What is the cause of my suffering?

It is not always how you feel that causes your suffering, it is your rejection of your current state that does. As when you reject something you either try and suppress it or you fight to get rid of it and both of these take tremendous effort and energy. So most of your suffering is caused by the extra turmoil in your mind created when you fight with the moment physically or mentally. It is the extra tension created by your refusal to accept what is happening in the moment. But this is what is happening in the moment, it can’t be other than it is. When you accept this and stop searching for another reality, the mind relaxes, as it has nothing more to do and it is the absence of this tension that releases so much of your suffering. Constantly fighting with your present state is the reason that so many people stay in a cycle, they keep re-creating their own suffering and so the system never gets a chance to heal itself.

So much mental suffering is caused through the mental battle with yourself and how you are feeling, constantly looking for another state, another reality. This battle keeps the mind over active, it causes so much mental strain and chaos, the mind becomes so unsettled and there can be confusion, irritability and strain. So much of how you feel physically comes from the strain and tension in your mind. The mind craves a rest from this battle you are having with yourself. You can never find calm through more thinking, more effort as you are again just using the mind to try and achieve this, when it desperately needs a rest, it gets more jobs to do, you are trying to solve the problem with the problem. This is why techniques rarely or if ever work, as techniques are another way to try and manipulate a different state, it is another job for the mind to try and perfect. It is never about trying to force another state through personal will and effort, it is about letting go of all techniques and effort and then the mind finally gets the rest it needs and in time with rest it will calm itself.

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367 Responses to “What is the cause of my suffering?”

  1. Alz Says:

    hello..
    So i took a break from this blog and although i am suffering from heavy dream like feelings i was continuing with my day . Today was just awful… i mean i met my ex professor at a shop and wasn’t sure i had met him, I had feelings of self harm all day and it was really hard not getting sucked into the dreaded zone where you think you might do it. ANyway i floated all day.. Im better now but a few questions:
    -I have to go visit my mother in a different city and im really scared that the condition that im in (questioning reality) , i might get worse.
    -today really pulled me down
    -how do i reach the point where i can feel real/not in a dream/not unsure of ‘did this happen or not happen?’
    -its like im ok for the outer world but inside im just so caught up this zoned out feeling,..fear…. feelings of unreality.. i mean i look at my face in the mirror and feel odd..
    i know starting work triggered this but yesterday when someone congratulated me on having a baby (and didnt know i had lost him) i felt awful… i sometimes question if that also happened because right now i am so lost. I came back home and cried anawful lot … losing the baby and then feeling the way i am … where im in a different zone and everyday is an uphill battle.. zoned out…
    what can help in feeling this is real? that the experiences i have do happen and are not just in my imagination .. im sick of the feeling of “did this happen or not happen?”
    im just floating.. and its not fun!!

  2. Mark R Says:

    Great post Paul and apt for me at the moment. This is something I’ve been trying to implement especially in these last few rocky weeks. My anxiety levels are higher at the moment so I’m trying not to analyse or project things backwards or forwards, things that have got me stuck before.
    I’ve also come to realise what ‘second fear’ is. I always thought this related to panic, something I dont really experience often, thankfully. I think second fear can be a anything that puts any additional strain on a strained mind or nervous system….for example analysis, what ifs, battling anxiety, trying to change how you feel, arguing with anxious thoughts. Its crucial not to add any of this if you can, I know its not easy

    Belgian,

    In answer to your post to me I’m having a mixture of good and bad days at the moment, it’s very frustrating but it is what it is. My bad days seem to come when I’m not busy and my mind seems to drift into that dark, ruminating place very easily. Friday to Sunday were very tough days. I’m trying not to beat myself up too much, its not easy and I’m doing the best I can. Unfortunately most days are a chore to get through. My mind seems to think too that in early summer I was completely fine and uses this as some kind of benchmark. As per post above Im trying not to analyse too much.

    Mark

  3. Mark R Says:

    Alz,

    What you describe is classic Dp and extremely common. Its what I get very often.

    -how do i reach the point where i can feel real/not in a dream/not unsure of ‘did this happen or not happen?

    I have to question though if you actually read Paul’s post at all as you posted the query above. Paul says wanting and trying to change how you feel is going to create more of how you feel. What’s the antedote to this……? Utter acceptance. Sure its crap and unpleasant but you need to allow it all to happen.

    Rest assured that your DP levels will reduce when your anxiety levels come down. That’s a fact. Your mind will keep checking if its there, you cant stop this, its automatic but what you can do is leave it alone. It will cease to be a problem if you stop seeing it as one.

  4. Alz Says:

    Mark R,
    I posted this yesterday but thought i should repost it to get a reply… My anxiety levels are high because i have resumed work and because i am supposed to travel to my family which i am dreading because being there brings back to me the time i had just lost my baby and was in a state of shock.. Eight months down the road.. i am still sensitized but can pull through the day.. i mean not being on this blog for more than a week is a big achievement in my eyes.
    It was just a host of things this week which i guess escalated evthing…
    My mom’s saying its not necessary i visit her.. she thinks i need rest in the coming holidays.. i guess shes right. I ve just started this job.. its HIGHLY stressful.. im still going through the grief of losing my baby… i found out a close frnd has had a relapse of cancer…AND on top of that i was so badly broke this week..Oh and now that i have my salary, my car’s broken down which will need money and time to get repaired.. unnecessary financial drainage.
    Still… i should be grateful that despite all the mental tricks my mind is playing, im hey ok for the rest of the world :)

    [Rich]

    Alz, Baby steps. I’d question whether a stressful job is a good thing for you, but it could be a good distraction. With all else going on, manage yourself, be kind to yourself, and make sure you don’t have too much on your plate.

    Seeing your mom would be good to face the inner demons, but not if it’s too soon or you’re stressed with other things. Judge yourself whether to go and face it and avenge the demons would be a good, or a bad thing right now.

    Finally, have confidence in yourself. You’ve got through the last 8 months, you’re stronger than you think, you’re able to manage your own life and make decisions – you don’t need to keep asking for advice on here – read the help you’ve got, be assertive.

    Trust yourself.

  5. Rich Says:

    Hi Alz,

    I don’t usually reply to messages these days as others here do a great job, but I wanted to offer my advice to you as I’ve been reading your many posts for many weeks – and you don’t seem to be making any progress.

    I’m going to reply to your post to help highlight what might be hindering you, but don’t take this as a criticism, nor should it dissuade you from posting other comments on here should you want to.

    First of all, I wonder if you’ve read the very blog post that you are posting your comment on. If you have, it hasn’t sank in. Either way, all of your questions are answered by it. Read it again. Process it, think about it, and read it again. And then read it again.

    Secondly, here’s a breakdown of your last post:

    “So i took a break from this blog”

    – but did you take a break from all other blogs and websites and books?

    “and although i am suffering from heavy dream like feelings i was continuing with my day.”

    – ‘suffering’ and ‘heavy’ are negative descriptions which reinforce negativity into your mind thinking back in that way, writing in that way. Why not think about the positives in the day?

    “Today was just awful…”

    – negative reinforcement. Don’t dwell on the negatives. Writing this again reinforces to you negative thoughts and takes you further down the negative road.

    “i mean i met my ex professor at a shop and wasn’t sure i had met him, I had feelings of self harm all day and it was really hard not getting sucked into the dreaded zone where you think you might do it.”

    – So what if you weren’t sure if you’d met him or not? So what if you had feelings of self-harm? Is this any surprise you did given your current mental state? This should not be any surprise to you. It’s understandable. So what.

    “A few questions:”

    “I have to go visit my mother in a different city and im really scared that the condition that im in (questioning reality) , i might get worse.”

    – This is not a question. All writing this does is reaffirm negativity into your mind – being ‘scared’ and ‘getting worse’ – this hasn’t happened yet but you’re already programming your mind that it’s going to be negative. Why not draw on the positives and cling to them instead? This is what a ‘normal’ person would do, so do that – even if you have to really try to.

    “today really pulled me down”

    – This is not a question. This too just reaffirms to yourself negativity and defeatism. Stop it!

    “how do i reach the point where i can feel real/not in a dream/not unsure of ‘did this happen or not happen?’”

    – This is a question. Here’s the answer: As-per Paul’s post above, you just stop caring if you can feel real/not in a dream/not unsure of stuff happening. You just LET GO.

    “its like im ok for the outer world but inside im just so caught up this zoned out feeling,..fear…. feelings of unreality.. i mean i look at my face in the mirror and feel odd..”

    – So? Why do you expect to not be like this? What have you done positively to stop making you feel like this? What have you done negatively that has made you feel like this? Clue: see above.

    “i know starting work triggered this but yesterday when someone congratulated me on having a baby (and didnt know i had lost him) i felt awful… i sometimes question if that also happened because right now i am so lost. I came back home and cried anawful lot … losing the baby and then feeling the way i am … where im in a different zone and everyday is an uphill battle.. zoned out…”

    – How you feel right now is totally understandable. Healing is a process. Question for you is, can you see how you are slowing this process down?

    “what can help in feeling this is real?”

    – Slow things down, take things in. Details, breathing, weather. Pick up all the positives around you and be thankful for what you have – however little it may seem.

    “that the experiences i have do happen and are not just in my imagination…”

    – If you imagine stuff, so what? I often can’t recall if I dreampt something or someone said something or not. It doesn’t bother me. Given your state, it shouldn’t matter to you too. Just strike it up to being stressed out and leave it be.

    “im sick of the feeling of “did this happen or not happen?”

    – Here lies the problem. It’s instinctive to be fearful, then angry, but to recover is to let go and not feel anything negative about any of it at all. See Paul’s post above.

    “im just floating”

    – I would say you’re not, but trying is the start of the journey, so don’t give up. Just work on not caring about the feelings, thoughts or questions.

    “…and its not fun!!”

    – Correct.

    —–

    I’m not going to break down your future posts, but to help me moderate this blog, please think about what you’re writing.

    Are your thoughts negative? (yes)

    Are they helping you? (no)

    Do you need to question this or that? (no)

    Have I already been given the answer? (yes)

    If so, what am I doing that’s stopping me moving past this phase in my life? (you are)

    I wish you all the best in your recovery.

    Be positive. Dismiss the negative.

    Let go.

    Life will come back to you when you let it.

  6. Belgian Says:

    Mark R,

    you are heading in the right direction. You don’t need any more explanation other than you’ve already had here. There is nothing more.

    There is something in your attitude that strikes me. Something that is easily recognizable, but deserves to be tackled. When you say:”In answer to your post to me I’m having a mixture of good and bad days at the moment, it’s very frustrating but it is what it is.”

    You could chose to be glad for the good days, but it seems that you are mostly preoccupied with the bad ones. Your focus is on how frustrating this all is. But in the end, what will this frustration bring you? A bad day is still a day and one day that will bring you closer to recovery. In the end, a day that was bad is something that took place in the past. You don’t have to relive it the following. More importantly, bad days are part of life. We wouldn’t know what ‘good’ days are if this is all we experienced. We should learn to appreciate more the suffering and pain in our lives. We should change our attitude towards it. Don’t be too hard on yourself on this last point. It’s something that is part of the way our culture is looking at this I’m afraid. Covering up all that is ugly and painful, believing that true beauty only is to be found in wealth and spotless purity.

    Furthermore, since you are heading in the right direction. The next thing, you’ll need is to have more patience. Or – as Dr. Weekes says – to be able to give it more time. Of course the habit of constantly seeking reassurance, evaluating your day, evaluating every doubt, every anxious feeling will not go away overnight. Of course it will take a while to have the don’t fight but accept in-built in your cognitive system. It takes time. What helps me when I’m feeling anxiety, is looking at my watch.

    I’ve bought this last year as a symbol of the most important lesson I’ve learned so far in life. Which is that time is my friend. It will always bring me to a new place. I trust in time. It’s not that I don’t feel my anxiety anymore at that point. It’s not a technique to make the pain go away. It just reminds me that all of my suffering is temporary and that time will guide me out of it, if I only let it. I remember that surrendering is better than fighting.

    Float on time, my friend, and let it bring you where-ever it takes you.

  7. Mark R Says:

    Hi Belgian,

    Thanks for your reply.

    I agree maybe my attitude needs a good tweaking.

    Frustration does get the better of me but I think I’ve been at this game longer than most. Whenever I seem to make any significant progress and feel like I’m back to a good standard of living I get dragged back into a struggle again. I can never seem to make a good foothold and maintain it. Folk on here seem to have setbacks that pass within a week, a few weeks to a month but mine seem to drag on and on and I’m left feeling anxiety strongly for a few months then having to deal with the hangover for some time after. This has been the way for some 6 years or so now. Surely anyone would feel frustration in that? It seems to be some rinse, repeat for me, the same cycle over and over.

  8. Alz Says:

    Rich …
    Thanks a million :) ur great ! It’s not criticism – it’s all positive !! Thank you . I totally understand what you mean … One thing though – I haven’t looked at any other blogs/ websites :p

    Mark .. Thank you too :)

  9. Jenny Lee Says:

    Thank you Paul for this fantastic post. It has helped me to understand where I have been going wrong with general anxiety.
    I need some advice on how to move forward with panic attacks. I really struggle to apply full acceptance and completely allow the mental symptoms when I get a panic attack. It’s almost like my mind goes into shut down and I can’t process information correctly, the fight /flight /freeze kicks in so strong I am left bewildered and terrified. When I try to step out of panic’s way, it seems to grab me straight back with mightier strength until I do something about it i.e. leave / cry/ ask family for help! Does anyone else experience v strong panic attacks or have any advice? I really want to be able to enjoy flying and travelling again and this is really holding me back.

  10. David Says:

    Alz,
    I was in the same hole you are in right now a few months ago. I could never see my way out of it. It wasn’t until about 3 months ago that I hit rock bottom. I just accepted that this is me forever. But after that, something amazing happened. I started feeling more and more normal. It was at that point that I realized there was nothing to fight, nothing to make go away, no reason to hope and pray that this would one day leave me. It just did. All you have to do is treat this like something that will never go away, and paradoxically, it will.

    I wish you the best of luck, and praying for you.
    -David

  11. Alz Says:

    Thank you David :)

  12. Jamie Says:

    I’m having a challenging day today but will take heed from the post below I put on the blog only at the weekend….

    Jamie Says:
    September 5th, 2016 at 10:14 pm
    I have not checked in for a while but wanted to put a little update on how I am doing.

    Something Belgian said about a month ago has helped. He said to someone to try and stay calm for one month. Whenever the thoughts try and drag you off to the usual world of anxiety, just don’t let them pull you in and stay calm. I have been trying to put that into action and I am seeing signs of improvement.

    I feel a bit calmer in my self, I can think a bit clearer and talking to people on a 1 to 1 basis is not so much a problem as it used to be. I am better at just sitting down and watching tv without feeling on edge (I usually just cannot sit still and have to be busy) and I don’t feel full of dread when I get to Sunday night thinking about work. I think the main improvement I have noticed is that I no longer go day after day (mainly when I am at work) with excruciating headaches and it has changed to, the best way to describe it is, it feels like I have hot needles sticking into the top of my head. This is fine. I can live with that and I know it is just anxiety but it is much more favourable than the terrible headaches I have endured for years.

    I have been seeing my girlfriend for nearly 6 months ago which is a feat in itself with some of states I got into before some of my dates. I have spent MOST of the time I have been with her focusing on the negative things like – her flat is a mess and I could not live with someone like that, I may be allergic to her dogs and they annoy me so there is no future in it, her ex sounds an angry nutcase and so on and so on.

    Whenever anyone asked me how things were going I would just launch into the bad things and not mention the good things. I am with her for a reason right ? Anyway, I went away on holiday without her and she went on holiday without me. The result – we both missed each other a lot which shows me that I do like her a lot.

    Recently since I have been feeling better I think the positive thoughts are fighting back against the negative thoughts so they are a bit more evenly matched at the moment. I have read a lot about various people’s relationship anxiety on this blog so this felt quite apt posting this part.

    All the “where would we live” ? “how could I live with such a messy person and with those dogs?” stuff I am putting to the back of my mind for the time being.

    She mentioned booking a holiday for next year the other day as we both missed each other this year and she likes to book early. The thought of doing this seems massive to me. Committing to going away with someone in nearly 12 months when I have been with her less than 6 months feels huge. Can I afford it ? What if we break up inbetween ? What if I got panicky on the plane ? etc etc You get the picture ? Anyway, this decision is for another day.

    I am doing a bit better and I can see glimpses of sunlight from time to time. It is still tough and it is certainly not a slow upward line as I still have bad days. I am just going to stay calm though and let those thoughts do their thing without getting too involved

  13. Andy J Says:

    Hi Guys.

    Thought I would check in as its been a while.

    I continue with my usual struggle. (Keyword being struggle I guess).

    Its a difficult one for me. I have a number of different issues ongoing and have seen multiple therapists to try and resolve them. Clearly I am not doing something right still.

    The issue with my anxiety is that is has morphed from GAD in to more obsessive intrusive thoughts, which are accompanied by periods of low mood. I guess I keep beating myself up about it (automatically) and often fail to grasp that my anxiety is responsible for all of the thoughts I’m having. Do I need to remind myself that this is anxiety? Or is that a fight?

    My mood is really low. I first came across Paul and his book four years ago, but had struggled previously with anxiety. Its really difficult being able to understand how I got to this point. I guess layer upon layer has built up.

    I find it extremely difficult to just allow thoughts. How do people go from acknowledging them but not analysing or interpreting? What is the actual thing you do? Do you say ‘this is just anxiety’? Or do you imagine one of the scenarios as described on here such as ‘drunk at the bar shouting obscenities?’

    Sorry for the self pity, just need a bit of a boost.

    All the best.

  14. Bryan Says:

    Andy,

    Did you read Rich’s post above? It’s brilliant and 100% applicable to your post here.

    The last sentence in your post was also addressed by David, above.
    (Though certainly the methodology in full allowing/acceptance takes time.)
    It’s also where I think anyone still experiencing some symptoms should put their focus.

  15. Aj Says:

    Andy J
    I too have number of issues going on (health, family, and relatiobship). I suffered heavily with anxiety (intrusive thoughts, depression and hell lot of physical symptoms). I bought Paul’s first book a year ago. Now getting a hang of it. From your post it sounds you are fighting it and this fight causes more anxiety, keeping one in the loop. Let the thoughts just be there and you carry on with life. Paul’s message through various posts is very clear. Do not identify with the thoughts and do not suppress the thoughts (it’s not easy but possible)

    Experience the reality as it is anf not through the lens of your thoughts. I am much better now, Paul’s method pulled me out of a dark hole, I am not fully there yet, but much better.

    You won’t get anything by analyzing stupid and highly repetitive thoughts. I have learnt to just observe the thought and get “curious” about them, and sometimes when I do this I spontaneously laugh at them (this laughing thing has happened recently).

    Do not avoid work and play and spending time doing something creative/constructive. If you feel low, so be it! Do it anyways.

  16. Ryan Says:

    Hi All,

    I know i am going against Paul’s wisdom by doing what i’m about to do, but i need help/guidance.

    Without going on, i had anxiety for a year or so on and off with some but minimal DP, then went to a festival and did some MDMA, then WHAM i woke up the next day, didn’t know what the hell was going on, was extremely spaced out couldn’t sleep/eat for months, had body tremors etc. Now i 95% accept this was the onset of chronic DP (2 years since the festival), but always have that nagging feeling i did something to my brain.

    Anyway, my anxiety has wildly fluctuated since then, from almost gone to high, but the detachment has always been there and is mainly based around DP/DR, feeling like i’m out of my body, existential crisis’, feel like any second reality will change or i’ll pass out/go crazy etc. (which i’m led to believe is ‘normal’ with this condition).

    What i would like to know is:

    At the minute i’m in the throws of what feels like the worst my DP has ever been, but why do i still believe after so long that i’m going to lose it and all the above? Why have i not simply realised this never happens? it still shakes me to my core. Every time it washes over me i try not react, but it feels so real

    any advice would be greatly appreciated

    Ryan

  17. Jenny Lee Says:

    Hi Ryan.
    I totally understand your frustration about the DP shaking you to the core every time thing. I have the same thing with panic attacks.
    I think it’s because all anxiety and panic is caused by natural fight /flight mode which we cannot suppress or eliminate. I suppose it’s a case of feeling the fear and doing it anyway /carrying on.
    Intrusive thoughts are just anxiety letting off steam. If you try not to think them or recoil at them, your body thinks there is actually danger so will release more adrenaline = more thoughts. Instead, when a yucky thought pops up, let it. Let your mind go wherever it wants to. It won’t harm you in anyway.
    The drugs thing, well that was probably just the cherry on the cake which set your anxiety off. But it isn’t the cause of your current anxiety, that’s caused by your fear of it.
    Btw I’m still totally in the throes of it, but I seem to have overcome the intrusive thoughts so that’s just how I did that bit! Long way to go still.

  18. Jamie Says:

    David

    Your post makes so much sense and I’m glad you’re feeling better. However, i raised this point on the last blog…. to read that someone has adopted this attitude and then made big improvements, to me, it seems like you have to accept you’re going to be this way forever but with the objective of getting better by doing so. Does that make sense ? For me, I’m not truly ‘giving up’ if I’m adopting that attitude with an end game of recovering.

  19. Jamie Says:

    And i would find it hard not to think about recovery if others have ‘given up’ and then felt better

  20. David Says:

    Jamie,
    It’s just not about getting better. It’s about living your life the way you want to. It just means doing the things you normally would do in your day to day life without any concern with how you feel. It’s about living your life regardless of the fact you feel like garbage. You just have to stop making the way you feel a problem. You have to ask yourself, “Do I want my life back?” and if the answer is yes, you can stop trying to figure out the puzzle that is anxiety. Anytime it tries to trick you to engage with it, just let it be, because it doesn’t really matter how you feel, right? You’re living your life regardless.

  21. Mark R Says:

    Jamie,

    It’s not about accepting that you’ll be this way forever, that’s false and also a terrible outcome. Its about accepting that it is this way for now without trying to change how you feel. The latter sees how you feel now as temporary, which it is.

  22. Jamie Says:

    David said in his first post he told himdelf he would feel this way forever… and then started improving.

    Thanks for the replies by the way

  23. Mark R Says:

    Well for me Jamie I know for a fact it IS temporary so i’m just giving my view. I think the more important point is that David decided to have a life despite how he felt and then he started to feel better.

