quick things to ask, as I am still struggling with the concepts.

    When we say ‘accept’, what exactly are we accepting? Am I accepting that I have intrusive thoughts? Am I accepting that I have an anxiety condition?

    In my mind, to gain peace, I need to understand the mechanics and logic of what is going on, otherwise I am basically saying ‘I am accepting’ without even know what I am doing and hoping to get some reassurance from it.

    As I have specific concerns, should I not be looking in to how they came about and why I have them? Should I not be looking to how I can convince myself otherwise?

    Im fortunate in so much as I dont have any physical symptoms. I dont get the tight chest or shakes or headaches. My symptoms are all mental. The constant mind chatter, the constant over analysing, the feelings of being down.

    How can you allow a thought to naturally remove itself? If you think something terrible, it isnt going to go away of its own accord is it? You have to think about something else to replace it. So how do I manage to do that without trying to?

    I know theres a fair few things raised, but if any one could help I’d be grateful.

    Thanks,

    Andy

  330. honey Says:

    I find that I really procrastinate because I have lost faith in thus method. This setback has lasted months now and almost a year on and off. The only difference in before when I was feeling better is that I believed in the method. I’m almost like what’s the point in trying to recover when it’s not even possible. My own mind is completely holding me back. Instead of re reading the book and taking it on board with belief it works I’m googling for people who have fully recovered. There aren’t many out there and that just reinforces my procrastination. Also I keep getting this strange feeling. It just comes over me and robs me of the ability to be rational and positive.
    Chris I think I sum experiencing the same thing as you. It comes over me from nowhere and it’s like a feeling of loss, grief or heartache and hopelessness. Like oh yes I’m still ill and anxious. How hopeless. I’ve started a mindfulness course too and I’m getting thoughts during practice that I’m just wasting my time and that even if I improve I’ll never fully recover. I’m actually just doing the mindfulness to enjoy the present more do I keep having to remind myself of this. Anyone relate?

  331. honey Says:

    Andy I think by acceptance the idea is in our behaviour more than anything. Opposite to emotion action. Behaviour is the only thing we have any control over because our thoughts do what they want as do our emotions. So accept thoughts for being there and I guess try not to get involved with them in an internal argument. Also accept your emotions and don’t change what you are doing because your feeling anxious. For example I wake up feeling anxious and automatically turn to google to work it all out or sit in bed feeling like crap and brooding. I know that I’ll feel a bit better if I get up and get on with what needs doing around the house or get ready for work on time but old habits die hard. The habit is the behaviour not he thought. Remember we cannot control thoughts or think our way out of this. So we should get up, read a book, watch tv, do something that isn’t about anxiety to train our minds that there is no real threat. I’m learning mindfulness at the moment and the idea is to accept thoughts as they are. Perhaps label the thought ‘oh look heres indecisiveness’ or whatever and go back to what you were doing. You need to do this a hundred times sometimes but the more you do it the more natural it becomes. You might benefit from learning the concepts of mindfulness. It’s acceptance of thoughts and eventually they come less because you get used to just being aware of them and not caught up in them. Hope that helps

  332. Rik Says:

    Andy,

    How far has analysis of your thoughts got you so far? How far has trying to convince yourself got you? The involvement and fear of these thoughts is what got you into this mess and what is keeping you there.

    These thoughts are not you. They are what you fear. You have to put the trust into just allowing them to be there and they WILL slow down and lose importance and you WILL begin to recover. You dont need to think of other things. This will happen naturally over time. It is called obsession for a reason.

    You must just allow the thought to come in and then just dont do anything with it. Nothing at all. Ignore it completely and do whatever you were doing. Normal people get the odd weird thought but the difference is they realise it was nothing and forget. You were sensitized and so you thought the most catastrophic thing you could and the fear was created. This then led to more fear, more checking for thoughts, more thoughts, more fear etc etc etc. The cycle goes on until you are prepared to take the risk to ignore them. As you begin to do this the confidence in yourself will build back up and you will realise this was all just anxiety playing its tricks.

    I know how hard it is. I have been there.

    Honey,

    There are likely millions of people who have recovered from anxiety. How many of them do you think would like to remember about it or go online to write about it? Most will either move on with their lives naturally or simply want to forget about it.

    I understand your frustration as I am in a setback myself but you must try to keep the faith and keep moving forwards. The blog is here to support you when you need it. Everybody will have doubts and harder periods. If you can move past these then who knows what is around the corner? This setback could be the last you ever have. You could be just under the surface of the water about to burst free. Every bit of literature I have ever read on anxiety always says that the way to get past anxiety is always through it so keep pushing on. You could have a great week next week that will restore some of that faith.

  333. marie Says:

    Hi everyone/Nolan, this is the first time writing on this. About a year ago or more I suffered with insomnia really bad to the point not sleeping nights in a row and having to call in sick to work and feeling panicky going to bed constant thoughts about sleep and feeling heart racing and sick to my stomach. And then I was Thinking early this week how far I’ve come I sleep like a baby and then all of a sudden I’m in insomnia mode again and had a few hours sleep few nights and no sleep at all last night and now I cant stop worrying and panicking!!.. How did I manage to overcome it the first time cause I feel I’m not strong enough and this is so hard.. I keep thinking if I dont sleep what will happen to me health wise?.. What if I never sleep again (I know stupid but you know what anxiety’s like) will I get depressed?. And I was practically recovered until till this week started Sunday and I feel I’m worse than before is this a setback even year or more later is that possible!? And when I’m going to go to sleep its like I’m watching myself try to fall to sleep and its really off putting.. Sorry if this doesn’t make much sense rant and a half! Nolan if you are about I’d really appreciate your encouraging words I know you had a tough time with this.. I overcome this just forgot what I practiced. I dont want to take medication or sleeping pills in too scared to take them and don’t think they solve the problem. Thanks guys Marie

  334. Andy J Says:

    Hi Rik and Honey,

    Thanks very much for taking the time to reply to me. I appreciate it.

    I guess its taking that leap without needing reassurance. Unfortunately I have always needed someone there to tell me that what I am doing is right, in most forms of my life.

    Whenever I get a set back, or have a particularly scary thought, it really does knock me and my confidence. I’ve said on here before, but each one still is like having it for the first time again. The whole acting on them possibility absolutely petrifies me too.

    Hope you all have a good weekend.

    AJ

  335. Mark r Says:

    Hi all,

    Not posted on here for a while to be honest. The reason being I wanted a break from forums and therapy and just crack on with life. I have been having bi-weekly therapy sessions with an ACT therapist which has been a great help along with the advice on here. We agreed a few weeks ago that I should see him once a month now. He wants me to push myself everyday and do something outside my comfort zone, I made it my daily purpose to do this. In the last few weeks I’ve been doing things I’ve been avoiding since mid October when anxiety/sensitization appeared in my life again. So I’ve been to a busy city centre, 2 football (soccer) games, a trip to London and back plus a few other things. I basically do the opposite of what my anxious mind tells me to.

    Since I have pushed myself I’ve seen times of peace, normality, being me etc. go from a few mins to actual days. I had pretty much a straight two weeks of having normal thoughts and a normal anxiety level. Even on days where I have had higher symptoms ive been pretty upbeat and chirpy, singing silly songs, cracking jokes etc..

    I’ve noticed that the clouds are starting to part but I like to think that this is fundamentally down to me doing things regardless of how I feel, and showing my brain that I don’t need its protection.

    Unfortunately this week has been littered with days where I feel downtrodden and depressed. I find those particularly difficult to deal with as the chirpyness and outside interest seems to go out the window. I’m trying to see it as a positive sign though as they appear to be dotted around rather than 24/7 like a few months ago. I only really check the blog now when I feel ultra crap so thats another good sign really.

    Hope everyone else is chugging along nicely.

    Mark

  336. Jamie Says:

    Brilliant news Mark r. If staying away from the blog helps then continue to do so but I’m glad you checked in.

    I can relate to the ‘pushing yourself’ parts. Leading up to and during these events, they seem terrifying but part way through and afterwards you realise it wasn’t actually that bad.

  337. honey Says:

    Mark r good to hear things are improving. Remember that the bad days in between good days come because the messages just need reinforcing so just keep pushing through like you are.

    Thank you Rik I really need to push through all this as I know with behavioural work because I’m aware that this is the only way forward, just doing things without consuming myself in anxiety and saying no to urges to fix things and work it all out in my head. I sincerely hope you’re right about recovered sufferers. I hope one day if I ever recover I can help others.

  338. sue Says:

    I have had a good day intrusive thought wise and have not had one negative thought. I felt a bit panicky at tea time but it went. I got some good news and got excited and wham a horrible thought came into my head. there is no rhyme or reason why it does that. Anyway I did not let it get to me I am going out now and not dwelling on it as its not true. One day they will just stop coming I hope.

  339. Rik Says:

    Andy,

    If you need reassurance on this then who better than those who have been through it before :) Put your trust in the advice that we who have been there give you.

    Mark,

    Very happy to hear you are improving. When i was just watching the blog and not posting i was hoping for progress for you. Keep up the great work.

    Sue,

    Again excellent news. Having a tough time myself but it is because I am pushing myself and accepting. Remember. Its not the absense of the thoughts but your reaction to them that counts.

  340. Albert Says:

    Re intrusive thoughts
    I could do with a bit of advice:
    Ive had driving anxiety/panic for quite a while, basically anxiety about motorways and driving in the rush hour.Its not the roads which is the problem but the amount of traffic.
    My understanding is to conquer this fear i must face it to beat it, so i have been going out of my way to conquer it, ie if i need to get to a certain place, instead of taking the easiest route i purposely go out of my way to find the most anxiety inducing route. Each time i do this i dont feel any relief as i feel
    im “testing myself.” and building myself upto fail
    Im wondering whether i am doing this wrong and instead of “looking”
    for anxiety i should just take the easiest route, and if i need to go to a place that is outside of my comfort zone then face the fear then.The reason i say this is when i have “had” to go to a certain place ie:take my son to a function i did it fine, yet when i “tested” myself on the same route, i had massive anxiety.
    Complicated, but any help would be appreciated

  341. Mark r Says:

    Thanks Rik and Jamie,

    Feeling better was a combination of pushing myself and peeling away from the blog. Naturally how I feel becomes less important and matters less. As I posted above I’ve had a terrible few days so mattering has cropped up again as its hard to be external. As I’ve had some good times I’m taking them with a huge pinch of salt as I know that I’m on the right track and peace is in me underneath the turmoil.

    Don’t want to spend too much time on here so I’ll check back in a month or so.

  342. Debbie Says:

    Hi rik can dp feel like your mind keeps putting u in another location or street than you are and a creepy feeling comes over you it just happened to me.thanks or anyone else have this.

  343. jen Says:

    Chris and Rik, you guys have explained alot how I have been feeling off and on. The very low depressed mood. You described it well Chris when you said like your carrying around a heavy burden. It scares me sometimes how low it gets because I have never felt this way in my life. Most of my physical symptoms have lifted I had alot but now it seems just mental. The thoughts of what if this or what if that are so hard to not entertain because of how real the feeling feels. I keep reminding myself kind of what Rik said about once the anxiety goes or settles down so will my thinking. But right now it’s hard to stay positive sometimes. I had a great night last night and felt completely normal it was amazing. But when I woke up thr doom and gray cloud was over my head again. Ugh. I guess one day this all will be gone. Just don’t know when

  344. Chris Says:

    Hi Jen.

    Yeah I know how hard it can be, sometimes it just completely saps our motivation and our will to live. And then it can suddenly just lift. I find that in general I am a lot better at night time. Mornings for me are definitely the worst!

    Thanks for the reassurance Rik. It looks like we are both going through something very similar. I’m sure things will get better for us!

    I’m definitely not having a good time with the thoughts at the moment, but I’m doing my best not to engage with them. I guess this is going to take time. I have had the ‘drugs messed me up’ thought back in my mind for the last few days which I find very discouraging and emotionally painful. It’s saying things like ‘you never came right’ which isn’t true, but anxiety makes be believe the thoughts regardless. We really cannot trust our thoughts in this state. I was thinking about actually seeing a therapist for this issue, but I’m hesitant because I think it might just reinforce that particular fear.

  345. jen Says:

    Chris I as well feel better at night. During the day I’m tired and don’t want to so much. I feel at work is the hardest for me for some reason. I’m not sure if there is more memory of suffering there or what but it seems to be worse at work. Yes it gets hard feeling down like this. I have never had a depression feeling before I know mine mostly from how this anxiety has made me feel and how it seems to have to have robbed me of who I was for awhile. I know and have faith that once this anxiety is more under control and settles down that feeling will too. It’s so odd where one min I can be perfectly normal feel like my old self like I have never gone through any of this and then thr next the thoughts, anxious feeling, and doubt come rushing in and it feels like you don’t know how feeling good feels like. Do you guys ever feel that way? I’m trying to stay positive and lean on god to help me as well. I know I’ll be delivered from this I just have to believe. I think this medication I have started seems to be working a little bit to which I’m happy about. I know it’s not the answer but if it can help me get to thr right place to put all this into practice then I’m happy with that.

  346. jen Says:

    I guess I should clarify my statement of me saying that the depressing feeling scares me sometimes. After rereading it, that’s not truly how I feel about it. It doesn’t scare me it is more as I feel its draining, hard to deal with feeling and over welming would be a good word for it. I know it’s just part of the anxiety. I have been getting good at brushing that feeling away and not playing into it. But it does drain you of any motovation towards anything. Just wanted to clarify. See there goes my perfectionist and worry wort side of me thinking that I worded it wrong and wanted to say it right and not have someone think something of me that I didn’t mean to say. Ugh I guess I can say I don’t like that feeling but I am learning to handle it and deal with it thr best way I know how.

  347. Rik Says:

    Jen,

    I am the same. Feel decent at night and then awful in the morning. Today the morning was a nightmare. Got woken at 5am by my wife getting up for work and then doing a darn exercise dvd downstairs before she went. Not the best start to the day. Had my little girl all day which always makes me worse as thoughts can centre around her which i hate.

    Despite feeling terrible i took her to the local pub for dinner with my sister in law and her boyfriend. While i was there i felt immensely derealised which makes everything feel so much worse. I managed to eat my dinner and didnt resist any of it and just accepted it all.

    When i came home i was exhausted so led on the sofa and played with my daughter a bit while relaxing.

    After a while i started to feel better. Like my brain had realised i had faced the danger and there was no need to worry anymore.

    Now i feel quite a lot better. Still not 100 with it but i am very tired. I havent been reading about anxiety etc today either. Just came on here now to post.

    Hope everyone is doing well and keeping uo the acceptance.

    Quick question. Do you guys find when you are trying to get back to sleep in the morning that you have loads of weird thoughts? Not sure if i am half asleep or not but it freaks me out a bit at times.

  348. Debbie Says:

    Hi rik is derealisation when you physicslly somewhere but your brain keeps putting u somewhere else .like driving on a road you feel like your on another road somewhere else.

  349. Rik Says:

    For me i feel like the world is not real and that nothing means anything. I feel empty and like i cant feel anything or feel love for those i know i love like i am just not me in that moment. It is horrible. My vision seems odd and my intrusive thoughts are horrendous at those times like my brain is freaking out. The other day i had a moment where i was driving down a road ive driven thousands of times and all of a sudden i didnt recognise it. Very freaky. I knew what it was though so just let it go. That is all we can really do as otherwise we are adding further stress to a mind that is already blasted and needs a break.

    I can tell i have just put my mind through so much and the lack of sleep really amplified it like crazy. Looking forward to sleep this eve. Just hope my wife doesnt wake me up again.

  350. Colin Says:

    Jen that’s a sensible statement as fearing it won’t help . I sometimes in the past say when feeling slightly anxious , thought to myself that God am going to suffer this hell all my life ! But staying strong and believing that so what if I feel like this was the key to me feeling better . Yes I might suffer anxiety all
    My life ! But it’s how I accept the anxiety that really matters . If I don’t give it much time then honestly it doesn’t have much of a say to how I feel . But like everyone on here , sometimes I give it a space in my head and it’s starts to manifest it’s self . Just accept that it’s there but don’t engage it . I think that’s the key to accepting and success !!!!

  351. Derrick Says:

    Colin – Your description of feeling like it would never end is something I can relate to very well. As you say, the relief comes when you no longer care if it lasts for the rest of your life. Ironically, when I have successfully adopted that attitude in the past and just get on with life, things settle very nicely, and I start feeling great. In my 5 year run with anxiety, I have had dozens of the “recovered” periods when I would have told anyone who asked that I was anxiety free.

    As I suspect is normal in the circumstances, setbacks happen and are usually triggered by some old disturbing symptom (dp or dizzy vision) that I get caught up in before I know what happened. Then it seems like I start the whole process over, and that is the most frustrating part. I think I am actually much improved, even in setback, but it is easy to loose perspective when you have been going through this for so many years.

    Recovery is definitely a tough up and down cycle. Is that to be expected? How do you find the faith and strength to keep moving forward?

    Cheers

  352. Jamie Says:

    I had a better day at work on Friday by stepping back from my thoughts and treating them as just that – thoughts. That seemed to help and I felt a bit better than normal.

    I went to the cinema with a friend on Fri night which I was quite nervous about but it was fine. I took my daughter to the cinema Sat morning which was fine too.

    I went for drinks in the afternoon and evening yesterday with 5 or 6 friends,which I was also quite nervous about it but had no problem. Obviously after a few drinks, the nerves get easier anyway. The friends I met up with, all of them are married apart from me (who is now separated). I find this quite hard as I feel like the odd one out as they inevitably ask how dating is going etc. When I have a night out, my mind is telling me I have to make lots of effort to meet someone. The journey home and today have been quite tough. A hangover, feeling down as I think I won’t meet anyone because of my anxiety are not a good combination. When I do go out socially, I try to take the approach that trying to meet women is not that important but my ‘recovery’ is more important. Just doing stuff socially is progress so meeting someone will happen when it happens. As I said in one of my previous posts, the reality of my ex saying she wants to start divorce proceedings this week has made it a tough week but I have tried to deal with as best I can.

    I am sorry if this is maybe a general post rather than just about anxiety.

  353. Doreen Says:

    Jamie – so very well done. Guess in some ways, your thoughts on moving on with anxiety are the same as those on hopefully one day meeting someone else. The more relaxed you are about both those things the more likely it will be that the anxiety subsides and that you meet someone. Good luck.

  354. marie Says:

    Hi if someone could get back to me appreciate it at my comment a bit above please thanks

  355. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Marie. First, I know how frustrating and even shocking it is to be faced with anxiety and its many faces (yours being insomnia) again after a good period. That being said, I don’t believe you have forgotten what you learned before. You’re just going through the initial shock, frustration, etc. Everything you learned is still there. And really, all that is, is to let happen what is happening and to stop caring so much. You said you’re having anxious thoughts about sleep. Ok, then so be it. If the thoughts pop up, let them, and then move on with your day. If you go to bed and start panicking, then so be it. If you don’t sleep, then you don’t sleep. You got through this before and you will do it again. It just takes time and patience.

  356. Jamie Says:

    I have got myself in such a state today at work.

    I work in complaints and there is a lot of pressure to close almost every complaint the day you start it. Anyway, I finish at 2pm on a Monday (to do a school run) so I get pretty anxious most Monday clock watching and worrying that I MUST finish my work before I go.

    1) I didn’t feel too bad when I first got there and was stepping back from my thoughts like I had been recently. Time started to pass and I was not making much progress with my complaint (partly due to not having the right systems) and I was starting to worry more and more.
    2) Then my line manager at just after 11 said she would probably give my case to someone else who was in work for longer (and had the right systems) so I worried about that
    3) Then I worried about what the lady who was taking the case would think about this and then about me explaining what I had done so far on the case
    4) She was a little ‘off’ with me when I asked if it was convenient to come and explain what I had done so far which of course caused more worry
    5) More worrying about her talking about while she was on her lunch break to colleagues, whether my line manager thought I should progressed more and finished it myself
    6) More worry on way home and criticizing myself which did not give me a pleasant afternoon with my daughter as the day, how it made me feel and whether it will happen again tomorrow was on my mind. The panic when my work was given to someone else and the lead up to explaining what I had done (as I thought I would get really panicky explaining it and it would be noticeable) was so so high. I felt like I had 10,000 volts going through my body!

    It is all self created I know but it does not stop it being so frightening. I tried to distance myself from my thoughts but still had a really bad day. Lots of silly thoughts on the way home like ‘I can’t do this anymore’, ‘I am going to have to take time off sick as it’s too much’ and so on.

    I am now doing my usual and trying to decide on the best method of handling tomorrow 1) deep breathing 2) saying ‘they are just thoughts’ 3) saying ‘I don’t care what happens to me’ etc etc

    I didn’t feel too bad yesterday and back to work to this…

  357. marie Says:

    Thanks Stephanie really appreciated the comment back your so right I know I’m just overreacting and getting in the same habit again obsessing and getting worried and fearing it and that builds it up where as if I left it would go sooner and ive done this before can do it again nothing bads going to happen to me. On the plus side I did sleep last night I think haha… Have you ever had this Stephanie thanks marie

  358. marie Says:

    Thanks so much for your reply so reassuring and I know I will get through this like you said ive done this before. Have you ever had this issue? Thanks.

  359. Chris Says:

    Hi all, just thought I’d check in for the day!

    Rik, your experience seems to be very similar to mine, especially the ‘nothing means anything’ feeling, and not recognizing familiar areas, like they somehow look different. For me it’s like the world is a different place. This is all really normal stuff with anxiety/dp. I get it so bad at times that it feels like my life is over, not fun! This is something that will pass for both of us, however we are definitely going to have to give it time.

    I had a mini aha moment today. It wasn’t monumental, especially due to the fact that I can’t really feel any good emotions, but I can kind of see where I have been going wrong. Whenever I get the horrible repetitive thoughts in my mind, 8 times out of 10 I still get involved with them! I try to prove them wrong, and I try to change my point of view or belief in them. The mistake I am making here is that by trying to prove them wrong/arguing with the thoughts, I am giving these thoughts wayyy to much respect, and this only reinforces them. I generally get involved when I get that horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach which I’m sure we are all familiar with.

    Chris.

  360. Mark r Says:

    I did say I was going to keep away from the blog for a while but I’ve felt so low this last week, so if I do I tend to feel lonely and very isolated. When I’m down I come here once a day to skim over posts which I don’t think causes any harm.

    Derrick,

    Your post struck a chord with me as we seem very similar in our experience. I’ve been dealing with this ’bout’ now for the last six years. I’ve been dealing with anxiety in total for almost 15 years now. I used to have very bad periods for years at a time but then be well for a few years. The pattern seemed to have changed this time round where I can be ‘very well’ for a long time, although not recovered but then suffer a setback which tends to send me back down the pile again. What helped me feel less frustrated about this was to view it differently. If I have to have a ‘bad time’ now for a few months then be okay for around 18 months then that’s a pretty good ratio. That mindset stopped me looking for full recovery.

    What’s given me strength to carry on is I know I’ve made it through before and I can draw on past experiences. Also the feeling that I’m doing and going the right way, I get glimpses or days of being myself which is rewarding. It took years before I saw any kind of progress so I handle anxiety much better nowadays. Sure it’s crap and we don’t want it, sometimes the frustration needs to come out and I cry but I get up again and face it.

    Sounds like you deal with it very well so sorry to sounds a bit preachy. I’ve never really come across anyone on here with a similar pattern to mine.

    Be well all

    Mark.

  361. Derrick Says:

    Mark – Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It is great to hear that you can have such long periods of feeling good. I think I will need to be Ok with the idea that, like you, I will have periods of good and periods of anxiety. I need to fully be ok with this. I probably set myself up for failure by striving for the elusive “full recovery” that we all want so badly.

    I am considered very high functioning, since I can work, travel, and take care of all of my family’s needs, but on the inside I can suffer deeply while doing these things. At times there just isn’t joy where there should be. I can relate to much of the pain I read from others on this blog. It’s time to get off to work now, so I do my best to accept how I feel and try to live in the moment.

    I hope you all find some peace today through acceptance.

  362. Marie Says:

    Hi guys, thanks Stephanie for you kind words did you go through this yourself, I really can’t stop myself searching and obsessesing over it, thinking how the hell did I do this once and can I do this again? I don’t want to go on medication or sleeping pills to get me to sleep, if I go days without sleep am I going to be ok, is this just a setback, I know this is anxiety because I’m scared and fearing it? I was only thinking last week how I never have any problem sleeping and how hard it was and then bam I’m going through it again (one year later). I’m trying to accept and let go but it’s even harder when you haven’t had a wink of sleep. And I don’t know if you have had this or anyone as soon as I go to bed it’s like my mind knows I’m trying to sleep even if my stomach stop playing up and my heads not racing thought it’s like I can’t get that switch to turn from being awake to asleep.. I really need some help can’t stop crying. I feel like no one can be getting it this bad I know it’s not true. Thanks.

  363. marie Says:

    Hi guys. Thanks Stephanie for your kind words did you go through this yourself?, I really cant stop myself searching and obsessing over it and scaring myself then. Think how the hell did I do this once and can I do it again? I dont want to go on medication or sleeping pills to get me to sleep. If I go days without sleep am I going to be ok?, is this just a setback after a year later of good 8 hours plus sleep?. I know this is anxiety because I’m scared and fearing it?. I was only thinking last week how I never have any problem sleeping anymore and how scary it was when I couldn’t sleep and hard it was and then bam I’m not sleeping. I’m trying to accept and let go but when you haven’t had a wink of sleep last night its hard suppose its harder not to accept it more effort!. I dont know if anyone had this as soon as I go to bed its like my mind know I’m trying to sleep even when my stomach stop playing up and my heads not racing thought its like I can’t get that switch to turn from being awake to sleep. I really cant stop crying. I feel like no one can be getting it this bad but I know its not true. Thanks

  364. Nolan Says:

    Hi Marie,

    I hope you read this.
    First, I’m very sorry for the delay in response. I’ve just been busy with work and other things.

    I know EXACTLY where you are.
    My sleep issue was my “BIG THING” with anxiety. Everyone has their BIG THING, sleep was mine. It terrified me, Marie.

    I was certain I was irreparably broken. All I could do was think about it all day: both willfully and automatically. What I mean is that I intentionally focused on it a lot, and my body and mind also automatically focused on it (even when I was not being intentional with my attention on it).

    I would have a good stretch of days and then the doubt and fear would creep in…. but remember this: that doubt and fear is happening automatically. So, just let it. Let it creep in and stay as long as it wants to.
    Change how you intentionally deal with this. I used to google it all the time, talk with people about it all the time, pray on it all the time.
    I stopped doing those. I made my life bigger than the issue. if I didn’t get much sleep and I had a big day before me I simply said “so what, I’m doing what I want to do now.” And I lived my life regardless of the sleep or lack of it.

    Now, that’s what I did intentionally…. but, like I said there’s the automatic/reflexive issue too. Where your mind and body just immediately gear up on their own. This you don’t have as much control over. BUT, these are changed slowly (but, sometimes you’ll have those immediate moments of peace). And they’re changed based off of the amount of intentional attention you give the issue.
    So, you’re sitting around the house and that reflexive thought and fear envelope you. What do you do? Do you sit there and try to “think your way through it”? or, do you say “ah, nuts to it…. I’ve got more important things in my life than this”…. and do something that makes your life bigger than the fear and the sleep?

    Setbacks will come, Marie. Automatically your body will be saying BIG ISSUE!! ADDRESS!!! …. but intentionally I’d like you to react with “nah, I’m fine… whatever is going to happen is okay with me… if I sleep, great. If I don’t, oh well… not ideal, but so what. I got this”.

    Marie, if you need to talk I’m more than happy chatting with you too. I’ve been there. I know how terrifying it is, I know how broken you feel right now. But you’re not broken. You will find that peace again.

    One more thing: when you’re lying down at night and if your mind gears up and goes on high alert and starts racing…. just let it race. Let it go where ever if wants to go. Let the fear spike as high as it wants to spike…. and great it all with a “so what”. Think of it like you’re just watching a movie. Don’t force your thoughts this way or that. Let them come as they may and go where they want to. Dispassionately view it all. God bless.

  365. marie Says:

    Thank you so much I nearly cried at that Nolan your words are so reassuring. I know that googling and looking through this and thinking about thinking and fear on top of fear are not helping ?.. I know I can do this and eventually one way or the other sleep will return to me. Nolan did you have nights in a row of not any sleep and also is it normal to have a setback after a year of being fine with sleep no problem and the switch going from being awake in to sleep did you find difficult to its like I forgot how I did it before. But I did nothing that the thing I need to do isn’t it and accept whatever fear thought and feeling I have.

  366. Nolan Says:

    Hi marie, I had many nights in a row where, if I did get any sleep, I wouldn’t have guessed it.

    Some nights (many, early on) I would take a Xanax, or an Ambien, or a Trazadone, or an Ambien CR, or a Lunesta, or a Klononpin (or many other things) and I might then get 2 and a half to 3 hours of ‘sleep’ that felt nothing like sleep.
    And, when I’d wake up from that my mind would be as alert as it ever had been.
    It was more like I was knocked out than I actually slept.

    Setbacks can come at any time. It’s how we start responding to them that slowly starts to dictate our future responses to them. initially they would terrify me and think all gain and hope was finally lost for good.
    But, that’s just the tricks of anxiety.

    So, when setbacks came I didn’t expect anything to change. This was just how it is…. if it lasts along time, so be it. If it ends quickly, cool whatever.
    I was simply done having my life being dictated by the presence of anxiety/fear/depression/sleep issues. Those could all be there, but I was going to make my life more about other things than my own woes. I’m not saying this was easy….. but it was just my new ‘mode of interaction’ with anxiety/depression/sleep issues.

    And remember: accepting doesn’t mean that the intensity of the fear and doubt (and symptoms) will vanish immediately. It’s more: Even with the fear there, and all of the junk that goes along with it I am now deciding to live my life like I once used to…. bigger than the narrow focus of anxiety. And I am not going to let this dictate what I do anymore. I won’t cancel plans, I won’t search this or that out online, I won’t have all of my interactions with others to probe if they ever dealt with this in hopes of finding those stories of conquering it.

  367. marie Says:

    Thanks Nolan for everything ? I’m going to get off this and stop googling and let my mind and body heal.. Even if I feel like crap its only temporary I will accept and allow however I feel or think and I’m going to get through this. Ive done it before and I can do it again thanks for the support ? we got to stick together.

  368. Tasnim Says:

    Hi everyone! This is my first time posting. So here’s the thing:

    I think I’ve always had a bit of anxiety, looking back. Or just the whole overthinking, plus hypochondriac stuff. But recently, about a month ago, I became obsessed with this fear or thought of schizophrenia, after learning about it in psychology class. So for the past several weeks, I constantly worried about this thought, trying to fight it, and forget about it. I think weeks of this struggle was my breaking moment and I had an anxiety attack. Since then I have been consumed in the anxiety. Luckily, the next day I found Paul and I kept myself from sinking too far maybe?

    It’s been a little over a week now. And I have been trying my best to follow Pauls advice. I think I can say that my physical symptoms (heavy breathing, stomach turning, and some trembling) have had less effect on me now (minus any setbacks). My main worry us my doubt and intrusive thoughts and going crazy. I’m struggling with them the most. Recently, it’s my fear of developing depression. I have hit a couple low moods, but I don’t want it to get any worse. I dont even know if I have depression, I think I just get down thinking of it. For those with anxiety, does any depression developed go away with the anxiety? Honestly, these thoughts are the ones that are really causing the struggle. I have doubts that I will have this lingering mood even when I reach recovery.

  369. Tasnim Says:

    It’s just that I haven’t seen many posts dealing with intrusive and obsessive thinking. I dont so much obsess over social situations and things I did, but more so, doubts and fears. Is this normal? I so far, haven’t been faced with many symptoms of social anxiety and physical symptoms, as much as I have with my thoughts. Does anyone else get like that? I also find myself with more anxiety in the morning, where in the evening it slightly tapers off. Sorry for writing so much. I just wanna understand this symptom and know if it’s part of the anxiety.

    I made the mistake of visiting a different mental health site, where people answered that anxiety doesn’t go away, but you just have to cope with it through treatments. It fueled my doubt more, especially because I am an anti-medicine type person.

    But anyways, thanks for all you’ve provided Paul, I think you really kept me from falling deeper. Hopefully I will feel like my cheerful, carefree self again one day.

  370. Mark r Says:

    How long was a long setback Nolan? Although I’ve seen improvements I’m still affected by this almost 4 months later. I’m still plugging away but it does take it out of you.

  371. Nolan Says:

    Hi Mark r…
    “how long”??
    I think that’s the wrong question to ask, in all honesty.
    I can understand the desire to want to ask it. If it were something completely independent of our conscious/intentional activity then it might make more sense to ask “how long”.
    But the two are in some ways connected: in asking “how long” you’re telling yourself “I’m fine with this, but I’m not fine with this”.
    Which I feel, though maybe not in all that intense and profound of a way, feeds back into the cycle.

    Think of it: you’re at a restaurant with family and at another table there’s an obnoxious lady talking on her cellphone. Talking very loudly and crassly. Everything about this lady is just grating on your mind. But, you’re really the only one bothered by her. No one else at your table seems to either care or notice her. You want to really enjoy this time with your family but there’s this factor that you didn’t anticipate that plays right into the worst of you. You start to slowly realize (No one else is bothered by her, maybe it’s more a problem with me than with this lady…. and, even if I could get this one lady to shut up, chances are I’m only going to become more and more aware of instances like this… this is only a problem that can get bigger for me.)
    Now, you’d look like a fool if you sat there and put your fingers in your ears to block her out. You want to look composed and collected so yelling at her is out of the question. The only real solution is to intentionally redirect your attention back to your table with your family; while understanding that, since this is a big issue for you (inconsiderate people) at an automatic/reflexive level in your mind and body you will still be noticing her, will be screaming at you to “DO SOMETHING!!!!!”. Here’s the fork in the road: you follow your feelings (DO SOMETHING) or you follow what you value (being composed, collected, not easily flustered by things like this). Now, if you sat there and started thinking “gosh, how much longer will it take before I stop noticing her?” you’d be feeding right back into noticing her. You’d probably understand that it’s going to take some time (maybe many times out in social settings) consistently putting value above feeling (the urge to react). You might have ups and downs. Some situations you’ll be in and nothing will set you off. Then, another time your out at the movies and everything is setting you off again. Those times, when everything is back to setting you off isn’t a signal that “ah, crap, it didn’t work”…. because, at least in some instances it did work…. but that old machinery you were so used to using is just kicking into gear again. Let it kick into gear. this isn’t an issue where you’re confused on what to do. You know what to do, you just wonder why that automatic/reflexive part of you is still bringing to surface that bad stuff. You wonder why your feelings aren’t in line with it yet…. so, don’t take heed of the feelings follow what you know you’re supposed to do…. with little regard or concern for how long it may take for your feelings to fall inline with the new approach.

  372. Doreen Says:

    Mark r….I would also add that you are talking about set back like you might talk about pain in your mouth following a tooth extraction where there might be some value in hearing how long that pain is likely to last based on other peoples experience.
    Firstly however anxiety is an individual experience and whilst knowing others also have set backs is comforting, it won’t answer how long you might feel caught up in those feelings.
    Secondly I don’t think there is a finite time because some people might carry on being aware that anxiety is part of their lives and is sometimes quite intrusive when stressful events occur, but manage to get on and live life to the full despite that. That certainly applies to me.
    Others seem to think recovery is a complete absence of anxiety and until that state is reached, they are in ‘setback’. I would suggest it is the latter who go on being adversely affected by anxiety for far longer.They continue monitoring themselves waiting for the end to come.
    So be comforted in knowing you are not alone but and follow Nolan’s good advice

  373. Sara Says:

    Hi all,

    Sorry for the dissapearing act! I was too detached and had concentration problems so it was hard for me to read anything on here.To make up for it i’ve read pretty much everything and i noticed that a lot of you were giving me advice so THANK YOU to all.

    Basically i felt better because my mum came in to cook and take care of me, she force-fed me at first and things got better from there because i was finally getting the proper nourishment for me and the baby!

    Jamie: you said “what makes you think i’m just a push away”, well you know once you have the right attitude it’ll always be with you and you tend to bounce back from terrible days pretty well…that’s why i said you’re nearly there, it wasn’t to sound wise or anything but i truly beleive so.

    Nicola: I’m experiencing the exact same thing, you know hyper awareness and feeling detached and overly aware of your existence. It’s horrible but you can’t just get rid of it and i’ve been through it and came out the other end like normal.
    Ladies: thanks for reaching out, pregnancy should defiantly come with a medal!! And all you find on the net are scary stories so that doesn’t help much
    Right know i’m a bit anxious because my mum is going back and i fear that i’ll go back to that terrible place i was in. So i’m secretly hoping she’ll stay haha

    I’ve noticed that with intrusive thoughts and OCD, it’s not acutally the thoughts that we’re scared of. Basically we just have a LOT of unexplained fear (stems from adrenaline) and our brain tries to associate that fear to something, so it creates scary thoughts to justify the fear: This is why you could be scared of one thought and completely a different one next week.

    This is really helping me, realizing that “I’m just scared” and not particularly scared of something….apart from the thought that I won’t recover of course, but I suppose that will come with time

  374. Sara Says:

    P.S: Does anyone know why we feel so much better at night? I’ve got theories but really sometimes it feels like i’m competly another person at night, more confident and ready to take on life…..then the morning strikes and i’m a chicken again!

  375. Belgian Says:

    Sara,

    I completely understand why you are asking this question, but it really doesn’t matter why you feel better at night. Even if you knew this, it would not help you cope with it all.

    In fact, it is not your job to ‘investigate’ this. Just try to notice this and embrace the feeling without holding desperately onto it.

    I try like to look at it as a normal fluctuation of feelings what everyone has, but which is felt much harder by anxiety sufferers.

    It’s felt much harder because I believe some of us are born more sensitive than others and because anxiety sufferers tend to focus on this continuously changing internal environment.

    We do this because we are afraid that we would not pick up on something important, much like the time which led to our first meltdown.

    Unfortunately, it is this preoccupation with self that results into stress and therefore to a more intense feeling.

    What I try to do is notice the feeling, name it and accept it to the best of my ability.

  376. Sara Says:

    Belgian,

    Yes you are completely right, it was more of a curiosity than anything else as i noticed it to be the same with everyone else.

    I now know that getting to the core of why i feel this way is meaningless, why it happened to me i the first place or psychanalsing everything won’t get me anywhere.

    You know, i also realze that a lot of the “setbacks” are really just pure imagination and souvenire, they are ever as bad as we think they are, but our memory tends to enhance them based on past experiences.

    It’s also unfortunate that one simple feeling or thought can quickly bring everything back when you’re just starting out…..that’s why the begining is so difficult and we tend to go around in circles because of this

  377. Jamie Says:

    Good to hear from you Sara and you also Nolan. Thanks for the encouraging words Sara.

    I had a dreadful day and night Monday and felt like i was not going to sleep Monday night for worrying. I also thought I would end up being off work with stress again. I had to give myself a bit of a talking to on Tuesday morning and just said “I don’t give a xxxx how I feel, what happens to me or what other people think about me. I am going right back into work and smashing through all of the anxiety”. I went in and did precisely this. I made calls whenever I wanted to rather than waiting for the coast to be clear, spoke to people 1 on 1 without avoiding it and just got on with my day. Weirdly enough, I tried to smile as much as possible and this also helped!

    I went in today with the same attitude and did not care what happened to me. I went from spending most of the day in complete panic on Monday to resolving 3 complaints today (which is pretty good going). It is surprising how “attacking the day” (that is what phrase I use) and smashing through it all can do for the confidence. It almost feels like a 180 degree turn from Monday. I did not feel great today as I had a fuzzy head which was making me feel pretty dizzy at times. Is it anxiety I was thinking ? Is it catarrh ? Is it a cold coming ? I just kept on saying to myself “I don’t care what has caused it. I am just going to get on with my day”.

    I am still not feeling 100% now but it is just one of the things. I will go back tomorrow and get on with things…

  378. Stephanie Says:

    That’s exactly the right attitude, Jamie! I think many of us have gotten the idea into our head – because we’ve spent so long feeling weird/awful/rotten – that recovery from anxiety means feeling wonderful all of the time. While that would be nice, that’s just not life. I guarantee if you talk to most anybody they deal with their fair share of odd feelings/sensations. The difference is they don’t allow those feelings/sensations to define their entire day. Even for yourself, I’m betting that before anxiety if you had a fuzzy head like you mentioned in your post, you probably would have noticed it, maybe thought “hmm this is uncomfortable, I hope I’m not getting sick, oh well!” and then moved on. So it’s all about getting back to that place of less analyzing and more perseverance. Great job!

  379. Mark r Says:

    Doreen/Nolan,

    Thanks for your replies, much appreciated and awesome insight. I think my question should have been how did you cope with the long setbacks rather than how long.

    It’s a frustrating time for me at the moment I guess. The emotional side of me is bouncing up and down like Zebbedi. One moment I’m okay with how I’m feeling the next I’m so low and battered by it all that im floundering.

    I’m definately in the same camp as Doreen of getting on despite how I feel but at present there is no enjoyment where there should be. The only thing I don’t do which I was doing prior to this kicking off again is dating. My next big step in life is to find someone to settle down with but at present I dont feel I could give anything to a relationship. I don’t want to just date someone either to prove to myself that I can as that would kind of make them a guinea pig so to speak. But equally is this giving too much respect to how I feel? Any thoughts on this?

    You raise an interesting point about what is classed as a setback. For me I’ve lived with a certain level of symptoms at varying degrees for 6 years now. I would describe a setback as where the symptoms are interfering with my enjoyment of life rather than a complete absence of symptoms. I don’t really care about full recovery but would like to feel a bit better, well we all do.

  380. Janie Says:

    Hello Nolan and to anyone else reading this, I see that you have had a lot of difficulty with sleep issues. I have suffered periodically with insomnia and anxiety since my twenties, now in my fifties I am having a really bad patch. Medication has helped me in the past and I am on medication now which seemed to be taking the edge off. However I have very obsessive thoughts around sleep and I am really struggling with one particular issue which is when I go to bed I get songs on repeat going on in my head which can continue all night so I don’t get any sleep. I have not experienced this before but it is really scaring me. Any advice or similar experiences would be really appreciated. Many thanks

    Janie

  381. Bryan Says:

    Sara,

    Belgian is right. It truly doesn’t matter why… though so you know it is very common. I’d guess 90% of stress disorder folks feel better at night. The body releases hormones to help us slow down in the evening and hormones to wake us and move us in the AM. It’s just circadian cycles and very normal.

    Like he said… there is no good overthinking it. Just know it’s a safe, normal bodily pattern that like all patterns will feel better when your sensitization comes down to normal levels.

  382. Albert Says:

    Any tips help please on accepting intrusive thoughts when your alone and not busy (im a singe dad who works from home, i have my children for 4 days a week)

    I get 100s of intrusive thoughts a day, i have improved a bit by using the “accept the thought but ignore the content” method, however when im not busy the thoughts still somehow get me to ruminate over them.

    I know people say keep busy, but i cant be constantly “doing things” all day in order to keep the thoughts at bay, also i feel this isnt really “accepting” as well ?

    Any help gratefully accepted

  383. Tasnim Says:

    This might not be the right question, but I want to understand. For anyone who has recovered, are you able to go through your days now without thinking about anxiety? Also, do you still get setbacks where you feel you are back to square one, after recovery?

    I would like to say I understand what I need. I need to allow anxiety to become apart of me, like any other condition I have. Like how I have bad vision, it’s just something I have, but I don’t go through my day thinking about it. I guess it’s the same thing with anxiety, it’s a part of me. It’s just really hard, due to the memory of it. I am at a point where I can function well, and in the evenings I feel almost practically normal. And I still do everything that I used to do. It’s just hard because even when I am calm I am still thinking about the anxiety. It’s like my mind is always checking into it, and when I laugh or talk, I always find myself checking into that thought. I’m not sure how to explain. I just to stop thinking about anxiety, and stop monotoring.

    I would like to say I’m improving, it’s been almost two weeks, and I think the anxiety has only affected my life for a couple months, so I’m not sure if I will have a setback or not. I just keep checking myself and my anxiety, while doing work in school and talking with friends and family, etc. I read posts where obsessive thoughts are the last to settle down, but not sure.

    Sorry for the long post. I don’t plan to post too often, but I just wanted to get that out.

  384. Jamie Says:

    Mark R

    I can 100% relate to your comments on dating. I find it a daily struggle just going into work every day and not having time off with due to anxiety (I have not had a day off for over a year now). So, the thought of getting into dating again seems so big. I feel like I have been in a ‘setback’ for the last 15 years :)

    I went on about 5 or 6 dates last year with different people but either they did not want to take it any further or vice versa. One woman started providing feedback actually on the date itself ! She was saying things like I did not give her enough eye contact and I was not ready for dating. That knocked me massively and made me very depressed for a while. To pluck up the courage to go on a date and to be told stuff like this when you feel really anxious anyway was really tough to take.

    Another woman (a friend of my sister in law) who I went out with 3 or 4 times at the end of last year text me after our first date. I have no idea why I said it but I asked how she thought it went and she said she did not think I was that interested in her because of my body language. Yet again – I know she did not mean it but to say that to someone who is incredibly anxious on the date and is very self conscious is like a bomb going off. That had a major effect on me too and made even MORE anxious for the 2nd date.

    When the weekends approach, I find myself scrambling around trying to arrange things to do with people but nearly all of my friends have wives and kids. If I have nothing to do I think I am scared I will have too much time to think and feel anxious. I then think ‘oh I wouldn’t have all this time to fill if I was with someone’ and then I am back to the being frightened of dating thing again.

    I can really relate to what you said about not enjoying things too. I have said to many therapists over the years that I never look forward to things, do not enjoy things ‘in the moment’ and rarely look back and think ‘that was a good day’.

    I just have to keep powering through I guess.

    Where are you from Mark may I ask ?

  385. Rik Says:

    Albert,

    As I mentioned I have had extreme intrusive thoughts in the past and overcome them.

    I have some now during this setback but I am slowly overcoming those too now.

    The advice is always the same. Resist the urge to ruminate until this becomes your new habit. Let the thought come and go and add nothing to it. If you have a thought you consider good you dont ruminate about it so there is no need to do so with a random bad thought either.

    The only way to reduce their impact and frequency is to just ignore them and not continue to ruminate. If they are there when you are not busy then let them be. Dont pay them attention as much as you can help it and dont add any further thought. It is that simple. It is hard to do when very anxious but over time your mind realises there is no threat and so they begin to fade.

    Chris,

    I have been doing better this last few days. I have taken myself away from all reading about anxiety etc and truly just begun to ignore my thoughts and slowly put trust back in myself. It has been very hard but I have made progress. Yesterday my DP lifted for a little bit which felt amazing. I am on the right track so I just have to stick with it. Keep the faith and remember to not ruminate on the thoughts. Let them come and go.

  386. Ramji Says:

    Hi to Everyone ,

    Am new to this blog , been following paul and some of the peoples advice through this forum for quite a while .

    My story in short , Aug 2014 was abused sever side affect to a weight loss supplement and which hit by sever insomnia and later developed anxiety and depression , my anxiety was mainly focused on my sleep was been suffering from sleep anxiety unable to fall and stay asleep .. Antidepressant doesn’t help … few months back i have read paul’s book about acceptance and allowance … then i had a drastic improvement over my anxiety but what doesn’t seem to improve was my Depression …

    My core issue is i could able to fall asleep without any issues but will wide awake at 4 to 5am and trouble falling back to sleep and the morning blues and morning depression (which is the classic symptoms of depression) at the worst for the extend i cannot drive or go to my job and later in the afternoon and eve i would feel better .

    i have couple of question on my issue

    1. Whether paul’s advice on acceptance and allowance will work for depression ? because what i come to know about depression is , it is more of a chemical imbalance in the brain and my doubt is how can acceptance could heal the chemical imbalance in brain rather than drugs ?

    2. I can fall asleep normally but wide awake morning @4am and not much of racing thoughts .. what could i do if i awake in the morning from sleep which i don’t have any control over in my sleep and continues morning exhaustion.

    I had realised acceptance and allowance have made huge impact on my anxiety , intrusive and OCD thoughts .. but this “morning depression” which is completely out of my hand i feel complete hopeless , very low in energy and empty ,, where there is empty i cannot accept anything .

    Will be great full for anyone who can help with questions .. thanks in advance.

  387. Albert Says:

    Appreciate your reply Rik. Ive only been “ignoring ” the thoughts for a week or so, so im guessing you would say just carry on ? Im checking to see if the thoughts have diminished but by doing this am i not accepting ? should i not put a time limit on it ?
    In the past i had the classic OCD thoughts “what if i hurt that poor old lady” etc… but ive mananged to overcome these thoughts, now they are based around basic things, driving, eating, walking etc, it even feels stupid writing these down but the more basic the thought the more i get

  388. Nolan Says:

    Hi Albert,

    I had constant, intense, and at times very violent intrusive thoughts.
    My son at the time was not even a year old…. and many of these thoughts would be directed at hurting him. They made me hate myself even more.

    But, sometimes the thoughts were just a bit of a song that would play over and over…. for hours non-stop.

    You quickly realize that ignoring them just doesn’t work.
    But, following Paul’s advice I just let them be there and stopped caring so much. No more trying to ignore them or arguing with the content or subject of them. I greeted them with a “oh, hi” and moved back on with my day.

    I let them take my mind wherever they wanted to take it but just stopped caring so much.

    I think sometimes people conceive of acceptance like some kind of magical invocation that will immediately slay the thoughts or at least take some wind out of their sails. Now, maybe that does happen at times…. but that’s not the goal. The goal is simply to live your life like you used to. It means letting those thoughts capture your conscious attention, pulling it wherever it wishes to, for as long as it wants to, but with less concern that it’s happening. Like a child that grabs your hand and starts leading you all around the store to show you the things she wants you to see.

  389. Albert Says:

    Thanks Nolan,
    Im still trying to get my head around the concept of “accepting” the thoughts.
    My take on it is,i cant control the thoughts that come into my head but i can do something about how i react. The method im using is, accept the thought but dont react to the content, welcome the thoughts but let them pass like leaves floating down the river

    My trouble is i work from home and im then in home alone with my boys a lot. When im out my intrusive thoughts are less as i have other things to focus on, but when im in home as you can imagine my thoughts are awful. I know people say keep busy, but its not practical to be doing things all the time to keep myself occupied

  390. Nolan Says:

    Hi Albert,

    I agree… It’s no reasonable.
    Distraction is not something I did and those intrusive thoughts still left me completely.

    Let them be, let them grab your attention… Just don’t care so much that it is happening.

  391. Sara Says:

    Nolan

    How do you ever stop watching yourslelf and surveilling every emotion??

    Occupation and distraction would have been good if i wasn’t just fired!! Also i’m not getting any pleasure out of every day things, i am easily distracted.

    I know that if i continue like this i’ll just bring the anxiety back now that it’s at bay.

    One minute i’m hopeful and the next i’m hopeless….any advice?

  392. Tasnim Says:

    Ok, sorry for constantly posting.

    I think I am nearing towards recovery. I feel practically normal. The only thing is that I feel really weird. Its like I’ve been away for a few months, and I’ve now come back, but everything feels different. I feel slightly disconnected with everything and everyone. I tell myself to let myself be, but I sometimes wonder is this normal, even so far in progress. Will I feel comfortable and normal again, in my usual surroundings, like before? I do have some bad eyesight, and I’m not sure if that plays into it. I hate wearing glasses because I feel like I’m looking through a window. It just feels odd. It’s almost like I’m close to normal, but also distant.

    I’d really appreciate if someone would reply.

  393. jen Says:

    Tasnim.
    I have felt that as well I think it’s called the transition stage inbetween suffering and back to normal. I thibk it’s called no man’s land is how paul put it in the book. I feel odd too feeling normal. I think it’s to be expected since we got used to feeling anxiety all the time.

  394. Tasnim Says:

    Jen,
    It feels odd. Sometimes I’ll look around the room and feel as though I haven’t been here in a long time. I went to a store today, and the memory of it is completely blurry. It’s like I was walking through a haze. Its good to know ‘m not the only one. I haven’t suffered as long as many others, which I am grateful for. I mean, I still feel anxious and scared at random triggers and stuff. But I just let it be there, though I don’t like it. Do you sometimes get a little flash of an intrusive thought or anxiousness when at certain trigger words or images?
    I’m glad you are nearing recovery. I hope we feel back to normal soon. Thanks for replying

  395. Chris Says:

    Well I’ve had a rough few days. I had to try and not post here but I need a bit of help and support.

