What do I do about anxiety?

Sorry for not posting recently, I have been moving house, anyway hopefully people can relate to the below and it helps in some way.

What do I do? How do I get rid of this? The answer I searched for, for years and never found. Yes I could find ways/techniques to cover it up temporary, but never find that illusive SECRET to make it all go away. Surely I just had to keep searching, I searched every corner of the internet, nothing there, so I read numerous books, but the secret to make it all go away was not there, I went to numerous counsellors and found no answer, I searched inside my own head for answers and just felt more confused than ever.

Then one day I just bottomed out and was crushed by it all, if the answer was not there, then this is me forever, this search had completely exhausted me and I was done with it, I just had to accept there were no answers. Was this searching all a waste of time? Not at all, because if I had not done this search I would not have come to the conclusion that there was nothing to do, that, that was the answer. It was all the doing and the searching, the worrying and the analysing that was keeping me stuck. Bottoming out was the best thing that ever happened to me.

I said in my latest book ‘At last a life and beyond’ that one day I looked at all my self help books and just realised that I did not need these, that these may have been the problem all along. Were these books about finding an answer? No they were all about trying to make myself feel different, that was what the meds, counsellors, books, the searching was all about, to try to not feel something, but hang on, what if I did not try and feel different, what would happen then? Maybe these feeling and thoughts needed to be felt to be released, maybe the real suffering is coming from trying NOT to feel a particular way, maybe the suffering is coming from all this constant self pity and resistance and not the feeling and thoughts themselves.

Realisation after realisation hit me and I could not believe I had not seen this before. It made complete sense to why I had continued to suffer. I remember how I would fight my mind to try and make it more quiet, to act and think differently. Then I saw it clearly that I was fighting the problem with the problem, I was trying to fix the tired and weary mind with my tired and weary mind, tiring it out further, I was creating the problem by trying to fix the problem and staying in a constant loop.

I did a lot of research after this on how the mind and body worked, read books on buddhism and all sorts of different teachings, but this time I did it to educate myself more and not to try and feel any different, in fact all I learnt along this route is what I saw was completely true. But I did not see it on an intellectual level, I saw it so deep I knew there was no going back, it just made so much sense.

My words are there to point you to see this for yourselves, to spark your own realisation, that’s all my words are ever for, they are pointers and the reason I keep writing. Because trust me when you see it for yourself, nothing but your attitude towards how you feel changes, a lot of fear drops away, a lot of resistance, you start to leave yourself alone more, you come more and more out of your head, you realise you never had any control in the first place and you leave it to your mind and body to sort itself out.

This journey is one of the toughest you have to go through, it is not about quick fixes, techniques, no ones words will ever make you feel great over night, TRUST me on that. It means you have to allow what needs to come up to come up, you have to turn towards it instead of turning away from it, you have to start living your life while harmless thoughts and emotions are running amok. You may feel peace, you may feel horrible, you have to treat it all the same. You don’t cling to the bliss and you don’t run away or try to suppress the bad, the more allowing you are of it, the better. But at the end of the journey it will be the best thing you ever did, you will realise how harmless thoughts and emotions really are, you will realise how you did so much of this to yourself, you will realise you were never broken in the first place, that you never had to go around trying to fix yourself and that no label given to you was actually true.

I have seen so many people bottom out, crushed with nothing else to try and yet it is the best stage to get to, as all you have nothing left to try and the paradox is, that’s the best place to get to.

Paul

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

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314 Responses to “What do I do about anxiety?”

  1. Rich Says:

    Hi Everyone, Please feel free to comment below but before you post questions asking for help or confirmation about your own symptoms and experiences, please take the time to see if your questions have already been asked in previous post comments, and whether what you’re asking is directly answered by Paul’s blog post above.

  2. Jamie Says:

    Hi all

    Now this partly a positive and partly a negative post. I will try and be as brief as possible and I am not trying to turn this into a dating forum. I will explain…

    I went on a date about 3 weeks ago and although I was terrified leading up to it (my expectations were massive as we had text so much beforehand and spoken on the phone several times), it went quite well. Anyway, I have seen her another 4 times (I’ve been pretty nervous before each date still but I have made myself do it) since plus several telephone calls and texts most days. The end result is that I really like and she seems to really likes me !

    My anxiety has now taken over and my mind has gone into overdrive. My anxious mind is saying “don’t text her so much”, “don’t speak on the phone so much”, “be cool”, “don’t compliment her too much”, “don’t arrange to see her twice in the same week” and even on to daft stuff like “she is 40 mins away so where would you live which is inbetween your houses” ???

    My non-anxious mind is saying “you get on really well so keep texting her”, “see her when you want” and “enjoy it”.

    She is on my mind a hell of a lot but my mind is getting tied up in knots with it, admittedly with lots of stupid thoughts. We are both quite nervous people and we do overanalyse but I think I am on a different level to her! Obviously, I am not going to her how anxious I get but I do think “how can you consider getting into a relationship with someone with the way you are?”

    One example is – I am due to see her tomorrow but text her today to say I finished at 2. She wrote back and suggested meeting to walk her dog for a couple of hours. I phoned her and my anxious mind said “don’t ! it is too much, you are seeing her tomorrow” so I said no thanks. I probably sounded a bit weird on the phone and did not really give a reason. 5 mins later I text her, said I had changed my mind and I met her !

    The jist of it is that it ‘feels’ right to speak / text / see her as much as I am but I am not sure it is helping with my anxious mind. Do I continue as I am or start cooling things down (even though I don’t want to) ?

    Thanks for reading. I should be pleased right ? This sums me up!

  3. Nolan Says:

    Great post, Paul!.

    Paul said,
    “I have seen so many people bottom out, crushed with nothing else to try and yet it is the best stage to get to, as all you have nothing left to try and the paradox is, that’s the best place to get to.”…..

    This is the truth for what happened to me too. I had found Paul’s blog (after reading his book) and was still up and down (mainly down)…. and growing yet more frustrated and more full of despair.

    On one of my many trips and postings on this blog I vented that I was completely giving up hope of ever recovering. I meant it more as a pity-trip for me. But someone replied (paraphrased) “Good… now you know to give up entirely… you’re in the right spot now”.

    I was initially baffled by her response…. but something sort of clicked. I caught a little glimpse of what I was doing wrong. But, I believe I needed to hit that rock bottom in order to drop all assumptions of how I was supposed to act, how I was supposed to progress…. and just assumed nothing except that I needed to start living my life again; with or without anxiety/depression.

  4. Jamie Says:

    Hi Nolan

    I asked something on the previous blog entry which was directed to you and Paul. The question was this….

    How can / did you 100% give up hope of recovering knowing that recovery is possible as Paul had written a book on how he recovered ? I’m struggling to get my head around this. If I try and adopt a “i give up” attitude,I’ve still got one eye on the end goal of ‘recovery’ as it’s been demonstrated that it is possible. I think I would find it easier to “give up” if no one had recovered. Does that make sense ? I’m interested in your thoughts.

  5. Doreen Says:

    Jamie – Paul tends not to answer questions directly as he would be inundated. I have to say I am confused by your question.

  6. Nolan Says:

    Hi Jamie,

    I think the most important thing is to start living your life again whether the full intensity of the anxiety is there or not.

    Giving up hope for me just meant that I was going to stop focusing on it (willfully focusing on it in attempts to fix myself), that I had no expectations of how I should be recovering or not (I used to have all of these things I would do to track if I was better today than I was the day before…. percentages I was close to recovery…. all of this stuff just ultimately frustrated me… since recovering wasn’t linear for me)…. that, whether things were as bad as they could get I was still going to do the things I used to do.

  7. star Says:

    Nolan hi. It’s encouraging to hear from you someone who has ‘recovered’ fully since it does seem so out of reach.

    This is me just talking to talk to someone who has been through this experience

    I have been having my ups and downs; I let go to experience peace but when the anxiety came back I fought it really bad, trying so hard to replicate the ‘acceptance’ and thinking it would bring peace back and got to such a low broken point which as Paul says brings the change– which it did. I now decided that I don’t care how I feel anymore. It is just irrelevant. I decided there is no such thing as recovery from anxiety, only freedom from it. The fear is still there it is very strong but I am doing whatever I need to do regardless. But it is very hard. My fear makes me feel vulnerable and unconfident. And like Jamie was saying it’s hard not to look forward to the days when it’ll all clear. I’m worried I will be frustrated if they don’t come.

    I definately feel a lot lighter; in the sense that I don’t care as much about things; I guess I should be focusing on the positive.

  8. Paul David Says:

    I get so many people who email saying ‘Paul I get it now, yes, yes, yes, thank you so much’.

    I am not blaming people, but I read posts on here and so many people completely miss what I am pointing to and continue to try and force peace, try and fix themselves, worry, analyse, think that talking constantly about they will eventually find that answer or that it will make them feel better. Whilst people are in any battle with themselves or how they feel then little is going to change, you need to stop battling with yourself and start to feel everything that comes up, go into every corner and no longer run away or try to change how you feel. Because trust me you are fighting a pointless war, one that you will never win.

    I see so many people say ‘I have been battling with anxiety for 20 years now’ and I think, well there is the reason you aren’t moving forward. I know many, many people from this blog who have fully recovered, many I am in touch with and they all gave up this fight, not just because I told them to, but because it made sense to do so, they saw the truth in what I was pointing to.

    I cannot give you the attitude that will serve you so well, I can only point to it.

    Even with me it was a slow process, I did not see something and then it was all gone, I had to go through some real crappy days, stay in places when all my instincts were to run, I had to throw all my self help books out and stop living my life trying to fix something, trying to feel different, I had to feel my body racked with fear and still carry on through, feel detached yet still go everywhere at will. Yes I understood a lot and knew all these thoughts and feelings were utterly harmless.

    The biggest mistake people make is they use what I write as another technique to feel different/better, they are still looking not to feel something, when in truth my words say drop all techniques and do the opposite, face and feel the lot of it, then in time you will start to feel the peace you are looking for.

  9. Steve b Says:

    Paul. Hi mate
    You talk a lot about the recovery process and it makes so much sense and has helped me out of a big hole. You don’t speak so much about you maintained your recovery.
    It was such a big part of your life how did you and do you remain convinced it will never come back and how did you move on from the subject.
    I have had 4 episodes of this and it’s hard to stop thinking about it. About how it is such a big part of my life.

  10. Dani Says:

    Hi Paul
    Thanks for the post.
    I’ve read that you suffered from DP, was this mainly just a detached feeling for you or did you also feel that everything in life felt strange? Like hands and legs etc seem strange and that life doesn’t make sense? I find it hard to function feeling this way, I’m worried everything will stop making sense to me completely and I won’t be able to do anything. Is this all anxiety and DP and I just need to accept this strangeness?

  11. Mark R Says:

    Hi Jamie,

    There are a couple of things I noticed about your post which maybe keeping you stuck in the doorway.
    I think you are wanting to give up hope of recovering in order to recover. The issue with this is firstly giving up hope is completely unnatural and goes against our nature. I don’t want to speak for Nolan but whenever he says he hit rock bottom and gave up he means he gave up trying to feel better, that he wanted to focus on life regardless of how he felt. There is a world of difference in giving up the fight with yourself and believing the crap that you will feel this way forever. The latter is fundamentally wrong.
    Secondly you seem to want to try and give in to get better. This is a control method in itself as the key thing here is you are trying…constant trying with any method is going to keep you in the loop, unwittingly.
    Our minds are pleasure and peace seekers….they will always try to look for ways to feel better, to avoid pain, you’ll never stop this. You just need to tune out of it, let it do what it wants to do like a radio playing in the background.
    It seems from your posts that you push forward with life but seem to get hooked into the self analysis a little too much. This isn’t a criticism but if you can tweak your attitude a little you will see a bit more progress.

  12. Natasha Says:

    Hi, I struggle really badly with over active racing thoughts, I will think pretty much 24/7, I will creat scenarios in me head and just live in my head all the time. I feel like I am going mad. Can be having a conversatin with someone and a random thought from nowhere will pop into my head then another and another. What is the best way to slow down the racing thoughts? I try allowing them to be there and just getting on with what I am doing but it is so hard allowing yourself to be trapped in your head :(

  13. ashley Says:

    Hi all. I reached the “lightbulb” moment about 3 years ago. I had bought Paul first book about 5 years ago and had already read it but didn’t understand it, it was put on the shelf with all the other self help books. I picked it up again when I was in a desperate hole with anxiety. I was at the bottom and had had enough. The only thing different I did this time was I ACTUALLY READ IT. By this I mean I didn’t quickly flick to the end where I thought the “answer” would be, I read it all and once I read it all. I read it again, and again and I actually tried to understand it. The lightbulb moment came when I read the part about “anxiety being like the flu” you have a few symptoms but your not concerned because you understand what the flu is so it doesn’t scare you..Once I really trusted that all these symptoms where anxiety based and not harmful I treated them exactly the same, a slight annoyance but nothing more than a tired mind playing it tricks and releasing adrenaline. I’m still a sufferer, but I’m recovering.. that’s how long it can take to recover years some time but it doesn’t matter to me how long it takes, I will give it as long as it needs. My life is so much better than it ever has been since this all began 10 years ago, like Paul I never wished for full recovery, just a slight improvement was enough but I know full recovery is possible, maybe a year or two away even but give it it’s space. Do the things you always wanted tool do with anxiety with you. I never thought I would have children, get married because of it but I have, it’s been with me the whole time, it was never going to actually stop me, only if I let it would it have. What an amazing g journey really.

  14. Paul David Says:

    Mark has some v good points there, this especially

    Our minds are pleasure and peace seekers….they will always try to look for ways to feel better, to avoid pain, you’ll never stop this. You just need to tune out of it, let it do what it wants to do like a radio playing in the background.

    Mine used to kick and scream for me to do something about how I felt, get back searching, find a technique, make this feeling go away and I just let it, I accepted this also and did not react to it. As I say I leant so much about the mind that I saw right through it and the tricks it plays, it meant no harm by this, it is just a survival machine and wants to get rid of pain, but in this case the pain needs to be felt and left alone.

    How did I maintain recovery? I did not try and maintain anything, anything that came up was just left as before and all the negative energy continued to empty out of me, all the momentum in my mind left and it became balanced once again. It is only if you try and maintain something that you start fighting again, one return of feeling a bad day and then it can be ‘Oh no its back’ , ‘What am I doing wrong’, ‘What do I need to do’ and so people look for a technique, a way out when the answer was to just let it all arise again and do nothing.

  15. Paul David Says:

    The other point is totally true also

    Secondly you seem to want to try and give in to get better. This is a control method in itself as the key thing here is you are trying…constant trying with any method is going to keep you in the loop, unwittingly.

    Right what does Paul say to do now, right let me get good at this doing nothing thing, that will then get rid of these feelings, right lets practice, how am I doing and before you know it my words have been turned into another technique, another way not to feel something and the point is lost again.

  16. Murphy Says:

    I hope it’s okay to post a question! It’s been 3 years since I followed Paul’s advice and recovered from a period of anxiety. This week I’m back in it. It seems a long time and I’m trying to remember the attitude of just getting on with my life.

    The one thing that is really scaring me though, is my sleep. It was bad before and I went through the usual series of tablets, which ended up making me feel worse.

    I don’t want to go back there again, but I lay in bed, just on the verge of sleep or beyond and a surge of energy/ adrenaline washes through me, waking me up. I think I might have scraped an hour or so last night, but I’m scared today. Scared of how long this sensation will wake me and scared of many nights without sleep.

    I’m feeling bit broken today, any advice would be very well received.

  17. Tim Says:

    Hey Paul, just want to say thank you for all you have done. I was anxious for a decade and the only relief I felt has been following your method. I’ve read both of your books! Keep up the good work :)

  18. Chris Says:

    I can relate to so much of the above. Obviously I haven’t been accepting as much as I thought.

    What Paul said above about our minds saying ‘do something!’, is a biggie for me. Sometimes I can be going about my day and my mind will scream ‘you need reassurance, you need to go on google/other forums for peace of mind or else you won’t recover!’ and very occasionally (it used to be much more) I will get bluffed by this, thinking ‘maybe I do need to search the internet again to confirm I’m not broken’. Well whenever I fall for this trick and follow through I usually end up finding the opposite and feeling much worse haha. I guess these are our instincts, but false instincts, it’s not as if there is a lion in front of me or anything.

    I also tried the whole ‘giving in’, thinking ‘if I give in then I’ll recover!’. The problem here (as Paul mentioned above again) is that I tried to do it, expecting peace from it. In other words I tried to do it to make myself feel better.

    Very helpful post and comments above, thanks!

  19. Carmen Says:

    Paul,

    I have to tell you, that I read any part of chapter 5 from your first book whenever I have setbacks. Sure I do not feel any better, but what it does for me is help me stop fighting at once. At once I stop trying to feel better. Don’t know what the connection between adrenaline and forgetting what I learned from you is, but I just get that quick reminder, and all that extra burden I put on myself is gone and anxiety is so much lighter and easier…until I get well again :) I just forget all I know already when I am well, and when a setback comes I get that reminder queued on my phone already. Warm regards to all of you

  20. Pietro Says:

    Is it a good idea to stop reading about anxiety?

    – YES!! [Rich]

  21. Caz Says:

    Hi Paul or anyone that can help. I just wanted to know the difference between anxiety rituals and actually being safe? From reading your books and following advice I have come to the point where I have my life back again. I have one problem left and it’s something I can’t figure out. I am quite a clumsy and dizzy person always has been since I was a child. Leaving things everywhere, losing items forgetting things (especially birthdays) so I am quite strict in my rules of checking places before I leave, checking locks, heaters, everywhere and everything because of my past experiences (flooded work, left iron on burnt floor etc). Where do I draw the line. In some places especially work I check the heater about 20 times before I leave work because I don’t trust myself in other situations I check once. This is my last hurdle to a bit of inner peace your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Kind regards. Caz

  22. Jamie Says:

    Thanks for the replies Paul, Nolan and Mark R

  23. Tasnim Says:

    Hey guys,
    If you’ve seen my comments from the last post, you could tell that I’ve been better. I don’t feel anxiety 24/7 currently (although I may think about it a lot). All most all of my symptoms have been mental i.e. intrusive thoughts, doubts etc. I don’t think I’ve really had physical symptoms I can think of other than heavy breathing at times. For the past couple days, I’ve had this odd feeling on my left chest (around the artery under my collar bone) and left arm. The feeling is constant, but I get randoms and slight sharp pains on left side sometimes. It started off as a dull pain or sort of pressure near that artery Now along with that, my left arm can feel heavy and as though I strained it. Yesterday I went to a walk-in doctor for a cold related reason. They took my blood pressure, oxygen level, breathing, pulse, and they all came out normal. I mentioned this feeling, but the doctor said everything seemed fine. While my anxiety has been subsiding, I have been stressing the past week or two. I’m gonna try to visit my actual doctor just to see if she can tell me abything, buy I wanted to know if this could be an anxiety symptom and has anyone experienced it. Sorry for the long explanation, I never noticed any physical symptoms before, so I’m not sure what to think.

  24. Tasnim Says:

    Hey guys,
    If you’ve seen my comments from the last post, you could tell that I’ve been better. I don’t feel anxiety 24/7 currently (although I may think about it a lot). All most all of my symptoms have been mental i.e. intrusive thoughts, doubts etc. I don’t think I’ve really had physical symptoms I can think of other than heavy breathing at times. For the past couple days, I’ve had this odd feeling on my left chest (around the artery under my collar bone) and left arm. The feeling is constant, but I get randoms and slight sharp pains on left side sometimes. It started off as a dull pain or sort of pressure near that artery Now along with that, my left arm can feel heavy and as though I strained it. Yesterday I went to a walk-in doctor for a cold related reason. They took my blood pressure, oxygen intake level, breathing, pulse, and they all came out normal. I mentioned this feeling, but the doctor said everything seemed fine. While my anxiety has been subsiding, I have been stressing the past week or two. I’m gonna try to visit my actual doctor just to see if she can tell me abything, buy I wanted to know if this could be an anxiety symptom and has anyone experienced it. Sorry for the long explanation, I never noticed any physical symptoms before, so I’m not sure what to think.

  25. Chris Says:

    Hey Pietro.

    It depends on what you mean by reading about anxiety. If you are googling your symptoms, or looking for that magic sentence then you are reinforcing that there is a problem, and you are not allowing yourself to experience anxiety, you are trying to make it go away. But if you are reading up on anxiety to build an understanding (this blog, Paul’s books etc) or you need to refresh your memory then yeah it’s fine. Just don’t turn it into a ritual and spend hours and hours on it otherwise you’ll just be battering your already fatigued mind.

    Personally I come on here maybe once or twice a week. I think some of us do need repetition until we truly see it for ourselves.

  26. Pietro Says:

    Ok, I thought maybe we should stop coming here as it’s looking for reassurance (maybe?) but I see what you mean.

  27. pravesh Says:

    Hello friends

    Have not posted in here for a long time. Just a quick question if anyone can help?

    Am having some fearful thoughts (though I know the thoughts are not real but seem to be real as I am sensitized), and feeling fearful from time to time. I am keeping a calm attitude towards them but can’t seem to make any progress. The symptoms I mentioned are still here. I am not doing anything about my symptoms and living my life normally. I am not even using any techniques only the calm attitude. But I seem to be stucked. Paul if you could guide me?

  28. Ves Says:

    Jamie: “How can / did you 100% give up hope of recovering knowing that recovery is possible as Paul had written a book on how he recovered ? I’m struggling to get my head around this.”

    Hi Jamie,

    You are not giving up hope of recovering but you are giving a hope of finding “solution” for the “problem”. Here is the beautiful thing about our minds perceptions about “problems”. Problem can be called “Problem” only if there is a solution. If there is no solution for the problem then we cannot call it a “problem”.

    If there is no secret formula that would make anxiety go away in any books that are published on the subject then anxiety is not a “problem”. Problem has to have a solution. So anxiety is not a problem. You cannot “solve” anxiety but you have to feel it.

  29. Julie W Says:

    Hi all,
    Took a break from this blog for a a few weeks. Just been getting on with things and been on a really nice vacation. Felt my anxiety/ocd thoughts lifting a bit. Well, the kids are back in school after a little break and I find i have reverted back to old habits. I have been going back to bed in the morning after dropping the kids off. Mostly because i am tired, but i can see some avoidance in going back to bed. It’s so, so hard or me to stop that. The nights before i tell myself I will not go back to bed, and then morning comes and i am really tired. Anyway, after posting that i wasn’t going to use sedatives anymore (i occasionally did before), i will admit i took a small dose of sleeping pills in the morning for a couple days this week so i could get some more sleep. This morning I went back to bed again, and thought about taking another sleeping pill. It was like my mind was urging me to take it and it wouldn’t stop. Well i didn’t take it and i started to get scared that maybe i was becoming addicted. I have ocd intrusive thoughts that are my main anxiety symptom left, so i am sitting here today worried/obsessed that i am becoming addicted to sleeping pills. But then it hit me that maybe it’s anxiety/ocd making me think this, rather than actually developing an addiction. The last few weeks i haven’t even thought about taking them. Not sure if anyone can comment. I don’t really have anyone to talk to about this.

  30. Star Says:

    Hi

    So I need help. Well I feel like I do.

    I understand the concept of not fearing the anxiety and I have experienced it and some clarity. But I feel like I keep falling backwards. I guess I just don’t want to FEEL THE FEAR (because I just want recovery or to see progress and I get so frustrated) and it feels so strong that my anxiety will be ‘found out’ that I will ‘be exposed’ and that I am a fraud which is something I really believe. Because I am in such a panic and cannot think straight at university clinics (where we work as students) and then I feel like such a mess and that I cannot do a good job (yes all the horrible thoughts.) And the supervisors tell me I’m fine/good and I am like no this is not true and I feel so crap and incompetent. Like the day I will work I will be fired from all the pressure (which I put on myself which causes me to blank) and I will be so humiliated.
    And I also get depressed about the fact that I have felt so bad over these years at university and not had fun like I see everyone else calmly ‘flapping their wings.’ I am so jealous of their freedom. But I know I am doing this to myself :(.

    There is so much negative energy to be released. I also feel so alone; I tell everyone that I am fine and have to paint a pretty picture, when inside I am crying.

  31. Bryan Says:

    Very interesting stuff in this thread so far…

    Paul,

    I feel like the “giving up hope” notion is one so deep it deserves its own post some day. It’s a really tricky notion for folks because I think when we hear that, we’re inclined to think “giving up hope” means turning negative on life. “Oh… I gave up hope and just let my life fall apart.” I think traditionally, that’s how people see giving up hope.

    I get that what you’re saying is totally different than that, but I can also see how Jamie (and others) are confused by that notion… because the implication almost seems to turn your thinking downward. Giving up is such a foreign concept, like Mark said… it’s something we really have to qualify.

    To me, and I’m not 100% recovered by any stretch… but I’ve made the most progress just trying to allow it to be what it is, knowing that we are always in flux. Nothing ever stays the exact same way. So that gives me some comfort to try to just live life during the harsh periods.

    But, some might criticize me and say.. “you shouldn’t have any hope to get better, any form of optimism is going to just backfire on you.”

    Perhaps that’s why I’m mostly better, but not completely?

    I don’t know.

    I just know that there are some great responses here… and that again as Mark pointed out, the notion of “giving up hope” is really one that needs to be thoroughly laid out for people, as the connotation sounds so defeatist.
    (When in truth, it is what allows it all to go of course.)

    The good news is we’re deep into the real crux of this subject. It’s not about the symptoms. It’s about this very key point…

  32. Albert Says:

    Hi ,
    Message to Nolan or anyone who has recovered.
    Not been on here for a while as ive been doing ok,slowly but surely letting all the crap happen.
    My question is , i work from home , im a single dad looking after 2 boys, so basically my week is work, kids , gym, mates friday, football weekends.
    Basically since ive become a single dad ive been so busy ive become a boring git.
    My concern is ive not done anything out of the ordinary, visited places, out for a proper meal, holiday abroad and i keep getting the thoughts “ah, youve not been abroad, meal, visited different places because you are scared of the anxiety it may cause”
    In a nut shell ive not been outside the county i live in for a year and a half and i keep getting the thoughts , the reason is due to anxiety and im scared to do anything different
    so my answer is “right im going to face these problems and prove im not scared” trouble is , how do you force yourself to go on holiday, visit a new town , go out for a meal etc when your a single dad when you dont need to !
    I keep getting the thoughts so much im now starting to believe them thinking “yes what if i did get anxious if i went on holiday etc, it would spoil the holiday, i dont want that, ive spent al this money etc, i want o enjoy it etc”

    Should i just carry on with my “boring “life and let the thoughts come and if the opportunity comes to go on holiday etc face the problem then ?
    Im seeing a cbt therapist who says i have anxiety but more i have pure o , which is severe intrusive thoughts about anything that may make me happy.
    Personally my attitude is face the problems/situations when it happens and if i go on holiday and feel sh*t so what, its only anxiety and it may make me feel crappy so what
    Rambling i know, but any advice please !

  33. Julie W Says:

    So after being obsessed this morning with the sleeping pill thing, i decided to let it be and if my mind wants to tell me that, go ahead. Had a really hard day – felt crappy and had thoughts that someone needs to reassure me, i’m going to have a breakdown, felt like crying, etc, but i just let it be and carried on with what i needed to do.

    The urge to cower away, crawl into a ball, call someone for reassurance, have a drink has been there, but I didn’t listen to it. I figure if this is negative energy, it needs to be released, so go to it. Crap is that hard to do when you are having a bad day. I am NOT going to feel sorry for myself.