    This also links back to me in a sense. I had a terrible time last October and didn’t see any improvements until mid January of this year, That was my last big setback. When I sat down with my therapist on Wednesday we discussed this. My mind is telling me wait 3/4 months before doing anything as this is how long it took last time to feel any kind of relief. When we looked at this it was plainly obvious that I’d only started to feel better because I started living fully again, not because I waited.

    In your detailed post it seems you are making improvements and seem to be doing very well. I think your post to David sounds like you still want to find a way to get rid of this. I would try and leave this if you can as you will end up seeing how you feel as an enemy. I know it’s hard and its something I’m trying to implement at the moment. It’s not easy to see how you feel as bad but it’s not some huge monster devouring you, just your own mind protecting you from nothing.
    I woke up this morning and feel like utter s**t but I’ve planned a busy day for myself. I could easily just sit in bed and feel like total crap and wish it away but it doesn’t work for me, or for anyone.
    As your post said you are seeing signs of light, despite slow progress so I think it is working for you. Keep going mate but drop any kind of technique to ‘get rid’, this includes trying to accept its forever to feel better.

    Mark.

  24. Jamie Says:

    You are right Mark. My post above shows things are temporary as you say. I have had a bad few days with various changes at work (I like routines and don’t really like changes as they make me anxious).

    It is funny as I have been on this blog on and off recently and when I have been feeling a bit better, you have been struggling. Then I will come on here as I am struggling and you seem to be doing a bit better and are giving advice (which is great to hear).

    As I said, with a few things at work that have made me anxious and discussing possibly changing the weekend arrangements seeing my daughter with my ex have also made me anxious.

    I have to continue to just stay calm, accept I feel this way and carry on regardless.

    I felt absolutely dreadful last night after getting in from work and then went into having my daughter last night and most of today. I will openly admit I cried last night (which I haven’t done for ages) as everything got on top of me. I did feel a bit better today though and managed the day with my daughter ok.

    Onwards and upwards…

  25. Jamie Says:

    P.S. I hope your busy day went well Mark. Keep up the good work !

  26. Mark R Says:

    Hi mate,

    I’m not doing better in all honesty. I’m feeling pretty awful at the moment. Im doing things but I struggle with motivation to do them with how I am feeling and the DP. I try and pack my day with stuff to make it easier on myself but its hard. I tend to struggle more at the weekends as that’s when my mind is occupied less.
    Probably seems I’m doing better but I just dont ask for help anymore as I don’t think there is anything else to learn. I just have to press on until things calm down unfortunately.
    Sorry if this seems all too negative.

  27. Jamie Says:

    I think it is a good sign that you give advice to other people on the blog e.g. me. This is obviously a sign that are learning / have learnt things about the condition and are sharing your knowledge.

    I also find time on my own difficult but I guess the key thing is to be able to just sit down and read a book during the day or watch a film (I hardly ever do this for the same reason) and do it regardless of how you feel.

  28. Simon Says:

    I have a question for someone whom has recovered recently?

    I had anxiety and depression in 2009 and have been completely free of the symptoms for many years, I even completed a course on Mental Health Awareness. I can say that I believe my recovery was down to both Paul’s teachings and Dr Claire Weeks books and audio, I had “I HAD MY LIFE BACK AT LAST”

    Unfortunately I find myself with the condition again, this was caused I feel by not listening to my body and thinking I can handle everything until it just said enough is enough. What hell it is at the moment and of course all the old memories of past suffering come flooding back 24/7. I don’t want to dwell too much on all my symptoms and feelings and frustration in not being the person I was (that’s just creating more anxiety)

    Anyway the question I was thinking about today is “the internal voice”. I’ll try and explain as I am sure we all have the same. My mind is constantly doing role play about my anxiety and depression, and I run away with myself. An example would be I am struggling at work but I know I have to keep going, my boss is aware but my mind keeps having a conversation on what I will tell my boss next when I can’t do something and then starts all the negativity of saying I will have to go off sick, I’ll lose my job ect ect….. this is only one example of 100’s going through my head all day and night!!!

    I know we can’t stop the thoughts as that would be trying to fight it, however am I making the mistake of getting involved in the conversation rather than just ignoring it and probably challenging it.

    So for instance, the though comes again “I can’t do my job when I am in this state” STOP!!! and either laugh to myself or challenge my thought, stopping it before I get into more internal dialogue?

    Sorry I hope all this makes sense to someone and I aint losing it!!

    Thanks – “Keep going, I did it once I can do it again….. and so can you all!!”

    Simon

  29. Nolan Says:

    Hey Mark R…
    I know what you mean about the struggling with motivation. When I was bad I could go many days in a row with little more than an hour or 3 of the most stressful, exhausting ‘sleep’ imaginable.

    The morning would come and I would be terrified, exhausted, yet pumping with anxious energy. This was shortly after my son was born.
    To add to the fear I had to take a few months off of work… so I didn’t know if I would even be able to do my job when I got back to work.

    My first bit of advice: don’t feel the need to sustain any motivation. I had this thought that I somehow had to want to do what I was doing. That, if I lacked that ‘want’ I was somehow an even worse father and husband.
    But, then I shed that need for motivation/want to do something. Because all it did was set me up for even more turmoil. Now, I still did things with my family. But, I didn’t hold it against myself if there was no desire to actually do it.

    Why are you trying to pack your day with stuff? Is it because you don’t want to face the hollowness and despair of the anxiety/depression??
    I might be reading what you’re saying wrong…. but I wouldn’t try to flood my days with things so I can more quickly have them end. Face the full brunt of the anxiety. If you have quiet moments on a weekend when your internal turmoil is bubbling over because those quiet moments are making you focus more on the anxiety…. then don’t turn away from it. Let those waves crash over you with the attitude of “so be it”. As Paul would say: “Don’t be so impressed by it”.
    Filling your day with things to occupy your mind is very much being impressed by it.

    “probably isn’t anything more to learn”….
    Mark, I think you hit the nail on the head. Listen, we don’t do these things to accept in order to make it hurry up and leave us alone. We should truly try to find peace with the lack of peace in our lives.
    If “letting it be there” translates to “I’ll let it be here as long as that’s the quickest way to make it leave”…. I believe that’s coming at it from the wrong angle or with the wrong understanding.

    That might seem incoherent…. but I’ll just restate: “Find peace with the lack of peace”. That means be okay if you have little to no peace in your life.

    Say you have a big task in front of you…. someone has captured you and put you to tough labor. They tell you it’s going to eventually end. Eventually they’re going to let you go. But, they’re not going to tell you when. It might be an hour, or it might be 4 months. They assure you that the moment will come when you’ll know longer have to do this toil…. but they’re not going to give you the hour.
    So, you can either do the labor and work yourself into an even greater turmoil by constantly begging them to tell you when exactly you’ll be free from this hard labor. In doing this minutes will seem like hours. Hours will seem like weeks. During your ‘free time’ you find yourself running around in circles just so that you don’t have to face the questions that your mind is going to throw at you. You’re not at peace with the simple fact that you’re going to suffer for a bit and there’s no immediate way out.

    Or….
    you can do the labor and when that internal urge starts screaming “ask someone to tell you when this will all end!!!!”, you ignore it. Maybe you even try to chuckle at it because you’ve realized the futility in it. You’ve realized that in making a bigger deal of it it’s only made it seem more unbearable. Eventually minutes start to feel more like minutes…. hours more like hours.

    Sometimes I’d conceive of myself in a small boat lost at sea in the middle of a terrible storm. Huge waves buffeting my little boat… not knowing if I’d ever find that calm harbor. I could stand up on the bow of the ship screaming at the storm to stop, for the winds to blow me to that harbor…. but we know how effective that is going to be. Or, I could descend down into the cabin and pick up a book and get some reading in before bed. Doing the later made all of the difference.

  30. Andy J Says:

    Hi Guys,

    Firstly, thanks to Bryan and AJ for your posts in reply. I really appreciate you guys taking the time to respond.

    I guess the issue I am having is dwelling too much on these intrusive thoughts. I’ve allowed them to manifest and now see myself as a bad person. Habit has come in to where I am alot too. I was asked yesterday when I last felt truly happy and I struggled to come up with an answer. I couldnt remember when I went an entire day without any worries or any ruminating. Isnt it such a shame that we have to live like this, albeit (and hopefully) temporarily.

    I have all kinds of issues with thinking I am a bad person and that these thoughts arent anxious but are who I really am. I can’t disprove it as my anxiety always tends to point me to the things I fear the worst. Thats what becomes the daily battle for me, trying to convince myself I am not a bad person and that I am normal. I fear that if I dont make those attempts, then I could become that person. Which was never what I ever thought about prior to my anxiety years.

    Natural distraction alleviates these thoughts and fears, but as we all know attempting to get to that state isnt possible when ‘trying’.

    All the best,

    Andy

  31. Nolan Says:

    Hi Andy,

    I would get ruminating thoughts that would tell me to take my new born son’s head and smash it against the floor (and many, many other thoughts in a similar theme).
    Then, if it wasn’t a thought of extreme violence it is a part of a song that would play endlessly looping in my mind. Maybe a 3 second part of a song that would just play over and over.

    To cut to the chase: let it play, let it scream, let it torment…. and still live your life.

    You said:
    “I can’t disprove it as my anxiety always tends to point me to the things I fear the worst.”

    Don’t waste effort or time on trying to disprove the content of the fearful thoughts when the anxiety is on thick. I would get moments of clarity where all things just made sense…. where I knew, at a fundamental level, that I wasn’t broken. That this storm was just that: a storm that will eventually pass. At those moments it made sense to me that I never needed to engage with the anxiety in a grand debate over the value of my worth and the ‘truth’ of my supposed brokenness.

    Then, a setback would come and all of that certainty would wiped away. But, I noticed the cycle to it. Those setbacks actually helped me see that it was simply a bluff. And to patiently allow the pain to be there until peace was ready to come back into my body.

    You said:

    “Thats what becomes the daily battle for me, trying to convince myself I am not a bad person and that I am normal.”

    Then don’t fight that battle. I’ve heard this example being used before: think of a drunk at the end of the bar trying to goad you into a fight. You can argue with him, if you’d like…. but you’re just playing into his scheme to unsettle you. Or, you can chuckle to yourself about the absurdity of what he’s attempting to do. Maybe you’d even start to feel some compassion and pity for a drunk loon who needs to find worth in insulting you.

    Are you your thoughts? No. When this storm passes, Andy, you’ll experience a moment of clarity where things will just make sense. You’ll see that it was ultimately all a bluff.

    Let it all be there. Let the thoughts scream and howl at you greeting all of it with an “oh well, so be it”, and move back on with your day. Those thoughts will cease when they do, and not a moment too soon or late.

  32. ryan Says:

    Jenny,

    thanks for your reply, and your right, everyone is different. I’ve had maybe 3/4 panic attacks this year, and they honestly don’t bother me; i know what they are and why. i wish i could somehow pass that to you.

    Mine, always has revolved around DP, and not feeling real and I’ve never really had any respite. And i know its probably because i let it bother me so much, but that still doesn’t stop me getting involved. It’s a total paradox and i totally understand what’s happening; but EVERY time it shakes me to my core.

    does anybody else understand what i’m saying?

    Ryan

  33. Andy J Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    Thanks very much for your reply.

    The whole letting it be, is the difficult bit isn’t it? And actually following through with that philosophy. Its easy saying you will adopt that method when you are feeling OK, but when in the depths of despair, the hardest thing can be to not search for answers and reassurance.

    I have a few very specific fears, they might actually have become phobias. Different items trigger them. How do I overcome this? Do I just continue to use those items and reassure myself this is all anxiety? Or is that fighting?

    Thanks again,

    Andy

  34. Nolan Says:

    Hi Andy,

    Don’t concern yourself with the category of the fears. “Is this more a phobia than anxiety… is that more OCD than anxiety….”
    It gets you nowhere.

    Lump it all together under the banner of “anxiety”. Because the reaction to them is exactly the same.

    Take a phobia: Say you’re terrified of spiders and you really want to overcome this fear. So, you have a spider placed on your shoulder. How absurd of a demand would it be on yourself to immediately not be afraid of it? To hold yourself to the standard of “If I get afraid… I’ve failed”. Any sensible person would say “but, you are afraid of them. It happens automatically. You’re not willfully deciding to be afraid of them.”

    Since it’s happening (for the time being at least) automatically. I mean, since the fear springs on you both internally and automatically it’s an absurd requirement to hold yourself to the standard of simply not being afraid of it from the get go.

    And, if you were standing there with a spider on your shoulder and you’re already noticing yourself being afraid while holding that reaction against yourself…. I’m sure you can see how this whole experience is going to snowball out of control and in the next moment you’ll be batting the spider off of your shoulder while possibly running around and cursing the whole thing.

    So, let yourself be afraid. Don’t feel that it’s your job to not feel fear. You’re going to feel fear and accept that that’s happening internally and automatically. Accept that this is what happens to someone with a phobia. Let the fear be there as long as it wants to…. allow yourself to experience the fear.

    That’s essentially the same with anxiety. Let it be there. Don’t hold yourself to the standard of “feeling the fear” as being a failure on your part; because it’s happening automatically (for the time being).

  35. Aj Says:

    Hi Andy
    AT the beginning of my anxiety I would automatically stay glued to my computer, continuously working on some ppt presentation or simply surfing the net or editing the photos I had taken. After reading Paul’s book I realized that I was doing it to avoid anxious feelings and thoughts and to shut out the outside world. As I progressed and became a little better a funny thing happened, I developed a nausea /fear of computer and would avoid using it. I would feel anxious to on the computer when work demanded, as work on computer progressed I forgot about my computer fear a later I would laugh at the whole matter. Now too I feel resistance to start the comp (how stupid this can get?) but now I no its all anxiety game. Somehow my mind reacted to my computer addiction in early stage and developed fear when I realized the fear was a ‘lie’. Now I do not avoid using the computer and I am comfortable working and not over indulging

  36. Eitan Says:

    Nolan (and if other’s want to respond),

    Your comments are great. I read some of your comments in a past blog post and it all made sense. I’ve been diagnosed with OCD/anxiety and sometimes get mild depression from this. I’ve had every theme imaginable and i’m obsessed with trying to fix myself. And then my thoughts try to convince me i’m a nihilist and that i’m being tricked by society to be happy. It even tries to convince me this method is wrong and what if i’m fooling myself. I know it’s all a bunch of crap, but since it feels so real I can’t even argue with it. And then i’m scared to not fight it cause it feels like I believe it. Usually everytime I stopped fighting it, things cleared up again and I felt more like my normal self where things made sense and I didn’t feel as detached. Then one thought or bad mood brought me right back down. Like the thought could be “how do you know this is the right state of mind? what if it’s a lie? why do you want to be normal again? what if depression is more rational? what if depression is happiness?” Haha you can see how my imagination twists logic so easily.

    Now i’m also obsessed that I have a personality disorder so I’m trapped in this state forever. I used to be able to think about existential, future, moral and other thoughts without a problem. My biggest anxieties in the past were figuring out what to do with my life, improving myself and if i’ll be alone. Now my worries are 100x more intense and revolve around other things. And the future seems so bleak too it’s like “so what if you recover? everything’s boring.” I know this is clearly influenced by my current state but no logic can penetrate this. I’m scared i’m going to end up believing my thoughts and lose my mind over this. I’m seeing a great specialist right now and I just started Prozac because it was getting really bad. How do I just let go without the desire to solve or counter it? What about past issues, do I accept those and let them go as well? I also have this fear that If i let go trying to solve these problems (how to improve myself as a person, anxiety/ocd, etc.) I’ll become a completely different person and find out all my past desires were only lies (wanting a gf/wife, a family, becoming a man of integrity, a good job, etc.). It’s like I want to be a better improved version of myself, but I don’t know how to do that without trying to figure it out. Maybe if I let go it will become clear as day to me as I recover?

  37. Nolan Says:

    Hi Eitan,

    First off: I wouldn’t put too much worth on all of the labels. Whether you’re more this or more that… or alittle (or a lot) of both.
    Anyone who’s been through this (myself included) have been there; with the desire to name it or, being impressed with the names given to it. But, they’re just attempts to categorize something that’s essentially very personal.

    You’ve felt those moments where the impact of the thoughts don’t bother you, right? Where your mind feels more clear. You can entertain those thoughts… and then move beyond them with no residue left in your mind as to the worth or weight of them on the essence of you.

    But, then it’s like a switch has been flipped: and every thought (namely every negative ones) stains you… stains your mind. And it seems to just spread out from there. You try to argue against it but the apparent reality of the pain and despair seem utterly total and indefatigable.
    A silly little thought now is able to torment you. It makes you doubt everything about you and everything else as well.

    However, then a glimpse of peace breaks through it again, like a ray of light. And for a moment you’re actually able to 1) see the absurdity of those thoughts of despair and 2) see that you’re not really broken at all. And it just comes naturally. It didn’t come because you were a master Cartesian philosopher who with stunning logic slayed the beast of anxiety and depression (and all of the symptoms that go along with those).

    You’re in a rough way right now, Eitan… and at an automatic level you’re both being presented with and seemingly convinced of doubt and despair. What I mean is that you’re not willfully doing this to yourself. Now, maybe certain things like how you react to stressful situations brought you to this point…. but as it stands now the tides of your emotional and psychological state are beyond your immediate control.

    Make your life bigger than the doubt, despair, internal ruminations. Let it all be there for as long as they want to be there (fighting against them just seem to further entrench them)…. but, make your life bigger again. Not so much with the aim of chasing this dreck out of your life; but to truly want to be at peace with the torment that you may feel (at any time in your life).
    Besides, what’s the alternative? Keeping your life on hold for this? Haven’t you given it enough respect already? Haven’t you let it lead you in thought and action enough?? Why don’t you calmly take the reigns of your life and offer another option.

    One idea would be to make the object of your intentional concern someone else. Automatically everything shifts back to you and your existential and ontological thoughts. And, the content of which don’t sound to be too affirming nor peaceful. So, don’t fight them… because it’s only going to further entrench them. But, while your automatic impulse is to do that…. make your intentional action (willful action) aimed outside of yourself to someone else. You want a wife someday… what great opportunity in front of you then.
    Loving someone isn’t something you complete in your mind via theoretical reasoning. It’s something you do when you make your life less about you and more about another. It’s that simple. Do things for other people… with concern for their happiness your guiding light and not so much concern about yourself.
    Very few people find happiness rummaging around inside their own mind.

    And, do all of that while you let the paid, doubt, despair, spinning thoughts be there. Let them run around for as long as they are. You will find peace.

  38. Eitan Says:

    Thank you Nolan!

    Yes those moments of clarity are good. Although I never have felt 100% normal in those moments, but close to it. Now the thoughts seem to sabotage me when I’m feeling better but I guess I should just let them be there. It’s like my mind is trying to convince me I’ve seen the truth and thought too much that it’s impossible to get back to normal.

    I use to use tricks to relieve myself or make me feel better that i’ll be normal again and recover. Like I would say how before my main panic attack, I could think all of these thoughts and not be bothered by them. And it works for some time but then the thoughts go “WELL WHAT IF YOUR MEMORIES AREN’T REAL?” Or i’ll remind myself what I want to do in life and get relief and a bit of motivation. But then the thoughts could say “Well what if nothing matters? What if you’re a narcissist, schizoid or borderline and actually a terrible person so all those desires are for bad reasons? What if you’ll never be satisfied?” And tons of these thoughts contradict each other but like you’ve said before, there’s no arguing with Anxiety/Depression. Any bit of it’s twisted logic is enough to cause doubt.

    It’s the not having clarity that’s the worst. It’s like no answer is good enough. I can’t even fathom how I didn’t think these things before OCD/anxiety kicked in. I can only guess it’s because my brain was in a more normal default state of mind where I could just perceive things normally. I deep down believe I’ll get there again. Looking in the past I could totally see how I was led into this state. But that’s another obsession of mine…analyzing the past and trying to figure things out. It’s like I want the perfect answer so I could fix this and myself and get the life I’ve always wanted and to be happy. I guess that’s why Acceptance/Letting Go is the first step. Searching for an answer is only getting me down

  39. Maggie Says:

    God bless you Nolan, Belgian and Rich!
    Your posts are great!

  40. Nolan Says:

    incredibly nice of you to say, Maggie.
    God bless you as well.

  41. Sarah Says:

    Nolan just wanted to say aswell how great you are for offering your help. I have never posted on this blog before but I have felt compelled to today to let you know that you have helped me a lot. I am just somebody probably miles away from you silently taking in your words. Thank you

  42. Andy J Says:

    Hi Nolan, as others have said, your input on this site is fantastic and you are a lovely person for continuing to help others.

    I know what I need to do, and to stop myself from sinking in to an unhelpful path. I know this will take time to fade, but I am putting my faith in Paul and you and moving on.

    Thanks again.

  43. Belgian Says:

    “Your life is bigger than anxiety”.

    Nolan, I really love this idea because it puts anxiety into perspective.

    When anxiety hits, it’s easy to get totally consumed by it. We get totally overwhelmed by the intensity of the feelings and we start to live our life within the boundaries anxiety imposes on us. We avoid, we ruminate, we despair. All because our life has become anxiety and anxiety seems to be our life.

    If only we could accept our anxiety and zoom out. We would notice that life around us did not change, is not at all affected by our anxiety. We would see and understand that life is bigger than anxiety. This opens a door to recovery.

    I will give you an example to explain this. I had a fantastic time this weekend with some friends. We partied all night long, had way too many drinks and only slept for 5 hours in two days. My personal recipe for anxiety. Anxiety was therefore inevitable and so it visited me on Sunday night. I couldn’t sleep and images flashed before my closed eyes. I was afraid I was going to lose my mind. But, as I’ve been through this so many times, I knew my panic attack was trying to trick me in believing my anxious thoughts. As much as possible, I let myself go and tried to accept the experience. It was still horrifying but I managed to fall asleep. The next day all of my usual worries linked to anxiety surfaced, but I refused to let them determine my planning. I just did what I had to do that day and tried to enjoy the things I usually enjoy. I made sure I cancelled some evening activities in order to catch up on some sleep. All this while, I knew and understood that this was only temporary. That my life is much more than an even intense feeling of anxiety on any given moment. One day later, anxiety had left me already. Now, if I had started to fight my anxiety, I am sure I would still feel it. I am sure I would still be doubting everything.