    I can’t get over this specific fear I have (the ‘i’m broken from drugs’ one), and I keep thinking I need to do something about it to lose the fear like see a therapist or something, but maybe this would only reinforce it. Ideally I’d like to be able move on without resorting to getting outside help but it’s making me quite depressed. It’s literally a nightmare.

    Is this something that will just fade with time? Can I still take a do nothing approach to this even though it has so much impact on me? Sorry this isn’t more positive today, I’m doing my best to not let it affect me but today is a harder day. I told myself that I would stop coming on here for advice so I can move forward but it seems I need a little bit of a boost.

  396. Jamie Says:

    I just wondered if anyone was familiar with Eckart Tolle’s work and his book “The Power Of Now” ?

    I watch videos of his stuff on YouTube (Oprah and Jim Carrey are big fans) and I have a “eureka” moment. I am a slave to my mind and it causes the majority of my suffering. I know this but to ‘be present’ and observe your thoughts is easier said than done….

  397. Sara Says:

    Tasmin

    I feel like that too! Like i’m looking through someone else’s eyes, everything around me is odd because i’m aware of everything!

    Sometimes it actually bothers me for some reason, it feels like i’m in dreamland

  398. jen Says:

    Tamsin. That kind of sounds like maybe some dp left lingering around. I had that to. I think mine has turned into more depression and I have been getting worrying thoughts that I dwell on. Chris, how did you start this anxiety? Did you have a panic attack? I would try and look at it like every time that thought comes to you just tell yourself that there is alot of others going through this as well. That everyone on this blog has some form.of anxiety from many different reasons. Maybe that will.help. that helped me when I had the thought I always had this and maybe I was losing it but then I thought I didn’t feel like this before my panic attack so a panic attack won’t cause me to loss it so it’s just anxiety. I hope that helped.

  399. Mark r Says:

    Jamie,

    Thanks for your take on it. I will wait to be honest. I think with most things with anxiety you need to push forward, face and accept but things where you need to invest emotional time and energy its best to be sensible. I’m getting past how I feel each month, so leaving it til the summer won’t hurt.

    I can relate with the work thing too. I love my job, I started in November 14 and had around a year of enjoying it to the full until I got sensitised in October. At the moment I’m just focusing on doing a good job rather than enjoying it. I know I will be able to be absorbed by it again as I feel better. It’s hard as I’m an accountant and its very frustrating not being able to focus but it keeps me busy and I have structure to my day when I work.

    Weekends are the hardest for me too but I can always find things to do. I finish at 1pm on Fridays and when feeling good this was something to look forward to, at the moment its a worry unfortunately. Ironically I’m actually doing more now than I was when I felt great before October. I think it’s an important distinction to make between finding things to do to keep anxiety at bay and doing things for enjoyment. I’ve got back into selling vinyl on Ebay which gets me and about and is also something I’m passionate about too. I’m a huge football fan so I’ve started going down to see my local team Aston Villa, even though I’m an Everton fan!!

    I’m in Birmingham, UK.

    Albert,

    One thing I found immensely helpful for thoughts is something called diffusion, part of Act therapy. Have a look on Youtube for Russ Harris, he also wrote a great little book called The Happiness Trap.

  400. Tasnim Says:

    Sometimes I just can’t help but get frustrated. I’m living my life like I normally do, but with everything I do, my mind is constantly reverting to thinking about anxiety. I just wish I could forget about it. I know I’m being impatient, but it’s just hard to imagine a day where I can carry on with life without the term anxiety continuously crossing my mind. Will this point in my life come?

  401. honey Says:

    So a common theme I’m noticing from those who have managed that elusive recovery we all so wish for, is that the anxiety is still here even though these people don’t care about it. That yes he symptoms reduce sigh acceptance but they are still more prone and at risk to anxiety am I right? This has been extremely hard for me to accept. The year that I spent almost recovered I believed in my heart that full recovery meant that I no longer would have anxiety disorder and that I would cross some sort of threshold that would make me stronger than someone who’d never had anxiety not weaker. Following this recent relapse of setback or whatever you want to call it, I have been completely unable to accept that recovery is not the full absence of risk of relapsing again and again. I have tried my absolute best to be OK with this fact that I will never completely and fully overcome this but obviously it’s all proven too much for my exhausted brain and despite starting mindfulness last week I had a massive nocturnal panic attack last night. I read statistics about gad that people with it relapse and recover relapse and recover and that’s how mine has always been. The mindfulness isn’t helping yet and I feel while I’m doing it that it’s just another tool to avoid or fix or cure me and that isn’t going to happen I wish I could just accept that. I’m totally digging it still I know but it’s so hard to accept. I’m sorry my post is quite negative. I wonder if Nolan or Colin or anyone who has accepted the fate I so desperately cannot accept could shed light on this one for me. I’m so exhausted. I am losing the will to live at all and then J look at my beautiful children and feel awful guilt for feeling that way. Thank god I have them!

  402. honey Says:

    Tasnim of course it is it’s all you know. It’s so hard to accept. We all spend so much time trying to accept it we deserve a medal for allege effort we put in. I have lost all my safety behaviours and even refuse medications when I have simply felt dreadful out of fear for reverting back. I know that I cannot unlearn what I already know from progress I have made in the past. I went around a year of being practically recovered. What I now realize was that I probably was as recovered then as I’m ever going to get. I went at that point months without anxiety even crossing my mind but on the occasions that it did I would usually brush it off. So their is hope that you can have extended moments of peace. Whether they last forever once recovery is achieved I don’t know.

  403. Chris Says:

    Hi Jen thanks for the reply.

    I kind of ended up answering my own question today and realized that it doesn’t matter what I fear. Fear is fear, and if it wasn’t this it would be something else. So I’m just going to allow myself to fear it and see it as negative energy that needs to be released. I’ve been fighting it a wee bit, telling myself I must not think it anymore etc etc and not let myself feel crap over it. Now I’m just going to let go of the reigns.

    The reason I got confused is because I read a Claire Weekes book and she talks about special fears/problems, and that a sufferer needs constant reassurance etc, but I don’t think that is the way forward with my fears. I think I’ve mentioned this before actually, I’m getting deja vu just typing this haha. I’m going to stop reading other books on anxiety now, the advice in Paul’s books is pretty much all I truly need.

  404. Jen Says:

    I just read somewhere that stress and high levels of cirtosol or dopamine can cause schizophrenia, do you think that’s true? Of course now I’m worrying about This.

  405. honey Says:

    Most cases of schizophrenia develop earlier on in a person’s life. You would know by now I should think if something like that was occurring. It is true that schizophrenia is caused by dopamine imbalances and people with a predisposition to the disorder are more likely to develop it with high levels of stress but in my experience of nursing people with it, they usually had signs at a young age and often experienced deprived or difficult childhoods and or had a close family member sigh the illness because it is very common for it to be genetic. I would say it is very unlikely that how have anything to worry about. At least no more than any other person. Hope that puts your mind at ease.

  406. Chris Says:

    Hey Jen. If that was the case then we would all have Schizophrenia! Anxiety definitely can’t lead to schizophrenia, the fact that you’re worried about it is a good sign you don’t have it. Even me just reading that has freaked me out a bit, this is the anxiety talking. I don’t know if you googled it or just read it in a magazine or something, but if you did then definitely keep off Google! This is a lesson that I learned the hard way.

  407. Chris Says:

    Has anyone here ever experienced head/brain sensations? I was falling asleep last night when all of a sudden it felt like my body began to seize up a bit, and then I felt a pressure in the right side of my head which moved across like a wave. It then produced a sort of snapping sensation in the middle/right of my head/brain! It’s hard to put it into words because it’s hard to remember exactly what it felt like but I’ve been worrying about it today. Thoughts like ‘on no what if it’s epilepsy’ or ‘what if I’m having brain zaps’ even though I’ve been off all meds (which I was on for short term) for 3 months. I’m a smoker so this had really made me want to quit… haha.

    I thought I would ask here first because there is no way in hell I am googling it. I just want to know if it’s a symptom of anxiety. Otherwise I’ll go see my doctor if it happens again.

  408. Jen Says:

    Hi Chris. Sorry I didn’t mean to scare anyone with what I said and yes of course I read it off of somewhere on Google. I will not be googling anything anymore. And I had something that happened to me where it started kind of like a head ache feeling and then it felt weird in my head like spasms it then made my right side of my face go numb feeling. I went to the urgent care and they told me it was from the anxiety after I told them what I have been dealing with. I was also taking a medication Celexa which gave me a head ache for two weeks straight. I went off of it and the head aches went away. But my Dr called what I had muscle spasms I haven’t had them since. I’m not sure if it’s the same as what you had or not . I’m on a new medication and so far so good.

  409. Belgian Says:

    Chris,

    I remember your earlier posts.

    Fear was pouring out of your writing. It’s good to see that this storm has passed and that you have taken Paul’s message on board.

    It’s totally normal that you are clinging on to that final thread of ‘what ifs’ and continue to investigate all your symptoms. This is called ‘habit’ and you can only change this by re-affirming Paul’s and Dr Weekes teaching time and time again.

    You will be more and more capable in doing so until it will become – almost – an automatic reaction and ultimately – perhaps – a new way of looking at life.

  410. Chris Says:

    Hey Jen.

    I was on the same stuff very briefly. No worries, it probably scared me for about two minutes total haha, really not an issue at all and I’m already over it. I’ve come to realize you really can’t believe everything you read on the internet. Either way I don’t mind if this sort of stuff brings up anxiety anymore, I just see it as more negative energy being released. The fear has mostly passed over this whole ‘brain zap’ thing too. It’s totally irrelevant, it’s just fear.

    PS: Stop googling haha! Trust me you don’t need to, and the fact that you are googling is a sure sign that you aren’t accepting.

    Hey Belgian

    Thanks. Yeah I was in a very very frightened state back then. It’s because I was on google most days scaring the pants off of myself. I’ve stopped doing this to myself now and I’ve been dealing with the aftermath. The last few days I have seen progress… I don’t actually feel any better but I have changed my attitude and simplified the whole approach. I used to think that I needed to prove all of my fears wrong before I could start putting Paul’s advice into practice. I thought I needed peace of mind with my fears, but really I just need to let them be there and see them as what they are… which is anxiety.

    I’ve really opened up to everything in the last few days. Just viewing it as negative energy that needs to be released has been a big help.

  411. Belgian Says:

    Chris,

    You say : “I needed to prove all of my fears wrong… I thought I needed peace of mind with my fears but really I just need to let them be there and see them as what they are… which is anxiety.”

    Very true!

    You are very well on your way to find peace in the midst of these thoughts and of your reaction to them. Through acceptance, this peace will find you.

  412. Belgian Says:

    All,

    A rather personal message from me.

    As I am not suffering anymore from an anxiety disorder, the only thing I am left with is anxiety :-) .

    My relationship with it has completely changed. Anxiety comes and goes and often I can now detect where it has been triggered. At the same time, I find it almost difficult now to believe how much I used to identify myself with it.

    Apparently, there is now room and space to tackle those behaviors and mindsets which made it possible for a disorder to settle in.

    It’s quite the journey. We all carry a surprising amount of unsuspected old grief and unresolved issues…

    Where I totally agree that you will not solve anxiety by trying to solve it and that acceptance of the symptoms is the only way to desensitize, I still feel its important to reach out to these aspects of my past and present that are key in understanding MY anxiety.

    It’s like lifting the hood of your car and looking at its mechanics to understand why the engine goes in overdrive from time to time.

    The fact that my reaction towards anxiety has so much shifted, makes it much easier now to follow my anxiety. By following it, I get to know it better and am able to reason with it more. I now know why my anxiety was so unbearable two years ago.

    It was my warning signal that I was holding myself back in my relationships. That I was not looking out for myself and that I not had enough attention for what I truly wanted. It screamed out that I carried too much weight to truly feel the love I was looking for. If you would have known me, you would not have believed this. Outwardly, I had everything sorted out. A great job, a beautiful wife, a house, a lot of friends. But I now know that every possession or progress in life, is worthless if we haven’t found peace with ourselves.

    I remember in my first session with a psychologist where the issues from my childhood were discussed who are now the ones to be ‘dealt’ with. It’s remarkable that from day one everything was already somewhat clear to me, but grief, guilt and anxiety made it impossible to process this. They made up versions of truth that were much more outrageous than what really was going on. Somehow, they were created in order not having to deal with my past grief.

    It took me years. But we need the journey. We need to feel everything our body is making us feel. We need to follow our own paths to become anew. That is why time is so important and why time is always your strongest ally.

    Anxiety is your signal. If you are suffering from it, do not expect that you will stop suffering instantly. Thousands questions and scary thoughts may rage in your soul as a furious, obstinate storm. These are not the ones to be answered. The only thing you need to do is follow the words of Paul and Dr. Weekes. Let acceptance prepare the road and eventually anxiety will even accompany you on it. Not as the enemy you loath, but as the friend you needed.

  413. Tasnim Says:

    I would like to say I’m nearing recovery (minus any setbacks that could happen), and I’m making the effort to keep off this site, as it is becoming a crutch. The only thing I’m trying to wrap my head around is me constantly checking my feelings. Many of my symptoms subsided, but with no matter what I’m doing, I will think back to my anxiety and check up on it. I don’t know if I’m crossing the line between me doing stuff in my life, and me distracting myself to keep my thoughts occupied. I feel like I’m trying to keep myself busy so I think about the anxiety less and less. I just don’t know if I’m going about this stage wrong. I would really appreciate an answer from someone who recovered.

  414. Chris Says:

    Thanks Belgian.

    I’m having another one of those doubt days, where the fears aren’t fears anymore, they are instead things that are making me depressed. I sometimes think in this state that maybe I do need therapy to help me get over this whole brain damage fear. But maybe it’s because I’m in already in a depressed state, and I’m giving these fears too much credit. I can get a bit hung up on what Claire Weekes says about insoluble problems/special fears, and how she says that major fears need to be attacked at their source.

    Any opinions on this?

    On a side note, at the end of the day my back up plan is to live my life regardless of how I feel. I guess I can be thankful that the depression I feel isn’t as severe as it used to be, it’s more of a void where good feelings used to be.

  415. Eliza Says:

    There now seems to be more evidence of a gut/brain connection to anxiety and depression via the vagus nerve. Taking a quality probiotic supplement helped me, and got rid of that feeling we often get in the solar plexus area with anxiety. It’s worth checking out.

  416. Belgian Says:

    Chris,

    If you feel therapy would help you, why don’t give it a try?

    What’s holding you back?

  417. Chris Says:

    Hey Belgian,

    One thing is money, none of it is covered so it would cost like $150 a session. The second is that it might only reinforce the fear. If it’s not necessarily then I’d rather avoid it haha.

    I did look into it today a bit and briefly spoke to a therapist on the phone who I thought could maybe help me. I told him my fears and he told me they are unlikely etc etc, but then the horrid doubt came back into play saying ‘nope he doesn’t know what he’s talking about’ etc, then the specific fear felt more significant so maybe it just serves as reinforcement.

  418. Ian Says:

    Hi all.

    Not commented/been on a for a few weeks as I didn’t want coming on here as a new technique.
    I’m dealing with anxious thoughts about things around me really well, I can easily let them be there, they soon go and I feel real progress but One part I’m founding very hard is the self like as such. I’m finding the inner critic about myself really hard to deal with, I can’t let them be there without believing them as seeing them as true.
    The thought of being worthless, no worthy, my partner doesn’t love/care about me seem to be so real…

  419. Colin Says:

    Hi Tasmin.
    I even now still do this , I think it’s totally normal and nothing to worry about ! Perhaps through not feeling anxious for long periods, you will let this also slip to the back of your mind and then no longer do this either . But as of now just enjoy the freedom from anxiety did in a strange way never forget what it’s like ! Remember that part of recovery is being able to discuss and think about anxiety also . So glad that you are where you are and keep being positive . Same goes to everyone out there . One question . Can you guys share your alcohol consumption with me . Just that I do believe there is a definite link between it and anxiety . Totally understand if you tell me to do one none of my business. But since I have become tea total I haven’t suffered anxiety !!!
    Cokin

  420. Debbie Says:

    Hi colin i was wondering do u have to get use to feeling yourself without anxiety i just feel strange . It feels like my mind just latches on to images and stays there

  421. Tasnim Says:

    Thanks, I hope recovery comes. One thing that is bugging me though currently is that I still have a fear that I haven’t been able to “accept” or move towards. The same thing that made me break in the first place. I keep getting scared at the thought of developing schizophrenia. Yesterday, I was swamped with school work, and got stressed, so my anxiety came back and the thoughts of schizophrenia came back. The anxiety mellowed within an hour, but the thought still lingered. I was going back and forth thinking what if? and then trying to convince myself out. I want to just accept it, but I’m finding it difficult.. The rational part of me knows that I can’t fret about, but the anxiety part of me brings out so much worry. At times I’ll think or do something, and think “wait, isn’t that something a schizophrenic would do,” and then get scared or try to push it away (which I know is bad). I learned so much about in psych class, so the info is stuck in my head. I’m only a high school senior, so the uncertainty can be crippling. I know a lot of people with anxiety had this same fear, and I don’t know how to move past it. I feel that it is hindering my recovery.

  422. Chris Says:

    Sorry is someone able to help me here? I’ve really fallen off track and the doubt is at an all time high. I am very bewildered. One of the reasons that I’m finding it hard to float past this fear of mine is because of this line from one of Claire Weekes books, which is in regards to floating.

    “while this method is excellent for minor fears, major fears must indeed be attacked at their source, otherwise unmasking fear is only dodging the issue. By major fear I mean a fear big enough to have originally caused illness and to be now interfering with recovery”.

    I find this very confusing. I wish she would be a bit more specific here. This is the reason why I’m so hung up on “oh no I need therapy” etc, because of my fear of brain damage from drugs – the most stupid and pointless fear ever. I guess I see this as a major fear, but I honestly would rather float past it and get over it myself. Now whenever the thought comes to mind, when I go to float past it my mind says “nope you’re dodging the issue, you need therapy!” but what good will therapy do. There is no way to ease this fear because there is no way it can be proven to be right or wrong. I thought it would be more appropriate to just deal with the anxiety. Ughhh :(

    I’ll admit I’m obsessing over it yes, but I guess that’s normal considering the state I’m in. This is why I like Paul’s books more because he doesn’t add confusing paragraphs like that.

    Can someone PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE help me clarify this, it’s playing on my mind big time and I’m literally desperate. This acceptance approach is my only way out and I don’t want it to be tainted by a single paragraph. I am so bewildered and I just need clarification. I will send you chocolates if you do :)

    Thanks so much.

  423. Xylo Says:

    I hope everyone here has first been checked for hyperthyroidism etc… Hyperthyroidism in particular mimics an anxiety disorder and is not going to improve with acceptance.

  424. Doreen Says:

    Tasnim and Chris – you are both doing the same thing. Latching onto something and making it bigger than it is and seeing it as something to be resolved before you can move on. Probably everyone who has ever used this site has had their own ‘thing’ and come to realise that if it wasn’t that, it would be something else. That was the point at which acceptance for them and me started.
    Anxiety sits on our shoulders looking down and ‘thinks’ what can I make her/him worry about today? You have to live along side the fear, recognise that is has no value and gradually that way of thinking will become second nature.

  425. Chris Says:

    Hi Doreen, thanks for that. You’re right. There’s always a ‘thing’ involved with anxiety. For me it actually switches a bit. If I’m reassured about one fear, another usually just pops up in it’s place. It seems I have the whole ‘hypochondria’ type of anxiety. Anxiety doesn’t prevent me from doing anything. I can literally go anywhere. It’s just the stories I make up in my mind that cause me to suffer. For instance, my mate told me about a thing called serotonin syndrome about a month ago, which I knew a little about but I decided to google it in a weak moment (something I don’t do anymore) and instantly I was like ‘I must of had that when I was on meds cos I had side effects!’. So silly.

    Tasmin, I used to have that fear too. It’s so common it isn’t even funny. You’re not going to develop it, trust me. I’d bet a large sum of money on it!

    Has anyone else on here had a big specific fear that they have overcome with acceptance?

  426. Belgian Says:

    Chris,

    Congratulations! Once again you have the opportunity to practice acceptance!

    You know already everything there is to know and I am sure you also know how meaningless your anxious thoughts are. You know that the only thing you are suffering from is anxiety and not brain damage!

    But – and this is important – it’s not because you know it isn’t true, that you are not feeling ‘anxiety’. Go with whatever you feel and think, let your body float throughout even the biggest storm. Let’s be honest, you constantly engaging with this thought isn’t helping you at all and is only making you more anxious.

    Claire Weekes wasn’t referring to your ‘drugs have harmed my brain’ thought when she told us “while this method is excellent for minor fears, major fears must indeed be attacked at their source, otherwise unmasking fear is only dodging the issue. By major fear I mean a fear big enough to have originally caused illness and to be now interfering with recovery”

    She was referring to anxiety caused by some difficult life situation involving guilt, grief. Basically, she was saying that you can’t tackle these problems by floating and ignoring them. Floating will still help and is necessary there to cope with your anxiety, but it can’t fix the root of your issue. That is why she said that the treatment is basically the same.

    Your only concern when anxious is to cope with it by accepting it. I am sure you can and will do so.

  427. Steve b Says:

    Hi Colin
    Most of me episodes have resolved around drink and drugs. I am sure there is a big link.
    I am also teatotal now. 10 months and feeling better( slowly)

  428. Belgian Says:

    Colin & Steve,

    there is a clear link between anxiety panic attacks and alcohol. I always feel more anxious the day after I had a couple of drinks.

    That is why anxiety prone people should try to avoid alcohol and certainly drugs. I have come to terms with the fact that my hangovers are a thousand times worse than other people’s :-) The risk is addiction since drugs and alcohol first make you feel better and less anxious when under influence.

    Important to stress here is that there is no more long time damage than there is for someone who isn’t an anxiety-sufferer. In fact, the fact that we react so heavily on it can also be considered to be seen as a positive point. It’s another way our body is telling us not to have an unhealthy life style :-) . So consider your ‘anxiety felt hangover’ as something unpleasant, but good! It will help you to accept it.

  429. Chris Says:

    Thanks for clarifying that Belgian, that doubt can really throw me off track sometimes! Maybe it’s just another part of the package I need to accept.

    I misinterpreted it as one of those ‘major fears/problems’ because the thought causes so much grief, but once again if I didn’t have anxiety then this thought wouldn’t really bother me so much. I think me getting involved with it and identifying with it is really causing me grief more than anything. Deep down I knew getting therapy about it and looking for reassurance wouldn’t help, as whenever I do it literally just makes me feel worse. This must be my minds way of telling me that it’s best to leave it behind and feed it no more. It’s just like playing whack a mole as Paul describes. Such a relief to know I don’t need to dig any deeper into these fears that I have.

    It’s crazy how ridiculously suggestible we can get in this state. For me it almost feels like I need to look for the hidden meaning behind every single word lol. I guess I have nothing to lose by just going ahead and accepting it all.

    On the subject of hangovers and anxiety, it can certainly make you feel more crappy. For me hangovers aren’t usually a big issue with anxiety, but I know alcohol isn’t a good option because it can keep us sensitized. Although in saying that, last year I went to Europe while in a setback and I did one of those Contiki tours, which is basically a month long pub crawl through Europe haha. We drank nearly every night, and I still managed to come out of the setback regardless! This is a month of minimal sleep every night, walking all day in the 45 degree heat, and partying nearly every night. I found it quite interesting how I felt better after all of that. Maybe it was the constant distraction of traveling. Still it seems that most people don’t feel better long term from drinking, I tend to only drink once a month now.

  430. Jamie Says:

    Doreen – may i ask if you have ‘recovered’ (if i can use that term)?

    I remember Nolan saying you helped him when he was really struggling which suggests you’re a veteran of the blog.

  431. Rik Says:

    Hi All,

    Just wanted to check in. Trying to keep positive and keep accepting. Having a particularly hard time with DP at the moment. Feel constantly in a daze and disconnected from things and struggle to feel any emotions. It is at the point where I can’t feel things towards loved ones so much and I have to admit I am very much struggling with accepting that. Has anyone else experienced this?

  432. laxmi Says:

    Hi all just wanted to know if anybody has problem with eating my mnid is full with thoughts of eating every 2hrs if I dont eat I get scared tensed mylife is restricted cause of those houghts how to deal with these thoughts pl help

  433. Sara Says:

    Guys i just waned to ask about depression PLEASE

    How would you deal with lack of motivation when you are feeling depressed??

    I feel like i’m going around in circles, getting some courage and dealing with it then it slowly dimunishes and it creeps back and the cycle goes on….how do you acutally move foreward with depression??

  434. Xylo Says:

    Sara I have the same thing. Constant cycling – for a while I’m ok, then really anxious, then depressed, then ok and so forth. I don’t feel like I can survive like this forever and I haven’t been any different in years.

    Chris – I used to be a binge drinker, interestingly alcohol works similarly to tranqs, it has an effect on GABA. So no suprise that anxious people like to drink! You may have felt OK during that time because as Claire Weekes says, having your interest aroused is better for you than rest, interest is anxiety’s worst enemy! I know for me that boredom causes a lot of my internalising and ruminating. I feel fine when I’m genuinely interested in something!

  435. Xylo Says:

    Rik – yes I have experienced what you describe. At one point I couldn’t feel anything but fear and couldn’t bear to be around my family – I was just frightened of them all. I still get it on occasion but better understand it now and come through with acceptance, carrying on as if it’s not there and trusting that it will end. It might last a day or two. It’s horrid but normal for anxiety sufferers.

  436. Shawn Says:

    Belgian, I really admire what you say and how you say it! I would say I’m over the anxiety disorder, I’m not cured because how can you be cured of fear, and why would you want to be? People who pathologically have no fear tend not to live very long lives, and don’t tend to stay in one piece either. Anxiety isn’t a disease, you have to change your relationship with it, learn to live alongside it, teach your brain that it doesn’t have to react in the way it has been, then it fades away. It may come back to me, but I know I can get over it so it will never be as bad as it was.
    Colin, I haven’t drunk in well over a year, my hangovers were blistering! Before all this i used to joke with my siblings about the dreaded “beer fear” I would be a mess for about 24hrs after a session; I couldn’t string a sentence together, I couldn’t face people, I assumed everyone got it to some degree and never associated it with anxiety, I knew it would fade after a good sleep. However when I began to feel unwell it was like I instinctively knew that more booze would send me over the edge so I stopped, and well, I went over the edge anyway. I don’t think it was the booze, I think the feeling of beer fear was underlying anxiety manifesting itself when I was feeling rough. Even though I’m pretty much over anxiety now, I still don’t think I’ll bother with the sauce anymore; that’s the beauty of a period of anxiety, it forces you to confront things you probably never wanted too and make changes you never thought were necessary.
    Tasnim, I had the schizophrenic/ psychosis fear as well,it is horrible! I’m not a mental health professional; but through work I’ve had to deal with people with these sorts of disorders, usually when they’re in crisis. Looking back, I was required to deal with people in crisis without a real understanding of what was happening to them, so when I started to develop severe anxiety, I assumed I was developing one of these types of disorder; this added to the stress which resulted in me having a “breakdown” with the benefit of hindsight, I can see that anxiety was just looking for something to latch onto.
    I no longer have to double check whether or not something I heard was in my head or others had heard it too. I no longer lie down trying to fall asleep, just waiting for “the voices” to start, and I don’t question whether my thought processes are still rational or not (I understand now that if they weren’t, I wouldn’t know)
    Anxiety is a horrible, horrible condition until you change your relationship with it, and, if necessary, make the lifestyle changes it demands.

  437. Shawn Says:

    Sara- unfortunately anxiety and depression can go hand in hand. When I was depressed, I used to look at what I had achieved, even when I felt numb, I would make sure I got up, got showered, had something to eat whether I could stomach it or not, and if I did that I would say to myself that I couldn’t be that bad.
    Just because your depressed doesn’t make you a depressive, if your in a bad situation ( and anxiety IS a situation that feels bad) then of course your going to be depressed.
    I took St Johns Wart to take the edge of the depressive feelings, and it did the trick for me, I’m not saying I was jumping for joy afterwards, but it really took the edge off. Not everyone likes this sort of stuff, and it should NEVER be taken with antidepressants, but even after much googling I could find very little negative feedback on it.

  438. Chris Says:

    Xylo, that’s interesting. Makes sense though.

    Rik and Sara.

    Yeah depresssion is a big one with anxiety, it’s spiritual exhaustion. I’m going through this today and it feels absolutely crushing! No pleasant emotions, just a real heavy burden. All we can really do is accept it to the best of our ability. I’m also not feeling motivated. Just try and do something easy like watch a movie or go for a walk even. Cardio is good too.

  439. Chris Says:

    Just a question actually, has anyone here experienced that ‘burning’ kind of fear? I experience it across my face and especially in my solar plexus area.

  440. Angela Says:

    Hello, this is my first post here. I think this is a wonderful community and I was wondering if someone could possibly help me please.

    I have read the book, and I hear everything that Paul and everyone has to say but I have one very large worry that I think might possibly separate me from you most of you.

    I had a stroke just over 2 years ago, and since then I have been suffering with crippling anxiety. To me it is clear that it is a result of the stroke, and therefore is this something that I will not be able to recover from?

  441. Tim Says:

    Hey All/Paul,

    Firstly id just like to thank Paul for an amazing blog. I really love it and check it out when I need the help. Ive had crippling anxiety for years, and thanks to claire weeks / this blog im starting to see moments of calm which is lovely. I will continue to learn about and follow the method, just allowing the anxiety to be there, not to protect myself, not to feed into it, not to use safety behaviours etc.

    Yet I still do have a couple of main worries, and I was wondering what people thought. Firstly, my mind goes blank in social conversations. I can feel calm and just not think of anything to say, I also feel I don’t have a great amount of knowledge to draw from despite my age. Now I am CERTIAN this partially to do with anxiety – I focus deeply on myself when this fear arises. But I do worry that I have a poor memory just naturally. Ive also entertained the thought that my constant focus and worry for myself (even when alone) has basically narrowed my life to the point where I am not that interesting because I haven’t learnt much.

    My second fear is low libido. I took a medication years ago that i blamed for my anxiety all this time and low libido. I have only started to entertain the though that maybe I am maintaining the anxiety myself. Is it possible that my libido will improve as I relax and sleep better?

    Any comforting thoughts would be lovely. I know i’m creating more anxiety for myself by worry but i’ll try not.

  442. Rich Says:

    Tim Welcome to the blog. You sound a lot like me. For me, libido is the first thing to go when I’m anxious – it’s something that comes back as soon as I bring myself out of the darkness. This is completely natural – as why would you want to do something fun when you feel so rubbish.

    You like many others are analysing everything and trying to figure it all out – totally natural thing to do. Your quickest way out of this is to abandon analysis and care. Don’t worry about how you are socially or how people perceive you. Those worth hanging onto will stand by you through good and bad. Those that don’t aren’t worth worrying about.

  443. Rich Says:

    Hi Angela, Welcome to the blog. I can’t relate specifically to your situation or what may be bringing on the anxiety, however you can be sure that you can recover from the fear of the anxiety in the same way that I and many others on here have and still try to do (often more successfully than other times but hey ho!).

    Part of this process is overcoming the fear of the anxiety such that it doesn’t bother you any more and subsides. Easier said than done. If you’re able to lose the fear of it (often by pretending to before actually have the fear leave you) you will be able to enjoy life with or without anxiety.

  444. Tim Says:

    Hi Rich. I just want to say thank you for taking the time to reply. It really means a lot. To hear that libido is linked to anxiety to a degree from someone is really heartening. Because of my belief the drug had ruined me ive really created one hell of a mess for myself. My anxiety has been near constant for 10 years. Even while driving by myself etc. Plus ive been so worried about my libido/that i have no hope its no wonder its low. I will do my utmost to stop analysing and fixing. Ive tried everything and i feel in my heart this is the way.

    Regarding being more int r resting ive started listening to radio and podcasts to catch up on current affairs. This i hope will have the double effect of centering my outside myself. Previously id listen to music partly as an attempt to cheer/calm myself before i went somewhere.

  445. Tim Says:

    Ya know, im starting to think a focus on ones own problems is the defining problem of the 21st century in the west. So many believe we are broken and need fixing. My parents are not anxious at all and they place there focus outwards. I know this isnt much of a revelation but its interesting. I think its our individualistic culture where we believe we are the centre of the universe and should be perfect and capable of anything.

  446. Jen Says:

    Is it normal to still feel not like your self after having first panic attack in august? Ever since thrn I have been always anxious and the is hell started. I jump from one worry to the next. I just want to be my old self with out all this feelings and worries. Just feeling a bit discouraged

  447. Chris Says:

    So I made a MASSIVE mistake yesterday.

    I had another ‘what if’ thought, and I decided to follow it through with a google search. I was on 3mg of Ativan back in November for a week, and I had this whole fear of withdrawal. It passed. However yesterday I reinforced the whole thing, and now I’ve convinced myself the withdrawals have come back!

    I won’t be going near google with a ten foot pole again, but I’m in a state of utter terror and despair today. The fear is literally off the charts and my body feels shot. I’m cringing the anxiety is so bad and every second is hell. This is not ideal…

    I was feeling more positive about my recovery last week, now I feel like my life is over. Sorry for the negativity, just reaching out for support. It’s my own fault for going back to google :(

  448. Tasnim Says:

    Sometimes I’m not sure if I am truly accepting my anxiety or just keeping it at bay, like I’m pushing through it. I’ve been swamped with school stuff this week, and also in the school mornings, I usually have to keep to myself, leaving me with my thoughts. That whole time I am thinking about anxiety. I get sleepy sometimes, because I think I tire my mind out. Today we went on a field trip, and I again was in a haze, probably because my mind was so tired. I also had to take a nap today because I was so tired. So today I’m in a low mood, which I guess is why I feel a bit doubtful. It’s not really a question, but I had to get that out.

  449. Tasnim Says:

    I think Im like Chris. My anxiety has more to do with my thoughts than w/ other things. I don’t have much issue doing stuff, and when I’m talking about with friends and family, I’ll find myself with a period where I’m not thinking about anxiety. My physical symptoms are usually at minimum too, with the exception of a few times. Right now I just spend most of my time thinking about the actual anxiety. I end up connecting thoughts to it, even if it’s unrelated, or end up along the lines of analyzing, even if I’m not technically worrying. I just don’t know the difference between me suppressing my thoughts so I could focus on what I need to vs accepting them and letting them be there so I can focus on other stuff. It’s like I go back and forth. Does that make sense? I know I’ve made a lot of posts recently. I just want to understand this, or know if I am going about this wrong as some symptoms have slowly resurfaced again.

  450. Tim Says:

    Hi Jen, I honestly think that its very normal for you to have these feelings. Your panic attack was im sure very scary, you are essentially experiencing some post trauma stress (hightened nervous system).

    Regarding what Chris was saying I think there is a positive from it. This just shows how much power our thoughts have over our feelings. There is almost no chance that what you are feeling is due to withdrawl, its all to do with the meanings you have created. This means that there is a lot of hope, once we can get past it.

    Hi Tansim, I wish i could help but im not quite sure im 100% knowledgeable about this yet. However you want to get to the stage where you don’t fuse with your thoughts. I have kind of started to realise that whatever worry / analysis I engage in doesn’t help, so I haven’t been doing it as much.

  451. Evy Says:

    Hello everyone …
    Nolan and Belgian
    if you can be so kind to give me your feedback as I’ve read a lot of your replies and they are so awesome and soothing
    I would like to take a moment to introduce myself , I used this site many years ago , 5 to be exact , I was in the worst situation of my life dealing with high anxiety , disturbing thoughts and the stubborn unreal feelings , as things got better an I started to progress , I soon left the site as I started living a “normal ” life again , I rarely ,, if ever even thought about the site anymore , my best feeling was when the unreal feeling lifted as well as the attacks , I pretty much go on with life , the ending of last year became really stressful with work , relationships. Etc… In late nov I experienced a full blown panicky attack ! Followed by the new year i now how feelings of reality and dp! At first it frighten me , but then I remembered I felt it before , what brings me back is I question myself what did I do wrong !? Why did that annoying symptom come back !? I haven’t felt it in years , as I thought I would never feel it again , it saddens me because I feel like I’m dead, and life is passing me by , I feel numb , I get these weird thoughts in my head , songs playing over and over , I try to stay positive as I know I overcame this , I never thought i would ever be here again , :( as I look back at all these years I do see there was things I didn’t address properly at work , just life issues in general , but then I see friends in much more worse sinerios and they don’t feel what I feel ! Ughhhh ! It gets frustrating at times! But what I’ve been doing is not fearing my symptoms to not make me feel worse! Sometimes the unreal feeling can be so unpleasant that I feel I’m going to loose my mind ! I have 2 wonderful kids and just to think of it breaks me ! I know I have to stay positive it can be challenging at times , thanks for listening
    God bless !

  452. Chris Says:

    Thanks for the reply Tim.

    I honestly can see how so many of my fears are psychological, however when I’m in a state of fear that doesn’t seem to matter and these thoughts seem so believable.

    Like I said, yesterday I made a massive mistake, and I’m paying for it now. I’m having a bloody hard time accepting all this due to the intensity of it all. I woke up this morning and it was all so overwhelming, that fear and despair was literally off the charts, I couldn’t bare my own company and every second was literally torture. I seem to be swaying back and forth from fear to depression. Every single task is replaced with this sense of dread. When I receive a message on facebook, all I feel is dread. When I hear the dishwasher beeping, all I feel is dread. On top of that my thoughts are my worst enemy. Seriously how bad can this get? It’s so damn intense and happiness seems like a foreign thing that I’ll never experience again. It’s such a dark dark experience.

  453. Rik Says:

    Hi Chris,

    When you find yourself falling backwards again it is time to pick yourself up and begin to accept again. You have created this new fear by going on google and frightening yourself. I am pretty sure we have all done it and felt that sudden dread hit us when we think ‘what if’. The what ifs are so powerful when we are in a highly sensitized state that they feel real and if there is any shred of doubt we then become scared and obsessed. Been there myself. We are extremely suggestible to fearful thoughts at the moment. Just start the acceptance again and take the sting out of the thoughts.

  454. Chris Says:

    Thanks Rik.

    Its going to be challenging but I’ll give it my best shot. My emotions are in absolute overdrive at the moment, and my thoughts are very obsessive and clingy. I forgot that suffering on this level actually exists. That constant inner tremor of burning fear and those feelings of depression are very unpleasant, especially when the thoughts just add and add and add. This is going to take time I think.

  455. Rik Says:

    It is a process Chris and some days are easier than others. Symptoms, both physical and mental, can wax and wane but if you stay consistent then time will heal. When the thoughts pop up just refuse to ruminate and let them go each time. Once you no longer engage with them they will over time reduce until they are just a memory and shrugging them off will become second nature. With your emotions try to understand that they are created by the state of stress that your body and mind is in. Did you ever see someone who was stressed to the eyeballs smiling and laughing? I certainly haven’t. Once your mind is no longer stressed out the feelings of depression will begin to fade also and other things will capture your attention. I am a work in progress myself but I have noticed some periods of normality this last few days. As soon as I notice them I end up thinking again but it shows progress.

  456. Belgian Says:

    Evy,

    you have been here before, but you now have one great advantage you didn’t have last time. At least not in the beginning of your suffering.

    You now have the knowledge you need to pass beyond your suffering. You know the way already. It starts at the same place as it did before. It starts with acceptance.

    Acceptance of the feelings you dislike. I feel the frustration for the return of your ‘dreaded’ feelings. It’s normal to feel frustrated. Everyone would be. So feel frustrated. I also feel your anxious feelings about it. They are normal too given the circumstances. So feel anxious. You already know you could feel anything without it truly harming you.

    As you accept, you will stop the endless battle with yourself and you will restore your energy. Energy that left you for reasons other than anxiety. You write yourself that the last few months have been hard for you. I feel sorry for that. I totally sympathize with it, but you know that your anxiety is telling you to stop worrying about it. To feel what there is to feel.

    It’s not easy. Some people feel ‘more’ than others. Everyone copes with distress in their own way. Some suffer more than others. Don’t begrudge your own suffering and don’t feel jealous of people who – at first sight – are not suffering as much as you do.

    It’s not easy, but you can find the way. You have found it and that’s one experience that will never leave you. Accept your current suffering and let time and life bring you back somewhere uphill where joy and luck are already waiting your arrival.

  457. Colin Says:

    Belgium
    Such a nice post ! Very well said my old son !!! It’s so nice when someone can put such great feedback to someone needing support . Well done again , keep up the superb advice you are given .

    Cokun

  458. Colin Says:

    Colin * lol

  459. Fleur Says:

    Hello, please, I need help. I am desperate.
    I wrote here in december that I have relationship anxiety problems. I have an anxiety for 1 year. I had everything from physical symptoms to intrusive thoughts of harming, fear of depression in 2015.
    But now I do everything, I don´t feel anxiety when I study, when I go to school like last year I thought that it is impossible. It was unbearable for me. NOW I have feeling of anxiety only when I am with him /my love/. I am with him for 5 years. It was perfect before anxiety, no doubts, I was always laughing and was happy with him. Then I had panic attacks from school AND after half an year of anxiety my anxiety changed focus on my boyfriend.

    These intrusive thoughts/feelings are a torture, it is the worst what I have ever felt. It is worse by every day. I don´t want to spend time with him anymore. I don´t know WHY. I think that it is because my fear. Because when I am with him I have those thougts that I don´t feel love and then big anxiety is coming. So I think and hope, that this is the reason for that I don´t want to be with him. I read books, watch movies, I do everything because I don´t want to think about him and about “what if my love to him is gone.”

    I don´t want to be without him it is my worst nightmare.

    My boyfriend is very very sad he doesn´t understand. I don´t blame him, my feelings are very strange. I am not sure if it is anxiety or my real feelings. I feel like a psychopath. How can I CRY and be SCARED of break up /like end of the world/, when I don´t want to break up. But I have big fear that I will leave him, that I will lose my feelings. And every day it is more true. I really can´t be with him without feelings of dread. For example I am watching a movie with him, when we are talking or watching everything is OK, but then we are going to lie together and kiss or touching and this I simply can´t. I can´t touch him, I feel a strange aversion. Or anxiety. Like I must runaway from him I must be alone. I don´t understand why I feel this. Then he is so sad, because I am very cold toward him. This worries me. I can´t and don´t want to touch him or kiss him. With one word I don´t want romance. And this is a nightmare. I want to feel it. Then my biggest fear is that what if it is real and love is gone. When I am not sure that it is anxiety I can´t accept.

    I must repeat myself that I never had these worries. I loved spending time with him. It is completely strange so I hope that it is anxiety.

  460. Tim Says:

    Hey Chris,

    I was there a few weeks ago mate, very low. My head was spinning, each thought seemed to have a power over me like a wave crashing against my body. My mind went numb, I would just feel like sleeping in bed. I think its a loss of hope that is behind great depression. What turned me around is understanding (firstly that this was all related to a sensitised nervous system – the tiredness, the intrusive thoughts, the sadness, lack of clear thought, lack of energy. I said to myself this is me now, my poor body and mind are quite sick. But hope also helped. I truly believe(d) that it was only anxiety/sensitisation. Its something that can and will change over time. If you have sad and intrusive/obsessive thoughts just let them happen, don’t try to be strong. Have some compassion for yourself “yep, right now lets just admit it, im pretty fucked. People could probably tell, oh well”.Just do your thing and they will go eventually.

  461. Chris Says:

    Thanks Tim and Rik. I think that’s the best approach to take. My fears are so stupid and irrelevant anyway, I’m practicing letting them go to the best of my ability.

    On that subject does it even matter what our fears are in this state? Is recovery the same for all of us, no matter what our anxiety/depression wants to latch on to?

  462. Evy Says:

    Belgian
    Your post left me speechless , I was so into it that for that quick minute I forgot I even had anxiety ! I really appreciate your feedback , it’s nice to read such positive words when your feeling so low ! I know I can do it , and this time will be a bit different ! Your message helped me so much today , that I rarely felt dp or unreality !
    Thank you so much

  463. Evy Says:

    Belgian :)
    Thank you so much for your kind words , as I was reading your feedback , I totally forgot I even had anxiety again ! Reminding me of the fact that I overcame this before , and I can def so it again ! Now that I see things with the “I don’t care attitude ” I could have saved myself from so much stress and dread ! I find myself addressing life different for the past month , I wish I would of done this all along , but it’s ok better late then never ! I really appriecte your post , positive attitude can go such a long way ! Today after reading your post I felt a rush of normality rush through my body , that I rarely felt stmptoms of dp or unreality ! I still felt detached but I was so busy I barely paid attention to it
    Blessings to all

  464. Doreen Says:

    Chris – you know the answer to that last question. Seems you are still needing to define the content of your anxiety as ‘different’ to other peoples. The content isn’t relevant and you yourself have agreed with that some posts back.

  465. Doreen Says:

    Jaimie – in answer to your question. I live my life to the full with an understanding of how anxiety can sometimes rear its head and then be disregarded. I don’t use words like ‘recovery’.

  466. Chris Says:

    I’ve tried to hold back with the ‘poor me’ posts. But I’m in such a desperate place right now so I feel I need to post this for help. I’m so sorry if this comes across negative or scares anyone, I just need support. I want to recover and enjoy life again. I’ve gone from bad to worse in the last few days. I was in a much better place the other day and I felt I was on the right track and I’m a bit disappointed in myself for falling off the railing and having to resort to one of these posts, but honestly I need support. Anyways…

    I am convinced I am the worst here. My fears are so obsessive and every moment is absolute torture. Even when I say ok I am going to move on from this useless fear of mine (the brain damage fear), I can’t. The emotional pain I am feeling is indescribable.

    Honestly how can acceptance heal something of this magnitude. Every second is hell and every one of my thoughts makes my guts sink.

    I never used to be like this. Quite the opposite. I loved life and was such a positive person, this state definitely brings out the worse in me. Now I am severely depressed and I am in a state of extreme fear 24/7. It’s literally a tragedy to me. I’ve been in this setback for five months now, five months, they never last this long. My mind always finds something horrible to conjure up to reinforce this fear of mine. The latest it is saying is ‘you’re a small person so these drugs/meds affected you more’ (I’m 5’6 and 65kg). How ridiculously obsessive is that!!!

    I fear I am going to be in this state forever and it makes me feel sick. Life should be enjoyed, not spent in a mental prison. I feel like a tormented soul.
    I’m trying not to be full of pity, but seriously will this work for me? I’m at such a desperate point. I want to live dammit.

    Once again, I’m so sorry I had to resort to one of these posts. I know some of you will be thinking ‘why doesn’t he get it?’ etc. I know what it’s like to read these desperate posts when I’m in a relatively grounded place where I can work with my anxiety (it’s almost like I forgot how bad it can actually get), however when I’m thrown into this state, I can suddenly remember how bad it is… I’m literally in tears as I write this.

    Honestly has anyone been this bad, is this anxiety or does it sound like something worse? Any advice would really help me. Thank you all so much.

  467. Amanda Says:

    Chris
    Don’t apologise we are all in this together, I have been in this last set back for almost 12 months, it has been a living hell, I don’t avoid anything and pretty much live like I did before going to work, on holidays and raise 3 little boys – all the while feeling awful, detached, depressed, dp , I too convinced myself it’s because of the drugs I took in my early twenties (I am now 38) some days I handle it better than others. I think I have accepted this is my life and I still don’t feel any better. Do you have someone you can talk to? I hope you are not alone, sorry I wish there was something I could say to ease your pain as I truly know how awful it is, you are not alone

  468. honey Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Just wanted to respond and provide support. I was in a really awful place for a while a few months back. I’m still really procrastinating about accepting and keep looking for recovery stories of hope. I find my thinking very black and white when I’m bad. Unfortunately anxiety cycles like this. And we get these times of utter despair but then it improves slightly. I really don’t have the answer because I’m still in a setback but am feeling a big bottle ND having less physical anxiety now so am functioning. All I can say is that at my worst I just referred through my gp to see a psychologist on the nhs. Just having someone to talk to got me back on track and may help you too. I don’t feel like I need it now but it helped. Thinking of you. Trust that there will be a better day.

    To everyone else, just a random question, how old were you when your anxiety disorder started?

  469. honey Says:

    Bit better not big bottle ?

  470. Rik Says:

    Chris,

    I completely empathise with you. I too am struggling a lot despite accepting. My fears are now more reality based because of DP. It is really proving extremely difficult for me at the moment. I have recovered from anxiety before and when i am as bad as this i also find it extremely hard to remember what it was like before. Acceptance does work though. Unfortunately it takes time and patience which isnt easy when you feel so bad. You have told your mind that every thought is to be feared and so it responds accordingly. Only you can start to reverse this learnt behaviour.

    Dont feel the need to apologise for reaching out. We are all here for the same reason.

    You know why you have gotten worse this last few days and that is because you fell back into the trap of googling. This means you were not accepting. Had you been accepting there would have been no need to google. If you are not accepting then you are not calming your mind and also you are not showing your mind that there is no need to fear these thoughts. Try to take stock and begin again. If you feel crap then feel it. Dont try desperately to rid yourself of the anxiety. Just feel it.

    You have seen it work before as you mentioned you are in a setback. That means you have done well in the past so keep thar spark of hope alive and get back on the horse. You can do it.

  471. Amanda Says:

    Hi honey
    I was about 23 that was my first major episode and now this one (38), had a few minor blips in between but I got past them quickly, this time it’s been alot harder.

  472. Rik Says:

    Honey,

    I was 22. Then was free of it for 8 years. Had a bad patch last year but recovered but then due to extreme stress it came back again in December.

  473. Amanda Says:

    Very wise and comforting words Rik.

  474. Milu Says:

    Hi all
    Haven’t written in awhile took a break of reflection. I have created done thoughts recently that have pulled me back into my anxiety. I have physical symptoms and have started telling myself of all the scary things I could be sick with. Ah, anxiety when will you ever just lie low? Going to jump on my thiughts.
    Chris I too have been scare my youth drug usage has caused this in Me but I have heard over and over that it just isn’t true. I think when we feel so fearful our smart brain is just grabbing at any reason to make us believe that is a solid reason. Who wants to accept emotions and thoughts can create such fear. I wanted to also mention that I do see a psych and it is very expensive but it has helped me. I think that they can help but you if you choose that route you will just need to find someone who aligns with you. Not every Dr is good for everyone. No pressure I just want to to hear that they aren’t all scary ?
    Evy I hear the pain I your words , stay strong , just one foot in front of the other and you will feel relief again. Just remeber the books and the acceptance of fear.
    Rik so glad to see you stillin here with your kind and comforting words for all. I hope you begin to feel more breaks of relief. You know that they will come and you will be able to feel yourself again.
    Thank you all for sharing your stories and your fears.

  475. Milu Says:

    Honey
    I had my first big episode at 23 then post partum Balt with my second at 30, two years ago and now. They have been different and the one two years ago was when I started digging in to find out causes. Although I have an episode this time it is improved for example I am sleeping fairly well whereas I never had before . Improvement :)

  476. Rik Says:

    I am happy to help Milu. I can only offer advice based on my own experience and if it helps someone then that is great. I am having a really hard time at the moment. I seem to be suffering mainly with mental symptoms. Heaps of DP which just makes me feel wierd and disconnected all the time. How nice it would be to just forget my obsessive thoughts and feel integrated and at one with my family again.

  477. Debbie Says:

    Honey iwas 12 years old now iam 55 but i had a big gap of no anxiety for 20 years.
    Rik iam with u with mental symptoms i get dp also alot of intrusives not the norm all dreams or movies ive seenalso every thing i see has to remind me of something very weird or scared to even look at something.

  478. Chris Says:

    Thanks for the support everyone, god it’s been rough. This is literally an obsession I have here and I can’t seem to break free from it. My mind has been on it all day, and I’ve decided to just let it be there. However it’s really bringing me down.