    Star – i understand the being jealous of others feeling, as I get that too, but i don’t pay attention to it. I can watch tv and see others smiling and enjoying life and i get that pang in my stomach, but i give it no further attention. Still get it a lot, but i have learnt that if you pay it attention, then you feel depressed. Truth is, you have no idea what other people are going through

    Albert – i have pure o also, and it seems like there are others with that too on here, so know you are not alone.

  34. Julie W Says:

    And Albert – GO on holiday! I have been on holiday quite a few times in the last 2 years, since I have been dealing with this. I completely understand your anxiety about it, as each time leading up to it, i have the thoughts that I won’t be able to handle it, but i do it anyway, and guess what, i can handle it. Some trips have been good and some my thoughts were crazy all the time, but I made it through and have some good family memories now. You have to live your life.

  35. Bryan Says:

    Hey Albert,

    I’d suggest setting up something small and just getting away for a day or two. I’ve been in recovery for a while and haven’t traveled much either. I feel better these days and took a weekend trip last week and a couple last year. No major ones yet, not out of fear so much as I just haven’t regularly felt like I was up to it physically.
    (My version of this is highly physical and I have demanding jobs, kids, etc.)

    But I’d say don’t overthink it. Just take a quick jog somewhere and get a hotel for a night or two. You’ll be surprised how much it helps, even if you don’t feel great.
    I felt like crap for my last one but was still really glad I went. The prior two I felt fine.

    I wouldn’t beat yourself up and personally I wouldn’t force a 2 week stressful vacation at this point “just to prove you can do it.” Because when we’re sensitized these things accumulate and have backlash. (Some may disagree here but that’s been my experience.) I’ve made progress slowly branching out and doing more as I’ve recovered.

    My two cents.

  36. Rik Says:

    Bryan,

    I think you are right about not pushing too quickly. I remember last time I got anxiety and I tried to ‘kick it’s ass’ so to speak and all it did was put more and more stress on me and dig me deeper. With my therapists help we decided on a plan to slowly start moving beyond my comfort zones and begin to take my life back. I recovered fully at that stage but have fallen back since due to extreme stress and not dealing with it very well.

    Last week I had a great week and was making real strides. For some reason though this week has been incredibly difficult. Waking with extreme anxiety and the extreme DP following that which seems to last the vast majority of the day. For the last two or so days though I have been fully accepting it as anxiety and just doing the things I need to do. Last week is proof to me that it can and will abate once I face up to the anxiety and OCD thoughts.

  37. Chris Says:

    Hi everyone.

    Sorry for this post, I just need a bit of help and this is probably the best place to get it. Yesterday everything seemed so clear, and I really let all the grot happen, which was a great success. Every thought didn’t matter, and I felt like I had finally had a breakthrough. I was actually quite elated and really felt hopeful. I had no intention of trying to feel better, it just happened.

    Today is different though. I know this shouldn’t be about how I feel, If I feel crap I feel crap. But at the moment it’s just so hard, the depression and despair is really eating me up. I’ve pretty much been ruminating all day, negative thoughts about everything, and the fearful thoughts are so convincing. I googled alot and read alot of convincing studies about my particular fear when I first went into this setback in October (big regret), so I guess it’s hard to not see them at truth. This is where I feel I am stuck.

    I know I’ve probably said this all before and I’m sorry if I’m repeating myself. I’m just feeling really weighed down by it all and hopeless. The thoughts I have are there 24/7 and I’m constantly getting sucked in by them. My mind feels poisoned. The worst part is, I know I’m doing this to myself, but I can’t seem to move forward. It’s just constant rumination.

    I did exactly what I did yesterday, but I kept on falling back into old habits. The depression really has been bad this week. The advice Paul gives above is probably one of the best things I’ve ever read, however I keep thinking ‘this won’t work for me, I’m too depressed’ or ‘my fears are too real, I’ll never get over them’. I gave it my best shot today, but I couldn’t stop getting sucked in to my mind. It was constant rumination.

    Sorry this is a different note from last week, I’m just feeling a bit hopeless and weighed down by it all.

  38. Rik Says:

    Hi Chris,

    This is how anxiety works and in particular intrusive thoughts. They require your fear of them and for you to believe in them in some way in order to survive and keep coming back. I am still struggling myself with this as my anxiety has begun to peak again in the mornings when waking and as a result it drives my DP right up. I plan to try to be more mindful of what I am doing at any given time and to not stop doing the things I want to do. I have started swimming again in the last few days as this is something I used to really love doing. I am not giving it up just because I feel unreal while I am there and experience scary thoughts. That is exactly what anxiety wants from me and its not going to get it.

    THE most important thing with intrusive thoughts is to refuse to ruminate on them. That is how they stick around. Sure they may be scary and may cause you to be afraid but just allow that to happen and see them as just thoughts. They can’t harm you in any way and are just you replaying your worst fear over and over again because you are so afraid of it. As I said I am having a hard time myself. This is because my anxiety is higher and my DP as a result of that. Not because the thoughts mean anything more to me than they used to. It is simply anxiety trying to get you to bite. Sometimes I do bite and I become scared or try to reason with the thoughts. This is always a losing battle and ALWAYS makes me worse. The only way to move forward is to stop caring about the presence of the thoughts and allow them to shout and roar and just ignore them. Just let them roll through your mind unhindered til they run out of steam.

  39. Rachel Says:

    I’m somewhat new to anxiety/panic, but it has been a really rough year so far, and I’m learning. I received Paul’s book. I love its modern day similarities to Claire Weekes book. I was moving along great with her philosophies about panic: Face, Accept, Float, Let Time Pass. This was really beginning to work for me except the sleepless nights.

    However, I ended up giving in to medication, and I hope to be off of it soon. I honestly don’t think it’s doing much for me. I have quite a few issues distinguishing medication side effects from the effects of anxiety. My question is can anxiety actually lower your blood pressure? I’ve been experiencing a drop in blood pressure and circulation and also numbness. My doc doesn’t think it’s from the medication… so I’m guessing it must be the anxiety. Is this possible?

  40. Tasnim Says:

    It’s so hard to let go of this fear of schizophrenia. I know that’s not me now, but I always have this fear of getting it in the near future. It’s worse because I’ve learned it’s symptoms, and I’m always comparing them to my own behaviors and thoughts, thinking “I’m probably showing early signs.” I’ve been so well with letting go, but it’s just hitting me again. I keep getting hungover by uncertainty. Any encouragement would be very much appreciated.

  41. Chris Says:

    Thanks Rik.

    Yeah I can definitely relate. I always try to reason with the thoughts too, and it seems to be automatic. Rumination is my middle name at the moment, and it’s really hard to not get sucked into the thoughts. Are they pretty much 24/7 for you? It literally felt like I was being crushed as I posted last night, but thanks for your advice, I will put it into practice.

  42. Rik Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Last week i was doing much better and the thoughts were much less frequent or powerful. Thisweek it has been pretty much constant though. That sens of dread and fear etc has been there a lot and the feelings of disconnection. All we can do is accept it is there for now and let it run its course which it will if we allow it and dont add anything further.

    Tasnim,

    It seems many are in a similar situation albeit with different themes. Stick at it and be persistent in ignoring the thoughts when they come. I know its hard. Im going through it too. We can do it though.

  43. Chris Says:

    Hey Rik.

    Yesterday was actually a lot better. The difference yesterday was that I didn’t mentally follow through with the thoughts. I didn’t chew on it or try to prove it wrong. I also didn’t let myself get sucked in like I usually do, as there is usually a compulsion to do so. The thought(s) would pop up, and I decided not to react. The result was that my mind drifted on to other things, and I was actually in a really good mood for the majority of yesterday. However one thing I realized is that we shouldn’t feature anything, and we should pretty much treat all thoughts the same.

    I kinda see why the thoughts have been sticking around so much. Because whenever a thought comes, I try to reassure myself or argue with it. This obviously reinforces that these thoughts are a threat and so the cycle continues. I definitely get glimpes of what Paul means, it’s not the thoughts that matter, but a much higher intelligence beyond thought, I can definitely see that sometimes.

    Also the thoughts are obviously a reflection of our moods, if I’m feeling depressed or anxious the thoughts will seem so much more real. I can see why it’s so counter-productive to get involved with them. Right now I’m feeling pretty low and anxious, but instead of chewing on these thoughts and giving them respect I’m just going to play some Final Fantasy 14 and gain some serious levels! Haha.

  44. Paul David Says:

    Very good point Ves

    “If there is no secret formula that would make anxiety go away in any books that are published on the subject then anxiety is not a “problem”. Problem has to have a solution. So anxiety is not a problem. You cannot “solve” anxiety but you have to feel it.”

  45. Nolan Says:

    Julie W,

    Good job on not taking the sleeping pills. I had many days and nights when I made that decision to not… I suffered initially, but always grateful that I stopped taking them.

  46. Dani Says:

    Hi Rik / Chris / Tasnim,
    I’m also suffering from intrusive thoughts, mine centre around life not making sense and that we are all just organisms so how does daily life mean anything – I know it all sounds really odd believe me, but it makes me feel like I can’t live a normal life anymore, the doctor has diagnosed me with OCD and is going to arrange therapy for me (I have also had a few private sessions). Anyway my question for you is, do you find you manage to reassure yourself for a few seconds, only for that reassurance to be ripped to shreds by your own mind? I feel like I would be able to get over these obsessive thoughts much better if my voice of reassurance was stronger and more able to withstand my negative thinking.

  47. marie Says:

    Hi Nolan its Marie, thanks for everything for your kind and reassuring words, I’m going to Italy tomorrow and I’m excited but also bit scared being away for a week but like you said you got to live your life no matter what. Did you have a sleeping schedule to help you overcome your sleep issue I know you did do sleep restriction but did you ever go to bed at certain time and wake up at a certain time? I was having silly thoughts going on holiday what if I end up dying cause of it ridiculous I know I don’t care I’m doing what I want to do. Ive been through this before and can do it again and I know no one ever died from not sleeping just my thoughts. Sorry for rambling I’m good at that

  48. Star Says:

    I don’t want to ask questions that have already been asked, or be buying into my anxiety story but how do I stop feeling that this ‘anxiety issue’ that I am working through does not leave me inferior to others. For example for dating I have this belief that my anxiety problem makes me inferior and unworthy. I know that it is not true and I have made so much progress, but my anxious past begs to differ….

  49. Star Says:

    I realise I just said how do I stop feeling; goodness gracious that can’t be right :p I guess with time I will get my confidence back slowly but surely and have to just know that these beliefs are not true. Hanyway I hope everyone is having a lovely day/evening.

  50. Nolan Says:

    Hi marie,

    Initially, yes… I was doing a very strict sleep schedule.
    But, then one day I thought “wait, I never used to have to do any of this. I would go to sleep whenever I wanted to and woke up whenever I wanted to as well.”.

    So, I stopped concerning myself at all with a sleep schedule. I went back to doing what I used to do and stopped letting sleep issues dictate how I live my day to day.

    Hope this helps

  51. Chris Says:

    Hi Dani.

    Those thoughts of unreality are very normal in this state believe me. I find it very much depends on my mood. If I’m lost in a thought spiral and I’m feeling depressed, then basically no reassurance I come up with is going to make me feel better, it’s all doubt doubt doubt. For me my obsessive thoughts revolve around my past, and the state I am in now (I used to take ecstasy/mdma socially) and because I did a big google search on it 6 months ago, I sometimes do find it hard to convince myself that I am fine. I keep thinking because my anxiety is fueled by this ‘fear’ that Paul’s advice won’t work for me, but again I guess that is just the doubt thing. I hope I’m wrong and I can recover, despite having these fears.

    When I did reassure myself in the past, yes another thought would sometimes come up and rob me of that. So I think we need to give up on reassuring ourselves, and work more on acceptance. If we try to reassure ourselves then we give the whole story we create too much importance. Best to just go with it in my opinion.

  52. Tasnim Says:

    Dani,
    I’ve learned that reassurance was one of those things that kept me in the cycle. Taking the time to disprove a thought or fear, allowed me to give it importance. You can try to reassure yourself as much as you’d like, but you will always have a doubt or thought reeling you back into the fear. I’ve found that it’s best to give up reassurance and just accept that I’m going to get the thoughts that I do. You don’t have to accept the meaning of thought, just accept that it’s there and let it linger for however long it goes, as you just move on with your day.

  53. Chris Says:

    ^ my thoughts exactly.

    Don’t try to convince yourself that these thoughts aren’t true, and don’t go looking in your mind for reassurance. Let reassurance come to you.

    I’m actually starting to really see it now, although it’s only coming in glimpses at this point but that’s fine. I know once the depression sets in again all these fears of mine are going to rear their ugly heads, but I know that it’s essential for me to go through it.

  54. Kevin Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I haven’t been on this blog for probably half a year now. I am completely over anxiety and have been working on myself ever since. I feel now that I am at a place where I can help offer advice about anxiety and dp/dr, etc… I do not claim to be an expert such as Paul or anything like that but I’d like to help in anyway I can.

    Below I am posting a short summary of my experience with anxiety. I hope it might be helpful to someone. Thanks for all the help Paul!

    Also, I have been working on my writing so if this post seems a little dramatic it’s cause I am trying to start a blog in the future.

    My Anxiety Story

    “Just breathe.” If I had a panic attack for every time I was told this, I would, well, be exactly the same.

    This phrase had always sparked anger and frustration in me every time I heard it. It never helped, not once. The anxiety and panic was still there. In fact, it made it worse. I always questioned how I got to that place. How I let fear take over me. In this article, I will share my anxiety story and the way that I overcame it.

    Although I have suffered from anxiety pretty much my whole life, I only realized it myself two years ago when I had my first true panic attack. If you are reading this, I do not need to tell you how harrowing the experience can be. I thought I was on the verge of death and that I was living my last moments of life. It was truly awful.

    Fast forward a few panic attacks. It wasn’t a particularly bad one but this one was different. I never came down from it. It was only a day after the panic attack where I realized that I had been on edge ever since the attack the day before. Once I became I aware, I became concerned. Is something wrong? Should I go to the doctor? Yeah, I should definitely go to the doctor.

    On the way to see my GP, something started to happen. Everything started to look odd. I felt as if I were looking through a screen. Like my head was in a bubble and I was looking at a shadow of the real world. My hands looked odd. My face in the mirror looked evil and unrecognizable. Panic swept over me. Im going crazy. I knew for certain. Somehow, I held myself together and got to the doctor who claimed that I am simply stressed and need to relax and think good thoughts. Uh, yeah right. I nodded and thanked her and got out of there, trying to figure out what to do.

    My nerves were sensitized beyond belief. Everything set me off. The thoughts were the worst. I had thoughts about the most ridiculous and absurd things you can imagine. But my anxious mind believed them. I remember having thoughts like, “Am I in a dream right now?”, “What if reality isn’t really reality?”, “What if I am going crazy?”, “What if I am bipolar? or Schizophrenic?” These thoughts wracked my brain every second of every single day.

    Basically, I was in the worst place I had ever been in up until that point in my life. I so desperately wanted out. I wanted my life back. I almost went on to a specialist and even got meds from my GP. But I still had a little bit of faith. Faith that I could get out of this myself. And so I put faith in myself. I was at rock bottom, but I could only go up from there. And that is what I did. WIth hours and hours of conducting research and gaining as much knowledge as possible about the condition I had, I finally started to gain tools that would jumpstart my recovery.

    The one resource that put me on the path to recovery was Paul David’s website, “Anxietynomore.co.uk”. Paul went through the exact same things I did. Things just clicked and I knew this was the right path. I purchased his book, “At last a life”, and started my recovery. I learned an invaluable lesson from Paul, which I apply even today in everything I do. This was the key to my overcoming anxiety and will help you too, I promise. “Do nothing”.

    My desperation for getting rid of my negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions, ultimately was the one thing that prevented any movement towards recovery. Paul told me to let it be. To feel it all. To let it wash all over me. It will absolutely suck and will be painful, scary, and horrible. But it will be that anyway and will be worse if you resist all of the bad. To put your mind and body at balance again, the bad must come in and do its work.

    I applied this method to my life and I knew it was the right answer. I was able to be positive again. I had moments of peace. I was able to breathe. All this came slowly but it did come surely .I was able to enjoy life again. I was motivated to be better than I was. I started to eat healthy, exercise, and meditate. I ran my first 5k, I did extremely well in school, and I finally felt free. It wasn’t constant, and still isn’t. But I have faith that the peace always finds its way to me. As a matter of fact, I found my own way to it.

    Anxiety was the worst thing to happen to me. But it was also the best. I am way better now because of it. If you feel hopeless, I hope that my story helped you, even a little. If you feel alone, I hope that I made you feel not so lonely. If you feel lost and scared, I hope that I gave you a little bit of courage to face your challenges. It will be tough, but it will be worth every second. I wish the best of luck to you.

  55. Rik Says:

    Kevin,

    I could have written that myself. I am still stuck in really bad dp but seeing what you wrote there does help me. With the thoughts about reality etc did you just allow them to be there and just carry on regardless til they faded? Did you find that the DP faded also as a result?

  56. Pietro Says:

    Great story Kevin. Would you say that it was important to come off the blog so we’re not using it as a way to fight anxiety or look for reassurance?

  57. Tim Says:

    Awesome story Kevin! Its really cool to hear recovery stories. The most amazing thing about recovery is just how often I forget to be anxious. I used to feel like crap in my own home just sitting by myself, but these days i’m just doing what I feel like without many self referential thoughts at all. Anxiety just seems to have faded away :)

    That being said, ive basically been hit by some type of mild depression which im not used to. You’d think id be over the moon having come out of anxiety. Sadly my life has shrunk so much that ill need to work on reclaiming it. I think that since im no longer worrying about myself as much, I am noticing about the more meta aspects of my life eg living with parents, diminished friendship group, single, uni stress etc.

    That being said im not really a depressive type. Im taking what I learnt from Paul (to just take it easy and let me body calm itself). I’m pretty sure my body is still emotionally battered from years torture. I know things will turn around. When I do feel happy, I feel a happiness ive not felt in years.

  58. Tim Says:

    Sorry to double post. Pietro someone above answered that question really well. Honesty I see myself as recovered but I come here for a look every now and then, with no harm at all. I like the reminder and I also like trying to help a little.

    I think what you have to avoid is using the blog itself as a crutch. If you keep asking for reassurance from people, asking if X symptom is anxiety or hoping people will tell you the answer to your problems then that is not helpful. I would however recommend totally immersing yourself in the blog / books themselves. I read pauls blog posts over and over again for weeks, just clicking on random months so it soaked in as much as possible. Similarly if you are reading blog posts for insight its probably not so bad.

    Once you’ve read enough though and have adopted the mindset Paul teaches, the blog shouldn’t really help you all that much because you know what you need to know.

  59. Bryan Says:

    Tim,

    Good to hear you’re mostly still good and have such a handle on the mindset.
    Made a lot of progress myself over the past couple years but still a bit cyclical so just doing my best to let it express the way it needs to.

    Actually posted my email for you on the past blog entry. Was curious about your workout routine. You still going to the gym? Kind of off topic but was curious what your routine was looking like and what your goals were etc.

    Regardless. Glad to see you still moving forward and I know the depleted feelings are just part of your recovery. Keep it up.

  60. Kevin Says:

    Hi Rik,

    At first I obsessed over the thoughts but after having them for so long I realized that obsession was not helping. I allowed them to be there. Sometimes, I thought, “so what, i don’t care anymore. Whatever happens happens I can’t change anything.” And within a day that thought would become meaningless. I am not saying the thoughts are gonna fade in a day but sometimes that was the case.

    As for DP, that is one thing that we have absolutely no control over. It was hopeless to try and make it go away. Eventually I just learned that it is actually harmless and just let it be. At my worst, I adopted the mindset that if it does mean that I am going crazy then so be it. I am done fighting it. It sounds morbid but it worked. I no longer cared about the DP after a while it just didn’t bother me. After a few months I noticed that it wasn’t there anymore.

  61. Kevin Says:

    Tim,

    That’s great to hear! I also experienced mild depressive symptoms. Sometimes they felt severe. But I took it as just my body and mind regaining balance. Filling empty spots in my psyche. I also relate with what you mean about the happiness. It feels like nothing else you ever felt. I get tears sometimes when I am happy. Its awesome haha. Great to hear you’re doing well!

  62. Kevin Says:

    Pietro,

    I agree with Tim. It is completely fine to visit the blog now and again but using it as a crutch (which is definitely something I did everyday) is not productive. Its good to feel uncomfortable. That is how you grow.

  63. Star Says:

    Kevin; that is so true about the happiness; it is insane. I fought my anxiety for about 4 years before I came across the acceptance approach which even though I have a lot of anxiety to still face and it has been a very much up and down process, I have been experiencing so much more peace than I have felt throughout this whole period. Does anyone feel that all those beliefs that they used to think were rational are just falling away and you feel so free from any belief be it negative or neutral. All chains seem to be melting.
    And those happy moments; those moments of freedom; when my mind feels empty of fear because I don’t care if it wants to come, those moments are amazing and I feel so grateful for them.
    I do feel apprehension about all the anxiety provoking situations (Aka a practical test I have tomorrow– !!) that I have to still face but I also feel empowered. I hope that expecting to be thrown down will cushion my fall.

  64. Kevin Says:

    Star,

    It sounds like you’re doing really well. Now, when I think about certain negative thoughts and beliefs that I used to believe so profusely, i do not feel anything at all. I brush them aside as if they never happened. It is truly a great feeling. So I definitely understand what you mean by that. I am glad that you are so optimistic!

  65. Maria Says:

    Hi Guy’s,

    Does this approach work for physical anxiety? I have had almost EVERY anxiety symptom. It is exausting!!! The burning, the twitching, the thoughts!!! The list goes on!
    Every damn day. I rarely see people post physical symptoms on here besides the intrusive thoughts and sweating etc. What about the more severe symptoms?

    Maria

  66. Chris Says:

    Wow Kevin, that is the exact same conclusion I have come to in the last few days with my obsessive thoughts. Over the last two days I’ve let my mind go its deepest and darkest corners. Whatever scenario my mind throws at me is met with a ‘so be it’ attitude, but I actually mean it this time. I’ve lost a lot of fear of the thoughts already, but I know it will take more time as this has been going on for months. But by doing this it’s totally revealed to me how pointless and irrelevant these thoughts actually are.

  67. Anna Says:

    Hi All,

    I have a query with regards to alcohol and how this affects anxiety & panic vs. trying to continue to live my life as normal and accept any feelings I have. I’ve avoided drinking since last November, which I hate as recently moved to London so feel like I’m missing out on social events etc. I feel like I can’t even enjoy the odd glass at the weekend. Am I wrong to be avoiding alcohol, as isn’t this just reinforcing the pattern of avoiding things/places which cause us panic, when really you should just be carrying on?

    Thanks, Anna

  68. Mo Says:

    Thanks for making me realize once more that there is no way out of how I feel, no matter what feeling it is. This is tough for me because it sucks having to fully accept I never had control over my environment, my feelings, and my past and future and that I have to give into my insecurities JUST so I can come through the other side.( I hate showing negative emotions to people which is the sole reason of my social anxiety).

    What’s funny is I’ve had moments and pretty sure every single person in the world had, where when we’re kids and teens we had to go through an insecure time period to become a stronger confident version of ourselves( I’m sure this is a form of anxiety). We eventually came through it.. Than WAM!! Anxiety returns in adult form. Why can’t it work for me as an adult to have courage to live my life and be free? I’ve become overweight from anxiety and struggle to lose it because I feel like I can’t find a reason to lose the weight and be confident since I use to care so much about women when I was a teen and now as an adult idk what goal to become confident for since it seems immature to lose weight just for becoming attractive to opposite gender although I have to since I like hotter girls that are way too good looking for me and I despise ugly girls.. I still have my slim mindsets before anxiety so sorry if I come off as an A-Hole..I’ve been in this darn loop almost 5 years I’m going to be 23 and I’ve got rid of some bad habits but cling on to 1 or 2 off and on so I can protect myself from anxiety. Also I’ve been avoiding my brother inlaws social functions because I use to like his cousin a lot since we were 15 and realized at 21 she never like me from the beginning. It made me become ashamed since I always thought I had a chance with her to marry her and everyone knew I liked her and put her on a pedestal making me look very submissive but now it’s embarrassing that all of his relatives and community people seen me gain so much weight for a mysterious reason.

    I’ve got rid of some very bad habits I’ve had forever even before I had anxiety and I feel a little peace of mind like I said. I just can’t find the courage to live my life for good. To be honest I’m a late junior in college but feel like my long term goals are distant.

    I’m a little confused. I know Paul talked about bottoming out. I feel like I’ve done that a few times but steer off the road due to eventual setbacks that ALWAYS occur when I get on the path to becoming closer to God I can’t be consistent because I start to monitor my conidition and it gets in the way of motivation and passion to do big, great things and create a big picture for the future.

    What magnitude do I have to BOTTOM OUT for me to realize my situation and see for myself?? Am I missing something here?

    Sorry for this long, out of order post just blowing off some frustration. If anyone replies, preferably older than 23, than I would greatly appreciate it and share my knowledge of Paul’s work that I’ve been studying since 2013. Thank you all and God Bless

  69. Christopher Says:

    Hi there,

    I’ve been dealing with anxiety now for over a year and I have a question for you if you don’t mind….

    Does anyone have any advice for how to deal with anxiety when it begins to attack the way you are dealing with it.

    So to explain; when I feel the anxiety creeping up, I will begin to feel scared and uncomfortable and I will generally find myself unable to ignore it. I might remind myself that it’s ok to feel like this, I might mention to my husband that I’m feeling anxious or I might pick up a book that’s helped me in the past. OR I will often just carry on with what I’m doing with my mind half on the outside world and half on myself.

    But here is the problem. I then experience a really intense wave of anxious/critical thoughts that bombard me with fearful suggestions. They tend to be along the lines of ‘DON’T REASSURE YOURSELF, DON’T OVERTHINK, DON’T ANALYSE!, DONT SELF_TALK!’ These thoughts are really frightening. And the worst part about them is that they paralyse me into feeling too scared to think, feel or say anything. And when my mind does automatically jump in to remind myself that it’s just another layer of anxiety, this just fuels the thoughts further with the anxious response being ‘SEE, SEE! THINKING ABOUT IT AGAIN, REASSURING YOURSELF AGAIN! WHAT AN IDIOT!’

    These thoughts have been so bad before that I’ve felt scared cuddling or reassuring my own children because the anxiety is screaming at me that reassurance is BAD! I’ve been scared to discuss a film, topic or issue because the anxiety screams that analysis is BAD! I’ve been scared to think ANYTHING because it screams that thinking is BAD!

    Part of me can see what’s happened. I can see that the anxiety has taken advice and distorted it into something new to feel scared about. But, despite being able to see this, I still find it crippling, mainly because it’s robbing me of my ability to be kind to myself (and even to others). It’s robbing me of having the confidence to trust my own mind, body and spirit to help/allow myself to heal.

    It’s left me with nothing :(

  70. Kevin Says:

    Chris,

    Exactly. It sucks but its honestly the only thing that worked for me. Its a good challenge. Throw yourself into the pain. It goes for anything that you’re afraid of in life. I still do it. I try to throw myself at anything that I fear and it always works out for the better if I do.

  71. Chris Says:

    Yeah it hasn’t been fun, but I see now that it isn’t meant to be fun haha. But I can see that it’s totally necessary, and am willing to give myself the time to go through it. I’ve always done things with an agenda to feel better. One great example is going on Dr Google to find that golden peace of reassurance that will ‘cure my fears’. This week I’ve dropped trying to feel better and I’m welcoming everything that anxiety throws at me.