    You see my point? All of our anxious doubts and thoughts have no real substance. Their intensity originates in our anxiety. Leave anxiety out of the equation and all you left with are thoughts, figments of our imagination.

    The world around us is not build with thoughts. We build our lives with our actions and our decisions. Those are the only things we can take responsibility for. Don’t waste too much time on living your life inside your head.

    Your life is bigger than your head and it’s definitely bigger than anxiety!

  44. Maggie Says:

    Oh my God Belgian just what I needed today.
    I feel I learned a lot and i am managing it
    some days better. However for the last couple
    days I am beating myself up and keep thinking
    that I have been feeling terrible for the last months
    Only few nice days but the rest of them I am consumed
    By anxiety. Now I start to believe I am becoming
    Bipolar because it happens that someone mentioned
    It by me.
    Yes just like you described it my day can be nice
    and I am the one ruinning it with some
    Intrusive thoughts and I start the fighting process.
    Not proud of it at all!!!!!
    God bless you all!

  45. Maggie Says:

    My question guys: mornings are the worse
    Jelly legs, churning stomach, trips to bathroom,…
    How do you manage?

  46. Jamie Says:

    The likes of Nolan, Belgian, Bryan and Rich are the reasons I visit this blog. Great posts guys.

    I’m going through a pretty tough time at the moment arguing about maintenance money, childcare arrangements and divorce with my ex so need posts like these to help me through.

  47. Rich Says:

    Maggie, I’ve been there, and still have to deal with stuff like that. It’s difficult because you can’t ‘float’ through the need to go to the bathroom, and you can’t apply mindfulness to distract you from your stomach – When in a situation like that I often question just how am I going to get out of this, how I am going to go places and do things.

    During this time, in this sensitive, angry, depressed, self-conscious state, it is easy to be taken away on your anxious thoughts – to look back at bad times, look forward with fear and a complete lack of confidence.

    The conclusion that I have come to is that you cannot ignore physical symptoms like that – you can only manage it. You have to just deal with it. Get through the moment with as little ‘care’ and ‘bother’ as possible – be as ambivalent as possible and as passive as you can.

    You can look at moments like that as being horrendous, embarrassing, scary etc, or you can look at them as opportunities to practice recovery techniques – which is your only way out of the fear loop you’re in.

    Just deal with what you need – if you’re late, or miss an appointment, or have to leave a situation etc, just do it – and don’t care. You’re in an anxious, sensitised state, so just deal with it. In dealing with it without adding secondary anxiety to the situation, your body, in time, will learn that it is not necessary to go into ‘flight mode’ like that, and will calm down. This is a process, which sadly it can only learn by you doing what you want to do, regardless. Try not to shy away from things, not to cancel, not to give into your body’s signals to ‘be safe and go nowhere’. It is only in pushing through this smoke screen that it will see there is no genuine danger, and to restore a more natural balance.

    I try to avoid nothing, but still suffer with anticipatory anxiety such as this – but I push myself to not shy away and give in. Instead I just ride the storm and let go – letting my body do whatever it ‘thinks’ it needs to. Of course, whatever I am anxious about is not as bad as I think it will be, I just need to let my mind realise this.

  48. Mark R Says:

    Thanks Nolan for taking the time out to reply.

    “Your life is bigger than anxiety”.
    This was the point I was trying to make in my post but I didn’t explain it very well at all. When I said that I fill my day I meant it more in the sense that I do it because I absolutely refuse to let anxiety stop me living. I fill the day with things I want to do rather than to do it in the hope of keeping anxiety away from the door.

    I also wanted to tag onto Belgian’s post about the transparency and BS nature of anxiety. On Monday I travelled to Sunderland from Birmingham (If you’re in the UK you’ll know how far it is!) to watch Everton play. When I was in the ground I completely forgot about how I felt as I was just focused on the game, the crowd, atmosphere etc. It was the most normal I’d felt in a while. Just before the end of the game I had the thought “What if I feel bad tomorrow?”……..wham all the symptoms came back………grinding teeth, tension, dp, nasty body feeling etc. Once again anxiety wanted to pull me away from what I was doing. I stepped back, noticed it, didn’t add to it and the wave died down eventually. These feelings are so powerful, yet so transient in nature. Just as Belgian said these thoughts have absolutely no substance at all.

  49. Andy J Says:

    Does any one find that they are stuck in a routine with their anxiety?

    I seem to be better on weekends when my day feels busier. But during the week on the drive and then walk in to work, I am alone with my thoughts for up to an hour. This will then set me off on a bad start and it is every day without fail.

    Do people have pep talks with themselves to try and ‘reassure themselves’? I feel by just ignoring and continuing that it isnt actually dealing with the issue in hand and that is is merely in the background, but not disappearing.

    The whole anxiety and depression cycle is hard too. If im not anxious I’m feeling down and waiting for the next episode to pop up.

  50. Maggie Says:

    Thank you so much for the reply Rich!
    Yes I agree it is anticipatory anxiety that is not
    helping me at all.
    It helps to know I am not the only one dealing
    with these physical symptoms.
    I keep trying to convince myself that they will not harm
    Me but sometimes my anxiety is above my logic.
    God bless you all!

  51. Alz Says:

    Rich ,
    I’ve had time to think and reflect on what you have said. I know everyone’s anxiety is different but i think whether it’s in its multitude of physical or mental forms, i think the main thing is being able to understand that it is all happening because of a tired mind which has been made tired due to excessive fear and rumination.
    I do wish there was a better way of the adrenaline releasing itself.. why couldn’t one have happy thoughts for example. Anyway i guess the negativity is just to protect human beings from danger.
    So today if i thought .. what if my mother was sitting on the bench while i was walking or what if i start seeing people in the room that i am in and that thought is so scary that it shakes me up for some time, i should let the thought be.. i should let it scare me but what i should do it let it dominate my day? Now that is a bit tough.I had to go to a dinner after that and i was completely shaken up … so i accept that too and i did . I was in a daze but i went through it..like you said :rode the waves.
    Tom im starting the gym and if i feel scared about going then so what.. ill go..
    next week if i have to go see my mom and i get scared that i might get worse then again.. so what..
    i guess for sometime i have to accept this new reality..this new me and have the faith that it will end. Don’t know when that will happen but for now i must function like this . Everyone tells me to be comfortable with the discomfort but its not human nature to feel that way is it ? I should accept that too?

  52. Alz Says:

    should let the thought be.. i should let it scare me but what i should do it let it dominate my day? By this i meant i shouldnt let it dominate my day..which is not easy.. the entire brain seems to get rattled .

  53. Katie Says:

    Hello Everybody,I’ve never posted on a blog before,but I just wanted to say how grateful I am to read all your comments and advice.I’ve had anxiety on and off for 19 years ,not continuously thankfully.Ive not had a bad day today,however I was sitting at my computer when I suddenly felt something really bad was going to happen,which sent me into melt down,I know it’s just my mind but does anyone else have these feelings?

  54. KM Says:

    Hi All
    I haven’t posted in over two weeks. I wrote a few weeks ago about having a really intense set back after a very stressful year, including poor health.
    I have been very sick again for past ten days, so sick I couldn’t do anything for myself. I’ve been getting bouts of a severe virus twice a year for past three years and it’s taken 18 months to diagnose it. Finally this week I’ve been diagnosed with a rare form of viral meningitis, one that keeps coming back.
    Not knowing what was wrong with me every time I felt very ill played a huge role in my worry which led to this recent setback. The past ten days with my focus being on how sick I’ve felt, I’ve hardly thought about my anxiety as to be honest, I’ve been too sick too!!!
    Oddly today with feeling a bit better and being able to get out of bed the anxious thoughts have started to creep back in! How f**kin dare they! Haven’t I suffered enough???? Anyway I just paid them no attention and they ramped up to symptoms and thoughts about ‘feeling out of body’ and unreality type thoughts! My poor brain is trying to recover from a debilitating virus, it doesn’t need this on top of it! I’m doing my best to ignore the symptoms and thoughts and trying to look after my health as I have a long recovery ahead!
    Being so sick makes you super vulnerable, and all that time in bed staring at the ceiling! My physical symptoms of the virus are absolutely shocking! But I don’t care as I know what it is now and I have a treatment plan to recover!
    You can never underestimate the power of worry! Now I know what’s wrong with me I’m no longer scared about the unknown! It’s the same principal with anxiety, accept we fear the unknown! One simple difference causes so much suffering.
    Just thought I’d share :)

  55. Lucy Says:

    Hey Nolan – wondering if you can help?

    I’m going through the ‘no sleep’ thing – five months now. I have no idea how I’m still standing. I’m averaging an hour of sleep a night, sometimes none at all, then maybe very 10 days or so I’ll actually sleep 4-6 blessed hours. I get to sleep immediately, but jolt out with the hour and that’s it, a night of torturous agitation follows, and of course the sleep deprivation exacerbates the anxiety/thoughts/depression…

    I feel like a shell of a person. Family members are encouraging the use of sleeping pills, but I just feel they make things worse. I really do try and ‘not fight’ it, I lie quietly and ‘let it all happen’, encouraging myself that it’s ok just to let the body rest etc.

    I know you went through the mill with it and odnered if you could shed any light on where to go from here. It is so hard to deal with the anxiety as it. I know I really need to have a ‘give up’ attitude, to stop letting it matter so much, but right now it really, really does matter as it’s destroying my life.

    Thanks nolan,
    Lucy

  56. Nolan Says:

    Hi everyone.
    First – thank you for the kind words. It’s incredibly thoughtful.
    Second – I promise I’ll get back to any one who asked me a question…. This week at work I learned that my position is going away. I’ve been with this company for 14 years so I’m a bit taken aback from this announcement.

    But, on a good note: historically I’m terrible with change. New job hunting would be a great source of anxiety and stress for me. But, still taking the attitude advocated by Paul in his book I can say sincerely that this is not bothering me nearly as much as it would have before in the past.
    I don’t feel overcome with anxiety. The fear that is there feels more of an appropriate level… but, it’s not making the bottom fall out of my life.
    This is very VERY untypical of me… and, I’m thankful again to Paul and others who’ve helped me develop this better/healthier way of looking at the bad stuff that can come to us.

    So, I promise I’ll get back to any question. I just have to get a few things sorted out first.

    Take care… God bless.

  57. Blake Says:

    Hello All,

    I’ve been lurking for quite some time, and feel i understand the message Paul is saying…

    I just keep having this idea that what is occuring is not anxiety, Yes, i have a history of anxiety for the last 10 years, its like an obsession of how i feel, and now the DP has basically been strong for the last year. Its weird, i’ll be sitting there doing something, and then all of a sudden i will feel like i’m back to reality, its very hard for me to explain, or i will feel like im going to wake up any minute from a dream, and just keeping having thoughts that its not anxiety anymore, but something else. argggg.. So i dont have worries about anything else in my life, except for how i feel and the weird thoughts i’m having… I will look at something, and automatically think its weird or looks weird, doest look right. Or like my brain is very slow at processing thoughts, i’ll be driving and see something, and then a few seconds later i will think about it.. lol.. Yah, i’m not sure how to explain it at all, i guess thats what freaks me out the most. I really hope all this gibberish makes sense.. :)

  58. Nicole Says:

    Hi all,

    I don’t come on here very often but saw Lucys post about no sleeping.

    That was one of my worse symptoms, getting to sleep within seconds then once awake finding it almost impossible to go back to sleep, tossing and turning etc.

    I did take over the counter remedies for a while but in the end what helped me most was realising that nothing awful was going to happen through lack of sleep, yes I felt horrible but I never collapsed or completely crumbled. In fact often my anxiety was at its lowest after a bad nights sleep as I was too tired to fight it! I would also let my mind and body go completely wild and not try to control anything, often I would be lying there shaking but I let it. Another thing that helped me was just listening out for my breathing while lying on my back, I often drifted off doing that. I never “tried” to get back to sleep as once you do that it makes life harder. Once I had reached the point of not minding being awake, I learned to love the quiet house and the fact that I was warm in bed etc, my sleep patterns returned to normal.

    When I had my children I survived on very little sleep but because I never worried about it, it never became a problem. Its the worry about not sleeping that makes things worse. My husband often wakes at 3 and struggles to get back to sleep but he never worries about it, just accepts it and enjoys the sleep when he gets it!

    Hope this helps.

  59. Andy J Says:

    Sorry to hear that Nolan. Hopefully the job hunt is fruitful in the not so different future. You have come a very long way and like you said, have the tools to deal with this.

    I’d like to get some advice if that’s ok?

    As I’ve spoken about before, my anxiety is very much on intrusive thoughts. I know you gave me an example of a spider, but say that spider was constantly on your shoulder? How would you deal with it? I have something which plagues me every day. It’s my mobile phone. I have intrusive thoughts around googling/searching for things I shouldn’t. I’ve had these thoughts for nearly two years and they are absolutely paralysing me. I hate using my phone now and love nothing more than when it is out of battery or out of signal. The whole issue around, ‘do I hate this enough’ etc is an absolute nightmare. It’s really making my life a misery. If I could deal with these thoughts and understand them better, I feel id be able to make progress. I try and self talk that I haven’t always had them but it just doesn’t sink in.

    Thanks again for your advice.

  60. Maggie Says:

    @Nolan you know how to manage Anxiety and you
    Help us with your great advice and kindness then
    I am sure you will impress any employer with your
    Personality and no doubt you will land a job very
    Quickly.

    @KM then you can see the anxiety trick while
    you were focused on your real illness, you forgot
    all about anxiety. As soon as you knew what’s wrong
    Old habit came back. It could also be the stress while
    waiting for the doctor’s update after maybe some tests.

    Best

  61. Alz Says:

    Nolan ,
    Good luck with the job hunt! Ul do great :)

  62. Alz Says:

    KM
    hope you get well- uv made such a great analogy except with people like us it’s so hard letting go since anxiety makes you feel like you’re going mad and life is so precious for us that we’re trying to keep anxiety st bay – which obviously never happens .. Anxiety wins!

  63. Beevee Says:

    Nolan

    I recovered following the approach advocated by Dr Claire Weekes and Paul and your last post about redundancy resonated with me. I haven’t been made redundant but during my recovery, I set off for work every morning full of stress and fear. I did all the wrong things and as you would expect being anxious, my mind was telling me that the job was the source of my feelings. Although certain aspects of my job are stressful, I knew deep down that I could handle it because that was the case before anxiety came into my life. I used that as a reference point or glimpsing if you like and carried on. I knew that I had to feel everything and move forward and learn to be comfortable about feeling uncomfortable. It works too.

    Now recovered, my stress levels are back to normal and a walk in the park compared to how I used to feel.

    I am now imparting my experiences from my road to recovery on another website but encouraging members to view this website in order to fully understand what is required to recover. Nothing!

    The main thing that stuck with me to describe acceptance was a quote about being comfortable

  64. Tasnim Says:

    I’ve come to the point where I can dismiss many of my anxiety fears, and while I am at a point where I dont have to focus on anxiety anymore, I am still going through the up and down cycle. I’m feel anxiety again, but no reason to point it. I only fealt with anxiety for a few months, and its been eight months toward recovery. I just feel like I’ll forever be in this up and down cycle of being okay, and terrible, and then okay. I wish I could meet more emotional stability.

  65. Bryan Says:

    Andy,

    As counterintuitive as this may sound, the only way to deal with intrusive thoughts like that is to invite it on in to stay. Your job is to take the emotional charge out of it. Because if it wasn’t your phone it would be something else. These thoughts are thr product of a fatigued mind trying to protect you from a fear you have decided is meaningful. Your reaction to it made it what it is today. In reality, this “thing” you fear doesn’t exist. It’s not real. I’m sure you have moments when it’s not there. You know why? Because it never existed. It’s not real. No one else can see or think it. It’s a passing thought. You have millions per day. But this one took on meaning because your fatigued and stressed mind was so appalled by it. It’s so unlike you that it scares you the most. It’s intrusive thought 101. It’s always the thing you’re least likely to do or have happen that sticks. Ironically.

    Have you read Paul’s pieces on intrusive thoughts? Claire Weekes? We really have to educate ourselves on the basics with these things. Once you understand what this is… you can smile and invite it to join you everywhere. Every second. Smile and joke with it. However you want to take the emotion out. For me it was just pure allowing. For some it’s more creative but always allowing or embracing… never rejecting or fighting.

  66. Alz Says:

    Bryan I just get scared for example that with the thoughts I get – eg my husband has scary face , people on the road look funny .. my imagination will just get carried away towards insanity . I should let it by then it’s like I’m living in this imaginary world . I don’t know if you get what I mean .

  67. Alz Says:

    By =but

  68. Debbie Says:

    Alz i get what u mean i live in the same world.

  69. Andy J Says:

    Hi Bryan,

    I haven’t. Is there a post on here regarding them? Or is it in the book?

    I know what I have to do, it’s just so difficult allowing these thoughts when they clearly have such drastic consequences if acted upon.

    Thanks for your advice.

  70. Bryan Says:

    Andy,

    Yes Paul has done at learn one full blog post on intrusive thoughts. Scan the archives and dig those up. Claire Weeks covered it extensively in Hope and Hep for your Nerves as well. This is mandatory reading IMO.

    The key here is taking the emotion out of the thought. That happens through understanding of why it’s happening along with a new attitude towards the thought itself.

    And when you say the “consequences are high” for your thought… I won’t repeat over people’s thoughts that I’ve heard but ALL intrusive thoughts people have are consequential. That’s why they stick in a tired fatigued brain.

    If it had no consequences, you wouldn’t care. Eating a piece of chocolate cake is unlikely to cause consequences. Hence, unlikely to be an intrusive thought.

    It’s all bull####. Your mind picked this at random. Could have been anything.

    Read those references materials above and help yourself lose the emotion.

  71. Leslie Says:

    Alz,

    Your subconscious knows exactly what you are afraid of. When I feel horrible I just remind myself that my subconscious is reacting to the fear of going crazy. Just allow that thick ugly feeling to be there. It feels like you will go crazy but just fall into it. A tiny window opens up and you feel a bit better which reaffirms that it wasn’t real in the first place. Just because you “get it ” once or twice and start to feel better…you are not to panic when it comes back stronger than ever. Your mind is caught in a loop and pursues it even stronger as you recover. It doesn’t help to ask why or how can I keep it from happening as you get the opposite. You got this! It feels just horrible but the thoughts and feelings are not real. I made the mistake so many times of reasoning and hating how I felt. Slowly things are improving. I’m living my life in spite of it.
    Sorry for your loss. I lost 2 pregnancies as well. Just fall into all this. Each one of us thinks our symptoms are worse than others. The nature of the beast.

  72. Jamie Says:

    Hi Bryan

    I have Self Help For Your Nerves by Claire Weekes ? Do you know if other books by Dr Weekes are very similar or is each different one very useful ?

  73. Alz Says:

    There’s also hope and help for your nerves – hmm I think it’s the same as self help for your nerves ..

  74. Alz Says:

    Bryan or Rich could you reply to my posts – would help.

  75. Bryan Says:

    Jamie,

    I believe Self Help is the same. You can also purchase Pass Through Panic and other audio books from her on iTunes.

    Alz,

    I’m not sure what your question is. You said you had scary thoughts. My post above deals with that. (To Andy) The advice is the same.

    At this point Alz I think my biggest advice to you would be to try to start putting what people have told you in the past few months here in practice. At some point we can ask the same questions dozens of times and become paralyzed in analysis. I’ve done all of this in the past. I’m still working on putting it all in place 100% myself. But, we have to really act on this at some point, not just analyze or seek reassurance.

  76. Alz Says:

    Bryan,
    The thoughts are so realistic and i mean a different scary- not like obsessive scary thoughts Claire Weekes mentions.. my thought will be for example , my husband’s face is scary and it’ll play on and on and on.. of course he is himself but my thoughts just keep playing to the point that im scared he might just morph into a scary face. Now if i let go, and let the thoughts go off on their own then i can just imagine me going nuts.. At this point my imagination is running so wild that if i let it/thoughts an open gateway or let them come and go.. itll all head towards insanity.
    Rich so rightly pointed out at how i should have a what if attitude. Yes the what if helps but the fear is still there.. the emotion of fear does not really go. And even with the what if my mind still tries to subconsciously find a way to justify the thoughts because the fear is there .. totally letting go would mean inviting such thoughts which iv never had before and which make me think iv gone mad.

  77. Melissa Says:

    Alz,

    As I have written before, I too have had that. ALL of it! You are letting your mind run wild and control you. What if you just tuned your attention onto something else. Find a past time. There is no quick fix or pill that will make all of this go away. You must just get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

    If it is not working for you, maybe you need to speak to someone else. Who can give you homework so that your attention is not on you all the time.

  78. Alz Says:

    Melissa your thoughts were lik that what sort of things did you do to keep busy?

  79. Alz Says:

    When

  80. Doreen Says:

    Alz – please do stop looking for answers to how to manage living with anxiety by continuously asking questions such as the one to Melissa above. How would any answer she give help you? She is just making a suggestion about you possibly trying to remove the focus from your inner monologue onto something external.
    You are continually feeding your scary thoughts by using the phrase ‘going mad’ which is in fact meaningless. Just about everyone who contributes to this blog is here because of ‘mad thoughts’ at some point- read the post by Andy for instance.
    Bryan’s answer to him applies to you as well.

  81. KM Says:

    Alz,
    I don’t think the thoughts your describing are that scary to be honest, I think you’re just scaring yourself with your imagination.
    We all have silly rampant thoughts, like when I’m experiencing really high anxiety I can’t look people in the face, I can’t look at my own daughter, as I’m worried they’ll notice or somehow ‘see’ how irrational my thoughts and feelings are. When I’m not anxious I don’t have any of those thoughts or feelings at all I’m engrossed in conversation. It’s one big trick, and your playing it on yourself! It takes time and understanding to move out of fears way and our bodies have to de-sensitise to our brains! It does happen, I know it does as I’ve been there many times before.
    You’re OK ?

  82. KM Says:

    Alz,
    I don’t think the thoughts your describing are that scary to be honest, I think you’re just scaring yourself with your imagination.
    We all have silly rampant thoughts, like when I’m experiencing really high anxiety I can’t look people in the face, I can’t look at my own daughter, as I’m worried they’ll notice or somehow ‘see’ how irrational my thoughts and feelings are. When I’m not anxious I don’t have any of those thoughts or feelings at all I’m engrossed in conversation. It’s one big trick, and your playing it on yourself! It takes time and understanding to move out of fears way and our bodies have to de-sensitise to our brains! It does happen, I know it does as I’ve been there many times before.
    You’re OK ?