    When I did my awful google search (sorry if this scares anyone, in fact please don’t read on if you’re in a sensitive state, seriously I don’t want to give others something to worry about.), it even mentioned that anxiety and depression can cause damage to the brain. When I read that I was like oh great, more fear awesome. This is my own fault. I thought I learnt my lesson but obviously I didn’t. I’ve read wayyyy to much into this, one again my own fault.

    I still did accept for most of the day, and I definitely let the thoughts be there. At the moment I’m in another hellish spot, and that’s when I’m most vulnerable to the thoughts.

    I honestly would love to move on from my obsessive fear, then I could actually focus on what matters and I’d feel alot more hopeful. Maybe this is just something that needs time to heal. A long time perhaps.

  479. Tasnim Says:

    Does a weakened immune system have any relation with anxiety? I’ve noticed that around the same time I was impacted by the anxiety, my throats been hurting and I’ve been developing a scratchy throat. But also it is cold weather where I live too. I’m not truly bothered by this as it isn’t a full blown cold right kow, but I just wanted to know if there was a correlation. There’s not much I can do with it, as it’s a cold, but it just feels uncomfortable.

  480. Tasnim Says:

    I also wanted to note today was a very good day. It was my younger sisters 12th birthday, and we had some family friends over. I spent a lot of my day just mingling, rather than alone with my thoughts. My anxiety bothered me little today, and I was able to not sulk over my thoughts. There were a couple moments I felt down, but they passed. I know not everyday will be as easy as today, but nevertheless wanted to share it. Tomorrow will be tiring as I have so much school work to catch up on!

  481. Chris Says:

    Wow, sometimes I realize that I’m completely identifying with the story that I am creating. Maybe many of us are guilty of doing this.

  482. laxmi Says:

    Hello all can anyone help me . My thoughts are always sbout eating food when the thoughy comes I have yo eat my food immediately otherwise I get scared my life has been restricted because of this I amnot able to go anywhere freelyfear fear what will happen how fo I deal woth thoughts pl help

  483. Rik Says:

    Tasnim,

    The stress if anxiety can certainly cause us to be run down. I know I have been. Ive felt like i have had a cold coming on and off for a while.

    Chris,

    You know what you need to do. Have you considered some kind if ERP for your obsession? The goal of ERP is to expose you to your fears until your mind gets that bored of them that you stop getting such fear reactions to them and in time it just stops coming up so much anymore and you are no longer afraid of it. One form of this is to keep writing them down over and over.

  484. Chris Says:

    Hi Rik.

    Nah I haven’t. I’m wondering if that would be a good idea to constantly expose me to this fear I have. When I read about it I don’t really get a fear reaction until like the next day when my mind has a chance to ruminate. I guess I could look into it.

    I just googled in and I’m not sure if they have it in my city (I’m from New Zealand). Most of the therapists here either use CBT or mindfulness.

  485. Rik Says:

    ERP is encompassed with CBT so someone who does CBT should have knowledge of it. It did work for me with harm obsessions.

  486. Chris Says:

    Ok maybe I’ll look into that. I’m going to see a doctor tonight so I’ll try get a referral. I’m also going to try get a referral to get a brain scan, just to help give me piece of mind, or maybe this will reinforce the fear?

    I’m probably going to consider temporary medication too. I definitely need something to take the edge off. My body needs a rest, it’s literally 24/7 hell right now.

  487. Evy Says:

    Milu
    Thank you for your kind words , it amazes me how were here helping out each other , and some of us are still in anxiety state , but with positive affirmations and acceptance is all we need , we are beyond blessed to have Paul and his site and all the wonderful people here 😉 I am so happy I am not alone , this week I’ve been ignoring my dp and anxiety to the point were at some moments I get lost in the real life that I forget I even have anxiety , but at soon as I remember ” wait ” your not feeling weird , is when whammy it feels the worse , that’s the part I’m struggling with right now , but I know what it is , it’s a tired mind yearning for relaxation , it’s a tired mind holding in so much fear for no aparent reason ! It’s no wonder we are here ! Our mind needs rest

    Cheers to many more years with no fear

  488. Rik Says:

    Chris,

    I think even if you did have a brain scan and it came back clear you would still find a way to doubt the results. That is how anxiety works. By all means though if you genuinely think it is necessary and will help then see what your doctor says. Likewise if you genuinely feel like you need a break from your symptoms then don’t be ashamed to have medication. Just don’t rely on it to take it all away and be aware of any side effects etc.

    Evy,

    I can relate to that. This morning I had a brief few moments of just being but then as soon as I realised that it all came flooding back. I know with 100% confidence that if I can keep accepting and trying to just carry on with life as normal that normality will come back again. As you say, it just takes time and patience and for our minds to finally calm down and come out of the stressed state that it is in. Once it no longer feels the need to protect us the DP will fade and we will feel like ourselves again.

  489. Tim Says:

    Hey Chris, I agree with Rik I really wouldn’t worry about the brain scan. Yes, there is science that shows anxiety causes damage to some parts of the brain. I know it sounds logical, but I could almost guarantee to you that 95% of all your problems are due to your worry. Just think about how scared you are regarding this fear of brain damage, its bound to have a negative effect on you. You are bewildered and confused, that’s all.

    Trust me, i’ve been there. I feared myself broken from a drug called propecia for years. Brain fog, poor sleep, sadness, memory and vision problems (all seemed logically related to propecia). They are all anxiety issues too. I also feared that post masturbation (POIS) its called was causing my issues. Yet it was the thought itself doing 90% of the damage. If your brain is a bit wonky from years of anxiety, just think about all the research regarding neuroplasticity. Eat less sugar, do some aerobic exercise, meditate and accept your anxiety and your brain will likely bounce right back in time.

    Its all this trying to figure it out and fix yourself that Paul warns us about.

  490. Jacob Says:

    @Tim

    Your post caught my eye. I also took propecia and then ended up with the whole mess of issues: cognitive problems, anxiety, anhedonia, depression, loss of social abilities. I used to be extremely confident and had 0 issues at school but I cannot even function now.

    How are you dealing with it?

    Cause for us what else could be the cause other than Propecia? Most people get anxiety from life. I mean studies out there constantly point to neurosteroids and hormonal abnormalities. Ive even had some wacky blood tests but its unclear how to fix it.

    Paul on this fb page talks about the “cause”. But if the cause was something physical then what? I dont think I would get these issues out of thin air right? It has to be propecia otherwise what else could it be correct? You wouldn’t “think” you were broken if there were 0 symptoms right so the initial symptoms had to have come from something right. So how is the “thought” doing the damage exactly? I got symptoms way before the actual thought. I dont think one can think themselves into this.

    Also @chris regarding MDMA you might also want to get the hormone tests done. Some people get low T/cortisol after MDMA also–I had a friend where this happened. He recovered easily with treatment.

    We cannot discount the biological aspects cause obviously they exist for some of us where this was not caused by life stress…..

  491. Tasnim Says:

    I know I’ve brought this up before, but its the only thing that keeps coming back to me. I’m still constantly obsessing over schizophrenia. There have been periods where I thought I got over it, but the thoughts come back again. I always find a new “reason” to convince myself I am developing it. While one part of me knows that I’m overreacting. The other part of me is still obsessing over it, and is clouded by these thoughts. I wish I never learned about it in class. I’m not sure how to get past it. I know I can’t constantly look for reassurance. I feel like I can’t think completely straight.

  492. Tim Says:

    Hey Jacob. Thanks for your post. I took propecia for 11 years. I definately agree that propecia is bad, it causes a host of symptoms. You are right, I finally found the forum because i had horribly symptoms. I used to post on propeciahelp.com a lot. In truth, i do suspect that i have a fair few problems directly as a result of it. Yet the utter crippling despair and pain i suffered, was mostly from the thought that propecia had ruined my life. I would never have a sex life, id always be brain fogged etc. Its led me to be unhappy for years.

    But im convinced my thoughts are strongly involved. What if anxiety was caused by propecia yet continued by my own fear. I lift weights, try to keep busy. Since ive come to realise my own part to play in this ive had peace. Ive been to many social events with zero fear. A feat literally impossible for 10 years previously. My libido is low, but ive had sex successfully. So im trying to desensitize myself to anxiety and find where it starts and propecia ends. Who knows, perhaps im deluding myself. But worrying about propecia sure wasnt doing me any good. Look at the people here. Most of them havent taken propecia yet look at the states of distress they have reached.

  493. Chris Says:

    Thanks Tim and Rik.

    Maybe you’re right. Tim do you know if the studies say that the damage is completely reversible or permanent? This really sends me into a tailspin whenever I have anxiety or depression now (most of the day). My thoughts say “you are damaging your brain by being in this state” and it honestly freaks me out so much. It’s adding so much more fear to the state I am already in.

    Oh man, I regret reading that study so much, I wasn’t even looking for it as I was looking up studies on neuroplasticity at the time, it’s def an obsession. I guess it’s pointless to keep beating myself up for it, but I’m in such a bad place now it’s made acceptance that much harder.

    My main fear of ‘brain damage’ is that it’s going to make the anxiety and depression worse, and it’s already unbearable as it is.

  494. Tim Says:

    Hey Chris, I don’t really know anything about neuroscience to be honest. In fact id hazard a guess that even the experts have a lot to learn. All you can really do is act in ways that try to relieve your stress / promote recovery. Exercise and meditation have both shown to promote neurogenesis. All I can say to make you feel better is that I actually took a drug that is suspected to cause permanent / long lasting damage plus, ive basically been anxious for a decade now. Yet my anxiety has subsided and I do feel a lot better. Just know that worrying about it doesn’t do any good. I know its only a small solace, but I truly have been do that deep dark place many times mate.

  495. Jacob Says:

    @Tom

    Yea I mean I see what you are saying. That is one approach and it certainly is better than thinking that it didn’t do any damage at all. As of course some form of alteration had to have occured otherwise why would your mental/physical state suddenly change. You are basically not feeding into it. Its just sort of hard cause its essentially like we feel this way for no real reason at all–its just some unknown biochemical stuff going on. So there is the ongoing question of “how come my libido is low” or “how come I feel so depressed”. Paul says its all the overanalysis but the one thing I don’t get is what triggers the mood in the first place….

    I mean it is unlikely to get anxiety out of thin air with no concrete stressors unless something physical in the body got thrown off as is the case with drugs like Propecia which depletes allopregnenolone or maybe even the drug that Chris is mentioning–sort of assumed it was MDMA as so many people suffer with that.

    The neuroendocrine system is pretty complex. Thats probably why Paul’s method works to an extent since you just let the body return to normal without feeding it.

    I still think people should get the right tests done though and go to the right doctors as sometimes things are considered “normal” when they aren’t. Out of curiosity did you ever pursue that route? One of these days there will likely be a pretty relatively quick cure.

    My biggest problem is thinking how long this is going to last. Like how am I supposed to pursue my dreams/goals if I feel this way. I tried doing school but im pretty much flunking out and its extremely agitating since I was an A/B student before. So I keep comparing to my old self.

    The problem is it feels like these “thoughts” are coming as a result of how bad I feel and if I felt like myself I wouldn’t even be thinking this stuff in the first place! Almost anybody would think negative feeling like this and people don’t realize how lucky they are not to suffer with this their whole life. I’d rather have almost any physical illness over PFS

  496. Tim Says:

    Hey Jacob, Yeah I also see where you are coming from haha. I’ve always believed Propecia is the devil, I still do. My question I suppose is how much healing has my body done over the years. I cant tell due to the constant anxiety. Plus, resolving anxiety means androgens flow better, you get better sleep – perhaps better libido etc. Anxious and depressed people often have low libidos. Ive tried every cure I could think of short of more medications, Vit D, running, more sleep, intermittent fasting, meditation, lifting weights, drinking broccoli water etc.

    When you ask what triggers the mood in the first place, claire weeks would suggest its oversensitization or ‘nervous illness’. Our nervous system is programmed to react very poorly to stress and to be constantly activated.

    Its true I agree people should get checks. I did get plenty of checks yes, full blood panel etc. Nothing was found to be wrong. Obviously I know doctors don’t really know as much as we would like and it could be deeper.

    What symptoms primarily do you have? The funny thing is when I fully accept my anxiety, I have moments where I feel perfectly calm. Very close to my old self.

    One thing that does interest me when you look at recovered Propecia stories is how diverse the cures are. Some took arimidex, test, others did weight lifting etc. Could it be that they all believed they were better?

    One final thing I wonder about is remember propecia sufferers have one thing in common. We all started going bald. I started at 15. How this affected our sense of self / confidence could be more than we think. Anyway, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to downplay propecia, but this route is fruitful for me at the moment so i’ll give it a red hot go :)

  497. Steve b Says:

    Tim. Yes. They all believed they were better.
    I shovelled more coke up my nose than most addicts over the years and had terrible spells of anxiety as a result. Thing is, I never “knew”about anxiety. It was before the Internet etc and I didn’t like doctors. I always gave it a set amount to feel better after stopping. After roughly 6 months I believed it would exit my system hey presto after 6 months I felt better. Normal.
    This episode no drugs are involved. I know about anxiety now and I have a “condition” can I get rid of it..no! 1 year and counting…
    In my humble opinion. For all of us. It’s all made in our heads.

  498. Belgian Says:

    Fleur,

    You are so in love with this guy. Why else should you bother fighting so hard for your relationship?

    The fact that you are continuing this war is prove that there is love in this relationship.

    But my dear girl, you’ve got it all wrong. It is you fighting that is making this experience so hard. If you’d stop fighting, you would regain energy and would create room for emotions other than anxiety.

    Don’t get me wrong, I know how difficult it is to let the fight go and accept whatever feeling presents itself to you. Especially with regards to relationships. Being in a relationship is by nature scary. It’s all about vulnerability, surrendering and uncertainty. Of course, an anxious person will feel anxious about it.

    The only remedy is true understanding and acceptance of this.

    In many ways these feelings of anxiety are a blessing. Some might think that love is a feeling we can take for granted. Well, it isn’t. It’s extremely fragile and unbelievably strong. It’s soft and hard. It comes and goes. The most important trademark is that it’s continuously changing. It’s often something completely beyond our conscious control.

    People who are not sensitized don’t feel this ever changing feeling as strong as people who are sensitized. Like you. You are tired and stressed out. That is why all these normal shapes of love feel so unbearable.

    Here lies your challenge and your hope. You have to confront your emotions and anxiety in order to move beyond them. You confront them by going towards them and feel them through and through without trying to change them. Again and again. By doing so, in time you’ll gain a knowledge and wisdom others will seldom experience.

    My anxiety has the same focus as yours. My relationship with my beautiful wife. It has already been an unbelievably hard journey, but I don’t regret a minute being and staying with my wife through this hardship. And although I know that I love her, sometimes the feelings still lag behind.

    Where in the past I would panic, I now know that this is temporary and it’s without significance for my current relationship. A lot of these feelings have roots a long, long time ago. My choice was and is still to look at these origins and I personally feel that a lot of my anxiety in general actually can find ‘an explanation’ there.

    But even if you choose not to dig into your past, you still can overcome this. The only thing you would have to do is not to hide from your fears and anxiety, but accept them instead.

    I wish you all the luck and love you deserve!

  499. Bryan Says:

    Chris,

    I don’t know or care to know what “study” you read… but anxiety will not “damage” your brain. It’s a normal biological mechanism geared to protect the body. It’s like saying being happy too often will cause happy damage.

    Scores of people have had anxiety disorders for decades and returned to completely normal living. Our understanding of the brain is limited, as evidenced by the fact that doctors have no clue about treating anxiety and most meds are useless or harmful. But there is no evidence that normal emotional states “damage” the brain.

    You can find a study to support just about anything even if it is ludicrous.
    My advice? Stop reading studied and recover like the countless others who have.

  500. Belgian Says:

    Chris,

    ‘most meds are useless or harmful’ is a statement which is a personal view on the matter.

    Not everyone has the same opinion on this.

  501. Jacob Says:

    @Tim

    I have some symptoms besides anxiety as well like the low drive but even worse than all that is the ridiculous depression combined with cognitive stuff. Its hard to enjoy anything. I wasnt on it as long as you though~a fee months last year. And I also havent been suffering as long as you–hasnt even been a year.

    And yea the cures people tried are diverse but at the same time people get affected biologically in different ways. The reason its not all in our head would be its not like we are making it up. Even anxiety disorders arent all in someone’s head–propecia could have just been a huge stressor to the body and messed with these pathways. I know claire weekes says sensitization but the initial sensitization has to be caused by something.

    I know people tried all the different things but at some level they probably did work and reset things. Not everybody got better trying a certain protocol. Though belief probably does play a role some people even get worse or are completely unaffected by the treatment. Not dwelling on it I suppose just lets the body’s healing mechanisms happen faster.

    Time is like the sure thing but who has time for this stuff right. At the end of the day we want to be living our lives to the fullest but its impossible with severe symptoms.

  502. Tasnim Says:

    I think I might be in a setback, which sucks because I was so close to recovery. I just can’t help but feel doubtful again. All I keep hearing is that I’m just going to have to cope with my anxiety. My own psychology textbook says that people with anxiety usually only find short-term relief. I feel that I’ve only suffered for a month, yet my recovery is taking longer than my actual period of suffering.

    Also, does anyone find themselves hard to focus? I am constantly thinking about this whole schizophrenia fear and anxiety that I feel that I can’t concentrate on stuff. Someone will ask me a question and I’ll stare at them blankly for a few seconds because I guess I’m still in deep thought, and have to ask them again. Or when I say or think something I have to check to see if it was crazy or not (even when its something I would normally say). I feel on edge a lot too. Sometimes I think I may have OCD because my anxiety is more so based around my obsessive thoughts. Should I still be treating this the same way. I’m not really facing any physical symptoms. Is this a normal way to feel?

    I know I’ve been making some desperate posts, but I just wish I could feel myself again. It’d be nice if someone could help me out on this, and maybe my last post too please.

  503. Chris Says:

    Hi Belgian, I didn’t make that comment, Brian did :)

    Thanks for the reply Brian. I’ll keep that in mind, this fear is absolutely ruining me, it’s really hard to move past it because the doubt and despair I’m experiencing is at an all time high.

    I seriously don’t know how to move on from this fear I have, I know I keep on going on about it and I’m sorry, but it just makes me feel so hopeless. I can barely get out of bed everyday at the moment, it really has ruined me. Maybe I should just move forward with a ‘whatever, if I’m damaged then so be it’ attitude.

  504. Chris Says:

    This fear I have, it’s absolutely pointless. Really what is the point in even worrying about it? I’ve decided today that I’m going to move on from it and focus on what I can do in my life.

    I have acknowledged that this will take time, as I feel like this has traumatized me somewhat. Maybe even months, might even take a year. But whatever, I know that my quality of life isn’t improving by constantly googling this fear I have, it only makes it worse.

    I have made a little sticky note on my computer reminding me that this is going to take time, and that to NEVER search the internet in relation to my fears again.

  505. Tasnim Says:

    I think my problem with this is, that I do get other intrusive thoughts but they don’t make me think about my behavior. When I get thoughts about schizophrenia or even now, OCD, I start to evaluate my behavior. I feel I like sometimes I am actually TRYING to make myself think like a schizophrenic. Like I will say maybe I do believe that the world is out to get me (even though I don’t) or maybe I do think delusions. It’s like I try to connect schizophrenia with everything I do or think. I don’t know why I keep convincing myself of these things. I was doing well, and then when I got sick and had a fever, I got a pretty vivid intrusive thought, and got scared, and it put me back in this place. I just get concerned at the way this effects my thinking.

  506. Tim Says:

    Chris – Well done mate. This is the right attitude. I honestly have faith you will start seeing good days now 😉

    As you said it will take time, and you will still have anxiety. Don’t fall for the bluff. It may make you wonder if you’re insane, damaged, weak etc. Accept that its anxiety. I think its fine to come here and read Pauls posts when you need as they are a real help.

    Good luck!

  507. janie Says:

    Hello all, i have written once before on this blog but did not hear back so I am going to try again, I would really appreciate some feedback on the following, and Nolan if you are reading then your take on it would be really helpful as I know you have had similar experiences.

    I have experienced bouts of insomnia and anxiety for most of my adult life. Insomnia is a massive anxiety for me and I am currently experiencing difficult thoughts around sleep because I have songs going round in my head on repeat all the time and this keeps me awake at night, sometimes all night. I get really anxious before bed and worry that this will be forever and that I will never sleep again (This anxiety was not helped when I heard a comment on an yoga clip on YouTube about dying from not sleeping – I won’t give the details of that particular comment because I don’t want to exacerbate anyone else’s anxiety around sleep – but if anyone has any reassuring thoughts around this then thank you). How do people cope in life with so little sleep on top of the anxiety? How do people cope with work? I have been off sick for a while but went back to work this week and I feel awful but I know that I need to keep going and try to push through this time. I also know that I have not reached the stage of acceptance yet and need to work on that. I am finding the above issues so difficult and would appreciate anyone’s support and help.

    Many thanks

  508. Doreen Says:

    Janie – no one has died from not sleeping. Believe me. Everyone sleeps for some of the time even if it feels like they haven’t. It may not be the deep and rewarding sleep you are craving but you will not have been awake all night.

  509. Rik Says:

    Just checking in. Ive had a better few days. Been truly accepting everything and have had periods of forgetting myself and being much much better. Feel a bit worn out now after beung so busy for a few days but going to continue to accept and move on with my day. I know i can come through this and yet again it is pauls and claire weekes teachings of acceptance that are starting to bring peace. I didnt believe i could ever improve a few weeks back, as many of us do when in the throes of anxiety but i feel my persistence is beginning to pay off and new good habits are bing formed.

    Chris,

    That is the attitude you need. Resist the urge to reassure online and also dont reassure yourself. Just let the thought come and go. Give it no respect.

  510. janie Says:

    Thanks Doreen, common sense tells me the same thing, my anxiety of course wants me to believe the disaster scenario.

    One other question to add to my earlier post regarding songs constantly on repeat in my head at all hours – do people think these are just thoughts in another guise, and so just to accept they are there for the time being like other thoughts.

    Janie

  511. Rik Says:

    Janie,

    Yes. Your anxiety will always play on what bothers you the most. It is sadly just the way it works. Complete allowing will not only make it far easier on you but will also have the side effect of reducing the frequency of such things. Over time you will firm new good habits and begin to sleep better etc.

  512. honey Says:

    Do you ever wonder whether acceptance is what causes us to feel better or whether the disorder would be more settled that day regardless of how we accepted or not. My anxiety peaks and flows and it tends to do this by itself whether I accept or not. Just like during periods of recovery and acceptance we get random setbacks? I find this all so confusing. I came so close to recovery. I don’t avoid anything now but still feel like shit at times. I wonder if just accepting I’ll always have this is the only way to move on from constAnt trying to fix the way I am. If I just accept that this is me forever and that there’s gonna be good days and bad ones and just get over it? It’s all this fight that’s so time consuming. Can’t just enjoy the moment gotta spend all night googling even though it never works. Gotta find reassurance even though I never listen. Problem is when I accept I’ll always be this way I get depressed and hopeless and that’s totally unmotivating! Everyone that’s recovered Sat’s they still have anxiety years after accepting. And I’m talking inappropriate anxiety here. Recovery isn’t what I thought it was anyway. It’s just a different attitude and a different way of coping and just managing anxiety. Totally sucks.

  513. Tasnim Says:

    If someone could help me out here, I’d really appreciate it. I feel like I’m going crazy.

  514. janie Says:

    Thanks for your comments Rik, I feel I have a long way to go with acceptance and allowing, but I do believe that it is the right way so that is a start. Going back to work has been very hard for me so has caused me additional stress, but hopefully that will ease with time.

  515. Bryan Says:

    Chris,

    I know what you are feeling is strong and seems too intense to overcome but you have to remember it’s actually very common and really stress disorder 101. Have you read “Nothing Works-A letter to myself” the blog/story by Chris who sometimes posts here? If not its mandatory reading. You can do this. It has to start with baby steps and you need to stop looking so far into the future or past. We can handle right now… and build on that success.

  516. Jacob Says:

    Technically I think the way SSRIs work has to be through restoring the HPA axis. I think this stuff can be measured to an extent–I don’t take the meds but ive done saliva cortisol tests and they have come out low. My doctor told me that when I recover the saliva cortisol would be normal.

    Its a personal decision anyways

    Imo What acceptance does is just take off the additional pressure so that things like cortisol or other hormones/neurotransmitters can recover to homeostasis.

  517. Rik Says:

    I agree with jacob regarding the way our bodies work and why acceptance works for those whose primary issue is not an underlying medical condition such as hypothyroidism. Our bodies want to get back to homeostasis but cannot do this while we continue adding further stress as this keeps us totally off balance. It is no secret that anxiety is triggered by stress and an inability to cope with it. Only by accepting do we stop further tipping the scales and allow our complex systems to right themselves. Of course i am no medical professional but this is just logical and explains why acceptance works. Acceptance also teaches us a better way to live that allows us to become better at coping with stress or negative experiences both external and internal in our minds.

  518. Chris Says:

    Thanks Bryan, I’ve had a read of it but I haven’t read the whole thing. Maybe I’ll have another read though it tonight, I’ve been recommended it by other people too.

    Not even going to read the SSRI comments by the way haha, they give me anxiety when I’m in this state! Actually almost everything gives me anxiety in this state, the only fear I don’t have is a fear of dying. I was only on a full dose for 12 days though then weened off so I shouldn’t worry about it?

  519. Evy Says:

    Belgian :)
    Just wanted to ask you a question with a symtom I’ve been having , I get memories playing. In my head about something that happen many years ago , not nesassarlity anything bad , just really long time ago things , for example when I was 15 , I’m now 33 , of me being at a certain party or when I went to a trip with my family , they happen without me even thinking about those days ! It doesn’t really scare me , i just want to know is this due to the imbalance in my brain !? Kind of confusing and a bit annoying ! Thanks for taking your time

    Rik
    I notice you talk a lot about dp
    Have you ever had this before and overcame !? This is actually one of my biggest symptoms that I find hard to shut off ! 5 years ago I had it and went away once my anxiety got better and it’s back again ! I have good days along with bad ! Let’s hang in there and know it’s a tired mind ! The gym really helps me with that symptom , as I get so lost with exercise that after 1 hour I think oh man I haven’t thought of it !

    Blessings to all

  520. Doreen Says:

    Chris – in answer to your final question – no. you shouldn’t worry about it but as you so rightly recognise in yourself at the moment is that you have the potential to worry about anything. And strange as it may sound, that is in fact the ‘thing’ that should comfort you as it shows that your problem is with anxiety and highly unlikely to have any physical origins.

  521. Rik Says:

    Evy,

    I find it hard to remember whether I had bad DP last time but i almost certainly would have done. This time it seems to be my most prominent symptom which is likely because I know that the thoughts are just anxiety. I did originally find DP rather hard to tolerate but I think I am doing better with that now which is helping. I am also carrying on working and doing other things rather than just sitting around and focusing on it. I noticed yesterday that it was worse and I had not slept as much for the last few days and had had a bit more stress so that is likely why. I didnt question it and just let it be there.

  522. Rik Says:

    Tasnim,

    What you are talking about there is called checking or testing. It is a common trait in anxiety based thoughts. This is more of a compulsion because you are wanting to see what your reaction is to the thoughts you are having. This is the kind of behaviour that keeps the thoughts coming and keeps giving them importance in your mind. If you catch yourself doing this just decide to not take it any further and refocus your attention on something else. Allow the thoughts you don’t want to just come freely if they must and give them no further attention.

  523. Chris Says:

    Thanks Doreen. I’ll keep that in mind.

    Today was another difficult day. I swear my mind is on this fear of mine 24/7, my mind just goes over and over and over it, never giving the whole ‘brain damage’ fear a rest. These thoughts aren’t important in the slightest, yet this is all my mind thinks about, day in and day out. I’m trying to let the thoughts be there but they are really crushing my soul here. Sorry about the poor me rant, it’s just quite hard to cope with this. Really been feeling the depression hard in the last few days.

    I always have the thought ‘if only I had a time machine, I could go back in time to the start of this setback and warn myself not to google’. It’s either rumination or the fearful thoughts.

    Sorry to go on like a broken record, I’m just having an absolute horrible time.

  524. Rik Says:

    Chris,

    You aren’t accepting any of it at the moment. It is clear from your post. If your mind wants to go over and over it let it. Just allow it truly. If you know these thoughts don’t matter then simply let them be there and in time your fear reaction will slow down as your brain catches up and realises you aren’t scared of them any more. You need to develop that so what attitude. It doesn’t just happen overnight. You have to put the work in yourself by cultivating the attitude. It may take weeks to see improvement but you have to be willing to allow that. It may take days. Who knows. If you don’t allow time then you are not accepting at all and are just going to keep going round and round and will keep being on the lookout for thoughts. This is a cycle that YOU are continuing by not doing what needs to be done in order to move on from this and free yourself from the chains of anxiety and obsessive thinking. If you are looking for certain thoughts you can be 100% sure they will continue to be there. The very act of thinking you dont want to think something means you must think about it to remind yourself not to. If you are scared of something your brain will remind you of this too. It is actually pretty simple to understand. Try not to think of a bunch of grapes for 1 minute and I mean try as in tell yourself you dont want to think about grapes or pictures of grapes. I bet you that is all you can think about and all you see in your minds eye. This is the same as what you are doing right now with your thoughts. All day every day you are wanting to not think about it and checking if it is still there. Then if it automatically comes up, which it will from time to time, you then despair instead of just noticing it, ignoring it and carrying on with your day.

    I hope that doesn’t sound harsh but I think you really need to buckle down and start accepting how you feel right now and accept that your mind will regurgitate these thoughts over and over until you truly accept their presence.

    It is not easy. Not by a long shot but with persistence you can overcome this. 100% you can. But it has to come from inside you. You have to step up to the plate and push on no matter how loud they shout and how bad they make you feel. Let them be there. Let them scare you and don’t add anything further.

  525. Tasnim Says:

    Yeah I try to just let them be, but I get scared. I start to question myself like “is what you thought rational?” “Are you thinking right?” “Did anyone else see that?” I get scared that if I dont question them then my I wont know if my thinking becomes delusional. I feel like I can’t think clearly. This is the only symptom I have now. Is it normal to think like that, and will I get back to a point where I don’t question my thinking?

  526. Tim Says:

    Hey chris and tansim. I agree with rick. What you feel is extremely normal. Your thoughts of brain damage, thoughts that others will notice, thoughts that you are irrational. Someone up here said they were worried they didnt feel love for their partner anymore. Claire weeks in her book uses this exact example. Its just a tired mind and a fatigued nervous system.

    You may and probably will still feel like shit. I went to uni orientation the other day and i felt anxious. Even felt dp. It wasnt pleasant, and i had trouble accepting. Yet i let it happen, didnt worry about it after and by that night i went out and felt fine. It may take time, be patient.

  527. Evy Says:

    Hi Belgian

    I know your probably busy , if you can read my previous post , will surely appriecte it :)

  528. Doreen Says:

    Chris. I am not sure how much good it does you describing your feelings over and over again on the blog. As others have said, you realty do need to ‘bite the bullet’ and get on with living a life that I agree sounds s… For you at the moment. But by continually describing how awful it is, you are reinforcing the thoughts that scare you, not relieving yourself of them. Why not take a break from the blog maybe?
    And although I know the advice I am going to give you will not be a route everyone will agree with, but I do think that maybe seeing a CBT type counsellor might help even if only to give you a space each week to work out how you are going to move on. Then you might be able to see that as your time to work on your anxiety and be able to let the ‘worrying about the worrying’ go for the rest of the week.
    Regarding the thought about physical/mental (which causes which) I suggest that anxiety does cause TEMPORARY physical changes to our body chemistry eg. stomach churning, heart racing but they are a result of the spike in adrenalin. Even my vision was affected, blurred and hazy so it would have been easy for me to believe anxiety had damaged my eyesight. But once the anxiety subsided those physical changes did too.
    Please consider taking a very deep breath each time you want to post how awful you are feeling cos it certainly doesn’t seem to have helped. Concentrate on reading the posts which describe how this is something you can beat.

  529. Rik Says:

    Chris,

    I agree with Doreen on the CBT. I think you need a little help in gaining some perspective on your thoughts in order to allow you to see that they are just produced by anxiety and your fear of them. CBT was developed for a reason and that is because it does work. I had CBT last year for my harm obsession and it changed my life at the time and allowed me some insight on what was going on and how I could move past it. It really did help. I thought I was broken beyond repair but I came through it. I have since become anxious again and had numerous symptoms but that was because I still had an enormous amount of stress going on in my life. My brain had had enough so hit me hard with DP.

    Another way I will back Doreen up is that she is absolutely right that when the anxiety goes there are no lasting effects. When my anxiety was gone I was completely ‘normal’ again. No headaches, nausea, blurred vision, obsessive thoughts or anything like that. I just slotted back into normal living and more importantly for me normal thinking.

    Tasnim,

    Yes you will, absolutely. But only if you start to allow yourself to trust that you don’t need to address these thoughts any more. Your fear and attention is what keeps these things alive. Show your mind you are not scared of these thoughts any more and will just ignore them and over time it will stop presenting them as often. In time you will then relax, your body and mind will find balance again and anxiety’s symptoms will be but a memory.

    I have some really bizarre thoughts at times due to my DP and my anxiety but I am learning again to just let them be and realise that by ignoring them it does not mean I am believing them. It just means I dont see them as important and I am assigning them to my anxiety as I should.

  530. Belgian Says:

    Hi Evy,

    In my view remembering scenes from the past is not something extraordinary nor anything that has its cause in some kind of imbalance. I believe everybody has the moments you describe from time to time.

    It always comes down to the same thing. In our sensitized state, we are so focused on what is happening to us internally that we:

    – gradually lose our interest for external events
    – become pre-occupied with every change in emotional feeling, every image that pops up inside our heads

    It is your heightened attention and attitude towards this that makes it ‘weird’, but I assure you it’s not something that has the potential to harm you in any way.

    As you go on your own road to recovery, you will have more attention for things happening around you and you will lose gradually your interest for the ever changing stream of thought that lives within you.

    You are perfectly normal :-)

  531. Tasnim Says:

    Thanks for the support. Even though I am still struggling with these fearful thoughts, I can say that I define tell made progress from a month ago. I don’t have anymore physical symptoms, other than what I assume is DP (I don’t know if it’s physical or not?). I think I would be in a worse state if it wasn’t for this site and the people on here. I think it’s the DP that makes me unable to think as clearly as I used to.

  532. Mark Says:

    Hey guys, been a while since I’ve posted here. Glad to see so many of ya making good progress.

    My concerns always seem to revolve around existential issues and it seems that every time I make good progress I fall back on certain beliefs such as ‘is this mostly biological’ Having read in Paul’s book that all of us begin life with an equilibrium of emotional well being. But I’m just not convinced this is true, people are born with terrible unfortunate issues we can’t explain. So my question (or really just getting my thoughts out loud) is surely if defects in other areas of the brain can be present, surely the same could be true of emotional issues. It just leads me down the route of thinking we ALL don’t really have choice or free will.

    It makes me sad to think this. Back to accepting right away, it’s the only thing that has worked for me in the past. Wishing everyone strength in there recovery.

  533. Chris Says:

    Thanks Doreen and Rik.

    I guess it’s just all the studies I read that reinforced the fear. I’ve been practicing surrendering to the thoughts in the last few days and I am feeling a wee bit better for it, as previously I was fighting them a bit. I think this one is just going to take time. But the goal I have realized is to not reassure myself, it’s to move on from this nonsense my mind creates. I am doing hypnotherapy next month and I will also consider CBT, thanks for the suggestion, and sorry if my posts have gotten anyone down, depression has hit me hard these last few days, although I was in a good mood last night which was nice (probably because I had a couple of whiskeys in town haha).

  534. Evy Says:

    Belgian :)
    Thanks for your words ! So soothing , reminds me of Paul’s !! I’m pleased to say that today 80% I felt my old self 20% at times felt the dp!! But I can’ honestly say I accepted every discomfort 2 days ago , with intense and u mean intense scary thought and images !! And as much as my mind wanted to run and get scared I didn’t !!! I did not run I sat there an allowed it , which makes me believe that by having a horrible day , you earn a good day , lol in sure I’ll get some tough days along the week , and that’s ok , because I know the good days will override the bad , one thing that has been helping me a lot is I’ve been forcing myself to take naps on my lunch break , as I know my mind needs rest rest rest and more rest !!! I also have been eating really clean and exercising a lot !! I’m on the right track , I might still have months or even 1 year but I know I can do this , anxiety and negative thoughts are like demons trying to get you down ! And after 10 years on and off , I think it’s time I’ve won the battle !
    Blessings to all ! And most importantly Faith

  535. Tim Says:

    Glad to hear you are in a good mood Chris :)
    I’ll be honest, i’m not a huge fan of CBT, at least for people like myself. I went to see a psychologist about 5 months ago (mind you ive actually studied psych myself). I was really in the doldrums, I mean the worst id almost ever been. I told her I wanted to try ACT and she insisted on CBT. This psych was running rings around me intellectually and I couldn’t keep up. My mind was shattered. She almost seemed to be playing an ego game with me, and didn’t realise how tired I really was.

    Anyway, CBT was simply too complex and detailed for me at that point. I tried to do it and I couldn’t I felt worse. I needed something simple. There is value in it for certain, but I would not recommend it for people who are extremely anxious. In fact this recommendation is shared by a lot of experts.

    Making the connection between your maladaptive thoughts is really valuable, but actively challenging them is a bit too close to “fighting” for my liking. CBT is in some ways the opposite of what Claire weeks/Paul teaches. It might be useful later down the road to clear up some of the junk floating around in my brain, but I doubt i’ll ever embrace it. That being said, its all down to your personality.

  536. Marie Says:

    Hi Nolan it’s Marie again, I just wanted to ask you a quick question with your sleep did you set a sleeping schedule like go to sleep and wake up at concern times?. My sleep is a little better last night I slept barely but like you said a big so what to it. I am feeling a little sorry for myself today but I can’t change that.

    Thanks Marie.

  537. Colin Says:

    Hi chris
    Glad to hear you had moments of happiness. I am considering some cbt also . It’s not because I am back where I was a few years ago . It’s for my own curiosity! I have 95% recovered from my anxiety:) but still have this small worry about returning to that state . This isn’t a major worry . But I think some cbt would carry me through to 100% ? I have always just accepted my anxiety and done all of what Paul says . This got me this far ! I have read lots of your posts mate and really feel for you . It’s a horrible feeling is anxiety . But through this acceptance and doing wag at you did yesterday , these are the fleeting glimpses to your recovery !!! Good luck mate and keep believing.

    Colin

  538. Julie W Says:

    Just wondering if anyone can answer a question on acceptance? I have been working on letting the intrusive thoughts be there and not worrying about my intense self focus. I have been living my life like normal but really don’t think I have made much progress since the beginning 18 months ago. I have been seeing a therapist who teaches acceptance, and he told me the other day i have to accept that I may be like this forever and if I only enjoy 5% of life from now on, that’s the way it is and I have to accept this. Is this what I am doing wrong? I have been working on accepting thoughts, feelings in the hope that eventually it will go away. He says to accept it because this may be the way it always is. That’s a hard one to accept. I kinda feel my life is over if I have to live this way forever. Any thoughts?

  539. Doreen Says:

    Tim – I was trying to find a word to describe what I ament by CBT type therapy and was struggling as I too am not sure straight forward CBT is helpful in anxiety. Too much focusing on and monitoring of feelings which is not a good idea for people who are already trapped in that mode. However, what I was really meaning was something warm, respectful and supportive where anxiety is understood and baby steps are applauded. Hope that makes sense.

  540. Mark Says:

    Julie you’ve answered your own question. ‘Since the beginning 18 months ago’ So there was a beginning? You felt different before? You can do it again. you have just been made aware like the rest of us what anxiety issues feel like because our attention is firmly on anxiety. i believe for the most part it’s learned behaviour, that’s certainly how I developed chronic anxiety, through google and in turn, to what I read and believed from Google.

    Everything changes. What your therapist, I would presume is attempting to do, is simply what Paul and other people try to convey to everyone, to accept, no matter what. Feelings and thoughts will change in time.

  541. Ves Says:

    Julie,

    It is not necessarily that you are not accepting.

    You are asking ” Is this what I am doing wrong and How do I do right?” It is urgency that naturally creates question “How?”and then that creates another question: “What do I need to do?” Urgency is another name for impatience.

    We cannot force to happen before their time.
    Spring will come and flowers will blossom but we cannot force the spring. We have to be patient and the beauty is that more patient we are the quicker the coming of spring is. If we can be absolutely patient this very moment spring can come since all our urgency is dissolved.
    Urgency creates an invisible wall and we project with our mind that we somehow have to go through that invisible wall.

  542. Tasnim Says:

    So I’m still working at these schizo thoughts. When they come I try not to linger on them, though sometimes I’ll find the occasion when one of the thoughts become really convincing.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve had trouble concentrating and remembering. I find myself skimming over long paragraphs and rereading stuff because its so hard for me to focus, even when I’m not getting anxious thoughts. Also someone will say or do something, and I’ll have to ask them to repeat it (it’s been happening a lot). My memory is so bad right now, and I get confused easily. It takes twice as long for me to process something. Sometimes I’ll have small, very realistic dreams, and then I can’t remember if what I remember was a dream or something that happened.

    Is this part of DP? I just get concerned because I don’t consider myself to have really bad anxiety. My only consistent symptom is the thoughts. Yet my cognition and memory is so bad.

    P.S. Sorry for so many concerning posts. It’s just that my focus has been so bad that its started to affect my conversations, work etc.

  543. Chris Says:

    Thanks again Tim. Hmmmm, maybe CBT isn’t a good idea then. I can almost imagine that challenging the thoughts would be too exhausting, and challenging them would be giving them too much respect. This almost does seem like fighting you’re right. I’m a bit confused on whether I should give it a go or not.

  544. Tim Says:

    No worries mate, I was just thinking about it and I think in a way it depends where your anxiety is coming from. CBT is great for challenging irrational thoughts, and there is no doubt we both have heaps of them. Psychology would argue that it is those irrational thoughts that are causing anxiety, and that’s definitely partially true. Thoughts about being brain damaged, going mad, fainting, dying etc etc are all irrational and they make anxiety worse.

    However for me the real fear is of fear itself. I have trouble standing the sensations of anxiety. It creates a very strong physical response and the preceding thought that leads to it can be tiny and almost instant. The type of thoughts that I have are “man I feel like shit, i’m acting weird, they can tell i’m acting strange, i’m standing wrong, what can I say, why am I stupid? why do I always feel like this, how will I cope with today”etc. Its my resistance to this feeling that makes it worse. If I tried challenging each thought, I end up in this neverending mess of watching myself and trying to fix myself, which is the problem.

    Paul’s way has you accept and move through the feeling. You systematically desensitise and expose yourself to the fear. By doing this what actually happens is 90% of those shitty thoughts just go poof out of nowhere when i’m relaxed. I’m not irrationally fucked up as CBT and the deficit model of psychology would suggest. I’m just exhausted. The thoughts that arise that are silly when I am relaxed I just brush off like a fly. Without anxiety, i’m pretty much fine.

    Id be willing to hear someone else’s suggestions regarding CBT as i’m really no expert, but I just don’t think its needed. I think CBT is useful for addressing really persistent beliefs you have of yourself eg “I think i’m not good enough”. Id hazard a guess its a lot more beneficial for people with depression. Perhaps by using CBT all the time you become so good at it you can perform it instantly. It apparently does work for some people. I think for me, CBT was never going to work because I didn’t believe.

    I think if you feel you want to see and chat with someone, you should. The right therapist really can help you sort through and get perspective on our thinking. Even though I didn’t really like mine, she actually was instrumental in my progress. Sorry about the rant, I actually just find it interesting.

  545. Dominic Says:

    Hi Guys
    I haven’t been here for a while and I generally don’t stay for very long. I have my own business which is very demanding and two extreamly demanding children.
    You will notice that I pop back every now and again to give a bit of advice or share my own experiences with you all.
    First of all to Mark R
    Well done for giving yourself a break. As much as this blog is amazing it can also stop you from getting life back.
    Evy
    I noticed your post on your setback. I was exactly the same as you. After 9 hellish months of anxiety I started to recover and went 3 years totally anxiety free. I did not give a hoot how I felt. I was flying. I started my own business, we had another child, life was amazing.
    I hit a setback some time in September and it crushed me to start with. Why was it back? I’m stuck like this forever etc. the thoughts and feelings were all back. All the original symptoms.
    The only thing however that didn’t change was my attitude. You may notice on my posts back in September how I was dealing with it.
    After the original shock, I soon realised that setbacks were part of this process and soon got my attitude back. My ‘so what’ attitude was back in full swing. ‘Oh I’m stuck like this forever, so what!’
    The thoughts told me I was useless, that’s what’s the point in working, what’s the point in going to the cinema or out with friends. But I ignored them all. I carried on when all I wanted to do was stay in bed. I went out with friends when all I wanted to do was cuddle up with my wife on the sofa. I did it.
    Our trip to New York! For months prior we were so exited about now filled me with dread. But I went and had an amazing time. I didn’t feel great but had awesome time. All the irrational fears were faced and life was lived. It was hard at first but it got easier. I feel bad sometimes now but I get on with things and anxiety is just there in the background to the point I hardly notice it.
    Setbacks will come and of course ,after feeling so good, you will be thrown. But soldier on and you will feel better.
    Let it all be there and carry on. It is the only way. I could have gone back into that pit of dispair but I had enough knowledge to know what to do. We all know deep down, it’s just the anxiety that tells us different.
    Hope that helps a little.
    Dominic

  546. Evy Says:

    Dominic :)
    Thank you so much for even taking the time to give feedback , as I know when anxiety is out of the picture , I rarely even thought about the site , if ever ! You are completely right , it’s your approach to the feeling , to be honest I never thought the dp or thoughts would come back , as I knew I would deal with the physical symptoms off and on ! I’m not going to lie , this setback after 5 years if a lot different ! I know so much because of this site, and I have way more advice to help with all the nonsense !! It’s just at times it can get so bad that I want to give up ! But even that wouldn’t make a difference because it’s just anxiety !! Nothing more , I love the fact that you carried on despite all the negative thinking , as a matter of fact I got invited on an awesome day at the beach to do obstacles kinda like a spartan race ! I know before this came back I would have been thrilled ! It’s 6:30am in America! Lol I was contemplating going as my negative thinking was full forced , but I will stop typing because I need to get up and go to the event , however I’m feeling ! Because I know the deal Evy would of been thrilled to go a few months back !!! Again Dominic thanks your words go a long way ! Who would of known they would help me this moring as I am going to do something fun ! You pushed me right to it
    Blessings :)

  547. Alex Says:

    Hi!
    A question to Rik!
    You have Been through ocd harm thoughts. Was wondering what is keeping them coming and why they feel so damn real? And does anyone else feel “strange ” in the head and some strange feeling behind the eyes or shall i just put all of it under anxiety?
    Alex

  548. Paul Says:

    Hiya
    I’ve just read both of Paul books and really agree with all he says, I’ve suffered anxiety for a few years now but not bad anxiety like some people suffer,I’ve ever had one panic attack which frightened me to ,death luckily Ive had no more since.
    My problem is since Christmas my anxiety got bad after my ibs flared up and I got some bug or other aswell which made the anxiety go mad which is were u lost my appetite completely, it has come back at times and I’ve been ok fir about a week then bang it’s there again no appetite I’ve now been like this for just over 2 weeks, not sleeping or problems getting to sleep everynight, I try to eat bits and normally lately it’s early hours I eat bits like this morning about 3 o’clock I had a chicken and mushroom slice and some cooked gammon I also have complan shakes aswell, bits like an apple of crisps aswell

    What made things worse was I was worrying about not eating I’ve lost just over a stone since Christmas obviously I know this worry and stress of not eating just feeds the anxiety more which makes eating a nightmare, if only I’d have knew before things got bad about this maybe i wouldn’t have lost so much weight I’d have seen what was happening and been able to do more about it then I have done regarding feeding the anxiety

    If I put Pauls help ie let the thoughts just come and don’t react will this in turn help me get my appetite back as I’m not feeding the anxious thoughts of why I’m not eating and loosing weight etc, normally I’m pretty good and just get on with things keeping busy but this spell of anxiety has knocked me for six like Paul says I normally get on do things I enjoy and pay those thoughts no attention as I’m doing something I enjoy I don’t think about them but due to weather and other things I’ve not been out as much and done the things I like so it has been a vicious circle sat in the house, obviously now I’ve read Pauls books and see what I’ve been doing hopefully I can get back to normal and be prepared if it happens again.

    Is this what I should be doing any help would be much,appreciated

  549. Nolan Says:

    Hi Marie,

    I did originally try things like sleep restriction. But, I eventually ditched all of that.
    I did whatever I wanted to do with sleep.
    When I didn’t have this ‘issue’ I never had to do any sleep schedules. So, I wasn’t going to do one anymore.

  550. Jacob Says:

    My issue with CBT is basically that what if there is nothing directly making you feel anxious or depressed.

    Then its not really of any use challenging the thoughts. Like I myself know that my negative thoughts are coming from the way I feel. I cannot just “think positive” if I feel so bad if you know what I mean. Most of my thoughts are “why do I not feel like myself” anyways and getting agitated about it.

  551. Dominic Says:

    Evy
    Go and enjoy your life. You may feel like not doing it but you will not regret it at all. I remember getting a phone call about a new contract for my business. This was in October when I was pretty bad. My heart raced, I was fearing taking a new contract as I may have to travel, stay away, how would I cope. I can’t do this I have anxiety etc. all the silly thoughts anxiety brings up.
    One of my biggest things was sleep issues. I was scared to take this contract as it might affect my sleep.
    For the past three years when I was anxiety free I travelled to the states from the UK. I had jet lag, overnight flights with no sleep etc, I never gave sleep a thought. I just loved the travel and opportunity.
    Now I had anxiety again all these sleep related fears and thoughts came flooding back. What I could have done was not taken the contract and therefore restricted my life and let anxiety control me or faced these irrational fears and take the contract. You can guess what I did.
    There was no way I was going to turn it down. I faced my fears and it’s not an issue now.
    One big fear for me was having to get up early for work, like 5am. Even before my anxiety I would get little sleep the night before. I never bothered me before but all of a sudden it was a huge thing. Its funny how anxiety feeds on this silly little thing.
    I’ve seen a few posts on sleep. This was also huge for me. Recently around Xmas time I hit a real bad couple of nights. Like zero sleep. Such intense feelings of fear. I couldn’t lay there with it as it was that intense on the first night. So I read a book, watched a bit of TV then laid there till it was morning.
    I got on with my day, went Xmas shopping etc.
    The following night I knew I wasn’t going to sleep so I just stayed downstairs and watched a film. Again got up and got on with my day.
    I basically accepted that I’m not going to sleep but it’s fine.
    I went out with a friend that night and went home and had the best nights sleep ever. I felt great the next day and had the most peaceful day over Xmas.
    Had I stressed and researched and added more fear them I’m sure things would have been different.
    I had let all the built up energy leave me, albeit unfortunately when I should have been sleeping! Once it left I felt great.
    So those having sleep issues, give yourself a break and let it be. It’s not that bad really, it’s only what your anxious mind tells you.

  552. Tom Marshall Says:

    Hi Alex,

    I know you asked Rik the question but I thought I would jump in on that and try and help you amigo :)

    First of all I hope you are doing ok, I know harm thoughts tend to crush the soul, especially when the content is around someone you love. The reason why they keep coming back is because you keep answering the questions your mind is throwing at you on a day to day basis. ‘I just had a thought of hurting someone, does that mean X+Y=Z?’ and at this point we usually start to panic cause the last thing we want is to spiral out of control and hurt somebody so the minds logic is to keep analysing, ruminating, checking and engaging in any sort of activity to prove that you are definitely not going to do what you just thought and the devilish thing about this whole game is the belief that if you could just get certainty it would all just go away! I know the feeling but unfortunately my dude its a never ending cycle and everyone of us have been caught in this same trap.

    I know how you must be feeling right now, anxiety can create an extreme sense of urgency to fix these thoughts to prevent anything from happening, but the best thing for you to do right now is try and let go of the need for certainty and to get rid of the thoughts. Its tough I know because your mind will quickly talk you out of this when you attempt to get on with life ‘Oh no! wait if I don’t do something about these thoughts doesn’t that mean that i’ll do the horrible thing?’ The short answer is no you won’t.