  72. Amit Says:

    Hi All

    I have been following Pauls advise and I would have to agree that its following Pauls advice has made me feel much better.
    I have reached a stage where I feel its a matter of time now and no longer worry about occassional feelings of anxiety or better to call release of negative energy stored over time. At first I got into this situation due to excessive stress over a long period which might have made my nerves weak and had a hormonal collapse or breakdown. There are still few questions which bother me at time ..

    If part of the problem is due to weak nerves, then why isn’t there a recommended supplement which makes the nerves more strong. I would ideally think a vitamin capsule should help but still its not widely recommended.

    There is definitely a hormonal imbalance which comes as a part of this problem, be it cortisol, adrenaline, thyroid, testosterone etc. Some kind of chemical imbalance definitely exists in the body and thats the reason for some unexplainable symptoms. Along with other things there is a loss in libido and not having the same sexual strength & stamina. There is hardly any discussion around this and not much has been mentioned how one feels sexually after recovering. Does this also gets normal with time.
    Anyone with more understanding and can throw some light would be appreciated.

  73. Rob Says:

    Sorry if this is the wrong section but I don’t know where else to post it for an answer

    Is it advisable to take medication for attention defecit hyperactivity disorder while going through recovery? It takes the edge off anxiety but may be preventing me from feeling my anxiety so I could go on a full recovery.

    I didn’t need it before my anxiety crept into my life as I made good grades and was fairly responsible. Do I truly need it or is anxiety the cause for this medication seeking as Paul said in his 2nd book that we have trouble concentrating since were constantly feeding task into our mind preventing us from fully attending whats on hand. I think he also too much adrenaline that needs an outlet or somewhere in that route.

    Taking a pill everyday doesn’t sit well with me either which is why I don’t take sedatives,etc for anxiety.

    Could someone knowledgable about this give me advice once and do all so I could stop the tug of war whether to take a pill everyday or not. Thank You.

  74. Star Says:

    Hi people…
    Basically I’ve been doing really well. I just really really accepted that anxiety will be present and that I just don’t care anymore. I faced one of my big fears which was a practical exam; which I don’t feel I did amazing on; but I don’t feel like anxiety compromised my potential at all; which is really good.
    Tonight I managed to do work for university and I literally had such amazing focus; anxious thoughts would come and say things like ‘you’ll forget what you’re writing’ ‘you can’t focus’ but I didn’t care and they passed and I could think again….
    But basically (yes there is always a but) although I feel so much more confident with dealing with anxiety; I still look back and see so many painful memories; so many moments that I was at loss for words; so many moments when I was taken by so much fear and I was wondering if anyone has gone through this and could share their experiences; I think someone was talking about it before…
    It doesn’t feel like part of the anxiety; although I guess it could be? Who am I to know; lol. But I really feel like my old self again; minus the painful memories. And I of course am always expecting the old setback.

  75. Kevin Says:

    Star,

    From experience, I can tell you that I definitely had flashbacks of painful times and used to dread reliving them. This is really just a form of PTSD. Anxiety (or whatever painful moments you think about) is the trauma. You don’t ever want to go back to that place. The way I broke that cycle was to think, “well I’m here now, which means that those painful moments passed. If they passed before, they will pass again.” It helped me, just some advice from my experience.

  76. Star Says:

    Thanks Kevin for your response. There is a lot of pain from the past and I find it hard because it’s not something that I can talk to people about because of course they do not understand; and because I knew that my extremely high levels of anxiety were abnormal (and I wanted them to be gone forever) I would create stories for people and pretend everything was fine. I do remember one point when someone asked me how my first week at clinics were and all I said was ‘I was so nervous. Just so nervous’ (aka I was having panic attacks) and she was like ‘no but are you enjoying it at all?’ And I was like ‘so nervous’ LOL. But in that instance it was acceptable to be anxious. My point is in general no one knows what I went through and I am sure many people have the same. My best friend knows that I have anxiety but she doesn’t realise what hell it is and I have spared her the details for my pride. Also it’s hard to stomach the fact that this has been caused by me; myself. And I have done so much damage to myself. Yes, I have been trying to protect myself; but all those exams I didn’t study well for because I was cruising and obsessing over my feelings; all those people that I snubbed and hid from; it all hurts. I guess it’s regret from what I missed out on mixed with all those feelings I felt– humiliation etc. I apologise for using this blog as an outlet. I do think time will heal all those memories. It sucks not to be able to tell people in my life something so significant that I have been experiencing.

  77. Shelly Says:

    I’ve read both your books now and they have considerably helped. Understanding and being educated about anxiety has ultimately allowed me to accept what is happening with a “let it be” attitude. Although I do feel I am on my way to recovery, I still have some setbacks that I do not want to over analyze. However, I still get disturbing thoughts and sometimes resort back to irrational fears because I get frustrated about these thoughts and being annoyed with them. Sometimes I wonder if they are just habit? Is this sometimes the case? I have travelled and overcome this bizarre flying fear I got with the anxiety, been working normal, and maintaining my everyday normal life as you mention in the books as anxiety wants to hold you back. I have seen the difference it has made, but still have these disturbing thoughts that come from time to time, which then turn into worry that because they aren’t going away, maybe it’s something more or blah blah. Ultimately, if I keep living my normal routine, do they eventually just lift?

  78. Julie W Says:

    I am finding over time my self awareness is not so strong. It’s like I am still thinking of me, but not in so much of an annoying way, a little bit more like I used to be. But then Wham, it’s back strong again (as it is today). I know others struggle with this too, as I’ve seen various posts on it. Is this what happens with self awareness – overtime it becomes less and less strong and slowly fades?

    I am trying my best to stay away from this blog, but do find myself checking up periodically. Hope you are all moving forward!

  79. Joe Says:

    Hey guys,

    Has anyone else experienced increaseD guilt feelings with anxiety? Lately that’s been a big problem for me. Like I’m not good enough for my partner is a big one, and then tgere are minor things I feel guilty about that would have never bothered me at all in the past. Is this a fairly common symptom of anxiety? Thanks

    Joseph

  80. Tim Says:

    Hey Mo,

    Bottoming out seems to be a concept that confuses a few people. Its as if your life has to totally collapse and you have to give up to finally get it. This definitely isn’t true, i’m living proof. I think the value from crappy times comes from the realisation that all your trying hasn’t helped. All the worrying, all the trying to stop your thoughts, all the not going outs, all the reading about anxiety, all the trying to convince yourself you’ll be ok. You can start the desensitisation process in any state.

    I also don’t quite see it as you having no control. I agree you cant control your mood or stop your thoughts and you shouldn’t try. But you do have control to alter your perspective. I personally think its fine to “do” occasionally, to remind yourself of a better way to think. I give myself little verbal reminders at times – I use my correct and kind inner voice if I start getting bent out of shape. I just don’t remind myself constantly in an effort to get anxiety to go away. I suppose my point is letting go is very different to giving up. You cant just give up and expect anxiety to eventually be healed (imho).

  81. star Says:

    Joe I can relate

    I feel guilty a LOT of the time when I’m anxious. I feel guilty that I don’t feel like I can help people because I feel so incompetent and I don’t have a partner but I also feel like I’m not good enough for anyone to want me– as if I’m flawed. Which is weird because when I’m not in an anxious state I don’t think or feel like this at all… which is why I’m paying less attention to these thoughts and feelings even though they can be overwhelming at times and beg for your involvement and attention. I guess it gets easier with time.

    With friends as well I wonder why they like me; why they would want me.

    But when I’m out of the anxious state I see things so differently.

    I also would feel guilty when I would sit in front of my laptop and everyone would think I’m studying but I would be researching anxiety and obsessing- it made me feel like more of a fraud – and it also would look like I study so hard which I don’t when I’m overwhelmed by anxiety. Just having a setback again and I am trying to be more detached from it and not resort back to bad habits of searching etc. I am in control of how i react innit. Lol

    Peace.

  82. star Says:

    Guys I just thought of something—-
    It’s pouring outside like proper torrents and I was getting fed up of it so I said to my uncle “why is it raining like this??”
    He said something about a hurricane in America moving over and how it needs to release itself.
    And I was like in my head that’s exactly what it is with anxiety . You can’t stop the rain it will still keep going regardless of whether you kick and scream. You cant ask why its there- there is no reason- it just needs to be released. So stop suppressing it and let it pour and be happy it is being released because behind that rain is the sunshine waiting to shine.

    Tis hard but that’s the attitude.

  83. Julie W Says:

    Great analogy and attitude Star! Thanks for sharing

  84. Paul David Says:

    Correct Star, you cannot control the inner weather as much as you can’t control the outer weather, thats the stage you need to get to. Don’t look for techniques, sayings or rules to follow, there are none. These just keep you fighting and suppressing and never releasing.

  85. Paul David Says:

    A lot has been said about if you should or should not stay reading this blog.

    When I was at my worst I read stuff and saw counsellors etc to feel different, for one reason and one reason only, to make this go away, it basically became my full time job.

    I read some rubbish in my time that just did not resonate with me, honestly in those days there was always someone telling you how to get rid, cope or suppress anxiety and I believed this was the way because everyone said so, but it never felt right and it never helped. Me bottoming out did not mean I had a breakdown, it meant I was done with this path, it did not work, it was not right, if it was why were the same people still in therapy years later, why were forums littered with people still there years later. I was on a journey to recover, not cope and I turned my back on it all.

    I knew deep down the answer lied somewhere else and looked in that direction and came across different teachings, ones I could relate to. They sparked something in me and made sense. I then come to a lot of my own conclusions and everything started to fall into place, not only that, but I started to feel progress, some real change.

    When I recovered I had a lot of residue left over, a lot of confusion, felt a little lost, my mind was a little over active still, like in no mans land. I just did the same again and allowed myself to feel as confused as ever, lost, let my mind rabbit on if it wished and all this started to clear to. I know now for something to find balance it has to be left alone and that’s exactly what happened, I did nothing but step out of the way, I was not interested in what came up, it all needed the same attitude towards it. All this did not come overnight, I went through some real grotty up and down days, but I did not see this as suffering, I started to see it as healing. A broken leg has to hurt before it heals, a stomach ache has to hurt before it settles.

    So yes come on here and educate yourself, just don’t use it as a crutch, a daily fix, read what it TRULY says and start to look in that direction, don’t skim the words looking for something to make you feel better, by doing this you have already lost the message. The message is DON’T try to feel better or different, allow it all to arise without running away from it, without trying to suppress it, without constantly analysing it. Yes at first allowing everything can be scary as for once you are letting everything come up, it can be overwhelming and your mind may kick and scream for a technique to get rid of it, allow this to. Just remember however you feel no harm is meant and nothing can ever happen, its all part of the process of healing. You need to go through the storm to get to the sunset, you have to feel it to heal it.

  86. Beth Says:

    I keep reading “…just allow the thoughts…” And “…I felt so much calmer once I stopped fighting” and “…once I understood and lost the fear of the symptoms, my attitude changed…” and “…I had realization after realization, my light bulb moment…” I don’t want a quick fix and I know it will take time and patience-after 25 years it’s become ingrained. How do I know if I’m ruminating and once again in the loop, or if I’m anxious and panicky because I’m allowing the feelings to just come?

  87. Tim Says:

    Great post as usual Paul. That lost no man’s land feeling seems to be exactly how I feel at the moment. I now consider myself ‘recovered’ in the sense that anxiety really isn’t bothering me much and plays a much smaller role in my life. That being said I still feel a bit out of place. Its like so much worrying has been removed my mind doesn’t know what to do with itself so it feels spacey and blank. Ive been doing what you said, just seeing that as normal and doing my thing. Very interesting.

  88. Beth Says:

    Just posted on here a few hours ago for the first time. And, just in that short amount of time, I’ve come to a bit of an “aha” moment due to something someone said (Paul)? To paraphrase…”…I stayed in places I didn’t want to…” You mean I have “permission” to feel like crap and still do things? Wow, may sound silly but really resonated with me. I say “bring it on” with everything you’ve got! I’ll feel terrified, and shaky, and “floaty” and panicky-and I don’t care in the least! Will I still feel this way tomorrow? I have no idea and it doesn’t matter. Not looking to recovery, or to feel better, am just ready to stop hiding away from my life after not living it for 20+ years. Can’t stop crying, it feels like such a release! Thank you, thank you, thank you Paul.

  89. Pietro Says:

    Does anyone else find it really difficult to concentrate with anxiety? I’m trying to do work, but I get tired so quickly.

  90. Tasnim Says:

    I was feeling really great these past couple weeks, almost to the point I could say I was almost recovered. Now I’m back feeling on edge again, and not with the rest of the world. I think its been my constant thinking with schizophrenia again. I feel that if I never learned about that, especially at a sensitive time, I would have recovered so much faster.

  91. Aaron Says:

    Great post like usual and a lot of help! Just a question…I have extreme dizziness and I know it’s the anxiety. Is there any chance I could pass out or is this just a sensation or feeling that I will but I actually wont??

  92. Star Says:

    Thanks Paul for your reply…. I’m starting to understand more and more, I feel, with each setback; it’s hard to feel like it will pass and my initial response is to fight it and be upset that it is back– coz as we all know; it is uncomfortable; and when we have freedom from it we want that to continue.. But it does bother me less and I am reacting a bit differently to it; as in I know that it’s not real and that I am ok. I hope that this means I am progressing.. And after this weekend of resisting I hope to be back to allowing ASAP.
    A separate thing… Which is somewhat related to anxiety, I am an emotional eater, and since the summer (which somehow always is the best time for me- I love the sun lol) I have put on a lot of weight.
    As I mentioned I am in middle of a setback and had an uncomfortable weekend when I would eat mindlessly to ‘numb’ the discomfort I felt, the urge to RUN. Anyone can relate?

  93. Beth Says:

    Wow, what a difference a day makes. Quite the roller coaster ride (as you can see by my earlier posts). Today? Feeling like giving up, staying home and applying for disability-and I’ve NEVER thought that, even at my worst. As I stated before, when you “lose the fear” of the symptoms they no longer matter-come again? That’s the whole issue really. Yesterday, I went across 2 bridges and to a symphony performance…feel the fear and do it anyway, right? Now, worse than before. Still concentrating/ruminating on how bad I feel. In 3 weeks I’m going to visit a college campus with my daughter 2 hours from home. How in the world is that gonna pan out? Thanks for anyone’s thoughts, it’s always appreciated.

  94. Tasnim Says:

    I read a post on Facebook and wanted to share part of it as it related to everyone here:

    “The absence of pain is not the same as health–sometimes pain is proof of health. Healing and real strength is about getting torn up and working through the pain to grow stronger. This requires discomfort, patience and perseverance. I’m not judging all who can’t bear the pain. Just saying don’t confuse numbing the pain with progress.”

  95. Andy J Says:

    Great post Paul.

    I was wondering what you thought of intrusive thoughts? I have been seeing a therapist who has recommended something called ‘Worry time’, where I should postpone worry until a set time during the day. I get the concept that when you try and use that worrying time that it will be difficult to ‘summon’ worry, but I find it really hard to put off how I am feeling until a set period within the day.

    Some days I can really understand what is going on with all this stuff and get on with my day, but other days things just ‘get stuck’, regardless of allowing/avoiding the thoughts.

  96. Chris Says:

    Wow, I finally get it. I had a great realization today. It’s obvious that I’ve been accepting to try and recover, which in a way is reinforcing that there is a problem. I’ve been trying to get to a place where eventually I won’t have to suffer anymore (very human thing to do). But I had a thought today, why do I need to concern myself with trying to get anywhere. What if I’m already there?

    Basically the attitude I’ve adopted is ‘I’m already recovered’. This isn’t completely a literal statement as I think the term recovery is actually a bit overrated. The word recovery implies we need to ‘get somewhere’ when really we don’t. All we need to do is willingly experience what life throws at us. As Paul says, let peace come to us, don’t go seeking it out. The term ‘I’m already recovered’ also doesn’t mean I’m not going to suffer tomorrow, or the next day. or next week etc. The thoughts and emotions are still going to be there, but with this attitude I’m literally free to experience everything without the hassle of ‘trying’ to get anywhere. With this attitude there is no need for analysis or trying to feel better. I guess another way to explain this attitude is willingly experiencing and embracing the human condition. Not even viewing it as anxiety, or any other label. Just life. If you really think about it, anxiety is such a human experience, especially in this chaotic modern world we are living in.

    There is a well known buddhist quote which goes ‘there is no way to happiness, happiness is the way’. Before my suffering days I came across that quote and I thought ‘wow I’m gonna be so zen’ and I would meditate every night to try and reach a place of happiness. I was on the chase, I wanted to be as happy as I could. I even got a buddah face tattooed on my arm. It’s quite funny and ironic because now that I look back that quote didn’t reasonate with me at all. I thought I got it but I wasn’t even close. Now I totally understand it.

    I’m sure I will fall back into old habits now and again, but that’s ok. It’s actually a bit of a relief knowing that I don’t have to do anything, especially knowing that I don’t have to waste my time with silly anxious thoughts that serve no purpose – like seriously, you don’t even need to worry about the thoughts, they aren’t the issue. The only thing I have to do is live my life, just like anyone else would. Because I’m no different, and neither is anyone else on here.

    To summarize, do nothing :)

  97. Chris Says:

    Andy.

    What your therapist is suggesting in regards to the ‘worry time’ sounds like a control method to me. Anxiety and intrusive thoughts aren’t things we can really control, but what we can do is allow them to be there without being concerned or worried that they are there.

  98. Herman Says:

    I have a real quick question for Nolan and the rest.

    Is it ok if I don’t live my life as I used to? I find I can’t do certain fun things, and I got a book or two in a series I like that I want to save for when I’m better.
    I still socialize and exercise and cook and clean and work and give support and advice to my family. I read books, watch movies, take naps, research things online, listen to music. But there are somethings that I feel should be saved for when I’m me again. Is this approach detrimental to my recovery? Must I do everything? Even things I want to save and things that I just don’t have the mental capacity for at the moment?

  99. Andy J Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Great post mate. Its really difficult seeing a therapist, as they often advise of ‘methods’ which totally goes against Paul’s advice.

    I’ve actually tried to write down my issues today. But I think im in the same place as Paul was, where I am anxious about being anxious and depressed about being depressed. All the old ‘why dont I feel like xyz?’ or ‘what is the matter with me?’ have risen their heads. I know that this is anxiety, but the determination to ‘feel better’ has got the better of me today. I guess this is what happens when you have a period of stability.

    Your statement of ‘What if I’m already there’ is fantastic. It actually describes what Paul preaches very well. We aren’t unwell, we dont need curing. We have developed safety behaviours which are making us worse not better.

  100. Simone Says:

    Good post. I decided to start this though journey a few weeks ago after I got over anxiety with medications during my last four phases.

    My mother suffered from Schizophrenia (I say suffered, as since 3 years she is almost totally recovered, it is a miracle) and it deeply traumatized me during my childhood. It was almost a family secret for many years and I built up a lot of inner pression which is the source of my anxiety (feeling of loss of the closes person, seeing her totally transformed talking horrible things etc).

    I went through 4 anxious phases, first one when I was 21, I am 37 new. Each time I got paroxetine prescribed and after 1-2 months I started feeling fine again. I just wanted to get on with my life and get over it asap.

    At the beginning of this year I started to fall again, and I went back on paroxetine, but this time it didn’t give me relieve, my body didn’t react to it anymore! Somehow I got desperate; on the other hand I saw it as the big chance: Me and my husband want a baby, I need to get over my trauma before creating my own family, and I don’t want risk in my pregnancy due to medication.

    Therefore my conclusion: this time I will get out of this without medication! Yes, I want to treat the root causes and not close my eyes anymore. Yes, I am traumatized and I have all this crazy thought and memories from my mother, and yes, depersonalization is the way to protect me to face these deep fears which make me anxious. Last month I had an anxiety attack where I thought that I would get schizophrenic, but after a few minutes I understood that it was only fear alimented by adrenaline.

    Two weeks ago I read your first book. I read it even twice an understood the point. However, I haven’t internalized it yet. I fall into the trap of believing my thoughts. The worst is depersonalization, I am so afraid of it, not being able to feel myself, to be unreal. It freaks me out and I feel totally lost. I try to follow your advice, to continue my life as normal as possible, to tell me that it is just a symptom of anxiety. Sometimes I feel that I am not myself anymore and I just want to cry as it feels as I have lost my life. Yes, this journey is very tough but I have to go through it. These have been the four toughest months of my life and I am waiting for the first signs of recovery to confirm that I am on the right path.

  101. Paul David Says:

    Chris you had a massive realisation, not on an intellectual level, but on a deep level. I had these moments often, I saw it so, so clearly, not just as a good idea, but on a very deep level where it would stop me in my tracks, like a massive light bulb moment. You see that you are actually doing this to yourself and there is no outside force, there is not something you have to beat or conquer. You don’t have to get anywhere or do anything, it’s the doing and striving that keeps you in the cycle.

    I was walking down the road once, as usual trying to feel different, inside my head trying to solve a puzzle that did not need solving, going to see another counsellor to feel better, carrying a load of rules and techniques around with me, when I walked into a coffee shop and saw people going about their day, I don’t know why this day hit me but I just observed that all these people were just going about their day, experiencing life. They were not living inside their head, there were no techniques, no one was trying to feel different and it came to me so clearly that maybe I am doing this to myself. No one here needs all this stuff to get through their day, maybe its this stuff thats making me feel so bad, so internal, so mentally exhausted. I went home and looked at all my self help books, what were they all about? They were all about trying to feel different, what if constantly trying to feel different was the problem? I don’t think I need all these anymore, what if I did the opposite and no longer tried to feel different, how much mental space would that free up, how much resistance would fall away, how much self pity and worry, what if the so called cure was the cause. Maybe all these years I have been fighting an enemy that does not exist, maybe I have been thrashing around at nothing.

    This realisation hit me so hard I never went back to the old me, the searching was over, the trying to feel different, trying to get somewhere. After that one realisation after another hit me and for the first time in 10 years without me actually doing anything, things started to change. Yes I feel back into old habits, old ways of thinking, it was to be expected as I had done all this for so long and yes I felt grotty still, had some real tough days, but I never lost what I saw that day, it was the seed that made me finally look in the opposite direction.

    You don’t have to see it so clearly to progress, you just have to follow the message, if it does not feel right or resonate with you then read some old posts and see if it does. I don’t have a method, this is not a method, this is about dropping all methods, all techniques. Its about seeing how so much of this is self created, how we do so much of this to ourselves.

  102. Tasnim Says:

    I’m just struggling with this fear. It is what keeps reeling me back. It makes me question my thinking, doubt my future, etc. I try to ignore it, but sometimes at moments it makes more sense that it should. It feels real, and then I get scared. Its been months, and this is the single fear that has stuck throughout the whole process, no matter how much progress I’ve made in general. Maybe its because I can’t do anything to prevent it, and I’m just left with that uncertainty it could happen. I need some advice, please. Any insight or experience with something similar would be helpful too.

  103. Evy Says:

    Hello every one :)
    Just thought I drop in for a couple of words of encourage! As when we start to feel a bit good we forget about how horrible we once felt and about this site ! Just to try and refresh you all I’ve had anxiety over 10 years ! I had 3 major episodes last dec being my 3rd ! I found this site 5 years ago which helped me trimidancely ! When I started to feel better I was so happy that I didn’t really do what I had to ! I went back to my old ways and of course this is why it came back ! Even when I “thought ” I recovered I really didn’t , it was just enough to kinda get though life , and the day without feeling dp ! Let me remind you dp has always been my biggest factor ! Once that lifted I thought i was on my way to a normal life again ! I still lived on the edge , watched who I talked to , what I ate, who I hung out with ! Wouldn’t go there because what if I get into a car accident , don’t say this or that cus you might regret it ! Etc.. I still was living in my own lil world ! Still had cheat pains , nervousness , stomach problems ! Phobia of being in a doctors office ! I was doing it alllll wrong ! Although in my head I thought I was fully recoverd I actually was building more an more negative thinking than ever !!! But because I had no dp I thought I was good ! In December I got a huge panic attack followed by the worst detachment and dp you can think of ! Badddd wen I say bad I mean horrible !!! I felt like I was in a dream all day ! No sense of life , I questioned everything and anything , mental fog ! Could not concentrate at all ! I am a manager and I pretty much have a great memory ! I couldn’t even follow I conversation , and that’s him I knew for a 3 time anxiety took over me ! I came on te site again , and took some great advice , since December I thought am I really going to give this another part of me !? I mean we’ve been enemies for 10 years why not become friends !? So I started to “ignore” it I engaged in life , I have been exercising 5 days a week , and Sundays I run at the beach , I go hiking , I go to Disney parks cook clean shower work , be a mother ! Yes everything feeling detached and weird , I mean what’s the worse dp can do !! Make me feel weird right !? So here’s what did it for me , it’s like a bully , everyday he steals your lunch , and everyday you get nervous and shake because you see him coming , you run and inevitably he catches you each time so much why not just give him your lunch when you see him coming , don’t run don’t fear , the worst he does is takes your lunch , but you have money everyday to buy more ! Let it be , welcome it , and soon it will loose it’s purpose ,hope you understood my message using the bully , lol I am not saying exercising took this away or should I say helped because I still feel dp and weird thoughts , their just not as intense , I want to say I’m half way to recovery and this time for good ! But all the things I’m doing are allowing me to focus on life and not my thoughts and fears , they allow me to get in touch with the world and enjoy the wonderful things and soon the dp starts to lift it always will , always has .. Guys I am not recovered but I’m having more great days than bad :))) have faith and know that recovery is around the corner

    Thanks Paul for this amazing site !
    Evy

  104. Evy Says:

    I also wanted to say that a lot of people who have anxiety have had some damage In childhood as myself , we can cry and think of it , just don’t unpack and stay there ! We have to understand that life isn’t perfect and not always happy , but it’s the very biggest struggles in life that makes us the strongest , I know this might sound weird , but I am ok with what I’ve been though because the good days feel amazing !!!! Compared to the worse ones ! You can appreciate life just a lil bit more when you have came to the other side

    Blessings to all , and have faith that you will get better

  105. Simone Says:

    Evy, I agree that many of us had traumas in childhood. At least it is my case. During the first anxiety phases I was not aware of it! I thought it was a genetic disease! I It is just now that I really realize the whole pression and suppressed emotions I stocked up which manifest themselves in anxiety. I cannot complain anything of my life, my mother is almost cured, I reconciled with them, and I have a job and a husband I love. But still, anxiety came back and I have crises where I cry and think of my mother back then. I know it is over and I turned the page at least in my head but my soul didn’t really get it yet. However, I don’t want to make any more therapy analyzing the past. I just want to let go and this is why I believe that Paul’s advice will help me. True, the biggest struggle will make us stronger! It is a process of transformation and growth.

  106. Simone Says:

    Paul, I wrote before that “I think that Pauls advice will help me”. Yes, I think it is the right path and I do it to get rid of my symptoms, I want to recover and I am ready to give in time and work on me. Is that the wrong approach because I actually “do” something in order to recover?

    I want to let go, not be afraid of the symptoms, concentrate on life and not anxiety, let thought come up and let them pass by like a cloud…Now, when a thought comes up I know that it is just a thought and I tell myself “ha, one more” and I realize that I don’t get an adrenalin push anymore when they want to hit me. This is thanks to following your advice! But I needed to do something, be aware of myself, not let myself catch by scary thoughts.

    So, where is the line between “doing” and just “let peace come”???

  107. Andy J Says:

    Another great post Paul.

    You said: ‘I don’t have a method, this is not a method, this is about dropping all methods, all techniques. Its about seeing how so much of this is self created, how we do so much of this to ourselves.’

    So from that, ‘doing nothing’ actually is the method. Its about understanding that anxiety is self driven. You aren’t ill, nor have you got anything to do, to right this. It is accepting that this is anxiety and getting on with life.