  83. Doreen Says:

    Nolan – just a ‘hello’ and hope that stuff works out regarding your job. Life throws rubbish at all of us unless we are very lucky and it seems you have learned to keep the level of anxiety appropriate and focused rather than becoming all consuming.

  84. alz Says:

    I think everyone is sick of me seeking reassurance.. Doreen i understand uv reached that point where you can coexist with your anxiety and are not fearful of it. I understand how such questions can be frustrating for the person who is out of the loop. If my repeated questions are getting to anyone Im sorry about that… Ive never experienced such anxiety before and since im causing it ,i guess asking for solutions wont help.

  85. Alexis Says:

    Hi alz

    I was using this site 4 years ago because I was in a bad place and came back recently because I was in that place again. I just wanted to say that I know how you feel with the crazy/scary thoughts but you have to realise that these are just thoughts. Everytime I have a thought about going mad/crazy I tell myself ‘yea you’ve thought that before and nothing has happened’ the only thing that happens from believing these thoughts are anxiety and panic. I choose not to believe them. Sometimes it’s hard because they feel very real but the fact that when I’m not so anxious they don’t seem relevant seem to make it a little easier. I really understand how hard it is but the constant questioning is just adding to how you feel and more thoughts. Nothing anyone is going to say will make you feel better at least not for very long anyway. You hold the key.

    I’m still in it but I’m getting slightly better and I also feel better when I accept everything. Hope you feel better soon x

  86. Belgian Says:

    Alz,

    we are not sick of you seeking reassurance. On the contrary. But you will have to understand that this continuing reassurance is not helping you in the long run. You are still running away from your fears. Almost all of your posts, even your replies end with a question on which the answer has been given in the first reply already. As long as you are not confronting your fears, you will be under their (your own) spell.

    I guess everyone on this forum agrees that you are in a tough place. We are / have all been there. I feel so much compassion with you, Alz. But, I know you will be able to get through this.

    Try to move away from the topic, the forum for three days and confront your fears. Look at your partner’s face. Stare at it. Feel the fear. Feel the thought. Feel it through and through. Look at it. Embrace it. Take enough rest and be gentle for yourself. You can do this!

  87. Andy J Says:

    Hi Bryan,

    Thanks very much for your reply. I’ve had a look and I think I’ve found the article you are mentioning. Its hard as I know that what Paul went through is different to what I am, but I guess thats the case with every one.

    I think what has happened with me is I have suffered from significant generalized anxiety. I then had an intrusive thought which I was unable to dismiss and tried my best to argue away (which I know is totally the wrong approach). This thought has never been answered and the importance I have given to it has caused it to stick around and become familiar. This has also meant my resilience and hatred of it has also weakened, mainly through the familiarity.

    I need to readdress this thought and understand where it originated (as an intrusive thought), rather than the ‘do nothing’ as it isnt helping to clear the issue up. I also need to remember that the subsequent suffering is because of the anxiety and the fight against it.

    The low feeling is very hard to deal with however, would any one else say they have been depressed because of how they feel?

    Thanks again,

    Andy

  88. Bryan Says:

    Andy,

    Depletion, depression, fatigue – all thugs that can pop in and out when experiencing stress disorder. It all feels different and important. Yet it never is. It’s all of the same origin. A stressed mind and body that has been overtaxed and scared us into reacting inappropriately – causing more stress and CNS taxation.

  89. Jake Says:

    Is it possible to have anxiety from your childhood? I feel I have never been in tune with my emotions it’s like I can’t feel.

  90. Shawn Says:

    Hey guys, I haven’t been on here since last December or January, I’ve been doing quite well, I’ve had a wee little setback over the last few days, but I know I’ll get over it again and I’m still functioning very well.
    I’ve been temporarily promoted at work and my wife had a little boy, all since July, so really I’m not surprised I’ve felt a bit grim, even though they are positive things it all adds to the stress. Also the weather doesn’t help; it’s so grey and dreary.
    The temporary promotion is great because of the money, but my lord the pressure has gone up! And I’m a little worried because I’m more likely to go to something horrible than I was in my last role.
    I’m really grateful to Nolan, Belgium and everyone else who contributes, I’ve been out of the loop so long I needed a little recap on a few things.
    I haven’t had to see a counsellor in nearly a year, and the fact I’ve been able to function in such a demanding role shows how far I’ve come. Anyone in the thick of it, I promise it gets better, I don’t think even now I’m nearly half as bad as I was on a good day a year and a half ago; but it’s easy to forget how far you’ve come.

  91. Simon Says:

    Hello everyone,

    I am not doing too well at the moment with anxiety and DP and I thought I had all the knowledge required to stay on the road to recovery. Things arn’t getting much better and I think I know the reason why, but can I hell as like do anything about it.

    I am working but finding increasigly difficult to function, often putting things off that I would normally not shy away from, having to force myself to do the most simplist of tasks and feeling no real benefit.

    I do think I know what my problem is and I am hoping that someone can advise me.

    I can not for the life of me get out of my own head, everything I do, everything I see I question in my head. For instance, whilst I am at work, people are going about their day to day stuff and I constantly talking in my head questioning why I can’t be how I used to be. I look at people if they are laughing and I get so down, I look at people who look sad and I get so down. I cry multile times a day just to get some relief from the strain…. but I know this is all wrong.

    Can someone advise how I try to continue with these thoughts? Do I just ignore them, I am struggling so much to be me!

    Simo

  92. Simon Says:

    I did forget to mention that I had this before in 2009 and have been free from it for a good few years after doing what Paul says (I got my life back), however why do I find myself in the same position? I read and re-read everything in Pauls book but still it does not stop my head from trying to find an answer.

    Sorry for the negativity everyone, but the one thing I did learn last time was to not search for answers over and over again on the internet. So this is why I am sticking with Paul’s advise.

    Thanks
    Simon

  93. Rik Says:

    Hi all,

    Just a little update really. I had been suffering with huge DP/DR and bizarre thoughts as well as anxiety and feeling very depressed. I am not out of the woods yet but things are still improving and I have seen some good changes. My DP/DR is far less than it was and at times I forget completely about it. That is real progress to me as previously it was constant 24/7.

    I have come to the conclusion that my obsessive and scary thoughts and fears are much the same as what Alz is going through. It was the fear of what my mind would bring up that led me to focus on it constantly and I was always assigning meaning to any thought I did not deem 100% normal. I have been working on simply rebuilding the trust in my own mind and my own judgement of my thoughts and it has been helping a lot. That and exercise as that calms me down naturally.

    Alz,

    A little personal help for you. Please trust me when I say I have been going through the exact same thing. It was a fear of my thoughts and imagination that led me back down the hole into the clutches of anxiety once a little anxiety had started. I thought I would never even see improvement let alone the changes I have seen recently. During the time of me going through all this I have lost my grandmother and then 2 weeks ago I lost my grandfather who was the most important man in my life. Despite all this I am still here. I am still living and I am still improving because I am no longer hiding from these things or the pain they cause me and I am no longer allowing myself to be scared of my own imagination.

    It is important to realise that our imagination can think about literally anything. In any way. Whether it is real, not real or completely wacky. There is no limit to what it can come up with. This is why it is so important to take a step back from it and realise that just because this thought arises it does not mean we need to take it seriously.

    The problem I believe we have both been having is that we are assigning a meaning to the odd thoughts. We are telling ourselves all day long that it is because we are going mad and that if we don’t keep a watch out for them or analyse them in some way (a compulsion) then something really bad will happen. This is not true. We feel that way because we are afraid. Nothing more. When I look back over my dealings with anxiety there has always been a common theme and that has been a fear of losing my mind somehow.

    You can change your reaction and improve but you must take the advice on here and begin to change the meaning you apply to your thoughts. Instead of thinking ‘my god im going mad’ you can change that to ‘well that’s a weird one, thanks anxiety’ and then take it no further.

    I wish you all the best.

  94. Laura Says:

    Rik and anyone else who has some advice

    As I mentioned before I was going well (anxiety not really existent) but I’m in a big setback at the moment and anxiety seems to be everything to me

    My main thoughts are of past suffering and thinking how it took me ages to recover and now I’m in s setback I can’t seem to just allow it all to be there
    I’m getting involved and acceptance is totally up and down. My fear is literally that my future experience will be the same as my past – and I think that is quite rational so it’s hard to just let these thoughts go

    My counsellor is great and told me to practice leaving it all alone and get on with what you are doing – but I am still thinking about it and practicing how I will handle the next onslaught on anxiety – I kind of forgot what I used to think about when I was normal

  95. KM Says:

    Hi Laura,
    I completely understand where you are right now, I’m experiencing the same thoughts after falling into another setback. The last time I had severe anxiety was six years ago, and I even went to the lengths of reading all my old posts from 2010/11 to see how my progress tracked as I fear it’ll take as long.
    I don’t feel as bad as I was two months ago but it’s still a daily struggle, plus I have just been diagnosed with recurrent viral meningitis so have been really ill and laying in bed with nothing but your thoughts is dangerous recipe. My fear is I’ll have to end up on anti depressants which has been a deep fear of mine I carried from my first bout of anxiety and I got put on meds that made me worse. I’ve had my GP and my viral specialist both tell me I should be on them to help with my recovery. I wish I could push through the fear and try them again but the ruminating about the past prevents me.
    One day at a time ?

  96. KM Says:

    Hi Laura,
    I completely understand where you are right now, I’m experiencing the same thoughts after falling into another setback. The last time I had severe anxiety was six years ago, and I even went to the lengths of reading all my old posts from 2010/11 to see how my progress tracked as I fear it’ll take as long.
    I don’t feel as bad as I was two months ago but it’s still a daily struggle, plus I have just been diagnosed with recurrent viral meningitis so have been really ill and laying in bed with nothing but your thoughts is dangerous recipe. My fear is I’ll have to end up on anti depressants which has been a deep fear of mine I carried from my first bout of anxiety and I got put on meds that made me worse. I’ve had my GP and my viral specialist both tell me I should be on them to help with my recovery. I wish I could push through the fear and try them again but the ruminating about the past prevents me.
    One day at a time ?

  97. Andy J Says:

    Hi Guys,

    I’m having a real struggle today.

    My intrusive thoughts are through the roof and I cant seem to convince myself that this is all anxiety. It feels so real and I feel like such a terrible person. This has meant my morale and self esteem is absolutely rock bottom.

    Using a mobile phone shouldn’t prompt all of these daft thoughts and what feel like urges. I can’t exactly not use my phone either, as its something I know that every one has and something that I have used before.

    I feel like I need to experience the whole ‘penny dropping’ moment, but it isnt coming.

    I’m back on a waiting list for therapy, but I’ve been told it will only cover the things I’ve already been taught, which clearly havent worked for me.

  98. Bryan Says:

    Shawn,

    Congrats pm making such great progress. Setbacks happen for some of us but they don’t wipe our all you’ve gained. They are temporary and while no one likes them, can serve to further our progress over time.

    Your attitude is great. Keep up the good work.

  99. Cecy Says:

    Hello All

    I can read that most of us are experiencing a setback. For the past 6 months I was great living the normal life, I was loving it. At some point I even forgot I had anxiety. I am now on my third week with a setback and I feel as If I have to learn everything all over again.

    I am able to function and that I am grateful for, but my intrusive thoughts are all there and it is so difficult to ignore them. Anxiety is sky high right now. I find myself having memories of the past and how I dealt with it before.

    I also know that I will get past this, but at times I loose hope. I am just hoping this time will pass. I find it so hard to accept the way I am right now.

    :(

  100. Simplee Bri Says:

    Hello All, does anyone else struggle with health anxiety? I have seemed to conquer every other thought other than this one. If you do struggle with this, than please share your experience with me. I feel beyond hopeless right now, and like I’m the only one going through this.

  101. Shawn Says:

    Bryan,

    Thank you so much for your words of encouragement, it’s not been the easiest few days, but I will get through it by floating on by.
    The heart was racing last night and a bit today, but I managed to sleep anyway and got through some lectures at work
    I forgot how exhausting it all is! And how the mind plays tricks on you; I find myself telling myself that this is it, it’s all coming back, but if it does I will cope like I did last time.
    I find it easier to dismiss the awful thoughts that crop up now and again, and don’t have the health fears from the racing heart so bad.
    Thanks again.

  102. Alz Says:

    I love your advice Rik.. and everyone else. You all have been so kind :) I am blessed to have found this blog.
    Day after tomorrow i am actually going to my mother – catching the flight etc etc and facing my fears. It’s my brother’s engagement for heaven’s sake. And yes I am swept away by all sorts of fears- seeing things, hearing things, no feelings for bro or mother, continuous anxiety of how ill feel when i get there, fear of losing my mind BUT im going .. I am taking that leap of faith :) Yes Im continuously lost in thought and yes my imagination is going wild BUT i am continuing with work which is highly stressful, meeting friends, booked my flight, talking to my mother evryday, doing all the things i would do instinctively if i were myself sans anxiety on such a happy occasion!
    I booked the flight, got clothes made and yes everything’s a blur. My anxiety is sky high and there is a continuous fear of being on the edge and losing it once im at home but im taking the chance. My thoughts can go on and on and on and i am also going to carry on and on and on. Yes at this point no reassurance will help but just the actual experience of going and making things happen.
    I have not had that AHA moment Paul has had but maybe my journey of overcoming anxiety is different. At this point im just riding the waves no matter how treacherous they are .
    I must also once again point out especially for women that hormones have a big role to play when it comes to anxiety and obviously stressors when it comes to everyone.. !
    Alz

  103. Melissa Says:

    Alz,

    I know you probably do not see this now, but going to visit your mum is a HUGE accomplishment. You should be very proud of yourself. I hope you have a good time, and even if you have anxiety/fear, just remember that it will pass. You can still enjoy your life whilst dealing with anxiety.

    Have a safe flight! Keep us updated!

    Melissa

  104. Eitan Says:

    Has anybody gotten anxiety over personality disorders? Over the last month I was scared I was Narcissistic, Borderline & Schizoid. Now I’m freaking out that I’m Histrionic. I keep analyzing the past and myself and feel like a terrible person. And one of the biggest consequences of being a Histrionic is that they long for intimate relationships but they can never sustain one due to their personality. This FREAKS me out because I’ve always yearned for an intimate relationship but have only had very short relationships/flings. They also have problems in bed. I’ve had problems getting it up and enjoying sex fully, but I always thought it was due to too much porn and performance anxiety.

    My therapist told me I need to accept the uncertainty that I could be Histrionic or else I’m going to keep psychoanalyzing myself. But it’s so hard to accept the possibility. That would mean I’ll be alone forever, and none of my past feelings are real. Just before I cried at the thought of that. I’ve also thought what if I’m just using this anxiety/OCD as a way to get attention. It’s so hard to accept myself because there are so many things I want to change. The personality disorder fears are really rocking my core because for the past 10 months I’ve yearned to be my old self. Now these fears tell me my old self was a fake and a terrible person. How do I deal with this? It’s like rationally I know that this is most likely just me not perceiving things correctly due to my state of mind, but the fear feels so real.

  105. Shawn Says:

    Eitan, I think the fears you are describing are all part of the anxiety, at my worst I thought I was sociopathic, undiagnosed autistic, developing schizophrenia, plus various other disorders. I think the trick is to tell yourself if that’s who you are that’s who you are, no matter how untrue it is. When my heart was racing the last few days, I told myself if I have a heart attack and die so be it, in fact I willed it to happen in a strange way, it stopped bothering me so now has faded.
    Psychoanalysing yourself is part of the crap of anxiety because you are hyper aware of yourself.

  106. Eitan Says:

    Thanks Shawn. I know reassurance is bad but sometimes I can’t help it. Everybody tells me there’s nothing wrong with me, it’s just OCD and I overthink/worry too much due to my compulsions. Then I think “what if I’ve fooled them all?” Maybe it’s the Prozac I’m on, but I just feel detached/flat to the point where it’s harder to tell the difference between irrational and rational. I feel like my identity is being stripped away from these worries. I’m scared to have goals or have fantasies about being recovered or what I want in life because it must mean I have grandiose fantasies of a personality disorder. Now if I dream about having a gf, it’s due to me being Histrionic. I even had the thought within the last hour that I only want to recover and change who I am because I’m Histrionic and want to hurt people! Ridiculous. But then my mind says “well it’s only ridiculous because your perception is wrong due to being Histrionic!”

    “I think the trick is to tell yourself if that’s who you are that’s who you are, no matter how untrue it is.”

    I know that’s the only way, but just as it was with past thoughts, I’m scared that i’ll start believing the thoughts. Then again when I’ve done this in the past, it’s as if my brain started clearing up and I felt more like my old self. One thing I notice about these obsessive thoughts/anxiety is I feel more detached from my memories/the world when I’m in the thick of it. I guess I’m scared that if I don’t keep psychoanalyzing myself or if I accept myself then i will never want to improve and will get stuck.

  107. Shawn Says:

    Everyone needs reassurance now and again.

  108. Rik Says:

    Shawn,

    I needed to read your post today as I am having a bit of a setback today. I know to expect it but it has still been a difficult morning and seeing that you have had many of the same things as me does help.

    Eitan,

    I have been and at times of setback still am very much like yourself. I analyse everything about myself to the point of obsession and it was in fact this kind of thinking that got me back in the cycle of anxiety etc. I have also had the same fears as Alz. I have made progress though and am having days where I barely think about any of it now. I did my 5km run yesterday with my Nephew and it was great. We both did really well despite me having an injury so it was a good day. I was very tired in the evening though and I think that carried over to this morning as I woke very tired and anxious. I do notice that when I am anxious I immediately go back into analyzing mode to try to figure out what is going and on how to move past it. I need to just drop it all and just let myself be until the anxiety fades again. I will then naturally revert back to my happy self that is not analysing all the time.

  109. Cray Says:

    Hi guys. I would like to ask for some advice from Nolan or anyone in this blog. I was out with some friends last night and it was a really great gathering, at first im a little bit anxious but was able to have fun and nothing really happen until several hours, i expirience a sudden electricity flowing down from my head to my guts and i began to sweat uncontrollably and thats when i realize im having a severe panic attack. I did not leave the room instead i muster all of my strength to face my friends and have conversation and try to float through what i feel. I sweat and the thought of them noticing my tense body adds some more to my panic attacks. The party ended and i managed to drive back home. Feeling exhausted but not from the party but from the constant barrage of adrenaline in my body. Then i thought the worst part is over because i was finally home and ready to sleep. I sleep well until i woke up with this intense panic feeling in my body :( i tried to sleep after that and after 2 hours the same thing happened and again and again until it was already morning :( i tried to sleep some more because i was really exausted but my mind begins to play a jolting sound in my head that wakes me up again :( and worst part of it is everytime i close my eyes my mind begins to show scarry images and its starting to scare the sh*t out of me, and i mean every time i close them that is all i can see… random scarry things or maybe its because my mind is just so tired that any image became scarry to me :(
    Can anyone advice me pls.
    How do you prepare your self to sleep? Because now i am dreading the thought of sleeping because it might happen again and i dont think my body can handle the stress anymore, and whats frustrates me is the fact that i cant consiously allow my self to float through it because if you wake up with all the surging adrenaline in your body the first thing my body does is to tense up.

    Second is anybody here can help me understand a little bit why does our body continues to release adrenaline even though i already feel better before i go to sleep even till the next day?

  110. Eitan Says:

    Rik, thank you so much for that comment! One last question.

    So the panic attack that triggered this was when I was feeling really weird physically and freaking out and tried to meditate myself into calming down but then it felt like my head exploded and I went into an anxious/detached state. In the first few days it felt like my nervous system was extremely overstimulated with burning sensations and pain shooting down to my legs. Once this passed, I still didn’t feel the same. this happened a month before this but went away within a week and i was back to normal, but I remember being extremely emotional. And of course I researched all this spiritual crap online and found out about Kundalini/Dark Night of the Soul Stuff. Of course this set my anxiety off 1000x more. I was worried because I was meditating a little bit before this and had some strange experiences and still worry that I permanently altered my brain state forever. Is this just an obsession I should drop? Could these terms just be the spirtual definitions of what DP/Anxiety/Depression is? I’d like to believe that the brain can revert back to homeostasis if I accept and allow it too but I still get nervous. I don’t research this stuff anymore but sometimes it will come back up and i’ll get nervous again.

    Also, I’m not even sure if I had necessarily DP/DR the last 10 months. Can someone confirm if I did/still do? I never felt out of body but I felt like I was stoned all the time. Like high on weed without the fun. My normal thought process my whole life seemed gone. I could remember things easily but it was hard to visualize them. I couldn’t even visualize my future. Music didn’t sound the same and I always had weird pressure/sensations in the head. It just felt like my perception was off. Things didn’t seem to make much sense like they did before. Then the intrusive thoughts started coming. I remember most of my life having these moments that lasted 5 – 10 seconds where it felt strange to be me, or the world seemed to have a different perception. But they were very short. Does this sound like the DP/DR of anxiety?

  111. Claire Says:

    Hi everyone. Just after a little advice even thought I think I know myself what I should be doing but reassurance helps me. Been on n off this sight for years. Read both of Paul’s books and they help me greatly. I’m struggling at the minute as I seemed to have let the thoughts back in…..I’ve had a tough time with all thoughts over the years but the one I hate and upsets me most is the ROCD thoughts. I can’t seem to shake them off and when I’m tired they slip in ever so easily. I have 2 little ones so haven’t been gettin enough sleep and think it’s just through that that I have slipped backwards. Got the feeling in my chest and funny tummy. I’m getting to involved in my thoughts thinking they are real and it petrifies me. Can anyone relate?

  112. Peter Says:

    Hi all. I have DP. Have forever. So I just let it be there? Do you think it’s important to get off of this site? I was looking at some old posts by people who recovered and they said that they dropped the subject…

  113. Jenny Lee Says:

    Eitan… And Cray also totally relate to you…
    You poor thing. I can really relate. This is exactly how my panic attacks and anxiety started (bear in mind I wasn’t performing any meditation etc) Anything like a high level of stress/bereavement/lack of sleep etc can overtax the nervous system, and lead to the initial symptoms. We don’t let them be because we are confused and terrified, so they continue. I had all the rubbishy thoughts you describe, existential anxiety, spaced out, on a different planet feeling. Pressure or weird zapping sensations in head, distorted vision, difficultly concentrating on things. So zoned out I would talk or do things but I wasn’t really there, I was in my head the whole time. So yucky. I used to go to work with my whole mind and body screaming that I am in danger or dying or something seriously wrong, every day for months, years even. I read Pauls book, it took ages for my exhausted mind to understand it. Anxiety reduced a lot over many months and the DP/DR actually disappeared almost completely, I also stopped getting existential thoughts, I just had a couple of phobias to work on.