    Imagine this like a tennis ball machine. You’re stood there at one end of the court and Mr Brain is at the other end putting balls in the machine for you to keep batting. The more balls you hit the more the machine fires out at you because your good friend Mr Brain thinks you’re having a fantastic time reacting and hitting the balls away so he keeps putting more and more in. He doesn’t realise at this point you are completely exhausted and wanting to stop. So you say to yourself.

    ‘If I just keep hitting them eventually he will run out’

    Uh-oh…. He only went out and bought a life time supply so the game is on!

    What do you do now?

    My advice is drop the bat and walk away, sure he might hurl some abuse at you for stopping and maybe fire some more at you. But eventually he has to stop and follow you cause he’s your brain and you would be kinda fucked without each other.

    So leave the court my friend and take Mr Brain and his tennis balls with you. Go see your good old friend Life cause I’m pretty sure you’ve missed him tremendously.

    I wish you all the best mate.

    Ps: I haven’t posted on here in months so I thought I would pop in. I hope everyone is doing well and I’m glad to see people still sharing their words of wisdom to help and empower others through these hard times.

  553. Alex Says:

    Tom!
    Thnx for explaining. Love the tenniscourt example ??. So all the strange feelings in the head like your’e loosing it is just anxiety?
    Thank you very much Tom for your encouraging words!

  554. Peter Says:

    Hey Dominic,

    Have you gotten through your setback?

  555. Nolan Says:

    I’m not going to bash cbt, but I just want to echo similar thoughts: for me it seemed like such a huge hurdle to clear. Challenge thoughts? These thoughts have brought me to my knees…. And the fear backing them was very real.

    If cbt works for some that’s great. It just wasn’t the thing for me.

    These thoughts had begun to dominate my life. I didn’t need any more interaction with them…. I needed to make my life bigger than the thoughts and that’s where Paul’s method helped me.

  556. Tasnim Says:

    I loved the way you put it Tom. I know that I myself have said a few times “If I just knew 100% that I won’t get schizo, then I could relax” but I know I’ll never get that assurance, and I have to just accept that. Even just a bit ago, as I watching the Oscars, something that happened on screen brought me back to a symptom I knew of, and I got scared because I thought I believed it. I realized that I was ruminating again, and just let it be there. It’s scary, but at the same time, makes me ease. Thanks again for your words.

  557. Hanna Says:

    Hey Guys

    I have not been on here in a really long time, but since I am now fully recovered I thought I would pop back in to see if i could offer any support or guidance.

    I thought I would share the final piece of the puzzle that helped me get my life back. I had delt with so many symptoms but I always got stuck on the obsessive fears of being doomed. They felt so real and I couldn’t help but believe them.

    One day it just clicked that like all my other symptoms there really was only one way to break free.

    Firstly I’d been told that thoughts are just thoughts by Paul and I believed it although my obsessions still felt real there was space around my scary thinking because a part of me was beginning to truly understand these thoughts were just thoughts and I need not take them seriously. However I kept getting involved with them and reminding myself things and because of this I just couldn’t quite get past the last hurdle because when i reminded myself they weren’t real they would feel more real…

    So here is what did it for me.

    I thought of the fear and anxiety like a cage in my mind. Anytime I had any involvement however small I was literally choosing to hop inside the cage with my anxiety…so I made the choice…I decided from that day onwards that I didn’t want to live in the anxiety cage…I didn’t want to be trapped…so I said no more, I will never ever hop in that cage again (meaning no matter what thoughts or feelings I have that are anxiety based I will not get involved) and I didn’t. Within days my mind began to clear and my confidence began to return.

    It was amazing to realise that the only thing that was keeping me stuck in anxiety was my decision to go with the compulsion to fix my anxiety (hop in the anxiety cage)

    So my friends trust me when I say you can be free.

    You must realise all anxious thoughts are not real. They are just energy being released in the mind. Then make the decision no matter how much your mind wants you to get involved that you wont. Realise that if you do get involved you are choosing to have anxiety, you are creating your own cage.

    Choose to never hop in bed with anxiety again and simply let it do what ever it wants. When you do this, you will finally be free.

    I now go towards things that make me anxious. Anxiety can not stop me from being me or doing anything I want because I realise it is just a thought or a feeling and that I don’t need to be involved and can instead simply get on and do anything I want to do.

    Hope this helps,

    I’m happy to answer any questions people have. I suffered from anxiety until I was 32 and had so many different types symptoms over the years from panic, to obsessions, to intrusive thoughts to depersonalisation, to depression….in the end they all go with the one concept which is to understand they are just energy and that you need never ever get involved with them.

  558. Evy Says:

    Dominic
    Thanks for your post was so inspiring , I have a question are you just carrying on !? Or are you recovered , !? By the way I’m so glad I went to the beach and had an amazing time , 3 hours of obstacle course , I couldn’t even squeeze in a negative thought lol it was so intense , for a quick second I did feel dp, but before you know it all I can hear was ” evy come on keep going ” lol so back to what I was doing !! Did you ever experience dp

  559. Evy Says:

    Tom
    The that was such a great example with the batting cage ! Even made me laugh for a bit , it’s so true ! Good way to put that we are actually in charge , and even if we’re not feeling them , we tend to look for them and go back to square one ! I’m sure if we do as were suppose to , we’ll all be on the other side soon ! We will get there , because this is by far the best place to be , full of positve people , that with a great feedback can go such a long way !!

    Blessings

  560. honey Says:

    Hanna thanks for posting. It’s alwAys very inspiring to hear from recovered people. I have a question. What do you define as recovery? Do you think your anxiety responses are still more exaggerated than the average person? How long have you been fully recovered for? I have a big fear of recovering and then having a relapse. Also since I have been fully accepting chronic anxiety symptoms I have started having panici attacks again which is pretty disheartening because I was sure acceptance would make it better not worse. The panic attacks are mainly nocturnal but naturally I am now convinced I will have one at work and not be able to cope. Thanks

  561. Dominic Says:

    The dp just went for me. I still get it now and again. For example when driving. It comes back now and again but I just ignore it really. I’ve been feeling great for a while now.
    I’m not sure if I’ve recovered fully. I still get anxiety, it just doesn’t bother me as much really.
    My option on cbt is in line with Nolan’s also. Once the anxiety symptoms fade then so do the thoughts. So challenging them only magnifies them. I just said so what to them.

  562. Rik Says:

    Alex,

    I think Tom covered that perfectly. It is simply a case of letting the balls fly while you walk away. It can be easier said than done at times but it the way to do it.

    As for the other symptoms it can be unbelievable how many symptoms anxiety can cause. I had had some good days last week only to wake up this morning with high anxiety and the feelings of derealization again. It is no use me analysing it though and trying to figure it out. Really all I can do is go with it.

    The thing I find hardest is the thoughts that come with the derealization. I know that with acceptance and consistency that I will move through it all though.

  563. Rik Says:

    Hanna,

    Did you ever have fears or obsessions around reality etc due to DP? Also did you find it very hard to feel anything in terms of emotions or emotions towards people? If so did you deal with this in the same way?

  564. John Says:

    Hi Paul

    First i would like to say thank you for the information on your blog and website, I have brought both of your books and found the information very valuable

    my question is can this information solely be applied to depression without anxiety.

    I have been depressed for many years and lost a lot of hope and just keep asking myself what is the point to life, its like its lost all meaning.
    I constantly have thoughts analysing myself and trying to fix the problem mentally and i do believe this is part of the cause of the depression creating a cycle of thoughts and emotions. I have taken a what if attitude and sometimes i get pulled in and do become identified with my thoughts and other times i can sit back and just feel the pain from a distance and although very uncomfortable this attitude has helped

    I know your information is primarily heard towards anxiety but wanted to know what your thoughts were on this being used just for depression?

    Many thanks

  565. Doreen Says:

    Re CBT. As you may have seen I modified my description of the sort of counselling I was suggesting to Chris. I was trying not to pursue the idea of something deep and meaningful just more supportive and understanding of anxiety. I agree that CBT in its simplest form may not be helpful but I know of practitioners who are well able to use the philosophy which underpins ANM thinking and give people the place to reflect on how they are doing and encourage the benefits of this approach. And sometimes having a real live human being in that role can enhance anything this blog can offer when people are very stuck and troubled.

  566. Nolan Says:

    Great point, Doreen.
    If someone is helped with that interaction then that’s a good thing and they shouldn’t be discouraged by those who don’t use that approach.

  567. Nolan Says:

    Regarding setbacks I just wanted to say that I always had this interesting experience…. and maybe some others have felt the same thing.

    My setbacks felt like they completely leveled and destroyed the modest ‘gains’ I experienced. You’d be kind of coming out of the pit and then you wake up one morning only to be met with that profound sense of dread, despair, and loss. Your good times seemed like a hoax and the only true reality was the nightmare of the anxiety/depression and all of the symptoms that go along with it.
    You’d be certain that this is final. At a fundamental level in your being you’d simply be convinced that you’re broken and that there’s no hope left for you. This is an automatic reaction. Willfully, you have very little power over just changing that view. You argue and argue with it, try to read the same things that gave you hope at one point…. only for all of that to fall flat. The sense of despair increases even more (which you may have even thought as being impossible…. but here it is).

    The miserable recognition that “there’s nothing I can do” starts to settle in on you…. but this is actually your point of redemption. At this moment we can either wallow in our despair…. or get back on with our lives, living them independent of how we’re feeling (‘feeling’ seems like such an understatement). And, I believe it’s in recognizing the futility of fighting with the thoughts, fears, symptoms that we can really start to live regardless of our state (assuming you’ve decided to not wallow in it).

    But, then the crazy thing starts to happen: the clouds of it break up on their own. You might be alittle dumbstruck (“how is this happening? What did I do??). Your body, once you allowed it the time, starts to get back on stable footing. Now the theme doesn’t feel like Despair, Hopelessness, Fear…. now it just starts to click how you’re not actually broken. How this storm, in time, will pass. You didn’t do it by a force of will: meaning, you didn’t need to grab a broom and chase it out of your mind and body. It’s almost like peace simply found its way back to your body.

    And, almost every time I had a setback, once I came out of it, it was like a little piece of me was restored back. Something that reminded me of how I used to be.
    So, I just wanted to give alittle hope to those who are struggling at the moment.

    I’d also like to say this: at one point my anxiety and depression lead me to wishing I was no more. I had a son who had just been born and I was wishing that I was gone from the play of life. Many months leading to years I felt like I was wasting away being in this condition – but looking back on it, and if I had to do it over, I wouldn’t want to change a thing. I never thought I’d ever say this but I look back on those days fondly. It was because of those dark days that I was able to grow into a better me. More patient, understanding, and peaceful than I had been even in years leading up to those dark days of anxiety and depression.

  568. honey Says:

    Great post Nolan. Recovery sounds so good. I hope so much that will be all of us one day!

  569. Debbie Says:

    I hope for that recovery also iam 75 their. The mind just feels creepy at times like its always trying to figure something out and it always in different images in my mind that pop out of no where al things ive seen in my life and than i get word pops Nolan i hope your dad is feeling better.

  570. Fleur Says:

    Belgian, thank you so so much for your response :-). I had few better days.

    You are right, I am fighting and that is wrong. Last weekend I was happy with my boyfriend, I spent 2 days with him and almost everything was normal. But now again, when he calls me I feel aversion and don´t want to talk with him. But I am starting to understand that I don´t have only this 1 symptom I have bad feelings in general. When I have better days with my partner then I am afraid of depression. SO this is proof that it is obviously not only about relationship anxiety, when I have good day with relationship I have bad day with something else.

    Yesterday happend something what upset me.
    Our profesor behaved very strange. He took off shoes all of a sudden, he pushed away a desk again and again, then he turned off and turned on notebook and said that „i am sorry i am nervous I must end up this lesson.“ Other students told us that he is wierd sometimes, he bangs on the board, it is like he forgot pills or something.

    I am scared to death that how is it possible that he was doing this :-(. What is his illness? Schizophrenia? Or is he insane? I know about him that he is maybe 55 years old and has 2 jobs – teacher at university and some great job at ministry. So I think that he had so much stress in his life. What if this or something similar can happen to me from my anxiety. What if he was the same like me when he was younger and now He hasn´t control at all. He took off shoes in front of all students.

  571. Julie W Says:

    Thanks Mark and Ves for your reply. I guess I just have to carry on, and not put any time limit or urgency on recovery. If I am broken, so be it.

    Alex – yes, I feel strange in the head too with some of my intrusive thoughts, like I am totally losing it and just holding on. I ride it out and it always subsides in time. It can last a while though for me.

  572. Chris Says:

    Thanks for the responses. I’ve always been wary of trying another approaches so I think I’ll just stick with this one, as deep down I believe it is the right way out of anxiety/depression. I’m already starting to feel a bit better. Yesterday I actually had an alright day which was surprising.

    Hanna, your post actually really helps me and I’ve had some similar insights in the last few days. Yesterday I decided, ok no more, this fear is absolutely pointless and it’s getting me nowhere so I decided to stay out of it, to not argue with the thoughts, to not even look for them. I found that for most of the day the thoughts weren’t even there, and when they occasionally did come up I made sure not to get involved. When the thoughts come up it feels as though it almost is a compulsion to try and argue with them, to prove them wrong.

    Because I was in a good mood yesterday, it was like I didn’t even need to worry about them. Of course they have come back today, but I’m just not going to talk back to them anymore. I mean really, what is the point in trying to argue or solve the thoughts, when there is literally no answer to my fears. I’m far better to just move on and leave these fears in the garbage bin when they truly belong

    I think I’m going to go with my original plan and just go out and life my life. I’ve just accepted a temp job and I’m moving cities to study in a few months, maybe it’s just what I need. Over time I should be able to get over this silly fear of mine, providing I don’t give into the compulsion to Google or go onto other forums again.

  573. Julie Says:

    Hello

    Long time no see. Hope everyone is doing well.

    I have a question and wondered if someone could help.

    My anxiety started returning late last summer when I had symptoms of fatigue and weakness, slowly the agoraphobia started creeping in with it. I think it was due to the fact I felt so weak and unreal everytime I went out. By September I felt really poorly physically and during some blood tests I had a panic attack. I last posted here a few months ago when my son was struggling with bullying and became very ill. I stepped away from the group as I had to focus on him. CAMHS let us down terribly and my son became suicidal. I am so pleased to say he has gone from a 12 year old boy vomiting before school daily, calls from school all day asking me to pick him up because they couldn’t cope with his panic attacks, up to 10 panic attacks a day, terrified to go out, insomnia…. to now being a happy boy who has no panic attacks, goes to school happily each day, goes out with friends, after school clubs, goes to parks, restaurants with friends, speaks infront of class and he hasn’t missed 1 day of school in 6 weeks. At parents evening last week he was praised for his bravery and he is now aimed at As and Bs in his exams if his progress continues. I can’t tell you how proud I am. I taught him everything I learnt from At Last a Life and it worked. I talked about it in child friendly terms and he just grasped it, what an amazing boy. Thank you Paul. I was so afraid I’d lose my son things really did get that bad. I have a better version of the boy I knew, he is the happiest I have ever seen him.

    So that 3 month nightmare is over. I started suffering from worse fatigue, weakness, floor bouncing as i walked, close to collapse. I ended up with my GP visiting me 3 times in 3 months. I have now been diagnosed as having hypothyroidism, my resultss are well over range and I also have developed CFS from having it untreated for so long and a traumatic 3 months.

    I told my GP since I had the fatigue and ill health my anxiety has crept in. I don’t have high anxiety daily at all, I am infact happy and doing well. But on a day I physically feel poorly and weak (with CFS you have crash days where you can’t get out of bed) those are the days all my what if’s kick in. What if I have to go to hospital? I wouldn’t’ cope being agoraphobic, they’d lock me up seeing how anxious I am, what if they find something else wrong with me?… you get the gist.

    Since my ill health my anxiety returned. The anxiety has latched onto my physical symptoms and I have been afraid to go out. I go out to a small shops once or twice a week. I go to the park with the kids, do the school run but at the moment nothing socially with others, no big shops, no appointments even with hubby, nowhere alone really…. so it’s flared up my agoraphobia big time but I told my GP it’s all due to how poorly I have felt and doctors ignored my symptoms for 6 months telling me i was just tired. He offered therapy to talk about what happened with my son as i went through it alone as i have no support other than my husband, and he thinks it was very traumatic. I refused therapy, yes I sometimes cry when I remember the bad days I had throughout it but I don’t want to sit and wallow in it. He then asked if I wanted CBT, again i refused as the NHS wait is 18 months and I have done it for over a year privately when I had intrusive thoughts 2 years ago, so I know all I need to know.

    So my question is whilst i have these health issues and still feel ill is it possible to work on my anxiety? Other people have ill health, cancer, diabetes, MS…. but I bet the majority don’t have agoraphobia and unable to go to appointments or fear hospital treatment like I seem to. They just accept it all. I said to my husband my anxiety is coming from how weak and ill I feel. On a good day I don’t feel that anxiety but I guess I am still a little lacking in confidence to go out alone and my world has become pretty small again like it was 3 years ago when I was agoraphobic for 6 months. If the anxiety is coming from how physically unwell I am feeling, whilst i have this ill health can I really work on my anxiety? I hope that makes sense. lol! I know if the ill health was resolved my anxiety would certainly decrease alot as it only flared up again due to how unwell I felt, and i even became anxious at home just walking around my house. I would still have to work on the agoraphobia it had caused but that would be far easier without feeling weak, fatigued and like I was going to collapse everytime I stepped outside 😉

    It’s a question that’s been going around in my head and until I am properly medicated and this thyroid goes back to normal levels, and the CFS lifts I won’t feel physically well so will my anxiety about how i feel stay put. I just want to accept it all, deep down I think I am fighting it and not accepting that at 36 I have these 2 conditions aswell as high cholesterol and have found it all a shock and alot to deal with. I want to just accept this is where I am and not fear it all. I hope I will get to that stage.

    Thanks

    Julie

  574. Jacqui Says:

    Awesome posts Nolan and Hanna
    Hanna when an anxious thought pops into your head, what do you say? Nope not playing today?
    Nolan I want you to be my thearapist!!!!
    Jacqui x

  575. Tasnim Says:

    Hannah, or anyone else recovered, as you went about your day do you have this itching feeling at the back of your mind? Like you are happy doing whatever you’re doing, laughing, talking etc., but there’s this weird feeling at the back of your mind saying you’re not happy or just this hint of dread. I don’t really know how to explain it, but I don’t like it. If you know what I mean, does this feeling fade as well?

  576. Paul Says:

    Hiya people

    I’m suffering with a bad episode at the min of anxiety have been since Christmas which started with my ibs amd some other bug were my appetite decreased,the anxiety kicked in which just finished off what appetite I had at all,it’s has come back for a week or so then bang I got another bug and appetite went again as the anxiety crept in again,

    Since just before Christmas I’ve lost just over a stone in weight because of no appetite, I’ve just read Pauls.books and.now see the reasons why it effects us so bad because we feed it,

    I’m eating bits at times normally silly o’clock in the morning as I’m having sleep problems at night not beeing able to fall asleep for hours some.nights no matter how tired I am when getting in bed the.mind won’t shut off thinking about anything, once I do fall asleep it’s for a couple if hours or so then I wake up again and again takes me again to get back to sleep, the.main thing concerning me was the not eating part which I know now the more I worry and fret about it the more likely my appetite is likely to come.back as such as I’m feeding the anxiety

    Can anyone help on this as I’m stuck in this rut at the moment it’s over a stone in weight I couldn’t really loose as I’m not the biggest build and always struggled with putting weight on and the ibs my weight has always fluctuated alot with bouts of it, before Christmas I was about 12 stone 10 but now down to 11-6/7 and from a 34 waist back t ,a 32

    Any help would be much,appreciated Paul m.

  577. Nolan Says:

    Hi Paul… I don’t know the conversion; but I lost 40 pounds in about a 3 weeks to a month period of time when my bout first started.

    Not having the appetite didn’t bother me as much as the sleep issue. Because my sleep was almost exactly as the quality you just mentioned.

    My appetite came back faster than my sleep, because sleep is the one I focused on the most.

    I treated it like this: regardless of the quality and quantity of sleep I’m just going to move back on with my life. Even if I am exhausted and struggling day after day…. so be it. I’m done making my life solely about my issue with sleep (and all of the other manifestations that anxiety conjured in my mind).

    So, likewise, I would suggest to just address the whole thing with an attitude of “meh, so what… I don’t have much of an appetite. I’ll eat what I can eat and then be done with it.”

    That attitude is not to slay the beast. But, that attitude will allow peace and normalcy to find their ways back to you. You’ll have moments here and there where you start feeling better…. and then maybe after that you find yourself back down in the pit. Regardless of the rhythm of anxiety just keep addressing it the same way: “Oh well, big whoop. If it’s there, so what. I have more to my life than this.”

  578. Paul Says:

    Thanks for the reply Nolan

    40lbs Is about 2stone 11lbs so I’m not there yet, I’m trying to not let those thoughts have any effect and I eat bits when I’m able to, some days the smell of food starts me gagging.

    Normally I’m very active and out doing my hobbies but due to weather I’ve not been able to so got in this rut,I went Out last night and at first I got abit anxious about going like allways do but once there I’m fine I Heaton with what I’m doing and actually start to feel much better in myself I even got the mmmmmmm I couldn’t eat something.nice feeling but because I was in the middle of nowhere I couldn’t get anything, abit later in the night I sort of lost that good feeling like someone had pulled out a plug amd drained it out of my body back to how I was before the good feeling came.

    Once I finally got.home it was late about o 1.30 this morning I’d just no appetite again so I had a meal replacement shake called complan

    I see how yes keeping busy getting on with things does help alot but it’s.not something I can do alot Just go out as I’m a carer for my wife who’s suffered anxiety depression all her life I also had two lads with autism aswell but are alot.older now and only have one at home,

    I dont.blame.any of.my anxiety etc on them I normally dont let things get to me I can normally just brush them off but I guess we can’t always do that,that’s prbly why I’m in the rut at the minute

    I’ll certainly be trying to do as you suggest and thankyou for your advice it’s.much appreciated

  579. Mark Says:

    Hi everyone been reading these posts just thought I would share my story.
    I had a panic attack 5 years ago. I rushed to the ER thinking I was having a heart attack. To cut a long story short I had another 3 attacks over the next month. I had every medical test my Dr could think of which all came up fine. I was given Ativan for these which was a god send but I took them only when necessary. Over the next year my symptoms just faded away. I basically returned to my normal self although at times being a bit prone to anxiety.

    About a month ago I had a full blown attack out of the blue with no obvious reason. I new it was panic and took half an Ativan which I hadn’t taken in nearly a year. 20 minutes later I was fine just a bit sore.

    Been back to my GP had a complete physical all good.

    I have just started reading Pauls book and one of Claire Weekes which has been a revelation. No one had ever explained to me what was happening to me. I guess what concerns me the most are the physical symptoms I get I can’t accept that anxiety/panic cause this. I get chest pain along with back pain and an awful surge feelings in my arms if that makes sense.

    Anyway what ever I initially did those years ago worked. Do other people get similar symptoms?

  580. Sally Says:

    Very good post Nolan that is exactly me x

  581. Julie W Says:

    I have had a really hard week. I think my therapist telling me I may live like this forever has caused me to be depressed. I haven’t felt this down in a long, long time. The mornings are really, really hard as my intrusive thoughts have been really bad the last few mornings, to the point i can barely get out of bed. I am carrying on, but i feel lost, like there is no hope for me. I don’t know if this is a setback or what, but I just feel like giving up. I’m tired of my intrusive thoughts. Just need some encouragement to continue on with the “whatever” attitude.

  582. Tom Marshall Says:

    Hey Julie,

    I’m sorry to hear things are tough right now for you. Hearing a statement like that is enough to throw anyone into despair, to be quite honest I think thats the last thing you should be telling your patient who you are trying to help you through anxiety. Thats almost like going to a personal trainer and them telling you ‘Well, I don’t think you can loose weight or gain muscle… Anyways, I’ll see you later! Ermmmmmm is the same time next week ok?’

    I’m sure you’re therapist is a nice person and I’m not bashing them in anyway I’m just trying to make light of the situation, but if that is their attitude towards it all then I would advise you see someone who is going to help you recover and not put an even bigger barrier in your life.

    Paul is always a great example, he suffered at one point just like you are right now and he was also told the same discouraging statement you probably hear such as:

    ‘You’re going to have to live with this for the rest of your life’

    Ohhhhh I bet christmas came early for your little family of ‘What ifs’ after hearing that one! 😉 Well thats ok, they can come for a dance if they want to just make sure you don’t get up to tango with them or you’ll be at it all night long!

    Anyways, as I was saying about Paul and many others on this blog. They have all been down to the bottom and still managed to make full recovery. We all have that in us regardless of what anyone says because at the end of the day we are all human and our ability to learn and change is limitless.

    I know the thoughts and feelings your are experiencing right now might be scary and thats ok, thats just fear doing its job, unfortunately… Fear is hungover as shit right now. Poor fear :/ all you need to do now is give it a big hug and let it be there while you get on with your day. Yes, it might get a little cranky and say some weird things at times but we all know how awful hangovers are! We’ve just got to accept sometimes that our emotions are going to go out, get wasted and come tell the whole story the next day, We don’t need to get rid of them, we don’t need to shout at them, they aren’t wrong or right , good or bad, they just are. The most important thing is you take them all with you while your living the life you want to live.

    Who knows, one day they might even stop drinking.

    I wish you all the best!

  583. Tasnim Says:

    Tom, I love the way you put anxiety into perspective. Out of curiosity, have you fully recovered yourself? I’ve come to almost my normal self, from 2 months ago. Right now, I just get my intrusive thoughts about getting schizophrenia. Other than that, I’m at a place where I’m just constantly aware of my anxiety, and those depressing feeling linger underneath. It’s a hard to explain feeling. Anyways, thanks for the positive support!

  584. Julie W Says:

    Thanks so much Tom for your reply. I really appreciate the encouragement!

  585. Josh Says:

    Hi All

    I am coming here after almost a year. Just to tell you that simply let everything be and carry on with your life. I used to check all posts during 2011, 2012, 2013 to relate and check for my symptoms..went through everything under the sun..but just kept telling myself to not lose hope.

    Today as I write this, I am a completely normal. I travel alone, spend time in crowd, do my exercise, everything just how i wanted it to happen.

    So anxiety is just a temporary phase and nothing permanent. YOu can shorten it’s period by not interfering with it.

    Cheers

  586. Tim Says:

    Yeah i agree with tom – julie, thats some first grade bs from your therapist. I believed for almost 10 years my hormones were screwed, my genes had changed. Yet here i am, my last week i have had very minimal anxiety. Levels of peace unknown to me for a long time. Your therapist is sucked into the medical model. It loves to see people as broken, and to label them. There is a girl on my fb who always posts anxiety articles. She has identified so strongly with it as a disorder she will never recover until she changes her mindset. Your therapist probably thinks your genetically predisposed or your hormones are out of whack. There might be some truth to this but when you have hope faith and acceptance, your body and mind will recover.

  587. Rik Says:

    Hi Josh,

    Great to see you are now doing well. Did you suffer much with DP? I am finding this incredibly difficult to deal with right now. It is really kicking me around and I find myself more and more detached from everything.

  588. Nolan Says:

    Hello all….
    Few years back Doreen gave me a great piece of advice that always stuck with me and that was this: stop focusing on the particular ways that the anxiety manifests and just treat it all the same.

    That’s paraphrased…. Doreen has a much better economy of words than I do. She can say in a few words what takes me paragraphs to get across.

    I’d come here (under multiple different user names) and ask about this feature (sleep issues) and that feature (breathing issues), or whatever feature of my anxiety (and there were many), and seek help for that.
    Doreen had to mention the point numerous times to me until it finally sunk it. “Just put it all under the umbrella of anxiety”.

    When I conceived of it as numerous different things I started to think that, “this feature of anxiety will need to be combatted with something different than this other feature of it”…. but that wasn’t true. When I just followed her advice and told myself, “So what, it’s all anxiety…. move on”. That was a big step forward for me.

  589. Nolan Says:

    Thanks for sharing that, Josh!
    Great to hear how you’re doing.

  590. Bryan Says:

    Julie,

    Obviously… That is nonsense. People have had anxiety for days or decades… and recovered. Claire Weekes opens her book teaching us this.

    You have just the same chance of recovering as anyone. Your “therapist” has no basis to even test this. There is no test for a mood disorder. It’s fluctuating and will abate when we do the right things.

    Take heart. There is a world of evidence out there that you will recover.

  591. Nolan Says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Jacqui. That was really nice to read :)

  592. Doreen Says:

    Julie W – obviously I cannot in anyway know just what your therapist said but however she put it, her ‘diagnosis’ was unhelpful to you.
    I might appear to be saying the same thing but hear me out –
    I think we all have our ‘achilles heel’ when it comes to reacting to stress. For some people its headaches, for other its ulcers, for us it is anxiety. And it may be that we will always experience anxiety more than our neighbour from time to time (in other words for life). But it’s understanding that this is what we do and not allowing it to dominate, not feeding it, not ruminating about it, not seeing it as all powerful is what helps put us back on track to getting on with life again.

  593. Mark Says:

    Hey Tim,

    love your posts. Just something stuck with me though and I just want to clear it up.

    Not that anyone can know, but I really struggle with the thoughts that genes and predisposition cannot be overcome, very existential thoughts.

    But you go on to say that we can even recover from those particular aliments? i’ve done research on this and I think you’re right, I guess to what extent how we can recover depends on our genetic make up though?

    I’m not sure there is an answer to this by the way, but would like to hear your thoughts.

  594. Markus Says:

    Hello,

    Does anyone else get strange skin sensations? I have had anxiety for over ten years, but only in the past few years I have developed sensitive skin. It feels a bit like sunburn, mostly on my arms and legs.

    Sometimes is is very uncomfortable, and even painful. It bothers me most when I am wearing clothes (so most of the day!), and the sensation of them against my skin feels unpleasant.

    I’m concerned this is not due to my anxiety, but could be something else, like damage from Diazepam or Mirtazapine. I don’t see it listed as a common symptom, and I also haven’t heard anyone here mention it.

    Thanks in advance,

    Markus.

  595. Rik Says:

    Hi all,

    I could do with a bit of support. Last week I was pushing on and had started to see some signs of improvement such as looking forward to the odd thing etc. I had a bit of a stressful week and some late nights trying to get my motorbike ready for a track day that I had been looking forward to as a release. It was actually a really good day and my DP was lower than ever and I enjoyed myself.

    The following day I was very tired as a result of the exertion and the build up of late nights and stress of the week. I also had an argument with my wife. The following day I woke with morning anxiety which is something I hadn’t had for a few weeks. I also noticed my DP was much worse and the existential thoughts were stronger and more frequent. Then over this week things have just felt like they have been snowballing a little. I am still accepting where I can and haven’t missed work or any other things but today my head feels all over the place. I haven’t had much interest in food (or anything else for that matter) and I feel very spaced out and full of DP & DR. I guess I am just looking for a little encouragement to keep on going and a bit of reassurance that all of these things are just DP and a tired mind.

    I am looking after my neice this evening as well as going to watch my daughter swimming so I am not letting it stop me from doing most things despite everything feeling so unreal me feeling so disconnected from it all. I know I will get intrusive thoughts but I just let them come and do their worst. Maybe I feel worse as a result of the difference between now and then. I am not sure. I try not to analyse it. Just need a bit of a pick me up I think.

  596. Evy Says:

    Rik:)
    I completely understand what you are saying , and know the feeling, by your words I know you are not scared of the dp, but you haven’t quite excepted it! So that you can keep pushing forward , you have to let it be there , I know it’s so annoying , believe me , I have it as well , I’ve noticed when I get on with life like work, gym, cleaning, washing etc. It stays low, but the moment I dwell on it , it comes full force , so heavy , but I engage in something and it goes back down , i remember when I had it 5 years ago and I thought I was loosing my mind , if I did it then with lil advice , I know we can break this thing for good this time , forever !! rik it really really is a tired overworked mind, I know we’re not loosing it or going “crazy” our mind is a bit slow right now and that’s ok !! I feel that this is a produce of months or even years of our body telling us to slow down and we ignored it , so because of that our minds are saying “alright since your not listening , I have to stop it” and that’s when our minds develope dp.. Our thoughts and mind is frozen right now , it needs time to taw and before we know it , we’ll be back to this beautiful thing we call life ! Do not try to force normal feelings, let time bring you to the present , as of now deep prayer and understand and letting it be there without giving it more attention , because that’s exactly why it’s still lingering

    Blessing rik , we well be ok , were on the right track

  597. Nolan Says:

    Hi Mark,

    “thoughts that genes and predispositions cannot be overcome”….

    I’d just like to point out that it’s very, very complicated (if not impossible) to boil all of our tendencies and behaviors to our genetic make-up.
    Take a gene segment: strings of adenine, cytosine, guanine, thyamine…. These nucleobases, in sets of 3, will specify (after transcription) the make-up of the messenger RNA which dictates what transfer RNA will link (via the anti-codon section of the tRNA) with the corresponding codon on the mRNA…. Allowing a chain of amino acids (polypeptides) to link together.

    So… to cut to the quick: genes specify which amino acid linkage will occur. After that polypeptide (linkage of amino acids) leaves the ribosome it will start folding in into the protein complex that was dictated by the amino acid arrangement.

    So again…. Genes to amino acids to proteins…. That’s it. I don’t see how a protein, or an amino acid, or a nucleobase could actually hold that kind of power over ones thoughts or behaviors.
    That would be like endowing a small little congealment of carbons, hydrogens, and nitrogens with almost a god-like ability: with you simply as the marionette doll who responds to the string pulling of a puppeteer in the form of a bunch of amino acids.

    I say all of this because I too, back when I only suffered with depression in my youth, had these thoughts. When I started to read into the matter I began to realize how silly it was for me to assume that kind of power over thoughts. So to put it more simply: I can’t even being to fathom how your thoughts, beliefs, moods could solely be reducible to your genetic make-up. And if so, there would be an impenetrable determinism for all of us sufferers…. But, we know that’s patently false because many of us have indeed overcome intense bouts of depression and anxiety.

  598. Julie W Says:

    Thanks everyone. It helps to have comments from others who understand. Onward we go!

  599. Paul Says:

    Evening all had a crappy day today but hey ho life goes on still no appetite but eating bits as and when

    Just out of curiosity has anyone else with anxiety found themselves holding there breath ie if I’m laid watching TV on the sofa when I breath out I tend to hold my breath for 5/6 seconds or so I do it without realising and sort of catch myself doing it then breath normally, it doesn’t bother me but just wondered if it’s just another one of the fantastic things that anxiety does to the human body, only thing it does seem to do is make my stomach feel alittle tense.

    Anyway thanks for reading and hope everyone is doing well

  600. Rik Says:

    Thanks Evy. This evening is a little better but then the evenings generally are. I really appreciate you taking the time to help out. I am determined to accept this and move on through it. It is so incredibly hard when you feel unable to feel any emotion toward things you used to be so passionate about. It is like the world is closed and grey and I feel so isolated despite being in the same place I was last year when I was well.

    When it is really bad it always comes with such strong intrusive thoughts that feel like they are tearing me apart. I had been doing really well and even helping on here so I must just see this as a blip that has bewildered me a bit again.

  601. Tasnim Says:

    Would you put OCD under the umbrella anxiety as well? Can you recover from OCD too – the same way? Because I haven’t had any anxiety symptoms for over a week, other than my obsessive thoughts. This has been here for atleast two months, while everything lasted only a few weeks. I’m just not sure if I should get extra help or not, or just keep going. I feel guilty for only been suffering for such a short time, yet feeling so weak in my mind.

  602. Rik Says:

    Tasnim,

    I had extremely bad Harm OCD last year. I completely recovered from it. It was only when anxiety reared its head again due to extreme stress that the obsessive nature of my thinking came back. My answer would be yes. Treat it like anxiety and accept the presence of the thoughts and ignore them. Easier said than done but that is the way out.

  603. Evy Says:

    Rik :)
    Don’t let the “bad days” overpower the good ones, because the good ones are ao great I’m sure that you even forget you have anxiety right !? I feel it’s all in the process of recovery , just think , at least you have had good days , and not all bad , I remember 5 years ago when I had this , mannnnn It seems like I had all bad lol but I know this time is differnt although , it seems the same it’s not ! Why !? Because I know ive been on the other side before and I know with TIME I will be better , don’t get me wrong rik I know it’s hard but I know we can all over come as well as the 1,000’s that have !! Just let it be there , it’s just a tired mind , prayer goes a long way as well as this site , when you feel like that just remind yourself that your ok , don’t fear it , nothing will happen but frustration !!! Engage in something to get your mind off of it at least to not get deeper !! Re read all the advice you gave me earlier this month !!! And know that those were you good days !! Your better days are coming riki ! You’ve earned them
    Blessings

  604. Jude Says:

    Rik,

    I hear you, my friend. I hear your suffering and your struggle. I am there myself. I have a little advice. It is something i have just started trying out myself.

    Now, we have both been through this before and here we are again, lost in it.
    But what exactly is “it”?

    It is anxiety/depression and symptoms of anxiety/depression. Where is the harm or danger in these feelings? We know them so well yet there is so much fear and frustration toward them. Why though? think about it, they are just feelings even if that feeling is a feeling of nothingness, it is a feeling nonetheless.

    The danger or harm comes from our perception of these feelings, comes from our imagination. We tell ourselves that this feeling means that we are not quite ourselves or that we can’t quite enjoy or even partake in the world. We tell ourselves that these feelings have and will disrupt our lives.

    What if instead, we truly allowed these feelings?

    I am an artist, film maker and musician. Lots and lots of imagination and ALL my imagination and creation is being turned against me. Instead of creating a new scene or song i am creating thoughts to scare myself. I am using my gift not to help myself but to torment myself.

    So here is my advice. Why not try and completely go with the feelings, think of it as a performance. You are going to play the role of someone who has completely lost touch with life. Now, you want your performance to be a good one, so you have to really give it your all. Embrace these feelings, go with them, use them to give yourself the best possible performance you could EVER give.

    I have just started to do this and it has really helped me. I have surrendered to the thing that i fear the most, given myself over to it, no resistance at all and when i have done that it just lifts, it just disappears.

    now, when i first tried this my anxious mind was screaming at me…”this is crazy!” “You are weird!” “You are nuts!” But really, what is nuts? Letting it all out and letting it be or trying desperately to change it or get rid of it or endure it?

    I also noticed that when i first tried this that i had some panic rise, so my natural reaction was “STOP!” this is making it worse but then i said to myself, just continue allowing and amazingly enough i was calm and clear.
    It was like a huge weight was lifted off my head and heart.

    Its like reconditioning yourself. It will take time. Those feelings will surely resurface but that’s when you jump back into performance mode. Here i am again losing touch with everything, dive in, give it your all. I have noticed i go in and out of it. Each time it comes back, i first feel the resistance, i hear my mind screaming “no no no, not again!” Then i take a deep breath and just allow myself to be immersed in it.

    These are just feelings that ANY human being is capable of feeling. We have to let go of the judgement, we have to embrace these things.

    Either way, i am rambling. Hope this helps some :)

  605. Tim Says:

    Hey Mark. Nolans post was really cool, he understands the science of it far better than I do haha. I do understand where you’re coming from believe me, as this was the belief I had also. If you believe that its all to do with hormones and genetics, it removes your agency and desire to change yourself.

    I truly believe for 99% of the people here, genetics/hormones don’t matter. I agree with what Nolan said, they just don’t have the same power over our cognition than we think. I know because the proof is in the pudding for me. I used to believe I had POIS – that after an orgasm id be hungover for 4-8 days. I was certain of it. Finally, I questioned that thought. See after an orgasm men do get a bit flat / low but its usually for a few hours. That flatness was interpreted by me very negatively. I was basically causing myself to feel like crap by how I worried about it. I realised how I was creating my own world. People don’t like this thought, some would call it victim blaming.

    All you can do really is take responsibility for what you can control. You cant really control your gene expression anyway or your hormones much so it doesn’t help worrying about it. That being said, there is a lot of research showing that exercise, diet, sleep, meditation, relaxation, good social relationships can alter the brain in positive ways.

    Regarding predisposition / personality I really don’t know. Certain personality I do think are more likely to get anxiety. But I think that once they learn to manage it that small disadvantage dissapears. Its very hard to separate nature from nurture, and I think most anxiety is from our experiences and meanings we create.

    You, me and all the sufferers here have a personality that is just lurking beneath the surface waiting to reappear. I know because mine has come back in the last few months bit by bit almost like magic. My genes and my hormones haven’t altered at all, but my thoughts have. My mum said to me two nights ago “your eyes are bluer and its like they are shining”. She then said that she thinks I look really beautiful tonight. She doesn’t say stuff like this all the time. Its because my personality has come back. Yours can come back too I am sure of it.

  606. Nolan Says:

    Thanks Tim!

    I meant to add to that post that I wasn’t trying to show off my understanding of the topic. But, back when I was frantically desperate to determine if my struggles with depression were simply “in my genes”(meaning I was doomed to always be that way…. (despite the fact that I hadn’t always suffered from depression)) I thought that if I understood the science of genetics I would be able to conclude one way or the other.

    I hated the ‘not knowing’ of it. If I was going to be doomed to always being depressed I just wanted to know that. I didn’t like the glimmer of hope that seemed to peek its head out. Conversely, I didn’t like the specter of doubt that would creep up when I was feeling good. I just wanted to know.

    So I read and read and read on the topic…. it’s funny, because now I could really careless. Those fears dried up. Not because of my reading…. they just went away.

  607. Chris Says:

    I can relate alot to what Nolan says. I also spent alot of time reading about if it was a genetic thing or an imbalance of some sort, in fact I spent alot of time reading in general, especially about my fears.

    The conclusion I’ve come to time and time again (and one that I’ve had to relearn time and time again) is that it is a wild goose chase, and it’s just another way of trying to work it all out, which ultimately serves no purpose in the anxiety state as we do it out of fear. The same can be said about me when I googled in the past.

    What I’ve realized is that we have two choices

    1) Try to figure it all out, question it etc ‘what if it’s a hormone imbalance and I’m stuck this way’ or ‘what if its schizophrenia or bipolar’ or in my case ‘what if I have brain damage oh noesssss’ (on the contrary I’ve had all these fears).

    2) Roll with the punches and accept our thoughts and feelings, and live our lives regardless.

    This is the conclusion I have come to in the last few days, and I’ve decided to chose number 2. Because I have realized that number 1 gets us nowhere! What I also realized is that actions speak louder than words. If we go out and just live our lives, it sends a message, hey hold on a sec, there’s nothing wrong with me, I’m just like everyone else! I still feel like crap, but I know that it can’t last forever. I’m starting to learn to simply not care about it.

    I just wanted to share that with everyone. Oh yeah, and I’m starting my new job tomorrow!

  608. Chris Says:

    Another thing that has helped me, Netflix!

    Seriously has anyone here ever watched Suits? I highly recommend it, it’s such a good show. I’m finding it to be a great natural distraction.

    Sorry if that’s off topic haha.

  609. Rik Says:

    Jude,

    That is an excellent way of putting it. My imagination is certainly being used to torment me and doing a fantastic job of it too. I am trying to do as you say. Just letting it be. If my thoughts are bonkers then its just anxiety. If I feel out of touch then so be it. I know what you mean when you say the panic rises in you if you think about just relaxing toward the feelings and thoughts. It does with me a bit also. It is like I feel real danger in just allowing and ignoring. That is something I remember from my experience with harm OCD also. I will keep on keeping on as best I can and accepting these things even when my mind screams at me to right my thoughts etc.

    Tim,

    Seeing the part about your personality coming back was great. That is something I am struggling with at the moment.

    Chris,

    Great news about the job and also that you are back on the right path.

  610. Steve b Says:

    Chris. You are finally getting it mate. There is only one option if you carry on down that road. Full recovery.

  611. Joseph Says:

    Hi everyone. I’m relatively new to all this and was wondering if anxiety can make u think you believe things that u actually dont? Have you had experience with anxiety making you think that you don’t believe things that you actually do–like you don’t really love someome, but you know you do? That’s the trouble I’m having but tge thoughts and the fear accompanying themr are so strong it almost brings me to the point of panic. Also I have an almost constant vague, hovering feeling of fear–sometimes dread–and when I have that nearly any thought can make me anxious…

  612. Fleur Says:

    Joseph, yes I have constantly. My fear and false believe is that what if I don´t love my boyfriend anymore. But deep down I think that I love him, because why then this thought so hurts?
    If it was true it would be not that turmoil I think.
    This anxiety is complicated :-). I know that it must be anxiety because I never in my life experience these feelings, only now. But still my fear is stronger then my rational.

  613. Rik Says:

    Joseph,

    At the moment pretty much every thought makes me anxious or makes me have some kind of reaction or mistrust of it etc. I have been through anxiety before and am accepting but when coupled with strong DP it is incredibly hard to ignore. I have been having a tough time of it this last few days. Still plugging away though.

  614. Evy Says:

    Rik:)
    It saddens me to hear that , however the good days are yet to come ! For a week of hell , there’s always good days earned , go through them , face them , become their friend :) nothing will happen, think back at when you overcame it !? Did anything bad happen !? No I’m sure ! This is a good sign rik that your on your way to recovery ! Maybe not tomorrow , but I’m sure we can smell it , think back at how much advice you were giving me , those were your good days , it’s a roller coaster , until it balances out completely :) you will he ok ! My hardest symptom is dp as well , what I’ve been doing this past week is doing my everyday tats as usuall , a bit delayed , and it takes me longer since my mind is fatigue , but it gets done , I’ve been hitting the gym every night and I must say it has helped me alotttt !! As I go to bed at night I think of all I did in the day , take my kids to school , cook clean, work , get the kids , gym etc.. Makes me realize how “normal” I am , as a person who isn’t really all there won’t be able to complete not even one thing !

    Hope this helps rik , you’ll be in my prayers
    Blessings

  615. Chris Says:

    Thanks everyone. It won’t be easy but hopefully I will get there. My greatest obstacle is the depression at the moment, especially in the mornings, but I’m still going out and doing my thing regardless. Don’t worry Rik I am right there with you!

  616. Debbie Says:

    Evy how does your dp make you feel in your mind.?9

  617. Joseph Says:

    Nolan, did any of your obsessive thoughts ever lead u into full blown panic attacks?

  618. Evy Says:

    Debbie :)
    Hmmm it gets very thick at times , and sometimes low , or even there but once I think about it , it comes hard ! Memories from years ago start to replay for no reason , I feel like I’m watching myself I feel numb , kinda like a dream or a movie , so when I add fuel and it gets strong I engage n something’ and it always goes down , the gym helps a lot to be in the present , it gets so bad that I start to think back “have I ever felt this months ago before my anxiety returned “!? I think that’s why old memories replay because my mind things I want to and I really don’t lol it’s just that’s what it’s picking up !! It’s the most annoying symptom and I swear you might think I’m ok but all I’m doing is following the advice here best way I can , let’s think logic !? It’s not going to harm us so why get worked up ! It’s annoying that’s for sure , I’m sure once my anxiety gets low it will leave , I have googled the symtom to the fullest and alll the sites say the same thing! It comes from anxiety ! Ughhhh

    Why do you ask !? Do you experience it !?
    Blessing

  619. Tasnim Says:

    Hey guys, wanted let you guys know that today was a good day. It’s an up and down affair, as tomorrow I may just feel horrible again, but I felt almost 90% like myself today. I have been really good at not seeking reassurance today, and realized that I truly need to let the scary uncertainties be uncertain. I know there will be days where I come crawling back for support, but I know there’s a free me underneath. I was able to think about my future and other stuff with so much positivity and excitement today, and I loved the feeling so much. I graduate high school in a few months! I’m going to make an effort to release my clutch on this site as best as I can (though it’s so comforting to be on here). But again, thanks everyone for the support as I keep going. Hope you all keep riding along.

  620. Deborah Says:

    Hi evy yes I feel strange I get memories of my past and movies I seen just flash in my mind or everything seems strange like iam not really here it’s a creepy feeling I get it every day , for months.thanks for answering .

  621. Rik Says:

    Thanks for the support all. It really helps. I did better yesterday morning but by the end of the night the dp was about as thick as it has ever been. Same this morning. I feel so weird and spaced out. Just accepting it and carrying on though. I think im going to start swimming again. If nothing else it will be physically good for me and if it has the added bonus of calming my mind then even better.

  622. albert Says:

    Can I ask a question ? Regardless of how anxious you feel,how much stress you have going on in your life do you still do everything you normally should? I’m a single dad of 2 young boys,own small business,stress with the ex etc.
    I would like to take my boys on holiday abroad,around the country watching our team play football etc,but I’m dreading it doing on my own especially as I’m feeling so anxious
    Do I take small steps,or do I just go for it ?

  623. Albert Says:

    I posted this on my mobile but it doesnt look like it has got through
    I could do with an answer to a question ?
    No matter how anxious you feel, or how much stress you have going on in your life do you still live your life as if you dont have anxiety?
    Im a single dad of 2 young boys,runs a small business, massive stress with the ex and im currently very anxious.
    I feel my boys are suffering because of my anxiety and i want to take them on holiday abroad, take them on trips etc
    Im dreading doing this on my own but im wondering whether i should just go for it? or maybe should i take short steps for a start? (or is this giving into my anxiety ?)
    I could really do with some advice from someone who has been in a simular situation

  624. Evy Says:

    Rik :)
    In the past when you overcame anxiety , was dp one one your symptoms As well ? Did you overcame it before !?

  625. Rik Says:

    Albert. It is a tricky one really. Pushing yourself too hard too fast may not always be the best approach. I would say do what you think is sensible. But whatever you decide dont let the only reason be anxiety. A holiday may do you the world of good. You may find that doing it gives you more confidence to challenge your anxiety in other ways also and it may speed up your recovery. But remember to be good to yourself. Dont completely overload yourself as sometimes this can be counter productive. That is my opinion anyway.

    Evy,

    In all true honesty I couldnt say. I would assume there must have been but I simply cant remember. If I did have it then it certainly wasn’t as bad as this time. My first problems with anxiety when I was 22 was mainly physical symptoms and some intrusive thoughts. The second time was mainly intrusive thoughts. This time seems to have been severe DP and intrusive thoughts. Today has been much better. I was very anxious on waking but decided to accept all the weirdness and weird thoughts and just get on with my day. I got up, had a shower and then took my little girl and nephew to the park. Feeling odd and having odd thoughts the whole time. I just accepted it all and carried on anyway. I am not relaxing at home and feel much better than last night. I am determined to live my life in spite of these feelings. It is very hard when things dont feel real but I will get there.

  626. Ken Says:

    Hey everyone. Im pretty much recovered. And wanted to tell you all that are living with anxiety, obsessive thoughts, and panic attacks and whatever else anxiety brings you, That it will get better.

    I started having panic attacks when I was 18, which led to obsessive thoughts, scary thoughts, constant panic, dp, and nervousness. I never thought I would be so happy again. Really DO what pauls books said. I would still be living in hell had it not been for finding his first book. Just push yourself. I remember how hard it was starting work again having all this horrible anxiety and obsessions, but it helped my healing. I remember how horrible, and how scared I was when my girlfriend left me and I had no one to rely to comfort me. But it helped me realize I can get through anything. I remember just being comforted by the thought that I’ll be dead someday (because the obsessive scary thoughts were a living hell)
    And was only happy when I was asleep. I pushed on through ignoring the scary thoughts to my best ability and my head began to clear and its clear nowadays. Im happy to wake up everyday!

    But you get stronger, and once you take all your crutches away, you find out that you can do
    it!!!! On your own!!! Paul says after recovery, you will be the person you were before all the anxiety. This isnt necessarily true. You will be a different person, but you will be so happy and thankful. You will be so much more of the person you once were.

    Stay positive
    Stay present
    Stay motivated

    -Ken

  627. Debbie Says:

    Rik would you say the images i see of anything are my intrusives and would dp feel like your here but your mind is feeling its somewhere else.

  628. Rik Says:

    Yes Debbie. Absolutely. Intrusives can be images, thoughts, feelings or anything that your mind can come up with. Your imagination works against you in this state and if you get into a debate with thoughts or try to work them out or anything like that you will always be able to out think yourself and keep yourself in the cycle. Try not to feel the need to unravel it all. Accept the presence of all of it and carry on regardless.