    I think my main issue is falling back in to old ways. Did you have to remind yourself of ‘doing nothing’ and after a while did it just sink in?

  108. Tim Says:

    “I think my main issue is falling back in to old ways. Did you have to remind yourself of ‘doing nothing’ and after a while did it just sink in?”

    Hey Andy / Simone. I hope I didn’t personally confuse anyone re my post above. This is how I see it. I think its ok to remind yourself of the correct perspective when things get awful. To me its about practising changing your perspective and getting in the mindset of letting go and not getting tied up with thoughts.

    Most importantly I DIDN’T OVERDO IT. I simply said things like “its just anxiety, nothing will help, let it go”, then I actually tried to do what I told myself to do. If I was still really upset again 1 hour later, I told it to myself again then dropped it. I just think I found this a useful bridging kind of step, as I was so used to trying to use my thoughts to console myself.

    I agree that doing nothing is actually the cure and the mode you are aiming for. When anxiety comes I basically think about it fleetingly then it just goes away when I don’t feed it. I can see why Paul keeps it simple because this could be easily used incorrectly.

    In answer to your question though Andy, yes after ‘practising’ doing nothing the message did just sink in and become automatic. I hope Paul doesn’t feel i’m just confusing things for people as that’s not what I want. I think if you are able to skip using reminders all together that’s fantastic and even better :)

  109. Tim Says:

    To simplify my above post – I think its perfectly fine to remind yourself to do nothing.

  110. Simone Says:

    Thanks Time,
    I know what you mean. I did the “its just anxiety, nothing will help, let it go” for about one month now and it is only now that I really start to believe it and be able to see the vague of thoughts coming without getting adrenalin shocks and fear!!! It really needs work and persistence! However, I am still over sensitized and keep walking around with this pression in my head, and dp from time to time. But I think the fact of not getting that upset anymore will slow down my nervous system and get it out of alarm mood.
    Actually I don’t really consider it as doing nothing, catching the thoughts and NOT getting upset is actually something active, I am aware of myself and what my mind needs (rest), so I just don’t let myself down the fear-road. It is like being a police on the street winking the cars by instead of stopping them and start arguing with!

  111. Chris Says:

    Thanks for the reply Paul. It’s true, we really just need to go out live like everyone else does, despite how we feel or what goes on upstairs. I look back now and see that I was doing most things wrong. I was a frantic searcher, Always looking for that magic sentence to give me peace of mind. I thought I was different to everoyne on here, because my fears were specific. I thought they were the cause and they needed to be addressed and resolved. I would come on here, read the blog, read the books and I would think I was accepting, but part of me still thought something needed resolving. I felt like I needed to find the reassurance to confirm that I wasn’t ‘broken’ So every few months I thought to myself, ok just one more Google search Chris. The outcome always created more suffering and just added to the confusion and analysis. I would go online and read vague and inconsistent studies that I wasn’t even qualified to read. ‘oh no this study says I’m going to get worse, but wait this one says I’m fine, what does all of this even mean’. I look back on it now and realize how counter productive it was. I needed a new approach because I was stuck in a cycle.

    My realization was very similar to yours, it began with the thought how would a non anxious person go about their day? And the answer was very simple, they would simply go about their day. They certainly wouldn’t play mental games, try to push certain thoughts and feeling away, they wouldn’t give any particular thought or emotion a great deal of importance, they wouldn’t constanly ask themselves questions about why things are the way they are. They certainly wouldn’t go on the internet franticly searching for irrelevant answers, and they wouldn’t try think over and over, trying to prove their fears wrong. They wouldn’t try to get anywhere, so why should I? They would simply go about their day and live. There would still be normal stressors and life events of course, but they wouldn’t be blown out of proportion. I then realized that all these fears, symptoms, thoughts, they all need to be left alone. There is nothing to prove wrong, nothing to resolve, nothing to try and overcome. My only task is to live my life like everyone else. I was always upstairs in my head having a debate, trying to prove certain thoughts wrong, forcibly trying to accept, arguing with myself – which is so silly when I think about it – arguing with myself? But hang on, doesn’t an arguement require two people. Yep, I was arguing with anxiety. I was fighting myself, but how I can I win this fight when I am the only person involed? Doesn’t fighting involve two people?

    It’s hard to put this into words, because words can only explain so much, but it seems I’m on the right track. Hopefully my words aren’t too jumbled, I’m using my playstation 4 and I keep on deleting my comment so I’ve had to re-write this twice haha.

  112. Belgian Says:

    Hi everyone!

    It has been a while since my last post on here but I thought it would be a good idea to visit you all again. Some of you might have read some of my earlier posts and I don’t think I questioned Paul’s advice once in them. In fact, I was giving the same advice and tried to encourage others to take his message on board as well. I truly believe this is the way forward.

    Recovery on the other hand, can be a bumpy road. Even when you understand and know this message by heart, there will still be anxious times. The reason for this is very simple. A life without stress and anxiety is impossible. When you truly live your life there are always choices to be made, losses to endure and beatings to be taken. There is no clear path for anyone of us and so uncertainty is part of our life.

    We don’t always have a say on the things that happen to us, but we always do have a choice. Acceptance is this choice. Acceptance means that you take whatever comes your way. That you stop the fight to be in control of your emotions as this is a fight we always lose.

    I can’t deny the fact that I still rather feel happy and careless than anxious. How could I not? But I have taken the decision not to let anxiety control my life anymore. Even when my anxious mind plays its most scary trick, I know deep down in my heart that this is nothing more than this. A scary trick. When you leave it alone, you will see the trick doesn’t scare you that much anymore. You will see that the only magic behind it, is and was your own doing. It is your reaction to it that defines it!

    For the people still in the deep, I have one particular message. Understand that recovery is close to you at any time. It lives in the same source as where all your anxiety is coming from. The difference between full-blown anxiety and peace is comparable with the difference between love and hate. They both are surprisingly close to each other.

    Understand– while I know that this is almost impossible – that recovery is and should not be your daily goal. Instead, try to reach for acceptance by understanding anxiety as anxiety and nothing more. By letting go the fight, it’s inevitable you will find acceptance. Acceptance will bring you knowledge and it’s this renewed knowledge that finally results in recovery.

    Take heart!

    Belgian

  113. Chris Says:

    Just wanted to say thanks as well, your books/blog posts are literally the only things that have ever resonated with me. All the other advice I received was pure nonsense along the lines of ‘breathing techniques’ or ‘anxiety management’. I think we all know how frustrating it is when we are told to ‘just breathe’ as Kevin mentioned above.

  114. Natasha Says:

    Hi I have posted on here a few times but nobody seems to write back. I really need some advice, I am totally trapped inside my head thinking 24/7, I create scenarios that could happen all the time. I also have started not even talking to people as much but asking them questions in my head and imagining their response and sometimes go on to ask them but sometimea dont bother.it is really wearing me down. I told my therapist and even she has never heard of anyone doing this which has made me feel worse like there is something else wrong. Does anybody els do this? Is it just a sign of an over active mind? What does anyone asise I do? Do I jist let my mind go on like this? Thanks to anyone that can help

  115. Tasnim Says:

    Natasha, I do the same thing. Asking someone a question, imagining a conversation with someone , or thinking up scenarios. I was even “imagining” my response to this post before I even decided to respond. I think usually, I intend to actually ask or say what I thought up, but tend to plan out the scenario in my head before I do (maybe part of some social anxiety?) I worried about it too during this time of anxiety, not sure what to make of it either. I just assumed I am too self aware right now, so I let it go for now. But just letting you know you aren’t the only one.

  116. Julie W Says:

    Tasnim and Natasha – I do the same thing and always have. I have had OCD tendancies all my life, but until this anxiety hit, I was never diagnosed with OCD and now I have been diagnosed with it. Not sure if this is an OCD trait or not, but for me I think it is. You are not alone.

    Tasnim – regarding your comment on your fear. I have bad OCD intrusive thoughts also and you hit the nail on the head when you said you are left with uncertainty it could happen. You have to just let them be as there is no certainty with anything. I was recommended a book for OCD and it’s a personalized recovery program with living with uncertainty. People with OCD want to be certain things won’t happen. You have to live with the uncertainty it might happen, as there are no guarantees in life. This has helped me tremendously in just leaving my thoughts alone. I do exposures also that tell me there are no guarantees that my fears won’t come true. I’m not saying they will come true, just that we can’t be 100% certain they won’t. Just like you can’t be 100% certain you won’t get into a car accident, but you still drive. Don’t argue or worry about your thoughts, leave them alone.

    I feel really angry today. Never felt angry before. I have literally been punching my bed all day. I feel royally ticked off that after 2 years off living my life, I can still think about myself 24/7. I am trying to let it be, but the 2 year anniversary of my first ever panic attack is coming up, which set my anxiety in motion, and i feel angry that another summer is coming and I am still living with “it”. “It” being the thinking of me all the time. I don’t try to not think about me, and I am involved in lots of things, but no matter what I do, I am always, always thinking of me from the time I get up until I go to bed. I think I am doing much better with the thoughts. They are still there all the time, but i don’t really bother with them anymore. Maybe this self awareness is the last piece to go, who knows as I feel it never will and today it has me really, really ticked off. How can you fully enjoy life with thinking about yourself all the time. I do somewhat enjoy things, but definately not fully enjoy them. I just want to give up. Just venting!!

  117. Tasnim Says:

    Julie W – Yeah, I’m still trying to learn to be okay with it. One thing I’ve kept at for a while is to stop looking for reassurance at every behavior. I’m sorry about your frustration. I think what maybe part of that fuel is, maybe you haven’t fully accepted your self awareness. I’d assume once you truly become okay with thinking about you 24/7 (I tired myself out from doing it today), you’ll eventually stop notcing, and thus it’ll stop happening. In the beginning of my anxiety, I think a lot of my progress has been thanks to me engaging with my friends and family. It helped take the attention off me. I hope you feel at peace again soon! Thank you for the advice.

  118. Natasha Says:

    Tasnim and Julie W, thanks for replying :) its good to know I’m not the only one, I panicked when my therapist looked at me strange and said shes never heard of anyone doing this lol Julie I feel exactly the same as you, I find it impossible to get over, just dont understand how I can be ok with being trapped inside my head. I’ve been like this for a year and a half now and only feel like its got worse. Some days I can just get on with things with allthe noise going on in my head and other days I get so frustrated! When will I just get 5minutes peace from my thoughts :(

  119. Julie W Says:

    Thanks for the reply Tasnim. I agree that I haven’t fully accepted the self awareness. I know it’s not as strong as it used to be, but it’s still there. All the other aspects of anxiety don’t really bother me anymore, so I don’t notice them as much.

    Natashsa – I agee. Somedays I can just get on with things and like you, I get days when I am just frustrated. I have noticed though, that the noise in my mind has settled a bit – not so intense, but no peace from not thinking of myself. That’s why I like to sleep, as it’s the only time I don’t think of myself. If I could sleep all day, I would, but I force myself to get up as I know that is avoidance. Funny thing is, I have always been a thinker and it’s never bothered me before, so not sure why it does now. But I would never think of me 24/7. I can’t even have conversations without continually reverting back to me. 5 minutes of peace would be nice.

  120. Herman Says:

    I have a real quick question for Nolan and the rest.

    Is it ok if I don’t live my life as I used to?
    I find I can’t do certain fun things, and I got a book or two in a series I like that I want to save for when I’m better…

    I still socialize and exercise and cook and clean and work and give support and advice to my family. I read books, watch movies, take naps, research things online, listen to music. But there are somethings that I feel should be saved for when I’m me again. Is this approach detrimental to my recovery? Must I do everything? Even things I want to save and things that I just don’t have the mental capacity for at the moment?

  121. Tim Says:

    Hey Simone,

    That pressure in your head thing, far out that used to scare me. It was right in my forehead, a pressure / tingle. I used to think that my frontal lobe was damaged. I don’t have that anymore :)

    You’re definitely right – once you start actually not getting upset about anxiety, your body will quickly start its path to desensitisation. Just be careful not to turn this into control. Part of Pauls message is that its perfectly ok to feel like crap, sad, and for your thoughts to race. I started off trying to catch and alter my thoughts and it actually worked for a little while then I had a bit of a setback. It will turn into doing nothing because you are no longer monitoring your thoughts. I just see them and they are what they are.

  122. Star Says:

    Hiya.

    I actually have been going through the ups and downs; I find it hard to have setbacks because when I experience good days all I want to do is replicate them; but I’ll probably get to a point where I am fed up and will let go again. I’m not there yet… :/

    I understand the message but I guess I am not applying it right now; (or rather maybe I am trying too hard to) I have previously reached that point but it’s the not trying to replicate the peace which I find hard and the not-monitoring recovery.

    A particular issue that frightens me tremendously I have a lot of anxiety about this training that I will be doing this summer; I worry about how my anxiety will be; it will be a high pressure environment where I will be expected to be quick and efficient; I don’t believe in myself to be able to do it… Plus I have one particular previous bad experiences which doesn’t help…
    I guess this is a situation I must deal with alone but I am so afraid that I will go in and end up in a panic every day and my boss will fire me; and then I will have to face my family and friends and ‘the game will be up;’ you see no one knows of my internal struggle…
    I know it’s not real. But it sure as hell feels like it is…

    Any sort of potential advice or reassurance? Anxiety makes our minds build up such stories. But I know that if I do not get this anxiety under control– and hell it’s so up and down for me I don’t know what tomorrow will be like— I will not be able to survive that job…

  123. Natasha Says:

    Its deficult to accept self awarenes, I take it in order to let go you allow yourself to think and observe consantly and have imaginary scenarios and just not bother about them? I get scared because it feel like a bad habit of mine that I cant stop so if I allow myself to do it and not bother surely I will do it more often? I found trying to practise mindfulness made me worse as well as made me mkre self aware, had to stop doing it. Julie I used to enjoy sleeping as was the only time my mind was quiet but now my sleep is really anxious! I have anxiety dreams that play on a xonstant loop and very vivid, I wake up from sleep feeling worse and more tired :(

  124. Joe Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I’ve been struggling with high anxiety due to obsesdive thinking for several months now. After accepting my thoughts better the past couple days, tonight I find they are not bothering me nearly as much–in fact, hardly at sll– but I feel like I have so much energy/ excess adrenaline in me I feel like I could bounce off the walls! Lol. Is this a normal experience?

  125. Simone Says:

    Dear Tim,
    Thanks for your reply.
    So funny, we experience the same pressure in the front head but we both have a different perception of it. It scared you, it doesn’t scare me. For me it is a sign of anxiety, being in the fight and flight mood. What scares me is dp! Probably dp didn’t scare you, right? 😉 This really shows me how anxiety is all in our head! It is all about our perception of certain symptoms to which we then add fear to … It all makes sense now and helps me to not falling into the trap of living in my head. It doesn’t make the pressure in the head and dp go away but it makes me feel better. I think I feel better since I really start to understand this all, probably even the symptoms are less, but I don’t want to start analyzing and comparing… I am too impatient!
    You are right, we shouldn’t fall into the trap of controlling thought, just let them come and not give them the attention they are seeking. Yesterday I went for a run in the forest and it was an amazing evening, all green, the birds singing, the sun shining… I felt some dp but it even didn’t bother me, I accepted it. I was happy and so thankful even though I felt spaced out. Life lived alongside the symptoms! Wow, it really works!
    Let’s continue the conversation about the journey of recovery; it really gives me force to see that healing is within us and that we actually don’t need medication etc.

    Dear Joe,
    I feel the same. Normally after a 30 minutes run I feel relaxed. However, now with the anxiety I don’t really feel this calm. I think my body is tired from the last four months of stress and bad sleeping, but I don’t even feel it! The motor is still overheated and it probably takes a while to come down. But we both will get there.

  126. Belgian Says:

    Joe, Star, Natasha, it’s strange and at the same time so familiar to see all your questions pop up even after reading Paul’s, Chris’s and my advice…

    All of your questions have the same answer. You all suffer from anxiety symptoms. There is no other answer. True lasting peace is not to be found in comforting acknowledgement of your own suffering by others. It can only be found within yourself.

  127. star Says:

    Belgian. . .

    You’re right and I needed to hear that; it’s one thing to see the advice and understand it but sometimes a fear seems so real because it is backed up by lots of information and that is when it feels like ‘Paul isn’t talking to me’ I know it’s just the fear talking but it feels so real- I guess that’s why it’s called the ‘anxiety trick…’ I will work on seeing all anxiety the same

  128. Andy J Says:

    Hi Belgian, good posts.

    I think the thing is, people (including myself) find it very difficult just to let it be. All your instinct is telling you that you hate the way you feel and you just want to be feel better. You basically want rid of all of these horrible thoughts and feelings that are keeping you in this hell.

    When you are in the mire, its hard to tell yourself that this will pass. I have recently been through better days and found it easier to focus on new things, I have began running again and planning for the future. However, since Monday I have been down, seriously down. Now knowing how far I have come on, this makes me sad, very sad, and leaves me questioning what has changed, why this dreaded feeling has returned. Isnt this only natural? Am I not just ‘doing nothing’ by doing this? I’m allowing my brain to think what it wants. Or does questioning that not count as nothing.

    The whole ‘ do nothing’ is confusing to me. If you have been banging your head (literally) against a wall for weeks in an effort to rid yourself of anxiety and are told to ‘do nothing’, would this mean continuing on banging or stopping? Because stopping in this case actually would be doing something about it? What if you cant stop your thoughts automatically returning to how you feel and questioning? How do you not try and reassure yourself or comfort yourself? I admire those who have, but to me it is totally alien and something which I really struggle with.

    Others have had their ‘light bulb moment’, unfortunately I am still waiting for mine, and I just still don’t think I ‘get it’.

    Sorry for the rant, but I’m just absolutely sick and tired of feeling like this. All the allowing, doing nothing, feeling everything, feeling nothing, seeing therapists, not seeing therapist, taking pills then stopping them and all the while just being stuck in this cycle of hell. Its a truly awful experience.

  129. Belgian Says:

    Andy J,

    In your post you notice all the pitfalls we are all falling into on our road towards recovery. You have felt better recently and so obviously you are shocked that these feelings have returned. You hate those feelings once again and make the basic mistake to fear and question them once more. In fact all the thoughts you are having: ‘is this natural?’, ‘Am I not just doing nothing by doing this? What if you cant stop your thoughts automatically..’ all of these thoughts and I mean all of them don’t have any power over you on their own. They are expressions of the fight you are having with the way you feel. They are reactions to that anxious feeling intensified by stress.

    Allow me to clarify using your headbanging analogy :) .

    You are banging your head against the wall because you are anxious. You are not anxious because you are banging your head against the wall. This is key in understanding anxiety.

    ‘Headbanging’ is your reaction towards anxiety. A reaction caused by the fact that you totally dislike it and don’t want it. Ironically, all your efforts to get rid of it are creating more of what you dread. Allowing would mean that you’d stay with the feeling of anxiety without trying to change it. Without trying to push it away. It’s here that acceptance comes to play. If you accept your anxious feeling, if you welcome it, it loses its thriving power to throw your head against the wall.

    Nobody has said that this is easy and there is nothing that I can say now that would make you feel better. I know how awful it is. We all know. But there is hope and the best thing about it is that you do not have to feel hope right NOW in order to know it is there.

    Hope lies in all the stories you read here of people going forward. Hope lies in the message Paul and others are spreading. Hope lies in those moments you feel much better. Hope lies in the fact that – even now in those dark hours – you are not alone. Hope lies within you and so does recovery.

  130. Mark R Says:

    Andy,

    Everyone has ups and downs, bad days, good days, good weeks, bad weeks etc. Please don’t go searching for the reason why this is because it will be a total waste of your time and energy.

    Like yourself I had a cracking week last week. Ive secured a flat to move into and this kept me busy and all I could think about. Since Saturday I’ve been highly anxious and then down since. I’ve not thought about my flat once. This is something I’ve accepted. Each day I’ve kept myself busy after work by going to Ikea, the cinema etc. My mind is saying “Why go to a film? You feel anxious, you wont enjoy it”. I’ve let it ramble on like two old biddies on a bus and on both cinema visits I’ve just been absorbed into the film and felt peaceful when I’ve come out.

    It sounds like you’ve had some good weeks so rejoice in that. Don’t get down as to why ‘you’re in the mire’ again, just carry on doing what you are doing. Good times are a sign that you are on the right track but let them come on their own accord, peace has never come to anyone who has forced it.

    Mark

  131. Tim Says:

    Hey Andy, doing nothing in particular refers to not trying to stop your anxiety. So for me when I was anxious ‘doing’ was trying to work it out, looking for answers on the net, telling myself mantras “you’ll be ok”, “just get through this and you can go home and be fine”, “you idiot just toughen up”, “i’ll not go out tonight as I feel awful” etc.

    You “telling yourself this will pass” is just a technique to feel better. Your worrying that you’re doing something wrong is actually another manifestation of this. You are getting too tangled up in the technique – in the doing. You’re still looking for that elusive “do”.

    Try to accept that there literally is no do that you can do (lol).
    Remember your brain is a thought machine, you cant actually stop it thinking. No one can… not even the greatest buddhist monk. If there is a “do” all it is is basically taking a step back from your brains bullshit. Its about understanding & noticing the reality of what’s happening to you.

    Look into your thoughts, its all your doing that’s the problem. All the – “stop thinking like this”, “this is awful”, “I hate this”,”please go away” “why me?”, “not again how can I function?”,”people can see me, I cant show them im anxious”, “maybe am I broken?, “maybe its my hormones?” etc. Anxiety has become a huge deal, its scary for you. Once you realise how futile it all is you just naturally don’t bother getting caught up anymore.

    I actually totally get your confusion, it confuses me too! Getting this is a struggle for almost everyone I suspect.

    Barry McDonagh in his very good book the Dare Response frames it a bit differently to Paul. I think if this method becomes too confusing (but its very simple don’t overthink it) try his book. Its very similar to Pauls but slightly different.

    D – defuse anxiety “whatever.. so what.. who gives a f@ck.. its just anxiety”
    A – Accept and allow “I allow anxiety into my life, it can do what it wants”
    R – run towards – “im excited to be anxious” or “come on anxiety bring it on”
    E – Engage – keep getting on with your life, do what you want/need to do.

    Anyway, time to stop posting here and give someone more fresh on this material a chance. Take care all 😉

    P.S Simone – lol thats exactly right, DP always seemed like a very obvious anxiety response for me, it made me on edge but I never thought it was a huge deal. Good example of how we make our own meaning huh :)

  132. Simone Says:

    Dear Tim,
    I actually think that there is something Andy could do: do not take your thought seriously, they are just thought and they cannot harm you.
    This helps me a lot. Before I was frightened of my thoughts and DP. Since I know that it is just anxiety I am much calmer. Understanding is the key. You see, you were frightened of the pression in your head, for me it is DP. This explains it all that, it is all in our head!
    Sometimes doing something actively helps also to change focus. In my case it is running, the outdoors. Worst is when I am not busy at work, then I easily fall into my own world of thoughts.

  133. Jo Says:

    I’m so happy I stumbled upon Paul’s book. It was about 18 months ago that I felt absolutely terrible. I was having racing thoughts, panic attacks, headaches, vision problems, insomnia and felt like I was crazy and had awful DP. I read Paul’s book (and more recently the 2nd one) and immediately felt that it all made sense. I stupidly thought that was it and I was cured…however, old habits die hard. I was deep into over analysing and ‘living in my head’ all of which was causing the DP. From the moment I woke up, I would switch into thinking about how I felt today, aches, pains, thoughts, tiredness. It would go around and around in my head. I’d take paracetamol, coffee and try to fight these feelings. I now realise that focusing on these things made them feel worse and into a bigger problem than they were.

    I guess my tipping point came when I stopped searching for the answer/cure. I’d catch myself before I got into the over-thinking cycle and do something meaningful that connected me to mysurroundings such as exercise, a hobby, going out with friends etc. I didn’t avoid thinking, but just realised that the searching type thinking and focusing on my thoughts and feelings made me hyper sensitive to every slight change in them. As soon as you let go of trying to control them, they stop controlling you. It wasn’t a quick process/recovery but I knew that I was going in the right direction. I had a few good days and a few bad ones, then gradually instead of bad days it would just be a few hours, this made me realise that if I felt bad, the day was not a wright off as I had previously felt better later on. Now I feel rubbing occasionally, but don’t dwell or focus on it and have peace of mind that there will be plenty of good days. I too wanted someone to tell me when I will feel better, it’s so frustrating. You can think your way out of it or force it. Just be….

  134. Beth Says:

    Have decided to give up the fight-but for all the wrong reasons. Can no longer take the mental anguish of trying/not trying. Feel the symptoms and live your life anyway, which is perfect advise…but I find very little joy to be found. If this is my life, I will make the best of the comfort zone I have given myself. I can still read and rent movies and go a few places, so not all bad. For those of you that are a lot stronger than I am, I commend you. But, when a person truly has no hope its difficult to see even the smallest glimmer. I still believe with all my heart that Paul is absolutely wonderful with the help he is giving everyone and is the best thing to come along since Claire Weeks.

  135. Andy J Says:

    Hi Guys,

    Thanks very much for your responses, they really are helpful.

    I guess this is what classes as a setback? I just dont understand how I could fall back in to this same old trap and it worries me just how easily I have slipped in to it.

    Thanks again, hope you are all well.

  136. Simone Says:

    Dear Andy,
    Happy to hear that you’re “back” :)
    Don’t say “it worries me”, it shows doubts and worries, that’s the beginning of the trap. You have learnt and you are stronger now! It wont be that bad next time.
    Yesterday I saw my psychologist and she said that I changed completely my attitude! That’s Paul’s teaching! I have the tools now and I feel so much stranger and very thankful. For me the ‘light bulb moment’ is when I really started understanding the anxiety dynamic and its dirty tricks. That’s when recovery began, and that is also when I understood that I don’t need medicine (I am getting out of it and am half through, missing half a pill to get rid of) neither a psychiatrist, it is perseverance and mindfulness that will heal me and it is up to me and nothing else. It is a game of patience which is difficult for somebody like me, but that’s the only way.

  137. Eric Says:

    My biggest problem is lack of drive and unability to enjoy things like I did before this breakdown I had 4 years ago. I can get anxious sometimes and I let it stay with me for as long as it wants, I do not fight it. Anxious or not, inside I still feel broken somehow, everything seems less fun than before.

    I was on SSRI medicine for a year and it helped alot, I felt good most of the days, which makes me think there must be something chemical I can not control. Soon after I quit the medicine I started feeling weak again, but I did not want to depend on pills to feel good, so have been without them for over 2 years. I still try to socialize and meet people, do sports, but it is not as fun and exciting as it was before.

    I am not sad, and do not feel I miss anything in life, I have a great family and friends, I eat good and exercise when I feel strong enough.

    I guess in some cases it can be more chemical? Since I really felt different on medicine.

  138. Mo Says:

    Tim,

    I know I’m late but hopefully you’ll see this. Could you explain more on altering one’s perspective?

    I think I bottomed out(maybe not truly) but always got on the wrong path again either because too scared to carry my emotions EVERYWHERE and live along side them or because I’m not getting in a routine.

    I’m going to have to re-read Paul’s 2 books again because I seem to rush through it the very few times I read it.

    I really hope to truly understand the difference between letting go and giving up completely as I’ve done a few times.

  139. Mark R Says:

    Andy,

    You’ve not slipped back into anything. Anxiety is a protection mechanism, it just doesn’t realise that youre safe yet even though consciously you know you are.

    Its all about the 3 P’s….Perseverance, Progress and um..Pants?!

  140. Daniel Says:

    I have a serious question here, a major problem that’s been popping up lately.