    Unfortunately I am in a MEGA set back at the moment. It was brought on again by bereavement, high stress and lots of change. My anxiety and panic attacks come on so strong that I feel like I’m going to physically collapse or faint, I get the most intense physical feelings in my stomach and head alongside a horrible depressed confused slowness that prevents me from being able to follow conversations or think clearly and sometimes feel teary and detached. I get v confused at this stage and can’t remember how to follow Pauls methods. It’s definitely a challenge lately. The worst times are going out for dinner or in any claustrophobic situation. But onwards and upwards, I will keep feeling the fear and carrying on. Any advice from anyone much appreciated cos I feel so in the thick of it right now!!

  114. Eitan Says:

    Jenny Lee,

    Yes I also got many existential thoughts. I wouldn’t say I felt unreal, but It felt EXTREMELY weird at times to be alive and everything was just overwhelming. Of course when I’m calmer (like I am right now) it’s much less severe and I could distract myself more and don’t get intrusive bizarre thoughts. So I guess it’s safe to assume it’s just DP/DR from my anxiety/OCD. If you got through it once then you could do it again. I’ve unfortunately not been able to master this yet, but am learning to accept uncertainty for EVERYTHING.

    ” I get v confused at this stage and can’t remember how to follow Pauls methods.”

    I know how that feels. It’s terrible. But as Nolan said in many previous posts of his, you just need to let go. You won’t be able to grasp or understand Pauls methods about acceptance/letting go in the thick of it. NOTHING will make sense. It’s like you rationally know what’s going on but it doesn’t feel convincing. I’ve even had thoughts like “How do you know if your anxiety-free state is rational? what is rational? how do i know for sure?” And it’s super ridiculous but when you can’t grasp anything, thoughts like that can terrify you. I wouldn’t have been capable or gotten scared of these thoughts before anxiety because..things just clicked. And they will again for us. Best thing to do is accept the uncertainty of all the crazy thoughts/feelings going on without fighting it. Just like my OCD specialist said.. “you are fighting something that is impossible to win against because it’s irrational” We want to heal, be happy, recover and be our old selves so much that we put so much more stress on the brain by trying to analyze/figure it out/fight it. And it seems scary to let go, but that’s the only way through it.

  115. Eliza Says:

    Hi,

    My name is Eliza, first time posting here but actually been suffering from anxiety n panic attacks for many years and i always use to read this blog n Pauls book.
    Just need some advice any of you sometimes will feel insecurity towards your partner and feel very low confidence?

    Wonder is anyone taking Valdoxan as well?

    Hope to hear from anyone here.Appreciate very much.

    Thank You & Have a nice day!

  116. Rik Says:

    Eitan,

    I could have written your story word for word. Literally. That is pretty much how things developed for me. Everything you have written sounds like DP/DR to me. It can be overcome, of that I am sure. I have periods of almost being there. Today is a bad day and that is because I am very tired and I am still having issues with my wife. I have been snoring a lot and it has been preventing me from sleeping deeply so I feel very sleep deprived. The perfect habitat for DP.

    With reference to your question I would say that yes this is another obsession to just drop. I have had so many different obsessive thoughts this time round. You just need to let them be there and ignore them. Once DP fades the obsessions seem to fade with it. Before you know it you are back to normal again.

    I am 100% sure that I/We can recover from this so always hold that hope in your mind. This is certainly an issue that comes with a lot of obsession both mental and physical so that is an area to work on right away. Your therapist is spot on.

    I have made significant progress in the last few months. At one point I thought any improvement at all was impossible. I have found exercise has been great as well as rediscovering my faith and being there to help others.

  117. Eitan Says:

    Rik,

    Thank you for your post again. I just wish I could have 100% clarity. I try to be optimistic but i’ll get thoughts like “What if optimism is wrong? What if pessimism is more rational? what if happiness is a lie? what if you’re just a sheep?” lmao and it goes onnnn and onnn and onnn. I’m pretty sure all of this is from coming across all these negative posts/comments on youtube and internet forums like reddit. That’s why i try to stay away from them now. But then my thoughts go “what if they’re right?” And it’s only doing that because I think they’re actually full of shit. It’s as if anxiety makes you question everything about yourself and the world. One thing I can say is that i’m pretty sure our true beliefs/values stay the same, even if we doubt them during anxiety. I think it’s just my brains creative way at making me miserable and stay in fear because it tries to convince me i’m losing my mind or that everything i strived to be/believe in was a lie. Which makes sense how this could be the perfect way to torture somebody and put you in fear by flooding your mind with opposite beliefs/thoughts. And because of doubt, you can never satisfy the thoughts.

    I always strived to be like my grandfather who was very calm, confident, go with the flow humble type of guy. Maybe due to that and being made fun of in my youth, I put so much pressure on myself which led me to this. No wonder we are all in this together. We are all sensitive, good people.

  118. Eitan Says:

    And forgot to add on that having outside pressures such as with your wife, will only aggravate your symptoms. Have you tried talking to her about all this? As for sleep, maybe you can try a pure form of Magnesium. I take that every night and it helps me, although that could be just placebo.

    Peter,

    Yes you must drop it but it’s extremely difficult. When you show your brain you don’t care or mind the symptoms as much, you start to eliminate the fear. I’d say come here once in a while but to be honest any form of reassurance is bad. What i’m doing right now is probably bad for me.

  119. Chris Says:

    Hi everyone!

    I wanted to stop by and let everyone know how I’m doing. I see there are alot of new people here who probably haven’t seen me post before, but to paint a picture about ten months ago I was VERY bad. I cannot stress how bad I was, it was utter utter hell and I thought I would never bounce back from it. It was definitely the worst period of my life. So how am I doing today?

    I’m doing absolutely great! I have claimed my life back. I am playing music again, I’m living in a new city, I’m planning a trip to Thailand, I’m planning an Australian tour with my band, I’m dating, I’m having some great nights out, I’m drinking coffee again which I was scared of doing so in the past. I still do get anxiety now and again but it’s more of a memory thing for me. Honestly for once I can say life is absolutely fine and these fears I once had are pretty irrelevant and pointless. I think one of the main things I learned is to completely drop all methods, and to simply stop trying. I used to worry and get all OCD over whether or not I was allowing my emotions/thoughts to surface, or if I was suppressing etc etc. This was just another outlet for anxiety and it became such a big deal to me and I gave it far too much importance. But then I thought mehhhh whatever, if I’m suppressing and going against what Paul says then so be it. I took my focus away from anxiety altogether and realized that this is just all self created. I stopped asking question after question, stopped visiting forums and blogs, stopped reading up on anxiety, because all this did was perpetuate it. I’m not saying this blog is bad, I think it’s the most spot on anxiety blog I’ve been to. But there comes a point where we have to stop asking questions, accept how we feel, accept what we think and just get on with the day. The way out is really simple, just follow Pauls advice (but don’t turn it into another obsession or a method) and you will not fail.

  120. Chloe Says:

    *Apologies I accidently posted this in the wrong thread of ‘coffee’ *

    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

  121. Eliza Says:

    Hi Everyone,

    Sorry to disturb, just wondering anybody suffering from Insecurity feelings sometimes?i always feel very worried and anxiety when i always feel like my partner will leave me or not.

    Hope to hear from anyone here.Appreciate very much.

    Thank You & Have a nice day!

  122. Chloe Says:

    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

  123. Marie Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I’ve just recently come upon this blog. It’s only been about three months since my battle with anxiety began. I can look back and see how my anxious behaviors developed over a year.

    I know I’m still new to this, but it’s been very challenging to deal with it. When I’m already too exhausted from it, I end up feeling miserable or depressed for a day. Exercise has helped, so has cutting back on sugar and caffeine, talking has helped.. I tried meds at some point, but could not tolerate the side effects at all. So I’m just sticking to natural ways as best as I can. I’ve just started seeing a naturopath/acupuncturist and hopefully that will relieve the exhaustion in my body.

    I’ve seen a lot of posts about taking a break from thinking about the anxiety, from looking for ways to alleviate it, from learning to accept it. I’m naturally an overthinker and a problem-solver.. but if anyone has any advice or stories on just doing these things and accepting it, please let me know. I am trying to still live life normally and push through what I’m doing when I can, but it’s difficult when I’m already exhausted (and now sick with a virus, too). It’s just difficult to navigate this and find the balance between i.e. setting aside time to worry.. and just taking a break from thinking about the anxiety and how to deal with it.

    I have people tell me it will get better, but I am still having difficulty accepting this that I’ve also become hypervigilant of physical symptoms, etc. Btw, I see a psychologist monthly but we mostly talk about fears stemming from the past/future. I think my anxiety has now latched onto the anxiety itself and its symptoms.. which as we all know is a vicious cycle.

    Thank you,
    Marie

  124. Marie Says:

    Before I forget, to add to my original post, i KNOW there’s a balance with talking through issues and alleviating the irrational fears – what I find to be hard is the overthinking the questions sometimes cause, seemingly endless search for answers, etc. Overthinking got me to this point to begin with, I think. Three months into this and the constant “What do you think caused this (overall) anxiety?” is tiring.

    So yes, I think that’s it. I’m just overwhelmed with trying to understand if this is all past, future or just the present anxiety in and of itself. Typing this out is helping because then I remind myself again that I have to take it in stride. That sometimes there is no trigger.. in my case now, my own physical symptoms are the main trigger.

    I’m hopeful things will get better. Just a lot of waves to ride and storms to ride. Peace, light and love to all – Marie

  125. Claire Says:

    Hi everyone. Having an awful setback after being anxiety free for a few year. I feel like I’ve forgotten what to do. I’ve no appetite, can’t sleep. You know the rest….I struggle terribly with my thoughts. How do you know when a thought is real? I feel so empty and sad. I’m supposed to be going out for the day tomorrow but scared I’ll end up breaking down or something. Am I just mean to carry on as normal?

  126. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    I’ve noticed on the blog lately that there are quite a few people struggling because their anxiety has returned. If I had one criticism of the two books and this blog is that it kind of falls down in that respect, the assumptiom being that you recover from anxiety and never experience it again. There isn’t enough information if you struggle again.
    Unfortunately for some anxious feelings return for many, even years after being well, myself included. Some stress, strain, illness, or usually in my case a major life change has sensitised us again. It’s been a long and very hard two months for me but I’ve made improvements so I’ve put together a plan of action to help myself if I end up struggling again. I hope it helps someone else. I know how hard it feels when things hit again.

    1. Its okay to be upset when anxious feelings return. Who wouldn’t be? The contrast in feeling great for weeks, months, years would make anyone feel down. You must move on though, feel sorry for yourself for as little time as possible.

    2. Don’t force yourself to accept. If you’re like me when I feel ‘stage one’ symptoms of dread, wrenching, crying I tend to try and accept them as quickly as I can to bat them away. Acknowledge you’re having a hard time and move through your day as best you can.

    3. Stick to your routine. Absolutely refuse to isolate yourself because you feel like crap again. Go to work, walk the dog, exercise, football, have sex, hangliding, potholing, whatever floats your boat.

    4. Don’t fall back into old habits. One thing that has mitigated these times for me is to drop old coping behaviours that kept me stuck before. These included constant reassure from books, blogs, friends, isolation, waiting to feel better before I ressumed life etc. Waiting for ‘it’ to go away reinforces that something is wrong and trust me you’ll wait forever.

    5. Reinforces positive actions. Whatever worked in the past will work again for you. If that’s therapy, exercise, hobbies, meditation etc. For me I always like to be productive when I don’t feel great….even if I have a terrible day I can look back on it and feel I have gotten something out of it. Now please don’t do this to avoid how you feel, that’s aversion and it will end up as you running away, and we all know that doesnt work out.

    6. Don’t buy into those silly thoughts. I see it with so many people that when they hit a hard time again the tendancy is to think ‘It took me 3 years last time, I dont want to face that again!’ Just remember that just because you’re sensitised it does not mean a return to long term suffering!

    I’ll think of 7, 8, 9, 10 when I have time. You’re probably thinking that I feel fine now but I don’t in all honesty. I just wanted to impart some things that have helped me.

    Above all else though, if you’ve felt fine for a while then you know that you will be again. Its about sending the right messages to our scared brain that all is well. If we do that then all will be well.

    All for now, I’m off to a play a bad round of golf.

    Mark.

  127. Sally Says:

    Good post Mark r

  128. Doreen Says:

    Great post Mark. Sometimes I have felt that the ethos behind the blog, great as it is hasn’t taken into account the impact of real life anxiety provoking events which can make one sensitised to feeling anxious at anything and everything. The lesson I have tried to learn is to not let everything get drawn into the anxiety web but to also recognise that I am bound to be feeling vulnerable at times when life just throws one crap thing after another.

  129. Katrina Says:

    Hi Mark R,
    I think the same principle should be applied if you’ve felt you’ve recovered and had a set back, but I agree, there is a distinct difference between those who claim to be recovered and no longer fear anxiety and those like us, who go for long periods where we have no interest in it and our symptoms are manageable and then for what ever reason, it all comes flooding back again. I’ve only had four major bouts of severe anxiety in my life and felt i’d made a full recovery from all four, only to be hit with another once a few months ago. Mine was made all the more complex by having being diagnosed with a chronic illness so i don’t know whether once caused the other, as my specialist states that stress is a major precursor to my illness, and vice versa. When my illness is really bad i don’t have as much anxiety as i’m struggling with feeling unwell but then as soon as i get better my anxiety returns in full force. I had my first day back at work today and coped better than i imagined in terms of my physical health and had no anxiety. But as soon as i left i had some old thoughts creep back in, and wham, within a few hours i was crippled by anxiety again and came to this blog for reassurance. Its so hard to not be overwhelmed by it and let it be there, and to just move on when all i want to do is curl up in a ball. My GP and specialist have very strongly recommended i take an antidepressant but i’m terrified of taking it, i’ve built it up in my head that the side effects will make my anxiety so extreme that i’ll not cope at all. So i’m stuck in this cycle of ‘what if i don’t take it and never get better, and if i do take it i’ll not cope with the side effects’, its like a thought wheel that never ever ends… I know the only way to end it is to take the dam pills, but i’ve recovered in the past without them, but this time seems different??? Because i’m physically unwell and i’ve had a lot of pressure from my doctors. When i go see them my anxiety is so extreme that I shake uncontrollably this is also to do with my illness as well, but they see me at my worst.
    So i’m confused by the recovery process too, is it possible to really no longer fear symptoms forever? As i’ve felt like this before, but then the fears returned when sensitisation returns from new stressor!

  130. Julie Says:

    I apologise in advance if this gets long but I really could do with some advice on how to move forward as I am stuck in a rut and therapy doesn’t seem to be helping. I could do without an flaming please as we all know how dreadful anxiety is when it returns after feeling so well again. I am being pro active and coming here is a place I found helped me no end a few years ago so would appreciate some advice on moving forward please.

    I hate how intense the agoraphobia and social anxiety is this time. Being ill has really had a horrible effect on me.

    Any advice? is it even worth continuing therapy? I pay private £40 a week. She is good but she’s increased my anxiety telling me I have PTSD and it’s that I need to work on. I feel very confused and I swear it’s made me much worse.

    Julie

    [Edited for brevity – Rich]

  131. Doreen Says:

    Julie – I read this blog from time to time as you know and as before I really cannot help but say that writing your long story and giving labels to everything that in fact ‘just’ falls into anxiety in one form to another isn’t doing you any good.

    You have used PTSD, social anxiety, agoraphobia, intrusives as if they are all different things. They aren’t. They are what we experience when we have anxiety.

    I like many others who post on here have ‘back’ stories which explain how we came to be troubled by anxiety but I know that those stories aren’t relevant on here. And indeed in recounting them I would only be heightening unpleasant feelings.

    And it strikes me that the work with your therapist is doing just that. You have recounted these traumas over and over again and it doesn’t seem to have done you any good, so why should paying someone £40.00 to do it again be any better?

  132. Laura Says:

    Mark R
    I wanted to say thanks for your post
    I’m in that place of being a bit desperate to get rid of this because it took me 14 months to recover last time
    Now I’m back in this place again the thoughts are telling me this is it – I’m stuck so what’s the point

    But the point is that I will make the choice to enjoy my life, anxiety or not.

    If I start fighting then so be it – but I will do my best to let go and get on with what I need to do – and attempt to have some fun in the process

    My main issue is jealousy of others who have easy lives and who are carefree – I wish that was me and then it kicks off thoughts of how I’m so broken and I’ll never get better etc

    Anyhow it is helpful to know others are experiencing set backs and are pushing through – and it’s helpful to know we can support each other and share what is working for us

    So tomorrow I’m waking up and reminding myself to focus on today and not buy into the BS of the thoughts

    I’m off to enjoy a good book

  133. Julie Says:

    Hello Doreen

    I agree it doesn’t really matter what caused our anxiety, it’s what we now do with the feelings it’s left behind.

    I think going to therapy she dragged up my past, which i guess I had to for her to know what has led to me being anxious in the first place but her putting labels like PTSD on me haven’t helped. It’s just made me worry more, especially when I read up on PTSD.

    I am considering stopping the therapy, I have been going for 3 months and after last week her words saying I enjoyed being agoraphobic and indulged in it were below the belt in my opinion because that is far from who I am. My friends and family were very angry at how she made me feel about myself.

    I posted to ask whether anyone could relate to my stripping of confidence and how I could move forward with that inner confidence I had last time I faced my anxiety and agoraphobia, if it’s missing this time. Maybe I didn’t need to relate my past, I am just used to doing that in therapy for people to understand why I am anxious in the first place. I just hoped someone could relate and offer some insight.

    Thanks

    Julie

  134. Amanda Says:

    Hi Julie
    Sorry you are in such a bad way i truly know the pain. One suggestion I can make is have you read Dr Claire Weekes book complete self help for your nerves? I find it so helpful the way she explains symptoms is very comforting. Sending you strength.

  135. Julie Says:

    Thank you Amanda.

    Yes, I love Claire Weekes, I have been listening to her audios a lot this year, just strangely this time it’s not helped. I swear having the ill health is a huge hurdle I can’t seem to jump over as it’s still going on and it causes me anxiety. I wish it didn’t. I said to my husband people have ill health and can still do appointments and hospital stays, why am I like this? He said ‘well not everyone has the anxiety you’ve had or all the stress you’ve been under the last few years’. He makes me feel better about myself but still I want to overcome this lol!

    Thank you for your kind words.

    Juliw

  136. Diane Says:

    Hello everyone. Can anyone help with how to deal with night-time adrenaline rushes? I have been dealing with anxiety for several months, and, following Paul’s suggestions, things have improved. However, my nervous system is still pretty sensitized. I had a health scare a few weeks ago, which brought back the crawling-out-of-my-skin anxiety for several days, and then things calmed down. However, last night, my 3 year old son, who has a viral illness right now, had some scary symptoms. I noticed them at around 1:30 AM, and of course became worried. The symptoms resolved within about an hour, and it was obvious that he was going to be fine. However, once the adrenaline hit me, it stayed with me THE ENTIRE NIGHT and I got no sleep. It was that feeling of restlessness and inability to relax, where you can literally feel the adrenaline in your body. Once I knew he was OK, in my pre-anxiety days, I would have breathed a sigh of relief and gone back to sleep. But in the hyper-sensitized anxiety state, once I get a rush of adrenaline, it stays with me for hours. How do you handle these situations? I would like to be able to go back to sleep if this happens again. Thank you!

  137. Tasnim Says:

    Does anybody wake up in the middle of sleeping choking, like you’re choking on saliva? I think this happened twice this month. I am aware of other causes, but it is hard to tell when there is something that should be check out or when its just anxiety. I wanted to get a second opinion before asking my doctor. I’m tired of going, and being sent home with anixiety/nerves.

  138. Katrina Says:

    Hi Tasnim,
    I haven’t woken up choking but i’ve defiantly woken up with panic and anxiety in the middle of the night, i think its quite common. Its ok to go and get it checked out for reassurance.
    Regards,

  139. Katrina Says:

    Hi Julie,
    I’m one anxiety sufferer that can identify with your story. I have huge medical phobias and anxiety, or white coat syndrome as it’s known. I too have a chronic illness that has only just been diagnosed this year which has caused my anxiety to completely flare up. i’ve panicked while getting my blood taken due to just being really unwell as there’s been times when i’ve had blood tests done when i wasn’t as unwell and coped fine. My only advice is to not wait to you feel like you need the motivation to attend your doctors, you just have to do. Sympathetic doctors will understand. At my last two specialist appointments i’ve been so unwell and anxious that i shook uncontrollably the entire time and cried through the whole consultation. They know about my anxiety and always try to push the antidepressants onto me, but when i’m well i can cope with my anxiety, they only see me at my worst. I’ve had to have CT scans with an IV, head scans, more blood tests that i can remember, a full exam by an ENT specialist (this was the worst) and more prodding and poking that i care to think about. I just had to go through it, sometimes on my own, sometimes with a support person. I don’t think my anxiety about going to the doctors will ever leave me, as i’ve had it for years, but I just go, as i need medical certificates for work and i need to try be well for my family and get some treatment as its not fair on them having me completely dependant on them. There isn’t any easy way out, and i’d ditch the counsellor, and believe in your ability and do it one step at a time. Remember you’ll always be ok, the anxiety is self limiting and you’ve already survived the worst and are still here to talk about it.
    Dont let that one experience dictate how every experience will be for you in the future. You’ll need to over come this, as your partner and children may get sick and need you to be there for them as they are there for you. You’ve got this :)

  140. Travis Says:

    I really could use some advice from someone who has been recovered. I have been loosely following Paul’s advice or at least trying to for about a year. I say loosely because every time I reread the book or come here for answers I feel like I have it all figured out and then go back out into the world and feel more confused than ever and start second guessing if I’m doing well enough at “doing nothing”. Whenever I have an anxious thought pop up I try to be okay with it being ther and then immediately I think “wait, am I trying to hard right now?” “Am I only letting this thought in because I want it to eventually go away?” And then I start over analyzing this. I’m honestly a lot better than I was a year ago. I resumed all activities. But every day is still a struggle to get through the day. I’m exhausted. I don’t know if it’s because I have been applying the advice from Paul that I’m feeling a lot better than a year ago or what. By the way I have floaters and tinnitus which are my main issues. But does anyone understand where I’m coming from? Paul’s advice seems to help at times but other times it’s just plain confusing. I’m obsessing over what I’m doing right and wrong. Cause let’s face it. No matter how you spin it, developing a new attitude towards anxiety IS a do. I’ll be in the car with the radio on and all of a sudden anxious thoughts start up. So I acknowledge them, let them in, and go about listening to the radio but then BAM another thought pops up that says “your not following Paul’s advice cause you just tried to distract yourself from the thoughts by listening to the radio” please help. I’m on the verge of just hiring a profession acceptance and commitment therapy therapist since this school of thought is so contradicting at times. “Do but don’t do.” “Let in but don’t distract” “don’t reason with thoughts but reason with the way you look at thoughts” am I on the right track or am I missing something. Please help!