    I truly accepted today and got on with my day regardless and I have had a very good day compared to last week. I ignored my intrusives and allowed the weird feelings to just be there. Today was a breath of fresh air compared to yesterday. Tomorrow may be back to the awful feelings and fear of thoughts again but if so then I will just keep doing the same. I have to thank you guys on here for the encouragement yesterday. I really needed it and it helped me to gather myself and push forward. Thank you so much. That is why I love this blog. I remember the first time I found Pauls stuff all those years ago. It has been the one approach that has always worked for me when other things didnt. I find it sometimes takes time for my mind to be receptive to acceptance and for it to start paying off but when it does it is like nothing else. That feeling when you have a good day is like no other and can help to spur you on in the bad days. That and knowing there is support from others who are going through the same and using the same approach. Evy & Jude, a special thank you to you also. Your words really helped me.

  629. Evy Says:

    Rik or Paul or anyone that has overcame dp
    I noticed you like myself have been here more than once , meaning we have recovered and gotten better and were back again , as Paul or there’s that have gotten better and never returned , I want to figure this thing out once and for all , it’s fine how ever long it takes me , I’m ok with it not being tomorrow , but what are we doing wrong !? I was reading one of Paul’s post on dp and this also happens to people without anxiety or something that happen in childhood that numb the person , which has happen for me I’m my childhood , does that mean that’s why we keep getting recurrent amount of dp , as the way of the body and mind remembering the past !? So the moment it feels anxiety so much it brings that feeling !? Sorry if I’m not making any since ! I just noticed that I have recovered twice already it seems to come every 5 years for me !

  630. Debbie Says:

    Rik thanks so much its a struggle and a creepy feeling.

  631. karen Says:

    Hi all
    Think I need a reminder please. This is the first time I have been on in ages which I am proud of. These are my thought processes …. I wonder if anyone can shed any light. …

    Firstly I am obsessing about how bad I feel ….. now I can’t stop these thoughts from coming but Paul says you shouldn’t spend your day thinking about how you feel. Surely its only making me feel worse. Therefore I have moved to a second stage of
    Obsessively trying to work out how to stop obsessing about how I feel. Now I know this is me trying to fix. But again how do I stop the obsessing?
    Yes it’s a pickle.
    what confuses me is that we aren’t meant to worry about how we feel as that tires the brain more …. but I can’t stop it. I know stopping thoughts is not the aim though.

  632. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    Just an update really and hope everyone else is doing well.

    For any new users I had a very harsh setback in mid October, I was sensitised with all the usual symptoms for a few months. I had no choice but to face and accept and just carry on regardless of how I felt and at times that was pretty horrendous. I started to get glimpses of being okay in January after pushing myself to do things outside my comfort zone. The clouds started to part a little around a month ago despite having to go through redundancy with work, which I survived thankfully. Even though this was pretty stressful I started feeling good and fairly normal for these last three weeks or so. The difference in when you dont feel anxious is obvious. I just have normal everyday concerns, I don’t come on any blogs or forums, hobbies are engaging and work is absorbing again. I even had my first date since August too.

    My biggest trigger for my nerves is a stomach upset, always has been and on Friday I had pretty intense bloating and reflux. This settled down and then true to form I’ve had a few days of the anxious symptoms….low mood, no interest, dp, body feels yuck and mind feels on edge. Despite this I always stick to what i need to do in the day but its less enjoyable with someone ringing that anxiety bell in your ear all day.

    Being pragmatic about it I know after several months of harsh setback that its not going to be plain sailing. The fact that I had a few good weeks of feeling great is hugely encouraging and I’m heading in the right direction.

    This was an update really but if there is a message in it to anyone (including myself) is that no matter how bad it feels at the moment, just face and accept because peace will come this way.

    Mark

  633. Rik Says:

    Mark,

    Good to see you are experiencing some better times. I saw your struggle and was really hoping things would settle again.

    Evy,

    For me i think I know the reason i ended up back here. For 8 years (age 16-24) i smoked cannabis heavily. During this time i never learnt any coping strategies for stress or how to cope with negative emotions. I used the cannabis to mask all my feelings. For this reason i had no emotional intelligence after i quit and my only reaction to negative feelings was fear. This produced anxiety and avoidance of negative thoughts or feelings. One of the things cannabis does is produce a feeling of depersonalisation as it cuts out most emotion and makes you feel distance from your feelings and experience. I truly believe that this made me incredibly prone to anxiety and fear of my internal thoughts and feelings.

    This is something I really thought about this time round and can see why i ended up this way again. I was trying to ignore serious stress in my life between me and my wife and trying to pretend to myself that i was ok and bury emotion. It just does not work as that negative energy has to go somewhere. I also taught my brain to cut me off which is why i think dp has been such an issue. It is easier for my brain to shut me down than to deal with the issues at hand.

    Previously i recovered by sheer ignorance of feelings and thoughts whereas this time I am trying to accept my symptoms but also to develop a tolerance of negative emotion and experience in order to make sure i have all the tools in place to not go back down this road.

    I also had some VERY negative experiences as a child and teenager which almost certainly led to more aversion to negative experience and made a more sensitive person.

    All of these things have been a hot bed of anxiety production but I hope as time goes on to put right the bad habits I have developed and become a better person and more in touch with myself and my experience whether that be negative ir positive.

  634. Mark R Says:

    Just had a quick scan of posts and Jude makes some great points. What has helped me is to be more gentle towards these feelings and thoughts. If they are going to be part of your day then let them. You will get much more from your day if you do. When I started to lean into the feelings I found myself absorbed into what I was doing, and realised I’d forgotten about them. I know this is hard as its not easy to be compassionate towards something that is making you feel crap, but just remember resistance is going to increase them and make them seem important.

  635. Jamie Says:

    Great to hear you are improving Mark R and that staying away from the blog is helping.

    How did the date go ? I’ve not been on one for a couple of months and the idea of going on another one seems massive.

  636. Michael Says:

    Hi friends,

    Been reading the My anxiety began suddenly in January. In truth, I suspect it probably didn’t begin then, but it doesn’t matter, because I know when everything went wrong, and then was when I had a panic attack at work in January. I’ve been in the spiral ever since. I was just sat at my desk, felt a tingling in my arm, freaked out about it and suddenly couldn’t breathe and felt like I was on the verge of passing out. I didn’t actually pass out, but I felt close. I’ve pretty much been a mess since then. I did manage to get myself admitted to hospital, where I had a CT scan, my heart monitored, my blood tested and my urine examined and was told there was no sign of anything wrong and sent on my way. I’ve since had an MRI scan on my brain and not had the results yet, so obviously that’s playing on my mind.
    blog for a few weeks and am amazed at the quality of advice on offer from Paul and people in the comments section. I’d be really appreciative of some advice from anyone who can help.

    Unfortunately, I found Paul’s book after referring for CBT and after being put on medication, so I’m going down both those roads and don’t want to just ditch them because there is evidence that they can help.

    Essentially, I’ve worried about so many possible health conditions and have been unable to feel like me ever since it happens. Paul’s book helped me quickly in some ways: I managed to go on holiday alone by not letting anxiety make decisions for me; I lost my fear of my muscles twitching to the point I don’t really notice it; I lost most of my fear of my churning stomach and can genuinely say it doesn’t matter if it churns; I can largely handle the wobbly legs. I’ve gone from being terrified of all this to not really worried about it because I can see it for what it is.

    However, I’ve been walloped by depersonalisation and want to describe what I’m feeling in the hope someone can relate and make me feel a bit better about or more like I can live my life with it. Firstly, I keep thinking I’m going mad – please tell me I’m not. Also, I feel emotionally numb. I say to my doctor “if I felt sad, really really sad, it would be better than this, because I’d have some kind of access to who I am”. The only thing I can really feel is fear. I live far from my family and am scared of talking to them because I don’t want to see them on my computer screen and feel nothing. I can feel anything for my friends. I feel walled off from my enthusiasm from all the things I love and enjoy – all of it. I’m a little overweight because I love to eat (even though I do exercise) and yet I’ve totally lost my appetite. None of this feels like a decision, by which I mean none of it feels like I’m just not in the mood to talk to a family member or not fancying anything to eat right now – it’s like it’s totally out of my control and being done to me. I feel this pressure at the back of my nose or behind my eyes that feels like it’s physically blocking me from who I am. But if there was something really there, I’m sure the hospital would have called me in instead of making me wait. My derealisation comes and goes and frightens me also.

    I’ve been a burden on my GP’s surgery and local and A&E because it’s scaring me so much. I want to just accept it. My sister has these two beautiful little children who have brought so much joy into my life, and I’m scared to see them and feel nothing. They love me so much – they can never wait to see me and I know that they would say I’m the most fun they have in their little lives. My neice was my best friend in a way for a while. I’m now surrounded by a relatively new but amazing group of friends who had changed my life before all this started and I have a job I love. I wasn’t under lots of pressure, but I know my nature made me worry on a daily basis about how I was being perceived and about being found out, even though logically I know I was doing a good job.

    Anyway, I’m rambling. I just need reassurance about my DP, if that’s what it is. I have a lovely GP who I can tell wants to help and is knowledgeable about mental health issues, but she’s never been through it so I can never fully buy into her advice. The guy I’ve seen for CBT is similarly nice, but has never been through it. I’ve seen doctors, mental health nurses and psychiatrists at A&E, all of whom insist I don’t need to be admitted and that it’s anxiety and always send me home. I could praise every one of them for their help and they have experience so I do trust what they say, but again, they’ve never been through it.

    Paul’s books and website have helped me very quickly accept some aspects of what’s happened, as I explained. But I’m frightened of going to work and it’s getting hard to get out of bed and I’m also frightened of how hard it is to eat.

    Does anyone have any thoughts/advice/positivity they can share with me? Any help at all would be appreciated. Please don’t be too negative about the CBT or medication. I came to it before I knew there was any other approach and am not in a position to just jack it in (I’d have to speak to my GP first and that can’t happen for a little while).

    Thanks so much.

    Michael

  637. Michael Says:

    Completely messed up my first paragraph somehow, so here it is again. Sorry!

    Been reading the blog for a few weeks and am amazed at the quality of advice on offer from Paul and people in the comments section. I’d be really appreciative of some advice from anyone who can help. My anxiety began suddenly in January. In truth, I suspect it probably didn’t begin then, but it doesn’t matter, because I know when everything went wrong, and then was when I had a panic attack at work in January. I’ve been in the spiral ever since. I was just sat at my desk, felt a tingling in my arm, freaked out about it and suddenly couldn’t breathe and felt like I was on the verge of passing out. I didn’t actually pass out, but I felt close. I’ve pretty much been a mess since then. I did manage to get myself admitted to hospital, where I had a CT scan, my heart monitored, my blood tested and my urine examined and was told there was no sign of anything wrong and sent on my way. I’ve since had an MRI scan on my brain and not had the results yet, so obviously that’s playing on my mind.

  638. Jacob Says:

    Re the posts about genes/hormones

    Well at some level these things do control you but you also control gene expression and hormones as well. Its bidirectional.

    Like I said before, I think Paul’s method just gives the body the space to alter hormones and neurotransmitters and genes. Once that happens then you effectively reach recovery.

    Most people got here probably due to stressful events that put the body off of homeostasis. A few here like Me/Tim/ Chris I guess got here from the other route where the body got set off of homeostasis first and then the stress of our bodies being out of whack created a vicious cycle…

    Anyways my problem is–how am I supposed to live my life with all my symptoms like cognitive and sexual deficits. Im not able to think properly for my classes and I used to be a near 4.0 student. Now im having massive issues even passing my classes. And counseling services are so useless cause its not the stress of school directly for me its the stress of my condition that causes school to be stressful.

    For most people at the counseling center, its the other way around where school has gotten them intensely stressed and led to a mental breakdown. For me I never ever got stressed by school–I was top of the class until the medication I took destroyed me.

    What im saying is its sort of hard to use Paul’s acceptance method in an environment like this where you pretty much have to be at your best everyday. How else am I to achieve my dreams of grad school and working at a big company, etc. I can’t do any of those things until I get back to my old self. And yes I have tried at school but keep failing due to the condition…

  639. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    I seemed to have hit murky waters after a great 3 weeks of peace. Yesterday was very brutal and left me in tears a lot of the day, had the usual stage one anxiety, tense body, dp, depression, the full whack.

    My issue is I do very well at accepting and containing, to such a degree anxiety disappears into the background as other things become interesting. I seemed to get myself in a pickle when I get a flare up of symptoms to a high extent and lose that not caring attitude, it takes several days or so for me to get to a point of the thoughts and feelings not mattering again.

    My question really is it a case of just getting through those tough days and just writing them off? What do other people do with them? Despite feeling awful and low I still managed 9 holes of golf and a record fair so I shouldn’t beat myself up really

  640. Julie Says:

    Karen, hello! I hope you get some replies. I think my post got lost above as I had no responses, that or noone can relate 😉

    We have both done well not posting for many months.

    Julie

  641. Rik Says:

    Karen,

    Sorry no one has replied yet with an answer. The best way to deal with this is to just let it go. Really just let it go completely and without an answer. It does not need one. Obsessing is often an endless cycle with no actual answer so therefore there is no sense in carrying on. You actually answer this yourself in your post. You say

    “Firstly I am obsessing about how bad I feel ….. now I can’t stop these thoughts from coming”

    then

    “I have moved to a second stage of
    Obsessively trying to work out how to stop obsessing about how I feel. Now I know this is me trying to fix. But again how do I stop the obsessing?
    I know stopping thoughts is not the aim though.”

    In those sentences you say ‘i can’t stop these thoughts from coming’. Well no you can’t :) As hard as it seems and as bad as they make you feel you just can’t stop them so what other choice do you have? You have the answer in your second sentence ” stopping thoughts is not the aim”. It isn’t. The aim is to stop indulging in them. Stop feeding them with attention. If one pops up let it and go back to what you were doing. Believe me I know how hard this is. I recovered from severe harm OCD last year and am now dealing with anxiety and intrusive thoughts again but in a different disguise. The same methods apply each time. The very act of trying not to think something means you have to be aware of it to check you arent doing so. Your mind has to keep it handy to screen your thoughts to see if you are thinking it so as to remind you that you shouldnt be. Its a catch 22 and is the basis of most obsessions. Fear and not wanting to think something ensures it sticks around.

  642. Tasnim Says:

    Hey guys!
    I wanted to give a little update. I am still moving along with these intrusive thoughts, but I can say that I’ve gotten better. The only anxiety symptoms I have are intrusive thoughts, a bit overwhelming feeling in crowds (but whatever), and a bit of a low mood. I am a lot better from where I was a couple months ago. I still have ALOT of doubts time to time, and my mood can get down and depressive, but I figure there is no solution that will come out of ruminating it. A big light bulb moment for me was when I finally got that no matter what I do, my brain won’t figure out a way to fix my fears and won’t find an answer why just by overthinking. So what’s the point? I just have to let every doubt, fear, dread etc. come and go because analyzing just wastes my time. I can’t control what will happen in the future or whats out of my reach, so I should just live in the moment for as long as life allows it. I am not fully recovered, but I feel more hopeful (Not saying I won’t come back crawling for help if I need it). I hope everyone is getting better as well. I can’t thank this blog enough for the light it cast on me.

  643. Steve b Says:

    Tasnim. That’s exactly how I am recovering (slowly). Apparently anxiety sufferers need certainty but you have to let that control go. Just live in the moment- mindfullness. It seems to work right?

  644. Chris Says:

    Jacob, I agree. Our hormones are definitely out of balance when we are in this state, and there usually is a reason for it occurring, be it long term stress, substance abuse, bad reaction to medication, or whatever. For me it was a combination of substance abuse and stress (I started having panic attacks at work before I really feel deep into this state).

    I guess the good thing is that in our cases, the original cause is no longer the issue. I went completely back to normal after my first 6 months of full on GAD/depression, and every time it has come back it’s only because there has always been something to trigger it. However, every time I’ve had a setback, my body has always been able to balance itself out as long as I left myself alone and never interfered with the process by getting involved with my suffering. I think the same applies to most people who’s suffering started the way ours did.

    The medication didn’t destroy you, it just triggered anxiety. I’ve seen too many people recover from substance induced anxiety time and time again. I’m finally learning to get over the whole medication/drugs messed me up nonsense myself, and I’m starting to feel better for it.

    As far as school goes maybe you’re putting too much pressure on yourself? I feel in my situation I need to do the opposite and throw myself into a more busy lifestyle, which I’m going to do as I have far too much idle time. But sometimes just resting for a few days can really help.

  645. Doreen Says:

    Chris – so pleased to read this common sense response from you.

    Hope Jacob can take notice of it.

  646. Julie W Says:

    Hi all, thanks for the very kind comments regarding my therapist who said I may never recover. After I read your comments I thought i was feeling more positive, but I am still struggling. My intrusive thoughts are the kind that tell me i can’t do anything, that I am losing my mind, having a breakdown and will up in a mental hospital. I usually don’t listen to them and carry on, but I feel like I am really having a breakdown now.

    The last couple of days, I have taken the kids to school and gone back to bed just hoping the day would end. My mind keeps telling me to go back to bed as I feel better and can escape my thoughts a bit. Really, really not good, I know.

    I feel like I have been living my life regardless of anxiety for the last 18 months and if I have ended up like this, what’s the point of continuing to live beside it, if it’s not getting any easier. Just want to go to bed and not come out. Yes, I am feeling sorry for myself. I know I have to stop wallowing in self pity and carry on, i am just feeling so unmotivated right now. It’s like my mind is winning. Anyone else felt like this?

  647. Tasnim Says:

    Steve, yeah, especially with OCD thoughts. You just can’t look for assurance, and that’s what I did in the very beginning. I thought “if I can show myself that this won’t happen, then I can finally stop obsessing.” But of course my mind will always find a very good reason in convincing me otherwise, and still can give me very convincing points. But now even if I do try to work it out again, I can’t for too long, my mind just gets tired of it. Kinda like it gets bored of the thought.

  648. karen Says:

    Thank you Rik. x
    Mark yes in a setback all you can do is carry on as normal and take it all with you.

  649. karen Says:

    Thank you Julie. Hope you get a response now too X X x

  650. Chris Says:

    Thanks Doreen.

    I thought it was time to take a different approach, the dwelling and obsessing/arguing with my fears wasn’t working very well for me.

  651. Joseph Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I have a question for those who have recovered or have made significant strides in recovery. Is it normal to continue to have kind of a hovering feeling of uneasiness /fear about certain thoughts even after u have come to believe that they aren’t true? I have some thoughts that I do not believe are true but when I get them I still get automatic bursts of adrenaline from them. Just wondering how long it generally takes to desenitize?

  652. Rik Says:

    Julie,

    Dealing with intrusive thoughts is very difficult but please try to keep the faith that you can do this. You can and you will. Feelings and thoughts of breaking down and going mad are one of the most common anxiety thoughts there are. I am having them at the moment myself as well as a whole host of other thoughts and thick DP/DR. It is incredibly difficult but with each others support we can make steps forward.

    None of this is easy. If it was then nobody would ever have anxiety and there would be no need for this blog. My only suggestion would be to regroup and gather yourself and prove these thoughts wrong with action. Truly accept the fear that you may never get better. It is not a fact. It is a fear. That way the thoughts have no power over you and you can move forward. This is how acceptance works. Putting up with is not enough. If you go about your day through gritted teeth you are still adding fear and stress to how you feel and keeping your symptoms alive.

    Also don’t be so hard on yourself. You are going through a very hard time and it is understandable that you will have periods of feeling very low etc. The important thing is that you dont let these define your recovery. See these as blips in your resolve and take some time to rest before picking up acceptance again with a fresh resolve.

  653. Julie W Says:

    Thanks Rik. Very nice of you to comment even though you are having a hard time yourself. Your comment about going through my day with gritted teeth hit home. Maybe I have been doing this and just wishing it would all end, rather than truly accepting. Intrusive thoughts are my big one too, as I also have a lot of others. I find truly accepting very hard to do, but as has been said numerous times, it’s the only way. Hope you are making strides in recovery.

  654. Debbie Says:

    Julie w just letting you know your not alone with intrusive thoughts i have the mainly thats my big thing they are about any thing scarey movies i have seen dreams i have had they come out of no where. I also think iam having a breakdown but one thing is for sure we make it through every day without having that break down.
    RIK THANKS FOR ALWAYS HELPING ME.

  655. Julie Says:

    Hello. I was just wondering if someone could scroll up and take a look at my post please from 1st March at 9.41am. I’d really appreciate a little guidance please. Starting to wonder whether I need to look for a therapist again to guide me or if I can apply Pauls teachings to my situation. I can feel my health issues have flared up my anxiety as it’s caused me to worry about my health alot.

    Thank you

    Julie

  656. Melissa Says:

    Hello everyone,

    I have not been on here in a while, but I REALLY need help today.

    I had a doctors appointment this morning and as I was driving there I became extremely confused and scared of what direction to drive in and where I was going. Obviously this gave me a lot of panic and I felt extremely distraught. I was too scared to bring it up to the doctor, but I have been feeling kind of disoriented lately and confused….forgetful too.

    Has anyone ever felt like this because of anxiety? I am so worried I am losing my mind, going crazy or that there is something else wrong with me. I am scared.

    Please help. :(
    Melissa

  657. Rik Says:

    Julie,

    Ive just scrolled right back up to see your post. I think what is very important for you at this point is to be kind to yourself and to understand you have been through a hell of a lot and so has your mind. With this in mind try to take it a day at a time and just begin to try to reincorporate acceptance towards the various things you are facing. From the smallest seed can grow the mightiest oak. A small change in attitude now can take the pressure off a little and allow your mind the space to recover a little and then you can allow this confidence and acceptance to grow. Be good to yourself. Take time to relax and also try to shift your attitude from one of trying to figure it all out and question what to do and not do and just accept how you are right now.

    Debbie, Julie W,

    It really is my pleasure. I dont have much support at home and the support people have given me on here has been a big help at times. My situation is difficult due to my ocd which always knows what to pick on in order to tear me apart and now that its coupled with huge DP it is very hard to sit with. I know its just anxiety at the end of the day though. Anxiety comes in many disguises but it all must be treated the same.

    Melissa,

    Sounds like DP/DR or a panic attack to me or just a plain old exhausted brain. I have experienced that confusion and it feels like your brain doesnt know whether it is coming or going for those moments. Your mind is extremely fatigued right now and you will experience all kinds of cognitive effects from this. If you didnt sleep for a few days this would produce the same effects. It is just an exhausted mind most likely. Had you mentioned this to the doctor i suspect he would have told you the same.

  658. Michael Says:

    Sorry to seem impatient – I hope everyone will understand as we’re all going through something really difficult. As a new poster, my comment appeared further up the page than the bottom. Is anyone able to offer any thoughts?

    Thank you so much.

  659. Melissa Says:

    Thank you for your response Rik…no I did not speak to my doctor about it because I was scared about what could happen. Along with GAD I also have severe health anxiety, so I need to be very careful with what I speak to the doctors about. My psychologist is convinced it’s anxiety playing little tricks on me.

    I am so fed up of feeling like this. I did not sleep last night, which can be a reason for feeling like this today….but I just cannot grasp the idea that this is ONLY anxiety. I am emotionally exhausted.

  660. Rik Says:

    Micheal,

    I could have written your post myself. My anxiety came back in december. My intrusive thoughts came back and then came the DP. Like you i feel disconnected, emotionless and am having a very hard time with it. Emotional numbing can be a side effect of SSRI medication so do not rule that out. Anxiety is also more tham capable of doing this to you. Your mind gets to a point where it just cant handle anything else and decides to basically shut down all but the essentials in order to keep you safe. Think of it this way. In terms of survival do you think it would be advantagous to be happy and loving or would it be better to be numb so you can respond quickly to threat? Your mind is trying to protect you as much as it can but it is a relatively outdated way of doing so that we have inherited from our ancestors. You have reached overload and it needs a timeout and forced this upon you. Resisting it and fearing it only means it carries on longer. I am trying to allow it to just be for now and i am confident that as time passes i will come back to myself once these mental defences are no longer needed and i can concentrate outwards again. If your gp and others tell you this is only anxiety then accept that. They will have seen countless others in the same situation.

  661. Rik Says:

    That is the very crux of anxiety Melissa. It doesn’t allow you to grasp that as it is the king of uncertainty and lies. You will always find a way to say ‘yes but what if’. There are no answers to be found with anxiety. This is why acceptance works because you decide you no longer need the answers. The only way to win the game of anxiety is not to play. That is the paradox. Anxiety requires your fear of it to continue. Without fear it cannot persist. The emotional exhaustion comes from you fighting and fearing rather than accepting. I know its hard, believe me i do but you have to start somewhere in order to progress.

  662. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    Seems unless you’re a regular poster your entries get overlooked, was hoping for a bit of insight to my previous one.

    Anyway, I had a pretty hard setback in October which lasted pretty much up to the end of January I started to get glimpses of my old self in that month which started off as a few minutes a day then kind of stretched out to a few days. Had about 3 weeks in February where I was almost myself, just got interested in hobbies, life etc and cared little for anxiety at all.
    I seem to be in a strange pattern at the moment where I will forget about how I feel for a time, feel outgoing, happy and confident only to have a very bad few days, then it takes another short while for me to be there again. This week has been hard, full of doubt, dp, introspection, neggy thoughts.and crappy body feelings. Each day has been easier and I slowly get to ‘not caring’ again and for external things to claim my interest.
    Whilst I’m very happy to be out of that setback of the autumn and new year, the ebbs and flows are a little frustrating. I never let how I feel stop me from doing anything at all though, always plugging away at work, hobbies etc, whether that’s with happiness or apathy.
    On paper reading it back its a lot of progress in the space of a month but it’s as my brain isn’t ready to hand back over the reigns just yet.

    So a general update but any thoughts welcome.

    Hope all is well.

    Mark

  663. Rik Says:

    Mark,

    I thought you had had a few replies over your last few posts. It does seem like there is an element of maybe watching out for this cycle to continue. Correct me if I am wrong though. This watching out for or expecting could be keeping a low level of stress on you a lot of the time which could explain the anxiety returning after a while. It could also be that you haven’t yet developed healthier ways of dealing with every day stresses and hence your brain thinks anxiety is the answer.

    I have a question for you relating to DP. How does it manifest for you? How do you feel and what do you think?

  664. Mark R Says:

    Hi Rick,

    I don’t recall seeing a reply, maybe I missed it somehow.

    I think I’d agree with the watching for it whilst anxious, but that’s really part of the condition. When feeling little or no anxiety there is no watching at all, just happy to be living life and being absorbed in external things. Setbacks almost seem to follow a predetermined pattern for me: feel bad for a few months, then up and down then even out and then I’m okay, it’s been like that ever since I can remember.

    I don’t tend to have many stresses in my life to be honest. We did have a redundancy situation at work so there was uncertainty for a few days but even through that I was pretty happy and for a few weeks after. My trigger always seems to be my stomach, every single time with any setback/period of anxiety. I suffer from IBS so my stomach is sensitive so I am very careful about what I eat, when I get a flare up my anxiety kind of returns for a time after.

    DP is different for me depending on how anxious I am. Can range from a slight fuzzy feeling, which is fine to feeling completely detached from myself and the world looking 2D and alien, the latter being bloody horrible.

    Maybe it’s the mood I woke up with this morning, I should really see the progress I’ve made as a positive one rather than ‘Urgh I’m feeling like total s**t again’.

  665. Rik Says:

    Your description of DP is exactly what I am currently going through right now. I feel no sense of self and my mind feels fuzzy and tired all the time. The world also seems to make less sense or seems more threatening. I am learning to see this as anxiety and to treat the bizarre and upsetting thoughts I am experiencing as a part of the DP and to tackle them in the same way that I did my OCD thoughts. I have had anxiety issues in the past and overcome them but I could never remember the DP being as bad as this. It is fairly constant for me right now. Is that your experience of it while anxious also?

    I am sorry to hear you have recurring bouts in such a way. I expect that your mind associates this IBS with anxiety and thus creates it as a reflexive response to the perceived threat of the IBS. Maybe this is somewhere you can work on this. Maybe by accepting the IBS more and not seeing it as a threat that may trigger anxiety. This could be the relationship that is causing the repeated episodes. Mere asssociation and memory.

  666. Tim Says:

    Hey all,

    I just thought id briefly check in to say that I am still feeling good. For the first time in a decade my mind is at peace for good lengths of time. I just wanted to give you hope that you – whoever you are – will get there if you follow this path.

    I don’t have a lot of wisdom to impart right now. I cant sleep, have a bit of a headache and i’m stressed. Aha! you might be thinking, that doesn’t sound like recovery. Ive been staying up late a lot deliberately and my sleep hygiene is bad. Ive been stressed from uni. Ive also been drinking diet cola again lol. I’m not cured of my procrastination habit, or putting pressure on myself for not working.

    But the way I have conducted myself despite my high stress and feelings of anxiety is the true sign. My anxiety levels should be at an all time high and often they do spike, yet I seem to have seen through the illusion of my thoughts. I just don’t care. Its all just remnants of anxiety to me. I go to the gym feeling stressed and tired, so what.. I cut myself some slack.

    One thing that worked for me was the “who cares, so what, who gives a shit mentality”. It enabled me to distance myself from my thoughts. I wasn’t able to totally at first but then it just clicked. Ive stepped outside the cage and seen how fruitless it is to keep feeding into my worry.

    Paul has pointed out that its the believing in your thoughts that is the problem. Believing they are true, believing they are scary, believing you are broken etc.

    Anyway, I hope this doesn’t seem like im bragging. I guarantee i’m not special in any way. I never thought id feel like this.

  667. Bryan Says:

    Mark,

    As you know I’m working throug a long term recovery as well. You’re not alone in the progress/bump/progress pattern. Why do we have them despite getting back to full living? That’s the million dollar question but when I posted this question to Jim at AnxietyCentre he said not quite reaching full recovery is the result of one of two things. 1 – Unresolved or ongoing stressors which could be external or internal. 2 – The body needs more time to find homeostasis from long term effects of stress worry and anxiety.

    So, simple yet it can feel elusive. We just have to try to learn from each bump and keep trying to normalize our lives. Thankfully we have seen big moves in the right direction.

    Tim,

    Fantastic to hear you’re making progress after so long. Love to hear stories like yours. Keep it up.

  668. Mark R Says:

    Hi Bryan,

    It astounds me how similar we are, even our bumps seem to follow the same pattern.

    Overall I’m clearly doing better but still falling on the wrong side of the tracks and finding it hard not to buy into the bullshit during a bump. It’s undoubtedly the same theme ‘why is this back?’ ‘I was okay for a few weeks, why do I feel so crap again’. My mind has this brilliant annoying habit of then comparing how I feel now to the last time I had a bad time in late ’13…’4 months in, we’re about half way there’.
    I do ACT therapy and in my sessions I highlight how useless these behaviours are, I do okay for a bit following a session then repeat the same patten a few weeks after. Sorry my reply has turned into a vent.

    I’m trying to pick up new hobbies and found oil painting an interesting one…so calming. I’m not very good at all but its fun to do!

  669. Michael Says:

    Tim –

    I can’t speak for anyone else,but I think it’s great to hear anything positive in these comments sections. It’s proof to anyone suffering that you can feel better and Paul’s teaching can work for you. Glad to hear you’re doing well.

    Rik –

    Thanks for taking the time to reply to me. I really appreciate it. To be honest, you reiterate what I already know. After all, I’ve read Paul’s books and scoured his website and blog. I just needed (or thought I needed) some reassurance. Thanks again for taking the time to do so.

    As I said, I’m pretty new to all this. I’m sure my anxiety reaches back much further, but I have certainly only been feeling its ill effects since a panic attack in January. If someone had have told me that’s what happened, especially after I was admitted to hospital and thoroughly tested, maybe things would have got back to normal. However, I’ve noticed that, since Saturday, I’ve been feeling a bit better. Last week I was obsessively seeking medical attention from my doctor and the hospital, but I’ve not sought reassurance since Friday evening now, which believe me, is progress (okay, I know I’ve been on here but give me something). Most of the physical stuff I was experiencing has eased right off – the wobbly legs, the nausea, the twitching, the throat issues, it’s almost all stopped. As for the DP/DR, this hasn’t gone away but it has backed off. I can take an interest in things again, I can feel a degree of emotion again, I have some kind of access to me again. It’s not perfect, but it’s better. I’ve just been living my life – going to work, seeing friends, I went for a curry on my own which is way outside my comfort zone. I live in west London but I’m not from here so I went into central London on Sunday and had a look around. I constantly feel like I might pass out, which is clearly an anxiety trick because I’ve never passed out in my life – it’s just the way I remember the panic attacks. I’ve been able to notice things about the world again and to care about things and I can now engage with people better than I’ve been able to in weeks.

    I’ve no idea if this improvement is because of my medication or because of a change in attitude on my part or a combination of both. That’s a puzzle I don’t need to do. What I’m also trying to avoid is grabbing onto these feelings too much. I may not have been in this situation for very long, but it’s rare to climb out without falling back from time to time. But I’m enjoying feeling able to be closer to my old self again. The hardest point is always first thing in the morning – I always feel awful. But as soon as I step out of bed, it does seem to improve. Like Tim, I don’t want to appear to be bragging – I don’t feel I have anything to brag about anyway. I just wanted to add a note of positivity to things. I also had my second session of CBT on Tuesday and, while I understand it doesn’t suit everyone and isn’t a part of what Paul advises, I found it fantastic and it really gave me a bit more space to implement what Paul teaches.

    Obviously I’ve no idea what the future holds, and if I do go downhill I’ll look back on this comment with considerable sadness, but what I will say is that finding Paul’s books and site so early on has been huge for me. I honestly believe I’d now be bedridden, or at least unable to leave the house and probably ringing 999 constantly if I hadn’t. Paul told me I could have the life I wanted, so I sat up and started doing it. Paul actually explained what was happening to me, and it was a great relief. He helped me understand what DP was and why, even though it’s horrible, it’s okay. Perhaps it’s not a good thing, but I feel like Paul David is with me and it’s a huge help. I only wish I’d found him before I went onto the medication. Sadly, I didn’t, so I just did what my doctor said. But then again, if it helps me implement acceptance, it’s a good thing. And I have mental health professionals telling me to work with my treatment plan, so I will do that. But it’s Paul David who got me back on my feet, helped me get my appetite back and go to Iceland instead of cancelling the trip.

    I know I’ve only been ill a short time and this won’t help everyone, but I just wanted to share some positive feelings while I’m having them.

  670. Mark W Says:

    Hi to everyone just thought I would share a positive story. I posted on here a while back but never received a reply. I suffered a panic attack in 2011 which led me to the ER. After all the usual tests I was told I had a panic attack. I don’t need to tell anyone on here it was the worst day of my life.
    I had 3 more attacks over the next few months which again led me to the ER. My GP sent me for every test he could think of all came up clear.
    I could not accept this I all anxiety! I made the terrible mistake like most people of googling my symptoms thinking I had some horrible incurable illness.
    I would honestly develop most of the symptoms as I was reading.
    After a long time and with the help of the occasional Ativan I calmed down and seemed to accept it was anxiety all was pretty good occasional anxious fears but no panic.
    About 6 weeks ago I was riding my motorcycle and sitting at a set of traffic lights I had a panic attack I had to park at the side of the road and luckily I new what it was I had an Ativan in my wallet that I hadn’t used in over a year. It took 20 mins to work and I was right again.
    Went back to my GP had a full medical all good.
    After more research I found Pauls book this site and Claire weekes books this has been a revelation to me. I realised no one had ever told me what was happening to me it all makes sense.
    The last few weeks I felt a lot calmer and I feel like I’m coming out of this hell. Why don’t Drs tell us what is happening. All I’ve been told is its just anxiety and take these tablets. Just anxiety! It’s a living hell.
    Someone on this site mentioned mindfulness and an App called mind pilot I have been using this and it’s really calming.
    I. Left a lot out of my story ands it’s obviously a lot more involved. But I wish someone would have told me what was happening to me. To me this has made all the difference.
    I hope everyone is feeling better I know what a nightmare this can be.

  671. Tim Says:

    Thanks all!

    Michael I think once you start seeing the small improvements the march towards recovery is already on its way. Its morning now and I only slept 7 hours. Its funny how I can see why morning is shit for so many people (it was for me too) and it sets you off for a crappy day. In the morning your cortisol is high, you can feel cloudy and sleepy which is a reminder of anxiety.

    I agree that you are lucky to have found Pauls stuff early. I wish I was so fortunate. That being said ive known about this approach a year or so. I started with Claire Weekes Hope and Help for your Nerves. Then I purchased an audiobook program called freedom from fear recovery by a NZ guy called Paul, which helped. Then finally I found Pauls blog. I actually thought it was the same Paul at first. I read about it a lot, trying to get the essence of what they meant.

    Don’t look at small setbacks as considerable sadness. That would be feeding into the story that anxiety is so bad. I actually went to the gym a few days ago and felt anxious again. I felt DP setting in, became self conscious and weird. I even felt slightly paranoid that people would notice. But this time I thought well my body is still programmed to do this, I cant control how I feel. Whatever. It actually mostly went away and I did my session. Most importantly though is by the time I hit my car it was out of my mind. I didn’t think “man why was I anxious again in the gym?” id let it go. Ive since been back with no issues.

    I’m repeating myself again. Paul repeats himself all the time. I agree, nothing I said is new. Its quite funny because I cant put my finger on exactly why or how that mental shift happened. All I can suggest is keep following the method and laying down moments of clarity and peace, and if you need read more (but only the method) lol. Hit the same issue of “what is acceptance?” for example from many different angles. Good luck :)

  672. Tasnim Says:

    Should I be worried that my recovery is taking this long? I’ve dealt with the schizophrenia fear for a few weeks, when it was initially covered in class, and then felt full on anxiety for about a week before I started my recovery. It’s been a month since then. My anxiety symptoms have subsided within two weeks, but the same fear has stuck with me since the beginning (two months). I don’t even know if this still counts as anxiety anymore, as its just my thoughts I’m struggling with. I feel as though this is as recovered as I’ll get. Of course, I’ll continue to live my life, but I just feel as though this is the most normal I’ll feel since I will always know about this fear. I guess I got trapped into thinking about it again, which got me down.

  673. Meg Says:

    Tasnim – I’m in the same boat as you with that fear and also bipolar fear. It’s been going on for me for about 8-9 months and to be honest it’s be the only remnant left of my anxiety. So when you ask if worrying about this for 2 months is normal I assure you its normal for an anxiety to hang around that long and it’s actually a relatively short time for a fear to be there. One thing I’ve learnt is that there’s absolutely no point putting a time scale on things as it just adds to your discomfort as you constantly monitor whether the thought is still there or not. I’d never thought about bipolar or schizophrenia in my life until I had a major anxiety breakdown and read an article about those conditions when I was very sensitised. These thoughts cause me a lot less discomfort now and appear much less often. I often go days without thinking about it but having a slight setback the last few days but I promise you it does get better.

    It’s also important not to berate yourself for obsessing over these things as that just gives the thought importance and as a result it sticks even more. It is still anxiety but just know that all that’s happening is your mind is trying to protect you from something that it has incorrectly labelled as a threat. It will take a while until you can teach your mind that this is not a threat with the first step being practising accepting this thought for what it is – just a thought, just words in your mind. This will not happen overnight you do have to be really patent – anxiety is very determined to protect you!

  674. Julie Says:

    Rik,

    Thank you for taking a look at my post and taking the time to reply, I really apprecaite it. Your reply was really helpful.

    I do need to be kind to myself, stop trying to guess what might happen or won’t and just go with it. I have been through alot, and I am now in a much calmer place now that my son is well. Looking back he was ill all of last year and it’s no wonder my anxiety crept back in, as no mother wants to see their child distressed like that.

    I have had some bloods done this week and they have again increased and weirdly I am calm about it. What will be, will be, no amount of worrying about it will stop the fact i have these health issues. I have stopped battering my poor head about my thyroid and cfs but on a day I crash and feel very unwell those are the days the anxiety creeps in and batters me with the fears of collapsing and what if I go into hospital. All of it is due to the fact right now I am going out less, can’t do appointments very well and fear leaving my home and having to stay in hospital. I think that’s the crux of it to be honest. Due to my ill health I have stayed home more, I was ill when I had a huge panic attack in the doctors room last September and from that day the agoraphobic crept back in, so I know that’s why my anxiety runs rife on the days my ill health takes hold of me.

    I have been out this week alone, something I haven’t done in a while. Usually I do the school run then get home asap. This week I have been going out for walks and I went to the duck pond the last 2 days to just sit and read, and I did some yoga not caring who saw. Due to the floor moving feeling when I walk I have stopped getting out alone for a while so this week has been a huge step in the right direction for me.

    Thank you for your reply.

    Julie

  675. Rik Says:

    Julie,

    I also get the feeling of the floor moving etc and feel spaced out and not with it. My obsessive thoughts tend to stem from that and also the fact that I feel very disconnected from my emotions and sense of self. My DP seems to have been getting worse of late but I am doing my best to just let it be and not question it. I have started walking on my breaks from work and also trying to get in the garage in an evening to work on my motorcycle. I find it does help a bit. I do think that too much time alone lends itself to introspection and rumination and these are the two main enemies with anxiety. They can really lead you down the garden path. I try to catch myself ruminating now and just let it go. Not easy.

  676. Nicole Says:

    Haven’t been here for ages, just wanted to offer support. I was in a dark dark place with anxiety but there were various things i wanted to share that helped me.

    1. Never let anxiety dictate what you can and can’t do. If you feel there are certain situations that are harder for you, it is only because you are telling yourself that they are more panic-inducing that the panic arises. I went everywhere and did everything I wanted to do, not to test myself but I just lived my life. Sometimes I felt awful, felt I might faint etc but I always told myself it was much better to feel awful out than sat at home feeling awful doing nothing. And guess what, it works. Nowhere holds fear for me anymore. I realised the other day how far I have come, I went to a school concert, arrived a bit late and had to squeeze into the middle of a row. Thoroughly enjoyed the concert, years back I would have had to sit on the end and been dreading it for days in advance. If you allow anxiety to dictate what you can and can’t do you are not accepting.

    2. I realised that I did not have any real control over my anxiety and how I felt. It was a fantastic moment, I could feel horrible but not have to do a thing about it, just let it be. I still hated it but didn’t have to fight it. I always had in mind that the worse moments always passed and that worrying had achieved absolutely nothing.

    3. I stopped worrying about how I might feel about certain events. I couldn’t be sure how I would feel on a certain day so worrying and trying to predict how I might feel was pointless. Again this is liberating and gives your mind some lovely breathing space. I still wake up some mornings feeling anxious but I just get out of bed, don’t worry about how long it will last and get on with my day.

    4. Just accept it all, anxiety can make you feel awful, really awful but if you give yourself enough space and time to recover you can feel much better. My mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she refused treatment. She accepted that she was going to die and I never saw any anxiety in her at all, in fact she said that apart from the pain she felt at peace, she didn’t have to fight any more. My friends husband has MND and can’t move, speak, eat etc and he said the reason he copes and finds any pleasure in life is because he has accepted that it is all out of his control and he deals with what he has in front of him.

    5. Thoughts are just thoughts, really, at my worse I thought I had multiple sclerosis, dementia (!), was going to be sectioned, lose my children, never be the same……but none of these thoughts ever came to anything. Thoughts can be terrifying as they can produce a wave of fear but they are only that, thoughts, most never amount to anything and as we can’t predict which thoughts might be accurate its best to just let them pass through.

    6. Exercise helps! Made me feel great, even at my worse, I’d go running and the pavement would sway but so what!! I would think of people with epilepsy who might have a fit at any moment and carried on with their lives and think what I had was nothing!

    Life is short, all we really have is the moment, the past is gone, we can’t change that, the future is unknown so lets live with what we have, even when its bad.

    Hope some of this has struck a chord with someone xx

  677. Bryan Says:

    Tim,

    Cool to hear you are back at the gym. I was a big gym rat before stress disorder hot 5 years ago. Have slowly worked back into lifting and getting in shape as recovery has improved. How do you find heavy workouts affect your system? Seems that if sx were primary mental or thought based, it helps people. If it was more physical (my case) it seems to take being judicious about how quickly we jump back in. Curious to hear your experience.

    Great stuff!

  678. Jamie Says:

    Hi all

    I have not posted for a while as I have been a little better over the last couple of months. Just getting on with things, not letting anxiety stop me, generally slowing things down and mindfulness have all helped me progress.

    Anyway, I have arranged a date for next Sat and I have not been on one for about 2-3 months now. To say I am anxious about it is an understatement. I had about 5 or 6 dates last year and I found each one extremely nerve wracking. Sitting down 1 on 1, being judged, worrying I may feel anxious / appear anxious, get panicky, have to leave etc etc. All of these thoughts mixed in just make a very anxious cocktail. A couple of women I went on dates with commented on my body language (not enough eye contact, I didn’t seem too keen etc) and of course, someone saying that to someone who is anxious just ramps it up even more.

    It is not for a week but it is on my mind a lot already this date. I wonder if anyone can offer any advice ? Do I tell myself it is go well (unrealistic expectation?) ? Tell myself I don’t care how it goes (a bit negative?) ? Tell her I am nervous before or at the start of the date to take the edge off ? or just try not to think about and just see what happens ?

    When I was last dating in the early 2000s (before I was married) – yes sure I got nervous but nothing like this.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated

  679. Michael Says:

    Hi Jamie,

    I’m not sure how much use my advice will be to you given my general lack of success with the ladies over the years and my pretty recent arrival to the world of serious anxiety. However, I do have some thoughts to share. Hopefully you can take something from them.

    1) The doubts and worries you’re having are exactly the things countless people who don’t have anxiety – male and female – go through before a date. It’s natural to be nervous. It seems to me you’re just reading normal, acceptable concerns as something bigger than they are.

    2) Don’t put so much pressure on yourself or the date itself. You’ve taken the comments from previous dates on board far too heavily. Remember that you don’t have to play a part and pretend everything is fine with anxiety. Just accept how you feel and be yourself. If it doesn’t work out, so what? You’ve had dates before, you’ll surely have them again.

    3) Rather than ask so many questions of yourself, remember again what Paul David teaches. Acceptance! Accept your feelings, accept your doubts, and if things feel awkward or uncomfortable or don’t go well, be accepting of that. If you can put acceptance into practice, you never know, you might manage to have a better date than you expect.

    4) You don’t have to not care how it goes (and you certainly don’t have to tell yourself that you don’t care if you do, because that’s just impossible). It’s okay to care how a date goes, but don’t catastrophise it. The worst case scenario is nothing too bad.

    5) I’ve told every girl I’ve ever dated that I was nervous. In my experience, it puts off the ones who are looking for some macho throwback, but some of them are very understanding. I can’t say whether it’s wise to tell her, but I do know that a girl who is put off by the perfectly human emotion of nervousness is probably not worth the effort anyway.

    6) You mention about being one-on-one and being judged. But you’re not being judged. You’re being ‘gotten to know’ and you’re making some kind of first impression, but only the most stuck-up people judge you (at least in the negative way). My advice is drop your worries about being judged. If you’re a nice guy and treat her like a half-decent human being, the absolute worst thing that can happen is she will think “I had a date with a nice guy, but he isn’t for me”. Not saying that’s what you want, but damage can that really do.

    So basically, my message is give yourself a break, don’t catastrophise it, understand what the real worse case scenario is rather than the ones you’re creating in your head, be yourself, accept your nervousness and try and enjoy it.

    All the best, mate. If anyone deserves it to go well, it’s an anxiety sufferer. Let us all know how it goes. Or tell me to shut up!

  680. Michael Says:

    Sorry – number 6 was meant to end with “but what damage can that really do?”

  681. Jamie Says:

    Thanks for taking the time to reply to me Michael. I really appreciate it.

    One of the women I went on a date with started giving my feedback actually ON the date and said about the lack of eye contact, I wasn’t that into her, I wasn’t really for a relationship and it really affected me afterwards for quite a while. All of what you say makes perfect sense e.g. someone like that is not worth the time of the day but to an anxiety sufferer, it knocks you for six.

    Thanks again :o)

  682. Jamie Says:

    That was meant to say “wasn’t really ready for a relationship”….

  683. Tim Says:

    Hey Bryan,

    I know what you mean, I had read that lifting is a stress on your body and can make physiological stress worse. Ive been lifting a bit over a year now and personally it hasn’t had any negative effects, except a few aches and niggles. Ive achieved a double body weight squat and dl so getting there. I think for me its a great stress reliever, keeps my mind off anxiety, gets my body looking better and also helps me make social connections. Sometimes I do feel shattered after a heavy week at the gym but I just assume that’s normal :)

    Jamie: Sadly the area of love is not my speciality haha. Ive been single for years. I think its important you don’t try to control the outcome. It wont help you to try not to appear anxious or smooth etc, you’ll just make it worse. I think you can acknowledge to yourself that you would really love it to go well, but that if it doesn’t this isn’t the end of the world. You will survive, go on more dates. You also cant control if someone else will like you either. You could do everything right and still not be compatible. So just be yourself.

    Also you need to expect the anxiety. Go into the interaction recognising that you will be anxious. Many non anxious people would be anxious in this situation. When it comes, don’t try to fight it, allow it in and let it be there.

    There are many other tips i’m sure others could give, one being genuine curiosity for the other person. So ask them questions about themselves etc. First dates can be exciting, you may no so little about her. What does she do for a job, what movies does she like, did she play sport, where did she grow up etc?

    Have fun :)

  684. Evy Says:

    Rik
    I hope your dp is lifting as I’ve been having great days ! I’ve been staying away from here a bit just to kinda get my life going without constantly feeling like every time I get free time to jump on here ! I started reading more , exercising ,going out more , and praying a lot more , literally forcing myself to do all these things ! Now just because I’m doing these things doesn’t mean I’m 100% cured ! It just means I have to get on with it weather anxiety wants to follow me or not I still have to do my life the best way I can ! Some days I don’t even feel dp , but as soon as I think of it , it’s right back really think ! Ugh ! So let me tell you something I did since last week that I think helped me a lot ! I went through my old post since 2011 when I first found this site ! So that was 5 years ago ! I read all my post , some made me laugh some made me sad and some even frustrated me ! Lol not in a bad way , but i read so many symptoms that I was having far more worse than now !! I mentioned dp and scary thoughts a lot !! Which made me realize that I’ve been there before and I can overcome this again !!! The difference between now and then , is now I have so much knowledge on how to accept and float with is and how to take different stressors in my life out !! Reading all of thisade me understand that I’ve been doing things wrong ! Even when I recovered in 2011 although I overcame dp is till wasn’t accepting my physical symptoms and I wasn’t listening to my body when it was tired along with my mind !! Now that I have time to think more clearer I have realized so much wrong doing , that when I recover this time it will be way different , too long for me to explain ! I’m not recovered , nor do I feel it tomorrow , but I know I’m progressing and I know I will get there ! The information and all the wonderful people have truly been a blessing here on this site !! What I’m trying to say rik is step back ! Step back and let your mind heal ! It craves it , it deserves it :) it’s such a powerful machanism , but we have to not let our thoughts and sensations win !! We all have enough knowledge to apply the tools ! Rik let’s not give anxiety anymore of our lives ! 10 years for me has been way too long !

    Sorry fr the long post ! May we all find patience , acceptance , and most of all have FAITH that we will conquer this
    Blessings

  685. Jacqui Says:

    Testing

  686. Jacqui Says:

    Nolan
    Your the only person on here which I feel understands what I’m going through. My insomnia is bad again, I just can’t sleep unless I take something or drink vast amounts of alcohol. And then it’s only a couple of hours. Last week a Valium would take me through the night, last night two hours. What did I do took 3 more and a bottle of wine. I feel utterly hopeless.
    I read and re-read your posts, but the don’t care, so what attitude is not sinking in, the fear feels too strong. Did it take months for you to adopt the attitude. Which I know is the answer.
    The doctors can’t help, I know more than the therapists. I’m an expert but can’t put it into practise. I could go out tonight (make my life bigger) but I will be too tired.
    My husband is sick to the back teeth with me, he has a lot of responsibility, no time for my crap.
    Any advise

  687. Rik Says:

    Evy,

    My dp actually seems significantly worse. Im not sure why. Can you please explain a bit how your dp makes you feel and think and what perceptive changes it brings on as i am worried that I am not experiencing do but something worse. I know this i reassuranve seeking but i have been accepting it and allowing it and i just feel worse and more unreal etc.