    My anxiety keeps causing me to do things that I don’t understand. Behave rudely to the people I care at for no reason or just do something that I would never do. It’s confusing.

    Is that a normal part of anxiety? Momentary becoming somebody else?

    Immediately after I have no idea why I did those things, it makes no sense why I would. It destroys my confidence and also causes my sense of self to waver. I just wish I had an explanation of why this keeps happening.

  141. Tim Says:

    Hey Mo! Id be happy to talk about it. I do think its a great idea for you to read the books as Paul explains it better than I ever could. When you get a quiet moment, give the concepts a few minutes thought, I would sometimes when id lie in bed. Plus since i’m no longer cognitively doing anything I feel a bit rusty. Still, i’ll explain some changes in perspective I tried to take for myself and perhaps you will see some parallels between us.

    Firstly came understanding that it wasn’t something dangerous, it was anxiety which as Mark says it just the physical flight and fight response. I realised that if this was all it was, and that I got myself in this situation then I could definitely get myself out of it. I really loved the idea of sensitisation, we are all jumpy and vulnerable. For me it was the startle response, someone would put their hand on my shoulder and id jump. My poor nervous system is confused and borked.

    I think self compassion is important. I cultivated a kindness and a softness of mind, siding with myself rather than being my enemy. I kind of had an idea of that from meditation. Its about the tone of how you say something to yourself. I tried to tell myself things gently, as if my consciousness was a leaf on a river. I tried not to berate or force. Claire weeks explains this as “floating”, you let go of the vice like doing, and just let the brain do what it wants.

    As ive said heaps before I accepted that there was literally nothing I could do to stop anxiety. When I was walking up to subway all shaky and worried id just think well it is what it is, there is no point trying to put on a brave face or pretending. Releasing this pressure on myself to hold up a brave face really helped. Its ok to look stupid, people really don’t notice or care. I didn’t give up, I still tried to be a kind person, I still would do what I needed to, but I gave up trying to change the outcome.

    This was also about time. Since I accepted that I was “temporarily a bit screwed” I accepted that this wont just get better overnight, it will take doing the right thing over days and months. I could see that desensitisation is probably a slow process. Its going to present challenges in different situations. So I might get to the point where i’m desensitised in the supermarket, but my anxiety is higher in x place or situation, and that’s ok. Think about a dog that’s abused, you have to show it love for sometimes months before it’ll allow you to touch it and it wont flinch.

    I started to stop caring what others think. I am a little wobbly and I will make mistakes, and that’s ok. If people see me anxious or stuff up then so be it.

    Anxiety became just a message, I kind of saw its bluff. Its not some scary mystery from a man who has brain damage. So when anxiety comes (and it invariably will) it didn’t seem like the enemy anymore. I still get anxiety at different times during the day, but I don’t see it as this evil thing to be stopped at all costs. Its a product of my body.

    I also like how the buddhist say that they are just thoughts. Thoughts seem real because we fuse with them, but they are not real. They are just an electrical signal in the brain. The thought “oh my god i’m going to panic” is not a sure fire set in stone prediction at all. Its the same as the thought “I am an apricot”.

    I tried to drop the idea of perfectionism. You cant rush this, its about winning some and losing some. Some days will be shit, some will be much better. I had to just accept that when I go into the supermarket or when I talk to someone in the gym I might get blank or shake like a leaf or embarrassed. After I made these mistakes (and I still have them), that’s ok, its not my fault. Its just my condition, and I didn’t dwell on it.

    This is on a moment to moment basis as well. In many moment’s I felt that I had “got it” and was fine, then I could feel myself slipping back into anxiety. I accepted these ebbs and flows.

    I liked the “whatever” portion of the dare response. I sometimes thought look i’m done giving a f3ck about anxiety right now.

    That’s some ways that I looked at it, sorry its 08:00am and I just woke up so hopefully they made sense. All this isn’t necessary for recovery, they are just mental tweaks of perspective that help. Recovery is ultimately as simple as Paul says,

    Paul kind of talks about the idea of hope, and that it can be dangerous. I see why because as Andy has felt going backwards can feel utterly crushing. You think everything is ok then it hurts 3x as much when you think youve failed. I don’t think Andys failed at all, hes learnt that bit more and has actually had great success creating space away from his anxiety – he’s further ahead for sure.

    But I think you should all be quietly excited. My anxiety pervaded every fibre of my being and when I started to have moments where it was gone I knew with certainty that I was on the right track. What a beautiful and fortunate thing – to actually find something that works. I’m not religious but to me its like a miracle.

  142. Tim Says:

    Just on my dog analogy Mo, watch this video. Watch how loving and caring and patient these people are with them. We are a bit like them, we are afraid and just need a bit of love :)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=78&v=NUqeq9cjhzs

  143. Tasnim Says:

    So I have this thing where when I wear glasses, I feel that my breathing gets heavier. As if though the glasses are making it hard to breathe because it sits on my nose? I believe that for a while too. Now I’m thinking I just get anxiety when I wear the glasses. Probably because I was so bothered the first time I notice it. Do you guys agree thats it? Or is it really my glasses? This has been happening since last year, before I even suffered with anxiety. I’d like to assume that if this is anxiety, it will stop bothering me eventually if I stop caring about it.

    I also get this anxiety when I am at a dinner party or any party after I eat a meal (which sucks because I love party food). Maybe because I’m aware it happens, it happens even more. Do I just give the same attitude?

  144. Daniel Says:

    If anyone could answer my question (Paul, Nolan, anyone) I’d really appreciate it. Its driving me so crazy i can’t eat or sleep

  145. Tim Says:

    Hey Daniel, becoming grumpy / cranky is definitely a side effect of anxiety and depression. Anxiety can be really upsetting / confusing. Anger is one of the many responses that might emerge. I was the same, I am a very caring person who would never hurt anybody. Yet in the depths of pain I would interpret peoples reactions incorrectly and get “angry at the world”. I remember a girl was really annoying me on a trip and when she asked for the last sausage I ate it in front of everyone. Very uncharacteristic of me.

  146. Daniel Says:

    Thanks Tim,
    Means a lot to me.

    I’ll be more specific about my question:

    But it’s not just anger and jerkiness I deal with.
    I do other things out of character, I seem to have developed morbid fascinations. Which is completely against my character, I enjoy light-hearted entertainment and positive stuff but I find myself watching videos regarding bad things sometimes for hours on end.
    And the entire time I don’t know why… it’s just so different from my interests, my personality… it makes me question my sense of self.

    I lose control you see. I say to myself ‘nothing dark today, just gonna ‘rest/digest’ and utilize those positive PNS parts of my brain. But then I’ll go watch something depressing, and I before I watch I think “Why?” And after I watch it I think “Why?” And then I watch more and more.
    It’s all so strange.

    I theorize it’s me doing the whole ‘relief seeking’ thing that our anxiety makes us do. Like I have this morbid fascination as a form of looking for reassurance. Like I want to identify what’s bad in the world and what scares me. Is this what it is?

    I get scared sometimes when I do things out of character, completely in a trance, and then after I have no idea what I had been thinking when I did them. I get scared that I have some sort of major dissociative disorder and I’ve lost control. Anxiety is the fear of control, whilst I seem to actually be losing it.

    I would very much appreciate what anyone has to say about this.
    It’s all very scary, this losing control.

  147. Daniel Says:

    Also does anyone know how I can get into contact with Nolan?
    I’ve been sitting on a question for him for some time.

  148. Tim Says:

    Hey Daniel, i’m a bit tired, and i’ll be honest I find your question complicated and I am probably not experienced enough with it to answer. That’s not to say you’re “stuffed” because I doubt that you are. During extremely stressful periods, all type of behaviours and coping mechanisms occur.

    I do know of people that have had very similar morbid curiosities like this. Both turned out to be fine, perfectly well rounded people.

    I do remember that during some horrible times I used to google a lot about my symptoms. Mostly this was in the guise of “figuring it out to get better” – but it was also a way of trying to come to terms with things. Sometimes, this basically became self punishment where Id keep reading about symptoms for hours on end. Obviously it didn’t make me feel much better, but I did it anyway.

    now I need to be really sensitive here. A lot of people have experienced trauma in their life. Trauma can shatter a persons assumptions about what what the world is like. I can see something like this could trigger a kind of existential search to find out about the world (as you said). If this happens to be your case, you could consider seeing a gp or someone to help.

    OR, its just your very tired mind. It sounds like you’re dissociating which your brain will do to protect itself. I think your own instincts on why you are doing it are probably correct.

  149. Simone Says:

    Anxiety really is a strange thing. Even when I don’t have any “active” crazy or negative thoughts there is still a lot of unconscious thought going on and this is probably the reason why I still feel kind of down and detached most of the time. It must be my sensitized nerves which just produce this kind of negative and “fearful” inner atmosphere, right? I am not going to ask what I can do about it, because your answer is going to be: nothing. This detachment really is the hardest part for me to accept. It is depressing not to feel myself. It is like being emotionless, shut down.
    Last time the therapist wanted to analyze symptoms, talk about them and know how it feels like, what kind of thoughts I would have at what moment etc. I almost got angry at her and as mentioned in a previous post I told her about my new attitude! Now I don’t even feel like going to therapy anymore. I am tired of analyzing anxiety and I am also tired of analyzing my trauma. I just want to turn the page and get more involved with the outside than the inside world, to live the present fully and look into the future. The past is past and is over.

  150. Simone Says:

    Tim, I was wondering concerning your comment regarding trauma.
    I experienced trauma and I believe this is the reason why I am anxious. It is the pressure that I have stocked combined with all the suppressed emotions (I have written on this in a previous post). My therapist recommended me EMDR in order for my body and mind to “digest” the past and turn the page. As mentioned beforehand, I don’t want to dig further in my past as I have analyzed and understood the story (at least in my head). I now just want turn the page. My question is: can I turn the page by just following Pauls teaching or do I also have to do something which addresses the trauma itself in order to recover?

  151. Nolan Says:

    Sorry if I missed any questions.
    It’s been a bit crazy with work. Also, my last grandparent recently passed away. It was my dad’s mom. She had been healthy, I just think his cancer wore down her resolve. She was a great lady.

    Hey Daniel, do you want to post your message here? or do you want me email? Up to you. But, if I can help I’m more than happy to.

    But just to say a quick thing: don’t force anything.
    I couldn’t sleep and in a 3 week period of time I lost between 30-45 lbs. No appetite.

    Paul’s advice made the difference. Though, at times I doubted it all entirely. I still blindly went along with it because I knew there was no other option.
    So the first thing I would say is: let the full intensity of the fear/doubt and all of the effects that is having on your body simply be there….. and do other things with your life aside from adding more fret to those issues. It seems counterintuitive…. I completely understand. But, it’s going to help in the long run.
    We’re trying to chase and hunt down peace of mind and calmness…. but, what we need to do is to give up that search and let it find its way back to us.

  152. Natasha Says:

    So annoying that I just can’t get over this fear of being schizophrenic! I keep searching about it and looking up early symptoms and think it sounds like what I have ? really wearing me down. I try to just allow the thoughts to be there but I feel so strange and my memory is getting bad and I am getting confused really easy, like I will start to say something then forget halfway though what I was even going to say, ots so strange I’m convinced there is something else wrong ?

  153. Simone Says:

    Natasha,
    my mother was schizophrenic. A schizophrenic person thinks that he/she is fine and that the world around is crazy and doesn’t see what they believe. Trust me, you are not schizophrenic otherwise you wouldn’t fear it.
    When I first was anxious I also thought that I would get schizophrenic and that it is our family’s genetic heritage. And when I felt DP I thought that it is the beginning of the disease. It took me a long time to understand that I am not schizophrenic but anxious. Once you understand you feel much calmer and it will be easier to accept the symptoms.

  154. Natasha Says:

    Thanks Simone for your reply. It is so difficult and some days I understand and can accept its just anxiety and then others I fall back into the trap and start looking up symptoms and how they sound similar to mine. Think somedays the anxiety must feel more powerful and thats when I start to analyse everything. So hard trying to overcome all this ?

  155. Daniel Says:

    Thanks Tim, I appreciate it.
    That all sounds quite reasonable, and don’t worry I don’t expect anyone to have all the answers. Again, thank you so much.
    Slowly, slowly we’ll all figure it out. Or more so it’ll just make sense one day.

    Hey Nolan,
    I’ve been meaning to ask you about one crisis I’ve been facing that’s been slowing down my acceptance because I don’t know how to proceed.

    Essentially I do good acceptance (for the most part, most of the time) And I don’t let it put a dent in my studies, social life, health, commitments, relationships, etc.
    But there are things I used to do back in the seven month period I was recovered that I still don’t do now. I don’t really feel like doing them, and don’t really have the mental capacity to do them. So I don’t.
    They are things I didn’t do during my previous 6 years of anxiety that I only got interested in and found myself capable of doing when I was recovered. So I think to myself, “If I didn’t do them back then and recovered then I don’t have to do them this time.”
    I think I’m fine with not doing certain things, but is setting a limit on myself like this placing too much importance on recovery? Locking some things off? I mean I’m patient enough to wait until I’m recovered to do them so no pressure there, but I shouldn’t really be waiting to do ANYTHING until I recover.

    I can almost make my piece with certain parts of my life being on hold, I just fear that in doing so I’m avoiding/not accepting.

    Thanks for your time Nolan.
    If you have any thought on my other recent problem than Tim’s been helping me with that’d be cool. But I feel this one has priority given your particular expertise in similar manners.

  156. Daniel Says:

    Thanks Tim, I appreciate it.
    That all sounds quite reasonable, and don’t worry I don’t expect anyone to have all the answers. Again, thank you so much.
    Slowly, slowly we’ll all figure it out. Or more so it’ll just make sense one day.

    Hey Nolan,
    I’ve been meaning to ask you about one crisis I’ve been facing that’s been slowing down my acceptance because I don’t know how to proceed.

    Essentially I do good acceptance (for the most part, most of the time) And I don’t let it put a dent in my studies, social life, health, commitments, relationships, etc.
    But there are things I used to do back in the seven month period I was recovered that I still don’t do now. I don’t really feel like doing them, and don’t really have the mental capacity to do them. So I don’t.
    They are things I didn’t do during my previous 6 years of anxiety that I only got interested in and found myself capable of doing when I was recovered. So I think to myself, “If I didn’t do them back then and recovered then I don’t have to do them this time.”
    I think I’m fine with not doing certain things, but is setting a limit on myself like this placing too much importance on recovery? Locking some things off? I mean I’m patient enough to wait until I’m recovered to do them so no pressure there, but I shouldn’t really be waiting to do ANYTHING until I recover.

    I can almost make my piece with certain parts of my life being on hold, I just fear that in doing so I’m avoiding/not accepting.

    Thanks for your time Nolan.
    If you have any thought on my other recent problem than Tim’s been helping me with that’d be cool. But I feel this one has priority given your particular expertise in similar manners.

  157. Nicola Says:

    Hi to each
    I’ve recently discovered this blog and brought the book I’m here to say thank you so much to Paul whom passed this wiseness on to others like I, it’s early days but I’m learning so much already, I don’t go into to much detail but the worrying/anxiety came from losing my 2year old daughter to cancer.
    For the past few years I’ve not left the house had fear over eating (hence) losing weight and generally I started to fear everything.
    The past week while reading this and understanding what it means I’ve been out walking my dog a few times per day, I have are three meals and started to do the things I want to do and yep taking the way i feel with me it’s not easy I have a lot of habit and avoidance but so far not avoided anything and as for the fear I’m starting to see there’s no there other than a smile it’s all made up by myself,
    So I thank you Paul for pointing me in the correct direction, and I feel hopeful for the first time though this x

  158. Kat Says:

    Hi everyone,

    Nolan, condolences on the loss of your grandmother. No matter how old they are, a loved one’s passing is always difficult.

    I have just popped on to read Paul’s latest post. I cannot express how meaningful this site has been to me with my journey (I hate to use that word; so trite, but apt) through anxiety. I have had some very, very dark periods, and also some very positive ones. It continues, and though I still have not managed to overcome my problems entirely, I have recently enjoyed a month in which I felt like the best version of myself. I am dealing with symptoms now, but I always knew they’d be back. I just press on.

    My issue at the moment is around travel. Since I had my first major panic attack in 2000, and subsequently fell into the habit of anxiety every day after, I have really struggled with traveling. It used to be that any short journey would cause me to cower, but now I can handle those. However, traveling any significant distance really terrifies me, and since my partner and I met, he has been desperate for me to go to visit his family in Europe, which I can’t even begin to imagine doing. It has caused a great deal of stress for us both, and I can’t begin to tell you how guilty I feel because of it.

    My father recently decided to go to Europe as well to visit his brothers and sisters. My sister decided to accompany him with her family, and of course, the topic came up about how I should go. As a “high-functioning” agoraphobic, the very idea of going fills me with fear and immediately sets off my “nope, nope, nope…” trigger. Today, my sister told me that since I’ve been dealing with anxiety and its related problems for so long, and because these issues are essentially boxing my family in, I should go on medication. Since that conversation, I’ve been wondering if I’m wasting my life trying to figure anxiety out, if a pill will allow me to live it.

    I know that everyone here is doing their level best to recover without medication, and I count myself as one of you because I have never used medication as a means to cope. That said, does there ever come a point when one should say enough is enough and now it’s time to give up on this mad endeavour of recovering naturally? Is there a point when too much time has past and it’s time to investigate other methods of coping?

    I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who was able to overcome their irrational fear of travel after a prolonged period without medication. Remember, 16 years of building up and dismantling an imaginary monster is behind this post. My goal continues to be to find a way to accept my anxiety and finally live the life I want.

    Take care,

    Kate

  159. Daniel Says:

    My condolences for your grandmother Nolan, she was very lucky to have known great-grandchildren and a family such as yours.

  160. Tom Marshall Says:

    I’m sorry for your loss Nolan I hope you and the family are all doing well.

  161. Tim Says:

    Hey Simone,

    That’s a really great question and I think it would be very individualised. One thing about EMDR is its kind of like a blunt instrument for exposure with Trauma. It is most effective for a single traumatic event, not for multiple (complex trauma). Some people are not ready for EMDR and may find it much easier to unravel over a longer period and that’s fine.

    What is really interesting about your question is that trauma creates a stress response and anxiety is a common symptom. Processing trauma is recommended, but if you feel you have come to terms with it fine and understood it then you are the one who is right. People are very resilient. You are the only one who knows in your heart whether you’re done with it. Perhaps one day you’ll feel like exploring it again, no worries.

    I honestly believe that if you follow Paul’s method it will help a great deal. One way you can look it is the same way I did with my drug. My drug was the thing that caused my anxiety, but it was maintained by myself by not accepting/allowing, fighting and trying to fix and my nervous system getting blown to peices. There is an element of light exposure to paul’s method in that it encourages you to feel your emotions and not to use avoidance techniques like running away or forcing away thoughts. I see no harm in using Pauls method, and if you haven’t already you’ll see if its helping 😉

  162. Chris Says:

    Hi Simone.

    Tim’s advice is spot on in regards to trauma. If you feel it would be theraputic to get professional help to aid you in moving then go for it, however if you don’t want to dig up the past anymore then Paul’s advice will also help you greatly (sometimes digging up the past can actually make us feel worse in my opinion). I think pretty much all of us here have dealt with some form of trauma, as anxiety is a traumatic experience itself. In my opinion there are two types of trauma, 1) real life events such as abuse, loss etc, and 2) anxiety based trauma – which are fears probably doesn’t even exist, and if they do are blown way out of proportion.

    I’m similar to Tim, my anxiety was worsened by taking a drug years ago (except these drugs was illegal, lol), and on more than one occasion. As I mentioned above, I used to Google this alot, and read some really nasty stuff on what I could have potentially done to myself. I feel actually reading into it did more damage than the drug itself. I identified with this as ‘trauma’ because it did leave me very emotioanlly distressed. But I decided I would much rather leave it in the past, and there is literally no point looking into it any further. I won’t lie, I am still affected by it alot of the time. But I’m just treating it as anxiety/depression, and to be honest if it sticks around then whatever. I’m tired of fighting it. At the end of the day it iis 100% up to us which approach we wish to take, which is actually really empowering when you think about it.

  163. Steve b Says:

    Does anyone have any tips for excessive rumination and how to break the thought patterns. I know we just have to allow the thoughts and let them pass but I am finding it so difficult to move on from the subject of anxiety.

  164. Natalia Says:

    Hi, i read Pauls book all over hundred times but the problem I cant get over is detachment and letting it be cuz when I think ok, I live alongside this everything I can’t understand how I can say to myself I’m ok that from now I will be “dreaming” and my life will be just passing and I will not remember much from that life. How I can agree for that ? I can get over panic attacks, other symptoms but I can’t say to myself that it’s ok to live my life in different reality. Because as Paul says we should give up thinking about recovery. So how I can say to myself it’s okay to not remember your life and live in this unreal world ? I’m also doing everything, I live far away abroad in China, I work, I study but I’m freaking out very often that I’m not myself and my life just passes without my remembering it. Please help me to understand how Paul explains that cuz I read and love his book, app all the advises, he helps me a lot. I truly believe but I can’t give this one thing up.

  165. Bryan Says:

    Chris,

    Great attitude mate. You Tim and and I all had our situations kicked off and/or worsened by meds (etc) so I know exactly what that does to the mindset. It creates the need to contain (float through) another whole set of circumstance that those who didn’t have those experiences won’t have to.

    So, your attitude is perfect. It’s the same one I’ve been implementing for some time now. Not always with total success but with great improvement over the past couple of years.

    Keep it up. You’re on the right path.

  166. Bryan Says:

    Steve B.

    Paul’s book is 100% about the question you asked.
    Have you read it?

    His post above also covers it but the book goes into great detail.

  167. Tasnim Says:

    Natasha,
    About your fear. I have/had the same exact one. If you look up at my previous posts you will see that too. I can tell you one thing, it gets better. You have to realize that, first, you are not schizophrenic. You also have to realize that while you are in this anxious state, you will have the most convincing signs that you will become or are becoming it. But you just have to let those thoughts come and stop acknowledging them. Let them give you that nervous and uneasy feeling, and just move past it and move on with what you are doing whether it keeps coming or not. For me, part of this fear is accepting the uncertainty of it and uncertainty in life. You can’t control the future so live your present moments to the best.

  168. Natasha Says:

    Tasnim, thanks for your reply. I have had this fear on and off for over the past year, I had got over it a few months ago but I went through really bad work related stress and got new anxiety symptoms that I have never experienced before and felt worse than ever and now my fear is back ? somedays I have the thoughts and don’t pay attention to them and other days the thoughts and feelings are so strong that I’m convinced its the early stages and I fall into the trap of looking up early symptoms on google and really frightening myself. I think I really just need to accept I dont have schizophrenia, if I did surely other people would notice before me. I will get over this fear lol its really dragging me down, somedays I just dont want to get out of bed. Thanks for saying it does get better, makes me a bit more positive about it all ?

  169. Steve b Says:

    Thanks Bryan. Will have a read again. Not read it for a while.

  170. Chris Says:

    Cheers Bryan. Yeah I totally get what you mean, I had the meds fear too but I realized there is no use in worrying about any of that stuff so I just do my best to stop believing it and put it all down to anxiety. I mean there’s nothing to resolve with these types of fears, so no point giving the thoughts any respect.

    Natasha, I’d be willing to bet $10000 that you aren’t schizophrenic. This is a classic ‘what if’ and a very common fear. You wouldn’t even be aware of it if you were Schizophrenic. I also had this fear back in the day, but I got over it and so will you :)

  171. Nolan Says:

    So I’m reading a book about Vietnam called “We were soldiers once… And young”….
    And in it a soldier is detailing his experience of profound fear. He says it was different from any other and earlier experience of fear that he ever had.

    But what he says about that fear and how he handled it is very interesting and relevant to the discussion that we have on this blog.
    This book was written in the early 90s.
    And his comment is the theme that we see echoed over and over again.

    Here is his quote:
    ” fear, Real fear, hit me. Fear like I had never known before. Fear comes, and once you recognize it and accept it, it passes …..”

    There’s that theme again: accept it.
    You don’t have to lie to yourself that you’re not afraid.
    You don’t have to reason the fear away.
    You just have to say “so here you are… That’s fine. I’m still moving back on with what I want and/or need to do… With you here or not”.
    Not giving any more importance to the fear and not wasting anymore time with trying to make sense of it all.

  172. Simone Says:

    Dear Chris and Tim,
    Thanks for your message.
    Most if not all anxiety sufferer went through trauma or stress, that’s why all this energy got stocked up. I feel I am done with my trauma on an intellectual/head level, but subconsciously the pressure still persists. What I like about EMDR is that it makes trauma process on a more subconscious level while not having to analyze anything, no digging. One just goes through it and it gets processed. I like this passive element of it.
    You all talk about medication and drugs which created your anxiety. My first anxiety phase started after the consumption of drugs (illegal). I don’t think the drug was the problem though; my system was so full of pressure (from the years of avoidance/trauma) that the drug was just the element which made it all come out. It just made me explose.
    My current anxiety phase started when reducing my antidepressant. Probably this just made my system get out of balance and I exploded again. I first started taking the medication again, but as I just got worse I concluded that I want to recover without medication. At least I know that what I feel is me and not the medication. I am now phasing out the medication while recovering. In conclusion: I want to feel my emotions and not use any avoidance anymore.
    Actually I am full into Pauls method now. I am still struggling at some points (especially with accepting DP) but I know that healing comes from the inside. Before I always thought that I need the medication and I felt powerless against anxiety, this was very destabilizing and it was in itself a factor of anxiety. With Pauls method it is us who are in control. It is not a control through doing, avoiding and suppressing, but through acceptance.

  173. Simone Says:

    Dear Chris,

    I totally agree with you, there are these two types of trauma.
    Being afraid of anxiety is a trap in itself. During all the years I was fine I had moments where I suddenly thought of a past anxiety phase and it made me kind of panicking, I felt “it” could come back at any point and I felt totally powerless. What really helps me is to understand anxiety and to know that it is us who create it! It is not an “it” picking us just to make us feel bad.
    My drug experience is somehow a trauma in itself too. I also used to google it, but this is exactly what puts us in the anxiety cycle. Many peoples anxiety started with the use of drugs. It is a stressor which just makes the already sensitized body and nerves explose.

  174. Natasha Says:

    Thanks Chris :) I am glad you managed to get over it. I am sure I will as I have got over it before, just need to get in the right frame of mind again :)

  175. Simone Says:

    Dear Chris and Bryan
    I have thought about the meds and drugs experience again. I know I shouldn’t but at least I came to a reasonable conclusion. The fear of medication is probably linked to the past experience with drugs. The fear of losing control and that something can do damage to us. The more we think of it the more we get anxious about it and we fall into the cycle! Thoughts, fear, our identification with it…does this ring a bell???
    Sh…I just fell into the trap again, thinking it over and over again, feeling this fear of getting crazy! I felt how I got more and more absorbed into thinking! IT IS ANXIETY and it doesn’t deserve any more digging. It is all upstairs! Let’s give it a break and start living! When I was anxiety-free I didn’t think of these things. Why should I do it now? It just puts more stress on my already overstressed mind!
    I hope my words help you! Let’s go back to life and stop getting into the trap! We have to give each other advice how to get out of it instead of talking of symptoms (sorry, it was me who brought it up again)!

  176. Bryan Says:

    Simone,

    Absolutely. I had to start attempting to live that mindset a few years back after I was out of benzo withdrawal. It was a slow process but helped me tremendously. The truth is… it’s a trauma like any other. At some point we have to accept it, find a way to file it away and move on. I have done this… but at times that experience can still affect me. Usually just when I’m having s setback or high peak symptom day. But alas… I revert to the proper mindset in time.