    [Edited for naughty language – Rich]

  141. Eliza Says:

    Hi Everyone,

    Sorry to disturb, just wondering anybody suffering from Insecurity feelings sometimes?i always feel very worried and anxiety when i always feel like my partner will leave me or not.

    Hope to hear from anyone here.Appreciate very much.

  142. Julie Says:

    Hi Katrina

    Thank you so much, I could relate to you. It made me quite emotional to read.

    Any chance we could chat off the blog? feel free to say no, I understand. My email is jingyd36 @ outlook .com but obviously all together so that I can type it out on here. I don’t mind sharing it, but feel free to say no.

    You’re inspiring, thank you.

    Julie

  143. Katrina Says:

    Sure Julie
    Although I’m not sure I’ll be of much help to you but happy to chat katrina@merri.org.au
    I don’t think I’m inspiring though that’s very kind of you to say
    :)

  144. Katie Says:

    Simple Bri
    I also suffer from health anxiety,my Dr thinks I’m a nightmare because I have to be dragged in for my blood tests (I have an under active thyroid ),but I can’t help it,the thought of being ill terrifies me,and I dread my family being ill ,my husband nearly died a few years ago,and my granddaughter has recently passed away. I do try to take Paul’s advice and I will persevere I promise,
    Guess what the best bit is I’m a nurse!
    So onward and upward,you are not alone and we are in this together.

  145. Eitan Says:

    Travis,

    I’m sort of in your boat too and understand your difficulties because I’ve done the same. At times it seems like I have it all figured out and then I get drawn back in again and seem more lost. What you are doing is just overthinking/overanalyzing and constantly checking which is a symptom of Anxiety. The best thing you can do is whenever you question if you’re doing it right just say “maybe, maybe not” or “i can’t have certainty.”

    When they say don’t engage in the thoughts but allow them, they just mean don’t react to them with analysis, rumination, trying to figure it out, etc. You’re going to feel fear (or sometimes numbness) initially but let just it be there. When they say don’t distract, they just mean don’t try so hard to distract yourself”, I think they mean in the context of how you do it. So if you’re panicking and trying really hard to distract yourself then you’re going to fail and give more power to anxiety. But if you say “oh well” as the thoughts go on raging and watch TV or something, then it’ll slowly dissipate. Distraction as a way to get rid of the thoughts is bad. Distraction as a way to do something no matter if the thoughts are there are not is good. At least that’s how I see it. It’s not really contradicting, it’s basically all about how you react to it.

    i’m still trying to figure this out as well. I still have a fear that doing nothing will leave me trapped in this state. It’s all about accepting uncertainty no matter what.

  146. Debbie Says:

    Hi i also have health anxiety so bad it is what caused my anxiety i have 2 leaky heart valves and constsnt pvc s from leaky valves dr has asuured me iam safe for now. But i always feel so scared. when i go to dr visits my heart rate gos to 130 from anxiety i want to run out the door i also worked in hospital . May we all feel better.

  147. Bryan Says:

    Eitan,

    You explanation of allowing sounds right on point to me. As for fearing being trapped in any state… remember ALL states are fleeting. Has anyone ever been trapped in happiness? Gratitude? Comfort? All states come and go. We can, of course prolong any state… including fear or stress suffering to a degree based on our reactions. And your description of allowing is in my experience the way to allow a state to run its course without interference which is certainly what the great teachers like Paul and Claire Weekes teach.

  148. Eitan Says:

    Yes that makes sense. I guess I rather be back to an emotionally stable state of mind where sadness isn’t extreme and I don’t go overanalyzing/overthinking. In the past whenever I felt sad, I let it run its course and that’s it. Now with anxiety unleashed, everything is more intense. I suppose I fear that doing nothing will not help my brain get back to homeostasis or equilibrium, but I know it’s the only way. That and doing healthy activities for your mind/body like exercise, good nutrition, socializing, etc.

  149. Felicia Says:

    Hello Everyone~!

    I’m gonna jump right into this…

    I was “diagnosed” with severe GAD a month and a bit ago. I am already in the last stages of this thing and I have to re-teach myself not to be scared of everything and I mean EVERYTHING. Holding a phone, opening a fridge, the sky… literally everything. I could be scrolling through a social media app and freak out for no reason. My thoughts were disgustingly horrifying to the point I was literally afraid to think. I thought I had to call the hospital to put me in a mental institution one morning when I had a panic attack about it.

    So I don’t freak anyone out, the cause of the generalization of everything scaring me is because I had a health issue (which I’ll talk about later on) on my body that my brain was focusing on and freaking out about for hours on end for days with high intense anxiety that when it turned out I had nothing to worry about, my body got confused and was looking for any threats it could focus on and be obsessed about.

    I am SO much better now… I am not suffering from anymore panic attacks just mild anxiety with annoying intrusive thoughts. I am struggling with the fact that if I were to ever have another panic attack in the future… whether it is a week or a year in the future, I wouldn’t be scared of the panic attack but scared of falling back into this. Also, the negative and potentially rational thoughts that go on in my head that say that now that my body KNOWS it can think these things, that I am able to get into this state of negative thinking that it will always hinder over me and I won’t enjoy things like I used to. It’s like once you see something you can’t unsee it. I’m afraid I’ll never get over these ideas.

    If I keep ignoring (noticing they are there but not giving them my attention and being relaxed) these potential rational ideas if by the time I’m healed (because by God I know I will be or I’ll die trying) will I still think about them but they’ll have no fear attached to them at all? Will they not even come up? Will I still be scared of them and have to just live with them even if I’m healed? I think even when I’m better- I won’t know that I will be or I won’t ever fully get better, Sometimes the thoughts leave and I no longer care and I’ll worry about it again later or it leaves and I never worry about it again. It makes me believe full recovery is a fake belief and you have to put up with all the bad thoughts you never thought about before and sometimes you don’t care about them and you’re happy but sometimes they’ll come back and won’t be able to handle it and you get sad again.

    It just freaks me out because before even though I was creative, all that creativity came out calmly but now it’s using it for every negative thing in the book on high speed. I just want my brain to be normal again and forget this ever happened. I feel like my brain is this overpowering machine and my thoughts aren’t in my control because it can think anything and everything and even as I’m typing this, my brain feels like it wants to think of so many things it’s turning into goo and the thoughts aren’t even clear anymore. It’s tricking me to think it is a black hole that I can’t understand. I’m scared to be creative because my brain because sooooo abstract and scary I actually start to get confusion. Do I just have to ignore this for the rest of my life??? If I just stop being scared of this can I learn to actually enjoy the madness?

    Another thing is that all the things I love to do I’m scared to do. Like I used to love photography but when I do it my body and feelings aren’t into it. Like not just my brain but I can feel as if I don’t connect to it like I used to. It’s hard to explain. Like I can’t hold my camera tight enough or I can’t enjoy the photo enough it’s like my body is craving to be enveloped in my hobbies again and it’s like it’s trying to enjoy it at full force that is malfunctioning lol.

    Little background info on me, I used to be the calmest person, never worried about anything, slept all day, could stare at a wall and be happy and not think one negative thought (if they were there, they sure as hell never entered my conscious). I never cared what other people thought about me, generally confident and this horrible anxiety had come up from an issue of health reasons that turned out to be benign. Freaked me out none the less because I am only 23 and no scare has ever happened to me like that.

    I really appreciate a response from someone who has dealt with this and has positive things to say or someone who has come through to the other side because I feel like I’m the only one dealing with thoughts this extreme.

    Thank you and God bless

  150. Doreen Says:

    Julie – why don’t you and Katrina chat ‘on blog’ so others can read her helpful advice?

    Surely that is the the aim of the blog.

  151. Katrina Says:

    Hi Julie,
    I’ve sent you an email, am happy to chat and impart any strategies that worked for me. Although I don’t have any magic wand other than to just turn up and hope for the best and know that i’ve got through the appointments before and i will again. I also try to see that its a bit of a bluff and as soon as i leave i feel better so i defiantly have the capacity to feel better its just my mind is tricking me into thinking i can’t at that point. It makes it very difficult though when your unwell as your nervous system is already under duress from being sick, this is the part I totally understand. Where does being ill begin and anxiety end it all feels like one and the same at times. At the moment I’ve pretty much been house bound and bed bound for a month due to my meningitis coming back. This i can’t stand being stuck at home and no matter how i feel everyday i try to get out, even if its just to get a take away coffee and back home again, trying to keep some sort of routine really helps. I’m not house bound from anxiety I”m house bound from being unwell. I tried to go back to work for two days this week but i just wasn’t well enough. Thats when my negative thinking kicks in, and the anxiety is at its highest, ‘i’ll never be well, i won’t be able to cope with work, this is it for me” but i’ve recovered from 6 other bouts of meningitis in two years and i just have to be patient and wait it out and be grateful for the hours i do get when i’m feeling a bit better and can function as a mother and partner.
    In terms of helping with getting the blood tests done, I try to keep my body as relaxed as possible, and know that its quick and painless and will be over pretty soon and i can run out lol! I was so anxious one time they had to get a second nurse to hold my arm down as i was shaking from anxiety they couldn’t get the needle in, I just calmly explained that i’d been very unwell and was a bit anxious and apologised, and the nurses were lovely and talked to me throughout the procedure and before i knew it it was over, it also helped to find something in the room to focus on, i’d often look at the clock and count the second hand going round, and it was always over in a minute or so. Talk to the nurses about their work and how many people they’d seen that day etc etc you usually find that they like a chat and are aware when people are anxious. Keep in mind, no one likes blood tests even people who don’t suffer anxiety, so their job is to do it quickly and help people through it.
    Hope that the advice is useful.
    Kat

  152. Bryan Says:

    I’m reading through a lot of the question above and the same thing continues to strike me.

    The majority of the questions seem to be:

    -What is…
    -Has anyone had….
    -Is this… (anxiety)
    -Can anyone relate to…
    -I have X-symptom (Do you have X-symptom?)
    -I have X-symptom – Let me tell you about it

    Now, first off let me say that I’ve asked these questions over the years. It’s almost a beginner’s stress disorder mindset that we all seem to have to go through before we can indeed admit that all of this mess we feel in our body… is indeed just the result of stress. As hard as it is to believe, as insane as these things can feel… we’ve got mountains of evidence that this is indeed all anxiety. No matter how special, unique, different our situations feel. (And I can say with certainty my version of this also behaves very differently than most.) My version of this is cyclical, highly physical, related to nothing… no phobias, no fears – just random physical storms of symptoms. Yet… at the end of the day, I know it’s all just the same thing. My random spells of “sick” mind and body is no different than someone else here’s medical phobia, repetitive thought, relationship worry, etc. etc.

    But, when we feel awful… these things feel “special.” And of course, we eventually tire of dealing with it and want a way out. So, we begin to build up X-symptom into something very important, very meaningful. Yet, it never is. It’s always just BS. it’s always just stress disorder. We can give them fancy names, join message boards where people talk about one particular symptom, read up on our one specific symptoms… refer to ourselves with medical jargon, etc. But, it’s always just the effects of stress and a fatigued mind.

    So, while I still have my struggles and harsh times, the one thing I would highly suggest to those asking questions here is to attempt to stop asking questions from the first category listed above… and try to start asking questions from this category…

    -How can I move on while allowing these symptoms to be…
    -What strategies do I use to divert the mind without “fighting”
    -When acceptance becomes difficult, what helps regain focus on external things…
    -What kind of self-talk, or lack of self talk helps the mind accept symptoms without adding additional suffering…

    The above are ONLY examples. But, for me… they help with the biggest problem most stress disorder sufferers face. And that is APPLICATION. Applying what people like Paul teach is where salvation lies. Not repeating our questions, explaining this week’s symptoms (again) … or swapping stories about how bad our day or symptom has been. Salvation lies in APPLICATION…. the DOING of this process of acceptance and moving on with life.

    And the thing is, for many of us… acceptance and moving on with life during times of suffering is a very difficult task. So, while some may just say “avoid all message boards”…. and I think that’s fine as well…. if you ARE going to visit a message board, why not do so in a way that helps with the application? The doing? (Or in this case learning how to go about non-Doing) Reassurance seeking only helps momentarily, and sometimes not at all. It’s understandable… but if we want to move on with our lives, we have to engage in the process of actually DOING what these kind, intelligent people who have recovered have advised us to do.

    We have the option before we hit “submit comment” to look at what we’re typing, and truly deciding if it’s helping us actually implement the solution… or simply giving our brain more feedback that things are bad, that we must be reassured, and that we (still) can’t handle any of this on our own.

    Again, none of the above is meant to be critical. It’s simply what’s helped me move from a constant stress mess, to a full and enjoyable life again, albeit with plenty of chances to “practice” these recovery methods.

    Just my two cents.

  153. Jamie Says:

    Congrats Bryan on the wedding. I hope you’re doing well

  154. Julie Says:

    Doreen,

    I only asked if Katrina would email me so that I didn’t leave any messages clogging up the blog for others seeking help. As I said to katrina she didn’t have to email me it was just a suggestion rather than me taking up the blog asking her questions about how she coped with the anxiety her ill health brought up.

    Thank you

    Julie

  155. Julie Says:

    Katrina

    Excellent advice, thank you. I shall talk to my GP before my blood test and explain my anxiety and fear, I am sure he has seen it all before as you say. The nurse last year said she had seen people have panic attacks a lot worse than mine.

    I too became housebound from my ill health, not the anxiety. I was ill for 6 months and just too ill to go out, even the school run was hard, nothing to do with anxiety at all. Then the longer I spent at home it reared it’s ugly head and wham anxiety and agoraphobia took hold again. I am working on that though, both the physical and anxiety health and working through an exposure sheet I have made for myself and on the days i feel less unwell physically I get out, like yesterday I walked my dog and went to watch my daughter play netball. I just have to take care of myself on the days my ill health hits hard.

    Thank you for emailing me and for your help.

    Julie

  156. Bryan Says:

    Thanks Jamie!

  157. Mark R Says:

    Hi Julie,

    I have read your posts recently and it must be hard for you where you are. I know how it feels, we all know. Things I have noticed though in your posts is that you seem to see anxiety as something that hits you like an illness. It would be beneficial if you changed your view on this. I’ve been working with a minfulness therapist who says even the way we word things subtlety can have a huge impact on how we feel. I no longer have symptoms, a condition or a disorder, I have anxious feelings. If you continue to see anxiety as something to recover from or be defeated then your mind will provide more anxiety.
    Secondly you have identified that type of therapy is doing you no good. In my view any therapy that is making you feel worse is not therapy at all, especially when the therapist claims you enjoy agrophobia….that’s just a cop out because what they are doing isn’t helping. Trust me I speak from personal experience on this. You may find a newer type of therapy such as ACT more helpful, it also ties in nicely with the advice on here.
    Thirdly I’d dispense the labels you’ve given yourself….especially agrophobia. I’d seriously question a diagnosis of agrophobia in anyone who goes out wth their kids, on holiday etc. A lot of the time with anxiety it about won’t do rather than can’t do. I don’t mean to be belittling here but that overbearing voice that shouts so loudly when you want to go out your comfort zone is not helpful, listening to it will keep you stuck.
    The daily exposure thing is good, but do it in a way that you take anxiety with you, rather than an achievement to see if you feel anxious or not whilst you do them.
    Again I’m not being belittling or playing down how difficult it is, just given an outsiders opinion.

    Mark.

  158. Julie Says:

    Mark

    Thank you for your lovely reply. It was very helpful.

    I totally agree. I noticed once I started therapy I had to sit for weeks talking about my difficult childhood, my family situation and brother. She diagnosed ptsd and said it was no wonder I had anxiety. It wss another label and I felt so low. My mood dipped as she told me how traumatic my childhood was and that my mother hitting us wasn’t normal at all, which I thought was normal punishment. She’s dragged up a lot and made me feel worse about my life lol!!! I can laugh but really it’s not been a pleasant experience and to be honest I’m considering giving up and not bothering with another therapist. I had a brilliant therapist 3 years ago who helped the intrusives I had after I was attacked and it was a huge benefit but this time I know the loss of confidence and anxiety has been brought back to the surface since I’ve been unwell physically and in time I will overcome that. I think therapy has just made me feel worse about myself and my situation.

    You made me smile about agoraphobia. My friend has even said she feels it’s more a social type of anxiety because during my ill health I lost all confidence being at home alone all day feeling ill so that going out was frightening. The reason I call it agoraphobia is because it feels similar to when I had it before but yes back then I never went out. I do go out with my husband to shops, some days out but really it’s health that limits the frequency so maybe you’re right. Another reason I call it agoraphobia is that when I go out say into a shop I get the physical feelings like the ground tipping and walking on a boat or dizziness that I had last winter during my ill health and it was that, that stopped me leaving the house again so I think thsts why I have assumed it’s agoraphobia. Really maybe it is just anxiety that stops me and not agoraphobia as I knew it after I was attacked. My fear of going out now is incase I feel ill because I haven’t been well, incase the ground moves and a fear of seeing anyone I know because I have panic attacks if I see people I know and they want to stop for a chat. So it’s different to last time as that was just a fear of panic attacks anywhere I went so I stopped going out. I can achieve things with hubby with me but alone I won’t go to shops and right now I do avoid socialising. You’ve made me realise think that.

    The exposure work comes from a hierarchy my therapist told me to write but she’s not told me how to get out and do it so I’ve done what Paul and Claire Weekes teach and that’s feeling the anxiety and seeing success as not how you felt but what you achieved. If you did it with anxiety or not, you still achieved it.

    Thank you again, your reply has helped a lot. I always appreciate kind replies on here.

    Julie

  159. Bryan Says:

    Julie,

    I’m not sure if you read my post above, but I think you might benefit from doing so.

    I would also stress what we’ve talked about for quite a long time now, in that continually identifying yourself as X-Y-Z, or “sick” or the latest clinical term is not going to help your attempts to resume normal living.

    You seem very deeply immersed in your condition as your world. Your brain gets this information, and of course then will continue that feedback loop.

    Your brain is hearing all day long… “agoraphobia, doctors, therapy, exposure, trauma, childhood… etc.”

    This will naturally put your brain in a state of great fear, great defense…. and your body will naturally give you adrenaline and the stress hormone mix to contend with the world you are telling it you live in.

    I don’t mean this as an insult, but your verbiage sounds like you identify yourself first and foremost as a sick person. We have to break out of this anxiety-loop, the medical-loop, the jargon-loop, the bubble of illness that we create for ourselves.

    YES, it may feel horrible. I’ve been there, and recently and on and off for 6 years. I’m a veteran at this at this point. So I don’t speak from a place of not being able to relate or understand.

    I truly believe the hyper-focus on your condition, along with the self talk and language choices you use are doing you a great disservice. Busting out of these things, leaving them behind and refusing to identify as a sick person is how those of us who have made progress generally did it.

    I can’t stress enough how important I think this is for you. You’ve disregarded this advice in the past, and opted for the medical-loop/anxiety jargon lifestyle and that’s your choice. I’m not 100% yet myself so feel free to take my advice with a grain of salt. But, I truly would like to see you make progress again and I believe it all starts there….

  160. Eitan Says:

    Bryan,

    It’s also very true because since I’ve felt weird after my panic attack and more of a lower mood the last 1.5 years, I’m scared I have a unique case that can’t be solved. It’s like I altered my consciousness and nervous system forever and can never feel the same way again or change. But I know that’s BS and that’s the anxiety/doubt talking.

    I wonder if part of this is due to being 23 at a transition in my life, where the future seems so scary and i’m not a kid anymore.

  161. Jamie Says:

    Mark R

    You sound like you’re doing a bit better at the moment. That’s great news.

  162. Bryan Says:

    (I didn’t see Mark’s post above so I apologize if I was repetitive..)

  163. Eitan Says:

    Of course I had to read an article on Robin Williams death from his wife and am freaking out now. He had Lewy Body Dementia and i know i’m probably too young to have it, but some of his statements seem similar to mine. His anxiety and depression increased and he kept saying how he wanted to reboot his brain because he felt like he was losing his mind. i’m just wondering is it possible to permanently damage the brain/neurotransmitters? I keep thinking what if the panic attack or meditation I used to do (which felt like my brain burnt out/exploded after) permanently damaged my neurotransmitters or consciousness and I can’t revert back?

  164. Julie Says:

    Hi Bryan

    Sorry I missed your post above.

    I agree I have let my physical ill health take hold of me and it is when I became physically unwell that my anxiety reared it’s head again. I donto identify myself as sick in terms of having anxiety. I only use the word sick to identify my ill health.

    I probably do dwell far too much on my ill health but I find that so hard still being unwell 12 months on, the medication is slowly being increased and gp keeps wanting to test new illnesses, hence the ongoing anxiety and fear for me. I guess I’m feeling a bit annoyed and wish now it would leave me alone. That wanting it to go probably is what keeps me in the fear loop as I fear my ill health and am always wishing it will improve. I do agree I need to stop letting myself feel I have be known as the sick Julie. There’s more to me than my physical ill health

    Thank you
    Julie

  165. Bryan Says:

    Julie,

    You said “sick” or “ill health” eight times in your post above.

  166. Bryan Says:

    Eitan,

    You didn’t damage anything by meditating. In time you’ll find humor in that concept.