  688. Doreen Says:

    Jacqui – I don’t think Nolan is the only person who will understand what you are going through. Many people on here have had huge problems with sleeping. It often goes with the territory for anxiety. What they would all say though (Nolan included I think) is that taking valium and drinking alcohol is just not the answer. And you said it yourself, your sleeping is no better for using medication and alcohol so a start would be to cut out that sort of thing.
    You will most certainly be sleeping more than you think you are. We often think we have been awake whilst our nearest might actually tell us we have been snoring or breathing deeply.
    Whilst you are awake there will be many many people awake also, despite how alone with this you think you are.
    When I was having huge problem sleeping is used to get up and so useful things so that I could feel some satisfaction on having spent the time with an outcome.
    It is horrible, I know but getting into a sate, taking valium and alcohol just isn’t the answer.

  689. Derrick Says:

    Mark –

    Your Mar 10th post could have been written by me as it described exactly what I go through. I have weeks of feeling very normal and, best of all, I feel enthusiastic about life. I cherish these good times, and I start to believe that maybe it will stick. Then some odd vision or light dp will set in and back down the rabbit hole I go. My actions and behaviors don’t change, but the amount of emotional energy it takes to do anything goes up 100 times. I really try to apply Paul’s advice and just live my life, but my mind has too many stored memories of hard times to just let them go. I am very active and there are no circumstances in my life that should be adding to the anxiety.

    I’ve been going through this for about 5 years, with the good and bad cycles (progress) really being noticeable for the last two years. Before it was down most of the time. I guess my recovery might take many years, and I guess I should be prepared to wait as long as it takes. It took me 40 years of being a nervous person to develop a problem, but I sure hope I can get back in balance in less time than that!

    I’m curious about what Paul and others would say about this long recovery period concept. Hope you all find some peace today.

  690. Evy Says:

    Rik
    I just posted a long post and it did not post , I’m so sad :( do you want to give me your email !? So that I can resend it !? There at times my post don’t post

  691. Melissa Says:

    Hi Evy,

    Would it be possible for you to try to repost. I think your response will be helpful to me too lol

    Thanks!

  692. Evy Says:

    Melissa :)
    Sure let me try again , just give me a min wen I take my lunch break in my time it’s 9:44am so in about 3 hours I will post

    Thank you :)

  693. Rik Says:

    Hi evy,

    Sure. It is rchippex at googlemail .com. Dont think the spam bots will pick that up. Would really appreciate it. Will also keep an eye out on here.

  694. Jacqui Says:

    Doreen
    Thank you for your reply. Alcohol isn’t helping, but at the time I get so desperate.
    I’ve had anxiety for about 30 years, I’m 47. Not all the time. In the past my other issues blushing, social anxiety I could cope with. It’s the sleep issue that I can’t. I have had it in the past, 2014 was a bad time, but I got mirtazapine, So I’ve never seen it through the right way.
    Have you any advise. For example I was walking the dog, all my thoughts are sleep based. I try to change my attitude to a “so what”. But it’s not going through.

  695. Evy Says:

    Rik , Melissa
    I completely understand , and I’m sorry you are going through this , please do not be alarmed in believing it is something far more worse than just anxiety , let me tell you my symptoms , I sometimes I feel I’m not actually alive , like the world is fake , like life is a movie , people sometimes start to look weird or uneal to me . As I do my daily routines I ask myself why are you even doing this!? What’s the point !? I feel I’m so focused and aware of my words that I often find it weird hearing me speak ! When I do things I feel watching myself doing them ! Like I’m inside myself ! To self aware ! It has gotten sooo bad and at that moment is when I sit and say ok you cannot harm me , reason is because it’s just a “feeling ” it’s not real , then and there I engage in something like washing dishes , cleaning , going for a walk , don’t sit there and keep adding fuel cus that’s what it wants ! If I’m at work I start organizing , talking to my coworkers and before you know it , it stays low !on my lunch break I read the bible , I read books , try reading. Paul’s book and claire weeks on the dp you’ll be amazed how te others talk and describe exactly what your feeling , that always makes me feel better ! One thing that had been helping me is reading my old post from 2011 and I was such a mess worse than now , I laughed at some of the things I posted as I was so anxious at the time .. I described exactly what in going through now , the difference between now and then rik is that I have way more knowledge and I have overcame it so I know I can do it again and again until I get it right , last night I said to myself I know recovery is far maybe tomoorw mayb in a year , but I’m hoping for at least Xmas as it is very busy for me lol I’m in sales so I need all my tools to persuade people to buy ! Lol it’s ok if it takes long as long as I know I’m progressing and that everything we learned here is never forgotten !! I also recommend exercise very vital ! Every morning I walk fr 1hr as it produces feel good chemicals in the brain !! I know that’s one thing that has helped me clear my mind !!! Rik you are completely normal you have given me some great advice last month , what you are doing right now is entering a cycle of “habit ” but undue it , yea it takes time but as we conquer the other side is by far amzing! I have given anxiety 10years and counting I belive it’s time we break up ! I don’t want it my life is way more important and we need to think positive and give our mind the space and time it needs ! That’s all we can do ! In the mean time think positive and get out there and live your life , and let recovery come to you :) as it always does

    Have faith and stay strong , everyone on here is noal rik just a bit of normal chemicals out of place right now due to stress :) we can do this !!!

    Blessings

  696. Rik Says:

    Evy,

    What you wrote there is exactly what I have been experiencing but I didn’t realise DP was as bad as this and reading it in a book is so different to actually experiencing it first hand. Today I went fishing for the day with two friends. I knew this would be a good challenge and I never back down from a challenge when it comes to anxiety. I felt very strange, very odd and thought I was experiencing psychosis or something. I had weird thoughts and feelings most of the day sat by the lake. I decided to just sit and let it be. The bit I find hardest is the fear that I will believe that there is no point and believe that I am not me anymore if that makes sense. This is what I struggle with. Also if I just sit and accept that I feel different and disconnected etc then I will get intrusive thoughts and feelings worrying that I have accepted this new way of being and that life will never be the same as it was. I think this is why it has gotten worse. Because despite my best efforts I am still resisting out of true fear of changing forever and not being able to appreciate life any more like I used to. It is so difficult when all you want is to forget it all and be back to the old you.

    Having seen your post now and what you are going through I can recognise all that in myself. It gives me a little hope that actually the feelings etc are in fact just DP. Interestingly after having accepted it all day about an hour before we left I began to feel much calmer and clear headed. Not normal by any means but just more at peace. I had about half an hour of feeling pretty good and felt a bit of myself. I was actually quite proud of myself for having seen it through and I think that was my reward for not giving up.

    Thank you so much for your post Evy. I love the way we all support each other on here. It can be hard when you get sucked under the water again and cannot see the surface. This is the point I feel at at the moment. You have given me some hope to keep pushing on and try to get to the surface again. I know acceptance truly is the only way to freedom and it has seen me to freedom twice before. I must keep at it and not lose faith.

  697. Evy Says:

    Rik :)
    I believe the reason without you knowing why it’s been so strong is because your resistanting it and perhaps fearing it ! Belive me rik mine was so strong last 2 months that I said to myself ok enough is enough I am not scared and your not important !! Rik you really have to feel it from your gutt really feel in the middle so that it can leave! Yor body knows when your really saying it without fear , I also want to share something with you my best friend does not have anxiety , but there was a time that she was really stressed out and one day she was looking a bit dazed and plink her eye really hard and I asked her why did she do that !? She said oh right now eveythint seemed to unreal to me like fake , like a movie ! And I told her omgggg that’s what I’m trying to tell you I feel when I have those feelings , she looked at me puzzled ! You know why hers left in 2 seconds !? Because she paid it no mind !!! But us with anxiety we try hard and we analyze and we add tons of fear and instead of getting back to normal were actually feeding it ! Rik even people without anxiety have the feelings we have , the problem is they don’t fear it !!

    Hope this helps ! Let’s fake it till we make it
    Let’s get out there and start doing fun exciting things

    Blessings

  698. Tim Says:

    RiK:

    Just to let you know, my DP and anxiety actually up ticked a bit as I started doing this before it got better. When you start to drop your crutches and let go, your mind will play tricks on you trying to get you to fall back into old habits. What you are experiencing is just DP. Yes its strong, our thoughts can really produce unusual and powerful symptoms, that’s why we are all here.

    Trust that there is nothing wrong and realise that there is nothing you can do to change your thoughts and make you feel better. Paradoxically, the only way to feel better is to let your mind feel better by itself.

    Jacquie:

    The “so what, who cares attitude” sadly only works when it does. Its exactly what Evy said, you have to feel it in your gut. Its a level of insight regarding what’s causing your problems that you have to reach. Perhaps it might pay to write down exactly what thoughts you are having about sleep. I had plenty of sleep problems but its never been the major cause of my anxiety.

    So what are your thoughts? “If only I could sleep better id feel much better?, I hope I can sleep tonight but I bet I wont because I have to do x”. “Why cant I sleep right now, tomorrow is ruined I hate this” etc. That’s a lot of pressure you are creating for yourself around sleeping. I think you’ll agree its become a huge thing in your mind, a very stressful situation. Of course you cant sleep.

    The freedom happens when you see that the habits you have been doing for years are not working. There is absolutely nothing you can think to ensure you will sleep well, so worrying, analysing and reasoning with yourself is fruitless.

    The beauty of sleep is it is self regulating. If you have two sleepless nights and you feel like crap it will get progressively easier to sleep the further along you get, despite your anxiety.

    I was just thinking about my honours year. I didn’t sleep for 3 days straight before my exams. I went in and passed statistics but actually missed a whole page on the back. I remember walking up to KFC after my exam and I was so out of it I got paranoid someone was following me.

    Id try to cultivate an attitude like “you know what mind good for you do your thing but í’m not getting involved”. “Oh well I cant sleep, that’s just my anxiety again”. When you make space in your brain you’ll sleep better, and you’ll have more clarity to see it clearly. A positive cycle will happen :)

  699. Rik Says:

    Evy,

    Thanks for the reply. I feel much calmer now that I am sat at home and I am tired. I am still dealing with intrusive thoughts but that is nothing new and they carry far less weight when I am calmer :)

    You are of course spot on when you say I have to really mean it. With my obsessive thoughts it makes it so much harder to just allow it as the thoughts torment me constantly while in that state and make me feel like I am just one bad thought away from going mad. I just can’t seem to not react to them sometimes. I should know better than this as I have dealt with all this before but I find when I am in that DP state it is like all rationality is disabled and I am just scared of every thought and its possible implications.

    Tomorrow is a new day though. I will get up and enjoy my day no matter what. I want to take my little girl swimming and work on my motorcycles and other things. Anxiety and DP can take a back seat.

    Again thank you for the encouragement and support

  700. Evy Says:

    Tim
    Great post :)

    Rik
    Sometimes we have to be reminded , you have helped me so much with your words ! That’s why we’re all here to encourage each other :) I hope you have a blast with your daughter and with your bike !! I will go on my obstacle challenge at the beach tomorrow and I’m so excited because that’s so good for the mind :) anxiety and dp can come if they like !! But I have to not worry about them as much !! Rik like they say keep your friends close and enemies closer :) let’s welcome it and soon they’ll get the message ! One day we are going to the whole picture , we are feeling this for a reason ! And that reason is to help others , many physiologist have no clue , as they never felt an inch of what we feel ! We are by far the best teachers :)

    Blessings to everyone here

  701. Rik Says:

    Evy,

    Yes you are right. Last night when i was calm I saw an old school friend post an article about living with an anxiety disorder. I commented to her refering her to this blog and Pauls books etc. It is nice to try and help those who are in the same position as us and may be in need of someone who understands or can point them in the right direction.

    I am going swimming very shortly and i am pretty nervous as i know i will feel weird etc but i have to embrace it and try to let myself slowly come back to normal when my mind is ready.

  702. Rik Says:

    Tim,

    Thank you for your post. It helps a lot to hear about others experiences with DP. I get the worst intrusive thoughts and feelings about reality when DP is there and that is what keeps me in the cycle. For some reason it is just ao hard to ignore them. I can do this though and i will.

  703. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    Was a beautiful day in the Midlands yesterday. We were booked to play on a stunning golf course, I started off with the usual inward thoughts and dp, negativity etc but let them be there in the end. Soon enough my mind was on the game and lush scenery and the dp and feelings drifted in and out occasionally. I always know when I’m myself as I’m getting annoyed with my golf score, haha!

    I’m not going to use this place as a diary but just thought I’d post something positive after my last negative ones.

    Be well all.

    Mark

  704. Rik Says:

    Mark,

    Great to hear you had a better day.

  705. Debbie Says:

    Rik i hope you have a nice day . Peace of mind for us all.i struggle as you do with dp and intrusive as you know.

  706. Bryan Says:

    Great to hear you enjoyed a round Mark. Keep up the good work.

  707. Rik Says:

    Evy, Debbie,

    Today I decided enough is enough. I have not argued with a thought, analysed a feeling or anything. I have sat through extreme DP, fearful thoughts and anxiety and done nothing about it at all. I did bob on here for a reminder early on but then thought to hell with it. It has been incredibly hard but I am very pleased to say I have had a much better day and feel that it was just what i needed to restore a bit of confidence in myself. No doubt i will still have to work at the acceptance and not panicking at certain feelings or thoughts but its a start. I have even had some periods where i totally forgot about the DP but then of course as soon as you realise that, things seem to feel unreal again or you have intrusive thoughs again.

    Hope you have all had a good day.

  708. Michael Says:

    Hi all,

    I’ve been doing so well lately and feel I’ve come such a long way in such a short space of time, and even my DP isn’t as bad as it was. I’m prepared to accept its return if it chooses to build again, but there is one symptom I’m experiencing that I haven’t seen talked about and, although I plan to raise it with my doctor, I’m not seeing her until the end of the month, so I just wondered if anyone could relate and if it seems like an ordinary anxiety symptom or possibly a side effect of the SSRIs.

    What it is is that I feel a fairly constant urge to cry. However, it’s not being triggered by my mood. I feel pretty good. I don’t dislike the person I am, I’m excited about going home to see my parents next weekend, I’m excited about my next holiday in the summer and seeing my friend on Friday. No, I’m not saying everything’s perfect. Clearly, I’m still not right because DP is still there along with the odd physical symptom, but my point is that my mood is genuinely bright and optimistic. It just feels like there is something trying to make me cry. I’m not frightened to cry and would happily let it come, but it never does. It just sits there behind my eyes like pressure and I can feel it in my nose as well. I’ve been doing a good job of getting on with life, letting everything be there and noticing that some things are now starting to not be there! Which, obviously, feels amazing. But this thing is niggling at me and I’m trying not to question it but I guess I’ve failed tonight.

    If I could put it under the anxiety umbrella that Paul speaks of, or even see it as a side effect of the medication, that would actually be quite a relief. I’d just let it be there like I have with everything else. It’s just making me a bit.. well… anxious!

    Anyway, if anyone knows what I’m feeling, it’d be nice to hear from you.

  709. Rik Says:

    Micheal,

    Sounds a bit like just pent up stress or emotion that wants to be released somehow. Doesnt sound sinister to me though.

  710. Joseph Says:

    Hi all,

    The past week or so I’ve really been struggling with a certain weird feeling that is hard to describe–almost an impending feeling of doom that seems to come from nowhere (although I’m sure it doesnt). Then I start to scan through all the things I believe that are important to me (mainly religious and relational in nature) in order to discover the cause of that feeling, and I can start to panic when certain things I believe to be true during my calmer moments no longer resonate with me. It’s hard to explain… My questions are, Is it normal with anxiety to experience that feeling, and do I just accept it and leave it alone?

  711. Rik Says:

    Just out of interest. After todays extreme anxiety etc this evening i felt very devoid of emotion. Any emotion at all. Just felt calm and flat. Can anyone relate to this? I would almost welcome anxiety in these moments just to make sure i can feel something. I dont get this a lot but this last week i have had this two nights.

  712. Michael Says:

    Rik

    Emotional flatness is a facet of depersonalisation. It’s described on Paul’s website and in his book. It’s extremely common, and not just in people with anxiety. Indeed, for something so common, the amount of information and understanding about it in the medical world seems woeful to me. It can also be a side effect of anti-depressant medication, I believe, although I assume you’re not on any.

    Emotional flattening or an absence of any emotional feeling has been my scariest symptom. I just didn’t understand what was happening. However, as with so much else, all the information you really need is provided by Paul David. It’s a bloody hard thing to live alongside, but it does lift. It’s just a stressed out brain taking its own break. A lot of people (myself included) completely misjudge it as an indicator of something much worse.

    Your emotions are still there, and they’ll come back to you quicker if you treat the symptom the way you would anything else. It’s tough, but do try and accept it and live alongside it. Don’t ruminate and don’t interrogate it. It’s just your brain trying to protect you. Don’t add more stress to the mix. Just keep on truckin’.

  713. Rik Says:

    Hi Micheal,

    Thanks for the response. It feels so bizarre to feel so anxious earlier in the day and then as the night goes on to just feel nothing. Im not even sad or stressed. Just flat. Not trying to figure it out but was just wondering if anyone else had felt this. Even towards loved ones i just feel very blah. It does concern me a bit but it also makes sense that after such a high amount of stress earlier that my brain just wants to chill for a while. Ive done well today at not ruminating etc and have embraced all the feelings and just let myself ride the waves. I guess I should really just take the opportunity to enjoy some peace and not question it.

  714. Michael Says:

    Rik

    Just to put a bit more flesh on the bone with this issue, my experience was actually quite terrifying, but to reassure you, I’m here to tell the tale weeks later.

    It’s interesting for me that Paul first experienced DP/DR after years of anxiety, whereas for me it arrives after just a few weeks. I had decided to get back into running and was walking to a sports shop to buy a new pair of trainers when all of a sudden the world started to look like a dream. This was derealisation, but it never heard of it, or its irritating cousin depersonalisation. Anyway, I also noticed that I couldn’t feel. Aside from fear, I’d lost touch with every emotion I had. Even sadness, deep intense sadness, would have felt better than this emptiness. I still made it to the shop and bought an ideal pair of trainers for a good price, but it felt bizarre. I was standing in Sports Direct looking at shoes and talking to sales staff, but inside I was breaking down. It was like they were in a fog and I couldn’t see them properly or hear them properly, or quite frankly, give a damn if they lived or died. On the walk home, I tried to picture the niece and nephew I love with all my heart running towards me in the street, and although I knew I’d like it if it happened, I couldn’t properly feel it. Anyway, when I get home, instead of getting changed and going for a run, I went to A&E. I was convinced I was going mad. It took a couple of hours, but I was eventually seen by a psychiatric liaison and I eventually notice normal feelings coming back. I was so relieved. I don’t believe he really understood the condition, but being told I wasn’t going mad seemed to calm me and my brain gave me some feeling back.

    To try not to ramble on too much, the feeling came and went a few times after, but by this point, I’d found Paul’s books and site and actually knew what was happening to me. Unfortunately, two weeks ago I had a stressful week as I had an MRI scan and my first CBT session and I think this resulted in my brain giving my biggest dose of DP yet. I lost all feeling. I could barely remember what emotion was. I went to my doctor and to hospital twice. I lost sight of Paul’s perfectly adequate description of the condition. I was in total panic, convinced I was losing it. Of course, I wasn’t losing it. My stressed out brain just needed a break. I suspect it’s also a way of cutting out external stimuli to allow you to focus on ‘threats’ that goes way back in our evolution.

    The point is, I woke up the following day after two A&E visits in two days and reminded myself that Paul David had already told me what this was and what to do, and I needed to stop seeking constant reassurance. SInce then, I’ve been engaging in the world. I spoke to my parents on Skype and told them what I was feeling (or not feeling) and you know what? I actually did feel something! Normality – interacting with the world, seeing friends, chatting to my parents – I dunno, it all felt weird, but it clicked something back into gear. I’m not saying I’m better. I’m not. I still feel flat. But not to the extent that I did. I can feel things again and I can enjoy things again. Perhaps my brain will take it away again, but I don’t see why it should given that I’m not feeding it much in the way of worry or fear anymore.

    It’s a horrible feeling, I know. It’s easy to say ‘just live alongside it’ or ‘don’t question it’, but it really is the way to deal with it. I did everything wrong because it kicked in before I had access to any proper information. I thought so deeply about it, I panicked, I chased help, I convinced myself I needed to be admitted to a mental health unit. No, all I needed was a rest. Which doesn’t mean I needed to stop doing things. I just needed to take worry and rumination out of the equation. I had to accept feeling flat and to know it was just a temporary layer over the top of the real me, which will emerge again eventually and is already poking out.

    You’ll be alright, mate. Loads of people have felt or are feeling this strange, disturbing feeling. File it under anxiety with the other stuff and don’t give it the attention it craves and feeds on. At some point you’ll notice it lifting.

  715. Evy Says:

    Riki:)
    What micheal said was right on ! It is a symptom of dp and that’ actually means your in the middle process as better days are yet to come ! That’s actually a feeling we get when the mind has had enough and starts to numb itself from all the searching , fighting , questioning , what if thinking ! It’s the way of the mind saying I can’t no more !! Perhaps in this month you’ve been overloading your mind with so much questioning ! It’s simply just tired rik , a lot it to heal , let’s say your standing with 10 books in your hand , for 1 hour , and you don’t take breaks , you put the books down only to start doing push ups ! What will happen is your arms will give up and feel numb , to the point where you can’t feel them ! You know why !? Because they can’t take it anymore ! Same with your mind , it’s tired of all the ruminating , step back a lil , give it it’s space it craves ! The mind is so powerful but it also needs a break :) I promise you riki nothing is wrong with us ! When you feel this engage in something , something that’s gonna make you feel a feeling ! Go jogging , wash dishes ! Things like that will alow your senses to feel the moment ! I went on the obstacle challenge at the beach today with a group of 15 ! Rik do you wanna know how much I felt dp !? You’ll bre amzazed to know … Zeroooo !! Because I was very in tune with the moment , the trainer had us doing to much in such a timed manner that I had no room for anxiety ! My mind was simply having a blast :) I even engaged in conversations an met new friends !

    Rik it’s not easy , but it’s simple :) you are ok just step back a bit

    Blessings

  716. Rik Says:

    Thanks to both of you. Micheal that couldnt sound any more like what I am going through. I could have written that word for word. Also because of my fear of psychosis i fear the unreality as it comes with weird thoughts and me testing reality or how i feel about it etc etc. Right now i feel kind of normal. That in itself is odd. I can feel a bit of myself and feel fairly at peace. Almost like ive slipped back into normal thinking. I expect this may not be there in the morning but i see it as progress as i am not trying to figure things out nor feeling the need to. If i can keep accepting then maybe my brain will finally calm down and allow me to fall back into normality again. Thank you so much for your input guys. It has been very very helpful. I appreciate it more than you know.

  717. Doreen Says:

    For those of you who are currently ‘feeling nothing or DP as it might be labelled’ the most counterproductive thing you can do is strive to feel something. I can remember doing that many times but from the moment I stopped and just focused on getting on with whatever I was doing, the feelings started to pop back in, unbidden. And now I don’t even look for them. There are times when looking at beautiful view might bring a ‘wow’ moment, other times when it doesn’t really register.
    Forcing a feeling never works. Accepting the absence of them gives you some peace

  718. Julie Says:

    Rik,

    Thank you again for responding to me. It does help knowing others have that floor moving feeling for sure, and that it’s very normal for anxiety. It’s been new to me as I was an oldie on here and my anxiety was always intrusive thoughts. Since my ill health it’s been more physical feelings because I have been unwell, if that makes sense. My fatigue and weak body is due to my health issues but the floor moving and DP is all due to my fear of being unwell.

    I am getting there though. I re read Pauls book last week and loved it. It’s funny reading it again and this time reading it from a different perspective. In the past I read it and linked it to my anxiety which was intrusives, and this time I could relate to it from a physical anxiety, and how to accept my health issues. Funnily enough I grasped acceptance easily reading it, which is something I really couldn’t a year or 2 ago, as many on here will remember.

    Thanks again and I hope things get better for you soon, you seem to be doing very well. Good for you.

    Julie

  719. Sara Says:

    I was just wondering if anyone else has felt this?

    Anxiety is so high you can’t even sit still, you can’t read or watch a movie you feel like running, screaming and you are extremely “figgity”

  720. Michael Says:

    Doreen

    Don’t know if you were responding to what I said to Rick in any way, but I just wanted to say that my long-winded posts were essentially trying to say what you’ve said much more succinctly. I basically just decided I needed to live my life and do whatever I wanted or needed to do alongside the unpleasant feeling, and I got a positive response from my mind. It’s still there, though. And that’s fine. I will just carry on. I certainly wouldn’t suggest anybody tries to force anything.

  721. Tasnim Says:

    Meg
    It’s nice to know I’m not the only one with such a strong fear. It sucks because everything in my life, I relate to schizophrenia. I think about my 20s and say oh well I’ll probably have it then so no point of thinking about it. I also think, I’m such a creative and deep daydreamer, that means I’ll have it. I just need to stop letting it consume my life.

  722. Evy Says:

    Doreen
    Excuse me if I’m giving false info , all I’m doing is trying to help people on the same boat as myself , never so I want to give out advice that won’t work , I say “fake it to you make it ” or engage in something to get your mind going and off the subject , no one here has used “forced” it really just means getting on with life , what I think is your words mean exactly what we all are trying to say just in a shorter version ! When someone is asking for help longer post or examples seem to soothing , we all know you have to just let it be there and carry on with your day as those words will seem so far to do when in debts of anxiety , in my opinion ! I apologize if I’m giving anyone here wrong advice that’s not my intension because I’m not recovered myself but if something is working for me I’m almost jumping up and down with happiness to share my accomplishments , Doreen I’m assuming you are recovered because you have giving such great advice and I want to thank you , because you are still on here , it takes a lot to do that as living a normal life is by far way more important , thank you again and apologies if i said anything wrong

    However hope everyone is one step closer to recovery

    Blessings to all and thanks again Paul for this amzing site

  723. Rik Says:

    Doreen,

    You are of course right. When in the depths of DP I am finding it incredibly hard to just let go as the implications of having no feelings feel very dangerous to me. I suffer with obsessive thinking also and when I do try to accept I get all kinds of awful thoughts telling me that I will never be the same and that if I accept this lack of feeling that I am giving up on myself and accepting that I will never feel again. I guess this is the paradox of DP. That and the fact that you feel like doing nothing and can muster no interest in things when this is the one thing that may help.

  724. Doreen Says:

    Evy – I wasn’t in any way implying that your post was other then helpful. I was just adding to the advice given as I recall that time so well when i wanted to feel ‘something’. I have friends who are in such a place now and see them aching for what/who they once were. And I tell them that you might not recover the ‘you’ whom you think you have lost in entirety but what will replace the facets you think you have lost will be just as valuable.

    I am sorry if I gave any other impression.

  725. Evy Says:

    Doreen :)
    No worries , I appreciate and I’m sure everyone on here loves your advice and I can’t thank you enough :) I’ll say it again , when someone is recoverd their so busy and happy that this site won’t even pop in their head ! So we all are so thankful , I was just trying to say that although ” getting on and floating ” is the right thing and the only simple thing we have to do , it can seem so far to us when were so down and having dp I try to give examples of going out there and living , instead of just sitting and making it worse ! I remember you Doreen from 5 years ago when I had anxiety at my worse , apparently you did something correct , and that’s accept and not feed it , ima here again because I did things wrong ! Again thank you

    Blessings and lets not loose hope

  726. Nolan Says:

    Hi Jacqui,

    Make no mistake…. I still had intense fear and complete doubt that this is actually going to help me. I didn’t just say “I’m going to not care anymore” and have some switch magically flip in my head.
    The fear would make my stomach clench. I’d sweat. I’d run to the bathroom more times than I thought humanly possible.

    But, I didn’t need to convince myself not to be afraid. I simply was afraid. I just need to carry all of that with me and let it be there…. while no longer letting that fear and doubt dictate my actions.

    I would go to bed when I wanted to. If my mind was racing a million miles in a million different directions and flood with intense fear…. then that was simply how things would be for me.

    I made my life less about me and more about others in my life. If I didn’t get much sleep, oh well – I’m done putting any more effort into feeding the fear. Oh it can still be there, but I’m not a puppet to it anymore.

    It took awhile. Slowly things started making more sense, and then a set back would come. But, I started to realize that I had no direct control over that. But, I can control my behaviors. My immediate/reactive thoughts can be one way, and that’s fine…. but my actions and behaviors are mine. I get to decide those. So, sleep or no, I’m living my life like I used to. Flooded with fear or no, I’m living my life like I want to.

  727. Nolan Says:

    Hi again, Jacqui.

    You said:

    “For example I was walking the dog, all my thoughts are sleep based. I try to change my attitude to a “so what”. But it’s not going through.”

    Let your thoughts go wherever they want to go, but don’t let them dictate your actions. Those thoughts are immediate, right? Meaning, you’re not willfully deciding that “I think I’m going to take a moment to reflect on sleep issues”. They’re just BOOM there in your head and the grab complete hold of your attention. So let them do that.

    Here’s one thing that happened with me:
    I’m mowing the lawn, it’s a beautiful day, I would typically love this time…. but my mind is swooning with this negative activity related to the fear of sleep.
    In the past I may have stopped mowing the lawn, went inside to ‘try to work it out’, hop online…. start asking all of the blogs, forum, and e-friends their advice. And then begrudgingly go back to mowing the lawn.

    Not this time though: Now I’m letting the fears be there and effect me in very real ways. I don’t start chasing them around in my head though. I don’t force my attention to be back on the lawn, but I’m still paying attention to the work that I’m doing with mowing. If my thoughts drift back to the fear: fine…. I mean, what else could I even do to stop that? I don’t let those fears dictate my action (I’m NOT going inside, I’m not trying to work it out, I’m not looking for all of my safety sources)….. it can be there as long as it wants to, but I’m still mowing this lawn. And afterwards I might go for a walk…. fear with me or not.

  728. Emma Says:

    Hello everyone,

    I have been gone for quite some time now. Seeing many new names, welcome. I’ve been meaning to write. This blog was part of my support system in healing for so long. I know that for some, it is all they have…

    Since November I’ve gone through a difficult period with my boyfriend of 4+ years ending out relationship, having to move and find a new place to live, grieving the loss of love, being new at my job, etc. I thought, definitely, this was going to finish me. It didn’t, it hasn’t, it will not.

    I do not suffer from anxiety anymore. I’ve had anxiety since January 2011. I have had every single symptom that has been covered in these comments since this blog started. Panic, DP, DR, depression, relationship ocd, intrusive thoughts (any theme you can imagine from fear of the big S, fear of bipolar, fear of not being able to cope, the list goes on and on.). You name it. I’ve had it. In my experience with anxiety some of these symptoms would be totally new to me and would manifest during setbacks, and I would believe I was developing a “new” anxiety problem. However, I’ve learned that it’s the SAME anxiety, it just takes on a new form. It’s the same internal discomfort.

    In order to overcome anxiety, what Paul says is true. Let it go. It’s about non-doing. There comes a point, where you have to have faith, even if you don’t believe it will get better, you just have to throw it up to the sky and say “You deal with it. I’m going to live now.” And you live your life, and it’s not comfortable because the anxiety is still there, the thoughts are there, or the depression-feeling is there, the weight of it, you feel like you’re dragging it with you — but you keep going. You acknowledge that you’re uncomfortable, you turn to your pain and say “I see you and you can stay” and you invite it to stay. Your anxiety is not going to leave until you utterly accept it. Accepting anxiety doesn’t mean the anxiety is going to leave you. Forget that idea, that anxiety will leave you, throw that notion away, anxiety is staying. Accepting means you surrender to its presence in your life and you CHOOSE to continue living.

    And perhaps you’re living with it, you’re living your life alongside the anxiety and it still isn’t shifting, and you’re thinking “I have surrendered to it, I’m trying to live my life alongside it but the thoughts continue, the depression comes back, the dp is still here.” Then you haven’t fully accepted have you? Acceptance happens when ALL mood states are acceptable. I wrote this poem (lame I know):

    Embrace your suffering,
    The void there,
    The emptiness inside,
    The damp cloud above you,
    is as valid, is as worthy,
    is as equal to,
    the bliss you once knew.

    Acceptance takes practice, it really comes down to re-wiring your brain. On a neurological level, right now your mind is using the same pathways in reacting to your anxiety. Right now, brain is just defaulting to the anxious pathway — but with practice, we create new pathways that will eventually become the brain’s default mode. In western society, we simply just don’t have a developed enough notion of practice, of ritual. When your the anxiety comes, when you have a setback, you have to show up to practice. Those default pathways aren’t going to build themselves, you have to invite your anxiety back, and you will do it, over and over and over again, until you have healed.

    Whether you’ve had anxiety for 4 months of 14 years, anxiety is part of us, it should not be perceived as a monster, it is a teacher in healing and should be regarded with far less resistance. We are not taught in modern society, that pain, fear and other difficult feelings that cause emotional discomfort are completely acceptable — we are conditioned to perceive them as bad or dangerous even, we fear what we feel (and think). The total irony in all this is that when we begin to change our perception of these thoughts and feelings and view them as non-threatening and unobjectionable, when we banalize them, they begin to soften and they lose their power.

    This all takes courage and you are all courageous and you are all fully and completely capable of tolerating this anxiety — better yet, to befriend your anxiety.

    Above, when I said “I do not suffer from anxiety anymore” — I mean that I do not ‘SUFFER’ from it. I still experience anxious periods, I still go through low mood periods, I have small bouts of dp here and there, but I do not suffer. There will always be pain, but there need not be suffering. You can feel anxious, but you need not suffer from it. I now live these mental/emotional states as fully as I live my anxiety-free states, I embrace them as gladly as I would any other feeling or thought. That is recovery. And tomorrow I could wake up with the break in my soul that my progress has completely fallen apart, and that would be okay. Because, one some level guys, the point is to be okay with the moment you’re living right now, as it is, simply as it is — whatever it is — without trying to change it, without striving to feel better, without striving for anything different. Turn and confront the present moment and be okay with it, let it be.

  729. Nolan Says:

    “so what” is reflected in your behaviors: what you ultimately decide to do when the pressure is amped up.
    If it were reflected in your thoughts (your immediate/reflexive thoughts) then this wouldn’t even be an issue, right? You would have successfully flipped the switch and all would be well. But, all is not well…. not at the moment.

    Let “so what” reflect in your behaviors. And let it reflect in your behaviors by how you live you life.

    In time your thoughts and mental states will be flowing in that direction too. You’re not there now, and that’s okay.

  730. Michael Says:

    Nolan –

    Hope you see this!

    I just wondered if you had ever experienced DP/DR and if you’d ever been through feelings of emotional flatness and detachment. If so, what are your thoughts on it? How did you overcome it? I know that’s quite a broad set of questions, but feel free to give a broad answer. I feel like I’m doing well, but this feeling still has power over me.

  731. Nolan Says:

    Hi Michael,

    I had both…. but they didn’t bother me as much as the sleep issue. They bothered me, but just not as much.

    And that’s the theme with anxiety: the thing that you let dictate your actions and your willful intention is the thing that lingers the longest.

    I had many symptoms:
    Depression, DR/DP, insomnia, constant breathing awareness, constant swallowing awareness (even constant blinking awareness after I read that that was a thing for someone), bodily shakes, racing mind, constant music playing in my head (like a small part of a song that plays over and over), social anxiety, intrusive violent thoughts…..

    I didn’t like ANY of those things, but the sleep issue is what lorded over my life. So those other issues didn’t last nearly as long. And in time they meant little to nothing for me.

    I’ve read about people who had all of those issues (or very similar) and the sleep issue didn’t bug them all that much, but the social anxiety did bother them the most: guess which issue lasted for them?

    It’s the one that dictates our actions the most. It’s the one that makes us cancel our plans, makes up start willfully chasing it around in our head, the one that prompts us to keep bringing the issue up online or to others.

  732. Joseph Says:

    Nolan: with the intense fear you experienced, did it ever manifest itself in panic attacks? I know not everyone gets them even with bad anxiety, but that’s my problem at the moment. I have obsessive thoughts, mainly revolving around religious and relational issues, and when I sit trying to figure them all out I feel awful, but when I don’t I feel worse and it can develop into a panic attack–like I feel something awful will happen if I don’t get to the bottom of this (and I’m not even certain about what the ‘this’ is). Should I just let myself panic then, still refusing to analyze/figure out what’s causing that nagging feeling in tge back of my mind–that terrible itch to figure it all out?

  733. Michael Says:

    Thanks for the response, Nolan. It’s genuinely reassuring, although I know that feeling never lasts!

    Just to reflect on what you say, it makes so much sense. In the last few weeks, I’ve had a lot of what you describe and other things as well, but they’ve either come and gone or remained but lost their power over me. I’ve lost my fear of so much of what initially clobbered me and left me in hospital.

    But this feeling of emotional flatness has been my focus for weeks now and I haven’t been able to lose that fear, or even to properly live alongside it. At the moment, it has the upper hand.

    Sleep is an interesting one. I’ve always been a rubbish sleeper, so it doesn’t bother me too much, although I find getting up very hard. There’s a couple of things I’ve found that have helped me sleep better, or even just relax better at night. They won’t help everyone, but they helped me.

    1) I may actually have read this in a comment here, or perhaps in a book, but a big help in my attitude to sleep was to stop seeing it as my preparation for the next day and to start seeing it as my reward for the day just gone. This meant I stopped worrying how I would feel “tomorrow” and instead felt more settled.

    2) In relation to the previous point, and regardless of whether I slept well or not, I made bedtime something to look forward to and enjoy. I make my bed as cozy as possible and I see bed as my sanctuary from the world, even from anxiety itself. This isn’t a ‘do’ to make my anxiety or DP better. It’s just something that stopped me struggling at night. Sometimes I put the radio on. Sometimes I read. Sometimes I do things not considered conducive to good sleep, like fiddle with my phone or watch TV, but the point is, it’s made bedtime a happy place for me. I just lie back and relax, and now sleep usually finds me.

    If only the mornings felt so good…

  734. Evy Says:

    Emma :)
    Thank you for taking the time ! Feels so good to read your post and recovery !! Your blessed and the wonderful thing is you never lost faith

    Thank you a ton

  735. Jacqui Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    Thank you for responding, it means a lot.

    Yes your right I can change my behaviours, this is my aim.
    For example last night I woke at 12.40, partner went to the loo and must have disturbed me. What did I do? Jumped out of bed and tried to fix it, taking pills and smoking. Did it work? No!! I’ve thrown the meds in the bin and there’s no alcohol in the house. I suppose it’s facing my fears that needs to be done.
    Two coffees later I don’t feel too bad. Got a busy day ahead, going to get on with it.
    Thanks again

  736. Nolan Says:

    Hi Jacqui,
    Just remember to try to be understanding and patient with what your body is going through. It’s not fun, but (and you’ll have to trust me here), I believe a day will come when you’ll look back on days like this and actually be thankful for them. Maybe even reflecting on them somewhat fondly. It sounds crazy. I would have incredulously dropped my jaw if someone said that to me when I was suffering. But, here I am. I do view those times somewhat fondly now. They were moments that lead me to a growth of character that would have been impossible otherwise. Someday you’ll get what I’m trying to say.

    I had a medicine cabinet filled with those sienna colored medicine bottles. I hated opening that cabinet to see those, reflecting the broken person I had become.

    I remember the last prescription the p-doc wrote for me: Rozerem.
    In 3 months time she had me on: Xanax, Lexapro, Ambien, Ambien CR, Clonopin, Trazadone, Lunesta…. (and this doesn’t even mention all of the OTCs and herbals and vitamins I took).
    I left my appointment and it was dark outside already (I think it was late March). I was driving back to my house, debating whether to fill the prescription first or drive home. I was exhausted, so I decided to go home first.

    I come in the house and my wife is putting our son to bed. I was standing in the living room on an area rug. I took the prescription out of my pocket and stared at it. A feeling of resolve overcame me and I ripped that prescription up.
    Never once did any of that crap ever make me feel better. I hated what I had become. I decided at that moment that I would rather die than ever take another one of those pills again. At least I would die knowing the person I was again: beaten and broken, fine…. but not a zombie in a perpetual druken stupor; masking only what was visible to others but still ever apparent to my own mind.

    I had no plan. I always had this mental image of me in a boat, lost at sea and at the mercy of a terrible storm. So I would just drift about, buffeted by the waves.

    A friend I had met on another online forum (related to anxiety, sleep issues, and depression) reached out to me one morning after this drug-free decision and suggested I read Paul David’s book.
    I had no interest at all. I read more than enough books, online articles, blog posting. None of it helped, why would this Paul David’s book be any different?
    He pushed the issue and that morning I decided “why not? I’ve got nothing else to do”.
    Reading that book was the beginning of a new chapter for me.
    It was a very rocky start. Ups and downs. Downs that momentarily convinced the ups were fake. I somehow learned of Paul’s blog and started flooding it with posts. I would make so many different user names that I would post under simply to get more people to talk about my issues.

    I’m rambling on now. Forgive me.

  737. Kat Says:

    Hello all,

    I’m just popping in to say a quick hello to everyone. I don’t post regularly, and can go for months at a time without posting at all, but I often check in just to keep myself on track using the good advice on the site.

    As some may know, my backstory is that I’ve been suffering with anxiety for many years, with good periods and bad periods throughout. I have tried many different methods to solve the problem, but time really appears to be the best one overall. Currently, I am seeing a doctor who uses many of the same ideas that Paul does, and while it hasn’t been an easy road, I have seen marked improvement.

    This past Christmas was tough for me, with symptoms seemingly coming alive and roaring. I didn’t feel anywhere near normal until I returned to work, which was a great disappointment, because I used to love taking vacation. Now, I’m on March Break, and after a period of feeling fairly good (I even went out with colleagues one evening and enjoyed myself; I’m something of an agoraphobe usually), and I can feel the symptoms coming alive again. I have been ill with the flu, and haven’t been able to get out and do things, but I am so frustrated that I can’t seem to relax and be alone with my thoughts without anxiety invading and taking my life over again. This is my greatest obstacle.

    Despite my progress, I can’t shake those thoughts that one day I will be completely incapacitated by this problem, that if I haven’t bested it by now, I never will. Why is it that I can’t enjoy quiet time at home? Why am I always monitoring how I’m feeling despite knowing it’s the wrong thing to do? Frustrating really is the only word for it.

    I usually race over the comments on this blog that are all to do with suffering. I know how it feels and reading about it over and over does not help me at all. I prefer to read the comments of those who are making progress because it inspires me to believe I can do the same.

    So, yes, I’m complaining a bit, BUT, I feel I need to point out to those who are also suffering that you will improve with time. Though I’m having a rough patch today, I have had many days when I was feeling pretty good, and I’ve had every symptom imaginable over the course of many years. Read the comments of those who are recovered or who are on their way to recovering. These are the words which will lead you out.

    My reason for writing was twofold: one, I wanted to get some reassurance about the resurgence of my symptoms which seem to come on when I have time to think, and two, I wanted to provide a bit of comfort to those of you who are currently struggling. Yes, I need reassurance, but that’s what the blog is here for, so I’m using it. That said, I haven’t needed to ask for a while, and to me that means progress is happening. I still fall victim to “what if…” thoughts, but as my doctor pointed out, I’ve finely crafted my response to “what if?…” for years, so it’s not going to go overnight. I wish I could recover faster, but my journey is different from yours, and while I get impatient, a lot, I still know that this is the only way to go.

    I hope that this post made some sense. Still dealing with foggy head from the flu, so I apologize if it seems a bit disjointed. I guess I’m looking for a way to stay on track! Any thoughts on how to overcome scary/defeatist thinking?

    Take care,

    Kat

  738. Loraine Says:

    Hi Kat.
    Your replys helped me back in sept when relationship anxiety hit hard. I’m still not quite there but I saved your replys and they help
    To Refresh memory sometimes when set backs kick in. Other intrusives have gone but these thoughts are difficult of course I know truth but they drive me mad

  739. Dee Says:

    Hi just checking to ask does anyone find they can be having a conversation then think have I already told you this? And you haven’t but you think you have as you maybe thinking it but not actually said it?

    Does that make sense? Is this a symptom of anxiety?

    Thanks

  740. Melissa Says:

    Hey everyone,

    Today is a bad day. I am feeling so completely out of it. I am sitting at work and my head is spinning and I just keep thinking I am going crazy. I have extreme derealization. I know that I should just let it happen, but at this very moment it is so hard. I feel disoriented, like I should not be here. I cannot get any work done. I am in such a negative state. I feel like I do not recognize myself or anyone I work with. Am I going crazy or losing my mind? Help.

    :(

  741. Melissa Says:

    Hey everyone,

    Today is a bad day. I am feeling so completely out of it. I am sitting at work and my head is spinning and I just keep thinking I am going crazy. I have extreme derealization. I know that I should just let it happen, but at this very moment it is so hard. I feel disoriented, like I should not be here. I cannot get any work done. I am in such a negative state. I feel like I do not recognize myself or anyone I work with. Am I going crazy or losing my mind? Help. I do not know how to get out of this cycle.

    :(

  742. Julie W Says:

    Thank you Nolan for your last post to Jacqui. I haven’t been on here for a few days, but that is exactly what I needed to here today. Your post made me cry. The last 2-3 weeks have been really hard, and I hate to say it, but I was starting to take some prescription drugs more days than not in the last week to mask the symptoms. I am not a drug person and haven’t really done this before, i was just feeling fed up.

    This morning before I looked at this blog, I had already told myself that’s enough, I can’t be going down a bad path with using these drugs. I felt I had a dirty little secret that I was hiding from my family. Anyway, both you and Jacqui have not only confirmed my decision to get back on track without these drugs, but I felt a sense of relief that I’m not the only one getting so desperate that this is what you resort to.

    Thank you to both you and Jacqui. You will never know what your timely posts mean to me. It’s back to acceptance time. No more avoiding with prescription drugs.

  743. Michael Says:

    One of the things that gnaws at my mind a little is the fact I’m on medication and having CBT. I started both treatments before I even really knew what was wrong with me and I hadn’t come across Paul David at that point. I worry I’m getting in my mind and body’s way, but I don’t want to just ditch powerful medications without proper advice. I’ll talk to my GP but I’m sure she’ll tell me to stay on them.

    Is it always the case that these things get in the way and just make it worse? I’m on Sertraline and Propranolol.

  744. Jamie Says:

    I have had a frustrating day so feel the need to let off steam so here goes…

    Over the last couple of months by firstly adopting a “it doesn’t matter anymore” attitude I felt better than I had done in a long while. However, then I have a bad few days and get frustrated.

    I then just told myself that I was probably going to be like this forever and although this is negative, it actually took the edge off and helped…..for a short time and then I have a bad couple of days again.

    Recently, I have been reading an Eckhart Tolle book (for the second time) and watching a lot of his stuff on Youtube. He talks about staying present, focusing on your breath, living in the moment, noticing the thoughts and stepping back from them. Again this makes absolute sense as it is my thoughts that are constantly ‘bullying’ me and making me feel anxious / giving me headaches.

    I prob feel at my worst at work, felt quite anxious yesterday but slowed things down to make it manageable. I have gone in today, felt anxious most of the day and come from work with a really big tension headache, which I always get when I am overthinking / got too much going on in my head.

    To top it off, I arranged a date with someone last weekend for this Sat, which I am very anxious about (you see the pattern forming here?). Now I have spoken to this lady twice on the phone and we have been messaging each other loads. However, the constant messaging, conversations etc are now building my expectation and anxiety for the date more than ever for next Sat. She is commenting to me that I am logged into the dating app (and talking to other women) and I am doing the same to her. I actively chose to hardly send any messages last night (this exact same thing happened last year with another woman I went on a couple of dates and that all got too intense and stopped) and she is messaging me today asking if she had upset me.

    I don’t know, all of this sloshing around my head has just given me a really bad head and I am still moving from one approach to another to try and get my way through each day / week. Surely there is a place for something like mindfulness or do I just not read any self-help books, not meditate, not go to the gym (I go as it helps me feel better) and just accept everything and do nothing about it ?

    Sorry about the rant :(

  745. Jacqui Says:

    Hi Michael

    Don’t beat yourself up. Once your feeling better you can slowly come off the AD’s. I don’t think they will effect your recovery. That’s my plan anyway! If it takes me a year to come off them, then so be it. My grandma was on them for years and she lived till she was 90.
    Be kind to yourself

  746. Julie W Says:

    Hi Michael,
    I agree with Jacqui. The meds I was talking about were sleeping pills and other sedatives (ant-anxiety meds) that are not for daily use and can become addictive. Those seem to be the ones Jacqui and Nolan were referring to also. I know this is not ment to be a forum on medications, I was just thanking Nolan and Jacqui for their honesty and comments.

  747. Jacqui Says:

    Hi Julie W
    Your welcome! We are not alone, and contributing to this blog is helpful. I’ve never had the confidence to do so before. But it’s kind of free therapy!
    Hi Nolan
    Once again thanks for your inspirational words.

  748. Tim Says:

    Hey Michael,

    For the sake of honesty i’m not a fan of medication, I don’t think its necessary to cure anxiety. That said I think you could make great progress while taking meds if you follow the right path. CBT again, I don’t really like but I think for some people it could provide them the insight they need. You can still make progress if you keep the right attitude.

    Jamie: Set backs are incredibly normal, they are talked about in every book. I’m still having moments where I feel like crap. In general though i’m feeling better 90% worse 10%. Before using the method it was more like feeling bad 95% good 5%. This is how I know this method works. That’s why letting time pass is so important. You have to keep following the method when you get lost and your mind will slowly unwire itself.

    Personally for me I think the most beautiful thing about the method is its incredibly simple. Its easy to understand for the mind riddled with anxiety. I loved Ekhart tolles books and teachings. He is right, your thoughts are not you, they are just strange creations of the mind. Fusing (believing) them is very problematic. I just find his teachings too complicated. They never set me free. I would recommend just following only a simple set of principles like Pauls, and forget everything else.

    The acceptance that paul teaches actually teaches and a “oh well, so what” attitude that gives a practical way you to step away behind the waterfall of thoughts naturally.

    Remember what Paul says, its the trying to fix yourself that’s keeping you anxious. Its your “Jumping from one technique to another.” You are trying to use mantras and sayings and thoughts as a technique to feel better but this is not quite it. Basically every second post on this forum is people asking if “x symptom is anxiety?”. I think ive got better because I KNOW its all anxiety and I KNOW its my thoughts doing it to myself.

    I know what you’re saying re meditation / gym / self help books. I would definitely avoid self help books. I’ve literally read 100’s, they wont help. The only books id read are Pauls, Claire weekes and dare by barry mcdonagh.

    Id definitely keep going to the gym. Physical exercise is great for you, it keeps you looking great and occupied. Just don’t expect it to make you feel better in the short term (eg getting rid of anxiety). If you think “I’m doing this for long term benefits” that’s a great and healthy attitude mate.

    Meditation – hmm that’s a confusing one for me. I used to mediate a lot. I think meditation is probably really healthy and great for you. It is supposed to teach you to notice the thought stream and not to react / interact with it. This would be great for anxiety sufferers because we need to be comfortable with letting our thoughts just do their thing. but..

    I have totally stopped mediating. It became a technique (as you said). I thought “ohh ive not meditated yet today!” and put pressure on myself. It also made me focus internally and with anxiety I lost myself and what I was really doing. I started worrying if I was meditating correctly, was I getting it?, was it working?”. We humans are very impatient, we expect things to work very quickly. It just became another thing I did that focused on myself, and to be honest i’m sick to death of focusing on myself like i’m broken. So if you mediate for the right reasons go for it but it just confused me.

    I don’t really care about my sleep now, I drink coke (caffeine), don’t mediate, I eat KFC. While this is in a sense quite stupid as its bad for me, its also very freeing. I used to think “you have to control all this stuff Tim or anxiety will get you”. Well now I do it all and anxiety didn’t get me at all. Its the same with Pauls methods. When you realise you don’t have to do anything its really relieving :)

    Anyway, others may not agree with my controversial arguments but this is what helped me..