  177. Alz Says:

    Hello,
    This is the first time I am posting on this blog and woudl really appreciate a reply from the veterans (Paul, Chris or anyone who’s recovered). I need all the help i can get in moving forward.
    About 4 months ago i lost my first child (still birth) and have experienced hell. I was anxious and deprssed throughout my pregnancy and at one point also had to get on antidepressants (my biggest fear after having successfully weaned myself off them 7 months befre pregnancy) Even as i type now writing about the preg or stillbirth seems so unreal .
    Anyway long story short i am now at my mother’s (in a different city) and have developed so many fears/phobias. I mean i feel scared of being alone , i don’t want to go back to my husband or inlaws because i was suffering from dissociation then (its torture). Here at my mom’s iv gone through such an emotional rollercoaster startign from the lingering dissociation to blank spells (does anxiety cause those???) to having an actual moment of thinking i was losing my mind and then experiencing dp after that. You know im so lost in my thoughts that it seems hard to believe ill ever resume a so called normal life.
    Before becoming pregnant i did suffer from anxiety but was at a happy strecth where yoga and mindful meditation made me feel so good that i gave up my antidepressants (iv been on and off antidep ever since i had my first panic attack 12 years ago)
    now its not even so much the panic as the level of thinking that i feel has become distorted- i really do think i will lose my mind- that one episode where i felt it so strongly and then went through feelings of unreality – what was that?
    I want to go back to my husband – feels like hes in a different world (dont know if anxeity does that) , back to work , back to yoga and meditation but i have so much negativity and its like my thoughts have a power of their own. At points i feel ill just be lost in this imaginary world of my thoughts. I am currently taking meds but i want some hope . Paul’s book makes so much sense but im so scared of going back to my husband, being alone on my own … etc etc.. so many fears have developed since i came to my mothers.
    when i imagine going back i fear losing my mind or beiing lost in my thoughts… dp etc
    i was doing so much before my pregnancy and i want to go back to being that person . With such anxiety (is it even anxiety) i fear i can never go back to being myself again. I also want a child but this experience has really left me mentally disturbed….
    waiting ‘anxiously’ for some angel to help or guide me ..

  178. Jamie Says:

    I have not been on for a while but wanted to let off a bit of steam.

    If someone said to me 3 months ago I would be in a relationship with someone, I would never have believed them. I thought it would have been impossible what with my issues. However, I am. I have been seeing someone for about 6 weeks now and it is going really really well. I really like her and the feeling is mutual. Dates have filled me with dread over the last 18 months but I have been seeing 2 or 3 times a week – dog walking, the cinema, eating out, the pub, her coming round etc. Some of these have not been too bad but some of them have filled me such terrible thoughts and feelings. I have put myself through all of them though as I like her. I haven’t shown any of this anxiety around her and when she asked about my marriage break up just over 2 years ago (this made my anxiety significantly worse), I said I wasn’t in a very good place when it happened and said we would discuss it another time. I am quite fortunate as I think she is a bit of a worrier / analyser so I think that it makes a little easier for me.

    As we speak and text so much, I am worried she is going to notice that I am not myself sometimes and I am thinking when I should tell her about my anxiety and how much detail to go into. I am due to see her tomorrow and I am worrying that as I have had a bad day today at work (below), I may be the same tomorrow night and may have to cancel.

    I have had a really bad day at work and felt really panicky at work and not being able to think straight as I was worrying about getting my work done before I leave. I really struggle on Mondays as I finish at 2 to do a school run and feel under loads of pressure to get my work done before I leave. I have left work with a horrendous headache and picked my daughter constantly thinking what best approach / attitude to take to ease it. I chose to take half a diazepam to calm my head down a bit which I know some may feel is ‘cheating’ but I rarely take them unless an emergency. I don’t enjoy my time with my daughter her as much as I should do in the week on the 2 nights I have her as I am nearly always anxious after work. I dislike myself for being so short tempered with her, impatient and not enjoying our time together.

    I am feeling quite sorry for myself today as you can probably tell. Last week wasn’t too bad and I did all that I wanted to do at the weekend but I go back to work on a Monday and have a day like today and I just feel like giving up with it all. I should be happy what with what is happening in my love life but I am swamped by the anxiety / thoughts and it overtakes everything.

  179. Star Says:

    I think the hardest thing is not trying.
    Because once you know that not trying is the key, then you want to try not to try. But then you are trying.
    I’m quite stuck at that point; I guess I am looking at letting go of all techniques and not searching for recovery and relief, as a technique because I feel so damn bad and naturally want it to go. I know it’s a natural process because I have experienced it before and there is no forcing possible; But being at this stage of looking at whatever I read on this blog as a technique (unintentionally!) is creating a lot of resistance which I feel I cannot let go of…
    It’s very frustrating for me. I know the answer is to let go completely. But I get that it becomes a problem when you ask ‘how?’
    I hope I am not being annoying; I’m sure this has been asked. I sometimes get so tired even looking through this blog; looking through the book; I have no more strength for this. #bottomingout only I am not..

  180. star Says:

    I apologise to Paul for trying to use his words as a technique as he has said so many times not to. I just feel so lost and don’t know what the way forward is anymore.
    I try to ignore the fear and do what I need to but it feels like torture. It doesn’t feel right I cannot be accepting the anxiety it’s so strong…

  181. Harry Says:

    Star, I don’t think someone as obviously compassionate as Paul would want an apology, and I highly doubt anyone here thinks you’re annoying, as everyone knows this can be a tricky business. I think you’re familiar enough with the material and what’s written on this blog at this point. From what I can tell, you’re just misunderstanding “accepting”and “doing nothing”. The only reason you’re wondering how to accomplish them, is because you’re looking at them as a way to achieve something, and therefore expending effort upon them. Accepting isn’t something you do, nor is “doing nothing” for that matter ?. Rather, they flow from the attitude shift of knowing that trying to do something about it and fighting it DON’T help anything, so letting it be is all that remains. I’ll repeat again, it is a true attitide shift that is not a mantra nor a technique. Its more of a logical conclusion which can be drawn from your own experience and wisdom of what you’ve read. When you reach that conclusion/attitude, you don’t need to remember a single word you’ve read about the topic, because there’s nothing to do, you have the attitude. Paul doesn’t offer techniques to solve the problem because the problem is non existent. Be willing to feel awful/bizarre/whatever, not so it will make you better, but because you know fighting it/analyzing it is keeping you stuck. I would bet anything you already know everything you need to know, you just need to let go. And to be clear, letting go doesn’t mean forfeiting/throwing in the towel/taking a loss as a mean to an end. Liken it to the wiser man who walks away from a street fight, because he understands nothing good would come from bloodying each other up. And the beauty is, you can do that right now. Walk away from it. Xo

  182. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    I’ve not posted for a while as I’ve just been cracking on so I thought I’d just let people know where I am. To cut a long story short been in and out of anxiety for around 15 years or so but this last 6 years have been up and down. Up to October last year I was having a ‘good patch’ as it were. I wasn’t recovered but had pretty much minimal anxiety with only odd days where it would flare up.

    Come October I slammed head first into what people describe as a setback, I’ve no idea how or why, just seemed to be some innocuous reason. I spent 3 awful months basically going over old ground, highly anxious, crying and treading water each day to get through it. I started to pick up in January where my old self started to appear in very fleeting moments and I had external interest in dribs and drabs. I’ve been on a steady incline since then things are much easier but still not easy.

    Paul and Tim described a ‘no mans land’ and I’d say that’s where I am now. I don’t feel bad but I don’t feel good, like some kind of purgatory. I have very good weeks, some so that I even told my therapist that I didn’t want to come and talk about anxiety in my appointment because it was boring! Equally I have the grotty ones where just as Paul said there is a lot of confusion, still feel a bit lost etc.

    Overall I’m much better but still having a bit of a hard time with DP, inward thinking, lack of motivation etc. I’ve got to where I am through acceptance and accept that this is what I need to finish the job. Its not ideal at all but what used to take me years to get to an ‘okay’ place has now taken 5/6 months so I’m happy about that.

    Anyway, that’s my story. It’s nothing new but it would put a smile on my face if it helps someone else.

    Mark.

  183. Chris Says:

    Hi Simone.

    100% agree with the fear of meds being related to the drugs experience we both had. I actually got over the meds fear, as it’s been quite some time since I stopped taking them. I’ve still got the drugs fear, but I’ve gone from thinking about it 24/7 to only thinking about it for a few hours a day. I’ve just been treating the thoughts as anxious thoughts, because that’s all they are really. When I don’t get involved with these thoughts they seem to just kind of float around in the background. Basically I just don’t seem them as helpful, and even relevant. One thing that still trips me up occasionally is a fear of getting worse when I’m older (I read something on the internet last year lol), but once again this is just me identifying with something that is irrelevant. When I’m not feeling anxious or depressed then these thoughts usually don’t affect me.

    End of the day I’m more interested in living my life than worrying about the past or the future, even if I do feel like utter crap at times :)

  184. Star Says:

    Thanks Harry for your reply. It’s what I needed to hear. Very much appreciated. I am seeing that all that I have been doing has not been helping so I should stop doing it and face the underlying fear without all my extra added stuff no matter how uncomfortable.

  185. Tim Says:

    Just thought id pop in for a look. I really like Harry’s post, I agree with everything he said. That is exactly how I see it, its the attitude shift that happens. It is a wisdom, basically knowing that no good will come from stewing and interfering. It can be hard for people to adopt this attitude, but its not a complicated concept. As Harry said, i’m sure most people know all they need, they just need to say fuck it im not doing this anymore.

    It took a bit of courage for me to just run headlong into a shop without mentally preparing for it. I had to just make myself take that step and if anxiety blasted me then so what. That was one of my defining moments because it didn’t blast me at all. Anxiety is telling you to run, to hide, to overthink, to plan. Just turn towards it and let it wash over you. Take that step without doing something and see what happens. It seems like such a big deal but its just your body sending a whole heap of electrical signals.

    I know how hard it was to accept it when I was deeply anxious but try to see anxiety for what it really is. Chris is dead on, thoughts are literally nothing, just a strange thing that appears in your consciousness. Humans fuse with thoughts far too often, we think they mean something. Most of them are total bs.

    Mark: Yeah that no mans land is a bit weird. Ive found myself with a bit of anger and crankiness, which is so unlike me its not funny, but very little anxiety. I just take it as it comes, there have been many moments i’ve noticed where I am the person I want to be so I know its there.

  186. Julie W Says:

    Tim, interesting that you say you have some anger and crankiness. That is totally what I have been experiencing the last couple weeks, along with some moodiness. Totally not like me either. I too have very little physical anxiety, still have some intrusive thoughts, but the “noise” is less and my mind clearer. The self awareness is still there, but not so strong. It’s like the anxiety is low, but I don’t know how to feel, so I am cranky and moody.

  187. Tim Says:

    That sounds exactly like me Julie. Paul & Mark have mentioned it too above. For some reason though it feels fitting. I think that anyone who has had serious anxiety for a while is going to have some pain. There is a whole heap of pain that needs to be processed.

    As you said our brains have been so focused on anxiety they now have no idea what to think about. Wouldn’t it be awesome if they thought about rainbows and puppies? But the survival machine that is our brain doesn’t seem to want to do that lol.

    Anxiety made me feel very vulnerable, and I think one of my techniques to cope was to adopt a really soft persona where I would put my needs second. Now that i’m less scared I feel I have a bit of a bite.

    That being said, I’m genuinely a nice person lol, as i’m sure everyone here is. This is no excuse to be horrible to people so i’ll just keep trying to be kind to myself and them :)

  188. Mark R Says:

    This has been playing in my mind the last few days so I thought I’d get someones take on it:

    Back in 2002 when I had my first period of anxiety I saw a CBT therapist on the NHS. It was the only type of help available at the time and it was helpful. I saw him for around 8 months. In early 2003 after I had turned things around for myself significantly he discharged me. He felt that I was back to myself and that I was just being anxious about my own normal levels of stress. I was angry about this at the time but I took his decision and over the next few months just got on with my life and basically just forgot about being anxious. I also felt peace that I never had in my life before over the next few months.

    So how is this relevant to where I am today? Well I don’t feel that tense, I’m eating well, sleeping well etc. My main issue seems to be the self focus which it was in early 2003 after I had recovered. So I’m thinking that my anxious mind is actually just focusing on my normal levels of stress, scanning as a force of habit for any signs of anxiety. If I look at my supposed ‘symptoms’ my heart beat is fine, my breathing normal, not that tense etc, just a mind that doesn’t seem to want to let go yet.

    So maybe we don’t actually feel that bad? Just our protective part of our mind thinking we do.

    What are peoples thoughts on this?

  189. Alz Says:

    Hello all!
    This is the first time im writing here. Ive read Paul’s book and I have also gone through this blog and it really helped me a lot. A lot of what Paul says is similar to what Claire Weekes says in her books , and both of them have experienced anxiety and helped those suffering from it.
    So i need help and would really appreciate a reply. About four months ago i lost my first born child (stillbirth due to medical negligence) and having gone through anxiety during the pregnancy (i had my first panic attack 12 years ago) I have now experienced extreme symptoms of it such as dissociation / dp . My anxiety and fear/phobias are so intense at this point that i have come to my mother’s and have been here for 2 months. I want to go back to my husband (whos in a different city) but im so afraid of goign back because i fear i will lose my mind. I’m also scared that the dissociation (which started when i lost my child and has now ended ) wil return. I am on medication and do get therapy but like evone knows, when a trauma occurs, theres a limit to hw much these things can help. Any advice or words of motivation from Paul or anyone for thta matter would really help…
    i know i just need to accept and accept but ive gone through some of the worst symptoms of anxiety that i feel if i go back i will lose my mind. Also, i want to do all the things i could do before my pregnancy (work, meditate, yoga etc ) because pre pregnancy i actually thought i had overcome anxiety (i stopped meds and was in quite the zen mode)..
    Anyway ,any help or words of advice from people who’ve experienced such severe debilitating anxiety would help…

  190. 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

  191. Alice Says:

    Hello all
    Paul says in his second book that most people recover after a couple of months. I find that very discouraging – that must mean I’m doing something very wrong as I’ve been Following this method for over a year now and I still have my ups and downs and moments of fighting (right now for example;). Thoughts?

  192. Rik Says:

    Hi Guys,

    Not been on for quite a while as I wanted to step back from things. My main symptom has been thick unrelenting DP/DR and I decided at the beginning of last week that I had had enough and from now on I would stop obsessing over it and just allow it all in without feeling that I had to reassure myself all day etc. It was very hard but last week has been the best so far for me. I have had periods of feeling totally fine and like myself.

    Today after a very early morning and a busy day yesterday and a late night I am feeling more anxious again etc but I am applying the same acceptance. I did pop on here as it reminded me about the blog so thought I would just post a little update.

    Just wanted to say it can and does get better if we are able to leave ourselves alone to heal. I am well aware that the road to recover can be very up and down so I will simply see today as a small set back and will go swimming regardless and try to get on with my day as best as possible.

    Wishing you all the best.

    Rik

  193. Carmen Says:

    Hi everyone!
    My journey started about 5 months ago. I was going through a highly stressful time and I let one thought scare me so bad. I’m pretty confused by the entire thing I just woke up one morning with intrusive thoughts that wouldn’t leave me alone. I was only getting worse and I was even seeing a doctor and a therapist I was miserable and so so scared the intrusive thoughts were playing tricks on mind making me believe that I would hurt a loved one of mine or myself. I began to google and I found the book and since the day I read it Ive started to heal. The book was a true godsend I’m not sure where I would be today if I didn’t read it. Everyday I have faced my fears and the intrusive thoughts have left! I just let them come in and flow out I developed the come and get me attitude. You are not real thoughts. Today I still find myself thinking all day everyday about what I went through. This is also causing me some depression because before this happened was the happiest of my life, this anxiety was life changing. And even though the intrusive thoughts have left I still find myself scared of them happening. I’m just hoping I get to a point where I wake up in the morning and I don’t think about anxiety once during the day. I’m hoping it gets to the point where this part of my life is a distant memory that I rarely think about. Is this possible? I’m sorry to anyone suffering with intrusive thoughts I had thought I was becoming a psychopath and I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. Anxiety is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through.
    Thank you
    Carmen

  194. Tasnim Says:

    Hey guys, I haven’t been on in several days. Trying to get out of the habit, but I want some advice. Bsicallly, I’ve been getting along perfectly fine these past several days, sometimes not even thinking too much about fears. It’s just that I have the thought of depression a lot. I don’t think I am, but everytime I don’t feel great, I get worried I am. Did anyone ever feel like this towards the end of recovery? Do you get over it?

  195. Alz Says:

    Can Chris , Nolan , Paul, Tim or anyone reply to my posts ?? I’m going back to my husband on Sunday and feeling so anxious – so out of it . Help

  196. Bryan Says:

    Tasnim,

    Yes. It’s very very common. Apply the same acceptance principles. Claire Weekes describes it well in her books and audio. Keep on with the same attitude….

  197. Julie W Says:

    Tasnim -I am at the same place. Feel almost “normal” but moody and i keep thinking the last few days that I am depressed. Caught myself this morning analyzing if I am depressed, then realized what i was doing, and just told myself “so what”, if i felt like this before this anxiety stuff, then I never would have gone over things, I would have just gone on with my day, so that’s what i am doing.

  198. Tasnim Says:

    Yeah it’s only when I acknowledge it that I get more down so I guess I just gotta leave it

  199. Tim Says:

    Hey Alz,

    Sorry to hear about what’s happened to you. As you said you have been through a lot and I think its important to mention that what you’re experiencing isn’t uncommon. Re: losing your mind anxiety can really make you feel like you have lost control. I also wondered if I would lose it but after years and years of horrible DP and other symptoms I know that isn’t how it works. You wont lose it.

    The symptoms of anxiety are very varied and can be very intense. DP and DR warp your whole perception of reality. I used to feel like my head was underwater, sounds seemed to hit my brain in a different way, the world seemed greyer, and I would process information slower, and id become intensely focused on every movement of my body etc. It feels scary and like you’re losing it but really its just all part of the anxiety response.

    You’re very scared of your anxiety, and understandably so, but that’s what gives it power over you. If you can accept/allow and understand it will go away in time. :)

  200. Alz Says:

    Thank you so much for replying Tim . So you’ve gone through it all. Its so hard to let go of the fear- i ruminate a lot. Its like all my mind can do is think negative and fearful thoughts.. You know there are times when i feel like myself but then the rumination begins. Is it because iv given myself a lot of time to think ?? Is keeping busy the key to it? Again.. accepting and allowing any thoughts like you said.. but what if when i start work i actually can’t concentrate.. and obviously work requires concentration. I mean being around ppl and then not being able to concentrate …
    Also.. mindful meditation and yoga once helped me so much and now im so caught up in my thoughts… ive started walking but even during the walk im consumed …
    yes allow and accept I guess… anything that helped you along the way?

  201. Nolan Says:

    Hi Marie…
    Perfectly normal. You’re not experiencing the intense emotional sensations of fear…. but it’s still impacting your physical body. That’s okay. Happened to me.

    I would have moments like that.
    And moments where the fear would be on high emotionally…. I let it all be there, and those times I would even sleep those nights too.

    In short: I had no expectations of how I was supposed to be at any given time. That’s not to say I liked it. But, I didn’t let my dislike of it dictate how I lived my life. I remember one night where I was going to just stay in and play it safe. Some neighbors wanted to go out for Mexican with my wife and I…. I was terrified it would be too much stimulation for me and it would impact my sleep.
    Then I remembered what Paul said…. and I told myself “Regardless of how much sleep I get or don’t get tonight, I’m not letting that fear of that get in my way and prevent me from going out tonight”.

  202. Nolan Says:

    Hi Alz,

    That’s a rough situation to be in… there’s no denying that.

    The advice though is the same: let the full intensity of that fear/depression/anxiety be there while having an attitude of “oh well, it is what it is”. Get back on with living your life again.
    Don’t wait for things to ‘feel right’ until you start living your life again.
    If do you make that jump into the unknown and just start focusing on the other things in your life again you will experience of degree of freedom that I would wager you hadn’t felt before.

    It’s the freedom that comes with not letting your emotions dictate how you live your life. I know how you’re feeling right now. Uncertainty and fear are crushing you. They’re taking away your confidence and contorting your view on the person you once were.
    But, if you make that stand and say “I’m done with letting my feelings/emotions tell me what I’m doing…. happy or flooded with fear, I’m going back to my life again.”

    None of us have successfully hunted peace and crammed it back into our lives. But, in giving up the search and making our lives bigger than the fear/anxiety/depression (and all of the symptoms) we have all had that same peace find us again.
    It will happen.

  203. Tim Says:

    Great advice by Nolan. I don’t really have anything extra special to add. I just tried to keep mindful of how what I was doing was involved. All the hints about how to find the right perspective you can find on the forum. If you carefully read Pauls post even in this comment section, and Harry’s a few posts up, there is so much insight there. Lots of other people too! Every single line Harry wrote for instance has a lesson in it.

    Paul has hinted that a lot of people just read peoples posts quickly, searching for something to make them feel better. Not to say that’s what you’re doing, but see if you can truly accept. When you truly accept you don’t just say “I accept” you actually mean it, you let go – you believe it. :)

  204. Alz Says:

    But I’m sure accepting at first created some degree of fear no ? Accept with all the symptoms?? Honestly even with the feeling of going loopy and losing control ???

  205. Alz Says:

    But I’m sure accepting at first created some degree of fear no ? Accept with all the symptoms?? Honestly even with the feeling of going loopy and losing control ??? Did u guys take any medication to help you along the way!

  206. Natasha Says:

    Hey was just looking for some advice. I have got past the unwanted thoughts, I have accepted they are just thoughts and they still come but they are quick to go, which is good! The main thing that is getting to me now is how trapped inside my head I am. I will create scenarios in my head of things in the past or things in the future or even things that will more than likely never happen! Even small things like I will think to myself I need to ask my children what they would like for dinner and instead of just coming out and asking them I will ask them in my head first and imagine what their response will be. I understand that it is just anxiety but it is absolutely exhausting as I do it pretty much all day. I was just wondering if I just continue to allow myself to do this and it will eventually pass? Its just I remember Paul mentioning that when he found himself caught up in thoughts about past or future he would say to himself I dont do this anymore. But then when I do that I feel like I am doing something instead of doing nothing. I’m so confused as to what approach to take. Any help would be appreciated:)

  207. Bryan Says:

    Alz,

    Tim and Nolan gave you great advice. Try reading their above posts again. It’s really important that we internalize these messages as opposed to just asking the same question again. They both put real thought and care into those responses and did answer your questions. (Even your repeat question.)

    I realize that feeling horrid can make us seek assurance. It’s natural. But we have to implement the message. We have to latch onto the core of what these helpful posters are saying to really move into recovery.

    You can do it. The advice you’re being given is invaluable.

  208. Daniel Says:

    Hello everyone! Hope you’re doing well, you’re probably doing better than you think.

    Hey Nolan, if you could give my April 22nd a read some time it would mean a lot to me. Of course I understand if you don’t have the time.

    Take care everybody.

  209. Alz Says:

    Thanks Bryan, Nolan and Tim..
    I’m actually heading back to my husband tomorrow and like Nolan said, im going to put my foot into the uncertain realm and try to get hold of my life again. Obviously it will take time and i will go through ups and downs but I guess its time to start that journey instead of living in fear. I know ill hve to relearn a lot of things (thats what setbacks do) but perhaps this is the time i accept my emotions once and for all and get thru them..
    thank you guys :)
    God bless you .

  210. Lawrence Says:

    Hey,

    Until recently I never realised that so many people struggle daily with stress, anxiety and depression. Sadly it is uplifting to know that it is a common problem. The number of posters on this blog highlights how much of an issue it is in our society.

    Up until September of last year I had never heard of rumination, depersonalisation, catastrophising etc. Though through a series of stressors and unfortunate advice I have found myself locked in this anxious cycle.

    Having read Paul’s book, I am taking the advice to live with the feelings and not put any weight in to the thoughts. Go about my day as I did before and try enjoy my life.

    The hardest things for me just now is that my self awareness, rumination and feelings of DP live with me constantly. I must be checking or thinking about my anxiety every min just now, does anyone have this problem?

    Thanks,

  211. Bryan Says:

    It’s understandable to have a hard time after your experience Alz.
    You are going to land on your feet. Just give it time and patience. You came to a great place for advice. God bless you too.

  212. Kirstie Says:

    Hi everybody, I haven’t been on here for a while as my anxiety had completely gone.. but i haven’t been feeling the best and just needed a little advice I guess “/ ok so it started in February this year I was diagnosed with sinisitis which then spread to a viral ear infection then back to my sinuses and then onto my other ear which made me become run down and panicky because the doctors have now referred me to a specialist and all I can think of is it must be something bad.. I Googled it and it says long periods of sinus problems can lead to brain problems and meningitis ): so that started me off and I was out for dinner with a friend when I had a panichance attack and my whole left side went numb so I was sure I was having a stroke but obviously I wasn’t.. but now my left arm is numb and tingly and my anxiety is back ): I can’t think straight and need a little reassurance I guess that it’s nothing bad and just anxiety playing tricks

  213. Star Says:

    I have a problem.

    I have exams in a week and 2 days and every time I try and study, anxious horrible thoughts about how I will never be able to accomplish anything and nothing will ever enter my foggy thick tired brain comes up. And it is so disheartening to study through it. I try to just ignore it, but I just can’t. I know I am giving it too much importance and I am resisting it which drains me and takes all my focus.

    I have just come out of a few days of hell where I fought the anxiety so hard and ended up feeling a million times worse so I have learnt my lesson not to fight it like that in the future.

    But how to deal with it? It scares me and I find it hard to muster courage through it.

  214. Star Says:

    I hate it that I am stuck again; I had a really great breakthrough like 2 weeks ago and then when the anxiety came back hard, I got stuck in it and have been thrown all over the place..

  215. Matt Says:

    How long will a bad anxiety period last when we “allow” it? I’ve been having a ton of external stressors in my life right now (finishing grad school, new job, baby, selling house), and I’ve been hit with some of the worst anxiety I’ve had in a very long time. I’ve had anxiety for about 3 years now, but this time it just won’t let up. Initially I really just allowed it, but after 6 days of pretty significant anxiety, it has barely changed, and I’m starting to get frustrated.

    I’m actually going to try a CBT counselor who uses things like exposure therapy, which I think will be helpful, since the idea is to expose yourself to things that make you anxious in order to spike it, so that eventually you accept it and it decreases.

    Sorry, just wondering what other people’s experiences are. Has anyone else had unrelenting anxiety 24/7 that is around a 7-8/10? Sometimes I feel like mine is worse than other people’s, or that if I allow it to go on too long, somethings bad will happen. But of course that’s my anxiety speaking. Thanks!

  216. Tim Says:

    Hey Star,

    That’s pretty normal, exams are a time of high stress and anxiety for a lot of people so while desensitizing your anxiety is more likely to come back at this time. Even though I say im recovered, during times of great stress during uni I can also get quite anxious. Be kind to yourself, many many people will be anxious during times like this, its a very normal response even though yours might be a bit more pronounced.

    You know what the answer is Star, just let the anxiety rage on and embrace it. You feel like this is a setback but that’s its just another instance of your body trying to heal. This is a great time to do nothing, as any wisdom and insight you gather during this time will amplify your recovery. Listen to how you’ve started seeing how your fighting doesn’t help, its even more obvious during the harder times isn’t it?