    For now, just know you have an anxious mind and Paul has outlined how to deal with it.

    So you can APPLY…. or stay in the loop. See my post a few above and you decide which.

  167. Julie Says:

    Bryan

    I know, and in my post above I was actually mentioning to those words agreeing with you that I need to stop referring to myself as ‘sick’ as there’s more to me than my ill health and explaining that I don’t use the word ‘sick’ when referring to my anxiety just to make it clear that I don’t see anxiety as being ‘sick”.

    I was just responding to your message about those points and that would have been difficult without using that word you pointed out I tend to use a lot but thank you for the observation 😉

    Julie

  168. Chris Says:

    Hey Eitan, I used to have the same fears as you. Just know that when we are dealing with anxiety our imaginations can run wild. Logically what you are fearing just isn’t possible, and the good news is that you don’t have to believe them. I was 23 when I entered this state too, and I came out of it six months later. I looked back on it and all my fears and was literally like “what the actual eff”. It’s only the state that you are in that is magnifying these fears, so pay them no respect they really aren’t important.

    I did re enter this state once, but that’s because I didn’t recover the right way like I am this time (I relied too heavily on reassurance). But literally just throw these fears in the bin, it’s nonsense created by an over anxious mind – not trying to downplay what you’re going through of course as I went through it too. All the best!

  169. Eitan Says:

    Bryan And Chris,

    Thank you very much for the responses. It’s very difficult not to analyze my condition or myself. I’m feeling a bit more normal today but even in my normal state I overthink and obsess. It truly is about not only being your old self again but a better version. That’s what I want to be, a transformed version of my old self. It will be difficult because most of us had habits that built up over the years that led us to anxiety. So that’s where applying Paul’s strategies is hard but it can be done!

  170. Doreen Says:

    Eitan – my sister died from Lewy Body dementia and I can assure you that you most certainly don’t have it.

    Having said that anxiety is a naught beast and once we are reassured about one thing, it can throw up another ‘something’ else to be anxious about.

    So all these irrational anxieties belong in the bin and we should take no notice of their content. A phrase I think is really helpful is ‘These are just thoughts, nothing more and thoughts cannot hurt me’.

  171. Joe Says:

    Hi everyone

    Been off this blog and have stopped visiting all blogs/doing Google see aches etc for I think about 2-3 months. I can’t tell if things have gotten better really, although I feel that the constant searching and posting on forums has probably relieved some stress on my nerves. Anyway things haven’t really been great in time on the whole. I’m still confused about acceptance and how to accept. I go about my day and I try to just let the thoughts that torture me be there. They’re very philosophical and metaphysical and deep and scary and it makes me feel really lonely and scared all day long. I’m able to function as usual but when I’m on my own/sober I’m constantly thinking of these things. I think these thoughts were the result of a short DP spell that seemed to just go away on its own. Well it left me basically dead inside and living in a constant state of anxiety and depression and general discomfort. Feel like I’m just existing for the hell of it.

    My real problem at the moment is that I just started university. All the time I’ve been cripplingly nervously ill (since May) I’ve been on holiday and not had to do any real work. I’ve done some studying in that time but it wasn’t much and I didn’t have to pressure of meeting deadlines or actually having to do any work. The added stress of trying to focus in lectures and classes makes concentrating even more difficult. I can kind of do it in an ‘autopilot’ sort of way but it’s really not ideal. I understand that the more I struggle against the anxiety and the constant obsessive thoughts that I can’t control the worse im going to feel but I do need to concentrate. God only knows how bad I’ll do in an exam at this rate.

    I feel quite under pressure to get better because of this which cannot be good if I’m looking to recover my nerves. Dropping out of university is not an option. I first listened to a Clare Weekes audiobook about a few days after my initial panic attack which put me in this constant state of fear and I’ve been trying to accept ever since but I don’t feel I know how exactly to do it or even if it will work for the thoughts I have. I know that’s probably been said by anyone with anxiety but I’m even scared to tell what my thoughts are because I remember getting them because of someone on a forum. It’s like they ‘infected’ me and now it’s something I constantly think about non-stop.

    Anyway yeah I don’t really see what the point of this post is. I guess I just don’t know how to accept my situation. I try and just let the thoughts be there for as long as they need to be. There are obviously parts of the day where I’m not thinking about it although this seldom lasts more than 5 or so minutes and then suddenly I remember and then all the hyperawarenes of self etc just comes rushing back. I really do try to let it just be there and I’m not aiming in those moments to simply wish the anxiety away or expect it to pass after a matter of minutes. I’ve been doing this for a while now and i don’t think I feel my mind becoming anymore peaceful. I do really just wake up and wish things would come to an end sometimes. I’ve read Pauls book and a lot of the blog posts but I don’t know how good those are for me anymore because I feel like they just confuse me.

    I think my nerves initially went bad (if that is really what’s going wrong with me here) because of various life stresses (literally one shitty thing after another) and unrelated depression in the prior years that put me in hospital a number of time for suicidal ideation and self-harm combined with about half a year of cannabis-abuse. Cannabis never gave me DP (in the sense that I smoked one day and had a panic attack and got DP like a lot of people) I actually got Dp after having a bad reaction to Sertraline. Well anyway I suppose it doesn’t matter that’s just the context. I wish that my anxiety wasn’t so obscure and that I could find others who can relate. There’s only one person I know of on a forum with this anxiety and he’s completely hopeless, last time I checked he was in a mental institution for it taking antipsychotics (it’s not a psychotic disorder).

    Basically just feeling kinda hopeless still. Don’t really know what to do, feeling stressed because of university and sad because I want my old life back. I have such sweet memories of life even around the times I was admitted to hospital but when I think of them my heart just sinks and I start feeling anxious. I’m feeling that either acceptance is something I’m not capable of or is simply impossible due to the nature of my anxieties.

  172. Joe Says:

    I typed my last message on my iPhone so sorry for all the autocorrect mistakes and stuff.

  173. Eitan Says:

    Joe,

    I have the most obscure, insane, weird philosophical thoughts that question the nature of EVERYTHING. Even things that are so obvious and don’t need questioning. It’s just anxiety messing with your mind. There are people who can think these things and not go into fear or panic. I used to question existence and stuff all the time and it never left me in panic. Once anxiety hit….boom…..I couldn’t conceive of anything the same way as before. I also psychoanalyze myself and get intrusive thoughts and try to comprehend how i’m going to get out of this or what it must feel like. My thoughts drag me back in by tricking me all the time like “what if you like torturing yourself? what if you don’t want to be happy? what if you deserve to be like this? what if you’re an evil person?”. And one common theme of all this is that I want to be certain, which is what keeps the thoughts torturing me.

    I’m still struggling with it. It’s much easier when I’m distracted, but it can come back full force. A member Nolan once said that letting these thoughts go is the only way, no matter how depressing or torturous they are. Because they are just thoughts reflective of your state of mind, which is in shambles. I’m not sure what your thoughts are but my thoughts have made me question myself, my beliefs, my motives, the universe, what’s right and wrong and making me uncertain of everything I know. It’s nothing but your imagination running wild like my therapist and others have told me. I’m pretty sure I’ve had similar thoughts before anxiety hit and it just didn’t nudge me as much. The last time I can remember having such fearful thoughts where nothing made sense was when I felt depersonalized from a very potent pot brownie which put me in a high panic state. So when your brain is under high stress and tension, it can’t perceive things correctly.

    I’d say your fixation on acceptance is also a barrier. Look up Mark Freeman on Youtube, he has some good advice on recovery from Anxiety/OCD. Recovery itself can become an obsession, which will make your condition worse. Acceptance is about being okay with not feeling okay. I know that’s hard for me personally because I’m a person who cares a lot so not caring makes me feel like I’m giving up or that i’m cold or something but it’s the farthest thing from the truth.

    This struck about 2 months into Grad School and I stuck with it and got my Master’s degree in May. If i can do it, you can do it too! Don’t compare your symptoms to everyone else, because everyone’s case is pretty unique. Everyone thinks their symptoms are special and that they may be the exception. Just look at Bryan’s post above. It’s like how everyone has different opinions, tastes, hobbies, desires, perceptions, etc. We’re all intelligent, creative, caring people and it’s almost like our creativity & intellect has been turned against us. But I believe that when we come out of this, we’ll feel like we can deal with life better than others. Maybe even have a deeper and better appreciation for it.

  174. Ali Says:

    Hi paul, ive read both ur books and its like reading a book on myself page for page, ive suffered with generalised anxiety now for 5 and a half years, ur books make perfect sense and have to say the best info i have ever read however after reading it i feel better then the next week im back to trying to work it all out :( i no i have to just allow the trembling allow the heart palps they clearly scare me on another level. My mind just wont give up the search and its exhausting me. It races all day every day trying to figure a way out of this hole im in. Mine even started off the exact way urz did!! Can u offer any more advise as to how to just allow. I have the fear of fear anxious about being anxious. I have a son whom i adore and i get so annoyed at myself and just cant seem to relax :(

  175. Josh Says:

    Hello Everyone,

    I came across this site while looking for techniques to help my anxiety. I plan on buying Mr. David’s book when I get paid on Friday off of Amazon on my Kindle app.

    I wanted to see if anyone here had any advice for me in the mean time. I want to try to let my worries in but it’s so difficult to do so. What I do when a situation comes up that most people don’t give a second thought is I find a possibility for there to be some sort of catastrophe by “what if” after “what if” but no matter what I do there is always another what if. I seek reassurance from friends that tell me I’m being silly. But until I can get 100% proof (which is almost impossible ) that the catastrophic event won’t manifest itself I remain worried for days, weeks, months. I will have very little time when I’m not anxious or worried. I won’t let myself be happy or enjoy life until I know everything is ok. I spend most of my time trying to convince myself that it’s not going to happen but it just gets worse. And it usually doesn’t go away until I find something else to be worried about.

    This way of thinking I know is wrong and I desperately want to break away from it. But it’s been a part of me for so long I’m not sure how.

    If anyone can relate or give advice/encouragement I would greatly appreciate it.

    To Paul and all of those who contribute to the site, thank you so much for the wonderful work you do.

  176. Alz Says:

    Hey Melissa and all the people who offered me advice,
    A little update . I went for the engagement and I had moments of clarity .Post trip I can say I do feel better but there are days for example today when I’ll feel in a dream again. Today i literally thought I saw a text messge appearing again . I’m getting to learn more about my mind and how much potential it has . Waiting for the time when I can separate thoughts from reality .

  177. Jake Says:

    Hi All

    Havent been on in a while. I have anxiety which focuses on my relationship with my partner (no feelings, attraction etc etc etc)
    In all other aspects of my life I seem happy thats when I start to question the anxiety. I just feel down about my relationship and nothing else.
    Can anxiety do that???

  178. Alz Says:

    Jake,
    Anxiety can make u question normal human emotions too. Perhaps ur overthinking because of ur anxiety but the relationship could actually be questionable . If it isn’t then anxiety’s making u think weird .. if it scares u – it’s anxiety .

  179. Alz Says:

    Eitan ur post was v insightful .

  180. Katrina Says:

    Alz
    That’s fantastic about your trip great to hear you faced your fears and saw some success, that is the recovery process in action. Try not to fear the return of symptoms and just ride out the flames of anxiety until they burn out. I always like hearing your posts as you’ve been through so much in such a short time yet you offer and seek advice. Your determination will get you there I have no doubt whatsoever.
    ?

  181. Laura Says:

    Hey everyone
    I thought I’d post a few things I’m working with in my process of acceptance and moving forward
    I’m in a setback at the moment after a great few months. I am seeing changes, but at times this is not good enough for me and I fight to get back to where I was – big mistake

    So I’m trying to implement the following

    Acceptance – this is me for now so each day requires me to practice putting the “puzzle down” and focusing only on what is in that day

    This is how change occurs because you realise fighting is futile – all I need to practice is turning my attention back to what I’m doing – only way out – stop falling for the tricks and temptation that o can solve this

    It is a habit I need to break

    When anxiety comes on strong acknowledge the fear adrenaline and don’t react with fear just remind self it’s just chemical – don’t attach meaning

    Brain will trick me into working it out but there is no point trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist

    Thoughts are not reality – only when u identify with them is when it intensities it

    Slow everything down

    Stop with the Pressure to change in a short period of time

    Fail and keep trying – can’t be perfect in this

    Get up each day without expectation of how it should be – it is what it is but it can still be enjoyed

    I’m praying that I can continue apply this – but I must be prepared for the up and down journey and get back up every time I feel defeated – this is true recovery

    If anyone has any insights or additional perspectives I’d love to hear them

  182. Melissa Says:

    I am finally getting it. I first read Paul’s book back in March. The thing I did wrong was using mantras from The book every time I felt anxious, not realizing I was still resisting. I went through severe stress in the summer of 2015. On October 5, 2015, I experienced my first panic attack at a parent council meeting. I had this huge urge to escape but I stayed, not knowing what was happening. I did not realize this was an attack until a week later when I experienced another one and that’s when my anxiety started. I only got worse from there. Many times I thought I would end up in the psychiatric wards. In December I went on antidepressants, desperate to escape the dreadful feelings, but they only worked for a while. While I was “better” that is when I read “at last a life” among many other books. This one stuck.
    My doctor wanted to up the dosage of my medication as I was experiencing panic and anxiety again. That is the last thing I wanted to do. I reread the book and that is when the concept finally kicked in. I went off my medication knowing the only way to heal was to feel them and let them be and oh man that was so hard but, you know what?…despite the awful feelings, I was able to carry on with my life. I was able to laugh although there was knots in my tummy. The past two days I have been feeling great. I know that I will have a setback again but I know to keep on going. You have to “stop trying to get better”. It’s hard but it can be done. I have read other books from
    Deepak chopra, and Anita moorjani – who wrote a book after she had a NDE and experienced “heaven”. They both have the same messages as Paul, do not resist your feelings of anxiety. You have to let it be in order to heal. Pauls book is better to read as it goes into more detail. Thank you Paul. I’m sure I would still be fighting if I had not ordered your book. I’m from Canada by the way and I have told people about your book.

  183. Eitan Says:

    Alz,

    Anytime. Just trying to help out.

    Laura,

    Great post. Sometimes I have to remember to stop trying to figure things out as that’s part of the anxiety trick. Just the last hour I was obsessing if I was a Sadist from watching a video and then went on to Psychopath/Sociopath and analyzing my past/personality. Recently I’ve been feeling more neutral/I don’t care to the thoughts and that even worries me too. It’s something called a backdoor spike, in which you start to worry about being numb to them and that you’re starting to enjoy them. So for anyone in a similar boat, don’t fall for it’s tricks!

    The only other advice I can give you is that I believe Acceptance must always come before change. It’s probably better not to think about recovery but just to blindly trust in it. Like leaving the universe to work things out. I agree with you though…No expectations is better. I realize most of my life I tried to control my happiness and would always loathe bad periods and obsess about when things would turn better. Little did i know that this behavior would worsen as I got older. It’s much better and healthier to give up control, as scary as that sounds. It’s like hanging off the edge of a cliff, but if you let go you realize you’re standing on solid ground the whole time.

    Again, I’m still struggling to do this so you can take it with a grain of salt but that’s how I see it from my view. It’s the fear of not having or losing control that I believe keeps us in this, which is why we continue to try to work out our thoughts or how to fix this.

  184. Ramji Says:

    Hi Nolan, Stephanie, Bryan or anyone who dealt with sleep anxiety.

    I have been following this blog for more than a year for my anxiety and depression issues.

    All it started with my sleep anxiety and after reading Paul’s book I have been applying acceptance and let go method , I felt drastic improvement over my anxiety.

    But a couple of days before I hit the rock bottom what I presume as major Set back , was not able to sleep for the whole night, my mind keep on monitoring whether am sleeping or not (and its obvious when u keep on monitoring ur sleep u will not sleep , sleep should happen naturally) as a result I felt more exhausted , head pain , unable to drive / concentrate .

    Am craving for sleep pills to get some good night sleep but I don’t want to go back to medication , I want to overcome this naturally but at times it’s hard to go with acceptance when your physically exhausted due to lack of sleep.

    Any advice for people who face set back on sleep anxiety.

  185. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    Not posted in a while as I wanted a break from forums for a bit and to just crack on.
    I’ve been dealing with a rough few months again since the beginning of August following a big change in my life. When I make a change or have something stressful to deal with I have a period of sensitisation. It was hard to take at first feeling those feelings again but I was determined to not let anxiety prevent me from living. I cut out all the behaviours that kept me stuck before and I’ve made it as easy on myself as I can. For the most part I’m still feeling it, my brain is like mud and my body feels total yuck but this time I decided to roll up my sleeves and get on with life rather than mope around.
    I know that pushing myself, not adding what ifs and being patient brings me back home so those are my ingredients to get better. I’ve seen times of being myself, ten mins here, half an hour there, very fleeting but I know they will get longer. I do get times where I feel totally fed up with it all, the “Why me’s?, its not fair” and the tears come but I dry my eyes and keep going.
    It’s never nice, its never fun and it will never feel comfortable but we have to remind ourselves that it IS temporary.

    I read a beautiful quote in a Claire Weekes book the other night which was….”If you don’t add second fear you will recover, I assure you of this”. Think about that….

    Mark.

  186. Mark R Says:

    Laura,

    It sucks to be in a setback doesn’t it. Even though in your post I can see you are struggling you have the attitude completey nailed. Keep going, this will pay dividends for sure.

    Mark.

  187. Nolan Says:

    Hi everyone,
    Quick update: I received the official word at the bank that my job will definitely be leaving for Arizona (I’m in Wisconsin) on November 25th. The offer is there to follow the job to Arizona, but my dad is in Wisconsin and we’re not certain how much longer he’ll be with us (he has cancer).

    But I just want to add…. I’m not flooded with despair, hopelessness, anxiety, nor depression.
    Sure, it’s a little unsettling. But this new attitude (thanks to Paul) in dealing with the junk that comes our way in life has made all of the difference for me.

    Years back, prior to my bout of anxiety and prior to ever reading Paul’s book I would have been a wreck to receive information like this.
    It’s funny, my wife is typically the more stable one…. but I’m finding myself being the stable one now. The one who comforts her in this rough time that is coming.

    There are concerns that are in my mind but they feel normal… or, within proper perspective to life in general. They’re not overcoming me like they would have in the past.

    So, if you have fears that “even if I do get better with this bout of anxiety… how will I ever be able to handle big life events??!”…. trust me when I say that the attitude that you’re implementing now for anxiety will be there for you when the other big life changes come.

    This is something that I was convinced I would never be able to say. I was certain, at least at one point in my anxiety journey that moments like this would take me under. That they’d wreck me and any hope I had. But I can say now that those fears were simply not true.

  188. Kat Says:

    You’re an inspiration, Nolan. I’m sure that with your attitude, great things will come your way.

    Take care,

    Kat

  189. Joe Says:

    Hey again everyone

    Thanks Eitan for your reply. The whole thing about obsessing over recovery seems to resonate with me. I think I’m just frustrated with the apparent lack of progress im feeling. I don’t know how to feel like I have the right attitude to allow my body to recover. I still don’t really know how to surrender myself to the state I am in. I think the scariest thing is that I don’t have anybody to relate to it seems. I have chronic anxiety regarding aspects of the nature of existence and life etc that I don’t know how to deal with (or even not deal with, as the advice goes).

    With that said the latest development in my thinking is that ordinary people don’t pay so much attention to how they are feeling or how fully they are enjoying life, at least not on a day-to-day, or even hourly basis as I do. I imagine this kind of overanalysing myself is probably contributing to the strangeness I feel in my mind and also the anxiety/depression etc. I know that I need to stop trying to figure everything out in my mind, but this doesn’t seem so easy. It’s automatic it seems. I don’t feel as if I’m doing any of this worrying voluntarily. I don’t try and resist the anxiety-ridden thoughts because I know this just creates more friction. I don’t know how to cultivate an attitude whereby I simply don’t care if I feel anxious. I’m not sure why or what I’m doing wrong. I seem to not be able to just switch off and let my guard down. I think it’s probably easier understood when you manage to eventually accept the state you’re in but I’m not sure I’ve really managed to do that yet.

    It’s been about 5 months of chronic anxiety and sometimes I wonder if it’s getting worse. I’m not going to try therapy or medication because I’m fairly certain those won’t help my condition so much. This is the only place I go to seek answers and advice, however I’ve only come back here recently because after a few months of try and failing (it would seem) to effectively accept my anxious state, in fairly certain I don’t have even slightly the correct attitude. This makes things seem a little hopeless. I’m also disheartened by the fact that a lot of people try this method and make no progress, even after some years.

    I’m trying to cut down on going out with my friends as I think it might be one of the ways in which I avoid feeling the way I do. I think this gives the feelings more control and more power. I feel like I’m doing this on a semi-conscious level however. Tonight is the first Saturday im spending in and not drinking on, but only because all my friends are out of town. It’s quite horrible to be honest but I’m not really trying to fix it. Just lying in bed on Netflix doing nothing productive. Instinctively I want to just go out, either find some friends to go to the pub with or to go to the library and study, or even just for a walk. I’m going to jus try and be alone with myself for tonight though. This is actually my biggest fear, because no matter how long I might even forget my anxiety while with people, it always tortures me the minute I become by myself.

    Anyway yeah that was just an update on how I’m thinking really. I don’t know if anyone has any advice.

  190. Eitan Says:

    Joe,

    Our stories are pretty similar so don’t worry. It’s a symptom to go online and search for a parallel story to match symptoms with. I used to linger on the depersonalization boards and a lot of people had thoughts/symptoms that I didn’t have, and then eventually they caught up to me.

    “With that said the latest development in my thinking is that ordinary people don’t pay so much attention to how they are feeling or how fully they are enjoying life, at least not on a day-to-day, or even hourly basis as I do. I imagine this kind of overanalysing myself is probably contributing to the strangeness I feel in my mind and also the anxiety/depression etc.”

    I feel the same way too. Your mind is on overdrive and hyperaware due to anxiety. It’s pretty much locked in a fearful state. I’ll have thoughts like “What if you’ve though too much? What if you’ve discovered some truth? What if you’ve gone too far and can’t see things the same again? What if when you’re not overanalyzing you’re being tricked?” I know these are bullshit but the doubt fills up. And sometimes it’s scary because I feel like i’m going to or almost believe them. The truth is that your thought pattern is highjacked. I could have thought similar things before and it wouldn’t have impacted me nearly as badly as it does now. I’ve always been a very analytical person so that’s why this is harder. But analytical, creative, intelligent, overthinkers usually are the victims of this. Plenty of people have said that once they are out of this state, all the thoughts seem silly and irrational. Like an intuition that’s too hard to grasp right now.