  749. Michael Says:

    Hi Tim,

    Not sure I see a lot of controversy in what you say. It strikes me as the same message repeatedly rammed home by all sorts of people on here. I actually considered meditation and then backed away. I won’t meditate until the only reason I do it is because I want to. Okay, yeah, it can be beneficial in life, but I know I’d just be chasing recovery. I’m just going to live my normal life, which would never involve meditation. You’re right about food, I’m sure. Yes, try to eat healthily. We all know its a key way to better general health. But I don’t see why anxiety should stop you going to KFC if you fancy it. One of the first things I did when I got my appetite back was go to my local Five Guys. I’d never eat there every day, but anxiety is not a reason to never go.

    As for medication, I really did only end up on it because I went to the doctor feeling ill and they gave me medicine. I just thought that’s what you do. On balance, I think the pills have helped me, but I’d rather not be on them and I won’t touch the Diazepam they keep giving me. On the other hand, the CBT is definitely helping me. I’m still allowing any and all thoughts to come – I’m just doing better at not catastrophising, and I’m to see other ways of thinking. Plus, it’s increased my ability to relax. But I’ve committed myself to not going in search of recovery. I just see it as an appointment to keep.

  750. Evy Says:

    Melissa:)
    I have experienced that as well where everyone looks so odd and strange , that is very common and is dp!! You are not going crazy , and it’s simply your mind is tired ! I haven’t been on here as much because I also feel that I need a break too ! The more you invite normal things in the more anxiety gets pushed to the side , I don’t know what helps people but as for me , walking and getting on with life alongside those feelings , I am sorry your going through that , sometimes dp reaches a level that’s embararble but even then , nothing will happen Melissa , nothing , it’s just and uncomfortable feeling nothing more nothing less ! Try not to pay so much attention to it , try to keep reminding yourself that your not going mad , and it will go away once you let it be … It happens to many of us , we just have to stay strong , because although these days feel horrible in the next months or years we will be thankful for te lesson it’s taught us

    Blessings and have faith

  751. Joseph Says:

    Uggghhh, I’m still struggling to grasp why my thoughts bother me so much when rationally I know they’re not true! I always get suckered into trying to figure them out/fight them cause the anxiety builds so intensely otherwise. any help/pointers from anyone? I’m getting so fed up with this…

  752. Belgian Says:

    A quick word from me.

    It’s been almost two years since I decided that anxiety would take over my life.

    I would not have wrote this sentence two years ago. Oh no. I really felt like a victim. Someone who had not any say on how to cope with anxiety and all of its devastating effects. I started fighting back of course and I looked for a specific enemy to tackle.

    So I started looking for stressing things in my life which caused my suffering and – obviously – I found them very quickly.

    Initially, I thought that facing them would mean that I had to understand them and that by my understanding, my suffering would end. I could not be any further from the truth…

    Understanding does not help you to get rid of anxiety if you are not willing to truly face and accept your emotions, thoughts and feelings. Understanding can pave the path to acceptance, but nothing more.

    Acceptance. It’s a simple concept, but a hard thing to ‘do’. In fact, it’s not a do, it’s an approach. A way of looking at it all. A way of living your emotions. A way of living you life.

    Acceptance holds the power for change. All your anxiety – like any other emotion – wants is to feel accepted, to feel welcome. To visit you. By accepting it and not fighting it, by creating room for it, ironically – in time – it will disappear.

    Everyone feels anxious at times. Just as everyone feels unhappy, sad, depressed. When you understand that all these emotions are human and not by themselves dangerous, you set the first step towards acceptance. It’s the first step towards not letting your life ruled solely by your (negative) emotions and the only way forward is by accept them as part of life.

    That is why I say I do had a say in letting anxiety taking over my life. Back then I did not understand and I must admit that sometimes I still tend to forget. For me, setbacks are periods in which I forgot the above. Not consciously, but emotionally.

    It’s all about expectations. If you expect never to feel down, sad or anxious anymore you must be kidding yourself. We tend to think that these feelings are signs of setbacks. They are not. They are normal feelings and it’s only by fighting them we create the monsters we dislike so much.

    Trust me, it’s not an easy path. Life isn’t always like that. Life can be very cruel. Acceptance doesn’t make your life beautiful at all times, but it does make it possible to see the beauty of any hardship.

    That is why Nolan now can say: “I believe a day will come when you’ll look back on days like this and actually be thankful for them.”

    We learn from our failures, our mistakes. We never stop growing. Not even in sorrow. We appreciate the good things in life much more when we have experienced the bad.

    It’s not what has happened to you that defines you, but the way you handle it. Take ownership for your life but don’t be too hard on yourself. We can’t control life. Accept even that.

    I wish you all the time that is needed to find your own path to acceptance. It’s a path that is there for EVERYONE. Also for YOU!

  753. Michael Says:

    I think it’s a slight misnomer sometimes that people suffering want or expect to never feel anxious again or to never feel low again. I remember being anxious before ‘anxiety’ and I used to have plenty of low moments. I was still happy. Life was good. All I really want from recovery is an end to these feelings of emotional flatness and emptiness, an end to the general weirdness I feel and to get back to my old self. My old self experienced anxiety, sadness, nausea etc. These are all parts of the human condition. I accept them. It’s not that I never want to feel them again. I just want to experience them proportionately and to get the old me back. I want to stop suffering.

  754. Belgian Says:

    Michael,

    In what you write you see very clearly the difference of knowing something on a conscious level and truly knowing something with your heart. I feel the conflict that lives within you.

    The suffering you are describing is nothing more than an exaggerated version of the feelings you correctly define as part of the ‘human condition’. Don’t get me wrong, I know it feels horrible. Only someone who has felt this too, can really relate to the awfulness of the experience.

    But – and this is key – it’s your attitude towards this suffering that is prolonging it and making it even harder to cope with. Your longing to become your old self again, to experience those feelings “proportionally” comes into conflict with your own emotional reality. And it’s this conflict that is causing even more anxiety.

    So, try to stop struggling and accept your ‘current human condition’. I know this isn’t easy, but I assure you it will work.

  755. Debbie Says:

    Hi did anyone just keep getting words that just keep popping in your head that have nothing to do with anything .

  756. Evy Says:

    Belgian :)????

    Your post was incredible !! (Picture me applauding ) I love the fact that you got off the topic of physical symptoms and went straight to the point of why we developed anxiety and how we should handle it so that it won’t stay !! Because the “symptoms ” which are fake , cannot harm us , we should try to address the reason and cause ! I believe we shouldn’t dwell on the past either , but like you said confronting your emotions torwards your past hurt , I think that had been the reason I have had anxiety for so long because there were things on my childhood that I haven’t forgaven and also feed it with so much emotions that are so draining , I need to confront them by ACCEPTING them and throwing them in the ocean where they belong , far away ! You do not understand how much your words changed a lot of habits in thinking I was doing wrong , I can’t stress it enough ! Thank you to Paul for this I’m literally tearing of joy as I’m typing ! Joy that I belive we will all get this one day , and mannnnnnn does it feel great

    Blessings and thank you Belgian your words were on point !

  757. Belgian Says:

    Evy,

    so glad to hear that my post was able to help you in some way. One of the reasons I love coming back to this forum is to share what I have learned/am learning with others. I am not a religious person, but I do believe that the ability to share knowledge and wisdom is probably the most divine gift we humans have received. It should be used whenever it seems fit.

    Also, helping others with similar problems throughout and even beyond our own suffering helps us to accept the loss of the things we lost during our difficult times. It’s yet another beautiful gift, anxiety can bring to our lives.

    After this experience, I am able to share my views also with people who are not suffering from anxiety as I do see they are often struggling too with themselves. Wisdom does not come directly with age, nor are you born with it. It comes through sorrow, pain, grief, happiness, luck, love, broken heart, smiles and tears. It comes through truly living life. The more you live, the more you grow.

    So, as much as I do like your reply, my suggestion would not be to ‘throw it all in the ocean’. ‘Far, far away’. On the contrary. I suppose these things are now seeking shelter very close to your heart. By accepting them, eventually there will be room in your heart and mind for those memories and past feelings too. They are important and not something to throw away. They are part of you, but that doesn’t mean they should define you completely. They should not be as heavy as stones around our hearts, but they should feel as light as clouds.

    It’s not easy to accept this past suffering. It can be very tricky as there are many forms and shapes in which it can come back. But just as anxiety is always just anxiety, a memory is always nothing more than just a memory. A past event. It’s our present reaction to it that creates our own reality and these reactions can be automatic even subconscious. By understanding this, gradually I feel more at ease to let go whenever I feel odd, anxious or sad.

    Don’t think for a second that I am some kind of Buddha, truly living every word I say about this. :) I do struggle sometimes. I do let anxiety get a hold of me at times. But it’s not a goal in life for me never to experience this again. It’s like Paul said: be open to any state and you are truly free.

  758. Evy Says:

    Belgian :)

    You are right , my past hurt and I mean “hurt” is something that has taught me so much , to the point where I still tear talkig. About it , but like you say it’ something that is only a memory and I will forever learn from it no matter how painful it is , again thank you , your words are beyond amazing , you don’t understand how many mistakes I’ve done for the past 15 years !! It’s time I do thing slight different , as the old Evy will slowly transform , I know it’s not gonna be easy , but it’s gonna be good :)

    Thank you

  759. Tasnim Says:

    Debbie,

    Yes! They’re more like thoughts of sentences that I’ll catch myself thinking, and I’ll have no idea why I’m thinking. Very random. It gets stronger at night though, when I’m sleepy, and it feeds into my fear. I gey scared because it feels like I’m going to hear voices because they can be vivid at night

  760. Debbie Says:

    Tasnim thanks i get scared when when they happen they can be vulgar too..

  761. ChrisH Says:

    Dear all,

    I just wanted to write this to let you all know that Pauls advice is real. It works and it helps. Below I have outlined my story in the hope that you will realise it will happen to you, there is light at the end of the tunnel for every one of us! I feel its important for those of us who have come through it to help those who are going through it.

    Firstly a little about me: My name is Chris. My anxiety was initially triggered by the stress of a new job, I felt under extreme pressure and I cuoldnt cope. I couldnt sleep, I was sick, not eating and couldnt work out what was wrong with me. I am a realitively intelligient individual and hence I could work out that something wasnt right! I did as any normal person would do and started to work out what was wrong with me (MISTAKE No. 1!!!). I analysed my thoughts over and over again, naturally it got worse. By this time I went to my GP and was told that I was fine. But I of course new better.

    Around this time I also moved in with my Girlfriend – another stressful life event. A few weeks after I left the job. By now I was financially, personally and mentally under so much stress plus I couldnt work out what was wrong with me (see how it all built up?)! Everyone kept telling me I was fine but I didnt believe it.

    I started getting intrusive thoughts and felt I was going completely mad. I thought at this point my life was over. I had ruined my own life and all those around me as I could no longer be the person they loved.

    This living hell went on and on and on. I lost weight, friends and interests. I saw numerous Dr’s. Read hundreds of web pages and forum posts over and over again – nothing worked. Then something happened. I followed Pauls advice.

    I GAVE UP.

    I cannot say that loud enough. I just gave up. I stopped caring about how I felt because I realised that the more I tried to think how to feel the more anxiety I felt. This was not easy especially when thoughts and fears etc feel so real and intense particularly if they are about loved ones or your own health.

    Time passed. I had anxiety left right and centre, but I didnt mind. I still had anxiety related behaviour but I kept plodding along and slowly but surely I got better.

    I cannot lie to you and say that anxious thoughts and feelings are not there – they are – but they do not matter any more and as such they are not there anymore (I know that doesn’t seem to make sense but it will!).

    Now, I am fully living my life, I am now me – albeit a much more wise and slightly modified individual

    What can you do to help yourself? – ARSE!!

    Anxiety is nothing but ARSE!! It is and ARSE and makes you feel like ARSE.

    But embrace the ARSE!!

    ACCEPT – Accept you have anxiety
    REALISE
    SEE
    EXIST

    Accept you have anxiety
    Realise – out of all the worrying you have done, how much has come true?
    See your anxiety for what it is – Something that is extremely horrible but is a total liar.
    Exist – Live along side it, any uncomfortable feelings eventually pass. Accept this and live with it.

    I promise you if you can get to this stage where you feel it but just get on with everything, you are going to be just fine

    This may take a while, or it might be quicker for you – It truly doesnt matter – You will be just fine! Ocassionally you may look back and realise “wow I have come so far!” – This will be all the motivation you will need to realise you are on the right path.

    I truly truly truly hope this can be of some help to at least one person. I know that when you are in the midst of it words of encouragement can help you get through some of the toughest days so I hope this has helped. In my darkest of days I took solace in the fact that (statistically) my suffering meant that one other person somewhere else doesnt have to go through this! We are all amazing for going through this and we will all get better in time

    Peace and love to all (and remember……ARSE!!)

    Chris

  762. Jamie Says:

    Thanks for the comments Tim. Muchly appreciated.

    As I feel my thoughts (be in conscious or unconscious) are my main issue as I am constantly projecting into the future and predicting worrying / negative events happening or thinking about my past, this is an area I should do something about. When I read / listen to mindfulness / Eckhart Tolle, it makes so much sense. This is why I feel I should try and distance myself from the thoughts, meditate, be present and so on.

    As I understand why some of the things happen to me, I feels not right to do nothing about it, if that makes sense ?

  763. Joseph Says:

    Hi everybody!

    So…I just made the choice to abandon certain religious beliefs I’ve held for a long time. I think they were impeding my progress with anxiety and figured that any religious belief system that made me feel do fearful/ guilty all the time couldn’t be true. I’m sure I’ll be bombarded by “what-if” questions (” what if I’m wrong in this?” etc.) and feel fearful about all this for a while. I’m just looking for encouragement that the same method paul advises for other fearful thoughts will work for this as well. Thanks in advance! :)

  764. Tim Says:

    Debbie: yep that’s very normal. Your brain is a thought machine, it never ends. People have in the realm of 50,000 thoughts per day. That’s why you shouldn’t always believe them or take them seriously.

    Belgian:
    I wonder if ive reached total acceptance yet.. Ive accepted that I can’t change my thoughts, ive accepted that anything I “do” to fix will make them worse. Ive realised that its all just anxiety and brain energy, nothing more. I get out of my own way when anxious thoughts start and I don’t really care about them.

    Yet there are moments when anxiety still gets the better of me and I get caught up. Just yesterday I went to the gym and to my mums birthday, and felt like shit. I didn’t like it much. I never forget what ive learnt though and always remind myself and practice the right perspective. As you said its all just part of being human.

    I am going to stop posting here for a bit now, as I think ive lost some coherency. I’ll be back at some point to say hi. Id like to leave you with a positive though.

    The greater part of yesterday and all today ive felt fantastic. I just keep noticing that ive forgotten to be anxious. I do so many things automatically now that would have made me scared. I never would have imagined it. Its a real gift to have suffered for so long and finally find some peace. There are large bits of me that keep seeping through now. Im crying right now actually, because my hope springs eternal.

    :)

  765. Michael Says:

    Hi all,

    I just wondered if anyone had any thoughts on this.

    Over the past three weeks I’ve been doing quite well. The physical symptoms that so knocked me for six have dropped off and I can say hand on heart that I’ve lost my fear of most of them. I’ve had moments of real peace and clarity.

    However, my mind has never felt quite right. Even this hasn’t been getting to me too much. But the last two days have been really tough and I can’t shake my worry that there’s something seriously wrong up there. The feeling I have is one of emotional flatness – an absence of feeling. I don’t experience happiness or sadness. No joy, no terror. Believe me, I’d even take terror at the moment. It feels like there’s something physical in my head blocking me from my feelings. The thing is, I know there isn’t. For one thing, I got the results of an MRI scan on my brain back yesterday and the only thing they noticed is a bit of sinusitis, which didn’t concern them. So I have the all clear on anything frightening, especially allied to all the tests I had in hospital.

    I’m worrying that I have a mental condition more serious than anxiety, like I’m developing serious depression or just plain going mad. I keep freaking out that sooner or later I’m going to develop psychosis. I know that anti-depressant medication can sometimes bring on these weird, detached feelings, but I can’t come off them yet and I’m scared to do so incase they’re all that’s holding me back from breaking down.

    Can anyone else relate to this feeling? Is it normal anxiety? Any thoughts appreciated as always.

  766. Bryan Says:

    Joseph,

    People with faith recover just as easily as those without. Some say it even helps them more to be able to release the concern to God.

    What are you asking exactly?

  767. Bryan Says:

    Tim, that’s awesome! Enjoy and keep up the good work.

  768. Loraine Says:

    Hi Belgian
    I noticed that you have suffered relationship anxiety for me this has been my worst symptom it goes few weeks then back again I know that I’m not truly accepting as I still complain about it. After nearly 2 years it drives me mad any tips

  769. Steve b Says:

    Chris. Haha. Love it!
    I am having a terrible few days after believing I had recovered. Oh how anxiety can trick you. That had cheered me up.

  770. Nick R Says:

    Hi Steve B,

    Very clever! Ha!

    You are still focussed on recovering, otherwise it wouldnt bother you if you were recovered yes or no, you wouldnt be interested in how you felt, Tarmo wrote a great story about this in Paul’s first book. ‘After a while I recognized DP and all symptoms havent even been there for a while, how crazy I didnt notice it? Well the truth is, because I have been living life and not been paying any respect or interest in my feelings I havent noticed it passing’

    if you do well then you dont even focus on it :).

    Best!

  771. Mark W Says:

    Hi everyone just introducing myself I did post the other week but it disappeared. I guess it wasn’t allowed. My story started in late 2011 when riding my motorcycle I had an out of the blue panic attack which led me to the ER. This was the worse day of my life my BP was 230/120 . I had a full medical and was informed I had a panic attack. Over the next month I had another 3 attacks which again I attended the hospital.
    My GP sent me for every test he could think of all came up clear. I was given medication for the panic which was a Godsend. I only took this when I was at my worse.
    Over the next few years they went away and except for periods of nervousness I have been pretty good.
    However about 6 weeks ago I was out on my bike sitting at a set of traffic lights when I had another panic attack it was horrible I kept some medication in my wallet which I haven’t had to use for over a year. After about 20 mins I was okay and continued on with my day.
    Since then I have read Pauls book and Dr Clare weekes and to say they have been a revelation to me I realised no one had ever told me what was happening to me Drs have always said to me you are fine it’s just anxiety.
    As anyone on here knows anxiety is a nightmare. I finally feel a lot better now accepting it and letting time past it makes so much sense. I have been practicing mindfulness which I find really helpful when I feel anxious.
    I truly believed I had some horrible illness which the Drs haven’t found yet despite all my medical tests. I feel just knowing what is happening to me during panic truly helps even though it’s not easy! There is obviously a lot more to my story. I wish a Dr could have explained to me what my symptoms meant.
    I get mild pain in the centre of my chest with an awful feeling that I could only describe as a surge down both my arms which gives me pins and needles and a feeling like I’m going to pass out. I wonder how many people get this symptom? To me it’s the scariest and I only get it when my anxiety is at its worse.
    I’ve been reading these posts for a while and I wish everyone the best in their recovery.

  772. Joseph Says:

    Hi everyone,

    When dealing with distressing obsessive thoughts is it normal, in the beginning, is it normal for them to stick around all day even when accepting?. I’ve noticed that I will be feeling awful and anxious from them, then the fear,at some point peaks, then I feel calmer and can to an extent see the thoughts in a clear light–sometimes I even can laugh at how ridiculous they are. But then later in the day–sometimes within hours, sometimes 20 minutes–they are bothering me again. Is this a normal experience in the beginning?

  773. Doreen Says:

    Think this indicates that you are not accepting. You are monitoring how you feel and wishing for the thoughts to go away.

  774. Jamie Says:

    Hi Doreen

    I get torn between just accepting all of the thoughts and feelings and giving myself a bit of positive talk e.g. “I can do this (an upcoming event I am anxious event)” or “my life is bigger than anxiety” – just 2 examples.

    Any thoughts ?

  775. Melissa Says:

    Hey everyone,

    This may be a weird question, but does it ever happen to anyone that when you are feeling DP/DR or just plain anxious that you look in the mirror and can barely recognize yourself?

  776. honey Says:

    Steve b this is my biggest fear and what stood me accepting this and moving forward… never getting better or worse getting better and then suddenly it coming back after thinking you’re fully recovered. How long were you recovered for before this new episode?

  777. honey Says:

    Melissa I get this too sometimes. It’s weird but it is you in the mirror so you have to just accept that it’s weird. I actually remember before I was unwell I looked at myself for ages in the mirror I would think is that me? So I don’t actually think it’s that strange because if you over analyse anything for too long it becomes weird or seems more than it is.

  778. Pietro Says:

    Hey everyone,

    Do you think it’s important to step away from the subject of anxiety while accepting? For instance, if I’m accepting, would it mean to not come on here anymore? I feel like it would mean that, because to come here would be “trying to figure it out” or “trying to do something about it”. But I think a lot may disagree with me…I have OCD, so I think I see things in a cut-and-dry way…I wish I weren’t such a perfectionist….

  779. Jacob Says:

    @Chris

    Saw your post way up there. The thing about school is I don’t think I’m being “too hard on myself” cause everything I am trying to do is something I was easily able to do prior to getting any symptoms. So my symptoms essentially prevent me from achieving my best!–my grades are evidence of this! Its like how will I get into a top grad school/top internship with all of this. That was the path I was headed before it started.

    Anyways–I still feel “obsesssed” about finding a cause for all this. I know Paul talked about how too many people focus on the symptoms without looking for the cause on his facebook. For me its almost like the opposite–I’m focusing on the cause which i’m not able to pinpoint very well (other than meds). I actually hope Paul makes a post about this kind of stuff at some point–where the cause was not “worrying” our way into it or through stress but rather something else. Would be nice to hear what he has to say for those whose problems began with a medication/substance reaction rather than stress/trauma/worry.

  780. Michael Says:

    Hi everybody,

    I just want to be clear before I start that I appreciate this is a comment section on a post on Paul David’s blog, not my own personal blog to seek constant reassurance or to share my own experience. However, this place has so many wonderful, helpful people and I feel the need to ramble (and I do think this will seem like a rambling post) and I can’t think of anywhere better to do it. Apologies for how long this post will be – please don’t feel obliged to read it if you don’t want to. However, I hope that some of what I say might help others, and I’ll admit that I also hope somebody might have something reassuring to say to me, because I’m still stuck at that stage.

    So, if you were to scroll up ever so slightly, you’ll find a fairly distressed-sounding post from myself only a few days ago. This post didn’t illicit a response from anybody, which is fine. But first and foremost, I just want to let anyone who read it know that things have been better since that post. Paul has spoken often about waking up in the morning scanning how you feel as soon as you find consciousness. Well, I always wake up in an absolute state in the mornings: tired; deeply anxious; emotionally flat and quite frightened. This feeling usually backs right off once I haul my body out of bed, but sometimes it gets the better of me and I end up doing things like that previous post of mine. But here comes my first important realisation – it’s okay! I realise I don’t need to try and wake up peacefully. I don’t need to allow my feelings to demoralise me on waking. It’s okay to feel grotty. But by the same token, I also DON’T NEED TO give myself a hard time if my first thought is ‘ugh… still there’. Essentially, I’m saying that those mornings feelings are harmless, but the negative thoughts I attach to them are not something I have to force myself not to think. Whilst it’s key to stop caring about how you feel to move away from frustration surrounding anxiety, if I’m frustrated in the morning, it’s fine. I can take my frustration with me when I get up – it’s really just anxiety.

    I’ve also been fretting a lot about the fact I’m on medication and having CBT. I would compare to feeling like I’m ineligible for membership of a club, by which I mean I can’t follow what Paul David teaches because I’m doing things to feel better instead of just accepting. But then I had another realisation. While I completely agree with Paul’s teachings and believe it is the road to recovery, I need to stop worrying about the fact I’m taking pills and… you guessed it… accept it. The reason people often don’t move forward with pills is because they’re actively trying to force themselves better by taking them. Well, I already know that patience, understanding and acceptance are the way through this. So why beat myself up over the pills? I need to accept that, at this point in time, I’m taking medication. Pills don’t have to be a barrier to recovery if I employ the right attitude, which basically means not seeing them as a magic fix and then collapsing in despair when they don’t fix me. It’s the same with the CBT. If I go to a session and feel relaxed and find talking to my counsellor cathartic, why worry about it? If I see him as some kind of sorcerer who’s going to magic my anxiety away, I will struggle. It will be a barrier. However, if I treat it as an appointment I have to keep, stop linking it directly to my anxiety and just see it as a chance to offload some stress and enjoy an hour’s relaxation, it can have a place in my life, and indeed in my recovery. What I’m trying to say is that, yes, pills and therapy can get in the way and I see how they can do that, but with the right attitude, they don’t have to.

    At the moment, I’m still stuck in the anxiety spiral. I’ve made progress in that I feel far less ill. However, I still feel frightened, weary and spaced out. I still emotionally flat. I think it was Belgian who told me that I can see the difference between knowing something in my head and believing it deep deep down. Well, I can honestly say that I completely buy into what Paul says – he’s right, I’m certain of it. But I haven’t achieved real acceptance. Deep deep down, I’m still scared and still struggling. I’ve certainly come a long way with the physical symptoms. It’s amazing how losing your fear of them really does take away their edge. They’re paper tigers. But what I haven’t lost my fear of yet, what I’m not able to accept, is depersonalisation and derealisation, and the emotional flatness and scary thoughts that come with it. I’m terrified of psychosis and haven’t been able to accept that the thought is there in my head. I don’t think it helped when a mental health professional at hospital said “there’s no psychosis yet”. That ‘yet’ set me back a long way. Now all I can think is that I’m at risk of it, and I carry thought around with me a lot. Hopefully, I’ll be able to come to terms with that thought in time, but it’s very hard.

    Another thing that bothers me is that I wrongly thought this all started with my first panic attack in January. I had one at work and didn’t know what it was and it led me into this spiral. However, I now realise I’ve been having panic attacks for years. Mild ones, yes, but they’ve been going on for years. What worries me is that I never feared them. I actually enjoyed them. I’d get a rush of adrenaline, a moment of derealisation and flashing images in my head, and then my heart would pound and I’d start to sweat. I liked it! It was disconcerting, and I thought they might be seizures, but now I know exactly what they are. What bothers me is that I never feared these sensations, so why do they keep coming? I genuinely never fed them fear (except for the first one or two), and yet they kept coming. That makes me think I’ll have to put up with it forever, which isn’t terrible in itself given that I used to like them, but they now cause my anxiety to spike.

    I also realise I’ve had anxiety for years – possibly from the moment I was conceived. It doesn’t matter what the cause is, but I can see it now. So many things make sense. I’ve had blurred vision since a stressful time at work two years ago. I’m 31 and thought it was the result of staring at computer screens so much, but several opticians said my eyesight was very strong. The blurriness was anxiety! I’ve had eye floaters for years – anxiety! I’ve been awkward and frightened of social occasions – social anxiety! It’s all been there, building to this.

    So, given all the fear I still have, what has Paul David, Anxiety No More and people here done for me over the past couple of months? Well, more than any doctor. More than any therapist. More than any mental health professional. Every doctor I’ve seen has only been trying to help me, but they just don’t understand anxiety and depersonalisation. They really don’t. It’s so common and so poorly understood. It’s no wonder people end up on internet forums, making themselves worse in the process. I believe the medical profession needs to reach out to sufferers and ex-sufferers in a big way – certainly more than they do. They could do worse than seek out Paul David. It was Paul who nipped by developing agoraphobia in the bud. It was Paul who got me out of bed. It was Paul who helped me trust my wobbly limbs. It was Paul who told me why I was trembling. It was Paul who told me why I felt sick. It was Paul who told me what that awful feeling of dread actually was. It was Paul who told me why I’d lost my emotions and the world seemed like a dream. It was Paul who told me I could have the life I wanted. That is what got me back to work. That is what stopped me cancelling a trip to Iceland. Oh god, it was hard at times, but I still managed to enjoy it. I have this feeling that, should I recover, I’ll back and think ‘if I could have that trip again, I’d not want to do it without the anxiety’. How weird is that? What I’m saying is that, although I’m mired in the condition, Paul David, Anxiety No More and you guys got me back on my feet. Yeah, maybe I’m doing things wrong, maybe I haven’t accepted things yet, maybe I’m still chasing recovery, but, in a contradictory way, I’m starting to accept that I will think of recovery! I’m allowed any thought! It’s that simple.

    I live in west London but I’m currently at my mum and dad’s place on Merseyside where I grew up. My dad’s been playing bass since the ’60s and last night I went to a pub open-mic night with the pair of them to watch him play. I’ve always felt awkward when I go. I think I come across as a bit off with my parents’ musician friends. I also never know where to look because everyone is a stranger to me except for my parents. When the music’s playing, you can’t really make conversation with people, so I just feel plain awkward. Last night, I took a bag of anxiety with me. It was horrible. Something was screaming at me to leave. But I didn’t leave. I stayed till 2am. I didn’t even drink because of the anti-depressants. I sat there, probably seeming weird to people (though let’s face it, in reality I probably didn’t) and I felt grotty, but I loved seeing my dad doing the thing he loves. Incidentally, it was nice to feel that. What I realised was that I was being lied to by my anxiety. “Michael, you need to get out of here”. “No, I don’t”. “You’ve been here hours now, can’t we just get out?” “Yes, but we’re not going to. Up yours, anxiety”.

    I know I’m doing things wrong. I have mantras (‘anxiety is a lie’, ‘DP is harmless’, ‘you’re not going mad’ are prime examples). I have safety behaviours. I was given a load of Diazepam by my GP and although I pretty much never take it, I do tend to carry it round with me ‘just in case’. And chief among them, I frequent this site – reading Paul’s blogs, success stories, reassuring comments. I read Paul’s stuff about DP over and over and over again. I know that all this needs to stop. But instead of worrying about it, I realise I need to stop giving myself a hard time. I need to accept that, right now, there’s a Diazepam in my wallet, notice that I never take it, and then carry on. I need to accept that I find myself on this site and that, if I keep believing in what it teaches, I’ll not need it as much. One of the few doctors to genuinely help me was actually a nurse practitioner. I was in a dreadful state and I told her how I was worried that the pills and CBT were just crutches and might be making me worse and she pointed out that I’d probably find a bit more peace if I stopped beating myself up for needing crutches. She agreed that crutches can’t fix me long term, but I was in such a state that I needed to give myself a break. She was right.

    So… I can’t promise that I won’t be back on here looking for help. I realise that I’m not properly putting everything down to anxiety and am still separating symptoms out. I realise I’m not fully accepting and that I’m still engaged in safety behaviours, still riven with fear and still doing things to feel better. But I also ACCEPT all of that. I can’t change all my habits on the spot – Paul says the same thing. Anxiety is going to go round and round in my head and I’m going to stay focused on how I feel. That’s what my mind wants to do. I’m not in that fight. I’m laying down my weapons. My mind can do as it chooses. And as I take the pressure off, and start to see anxiety for what it is, the fear will hopefully begin to slip away, the way it already has done over some of my symptoms.

    I’m living now. I’m tired of doctors’ waiting rooms. I’m tired of thinking I can’t do stuff. So how am I living? Well, I’m saying yes to things. I’m meeting friends. I’m going to work. I’m getting out of the house. I’m running. I’m looking forward to my train journey back to London on Monday (first class!). I’m planning my next trip (I’m thinking Morocco). I’m considering some volunteering. I’m taking trips to Bedfont in west London to watch planes landing at Heathrow. I’m getting back into reading (not self-help books!). I’m getting my blog back on the road. I’m going to watch my sister and niece horse riding tomorrow. I’m watching football. I’m considering getting involved in local politics. And you know what? I’m not doing ANY of it to feel better. Anxiety has taught me something. Not only can I do the things I always enjoyed, I can also add new things to my life.

    I want to leave you with something really positive that happened to me. Earlier this week, a friend wanted to meet for lunch, which is not unusual. I wasn’t in work that day, so I was up for it. I was quite surprised when he told me that he needed to talk about something. Naturally, I was worried about him. I’ve known him for three years, but I never knew how much of a thinker and ruminator he was. He’d had a hangover and, days later, his headache was still there and he was thinking deeply about it all day and thought he was developing anxiety. Of course, I’m no expert and advised him to see a doctor about any persistent headache. But I told him, that as far as I was concerned, he was overthinking himself into pain. He didn’t ‘have anxiety’, he was anxious. I told him that the fact he keeps thinking something awful is happening in his head doesn’t mean that it is. He just needed to stop seeing his thoughts as truth. I didn’t tell him to fight the thought, just to… here it is… accept it. Anyway, I got a lovely message of thanks from him today telling me that he’s fine now and his head is back to normal. I never for a second thought he was in the same position as me or anyone of us on here who is suffering, but he did need help. Thanks to anxiety, I was able to offer it. Who knows? He may have issues in the future. But I think he’ll be okay.

    So… if you’ve read all this, thank you so much. If you’ve anything to say on my fears, especially the fear of psychosis, I’d love to hear it. On the other hand, if you think I’ve said anything that you disagree with, feel free to say. I’m just trying to navigate my way to the place where I am truly accepting all of this and it’s not hindering my life. If others can do it, why not me? Why not you?

    Be kind to yourself. I intend to be kind to me from now on.

  781. Chris Says:

    Hey Jacob.

    Trust me I understand, and I still obsess about it a wee bit too. I remember reading that post on Paul’s Facebook page and thinking the exact same thing you did. I never focus on the symptoms of anxiety, for me it’s the obsessive thoughts about the ’cause’.

    At the end of the day I think Paul’s advice still applies to us. It doesn’t matter how we got in this state, our only concern now should be living our lives regardless. Anxiety can be triggered many ways, such as grief, stress, drugs, medication, alcohol etc. I remember having to take a medication about a year ago (not meds for anxiety) which triggered a severe setback for me. However I returned to my old self after about a month, I just put Paul’s advice into practice.

    Basically we just need to let go. Easier said than done I know. I still get the thoughts ‘you won’t recover, you are damaged’ etc, but I’ve started giving them less respect. It’s not easy as the emotional charge that accompanies these thoughts is heavy, and then I start to remember all those studies I read (then my mind says, it must be true!), but I’m doing better than I was a few weeks ago. The way I think about it is this, what good does it do to obsess about how the cause, and also, what can we possibly do about it now? Nothing. So really, the worry serves no purpose whatsoever.

    Also I do agree, it would be cool to see Paul do a post on this.

  782. Evy Says:

    Michael :)
    Your post was very interesting , had a lot of good points , you can now put your fear to rest about “loosing ” your mind , you clearly sound perfectly sain to me :) someone that was really not all “here” would not give such great advice like you stated above ! As the people who really are not “sain” wouldn’t even know the difference !! But you can! When you say you have accepted but it’s still there !? To be honest you have not , when you truly accept it from the bottom of your heart , then and there it will not bother you anymore , that’s true acceptance , then and there you won’t questioned it anymore , I wann give you an example , hopefully it makes since , let’s say you broke up with your girlfriend and you still have feelings for her , the more you play songs that remind you of her , the more you look at pictures , of her , the more you talk to your friends about her about how much you still love her and miss her will only bring you back to your heart break , now let’s say you start to not bring her up although you miss her , you can dismiss the thought , you start to go out with your friends , you might can start dating other girls , days go by and you miss her less and less , when you get a thought of missing her you would dismiss it , if a song comes on , instead of listening to it you change the station, then one day someone tells you she’s dating and it really doesn’t hurt you because your not feeling the same love anymore , same thing applies with anxiety fear and obsessive thinking , when you truly accept it without fear by not being scared of the thoughts or sensations is when you truly accepted !! So let me tell you what works for me , when I feel thoughts I let them come harddddd I say ok “let’s see ” come as you wish ! Micheal thoughts cannot hurt us , they are harmless but don’t get me wrong I know they can be annoying at times ” like wait !? Why did I just think that !? What we all need to understand is that even people without anxiety get these thoughts ! I remember one day I was taking my lunch break with a co worker and we were going to cross a huge cross walk where a lot of people pasa by , so she ask if I can go alone and she’ll wait at the store , I asked why !? She said well I’m embarrassed because she had a problem with herself which was being over weight ! I said well what’s the big deal !? She said well what if I act a fool like start dancing or I fall ! We both laughed so hard !! And in my mind I thought , wow I gets those thoughts yet I add fear fuel anxiety fear and more fear until I’m in the cycle that I feel I’m loosing my mind !! what’s the difference between her and I !? That she didn’t fear it , she laughed and dismissed it !! We are all strong people here and with true true and I mean true acceptance we will be on the other side living a successful life ! Micheal I always thought I was loosing my mind , but as I look at my like I’m a mother of 2 , I’m manager and run a great store that’s number 1 in the district and manage 4 other girls , someone who wasn’t ” sain ” would not be able to do this ! So sorry for the long post , I’m pleased to say I’ve been feeling so much better , I am thankful and I am blessed

    We will overcome with true acceptance :)
    Blessings

  783. Belgian Says:

    Michael,

    I could have written your post. I am 31 too. Psychosis is a fear of mine too. The realizations on having anxiety all my life, I am having too. Taking anti-depressants and having therapy is something I do too.

    You are on the right track, Michael. I feel I am just a little ahead of you since my big panic attack took place almost two years

    More time has passed and more occasions to practice acceptance presented themselves.

    I don’t want to disclose my name on here, but maybe there is a way to get into contact?

  784. Jamie Says:

    Hi

    I just wanted to check in and say I went on my date last night (the first one on a few months). The thoughts / anxiety on the day and travelling there were absolutely off the scale. I think in hindsight, messaging each other every single day leading up to meeting and speaking on the phone a few times was not the best idea (I can’t change that now). I had build it up in my mind so much and expectations were massive. My mind had come up with the story that she could be “the one” as we got on well on the phone, she had a daughter the same age as mine and even, where would we live as she is about 30 mins away (ridiculous eh?).

    Anyway, I was massively nervous when I first met her, she was a lot quieter in person than on the phone (she had not been on a date for quite a while) but of course, as we had spoken on the phone a few times on the phone, we did struggle for conversation sometimes. I should have just maybe spoke to her once and then left it at that until meeting her.

    We went our separate ways and I text her to say nice meeting her and I hope she gets home ok. As I knew she would, she immediately text and asked me how I thought it went. I said, honestly, that I liked her (nothing too over the top?) and she replied saying she was not sure there was a ‘spark’.

    She then ended up calling me when I got home (which again I knew she would). We discussed it, I said both our expectations were really high due to the lead up and I don’t think you can properly tell after one date and the decision was hers. She was basically saying in a roundabout way that she is not sure what she thinks as she has not dated for so long, she thinks I’m a ‘lovely guy’ and ‘boyfriend material’ (yeah great) but maybe I am ‘too nice’.

    I just said it was up to her to decide and we left it at that. I went to bed not feeling that bad about it and deciding that I am not going to chase after her.

    However, the negative self-talk is in abundance today – “I am never going to meet anyone, “I am too nice”, “she could have been perfect but it is not going to go anywhere now” etc etc.

    The result of the date should be a whole lot less important than the fact that I did not back out of it, went through with it and after about the first 10 minutes or so, I actually did not feel too bad. Of course, the anxious mind ignores all of that and sends all of the negative / catastrophising stuff through.

    I have heard nothing from her since last night but I am not going to go running after her.

    I don’t want to turn this into a dating forum as the crux of this is my extreme anxiety leading up to it and the way I feel now. Onwards and upwards eh :)

  785. Steve b Says:

    Hi Honey
    I have had 4 episodes over the years. Lucky me. It does pass.
    This one is particularly nasty because it seems to pass then comes back over and over. Feeling ok setback feeling ok setback etc. Before I just seemed to recover in pretty much a straight line. So, yes, it is worrying me.
    What about you?

  786. honey Says:

    Steveb unlike you I have had this 8 years and throughout that time I have been in and out of anxiety states. The longest I’ve gone with next to no anxiety is a year although I wasn’t fully recovered during this time I was much more accepting and because I didn’t care about it I had a completely different attitude to it. I fear it less and no longer have attacks often at all but these days I just have constant running anxiety that peaks and flows. I live my life and I avoid nothing. Life is just so hard you know. Little silly things that I take for granted when I’m well. Sometimes just being relaxed I get anxiety because my mind wants to focus on something. It’s crappy isn’t it? I think te tessono you are stick il because you are worried about being in the setback for longer. I have not been very accepting these last few months. I say to myself, I won’t google I won’t keep procrastinating I’ll just do Paul’s method but then I think we’ll it’s not working. And what if recovery isn’t even what I think it is. My biggy is never recovering and being stuck like this forever. Or worse recovering then relapsing. That is just awful. I’m almost too scared to recover because I know how quickly it can creep up on me.

  787. kathy raymer Says:

    I want to ask this question, I have never heard anyone else ask this. it is the hold back to my moving forward. In order to overcome anxiety, you must not fear the symptoms. and the basis for this is that the symptoms are not harmful. I have a symptom that IS harmful. I won’t describe it for obvious reasons, but the other benign symptoms I am at peace with and have learned to live alongside of. But this symptom is endangering my health, and I cannot find a way to live peacefully along side it while I know it is really harming me. Please, can any one give me some feedback on this? I thank you so much for the book. I began reading it about a year ago. I had read Claire Weekes book, but Paul’s book is I believe clearer and gives more hope.

  788. Steve b Says:

    What is you anxiety based upon Honey?..have you tried CBT?

  789. honey Says:

    Sorry forgot to mention yes I’ve had loads of cbt and practice mindfulness too. I found the behavioural aspects and just talking to someone helped mostly

  790. Mark R Says:

    Steve,

    Exactly the same for me. My old episodes used to take years but a straight line recovery, this one (my fourth) gets better then have a setback every few years. It’s very odd but I seem to get to a better place much, much quicker nowadays though.

    Mark

  791. Rik Says:

    Hi All,

    Hope everyone is getting on OK. My DP has been less thick this last few days as I have committed to just getting on with life and doing the things I want to do even while feeling drunk and on another planet.

    Things have still been difficult but I know that with time and a calm attitude to it all that I will find myself again. I had a meeting with a great therapist today. I feel having some form of support or just someone to talk to is important for me at the moment as it gives me a source of outlet and another person to talk to about what is going on which I find helps me make sense of things when I am so DPd rather than sinking deeper into the condition. When I left his office I actually felt far more real and more connected having been in there for nearly 3 hours!!! He still only charged me for one hour too. Really nice guy and very knowledgeable. Everything he said made so much sense and he explained things in a far better way than anyone ever has to me in terms of why I am feeling so dissociated etc and how it is actually very common in OCD sufferers due to the nature of the condition and especially combined with existential OCD ruminations and doubts. Sometimes an explanation will just click and that can be the difference and I feel I got that today.

    I feel the acceptance Paul teaches combined with the trusted knowledge the therapist gave me really helped me to turn a corner today. The DP has really torn me apart this last few months and has left me questioning my very self and reality itself but I feel I can slowly move forward now that I have the support of someone I trust and who I feel I can confide in. I have very little support at home and I feel that to feel we have support is very helpful in pushing through our symptoms when we are at our worst and getting out the other side. I don’t see me reaching out as being a form of not accepting but rather making a decision to get the support and input of someone I can trust when my OCD doubts are at an all time high.

    Time for bed now. Been working on my motorcycle all night which has been enjoyable but pretty darn tiring.

  792. Chris Says:

    Good stuff Rik. I found that seeing a therapist helped in that regard too, even reading Paul’s books every now and again helps remind me and keep me on track. I’ve had a better week as well. The anxiety and thoughts are still there, but I’m now having moments of peace. I’ve actually had moments of feeling happy again which is nice. I’ve definitely desensitized to a certain degree.

    I actually have a question for everyone about dreams. I’m having alot of unreality thoughts here and there. I was talking to my workmate the other day about the dreams I’ve been having (I had alot of dreams of being in world war III, and also occasionally dreams revolving around my fears). My workmate told me that dreams generally mean something, and that I should look it up on the internet. Well I definitely didn’t look it up, as I’m very gullible in this state, but it did bother me a bit.

    One example is that I had a dream, and I was told that I was ‘damaged’ from smoking marijuana as a teenager. Of course I woke up and realized, how silly, this was just a dream. However when I woke up, I scrolled my Facebook news feed, which is generally what I do first thing, and one of my Facebook friends posted a study about marijuana and how smoking in your teenage years can have bad effects on you in adulthood, I won’t go into the details. I didn’t read the study, as I was told about it months ago but didn’t really believe it all that much and didn’t particularly see it as an issue. But because I had just dreamed about this and what my workmate said, I was like oh no, maybe this is a sign. It seems all too convenient that the post showed up literally after I had just woken up from dreaming about it. I had a similar dream last night that I was once again ‘damaged’ (not from marijuana this time), accompanied by images etc, and the dream was basically me in an anxiety/depression state. I woke up again today, and my mate posted on Facebook that two people on the other side of the world both had similar dreams about him. Then I thought, oh noes maybe the dreams are trying to tell me that I really am broken! Sorry to bring this whole damaged fear up again, for the most part I’ve really started to move on from it, but the whole dream thing threw a spanner in the works.

    I guess the question is, do dreams reflect reality? Are they trying to tell us something? Has anyone had a similar experience with dreaming?

  793. Chris Says:

    To be fair this is probably just the anxiety talking. I’m sure these dreams have no hidden meaning. It’s probably just my mind processing all the garbage.

  794. Chris Says:

    In fact no need to answer the above question. It’s all anxiety as per usual!

  795. David Says:

    Hello, I am really struggling here and could use some help…

    – David, after reading your post I highly recommend you go and see your local GP who will be more than happy to help you. [Rich]

  796. honey Says:

    If I’m honest I don’t even believe in full recovery anymore. I doubt everything. I just have daily physical feelings of dread in the pit of mystomach all the time. I can’t stand it anymore. It used to come and go but now it just never leaves me. I can’t enjoy anything but I avoid nothing. I don’t think I’m ever going to get better and put this time behind me. I find it so hard to accept that my life will always be like this. That I will always just be coping. It’s been there constantly for ages now months and months. The longest spate ever and I actually look forward to the day my life ends because that will be the only day all this shit stood. I’m so fed up. I’d never end my life because I care too much about those that I’d leave behind to pick up the pieces but these days I just suffer all the time. As you all know it’s just no way to live.

  797. Star Says:

    Hi,

    This is my first time writing on this blog…

    I’ve had anxiety for about 4+ years now. It started when I went away for the year; I had a lot of social anxiety in the school I was in and I was so confused and baffled and I felt I couldn’t tell anyone. The anxiety continued when I came home and I was constantly fearing everything and I couldn’t be rid of it. Some of it I just accepted as normal. The constant indecisiveness and people having to help me or make decisions for me. The constant thoughts that would put me down and think negatively of everything.

    I discovered this approach of accepting anxiety about 3 months ago with the DARE book by Barry Mcdonagh. It helped me and gave me relief but I find it’s a very hard journey to take isn’t it. Paul’s blog really spoke to me because he talks about social anxiety as well which I can relate to and I’ve ordered his book.

    I guess I just feel like I need to talk to people who understand. It’s reassuring to hear from people who have recovered as well.

    My main ‘symptoms’ you could say is debilitating indecisiveness and overwhelmed mind and hence I blank in lots of situations. I have a lot of anxiety with my studies; I never feel confident that I will do well and I find it so hard to concentrate and retain information. This leads to frustration and disappointment. :(. I also have fears regarding whether I will be able to even continue with my career because all this blanking and the anxiety associated with it have me believing that I am stupid and will never be able to function and perform under pressure. I start working in a few months and I have an honest fear that I will get fired due to my anxiety.

    I understand the concept of utter acceptance and not to fight the state that you’re in but it’s so hard. For example today I had a clinic with my group at uni and we were chilling and I literally sat there the entire clinic and barely said two words. My anxiety was in full force saying how nothing I would say was worth it and I didn’t want to force myself into the conversation because I knew that wouldn’t go well for anyone. So I sat with it. And told myself it was ok and who cares if I didn’t say anything bla bla bla. And then later on a guy I like started talking to me and I again completely blanked and didn’t know what to say and was talking junk; like I don’t feel like myself. And I don’t love it tbh (it really bothers me). But I tried to be ok with it; as in I think I was more ok with it then I would’ve been in the past.

    I experienced about a week where I felt no anxiety/ I felt confident that I was able to do whatever I wanted to and I felt that I was cured if not very close, but then I had a setback which I got so taken aback and upset by. But now I see that I didn’t do anything wrong and I need to stop trying to calculate and just keep doing whatever I need to do and the anxiety will go by itself. But it sucks when you feel like you can’t reach your potential intellectually and can’t be present socially and hence miss out on things…

    For example now I have an exam tomorrow but I have so much anxiety associated with it. I feel like if I try and study nothing will go in and I will be fighting the anxiety and that I will disappoint myself.

    Anyone relate at all…

    xx

  798. Jenny Says:

    It’s hard to see myself not being this way again. Everyday seems like a struggle. I’ve been doing so well, almost back to myself, and now I just feel like its always going to be this up and down affair, and never truly recovering.

  799. Mark R Says:

    Honey,

    It’s hard being in the place where you are and I was only too recently. I had a real bad time between October and January, everyday I felt bloody awful, could barely eat, sleep, work etc and like you didn’t avoid anything. Luckily for me I’ve been through this many times in my life so the fact I lost hope was irrelevant, I didn’t need it because I had knowledge. I know my mind and body were going through something temporary and it knows the way back to peace if I leave it alone. I’m still having a hard time to be honest but I’m past the ‘setback sludge’ that was 24/7 in those months.
    I’ve read a number of your posts and it seems you’re getting hooked into believing that it will always be this way, you will never feel better. The very fact that you’ve come through a hard time before proves this is nonesense, these are no more than sticky inward thoughts in a mind and body that are trying to heal. Don’t let them get you down and wallow. I’d also give up trying for full recovery as to be frank you’re not going to feel that at the moment. It’s better to look back and see you’ve made progress over a few months rather than projecting how you feel forward.

    It sounds like you do things regardless which is good as you’re showing your mind there is nothing to be afraid of. Perseverance and patience are key here. If you keep going the good times will show, turn into days then weeks etc. You say in your post that you’ve felt bad for many months, I dont know how many you mean but sometimes it takes longer for the body to repair, you just need to be patient and let it.

    Hope that helps

    Mark.

  800. Steve b Says:

    Guys and girls. Anyone get songs stuck in your head? On a loop over and over for days, weeks. It’s Driving me nuts.

    Thanks Mark. What’s your anxiety based on if you didn’t mind me asking?

  801. Debbie Says:

    Steven b hi yes I have had songs stuck in my head and even words. My anxiety was based on health last year with physical symptoms now for the last 6 months it’s mind it’s based on images of dreams I have had or movies I have seen or just things that don’t make sense and it makes me feel scared iam losing my mind.

  802. Debbie Says:

    Steven b hi yes I have had songs stuck in my head and even words. My anxiety was based on health last year with physical symptoms now for the last 6 months it’s mind it’s based on images of dreams I have had or movies I have seen or just things that don’t make sense and it makes me feel scared iam losing my mind. I can look at tv sometimes and be scared something always has to remind me of something than I get Dejavu feelings quite often all this makes me feel creepy.8

  803. Belgian Says:

    Honey,

    we all have these moments of utter despair. Luckily for us, we know that the thoughts accompanying this are simply not true.

    Does this make the experience any worse? No. But understanding that this is a state that will not last forever creates the path towards acceptance.

    So accept your current state of bewilderment, you being tired of it all. Accept it without losing yourself in it. Continue doing the things you have to do and the things you used to like to the best of your ability and sunshine will come again.

    I also feel in your post the risk for living for the moments in between. I mean the moments you feel better. Try not only to live for those moments, but also try to live in the awful times. Try to accept.

    Recovery is not about not feeling anxious anymore. Recovery is about living your life, anxious or not. You can do this, you have the energy. If not you wouldn’t be fighting and wasting this energy all the time. Accept your current suffering and try to put your energy in the things you do. Time will pass and skies become blue again.

    @Loraine, honey and many others,

    Loraine asked me about ‘relationship anxiety’. I have already wrote a lot about my experience with it in my previous posts. Feel free to read them again. But as far as tips go, I can only give you one. It’s the same ‘tip’ that is given to every anxiety sufferer here on this forum. Stop fighting and accept. Accept your doubts, your fears. Accept your anxiety. Stop giving it names such as “relationship anxiety”, “medication anxiety”, “travel anxiety”. There is only one important word here and that is anxiety. It’s nothing more. All the other words are topics you have looked for yourself because you were feeling anxiety.