    When you get through this fine, and I have no doubt you will I think you’re going to emerge stronger and more wise :)

  217. Melissa Says:

    Hey everyone, I can use a bit of advice/help. I am going to be going away for a week with my family for my grandmothers unveiling (part two of a funeral in Jewish religion). I will be away from my fiancé for a week (longest I’ve been away since we’ve been together). There are so many factors that are giving me anxiety: being with my family for a week (they are high strung and stress me out), being away from my bf, grieving for my grandmother, as well as closing that chapter of my life. I’ve been feeling depersonalized and emotional. I’m so scared of having anxiety attacks/panic while travelling. My mind is literally jumping to the worst case scenarios. I’ve never been an anxious traveller, but I haven’t travelled far since developing anxiety last summer. I’m scared guys and my mind isn’t working in my favour.

  218. Matt V Says:

    I’ve been recovered now for 3 years. I had DP, panic attacks, and bad anxiety. I haven’t been on this website in over a year. The main thing I did to recover? move on with my life with anxiety there. It felt like a gorilla at first then eventually felt like a monkey until my thoughts were more centered on outward things and life. It’s hard to do at first, I know, I was housebound for almost a year at one point and thought I would never get out of this hell. But you can and will if you just live your life. Eventually, the anxiety lowers bit by bit until one day, at least for me, months went by and I realized I hadn’t been anxious. It’s kind of a weird feeling when you recover because I didn’t know it because I didn’t care about anxiety and the way it made me feel.

  219. Bryan Says:

    Matt,

    100% normal for anxiety to spike when macro-stressors are peaking.
    It’s uncomfortable but it’s just s normal bodily response.

    As for you thinking you’re is worse or different… Just know that is in and of itself an anxiety symptom. Thinking yours is different or worse is extremely common. (Ironic, I know.)

    You’re experiencing free floating anxiety as opposed to situational symptoms. That is somewhat less common. I expert me this as well. But it’s still just stress disorder. It’s not special or more dangerous.

    The advice being given here IS the way. And work to compartmentalize your life and give yourself some space for quiet and rest. Hectic crazy lifestyles aren’t conducive to reducing stress. Seems obvious but many don’t see this. You don’t have to run from anything but using common sense is recommended.

  220. Julie W Says:

    So after having quite a few “ah ha” moments these last few days, and really feeling my attitude changing, I am back in the hole this morning. After a peaceful sleep, it took me 1 second once awake to remember this whole anxiety thing, and feelings of self awareness have almost been too much for me today. Been doing everything I shouldn’t do (just lying around thinking) and everything seems grey and pointless. One of my main fears is hurting myself, and today I keep thinking that is where i am heading as this isn’t getting better and I am just going to end up depressed with no other options. I don’t really want to do that, as that’s a terrible thought but I am just really scared that I will never fully recover.

    I really thought I was making some good progress. Feelings of normalcy were surfacing and my anxiety is at a low level but I am tired of thinking about me 24/7 and feel this whole thing is making me weaker, not stronger. I know this is seeking reassurance, which I really shouldn’t do, but feeling really done with it all today and so, so sad because of it. I honestly don’t know how to continue on with thinking of myself all the time. I feel I am just going around in circles. Just want to say that I am NOT going to hurt myself, but just wanted to know if other people feel this way from time to time. It is scaring me today. Will I ever get to a point where I don’t think of myself all the time? It scares me to think I will be like this forever.

  221. Dani Says:

    Hi all,
    I’m really suffering with DP/DR and just don’t know how to accept it. I feel suicidal sometimes. I just find it such a disturbing thing to have to experience every day and it never gets any easier only worse it seems. I feel like I don’t exist, like maybe I’m dead and my spirit hasn’t accepted it, and at other times I feel like nothing is real, my usual surroundings all seem so strange, even looking at a plastic bottle and that seemed strange to me. I feel like I’ve seen life in a certain way and now can’t get back to normal. I’m so sick of feeling this way, I can’t handle it anymore. I want it to end.
    Has / does anyone else feel this way? Has anyone had this and got through it? I can’t imagine it ever getting better and I don’t know how to accept something that feels so disturbing, I feel like I’m on the edge of insanity. Please help me

  222. Alz Says:

    Question for Tim , Chris ,Nolan , Paul or Bryan at the end :
    All that you say Dani is common … Right now I’m going through some of the worst symptoms of anxiety including depersonalisation , low self esteem etc . Iv just gone through a great loss and during such times u question reality . Half the times I hv dp and the other half I’m extremely anxious like my head will explode .still notice how the inner torture we go thru, we pass and no one gets to know how bad it is .. Unless you tell them. Sucks . But only you have to make peace with it . I dunno how I’ll feel tom but I’m grateful today has passed and I lived through it . I tutored, watched a play , met frnds and even though I felt like shit I did it … Dunno when it’ll all end but this forum gives me hope and I’m going to hold on to that fr now .
    Question fr NOLAN , Chris , Bryan or Tim .. I feel like I’m going to hv severe anxiety once I go on this trip .. Anxiety such that I won’t be able to function . Should I still go ??? What if it’s too much for me at this point?!

  223. Alz Says:

    Melissa
    I think u and i are in the same boat . I feel like I’ll hv a breakdown during the trip – I’m so highly strung .. And it’s supposed to be a relaxing one … Haha . Oh well like Nolan said , it is what it is … U want to live your life or shy away from it because of stupid f-ing anxiety ??

  224. Natasha Says:

    Julie W, I understand exactly how you feel. I think we all must go through that phase of feeling defeated and fed up with it all. I have been getting on with my day and letting all thoughts come and go, my mind so racing from one subject to another that I feel like I’m going mad, and like you my self awareness is too much. But I allow it all and dont react to it and then I can do that for so long then one day I just feel like I have had enough! I dont feel like it ever gets any better its really annoying. We will get there though, just accept it as an off day and get back on track when you can

  225. Julie W Says:

    Hi all, since posting a couple hours ago, I’ve had a few revelations that I thought i’d share in case this helps anyone:
    1. Posting here isn’t going to make me feel better
    2. Getting upset and scared about this self awareness is telling my brain that I’m fearing it, so no wonder it’s hanging around. That’s opposite of acceptance
    3. lying down and thinking is just keeping me in the cycle. I am filling myself with self pity and getting depressed about my situation – Yes I am causing myself to be depressed
    4. I went for a long rollerblade, felt normal and realized I am causing some of this myself by worrying about this symptom. I have never really agreed with that before, as I clearly am not bringing the intrusive thoughts or self awareness on myself, but by worrying about it, i am definitely giving it more power than it deserves. I can see that now.

    I have read an old post from Paul numerous times about self awareness. He suffered from it too and was able to overcome it, so i am keeping on with that hope. I have no idea how long it will take, but my choices are to worry and feel sorry for myself or get on with living – I do have a choice on how I respond to it.

    I have had other revelations in the past few days. I felt a return of some physical symptoms that i haven’t had for months and my first inclination was to worry about it, but I changed my attitude and didn’t really care (told myself this was part of the healing process) and they disappeared pretty quickly.

    Hope this helps someone in some way.

  226. Star Says:

    “Tim.

    Thank you for your kind words and believing in me; when I don’t believe in myself at the moment.

    I feel like I have lost all hope.

    I know there is nothing to do, nothing will make me feel better and that my symptoms (thoughts mainly bother me) are just thoughts. But I can’t help to get sucked in. They feel strong and I cannot calm myself down at all. When I am doing whatever I am trying to do it is agony because I am so afraid and hopeless. I know exactly what I am doing wrong but I can’t seem to stop.”

    I was just about to post that and I felt so down that I was stuck again and in need of help and felt that no one’s words could ever make me feel better— and then it clicked as I read over it; I was trying to feel better. I would do nothing (not search for an answer etc) and expect to feel better and I would end up feeling really frustrated and depressed thinking I could never be happy again.

    After it kinda clicked I added to my ‘post’

    “You are not supposed to feel better.

    Just know that however you are thinking and feeling is a LIE and not real. So do whatever you need whether they are there or not. They are not supposed to be gone. You are not supposed to feel better. You are supposed to be ok with not being ok. Wrap your head around not being ok.”

    This literally happened like 20 minutes ago and of course I have all those thoughts about ‘jinxing it’ you think this will help you pfffftt no it won’t you’re stuck. But I had a moment and I thought I would share.

  227. Julie W Says:

    Thanks Natasha for your reply. Although I don’t wish this on anyone, it’s comforting to know others can relate and can support us through this. I hope you can remember your supportive words the next time that you feel fed up.

    Great post Star! Every moment, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction.

  228. Julie W Says:

    Dani,

    When I was at my worst, I had many times that I felt like I no longer wanted to be here. I used to pray that God would take me in my sleep so I didn’t have to deal with it anymore. I would expect, if people were honest, that most people feel like that from time to time. I don’t feel like that so much anymore. The odd day, but no where near as much as I used to. I remember reading a post from Nolan and he said he felt like that once too and he recovered. There is hope in hearing from people who felt this way and recovered!

  229. Tim Says:

    Yes Star, that’s exactly right. You cant do anything to fix it, you cant do anything to speed up having no anxiety, so the only logical thing is to leave it be. These little insights are adding up in your brain even if it doesn’t feel like it, if you keep quietly cultivating the right attitude (like you are) these small little victories will one day add up to you being at peace. But it will take as long as it takes there will be more ups and downs and grot, so just keep on trucking through!

    Once you actually let go of the rains you might find anxiety’s grip start to weaken :)

  230. Bryan Says:

    Alz,

    Do you mean making the trip back to your husband? If so I certainly recommend you do provided everything is healthy and supportive between you two. I don’t know your back story beyond your recent trauma but I absolutely believe getting back to your home and normal life is a crucial step towards normal living. And no… Nothing on this trip can hurt you. These are feelings of extreme stress only. Normal and natural. You are completely safe. You may feel discomfort but will never be in danger and will likely surprise yourself at how well you handle yourself.

  231. Alz Says:

    Julie W , can u share or tell me in which post Paul talks about self awareness? Want to read that one !
    Thanks!!

  232. Alz Says:

    Bryan ,
    I’m already back with my husband and I feel so odd / anxious but I’m letting it be .its this recreational trip up to the mountains … Also Bryan what about when I feel scared of being alone, travelling and being alone – in know it’s just my thoughts that being alone with scares me …
    Also was there a time when u thought uv actually gone mad but are still functioning normally … ?

  233. Chris Says:

    Hey Dani,

    I generally never mention it on here because the subject kinda seems taboo, but I have definitely felt the way you are feeling. When I first went into this state years ago I also felt like my life was over, and I definitely didn’t want to live anymore. But at the same time I wanted to recover. I think you will find it’s actually normal to feel that way in this state. If I didn’t have this attitude I’ve been developing then I probably would still feel like that. I recovered from that state and basically spent a year anxiety free, however I found myself back here because I didn’t develop the attitude I needed to.

    Alz, I can definitely relate, I had a Europe trip planned last year, and I entered a very bad setback a couple of weeks before (not due to the travel or anything) and I found myself asking the same questions. But I went, and actually managed to enjoy myself, the anxiety just kind of died when I was over there. So it’s your decision, but I’d recommend going :)

  234. Dani Says:

    Hi Julie W and Chris,
    Thank you for your replies, did either of you suffer from DP/DR?
    That’s what’s getting to me so much, I can accept all other parts of anxiety but just don’t seem to be able to accept this as it is so disturbing. How am I supposed to accept feeling like I don’t exist or that everything that was once normal to me has now become strange.

  235. Alz Says:

    Thanks CHris !
    I will be going – but i don’t know when I’ll feel like myself again . I do at this point but when I think of my still birth it seems so unreal .And now coming back and trying to get back on with life again seems unreal . I must move on I understand . Did u have problems with concentration ? Right now evthing is a blur and I’m rushing into things . Fear of being alone or traveling on my own . So much oh my life has been restricted because of all these fears . I want to move on however… I’m flooding myself and exposing myself to evthig. Won’t that be too much ?

  236. Alz Says:

    When will the feeling of being in the here and now come ? Sometimes there’s too many things to handle – like now having come back to my husband …feelings of unreality .. Anxiety … Low self esteem.

  237. Julie W Says:

    Hi Alz, the August 2010 post talks about self awareness. Blessings to you.

  238. Alz Says:

    Thanks Julie W. God bless u too

  239. Chris Says:

    Yes concentration is a big one for me, it can be hard to focus when we have so much going on emotionally and when our minds are constantly racing.

    In regards to the holiday at the end of the day it’s your choice and you know what is right. I too thought it would be too much for me, but I went, and I actually felt better for it. Sometimes it’s good to throw ourselves into those situations. At the end of the day it’s not the trip you’re afraid of, it’s yourself and how you will feel on the trip . So don’t worry if you think it will be all too much for you, it should never be about how you feel.

    I actually had this realization today, it’s kind of an obvious one but it did give me a better insight. We all have certain fears etc, but at the end of the day it all boils down to being afraid of ourselves. This is why we need to open up and feel everything, despite what is going on. I can see what Paul is saying more and more when I have these realizations, and how it should never be about how we feel. When we supress anything we reinforce it, because we are scared of it so we must not feel it. When we accept it and feel it, we aren’t reinforcing it anymore. We are losing fear of whatever comes up.

  240. Alz Says:

    Thanks Chris! :) I’m going today

  241. Natasha Says:

    Thought rehearsal is so tiring :( I can handle reheasing for big events like interviews, nights out etc but small things like asking my kids to put their shoes away why do I need to think it in my head first before asking them :( its every small thing I need to imagine it in my heas first! I have been allowing myself to do this without reacting for so long but its getting so much worse and so frustrating :(

  242. Alz Says:

    Can someone tell me of they had the fear of being alone??? I want to be and to do that but it scares the hell out of me . How will I ever travel alone for that matter or learn to be with myself ? So many irrational fears along with the dp .. Like Nolan said it is what is .. But anything to help along the way for ppl who had the same experience?

  243. Natasha Says:

    This has been the worst day I have every had bad far! Feel like just driving up to the hospital and checking myself in. 24/7 racing thoughts I just cant deal with it anymore :( and the rush of fear and darkness that comes over me for no reason scares the hell out of me. Really feel like this is something other than anxiety, thought I had schizophrenia but I think I could be bipolar as the racing thoughts sound similar to that :(

  244. Julie W Says:

    Natasha, I know what you mean. I have had the urge to drive myself to the hospital, and just yesterday, I really thought I was having a nervous breakdown and wanted to call my husband, BUT i didn’t. Whenever i get these thoughts/urges, i keep telling myself that I might be having a breakdown or that i might drive myself to the hospital. That’s part of therapy for me, and I just ride the wave until the thoughts/urges settle down. I know how horrible it is. I spend all day at work with constant thoughts yelling at me, but I am getting better at just letting them be.

    In saying that, I am in a setback right now, so I am going to be taking a break from this blog for a bit. Need to drop the subject and get on with my life. Been spending too much time on here lately. Take care all

  245. Natasha Says:

    Thanks Julie W, I just feel like my mind will never shut off, I cant watch tv or cook dinner without it racing, I cant even sleep it races that bad :( sorry to hear you are having a setback just now, hope things get better for you soon, it really is scary at times but you are right, spending too much time on this blog does not help. Keep in touch :)

  246. Steve b Says:

    Anyone got any tips for rumination. Constant focus on anxiety all bloody day. I have passed the physical phase and the irrational thought stage but just can’t move on from the subject. This week it’s been 24/7 same rubbish over and over and over and….over!

  247. Alz Says:

    Natasha seems like you just got over the racing though of going to the hospital.. And if u hvnt then accept it and just float along with it buzzing in the background
    Steve B , I’m checking this blog every hour because my rumination/ dp is so bad . See the thing is , we’re getting disturbed by it . I guess the key is not to let that happen . If the rumination happens , let it happens.. It is what it is … One thing that I’ll try doing is connecting with the outer world rather than staying in my mind ( ruminating) . Call someone , meet someone and interact with the outer world

  248. Steve b Says:

    Thanks Alz.
    Makes sense. This has been going on for 18 months for me. Initial breakdown and subsequent 9 months of awfulness. Since then, off the bottom but nowhere near where I want to be. Just stuck in this holding pattern of constant thoughts about anxiety. Frustrating to say the least.

  249. Natasha Says:

    Thanks Alz, once I’ve calmed down I can accept but in the actual moment its like the rational part of my brain is gone. Steve B I am the exact same with rumination, its hard to just let yourself think about anxiety all the time but suppose thats what weve to do

  250. Alz Says:

    No problem guys . U know it’s like my brain is divided in two – one part keeps on thjnking of anxiety/worries/fears and the other part has to keep up with the outside world . I’m so scared of being alone these days , going back to work , getting back on track … I feel like I’ll lose my mind :( it’s been 4 months since I lost my first child ( stillbirth ) and I’m a living zombie. Even my pregnancy was such a time of anxiety . So for me it’s been 9 months of anxiety then the trauma of still birth and now the aftermath of that . Pls pray that I get back to the way I was preoregnancy- right now I’m really a zombie

  251. Debbie Says:

    Alz you wil survive and get better i had a still born child went the whole 9 months 6.9 oz girl. Reason.unknowm. i have had a bout with anxiety the last year so bad never like i ever had . .i had constant images of movies i saw words just popping up scared to travel bymyself .could not sleep at nite wanted to die ect. I was always asking the same questions on this site up to 2 months ago and now iam 85 percent there not scared i just let it be . I thoughr i would never be the same and iam . Reading pauls books , mind works. I did it without medicine i started with xanax and threw it out it made me feel worse. Just go on with your dsy and let those feelings be there who cares i know its hard but keep going on at it will.get you there .god bless you .
    .

  252. Alz Says:

    Thanks Debbie . I’m sorry for your loss. How long has it been since the tragedy? I’m on a couple of antidepressants :( dunno how much they help . I was taking paroxetine previously and after the loss I decided to switch . Dunno how much these meds are helping .. Little I feel

  253. Natasha Says:

    So sorry Alz and Debbie for what you both went through :( I’m glad to hear you are getting better Debbie. You must be a very strong person. I dont believe that medication will help as I have tried different anti depressants and beta blockers but they have all made me worse, sometimes I think maybe I do need something so help me get started and help with the racing thoughts but if I remember how bad the side effects were its not worth taking anything :(

  254. Alz Says:

    Anticipatory anxiety is the worst – keeps on popping up fr new things … Wtf couldn’t I just be carefree and anxiety free like other ppl around me? Ok the self pity starts here …

  255. Dani Says:

    Hi all, is anyone else on here suffering with DP/DR at the moment? Or is anyone on here that has suffered with DP/DR and recovered?
    If so, how did/does it make you feel?
    I’m suffering from it and it’s making each day so hard and I feel really depressed because of it. I know the answer is to accept it but its so hard when I constantly feel like I’m losing my mind because of it and everything feels strange to me. I find it hard to leave the house because of it and when I do I feel awful. It makes me feel like life doesn’t make sense anymore. I feel like I’ll never get back to normal. I feel like my DP/DR must be worse than other peoples because I don’t see it mentioned much on here.

    Please reply if you have any experience with DP/DR
    Thank you x

  256. Steve b Says:

    Alz. I am the same. Came off peroxetine for something else and it’s doing the square root of nothing to help.
    Thanks Natasha. Don’t know what it’s like for you but it’s like an obsession for me. I can think of nothing else. I am allowing the thoughts but it’s extremely frustrating. Although I know we are not supposed to get frustrated.

  257. Natasha Says:

    Steve B, its the same for me the obsessive thoughts. I had to go back to the doctor the day and they have gave me mirtazapine to try. I hate taking medication so dont know if I will take it but my non stop thoughts are starting to drive me insane! I can allow the thoughts for so long and just try to carry on with everyday things but eventually I just want to scream.

  258. Aaron Says:

    Question for the people that are recovered. I have read the books and blogs, but I still struggle with thoughts. How do we determine what thoughts are anxious thoughts and which are not. Maybe I missed something, but how can you not relate to some thoughts (anxious thoughts) and relate to others (good thoughts)? I work throughout the day, and still try and keep active but in my head it’s telling my I am having no fun or enjoying life. I have extreme anxiety at work and I have had a 10 year stretch where I had minimal if any anxiety. Maybe what I am asking is my anxious mind keeps telling me that nothing is working but when I have anxiety that reinforces what my mind is telling me. How do I get myself to believe? Practice? I’m not trying to be a downer I am just looking for some guidance.

  259. Aaron Says:

    Also when people say it doesn’t matter what thoughts are anxious and which are not how did you get to that point? How did you stop caring about your thoughts because this is how we identify who we are.

  260. Aaron Says:

    Oops I had a 10 years stretch before I fell back into this

  261. Chris Says:

    In regards to obsessive thoughts/thinking about anxiety 24/7. I totally get it. It is also my most challenging symptom and it still trips me up all the time. The reason is because subconciously I’m still fighting it to a degree, thinking ‘you don’t matter anymore’ and I will TRY and tune out of it. Then I will try work out of I am doing this right, or if I am fighting or blah blah blah, you get the idea.

    I find the best thing to do is literally just surrender to it all. Go towards all thoughts that arise without any fear of the consequences. When we are in an anxious and emotional state we have no control over our thinking, our thoughts aren’t going to be nice thoughts when we feel like crap. So we might as well just accept this, and let them do whatever they want. without any agenda to get rid of them. This is what I did this morning and now my mind feels alot more balanced.

  262. Chris Says:

    Also, I think alot of our suffering actually comes from self denial. We try to fake it so we can make it. Example: I don’t care if I have these fears/thougts, they can do what they want! When the truth is, some of us do care what we think, and how we feel. So in this case we need to learn to not care that we do care. To not worry that we do worry. To not be in fear that we are in fear. If we are truly honest with ourselves and accept all of this, then this is when the true healing can really begin. It’s about giving up all of these facades, this false sense of self we create to protect ourselves, and opening up to ourselves honeslty.

    So in other words we need to be one with anxiety, and with ourselves – sounds a bit cheesy but it’s true I think.

  263. Aaron Says:

    Chris that is a great way of approaching things and we are all in this together, that is why we are here. So we can teach eachother. I thought I was over it and then boom it came back after years of peace. My struggle is that if I got over it how come it’s back after all those years. Also our thoughts and what we have learned through life have given us an identity in this physical world. It’s tough when thoughts are normal then they all of a sudden change to this craziness. It really makes you doubt yourself and if your thoughts aren’t me now then it makes me start to doubt who I ever was. Anxiety truly is ALL thought and I don’t know how to detach myself from all thoughts or just anxious thoughts. I’m starting to come to the conclusion that you can have attachment to thoughts, but not while you are in an anxious state. Also knowing what thoughts are anxious and what are not helps a bit. Crazy thoughts are all new to me as well as dizziness. These are two symptoms that I have developed over the last year. I consider myself intelligent and people have always looked at me in that light, but I am just having trouble understanding how to let be and let go. I think that the people that have recovered have done so by understanding what’s going on and letting go due to finding an answer. Maybe Paul or other readers like you Chris will be able to relate to our experience and help eachother too :-)

  264. Steve b Says:

    Chris. Natasha. Do you ever drive yourself bananas by saying stuff like, I don’t care about anxious thoughts, or anxiety can do what it likes and then realise that they are actually anxious thoughts because you are thinking about anxiety still! I do anyway. very annoying!

  265. Chris Says:

    Hey Aaron,

    This is the best place for people like us because it actually teaches us to overcome anxiety. The best advice is here imo, there is so much rubbish out there like breating techniques, and how to ‘cope’ with anxiety. So uninspiring lol. I had a long stretch of peace too and then bam, straight back into anxiety. I know why too, because I didn’t overcome it the right way. In regards to thoughts, the reason why they have changed is simple, because you are in an anxious state. For example when we are happy our thoughts are positive, when we are sad they are sad. when we are depressed our thoughts are generally negative. So it’s completely normal in the circumstances, your thoughts aren’t the sole cause of anxiety they are more of a symptom if you get what I mean. It’s all foreign to you because you aren’t used to feeling this way and the real you is still there, it’s just buried underneath the anxiety. I basically just treat all thoughts the same now, because I know that they are generally a reflection of my mood, and I literally just go with them, after a while I naturally become detached from them. Sometimes they pop up when I’m feeling normal and that’s when I just don’t take them seriously at all. Have you given Paul’s books a read?

    Steve

    I did, and still get caught out on occasion. But as I mention above in this comment, I just treat all of the thoughts the same and allow every single one to come up, and if I get caught in caring about what I’m thinking about then I don’t try to deny it, I just accept that too. My mind literally goes a million miles an hour sometimes, and when this happens I go with it and let it race, I almost see it as a workout – like when you go for a run you burn off adrenaline, so when you let your mind race it burns off the momentum. I don’t really place much importance on if I’m thinking about anxiety or not either, because I know that I really do not have any control over it. Don’t get me wrong I still have moments where I’m confused, but today I decided to open up to all of it, 100%, no denying, no resistance, no fear of the consequences, and when I came out of it I felt far better and much more refreshed.

  266. Rich Says:

    Hi All, I don’t comment on here much but check in many times each week to moderate this blog. I go on holiday tomorrow for 2 weeks, so new posters may see their posts held in the moderation queue until I can log on and approve them.

    For newcomers on here, you may think of me as ‘recovered’, but I am not. I am on the same journey as most of you, and fall into the same pitfalls and traps as many who have come before us, and many who have yet to reach this far.

    I ‘suffer’ with anticipatory anxiety more so than panic attacks. I look inwards, become self-aware, ruminate, worry, over-think, hate uncertainty, and above all hate the physical symptoms I get. I have social anxiety, health anxiety, whatever you want to call it – it’s all irrelevent – what I have and suffer with specifically. We’re all in the same boat.

    I’m not knew to this – I’ve learned all there is to know and have read enough for me to know what’s going on. I’d love a magic pill or the perfect article on how to snap out of my anxious ways, but know that this isn’t how it works, and strength and triumph over this comes from within. You do this yourself with dogged determination and a submission to ‘what will be will be’.

    I’ve been nervous this last week, I am worried about many aspects of the trip, but I’m still going to go, and hopefully enjoy it and have a great time. I’m sure I’ll be nervous, may not eat much, may shy away from some experiences I’d jump on if I were fully confident. Anxiety has worn me down. I may have a wave of panic or a few now and again, but I’m not scared by it any more. I just don’t care. I am at peace with my mind and what it chooses to do. I don’t consider myself recovered yet, and this is OK.

    To those wanting advice I offer this – stop reading about anxiety, stop worrying about this or that – this is just ‘how it is right now’. Don’t be tricked into believing what your tired mind is thinking. Don’t think this is how it has to be. Show youself. Take that first decisive step outwards and forwards.

    The power to overcome this horrible horrible demon is within us all. I encourage you to life your life without reference to anxiety or fear of it (thoughts, symtpoms and all) and see the positive effect this has on you when you look back and see how far you’ve come.

    How long will it take? Who knows. Will there be setbacks? Most likely. Will I be like this forever? I don’t know. Is this OK? Yes.

    You can’t speed overcoming this up, Thinking or trying will only slow your journey down. You can’t learn or research or plan or wait for it to happen. Take what you have and enjoy it as best you can right now, anxious or not, and ‘recovery’ will come to you as a result, without you thinking about it.

    I’m off to walk in the sunshine.

    Rich

  267. Aaron Says:

    Chris so if your thoughts are a reflection of our mood (an anxious state) don’t believe the thoughts because they are not me? When I am not in an anxious state that is the true me? That is the person I identify with? What about dizziness? Will I pass out?

  268. Aaron Says:

    Again just asking because these symptoms are newer to me I have now had pretty much every symptom anxiety has to offer from what I have read. haha

  269. Bryan Says:

    Cheers Rich. Enjoy your holiday!