    I can say this without a shadow of a doubt in my mind. Why? Because as soon as I tackle one topic anxiety has chosen, another one quickly arises. It’s not until you understand this that you can begin your path towards true acceptance.

    Don’t think that by understanding this alone, you will accept it. Understanding is just the first part. It’s like reading in a book on how to ride a bike. After this you might have some idea of how to do it, but it’s not until you are on that bike that you are truly learning.

    At first we fall a lot, we hurt ourselves. We say we never can get back on it. But we are invited to carry on.

    After a while we feel more confident, we are driving it without really thinking about it right until that one moment that something scares you and you did not react fast enough. We fall again. We get a little bit scared again. But we know we can drive it so we hop back on.

    Even the most experienced cyclists fall from time to time. It’s not important. The only thing that’s important is that we are always willing to ride the bike again. We can. We all can and we will.

  804. Tasnim Says:

    I feel like I am slowly making myself believe things I dont. Like when I see a picture or someone on TV, and they look at the camera, I think “what if I believe that I think they are toward me.” And now I’m scared I’m actually believing. I get scared at any eye contact from a camera or picture. It’s so hard to dimiss it.

    Besides those thoughts I feel 90% like myself. I just constantly have anxiety on my mind, and it bums me out as I keep checking in like “Am I thinking about it still?”

  805. Tasnim Says:

    I guess you can disregard my last comment. I just don’t know what to do when I have those moments of fear and uncertainty. I guess there is nothing I can do but move on. Its my spring break, and I am not letting anxiety ruin my last spring break of high school.

  806. Scotty Says:

    Hi all,

    You may or may not remember seeing my posts in the past. I was afraid, short on sleep, depersonalized, overly sensitized in fear of having some unknown disease…the whole nine. I constantly came back to this website, attempting to glean some remarkable cure for all the problems I felt.
    I read on people who had managed to break through-I think Nolan was just turning his corner about the time I felt really alone and lost through this process.

    I’m here to say I’m back…more or less..to the guy I was before this all went down. In 2012, my life went through a whirlwind of events-nothing extraordinary, nothing beyond reason…but it left me in a state of heightened anxiety and insomnia…I began to research insomnia…I hired hypnotists, therapists, bought pills, bought devices, blocked out certain electronic frequencies (hahaha..seriously), tried sleep restriction. Christ, I did it all short of drinking myself to sleep at night. I was wreck. Our second child was born, physically, I was there…emotionally..nowhere near it. For nearly 4 years…the time it takes an American youth to get through high school, I searched high and low for answers. I took time away from my family to search the Internet, I begged “cured” people for answers…

    Oh I spent thousands of dollars and wasted ridiculous amounts of time. I read every book on anxiety, meditated…I can go on forever…suffice to say I did EVERYTHING you did. Yes, that too (wink).

    Symptoms lightened, but for as long as I gave them the slightest bit of attention, they lingered…in the background, like the voice of a disapproving parent when you break a rule…sitting there, poking at me…trying to make as much noise in my head as possible.

    I came across Paul’s book, read it…front to back in a night like you did. Started in on the blogs, like you are…found comfort in those showing signs of improvement, like you are. Prayed to a God I don’t believe in that I’d be “cured” all along while the experts were saying “let it go…let it be.”

    Nothing really improved…not by any real stretch…I still took a small sleeping pill at night to get some restless, but improving sleep..I still thought endlessly about when things would improve…I kept checking back in on the forum when I felt “dream-like” to find the cure. Guess what? Nothing worked…still.

    “Damn, is Nolan just faking it to make it?” I thought..”he must be…how’s he different? His depersonalization and anxiety are different…must be.” I thought.

    Please…

    No, it wasn’t. No, yours isn’t. Think it is? Tough luck, you’re incorrect and you’ll need to break this HABIT of thinking that way…that’s all this DP stuff is really, insomnia too. HABITS. So how do you break habits? hmmm..well this habit may or may not be like smoking…Perhaps it is…if so, it’s TOUGH to quit smoking…b/c let me tell you, it’s tough to quit thinking about it. I still get the urge today, having felt better for several months now…the desire pops into the back of my head sometimes…I can actually control it.
    I can depersonalize myself…right now…THERE! I swear I did it…super unimpressed by it now, however…as you will be too.

    Break away from this forum. Break away from your rituals. Break away from the monotony that is stifling your recovery. This is a big moment, it’s in you. It will be hard. Don’t walk into a room of smokers to find the answer in stopping! That smell is too tempting…as is this forum.

    Here I type to you all…recovered. By all means, recovered. No more sleeping pills. No more insomnia, no more second guessing…no more giving a squat if I feel a little spacey here and there (by the way, when I “DP’d myself…it already went away).

    Your road to recovery lay in breaking the associations and habits that prolong this…for me this forum was a detriment, not a benefit..ask yourself the same question. Break away…for 3 months…see how you feel. I bet you’ll have a success story!

    Scotty

  807. Tasnim Says:

    I just want to know one thing. Is it normal to have random thinking and unrelated statements in your head for no reason. Especially at night when I’m a little tired. For example, I will be thinking of a song I just heard and then I’ll think of a girl saying “My father lives in India.” And then I’ll snap back in think why did I think that? I have no idea. Also I was blowing my nose because I have a cold, and as I think of clearing my nose, I have another thought about someone clearing a race or finishing a marathon. Is this a normal subconscious thoughts or something? I’m just so aware of my thoughts now, that I can’t tell if this is a normal way of thinking.

  808. Bryan Says:

    Tasnim,

    It’s very normal. Thoughts. Words. Images. Tunes. All stick in a fatigued anxious mind. It’s basic stress induced mental fatigue and anxiety.

    It can be uncomfortable but it’s extremely common.

  809. honey Says:

    Thanks Scotty. I remember your posts before. I feel really stuck in a rut because whenever I feel anxiety I start to wonder if it really is all in my head or if there’s more to it. Biological, chemical, deficiency etc etc I’ve exhausted every avenue. Every day is a battle and I’ve not been this bad in the whole eight years so I’m feeling pretty hopeless. Thank-you to mark and Belgian for responding to my above post. You are both right that it will lift but I feel like despite doing everything correctly and for most of the time accepting it’s there… its still there and I wonder is this as good as it fetale

  810. star Says:

    Hiya.

    So I posted before but I felt like posting again because this is the world that understands the utter hell of being caught in the anxiety loop

    I think I had my aha moment. I thought I had had it before but I hadn’t completely accepted the anxiety I was always hoping things would go well. I just decided that I didn’t care anymore. I didn’t care if things went bad- I didn’t care if I said the wrong thing or made a fool of myself. It was too bad. And so when I went into that situation last week, even though I was so anxious and I didn’t even say a word, I just decided I didn’t care and hence all the usual beating myself up about how it had gone didn’t happen. I ended up feeling happy and relieved that I was being so nice to myself and wasn’t berating myself. Even though it didn’t necessarily go amazingly well.

    And I just continued on from there. I went into another situation which causes me great anxiety but I just kept doing the so what and let it all go.

    My mind feels so much more relaxed and freer. I am starting to feel like myself again. I am starting to know who I am which is something I feel I completely lost with the anxiety.

    I still have a lot of anxiety to face and push myself to not be upset by; lots of situations and circumstances to get through but right now I feel confident (even excited) to face them.

  811. Dani Says:

    Hey all, it’s been a while since I visited this site.
    It’s been around 7 months that I’ve been suffering with this bout of anxiety/obsessional thoughts. For me it all centres around existential thinking, I think how weird and unbelievable life is, I’ve thought of it so much that it feels like life doesn’t make sense anymore and I feel distant from everyday living. I find it hard to explain this.
    I have OCD, and suffer with obsessional thoughts.
    I constantly check in on my thoughts, and every second I’m thinking I’ll never recover from this and won’t be able to have a normal life – does this mean I’m not accepting or do I just need to accept that I am constantly thinking this?
    I’ve been struggling with this constantly for 7 months now, I’ve suffered like this before but it’s never lasted this long before (the last time was 7 years ago and lasted around 5 months), I’m losing faith of ever getting better now, I can’t imagine ever being able to get back to normal. Can anyone relate to how I’m feeling? X

  812. Nolan Says:

    Great post, Scotty!!!

    “tried sleep restriction”…. OMG. The sleep restriction.
    Just like you I tired innumerable things. I was off of work for a 3 month stretch too. I remember reading books upon books dedicated to sleep restriction. Googling “Sleep restriction” “SR success” “sleep reduction success” “success with sleep restriction”….. all to find hopeful tales that could somehow pull me out of the mire.

    Any modest little success I would have would immediately be drowned with the terrible thoughts (it was a fluke, you’re broke for good, there’s no escape from this)…. and those thoughts would hone me in like a missile on my state of despair.

    I was certain that I would never, ever, ever, ever, ever be able to be beyond this problem. And, here I am today.

    Even if it were to get bad again tomorrow…. so what? I know what I have to do. And, some of the most profound growths of character that I have ever experienced were made possible by my dark days.

    Prior to anxiety/depression/sleep issues (and every other symptom I had) I was terrible at dealing with stress. But, that lengthy period of torment awoke something within me… and that something is helping me to finally be a better person.

    God bless.

  813. Bryan Says:

    Tim…

    Had a couple things to run by you regarding the gym/working out.
    (Somewhat off topic for here I suppose)

    Shoot me a note if you care to kick a few things around.

    thenukes at the popular email host that starts with a Y.

  814. Mark W Says:

    Hi been reading these posts for a while. I was wondering if other people get similar physical symptoms. These are the things that concern me the most. My GP assures me that its anxiety but at times they are very frightening and hard to believe. I get abdominal pain directly in the centre of my chest with at times bouts of back pain that feels like it comes from the kidneys. With this I feel like I want to jump out of my skin and can’t sit still. These symptoms come and go and at times can be quite intense. I do get some days when they disappear completely. Regards Mark W.

  815. Scotty Says:

    Nolan,

    That’s just it, partner…you’re either A) completely unaware of how terrible this cycle is B) in the throes of this terrible cycle or C) beyond this cycle…

    Gotta, say….as absolutely HORRIBLE as it was to deal with, it’s made me stronger in ways I can’t explain. Coming through has alleviated my fear of:
    Death (seriously)
    Rejection
    What other people think of me
    etc etc etc

    I’m more confident…I walk with a different level of authority…I speak quietly and carry a big stick..

    It was a game changer. I don’t fear it a bit now

  816. honey Says:

    Does anyone wonder if this method is what really gets them well or if it’s just a natural cycle of anxiety? Because it seems to cycle all the time doesn’t it? I mean letting it go and accepting it surely helps to reduce the tension but anxiety cycles anyway doesn’t it? It comes and goes. I had about a year when I was on top of it and then I went under again after I had my daughter early 18 months ago. Then I had several months where it went away again. All by itself. Then it came back again. All by itself. I don’t think there’s anything I can actually do about this. It’ll come and go all my life just like it has got the last eight years. I feel like anxiety is stronger than I am and I am losing the will to figure it all out. It’s like being tortured. Here feel better for a while, make commitments and enjoy life and then bang it’s all gone in an instant because it never lasts. It always comes back just when I least expect it. Out if nowhere and when I’m not stressing about anything.this doesn’t make any sense. If accepting made it go why have setbacks out of nowhere? When everything is seemingly fine?

  817. Harry Says:

    Honey, we don’t know each other, but you have inadvertently led me to overcome my final obstacle, and I’d like to bring you along with me. You see, I, like you, have come a long way since this whole anxiety “adventure” began, but my peace, like yours, has been fleeting, sporadic, and incomplete. And up until a couple days ago, I didn’t see why, so here is what is was for me: 99.999% acceptance will get you close, but won’t take you all the way. I could get long-winded, but it would frankly be a repeat of everything Paul, and every fully recovered person has said countless times. I’ve read their words, I’ve adopted them to great success, but never trusted their words unequivocally, one hundred percent, without a shred of doubt or caution. You could call it trust, faith, submission, or… acceptance perhaps? :)

    You fit into this because your recent posts reinforced my last lingering doubts and they brought me down every time I read them. Not only because I empathized with your pain, but because of the implications they had for me, such as “Well there’s more proof that this doesn’t work for everybody, and I must be one of them”. And from your latest post especially, you and I appear to have the same tendency towards critical analysis, because I have asked myself those very same questions. I don’t pretend to know anything about you, but since I so thoroughly identified with your posts, I feel like your lingering barrier may likely be the same as mine was. So here’s my advice, and regrettably, it is not complicated or profound. Fully submit to A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G you feel or think without seeking recovery of any kind, just like Paul says. If you are totally honest with yourself, as I finally was, I hope you discover that you’ve only been doing it 99.999%. Because to do it 100%, the outcome won’t matter, and paradoxically, everything else will matter again.

    I’ll check to see if you have anything to say over the next couple days, but after that I will be taking an indefinite vacation from lurking on this board. My love and thanks to Paul and everyone else who has contributed here. God Bless

  818. Dani Says:

    Hi Rik,
    I’ve been reading some of the comments and understand you also suffer with existential OCD. I started off with DP/DR which seems to have faded a bit I think and I was questioning reality. Now my thoughts seem to be centred around how life is so strange, and I feel like things don’t make sense like they used to (even though I can remember how to do things, it all feels weird). I feel like I can’t get back to when life felt normal. Do you know what I mean?
    I have constant intrusive thoughts telling me that I’ll never get better and never feel normal again and this in turn gives me depression. Literally every second of the day I’m questioning how I feel and/or thinking I won’t get better. It’s been 7 months now and I can’t imagine it changing.
    I’ve just started seeing a therapist and in some ways I feel she understands what I’m saying but then she tells me to distract myself from my thoughts, but my main problem is I can’t distract myself from my thoughts, if I could then I wouldn’t be needing therapy. X

  819. honey Says:

    Harry, thank-you for responding. I am sorry you too are unable to overcome this fully. I feel most deflated lately because I came so so close to full recovery and even a bad day didn’t phase me because I really had fully accepted it. I guess the hardest part of this is fully trusting that it will permanently work, for me. Or you… as nothing is guaranteed and the hard work has to be put in. I tried mindfulness to accept fully but I found it only made me feel like I was actively doing something to get better when really we need to do nothing. Let it go. Let it be there and accept it fully. Accepting is hard because i know what I have to do but I just can’t fully accept and fully trust that this works and that little seed of doubt just keeps niggling away at me constantly. I keep researching to find answers but I know I won’t find them because I know that the only way to know if this method will truly work for me is to practice it for myself and see. I question if anxiety is completely psychological or whether it is chemical and biological and basically I am stuck with it. I feel like I have more control over it if it’s psychological. After all the brain is supposedly neuro plastic and can change. I need to RE read the book to reinforce it’s message but I have been putting it off for about two years! In the last two years I have been wasting time waiting to RE develop the trust I once had in this method. Even success stories don’t help me now. I know what I have to do but I am just procrastinating. Thing is I could procrastinate forever or give myself a fighting chance and just RE read it and believe it again. Good luck Harry. I wish you all the best. I know what I need to do and that is to stop coming here for reassurance also. As well as the rest of the internet. I need to get back out there in the real world.

  820. Bryan Says:

    Great post, Harry. Nicely done.

    Quick side-question on what you’re saying…

    I’ve come along way (like you had) in the recovery/acceptance journey.
    Made great strides, improved life, but also (currently) been hit with long bouts of setback and very rocky periods, similar to the beginning.

    So, I just want to feel out your definition a bit. We you say “submit to anything”… can you define that a bit more? Or paint a picture of how that looked for you?

    For example, I don’t know if you dealt with setbacks but say you had a good few months, half a year…. or more. And then were months into a grinding up and down setback. Say, you woke up in the AM in a high state of suffering. What would your process look like as far as self-talk, etc? (Getting on with the day I’m well familiar with.) But I’m curious to the underlying process for people.

    To me the gold is in the details with this. To say “accept” is the right thing to say. But is someone accepting because they know this isn’t who they are, and it will get better if they let it be? Or are they accepting that this may just be how they are forever and there is no use changing it, any attempt to change or keep contact with a prior (non-suffering) self only causes distress.

    See the difference in those two approaches?

    Thoughts?

    Thanks again for the great contribution.

  821. Nolan Says:

    I think many of us have this notion that “If I’m not actively pursuing happiness, joy, peace, recovery (however you want to phrase it) that it will all pass me by”.

    That you’ll miss out on that golden moment for redemption of your old self.

    I fought mightily to recover my old self. To the point of even more intense despair and exhaustion.

    We doubt that our inactivity could actually be the key. We’re convinced it’s something we need to solve, a case we need to crack. We believe more than anything that our directed efforts will solve it.

    As if more intense, frantic efforts will help us better thread the eye of a needle.
    As if strain and exertion ever in our life has brought peace and calmness back to us.

    It’s the letting go of the concerted effort in the search that we’re afraid of. If we surrender the reins and just live our life regardless with all of the pain, fear, and despair there…. and we completely give up both the search for a cure and the hope for redemption won’t we just run even further off course?

    There’s the paradox: in the giving up the active hunt for our old selves, accepting and moving back on with our lives (however battered, beaten, exhausted, and defeated we feel) we will find that peace again. Or… it will find us.
    Maybe the search isn’t so much us finding it (peace)…. but it finding us…. we move around so much, so frantically. Looking here and there. We think that it’s eluding us…. but in our geared up desperation (good intentions aside) we’re eluding it.

  822. Joseph Says:

    Hey everyone ,

    Does pauls method work for PTSD? Anyone have any experience with that?

  823. Nolan Says:

    Definitely, Joseph.
    Many of us, at our worst, when we read the symptoms of PTSD could match them up almost exactly with what we were dealing with.

  824. Harry Says:

    Honey:

    I may not have been clear enough in how I wrote the post, but everything I said was in fact good news. I have found the last .001 percent I was looking for by abandoning my search, and I hope you do as well since you played a backwards role in my recovery. Remember, you’re not trying to get anything to work or achieve a goal. You’re accepting because its the right thing to do. I’m taking an absence from this board shortly because it has served its purpose for me, and if I stop by in the future, it will be to help someone if I’m able to. Don’t be so hard on yourself with the procrastination. You may need to read the books again, you may not. But you likely have the information you need already. You don’t need to develop trust, you can start trusting right now in the face of adversity. Regardless of how you feel, you always have the power of choice. Remember, anxiety isn’t the problem. It’s all in how we choose to react. You can do it :)

    Bryan:

    While it is difficult to articulate such things, I’m happy to try to answer your questions, since I can relate to what drove you to ask them. First of all, I had been to hell and back with all of this repeatedly over a long period, so you know you are talking to someone who understands. You say the gold is in the details for you, but I’m not so sure that’s the case for anyone. For me at least, the details were a hindrance, and the unending questions always morphed and changed once I answered them. For example, you listed two specific ways of accepting. Look at it this way. If you were hypothetically fully recovered, and your self once again, would you need to have a system, strategy, or structure of thought to maintain your mental state? Did you ever need that before? No and No! I finally realized that questions like yours, the need for absolute certainty in things, the need for proof of concept from other people, were what was keeping me from breaking all the way through. Safety in certainty. And my random resurgences of normal human anxiety devolved into setbacks because I being ever-so-subtly dishonest with myself in one regard: I was still accepting anxiety as a tool to reach a goal, secretly hoping it would leave at some point because I did not enjoy it, and thus had a bit of fear remaining. Paul says you don’t have to enjoy your anxiety, and unless you are very odd indeed, not enjoying anxiety takes no effort at all! But do welcome your anxiety. Love the anxiety. Let it coarse through every fiber of your being if it wants to, and it will paradoxically, albeit logically, immediately lose its remaining importance, and eventually start to appear less and less.

    So how should you accept? Completely. Why? Because why the hell not. You know it can’t actually do you any real harm, so smile back at it for no reason other than the knowledge of its insignificance and legitimately welcome its presence should it appear. The beauty is, you don’t need to wait for anything to happen. You welcome it 100% with no strings attached, and you’re already there.

    I believe Paul never taught tools or specifics for good reason. There’s nothing to fix, so no need for tools. The only reason the books are so packed with information is to dissolve the fear of the fearful. So don’t be afraid, be free.

    Harry

  825. Chris Says:

    Hi everyone.

    Just checking in. I’ve been doing alot better this week. I had a real aha moment the other day. Basically I realized… What is the point in worrying about these fears that I have, and I came to the conclusion that there is absolutely no point, whatsoever. The same can be said with any of the common fears some of us share. A few examples below, I’ll start off with mine.

    What if my brain is damaged: Who knows and who cares. How is worry and fear going to change or solve anything that can never be proven, and probably doesn’t even exist!?

    What if I get worse: Who knows and who cares. If I worry about it and add more fear to the mix, then I’m not going to get any better am I!

    What if I’m bipolar or schizophrenic etc: Once again, who knows and who cares! How is worrying and recoiling in fear over something completely irrational and unrealistic going to solve anything?

    What if I never recover: Seriously, who knows and who cares! My goal now is to accept everything and live my life to the best of my ability.

    Basically I’ve realized that life is too short to drown ourselves with fearful and negative unproductive thinking, all of which is completely pointless and literally serves no purpose. I still have the thoughts pop up now and again, but I don’t try to prove them wrong or reason for them. I have distanced myself from them and I literally have nothing to do with them anymore (mindfulness has been a big help too, look up ). I’ve been caught out by them a few times maybe, but I now see how fruitless it is when I engage with them. Sometimes I can go a few hours without the thoughts popping up. Sometimes the thoughts will stick around for an hour or so. But oh well, who cares! They aren’t getting any more attention from me, they are not important.

    Worrying is literally the most pointless emotion known to mankind. We cannot worry ourselves better. We cannot think ourselves better. We cannot get better by literally freaking out over every little thing that someone says, or what we read on the internet. So what is the point in all of the above? Nothing.

    All we need to do is attend to and accept what is already there, while doing our best to not add any more worry or fear to the mix. Hope this helps sometime, it actually helps me when I write it. I can see now I’m developing the right attitude.

    Chris.

  826. Chris Says:

    One other thing I forgot to add.

    Trying to figure anything out in relation to your anxiety is completely pointless too, the answers will never come to us when we are looking, they will only come to us when we are being. This is why I think Paul’s approach is the best approach out there, because it’s so simple. If we come through this the right way, I believe all of us will become stronger as people. It’s like we are subconsciously re-wiring our brains to realize that there is nothing wrong, no problem whatsoever.

    I’m sitting here right now and there is still some unease and anxiety around, but I’m doing nothing about it. I see this as negative momentum, and it’s going to require time to time to dissolve.

  827. Star Says:

    Chris

    Thanks for your post. It’s funny how you can know the information but there is always that doubt that comes back.

    I kinda had the same as you last week where I had an aha moment and let it all go. The thing is the anxiety disappeared and I felt so good. But today I woke up with a tight chest. And even though I have been expecting the anxiety, I guess I hoped that it wouldn’t come back. So now I need to just be ok with it and let the energy release without going back to my bad habits of obsessing over it. And it’s true what you said about not trying to figure it out because there may be no reason for the anxiety coming back besides for just being a learned reaction. But I can’t say I didn’t have thoughts about why is it back? What have I done?

    It is all so counter-intuitive but I know this is the way forward. Only it cannot be looked at as a ‘way,’ ‘a technique’ because then there is too much pressure and emphasis which adds a load to the anxiety……….

  828. Jamie Says:

    Fantastic posts Harry and Chris. So good to see others on this blog improving :)

  829. Chris Says:

    I didn’t read Harry’s post before I posted, but what he says is 100% on the money. For me too the details are a hindrance. I even find reassurance a hindrance these days, because if I look for reassurance I’ll soon find another anxious way of looking at my fears.

    Hey Star. Yeah the doubt was always a big one for me too, we just need to learn to pay it no respect. Seems like you’re on the right track!

  830. Steve b Says:

    Great post Chris. Your attitude has changed so much in the space of a few weeks and your posts are now inspiring. To me anyway.

  831. Joseph Says:

    Thanks nolan!

  832. Star Says:

    I haven’t read through all the comments because like Paul says and of course what I would want; it’s best to live out in the open and not on the blog; but it seems really supportive on here and a really good place for someone who has anxiety to be. This is the first place that I feel like I completely get it (and I read Paul’s book over the weekend which was amazing) the first thing that threw away the techniques which makes things so HEAVY. Even when I saw the approaches of acceptance but ‘as a technique’ I was struggling to accept and waiting for the anxiety to be gone and then feeling down and hopeless if it wasn’t. What is brilliant about this approach is that the anxiety is wholehearted aimed to be accepted and EXPECTED. And you are supposed to just do whatever it is you need to and ignore it.

    I don’t understand why this isn’t the first line of help for anxiety. When I went to the Dr; the first one told me to read a book about depression; which I was so anxious to read because it scared me. And the second one gave me huge smiles and told me I could try meds which I told her I wasn’t interested in and then referred me for therapy.
    I tried talking therapy which was useless; the woman was digging up my past and blaming my parents (for the fact that I was fighting my own emotions RIDICULOUS lol) and when I told her I would stop because it was too expensive on my mum she even responded ‘Don’t you think that it’s your mum’s obligation to fix this because it’s because of her you are like this?’ Second therapy was CBT which I was so anxious about going to and did not see any help.

    This is the only way. And it needs to be more out there. The silent suffering is ridiculous. The stigma is ridiculous. Only my best friend knows a snippet of what I am going through and of course I don’t want sympathy but going through such a trauma alone is SO SO hard and lonely. I guess I (and we) have each other. But don’t yall think anxiety is so misunderstood.

  833. Tasnim Says:

    Star,

    I completely agree with you. I can’t understand why this advice is not widely known and available. It makes so much sense. I think with everything, I’ve always been exposed to the advice that “Attitude is everything.” or “Acceptance is key.” I didn’t really pay attention to it before, but it just fits perfectly with everything. Anxiety. Grief. Self-Esteem. Etc.

    In my own psychology class, before finding this website, all I picked up was anxiety is this dramatic and horrible state of being (which I don’t deny) that should be treated with outside help. While I think therapy and medicine can help, I don’t see why acceptance from within hasn’t been more emphasized though.

    While right now I am not anxious 24/7 anymore, I do hope one day I won’t be thinking of anxiety 24/7. I hope all of you guys reach solid ground again too. I’m gonna heed everyone’s advice, and try to unlatch myself from this site as often as I can.

  834. Tasnim Says:

    This might slightly contradict my post above, but I just need a bit of encouragement. I can say that I feel 95% like myself again thanks to Paul and everyone here. It’s been an up and down affair. I was wondering for anyone near recovery, or having recovered, did you still have the thoughts of anxiety still on your mind? Like I am constantly being reminded that I have anxiety, and it just takes my focus away from what I am doing. And then I get all my attention back on me, and start monitoring myself. I don’t know how to explain it, but it drains me, and starts to make me feel empty? Will I come to a point where I will stop thinking about the word “anxiety,” or at the least not become consumed in it?

  835. Melissa Says:

    Hi Tasnim,

    I don’t usually respond to people on the blog because I don’t feel like I am qualified enough to respond to people….especially because I am still going through my ups and downs. However, based on what you wrote….I think this is the anxiety trick.

    The more that we are feeling ‘out of the woods’, the more that the anxiety tries to tighten it’s hold on us. It’s almost as if it is telling our bodies and/or minds that we are still in danger and it has a reason to be there. It becomes nagging…but it is at this moment that it becomes crucial to use Paul’s technique and to say ‘screw it’ to your anxiety. You are very aware that you are not in danger….you know deep down that your anxiety is not needed anymore….so you must keep reminding yourself of that when your anxious thoughts come back.

    I have noticed that when I was feeling good, I would just have to think of one thought…something as simple as ‘what if I get anxiety at this family dinner?’…or ‘what if I look weird and then people can tell that I have anxiety?’….and then there I would go. Back into the realm of depersonatlization and anxiety. Back into this critical self-talk and negative cycle. I find that when I put my attending onto something like working out, or planning my wedding….or undertaking new projects (helping people deal with their anxiety to prevent burnout) I forget that anxiety ever took over my life…and then when I remember I am convinced I have a memory problem and must be going crazy. Lol…you see it does not take much for anxiety to take hold again….but then it takes less time for me to get back into reality and forget about how I am feeling. I understand that the amount of stress I was under for such a long time led me to need the anxiety so that I can disconnect from what was causing me to be in such a bad state. Now that I am learning to prioritize self-care, stress-management and not caring, things have gotten better.

    I hope this helps….sorry for the rambling.

  836. Alex Says:

    Hey guys,

    I’m doing really good at allowing my symptoms to come on and not reacting to them.. In fact I welcome them to come on and just sit with that anxiety and not try to change it. However when I started doing this I had a new fear thought pop up which is “what if you’re worrying and you don’t know it? How do you know if you’re worrying or not?”

    My brain kind of feels gridlocked by this thought because I know worry is the cause of anxiety disorder so my brain came up with this as an anxiety trick to try and keep my worrying. How can I allow this fear thought to come on without worrying about it? This sounds messed up because I’m worrying about whether I’m worrying or not. Now that I’m overcoming my worries about my symptoms it has shifted to this.

  837. Mark R Says:

    Melissa, seems you are more than qualified to respond to posts, very well explained!!

    I’m kind of in the same boat where most days I feel okayish but not myself, but like Tasnim have a perisistent self awareness which is dead annoying. From experience this becomes less and less as it is just a habit that we have formed…our minds are programmed to look out for danger so it will test to see if we are still anxious. The only option is to ignore/accept it until it realises we are okay and stops self checking.

    I’m the same as you Melissa where even whilst okay it doesn’t take much for my mind to enter the anxious/dp path. Sometimes it can be 5 seconds, sometimes 5 days but I don’t ever fight to get equilibrium. I can lose myself sometimes in what I’m engaged with externally and foeget how crap and tense I am.

    We’re on the right path so keep it up both!!

    Mark

  838. Tasnim Says:

    Thank you Mark and Melissa. It’s comforting to know that I am not the only one with it. The self-awareness is very annoying, as most of the time I’m not even anxious. I guess I have to be patient. It’s funny because I tend to ask these questions even though I know the answer. I am hopeful though that one day I will feel fully free of my suffering. I guess I just need a push every now and then.

  839. Melissa Says:

    And as predicted…today was a bad day.

    Does anyone here suffer from Health Anxiety? Since December I have noticed this bizarre ridge/dent on the left side of my scalp. It could have been there forever, but because of anxiety I have just noticed it recently. I went to two doctors, got one x-Ray and everything came back normal. I am unsure as to why I am fixating on this today, but I am freaking out. I fear that I have an issue with my brain that will make me go crazy or something. I just want to cry and I want this all to go away. I don’t know what to do….I mean I know I need to let it be there, but it’s hard to do that when I’m having a borderline panic attack and feel my chest tightening up. I’m scared that my memory, dp, confusion, trouble focusing my eyes are all linked to this ridge on my head.

    I’m so upset….

  840. Chris Says:

    Hey Melissa.

    I have health anxiety too. When our emotions are in a heightened state we tend to think black and white about alot of things, and something we could easily dismiss when we are in a healthy state of mind tends to stick when we are in the anxiety state. We are so suggestible in this state, but just try to see it as a reflection of your mood. If we are full of fear, then of course we are going to assume the worst.

    What helps me is viewing my thoughts as a net. If we get involved with them, we swim in the net and become trapped. If we learn to observe them and not take them seriously, then we swim past the net without getting trapped.

    Hope this helps! We can get through this.

  841. star Says:

    Yes Chris is right although it’s so hard not to believe the thoughts because they feel so real, you just have to know that a lot of the time they are lying. For example when I am in a high amxiety state I have such negative thoughts but when I feel in control and ok I think positive/neutral thoughts about the same topic. And these thoughts contradict- so how can thoughts be always true?

    But I feel for you Melissa because I go through the same thing.

    I was just wondering something. I know I will sound like I am being a hyperchondriac and I don’t want to awaken anything in anyone; but I was wondering if it’s possible that having amxiety for prolonged amounts of time can lead to damage to the organs such as the heart or kidney… I’m not saying this as an excuse to fear the amxiety more because I am building up reasons to why the amxiety is not scary not the other way round but I was just curious. Logically it makes sense that prolonged increase in blood pressure will lead to the same damage than someone with high blood pressure. Although it does vary of course (the anxiety) and isn’t constant.

  842. Ian Says:

    Hi.

    During the blog I know I a lot as been asked about giving up alcohol to help recovery.
    Around 3 weeks ago I gave up alcohol for a bit, at first it was for a diet reason to help me lose a few pounds.
    But during this time I’ve found that not only am I losing a few pounds but I’m sleeping better and feeling less anxious which is all helping my recovery.
    I’m no longer having ” beer sleep” and waking up knackered, with the dreading feeling…

    To anyone thinking about trying to give up alcohol to help recovery, I’d say go for it.

  843. Dani Says:

    I know what you mean re the constant thinking and checking in on your anxiety, I have obsessive thoughts and literally every second if the day I’m checking to see if I am having an obsessive thought! So I have obsessive thoughts over the obsessive thoughts! I have no idea how it’s ever going to stop! The only peace I get from it is when I’m asleep :(

  844. Dani Says:

    @Rik – do you still come on this blog?

  845. Tasnim Says:

    Hey Dani,

    I realize how similar my symptoms are with others. I can tell you one thing. It does get better. I used to only look forward to sleeping because it meant I wouldn’t be focusing on my thoughts. Now I am look forward to waking up again, and I check myself slightly less. Slowly, but surely.

  846. Steve b Says:

    I check in all the time as well. Can’t seem to stop it. I like to think its at least a part of the way towards recovery because if you are checking in if you still feel ok you must have felt ok if that makes sense.
    Mind you, what do I know. In another setback.

  847. Joe Says:

    Hi all,

    I am struggling with a form of pure-O called “scrupulosity.–basically it’s just pure-O thst revolves endlessly around the subject of religion. I realize it’s in principle no different from any other obsession but for me it is a lot harder to deal with since my religion has always been central to my life. I’m just wondering if anyone else on here has had to deal with that.

    Joe

  848. Jamie Says:

    Does anybody here get real bad tension headaches / migraines due to excess stress / anxiety ?

    For instance, over the bank holiday weekend, I did the following:

    Sat – went on a date
    Sun – took my daughter to a concert (lots of stress parking and traffic etc)
    Mon – went to a family gathering
    Tue – took my daughter to meet friends for a day out and another date in the evening
    Today – back to work

    The concert, the dates and the day out I was pretty nervous before all of them and of course, they were all on consecutive days so no break inbetween. I distinctly remember not feeling too bad while I was actually on my day out yesterday (although pretty anxious beforehand) and had a drink in a pub with my friends before heading home and again, where I felt reasonably relaxed. However, when I get home and in the hour between getting in and going out on the date, the headache started ! Then of course, while I am on the date, I worry that I don’t feel well and may have to end the night early etc.

    They always seem to happen due to excess stress / overthinking situations / doing too many anxiety provoking things at once. I have gone into work today and had the worst headache. It feels like all of the blood vessels all over the top of my head are on fire / throbbing, lightheadedness the lot. Trying to concentrate at work and do my job is very difficult.

    I have lasted the day but the head is just as bad. I have done my best to have a “so what” attitude and accept it but honestly, I just feel like going straight to bed and calling in sick tomorrow and staying in bed until it passes.

    Admittedly, I don’t get these as much as I used to but no tablet ever does anything to ease it and I (like with general anxiety symptoms), get torn between looking after myself and if it is that bad, not going into work or just thinking “it will not stop me from doing what I need to do”. I think – will I recover quicker if I stay off work ? Granted I do worry about feeling unwell / anxious at work anyway.

    I just wonder if anyone else gets these and would like to share their thoughts?

  849. Dani Says:

    Hi Tasnim, that’s good and gives me hope thank you :) I’ve just been reading a book on stopping obsessive thoughts and it says you have to not engage with them or analyse them, nor try to self reassure – but I do all these things. I’m going to try not to but not sure how x

  850. Star Says:

    Hey guys really quickly,

    I have made a lot of progress with anxiety in the sense that I managed to accept it, give up the control and let it all be. And I had some amazing days of clarity and confidence. I understood that it would come back. But then it came back. And I couldn’t help to resist it…. I know what I have to do but I can’t help to now TRY to accept the anxiety because I know that is what will make it go away. But then I end up upset and frustrating and thinking ‘am I accepting it now?’ ‘How about now?’ I am trying too hard to replicate that peace….

    Any help?

  851. Tasnim Says:

    Dani, I’ve had the same exact struggles as you. It’s really something that gets easier with time. Like now, I still get scary thoughts and uncomfortable feelings, but I know they pass because I went through them a dozen times before. I have been able to experience those moments where I truly stop analyzing and realize how easy it is. Now when they happen I pull myself from analyzing that single thought knowing that its just SO much easier to not. But again you’re going to have to feel bad, then good, then bad again however many times until you slowly start to realize that everything’s going to be alright, and moving on with life is 1000x more important.

    Star, same goes here. That was a struggle of mine. What if I’m not doing it right and that’s why I’m not getting better? But it doesn’t matter. You wont get that answer until, again you start to going through the up and down process. One day you’ll go through enough good days then bad days that you will realize that just not questioning or analyzing is the way to go. I think a good tip is don’t focus on accepting or feeling better, do your best to focus on outside stuff. I’ve slowly changed my goal from “reaching recovery,” to “getting my life back.” And I realized the only way to get my life back is doing normal everyday stuff no matter how crappy I feel.

    I wrote a lot, I know. I just feel that these are wat really helped me progress and I hope it helps someone else.

  852. Isa Says:

    Hello All,

    I have a question which I am sure has been mentioned before but I am not quite seeing an answer, feel free to refer me to someone else’s response if applicable :) I feel some days that I am almost completely better. And then situations happen which set me back (health fears as some people mentioned, upcoming flights I have to take which is a big trigger for me etc). And in trying to remember how I have dealt with “acceptance” in the past, I am again wondering how exactly to do it. I tend to just say “hey anxiety, you’re here for dinner with me and my friends tonight, welcome” and literally try to mentally have a small chitchat conversation to acknowledge that anxiety is around me at that time to help me accept that I am anxious or fearful or what have you before continuing with my activity.

    And that does seem to more or less help the situation improve. But I feel like my acceptance isn’t quite enough or being done the right way, even if the anxiety does leave again momentarily. I feel like I am just accepting that it is there, and will be back later and I will re-welcome it the same way next time. All this welcoming, in short, seems like I am not fully believing it will ever go away, but more likely accepting that it will always be a part of me so I might as well welcome it, which seems like the wrong way to go about accepting (if this makes sense…).

    Are there any ideas or thoughts on how to approach this? I will keep doing what I am doing because it is a short-term solution that I do recognize diminishes the anxiety. But it also seems like I am just kind of accepting it will always be a part of my life, which, it seems, it shouldn’t be if I am truly recovered.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  853. star Says:

    Thanks tasnim for your reply. You’re definately right about that; I think that would really help me. Last night I was struggling with the anxious thoughts and throughout today and was totally breaking myself down and being so mean to myself about anything that would happen throughout the day. I tried to accept them and tell myself they were lying and not true but I think I wanted them to go away too badly. I am so drained and I know that I am doing this to myself. I think changing my attitude to not trying to recover being the aim or not trying to not feel the anxiety and fear will help. Now for application. Ah why is it so up and down. Last week i felt on top of the world.

  854. Tasnim Says:

    Anyone ever feel anxiety when they’re excited? I just got accepted into NYU, and I’m feeling the same exact feelings of when I was in the beginning stages of anxiety. I guess it’s nothing to worry about, it just reminds of a bad time. But still excited and anxious!

  855. Dani Says:

    Is anyone else struggling with the thoughts side of DP, I mean all the existential questions etc? I don’t even feel part of human life anymore, I feel like I can’t get back to normality. I’ve been reading posts on DP self help page but they scare me because people on there say they’ve suffered with it 10 + years, one person even said 23 years! I can’t carry on with life feeling this way for that long! I just want to get back to normal. From what I’ve read not many people on here seem to suffer with feeling ‘non-human’ with DP. If anyone can relate to this I’d really like to hear from you!

  856. Jamie Says:

    Hi all – this is mainly for Paul, Nolan and Doreen – these names spring to mind…

    I am going through a bit of a setback at the moment after having a period of actually feeling a bit better. I have done what I usually do and scanned my 30 odd screenshots of comments (most of them Nolan) from these blogs to get some guidance. This has resulted in the same thing – stop searching for the answer, take a “so what?” attitude, accept everything and just not care if I ever get better and live my life regardless.

    Now, although there are many of us on here that are in the midst of anxiety, there are a few that have come through it and ‘recovered’ e.g. Paul, Nolan and Doreen to name a few.

    My question is this – how is it possible to think “I don’t care if I am broken and never recover” and not let the anxiety stop me from doing ANYTHING I want to…..without one eye on ‘recovery’ or an end goal of ‘recovery’ ?Knowing that there are people on here that have (admittedly it was tough and a long process for them by the sound of it), surely it nigh on possible to 100% not care if there is way out if the right ‘attitude’ is taken ? Does this make sense ?

    I know this may sound daft but if no one on here had ‘recovered’ at all, I think I would find it easier (although it would be a grim outlook) to 100% not care how I felt or if I ever got better ? I wondered what other’s thoughts were either if you have ‘recovered’ or not ?

  857. Chris Says:

    Uggghhh, so much for my progress last week. I have done the worst thing possible and in a weak moment googled again. So annoyed at myself.

    I’ve reinforced my fears once again and now I’m feeling hopeless. Damn when does this end?

  858. Tim Says:

    Hey Jamie. I think everyone cares deep down if they will get better, but the trick is to not care about getting better right at this time. This will help you accept the anxiety, accept that its there and that you feel like shit and possibly will for a while. I had one eye on the goal of recovery but knew that it would be a long term goal. You just don’t want to focus on how bad it is and getting rid of it. I cared mate, but I had a huge amount of faith that this was the correct path :)

    Hope all is well. I’m having a strangish symptom of recovery. Its not particularly bad but I feel strange and not like myself. I am no longer anxious, but feel I don’t know myself anymore lol. If anyone has any experience with this Id love to hear your thoughts. I think that its mostly a case of adjustment and refinding my personality where it was once crushed.

  859. Tim Says:

    Hey Chris! its ok mate don’t think of it as too big of a deal. We are all so good at making anxiety seem like a huge thing but its really not. It’ll end dude, try not to see every time you have anxiety as a horrible event. I still feel anxious all the time to be honest, but i’m just like oh well and 90% of the time it goes away. Every time you live with your anxiety and get through something without feeding it your body is sent the message that its no longer a problem. Eventually you’ll be calm a lot more often.

    Think about how you were feeling better, was that because you stopped trying to fix and accepted? Let that remind you that it works. Read some blog posts or a chapter from Pauls book or dare to reassure yourself then do something to keep yourself busy :)

  860. Chris Says:

    Yeah I think keeping busy is very important for me at the moment, I’m off to work in a few hours and I actually look forward to it now because it gives me less time to dwell. I’m going to be studying full time soon and living in a different city so I think that will help.

    I just need to stop giving these thoughts so much attention. Going on google really just did give the whole fear more importance again. It always serves as a reminder that the answers I seek are not on there, and I will never find reassurance on there, I’m just going to confuse myself and assume the worst. I’m literally just re-sensitizing myself.

    This is my big ‘what if’ and I can really feel it crushing me down sometimes. The despair is so thick but it’s different this time I think, I’m still so determined to overcome this. Despite all the negative stuff I have read.

  861. Tim Says:

    Chris, no doubt mate. The thought that I was broken crushed me more than any thing else. Ive taken my own advice regarding wondering about “feelings of not being myself”. Ive scanned at last a life and realised that what I am experiencing is depersonalisation. Ive had DP before but not quite like this, it feels a bit foreign. Every single question I have had has been answered by reading Pauls stuff in fairness. Its all just anxiety.

    I don’t feel flash either, ive had heaps of uni assignments, a really busy schedule in other areas of my life. But i’m not scared. DP can DP the shit out of me if it wants, I have to go help an old man with dementia so I will. Our bodies just need a bit of TLC to get back to baseline :)

  862. Chris Says:

    Cheers for the reply Tim. Yeah it sucks when there is so much stuff on the internet that confirms my fears, and I know you can relate to this. I moved past this once before and had a period of peace, so I’m sure I can again.

    I guess I just have to keep practicing my ‘so what’ attitude.

  863. Star Says:

    How do people deal with so much doubt and indecisiveness. It can really take a toll on self esteem and confidence when you feel like you are unable to make a simple decision..
    When both options that you are choosing are clouded with so much anxiety and fear. And the actual choosing one is also so clouded with anxiety.
    I know you should just accept it and move on. But what if you feel like the anxiety makes you loose who you are because you just don’t know what you want, and hence who you are.
    I dunno I guess I am having a very anxious bad night. I am supposed to be working on my dissertation but instead I am either on Facebook or on here. I am too afraid to do any work because the anxiety chases me tells me I can’t do it; I am doing a crap job; and I believe it. And I feel so limited in my potential because I just have no motivation to face it.

  864. Tasnim Says:

    Star, I’m dealing with some indecisiveness too. Trying to decide between two colleges, and for some reason some of my anxiety and unpleasant feelings resurfaced. It’s not fun being clouded with stress and confusion, but the best way for me to deal with it is to go through with it. When my anxiety was at its worst, I could barely understand new material at school, or process small bits of information. I let myself be confused, and did whatever could at the moment, and eventually my head started to become more clear. You’re not gonna lose yourself. Just allow the fog to clear on its own.

  865. Melissa Says:

    Hello everyone,

    I hope you are all doing okay and trying your best to enjoy your weekend. I was listening to this podcast last week when I wasn’t feeling great and the host said something amazing. She was saying that sometimes when you are working on your anxiety recovery it is difficult to see the silver lining. She compared it to surfing. When you surf and you are paddling out into the ocean you can paddle forever without seeing anything in the horizon. You could go so far without feeling like you’ve ever left the shore. However, the minute you turn your head around and see how far the shore actually is, you can tell how far you’re come. It is the same with anxiety. When we look at our symptoms in a day to day basis, at times it can feel like we are ALWAYS anxious, and have thoughts like ‘will this ever go away?’ ‘Will I be like this forever?’ However if you tried looking at how far you’ve come, I’m sure you’d see that you are improving, even if it’s just for a few moments of clarity a day.

    I still have my moments, but compared to last summer when I burnout from work and developed an anxiety problem because of an insane amount of stress over a long period of time….I see that I have improved. Even on my worst days now, they do not compare to my worst days before.

    Just a bit of optimism on a Saturday night (in Canada).

    Xox take care friends

  866. Tasnim Says:

    I’ve been feeling down lately due to different circumstances. I think one of them being the whole growing up, leaving the family, and big changes thing due to college next year. This has lead me to become worried of facing actual depression. I’d like to assume that as I get on my life this feeling will go away, but since I have an actual reason for being down, it makes me wary. Any advice?

  867. Tim Says:

    Hey Tansim,

    I think change can be unsettling for people, although that also sounds so exciting too! College, new people, new places :) I loved my stay on a uni campus Id love to relive those years! I think this feeling will fade in time. Depression isn’t something ive dealt with a lot, although in the last year ive felt it. Its often co-morbid with anxiety. You say you have a reason to be depressed but its all in how you look at it I suppose. All I could say is try not to get depressed about being depressed, just like how anxious people get anxious about being anxious (second fear). Have compassion, let yourself be, keep your relationships, diet sleep etc :)

    At the risk of victim blaming and minimising depression (which id never want to do as ive felt it and it truly feels shit), this whole anxiety experience makes me question how many people bring depression on themselves. The medical model would tell us our neurochemistry is borked but i’m not so sure in most cases (for depression). Ive now come to almost everyone with anxiety its due to unhelpful cognition.

  868. Tasnim Says:

    Thanks Tim. I highly doubt this low mood is due to neuro chemistry since I barely concerned myself with it before anxiety. I think this feeling is result of situation and my own thinking. I know that many people with depression come out of it on their own as well. It’s just a scary thing, but I guess the best thing to do is keep going on with my life.

  869. Rik Says:

    Dani,

    You sound like you are going through exactly what I was/am. I just want you to know that it does indeed improve and when it does you will wonder why you were even bothered.

    I have had the worst time since December since this all started but last week I was great. I need you to trust me on one thing. Once the anxiety fades, the thoughts you are having right now will no longer matter. If they do pop up you will be able to simply brush them off. You will be too busy simply living your life to care about the ‘meaning’ of it all and you will feel your old self again. DP is just a part of anxiety. Nothing more. It is very powerful at making you feel this sense of unreality and feeling not like yourself and it is these feelings which spawn the thoughts. Without the feelings things are just normal and you have no need to question things.

    I went to see a therapist and he really helped me, in fact I see him again tomorrow. He helped me to realise that the things I am feeling are par for the course with OCD and anxiety and are nothing more than that. When we live our lives in our head analysing every thought and feeling is it any wonder we become trapped in there and feel unreal etc etc. You must treat the thoughts like any other OCD thought. Don’t get involved. Let them pop up and scare you. When they do just don’t add any further thought to them or any further fear. I woke up this morning feeling very anxious again. I had a really bad nights sleep and had slipped back into bad habits of late nights, takeaways and drinking caffeine. Along with the anxiety came the thoughts again and teh unreal feelings. I can quite clearly see it now. The anxiety comes along and the old symptoms click back into place to protect you. I plan to simply ride it out again and accept it for what it is. A tired anxious mind that is struggling to cope.

  870. Dani Says:

    Hi Rik, thanks for replying to me, I really appreciate it. What you said makes sense but it’s so hard when you’re stuck in it to imagine it ever getting better. Did you feel that everything felt strange? Like your body feels strange, say for example if you look at your hands or legs. Last night I was eating beans on toast and I looked at it and thought it’s really strange. Hard to explain :(
    I’ve just started seeing a therapist but when I mentioned all these thoughts I have she said I need to try to distract myself from them – but then I’ve read that distraction doesn’t work and can make it worse, so I’ve lost a bit of faith in her. Does you therapist specialise in OCD or DP?

  871. Rik Says:

    Dani,

    Yes I had all of that. For the previous two weeks I was getting over it but then two days or so ago it got a bit worse again as my anxiety increased, not sure why and there is no reason for me to try and figure it out either. As hard as it is to believe it really is just all anxiety. I am having it again now but if you do just accept its presence and ignore the thoughts that come along with it eventually your anxiety levels will calm down and you just kind of begin to snap out of it and take an interest in other things again. Distraction will work if accompanied by acceptance. Acceptance is the key to it all. Accept that this is all caused by anxiety and just get on with other things.

  872. Jo Says:

    I’ve had that feeling too Dani, it scared me so much. I would look at things and just think it all felt odd. I felt detached and nothing could bring me back to normal. I researched and also found all the posts of people suffering for years, but those are the people that you hear from, the ones still on those forums, the ones that are probably fighting it going around in circles.

    You will not feel like this forever, you can get past it. I have pretty much, I have the odd day like when I’m tired and feel a bit detached, but I know normal will return. First you need to look after yourself (in my opinion – what I did), take vitamins, magnesium & b-vits are good, drink plenty. I started running a few times a week, nothing to much just enough to get my blood pumping. This really helped with my DP! When you start worrying you’re going mad ect, don’t argue with it or research it. You’re not mad, just anxious from over thinking and tiring out your mind. Sometimes I think us obsessional deep thinkers need something to obsess over that won’t make us anxious…what gets you interested/excited? Any hobby or volunteer work you could really get your teeth into?

  873. marie Says:

    Hi Nolan. I’m sorry to hear about your grandma hope your ok and the family. I wanted to ask you a quick question. So with my sleep I accept whatever sleep I get I get and I dont need to do anything but accept it? I haven’t got so much thoughts or feelings anymore. But I’m still having sleepless night even though I’m not worrying or fearing it is this normal. Thanks Marie

  874. Simone Says:

    I need some advice concerning scary thought.
    It often happens that I am at work trying to concentrate on what I am doing or listening in a meeting when scary thought pop up. I would then be there and let them pass, telling myself that the energy is being released and keep myself from identifying with them. At the same time I try to focus on the present. I really feel like in a washing machine working at these different levels at the same time. I know, I should do nothing, letting those thoughts pass and concentrate on the presence, but sometimes it really gets so insupportable and absorbs me totally that I get desperate. Any advice from somebody who went through the same?

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