  270. Uli Says:

    I have suffered with anxiety for a couple of years now after I experienced a loss. I have read and reread Paul’s book many times, every time I find a new insight. Anyhow, I have tried tons of techniques but Paul’s advice always made the most sense. I have tried to imply his acceptance theory but never quite persisted. A few months ago I had a big project to finish which I was pretty much thrown into.

    As soon as I found I will have to work on it the anxiety really hit me. I have decided to really imply what Paul says. I woke up in the morning in dread but said to myself “so what” and continue the day. Throughout the day I had to deal with all sorts of things, everybody was relying on me, I felt a lot of pressure, the anxiety was full on, my thoughts racing but I still kept saying to myself “so what” and continued to run around and do everything and more, the adrenaline was also full on. It was like that for about a month, hard work, no rest, lots of pressure, lots of anxiety, racing thoughts until I started to get very tired, shaky, lost of appetite (lost a lot of weight), lightheadness, dizziness…. but I still kept saying to myself “it’s ok”, “so what”, “this is all part of it”. I still managed.

    After another month the project was finished and on the last day when I returned home I pretty much collapsed, I couldn’t move, my body ached EVERYWHERE. All I could do was rest but rest still, doing totally nothing cos I couldn’t do anything. Will not even start talking the state I was in regarding anxiety cos it was awful. Anyhow, with all this “so whats” and “whatevers” I have run myself into a burnout. I tried to follow the advice “do everything and go everywhere” but ended up nowhere. I am really tired of not getting it!!!! Where am I doing it wrong???

  271. Rich Says:

    Aaron you’re way over thinking things – the issue isn’t as complicated as you make out. You’re trying to use a conscious mind to overrule and understand unconscious behaviour. You can’t think your way out of this or figure it out and solve the magic puzzle.

    Relief only comes when you put the puzzle down. You’re no different – the advice to you is the same for everyone one.

    For every answer you receive you’ll get a new question – and on it goes until your mind overloads and becomes overwhelmed by the pressure you’re putting it under to ‘get better’.

    Relief comes when you leave it to do its thing and as a result sort itself out, because of the space and time you’re then allowing it.

  272. Rich Says:

    Uli, same for you too!

    and PS make some time for rest and relaxation – and reading about anxiety or thinking about it does not count!

  273. Dani Says:

    If anyone else could tell me their experience with DP/DR I would really appreciate it, I keep asking but no-one has replied yet. I feel so alone in this. I don’t know how to accept feeling so strange, Paul’s book makes it sound easy, he says he realised he was fearing the symptoms so he just stopped doing it. I just think I must have it a lot worse because it feels impossible to stop fearing it! I’ve never felt so bad before I don’t know how to get through it. Please someone help me

  274. Harry Says:

    Dani, I’m trying to respond to you, but it isn’t going through, perhaps due to length?

  275. Harry Says:

    Dani,

    You are certainly not alone, and I checked for you, there have indeed been responses to your previous questions. Perhaps they were pending approval before you ever had a chance to read them. However, I would like to help you in any way I can. As far as Paul “making it sound easy”, I would offer you the following: First and foremost, I distinctly recall Paul stating that DP is the symptom that hurt him the most, so take heart in that the person from whom you are taking advice understands the utter torture and bewilderment of that state of mind. (And in case you were wondering, and I know you are, I too found DP to be the most disturbing of symptoms, and everything you wrote I have experienced verbatim) That being said, he also correctly warns that distinguishing between the symptoms is pointless, and is a part of the way we con ourselves into continually perpetuating the anxiety cycle, ie, “Mine must be different, so this doesn’t apply to me” or “This feeling is new, so what I’ve learned thus far doesn’t apply”. The condition of problem-anxiety is, after all, a fear of the way we feel/think, end of story. The specifics are irrelevant. And yes, the message Paul offers is indeed simple at the end of the day. However, neither he nor anyone here would ever diminish how difficult it can be to reach the conclusion that following the “simple” advice of acceptance is easy to reach. No one can force the attitude upon you, but others can show you the way. Now, to rectify the disservice I’ve already done to you by addressing your specific questions and fears :), I will give you a more valuable broad insight:

    Anxiety issues being relieved as a result of acceptance is commonly referred to as a paradox. I don’t believe it is one bit paradoxical. If you truly allow yourself to stare into the hel*ish abyss of whatever your sensitized mind has concocted for you, embracing every bit of it, your mind will naturally become desensitized, and you will stop being bothered by such nonsense. It is simply logical. For example, you are not, nor will you be the last, person to find the concept of existence quite odd indeed. Your problem, the problem which brought us all here at one point, is our habit of fear towards thoughts/feelings such as these. When you understand that, you’ll really understand what Paul means by “making your life bigger than anxiety”. Because fighting anxiety is meaningless and insignificant. But life is inherently significant, and fighting anxiety will be your diversion from life as long as you allow it to be that way. I dare say, you wouldn’t fret about the dark thoughts you mentioned on su*cide if you didn’t want to live so badly. I believe your inner voice is well intact, so listen to it. You know what you want. Go live your life and trust yourself, you don’t have to wait for the symptoms to lift. You can start right now if you realize it makes sense to finally let go of your fear.

    All my best,

    Harry

  276. Chris Says:

    Sorry I was going to reply Dani but I only come on here once every two days or so. I totally get what you’re going through and you aren’t the only one who feels this way I promise. I always fell into the trap of thinking I was different because of this or that, or because my thoughts/fears are sometimes very specific. But buying into those thoughts just held me back, the advice is the same for everyone on here.

    Harry pretty much says it as it is, just go out and live your life regardless of how you feel. I know it can be tough but what other option is there? I still have days where I feel like hell but now I just get on it with it, I’m even moving cities soon which should be interesting lol. There are only three things that need to happen. 1) take that leap of faith and open up to everything. 2) change your attitude from an attitude of fear, to an accepting/whatever kind of attitude. 3) life live as normal. Once you take that leap of faith, things do start to change.

  277. Dani Says:

    Hello Harry and Chris, thank you very much for your replies, I really appreciate it. I understand that acceptance is the key in all this, but I’m finding it so hard to accept DP/DR because it’s strangeness is taking over everything. How can I accept feeling like I don’t exist or feeling like a stranger to my normal life, it’s turned me upside down! Sometimes I wonder if actually dead, how can I accept feeling so bad? I did go out for a walk yesterday with a friend but it all felt so alien to me, like I have a memory of it once being normal but now all I can feel is that everything is so strange. Harry how long did your DP last for? Xx

  278. Star Says:

    I just want to express thanks and gratitude to Paul for making this site. When going through the anxiety experience, it is so disorienting ‘why, why, why do I feel like this and no one else does???’ Reading Paul’s words and everyone else who has recovered and contributes put things into perspective; this is a real thing which is ok to experience; also specifically the details on social anxiety really helped me feel like someone else had experienced the same thing (I wasn’t losing it/defective) and especially to see recovery is possible. I can’t say I always felt the hope, but it definitely was a turning point in the sense that I could understand more that what I was going through was not so unique.

    It kinda clicked the other day. I was struggling with my thoughts again and was so fed up. Every time I would experience any relief at any point it was stolen again when I would try to hold onto it, I suppose resisting again. I was worrying about the future- how would I cope like this. Suddenly I had enough.
    I lay there in my bed and closed my eyes and paid attention to my thoughts. ‘What were thoughts even?’ I thought. Impulses to the brain. So weird. I sat there with curiosity. And then I thought; ‘how could I let impulses to my brain throw me around like that? Torture me endlessly? And why was I obsessing about the future and causing myself so much grief that I was suffering a few months before an event that I could not control with my mind. How could I control how I will be in a few months? I actually know from experience that the more I obsess the worse I panic!’
    So I decided to let it go. Stop worrying about the future because it was futile and I could do nothing to prevent how I felt. The ‘do nothing’ that Paul talks about finally clicked.
    I still have anxious thoughts and accompanied reactions, feel down and still afraid etc. But I now understand more that they are not me. You see the hardest thing for me was seeing my thoughts as lies. How could my thoughts be lieing to me? I was so used to following my thoughts blindly I didn’t even see that I had subconsious thoughts that did not represent who I am. That is what caused so much confusion and conflict in my life. I lost my identity.

    Anyway this was 2 days ago. This is all very fresh and I am not sure exactly how to detach myself from my thoughts; they do have a hold on me at times. But I am now working on challenging myself and doing things that make me uncomfortable because I finally get it that there is nothing I can do about whether I will feel or not the anxiety. I must let go and just feel it and do things. I can’t say I am not terrified, but I want my life back.

  279. Rik Says:

    Dani,

    I am right there with you. I have had some periods of peace in this last few weeks but the last couple of days has been pretty damn hard. I am experiencing everything you are. I do believe that Harry is completely right though and all of those I have seen that have come through DP did it in the same way and that was by losing the fear of it and just letting it be there. It is so hard. I know as I am trying to do the same myself and only having partial success. When all around you feels and seems strange and even your very self seems odd it can seem impossible to get yourself out of that state. Having had some peace from it though I can tell you that when you do you feel back to your self and it is as though nothing ever changed. Hang in there. and keep pushing on.

  280. Alz Says:

    Guys just a quick question. Does depersonalisation cause blank spells? I honestly feel like I’m going mad . I was hearing someone talk today and it’s like I was talking but she had to repeat herself because I didn’t hear her the first time . Did I blank out ? Anyway Nolan , Rick , Harry or anyone !!! U all know my story – mybe the loss of my baby has really messed up with my mind ?? In on this trip but so caught up – dp/ds… I also feel it with my husband! Iv moved back and taken that leap of faith but I’m so scared – scared of being alone , scared of resuming work , scared of traveling alone — pls if anyone went thru it, how did u get over it ? I find this really hard . Yes I hv no option but it’s like I’m living a lie .. I want to do so much – be alone , study alone etc but I hv so many fears !!! I think I feel It’ll just be better to go mad than suffer like this :(

  281. Jayneymy Says:

    Hi, I’m after advice please. I’m due to fly to Portugal in July, after being on planes many times before. Only this time I’m terrified of the fact that I’m
    Not going to be able to get off the plane if for any reason I should have to! I suffer with gad but my anxious thoughts mainly
    Focus on health issues, so now I’m worried incase I get Ill during the flight! Any advice on how to manage this will be greatly received.

  282. Dani Says:

    Hi Rik,
    thank you so much for replying, it does help knowing that other people have felt the same way, not that I would wish this on anyone though. I’m pleased to hear you’ve found some peace from it recently bar the last couple of days. How long did you have DP/DR for before you started feeling some peace from it? Did you find you avoided going places because of it? I’ve read quite a few recovery stories of people and they say you have to keep living your life as if you don’t have it, so a few times I’ve forced myself to go out – just for walks etc but it’s made me feel so much worse. Also, another thing, along with the DP/DR I have intrusive thoughts always telling me that life doesn’t make sense, did you get that?

    Hi Alz, I’ve always been scared of “going mad” but recently felt so bad with the DP/DR and intrusive thoughts that I think maybe the people who do go mad maybe have more peace of mind!

  283. Alz Says:

    Dani ,
    Did you go through some sort of trauma ? My dp/ dr is trauma associated – I’ve never had it befr although iv had anxiety ( on and off) for the past 12 years . This however has been my worst bout so far …
    I would appreciate if someone could answer my question : fear of being alone , fear of traveling alone etc … So many fears … I mean it’s just crazy . Also I’m exposing myself to some things which I shied away from – example going back to my husband ( after being at my moms fr 2 months ) , taking a week long trip to the mountains ( where all I can think about is how things are unreal , I’ve gone mad , how will I go back home, when I stay alone it’ll be awful , why can’t I travel alone ? Live alone ? Why can’t I be like the other ppl who r there on the trip with me ? When I resume work what if I can’t concentrate ? What if my husband just ends our marriage because I’m not ‘myself’ ?)
    Pls can someone answer …
    Thanks!

  284. Alz Says:

    My question is : did someone who’s recovered suffer from such fears ? If yes, how’d y get past them ? Honestly my thoughts hv a power of their own

  285. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Alz, I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your baby :( That’s a horrible thing for anyone to go through. However, it’s now up to you to decide whether you’re going to let it define you. It’s easy when dealing with anxiety to view ourselves as victims. “I’ve been through too much. It’s too hard. I’m ruined forever.” All lies. You can and will recover. But it’s up to you to take steps in the right direction.

    In the thick of my anxiety, I had all sorts of fears. Fear of being alone. Fear of taking care of my daughter. Even a fear of showering! For the longest time I let those fears control me. Then over time I realized I needed to start moving on with my life. I had a husband and a daughter that needed me. Still, the fears haunted me. Just because I was doing more things didn’t mean I was no longer anxious or afraid. The next step for me was no longer defining everything in terms of how it would help me “recover”. For instance, thinking “if I stay home alone with my daughter and nothing happens, that will teach me there’s nothing to be afraid of.” All that did was produce disappointment when my anxiety didn’t resolve itself overnight. Instead, I started living just to live! I didn’t do things hoping it would help my anxiety. I did them because they needed to be done or because I wanted to do them. And if I was still anxious/fearful, then oh well. Our feelings/thoughts don’t have to control us. You can choose to live whether you’re happy/depressed/anxious/tired/etc.

    All this to say, you’re not alone in your experiences and you’re not doomed to live anxiously. You can do whatever you want. You truly can. Let the feelings/thoughts rage as much as they want. You’ll be ok.

  286. simone Says:

    Dear Harry,
    Thanks for your post.
    I haven’t been here for a while as I want to live instead of letting anxiety invade my life. So I stopped following the blog. But it is good from time to time get re-confirmed in my new approach and hear other people’s experience. I would like to read more stories of recovery, this really encourages me.
    It has been over a month now that I am in Paul’s approach and I can celebrate my first day off medication today! Wow, I am clean and I am not doing worse than with the pills! Yes, anxiety and dp is still there and I am still at times struggling to not identify myself with my disturbing thoughts. And yes, for me too, dp is the most disturbing symptom! But I slowly start to get to the point to not fear it anymore. It is a struggle! Actually, I don’t really know if I am doing better. Difficult to say, I just continue and practice.

  287. Andy J Says:

    Hi Guys,

    I’ve had a break for a while, just getting on with life and trying to ‘do nothing’.

    I’ve got a quick question though. I drive alone to work every day and this seems to be a habit of ‘starting’ my anxiety for the day. The monotonous thoughts and trying to remember to do nothing etc. I know thats a paradox within itself, but its rather than allowing myself to start the questioning and attempting to think my way out of things.

    I’m also suffering quite substantially with depression. I really struggle to enjoy things and often find myself clock watching, because I dont really know what I enjoy any more. Can any one else relate to this?

    Thanks,

    Andy

  288. Bryan Says:

    Alz,

    We all empathize with what you are going through. But the thing we all really have to do is to implement the knowledge Paul and others teach here. While I know the compulsion to want to see reassurance with repeated questions about symptoms… your path to peace comes in actually doing what Paul’s book says.

    I say this not out of a lack of patience or understanding but out of wanting to see tou exit the stage you are in and move to the next stage.

    Read Stephanie and Simone’s posts above. They have moved out of the reassurance/symptom chasing stage and back to living. They will reap the rewards of peace for having done so. Examine their words and intent in their posts and contrast that to where you are currently. This is what will start true change for you.

  289. Dani Says:

    Hi Alz, for me I think it was a build up of things, but it mainly started when my dog had to be put to sleep and then a couple of months after that my boyfriend and I split up and he moved out.
    I feel like the DP/DR is ruining my life, I’m constantly thinking things don’t make sense or things aren’t real, sometimes I even wonder if I’m dead but my spirit hasn’t realised it! I know it sounds crazy. I sometimes try to go places, for example to the shops or for walks but everything feels so strange to me it makes it so difficult. I really don’t know how to just accept something that makes me feel so bad and it’s so scary.

  290. Alz Says:

    Thanks Bryan and Stephanie ,
    Means a lot but u know the fear is crippling . I mean I have the desire to move on but for eg I took this trip and I was literally thinking I was going nuts . Questioning seeing things etc . My sanity basically . Acceptance is key but when your thoughts become you , it’s hard . I know it’s just thoughts . Reassurance really helps though – I am being a pain I feel

  291. Joe Says:

    Hi guys,

    I’ve made alot of improvement in the past few weeks but one thing I’m having a major problem getting over are little stressors. Certain quirks that my partner has annoy me so badly and I’ve gotten into the habit of stewing over them and it makes me more stressed than anything else anxiety related. It’s just stupid stuff like singing along to the radio in the car, for example. The irritation and stress builds till I feel like I could explode sometimes. I think part of it is that I know my reaction is exaggerated and uncalled for and I’m upset with myself and try to make it not bother me–but fail. Do I deal with stuff like this same as any other anxiety symptom? Just let the feelings of irritation get as intense as they want without reacting? Thanks

    Joe

  292. Doreen Says:

    Hi Joe. I think you have answered the question yourself. When we are very tense things do irritate more and our feelings are out of all proportion to what is actually happening. And stewing or ruminating on things is very typical of anxiety.
    Of course within any relationship there should be room for a bit of negotiation about things that irritate but it does sound like the reactions you are having are overly strong. So maybe asking your partner not to sing along along in the car wouldn’t be out of order but make the request when you are feeling mellow, not all wound up.

  293. Vasili Says:

    Hi everyone , and Paul

    I am 23 and have read both of the books Paul has written. I understand them and they really do “hit home”. However I feel as if I can not get to that point of not reacting to my symptoms.

    I SWEAT ALL DAY.literally all day due to my anxiety. And thus has culminated into other forms of anxiety like blurred vision and fear of interacting socially etc. I have even stepped back from many dreams due to my fear of sweating.

    Could any of you shed some light please?

    Thank you wonderful people

  294. rawnit Says:

    hello everyone.
    i have been here since last year . silently reading posts .. i just want to know that how to concentrate on studies while having anxiety.. i mean i sometimes feels that i am studying but not grasping anything . so many thoughts passing through my mind at the same time . and when i force my self to focus on what i am studying it starts getting worse…. and then again negative thoughts thoughts …….. plz guide me as its been very tough for me . i have to study to pass exams to get a job…. plz any suggestions …paul . nolan .. dominic ….. plz
    thanks

  295. Star Says:

    Rawnit I have been dealing with the same thing as you for a very long time; 3 years of my degree; I feel like I suffered through it and it got worse recently.

    Literally a few days ago I got into mindfulness. Realising that the thoughts are not you; whatever they are saying are just opinions, not facts, let them flow through. Let them flow past. Do not hang onto them and obsess about them; this is what gives them vitality and they get worse and worse. This helped me. Yes I still get the thoughts, they sting a little but I let them pass through me; I do not obsess over them.

    This has helped me a lot with moving forward in this anxiety journey; every time I have an emotional reaction (which is often) I take a step back, observe the situation; am I reacting proportionately? Is this really as bad as I am making it? Are these assumptions in my head true? Separating yourself from your thoughts makes a big difference.

    Good Luck with your exams.

  296. Star Says:

    I was just wondering if someone can relate; to frustration.

    I am Thank G-d back on track after a ‘setback’ that through me off so bad I fought so hard. Now I know that there will be ‘setbacks’ and I have to let them through and release….

    I just have a lot of frustration. Frustration of all the things I have missed out on in the past because of my anxiety. Frustration towards myself for making myself go through it. (especially now that I can see things clearer) Frustration that I haven’t been reaching goals that I could have because I was so focused on this anxiety. This could potentially be untrue; but I guess it’s a habit of seeing anxiety as compromising my life. And also frustration about the way I was when I was in the anxiety bubble; so vulnerable. I feel like I was in a dream; and I have kind of woken up and realised all the things I did when I was asleep; if that makes sense. All the responsibilities I ignored or didn’t do well. Or drunk would be a better analogy.

    I know that I just have to accept it. Can’t change the past. I was just wondering if someone who has experienced this and managed to positively move forward can share their experience.

  297. Helen Says:

    HI I just wondered if anyone on here can offer advice or has been through the same thing. I’ve been battling with Anxiety and depression the last couple of years really badly especially after the birth of my son who is 2. I live in Canada and have been here nearly 7 yrs married but we were together 13 yrs. Totally out of the blue, not warning, no talk about how he felt, nothing, totally shockingly my husband has left me says he doesn’t love me anymore and moved out. He basically said couldn’t take my anxiety and worry and stressing and indecision anymore. Ive been trying to follow Paul’s ideas for a long while but its been up and down. Now I am devastated and so anxious that I will have to stay in canada with my son alone with no family no friends really no support network so that my son can be close to his father and have him in his life. I feel so panicked like my world has ended and I need the strength to get through this for my son but its so hard. My fear of being alone and having some kind of nervous breakdown is so strong!

  298. Dani Says:

    Hi Rik,
    you may not see my last message to you as there’s been quite a few comments since, so I’m writing to you again as you said you suffered with DP and OCD thoughts which is what I’m suffering from.
    Please can you tell me how long roughly you suffered with DP before you experienced some relief? As you said you’ve experienced some peace in the last few weeks. Did you take any meds for it?
    I have intrusive thoughts telling me that life isn’t real and that nothing makes sense, one of my worst thoughts is that I might be dead and that my spirit doesn’t realise it. I feel like I can barely function because of the DP/DR and the accompanying thoughts and I spend most my days just crying (I’m signed off work), sometimes in the evenings I manage to do some painting but just don’t feel like I can do it during the day because the DP/DR and thoughts are so strong.
    Did you ever get thoughts that life doesn’t make sense and worry that you would never see life the same way you saw it before DP/DR?

    I’d really appreciate your advice (and anyone else that has been through or currently suffering with DP/DR) x

  299. Dani Says:

    Hi Helen,
    I just wanted to say sorry that you’re going through such a difficult time, it sounds like your husband is being very selfish. Is there any way you could stay with family while you’re going through this difficult time? I think you need to do what’s best for you, it may not be ideal if your son is far from his Dad, but you didn’t choose this situation and your mental well being needs to be a priority xx

  300. Evy Says:

    Hello all ,
    Hope everyone is doing better , I have not posted in a while because I was feeling better and going on with life and having the so what mentality ! I was feeling myself agin these months ! But for the past 2 weeks I started with stomach problems ! Lots of heartburn and acid and a bit of pain ! I am so scared and I know my anxiety is making things worse ! I lost 7 pounds in 2 weeks and that’s what scares me ! The doctors finally ran some test and I should get the results next Tuesday ! I am so nervouse and I have not felt this was in such a long time , my main problem was the DP but now that I’m going through this my anxious mind is so negative that right away I feel it’s something deadly ! If anyone has felt this I would appriate your feedback please

  301. Dani Says:

    Hello Evy, I’m sorry you’re not feeling well, I’m not great at giving advice for anxiety yet but hopefully someone will be able to help soon.
    As you mentioned in your post that your main problem was DP and that is my problem at the moment, I wondered if you could help me please?
    How long did your DP last for and how did you recover from it? I’m finding it really hard to accept feeling this strange. Did you ever feel like you’d never feel back to normal? X

  302. Helen Says:

    Thanks Dani, Yeah I think you are right really, I just have so many racing thoughts despair feelings of the future now I don’t feel fit to make any decisions. I know I need to find the strength and not let anxiety and grief paralyze me. I think being with my family will give me some support to get through this. Has anyone here with anxiety been through a marriage breakup and got through the other side?

  303. Alz Says:

    Can anxiety make you question your sanity? Like I really think I’m losing my mind .. I question seeing things ..

  304. Alz Says:

    For example both the boys and girls washroom were together and I thought the girls washroom door opened but it hadn’t – the boys had.. Which I realised later as a boy came out from it

  305. Dani Says:

    Hi Alz, yes anxiety can definitely make you question your sanity!! But I’ve read lots if times and also been told by doctors that if you are questioning your sanity then you are not insane, because insane people don’t realise anything is wrong, they believe what they are seeing / hearing. So the very fact you are questioning whether you are insane means you are not!
    The washroom door situation, is just a simple mistake or you momentarily getting confused because your mind is so distracted with anxious thoughts, it’s definitely not a sign you’re going insane, it’s your anxious mind playing tricks on you x

  306. Alz Says:

    Thanks Dani!!!!

  307. rawnit Says:

    hello everyone.
    i have been here since last year . silently reading
    posts .. i just want to know that how to
    concentrate on studies while having anxiety.. i
    mean i sometimes feels that i am studying but
    not grasping anything . so many thoughts passing
    through my mind at the same time . and when i
    force my self to focus on what i am studying it
    starts getting worse…. and then again negative
    thoughts thoughts …….. plz guide me as its
    been very tough for me . i have to study to pass
    exams to get a job…. plz any suggestions …paul
    . nolan .. dominic ….. plz
    thanks

  308. Dani Says:

    There doesn’t seem to be many people posting/helping recently

  309. Dani Says:

    Just realised Paul has made a new post, which explains the lack of comments on this one recently

  310. Cheryl Says:

    Hi, today has been a particularly bad day for me, after falling down last October with this dreadful condition , I found Pauls book just in the nick of time and after practicing what he suggests, I was becoming better and better.
    I get scared of hearing things and lots of other things I’m hyper sensitive to every noise I hear. ( it used to be health anxiety ) and today a trigger started me off again .
    My question is , I allow it to,run its course, I even forced myself to a street party but the effects it has on my relationship is devastating .
    I’ve shown my hubby this page and tried to explain what I’m going through , but he is ” crack on person ‘and tells me over and over I don’t get it
    I feel like a burden on people and it pressurises me to be ” normal” especially as he’s a happy person . How do you act in your relationships, when your so up,and down you feel ashamed of who you are ?

  311. Ryan Says:

    Hi all,

    Several weeks ago, I was in a good place. I thought I had ‘bottomed out’ a while back, after 3 years of acute suffering of anxiety and particularly DP. I have definitely seen progress recently, but the last few weeks have been really bad. It seems to come back with 10x more power than it felt before, but not sure whether it just feels this way… Also, I have a new symptom that has thrown me off, which is that of dizzy spells; to the point where I feel as if I’m going to collapse. I just wondered if anyone had similar stories and useful comments?

    Ryan

  312. Muhammad Usman Says:

    hello paul, dear i am asuffering from anxiety since 2013, my main fear is with health anxiety which is so intense , as i am observing constant blue spots in my vision , can you you guide me about these dots,?

  313. Chloe Says:

    Paul, I just want to say thank you. I am always dubious about buying things I read about online however purchasing your book has been an eye opener for me.
    I started suffering from anxiety about 5 years ago which was finally diagnosed 3 years ago. I had no idea what on earth was happening to me (majority of your listed symptoms) so to eventually have a reason for these strange feelings meant the world to me. I have been on citalopram since 2013 which was great for the first few years but now I feel that these have stopped working :/!!! Your book has taught me to do the complete opposite to what I have been doing for so long and showed me why I wasn’t recovering. (The constant googling of symptoms, worrying there is a deadly cause to these symptoms and just feeling like I am going mad) The main annoyance for me is the tiredness. I am ALWAYS tired. I am hoping to just stop my medication and follow your advice to see if this is what I needed in the first place rather than the medications. (I am on a very low dose of 10mg then 20mg)

    I have recommended your book to my GP and to my friends whom also suffer and pray that this is what I needed to help me to be me again.

    Thank you x

    Can anyone advise me on how to move forward from here? I aim to follow pauls advice and forget my symptoms however I am struggling with how to go about this as I feel so tired all the time? thank you x

  314. Sean Says:

    Hi paul,

    Did you ever suffer with high blood pressure from your anxiety? I’m 24 and recently blood pressure been up i did get better from following your ways but lately not been so good but know what i have to do to get back to being me again it’s just this high blood pressure concerning me now just curious if you suffered this as you mentioned you was on tablets to slow your heart down and thats what ive got also.

    Thanks in advance

    Sean

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