    You sound like you’re still fighting with yourself, which I am too. I believe it’s because of fear. I have so many what if’s blocking me from fully accepting this state and the consequences. Once I figure out one, another one pops up. It’s all a trick but it seems so real. A lot of this has to do with behavior, and it’s hard to give up behaviors you’ve done a lot of your life. Now I fear that if I give up some of my habits (which are greatly contributing to this), i’ll lose myself or find out that i’m not who I thought I was or something.

    “I’m also disheartened by the fact that a lot of people try this method and make no progress, even after some years.”

    Guaranteed they didn’t adapt the right attitude.

    “I’m trying to cut down on going out with my friends as I think it might be one of the ways in which I avoid feeling the way I do.”

    No, you should go out with your friends. Being distracted allows a lot of the analysis to die down. I’m much better when I’m around people but then it comes back when I’m alone. You just need to let yourself be okay no matter what state you are in.

    Another piece of advice (which i’m still struggling with) is try not to talk yourself out of a state. I’m pretty optimistic and have my personal beliefs, so when my doubts start to come in I feel the urge to fight. Which is completely normal but doesn’t help. It’s best to let them shout and act like you don’t care.

    You sound like you are still fighting with yourself and ruminating. It’s not easy to stop ruminating but you have to try to give yourself a break. For me it’s so weird cause I have many positive beliefs about myself and the world/life but my brain will automatically pump out negative thoughts to counter it. It also feels automatic like you said or a habit. And of course I focus on this so it makes me feel worse. Now I think “what if my brain just wasn’t designed to be happy? what if i can’t change?” I told my therapist all my thoughts which are similar to this, and usually they all have something in common: they scare me. The best way to approach these thoughts is just not to give a damn. And I’m like “What if I accept myself and then never want to change/improve? How can I accept myself if i’m not happy? Well what if I sink into despair, believe the thoughts since i’m not fighting them?” See? I’m scared to give up fighting. Because I’m scared to face the fears.

    You said you aren’t seeing a therapist but I believe if you find the right one they can help. One that gives advice similar to Paul’s method. ACT therapy is supposed to be very good. I’m still having troubles but just go through the ebb and flow of it all. I felt crappy yesterday and I feel better today. I overanalyze plenty and it’s a waste of time. The brain is very plastic and can change but it’s not easy. Acceptance is the first step. I also get scared that this is my brain/personality and i can’t change or that I permanently altered it and won’t be able to cope or improve/toughen up. You know how I react to that? I say “Maybe, maybe not. I can’t have certainty”

  191. Joe Says:

    Eitan,

    I think hanging out on dp forums was definitely my worst mistake, i do really wish that someone would have told me at the time that it would make things worse, and that i may have made things worse for somebody else. I suppose that sort of thinking isn’t very useful at this point though.

    The ‘what if you’ve discovered some truth’ thought and not seeing things in the same way again thing definitely hits home. Since my chronic anxiety began in May i had the feeling that i’ve seen something about reality and existence that i cannot ‘un-see’. I get the impression a lot of people feel that way with philosophical anxiety. It’s a common worry, it seems. But like you said, I used to have had the thoughts i have now from time-to-time and they didn’t really bother me. It’s kind of hard to believe that my mind is playing tricks on me, even though logically speaking it’s most likely the case. I remember actually a few months before my onset of anxiety I was actually fascinated by one of my thoughts, not scared of it. I think the advice states that you should let that intuition that all the thoughts and anxieties are silly come to you, rather than attempting to cling on to them which makes sense, given that the state I am in is probably driven by harsh, chronic anxiety and not necessarily some form of discovery.

    I suppose they probably didn’t have the right attitude, but it’s sad that they didn’t and continue not to find the right one. I know it’s a worry thought but I often wonder if i’ll never figure out how to accept the way things are. I know that it doesn’t matter how long you’ve suffered but I feel like the more i sink into this hole the worse things are going to get and the harder it’s going to be to recover.

    I think maybe going out with friends is fine but it’s the drinking that probably isn’t helping. I’m a first year at university and I live in Britain (two factors which are very likely to lead to excessive alcohol-bingeing!). I don’t consider myself dependent on alcohol exactly, but often I do find myself capitulating to wanting to go out and get drunk with all my friends, rather than hanging out with my friends if that makes sense. obviously i love all my friends but drinking with them sometimes seems like a way of not feeling the way i feel so harshly. Today is the first saturday i’ve spent not drinking and hanging out with friends. i’ve been on my own since about 4pm (it’s 00:17 now) and i feel terrible. I capitulated to the discomfort of being alone in my bed and went to the library where i am now. I tried to read a book but i couldn’t focus so well, although I’m not sure if that’s because it was quite a boring book or just that my mind was racing or both.

    You being scared to face your fears makes sense. I think i can relate to it on some level but a the same time i kind of do feel like i’m able to face them, but this doesn’t seem to help too much? It’s frustrating because i don’t feel like i’m fighting the way i’m feeling at all. I’m perfectly prepared to believe the worrying thoughts for a while, no matter how distressing they are, but my mind is so tired and confused and active that it feels so hard to do something so simple. In short, i do really feel like i’d face all my fears with no question if only i knew how.

    I’ve heard of ACT, if anything it seems like the right one for me, although I’m not sure how many give it around my area, i might look into it one day. Acceptance seems like the only thing i can do but i still get confused and frustrated somehow. I don’t know the difference between anxiety and worry, that which I’m not and which i am responsible for. It’s probably not worth trying to find out but I do often feel ill-equipped to deal with my self, or like this particular set of anxieties is so all-encompassing and chronic it feels like I’m drowning. I feel like i should stay away from this website and doing all this posting and stuff but then i also feel like it’s all i have at the moment.

  192. Eitan Says:

    Joe,

    It’s very tricky cause our brains will always find a way to bring us down. I also have Pure O OCD types of thoughts like what if i’m gay, a murderer, narcissist, sociopath, have a personality disorder, a fake, a deluded person, schizophrenic, suicidal, enlightened, broken, a terrible person, etc. Just now I had the old OCD thought of what if i’m gay. But this time it went through another loophole of “In the past you were scared of things and then after you did them it wasn’t that bad…what if that’s the same with you being gay? what if you do something and decide you like it?”

    yada yada yada. It always seems to morph. And I don’t know if it’s the low dose of prozac i’m on, but I definitely feel more dull in reaction to the thoughts or less like myself. Just trying to ignore it. The hardest and scariest thing to do is just let them be there. I urge you to lookup Mark Freeman on Youtube (“Everybody has a brain”).

    He has some very good advice. I think in your head you think you’re accepting but I can see clear as day how you’re still obsessing and hyperfocused on yourself. I’d avoid alcohol if i were you. I got drunk a few months ago and the next day I felt awful for a week.

    “I think the advice states that you should let that intuition that all the thoughts and anxieties are silly come to you, rather than attempting to cling on to them which makes sense, given that the state I am in is probably driven by harsh, chronic anxiety and not necessarily some form of discovery.”

    Exactly. I believe that’s the only way. It’s almost like this fighting anxiety or trying to piece the puzzle together or letting the fear continue is an addiction.

    ” It’s kind of hard to believe that my mind is playing tricks on me, even though logically speaking it’s most likely the case.”

    Of course it is hard to believe 100%. A year or two ago I would have laughed if you told me a lot of these thoughts. Now I CAN’T conceive how these never bothered me or I ever thought about it before. The simple answer is that I was in a more normal state of mind and could perceive things clearly. “AH BUT WHAT IF THAT WAS ALL A LIE? WHAT IF YOU FOOLED YOURSELF ALL THESE YEARS?” you can see why it’s useless to even bother thinking about what’s right or wrong, rational or irrational, anxiety or worry. You kind of have to stop figuring it out. It’s as if you know deep down what’s right, but it doesn’t feel clear as day as intuition should be.

    ” I feel like i should stay away from this website and doing all this posting and stuff but then i also feel like it’s all i have at the moment.”

    Agreed. I’ve lingered on this site since maybe December/January but finally posted the other week. I still google symptoms or test myself by searching up things online and it’s all contributing to anxiety. Best to cut it out.

  193. Derrick Says:

    Nolan –

    That was an inspiring post. I’ve been working on adopting Paul’s advice for a long time, and at times I feel I am truely just living my life with the anxiety fully present. It feels great and it gives me hope. The non-resistance is not always easy, but I am convinced is the only way to truely recover. The setbacks come as expected, and I do my best to keep moving forward. I guess I need to just be prepared to live like this for the rest of my life. I think if I can hold that idea solidly then things will settle in time.

    Thanks again for you awesome posts!

  194. Alz Says:

    Katrina ,
    Thank you for your appreciation! Just a few quick questions which Rich, Doreen or anyone can answer…
    – if i actually see a text message on my phone appearing again but it hasn’t thats also anxiety playing its tricks?
    – if my mother is calling my sister and saying that Alz is seeing things and im worried for her and then I call my mother and tell her she’ll really drive me mad is it justified?
    – im working but i feel like a shell and get scared about not being able to deliver at work .. is that anxiety too?
    – why is the fear of me seeing things not going away?
    Alz

  195. Alz Says:

    I feel like im soon going to be writing things incorrectly or saying things wrong at work (my idea of losing my mind)
    on top of this my husband is also being so irritable – we hardly talk . He says I dont even look at his face while making love (scared his face will look different) and i know it takes time to get over anxiety but i want to know how to discard thought from reality.. or will that happen with time?

  196. Belgian Says:

    All,

    It has been quite the journey since anxiety kicked in more than two years ago.

    It wasn’t my first bout of anxiety though. I had one in my early teens. I remember laying in bed and feeling as if the walls were closing in on me. It was my first panic attack although I didn’t knew that at that time.

    The second one arrived when i was in my early twenties. Back then, the focus of my anxiety was completely on my health. In order for me to tackle this, I’ve followed some CBT therapy. It helped me back then. I remember the day I felt recovered very well. I came out of the office of the therapist and suddenly the whole world fell in its place. It was a glorious feeling.

    There was only one catch. I did not tackle the issue at its roots and I stayed afraid of my anxiety. I was just happy, it went away. Over the years after that, ‘it’ visited me on multiple occasions. I spend a lot of time at the doctor’s always fearing the worst. But overall, I managed to get by these returns of anxiety fairly quickly.

    Ten years later, on the 18th of June 2014 – two months before my marriage- , the third bout of anxiety kicked in. The worst yet. My whole life was set upside down. My anxiety had chosen a new topic. My relationship. From that first moment on, I became determined to truly understand this condition and to master it. Fairly quickly – I think it was in August of 2014 – I came across the book and website of Paul. I knew this was the way forward but it took me a long time to truly understand and practice what he said.

    Furthermore, I went to see a psychiatrist. He prescribed me anti-depressants and intensive therapy. At first I was hesitant to take the pills, but after a while I decided to take them anyway. After the first difficult weeks, things improved and I had enough ‘room’ available to follow therapy. (note: not everyone has the same opinion on medication. Always consult your doctor before taking them)

    These sessions are and were very difficult at times but for me essential in trying to understand myself. Trying to understand what triggers me into the anxiety state. I have discovered things I knew already for a long time, but didn’t truly understand. I’ve felt anger and sadness for things that happened years ago. I had to feel them in order for me to move on. I’m making peace with my past so I can be hopeful for the future.

    It took me more than two years but I can now honestly say I understand my condition. I understand what’s happening to me when anxiety kicks in and as I understand it I know it’s not harmful in any way. And as I know this, I don’t have to feel enslaved by it.

    To start this journey too, the first step is always to throw the shackles away that anxiety has put on you. To go willingly towards your anxiety and experience it. I promise you, if you do this, recovery is inevitable.

    If I can, you can too!

  197. Derrick Says:

    Belgian –

    Thanks for the post. It’s what I needed this morning. The last couple of sentences are the key, and it is so good to see them from someone like you who has made so much progress. I’m off to start my work day. I will be traveling hundreds of miles alone, and I plan to feel everything anxiety brings my way. I’ve been at it solidly for about six weeks, and it has been tough at times. I feel hopeful and I know this is the only way to lasting freedom. I look forward to being able to post a total success story one day.

  198. Sue Says:

    I have not been on this forum for some time as I have been managing well. Although I do not get much anxiety these days I still have a few of the thoughts that I once had during anxiety. I find they are lessening from what they were and some days they are not there at all. Then out of the blue they come in again when I am tired. Sometimes I can think other things and they clear off and then other times they come back with full force. I consider myself nearly recovered. Could anyone tell me if they also found this a long standing problem with the thoughts issue. Could Nolan or Bryan answer my question or if anyone on here has had this problem. I think Bryan did answer some of the question a while ago but its still with me. Is there a way of stopping thinking them altogether or does it need more time.

  199. Sue Says:

    I am not scared of these thoughts as I have lived with them for that long and understand how stupid they are. I think it is more the repetition of them and why they still keep coming back. I have accepted them and I wonder sometimes if I think them to test myself or what. Any answers to the problem.

  200. Nolan Says:

    Hi Sue,

    I’ve had similar issues.

    Just a few things:
    These thoughts come on automatically, right? What I mean is that you’re not willfully conjuring these thoughts like “I want to go for a walk right now.”

    So it’s not by your intentional decision that you have these thoughts. So they’re coming from some where else.

    It sounds like sometimes those thoughts are in your mind more intensely and other times they’re not there at all (the intrusive, negative thoughts).
    I would wager that when you were more heavily in the throes of anxiety those thoughts probably 1) where in your mind more regularly and 2) they had an even more profound effect on you.

    So, now they’re not there as regularly and they don’t have as profound an effect on you. Like a thunder storm that’s rolling off in the distance: there was a point where the strikes were closer and had more of a perceived risk of your wellbeing…. but now that same storm is further off but you can still occasionally hear the thunder.

    Along with my anxiety I would get intrusive, negative thoughts. As with everything else I just let it be there. Even if it captured my attention and I found myself ‘looking at them’, so to speak. I started to tell myself “oh well…”

    I would get (and at times still do get) particularly violent thoughts towards my loved ones. And at times the torment of them would be turned up to max volume. I would let them be there. If they wanted to scream at me, they were now allowed to do that. If they wanted to hold my attention, they could do that too.
    I wasn’t going to run away from them anymore…. I was no longer going to find things to distract myself with so as to shut them out.
    I’d get some nasty, vile thought and I’d essentially react like “okay, what do you got?”. Now I wouldn’t cater my day towards these thoughts. I would just let them be there…. again, even if they wanted to grab my attention. Always with a “okay, so there you are…. have at it” and move back on with my day with those thoughts there as long as they wanted to be there.

    So, that’s what I did. I don’t think you need to counter those thoughts with anything else. Don’t assign anymore importance to them that way. If you let them be there and react dispassionately to their presence in a short order of time that storm will be even further away from you…. passing well over the horizon.

  201. Alz Says:

    Can Anyone reply to my posts? It’d help!
    Alz

  202. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    It’s not often I ask for advice on here anymore but I’ve been at a low ebb these last few days and I’ve been kind of philosophical about anxiety. The reason being is that I seem to hit a hard time very easily nowadays, with anxiety becoming re-triggered at the slightest bit of stress. Now I’d be okay with this if my ‘setbacks’ were only a few days of weeks but they last a fair old time and its a good few months before I’m back on my feet completely. I’ve been at this game for a long time, sometimes seeing long breaks of being well, sometimes short.
    I’m the kind of person who gets on with life despite how I feel. I work full time, have numerous hobbies, socialise, eat well, exercise and meditate, so I do enough to help myself. Now despite all this I have recurring times of these long periods of anxiety. Sometime though, and I guess this is the time when a guy can run out of patience. I went through a god awful time over last autumn and winter, felt better in spring and summer then another rough time again these last few months.
    As I said its hit me over the last few days that my quality of life is very poor, despite my best efforts. I’d like to face life in the future without crumbling to anxiety and ending up here again.
    I know a number have changed this pattern so I’d like to hear some insight if I may.

  203. Ramji Says:

    Reposting this as my post are not going through…

    Hi Nolan, Stephanie, Bryan or anyone who dealt with sleep anxiety.

    I have been following this blog for more than a year for my anxiety and depression issues.

    All it has started with my sleep anxiety and after reading Paul’s book I have been applying acceptance and let go method , I felt drastic improvement over my anxiety.

    For the Last few months am able to sleep well (inspite of few anxiety nights) I go to bed around 11.30 and doze off but the strange thing is I would wake up early in morning 4.30 to 5 am and will not get sleep after that, due to incomplete and unrefreshed sleep I feel more physical exhaustion and depression on the following morning .

    I don’t find much of intrusive thoughts but What bothers me the most are physical exhaustion like constant dizziness , head ach , unable to concentrate and depressed mood like constant worrying etc ..

    Did anyone had similar experience like me , any thoughts are advice would be helpful.

  204. Sue Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    You sure know how to ease my mind. I thank you for your answer to my question. Believe or not I can be in a conversation with someone and the thought it running at the back of my mind as though it is split. Which I find I cannot do much about. I notice it more when tired and I am trying very hard to listen to my body and sit and relax when I get like that. I notice then the thoughts seem to go. It is when I am too busy they go round and round in my head. Did you have that same problem. I think sometimes memory can bring them on again. When I get on with my day they disappear at times but when I get home they seem to raise up if I am sat doing nothing. I have not problems to speak of but this crap in my head and sometimes I feel as though I am looking for something to mither about. What a daft habit.

  205. Bryan Says:

    Alz,

    I responded to you on October 8th.

    You have also had dozens of the same answers to the same questions here.

    Not trying to be harsh, but your salvation will be in the application of these principles. (Doing.) Not the Continued asking.

    There are a few on these boards who ask and ask only. (Seek safety in other people’s sentences.) Those are the people here who have not made any progress at all.

    The people who have recovered or made progress are the ones who do… not ask. The ones who put the answers people give them to work, not just find a way to rephrase the same question the next day.

    I’d truly love to see you make progress. I’ve spent time tryint to contribute to your recovery as have many. But I don’t believe it wil happen until this fundamental concept takes root for you.

  206. Eitan Says:

    Anyone else have this? I’m almost afraid to stop analyzing, overthinking because my whole life I’ve been like that (before anxiety really got me). I feel like if I don’t do that, I won’t be aware of myself or know who I am/what I want to do. But I KNOW that it’s the analysis/overthinking that’s causing me to not improve, run in circles or know what I want to do in the first place. It’s almost like I view myself or my life as a puzzle and I need to figure it out to unlock my true potential confident best self but i’m realizing that I’m going nowhere with it. And of course once anxiety hit, everything became a puzzle. It’s very hard when you want answers (and even if you get the right one, you may have doubt), but it’s a paradox because not having the answers is probably the best path to take.

    Just curious if Nolan, Bryan or anyone else was in a similar situation and came out the other side. I know Nolan that I read once that you were more impatient and handled stress badly before you learned about acceptance.

  207. Nolan Says:

    Hi Sue,

    it sounds like you’re placing too much importance on them. Which is understandable. I don’t fault you for it.
    But, where does it get you? These thoughts happen automatically…. something in you, other than your intentional desire, is bringing them about.

    So, since they aren’t coming about by an intentional act on your part (a willful decision to think them) there’s little chance that by a similar intentional act you can ‘snuff them out’.

    They will go away… but not by a physical effort (like shutting a door) or a mental effort (like clouding them out with other thoughts).

    If you find that your mind is split while having an intentional conversation with a friend (on the one hand) and this incessant mental blabbing (on the other)…. then be at peace with the fact that, at least for the time being, this is what you deal with.
    Even if you notice it, even if it screams at you, even if it’s grabbing your attention with full force….
    Welcome that and be at peace with it. Do it for not other reason than “I will find peace with the lack of peace in my life.”

    Don’t keep a mental timetable of how often it occurs, when it’s more likely to occur, the amount of time between occurrence, or the comparative intensities between occurrences…. because that’s not being at peace with it. That’s treating it with too much respect.

    These occurrences will end. I have little doubt of that. But interior peace and calmness are things that find us…. you can’t scavenge for them, hunt them out, chase them down, strong arm them. They come back to us when we’ve provided a place for them to reside.

    The best way I know of to clear that space for them is to be at peace with the lack of peace you have in your life at any given moment and for any given reason. This isn’t some invocation that will magically make you feel peaceful on demand… it’s simply being done with trying to figure things out, being done with keeping close track of the symptoms, not getting down on yourself as failing when you have a setback…. adopting the attitude that in whatever happens (even the setbacks) that it’s ultimately “Fine by me”.

  208. Jamie Says:

    Why have I felt much more anxious since the weekend ? Is it because I spent a lot of time on my own which makes me generally feel more anxious anyway ?

    Is it because I haven’t been out running or to the gym as much ? Will that help ?

    Shall I try meditating more again ?

    Shall I try and adopt some midnfulness ?

    Shall I have a cry ? Will that help ?

    Shall I scan the screenshots on my phone of various people’s comments who have recovered / made good recovery e.g. Pauul, Bryan, Nolan, Rich etc to help me ?

    It makes it so difficult doing my job (I work in complaints. Perfect for someone who is anxious eh ? Targets all the time and moany customers). When am I ever going to change to a higher paid job when I am still feeling like most of the time at work ? I find it hard enough to concentrate / think straight where I am so how I would learn a new job ?

    My ex (the end of my marriage nearly 3 years ago has made my issues increase significantly) has a good well paid job and is with someone else and I am stuck in the same job and haven’t made much progress with my issues (she said one of the reasons the marriage was finished was my ‘issues’). What is the point ?

    My mind is exhausted at the moment and with all of the above plus many more, it is hardly surprising. I was actually feeling a bit calmer last week at work. I could think a bit clearer and was actually looking what other jobs are out there (not at this precise moment though). This should demonstrate that these feelings are temporary but I have struggled over the last few days.

    I rarely post on here now and ask for answers so I guess that is a step in the right direction. I guess I am just letting off steam and asking for a bit of support.

    Cheers for listening.

  209. Sue Says:

    Thank you Nolan for your comments. It does help a good deal to here from someone who has experienced similar things and how to deal with them.
    Perhaps I have put too much emphasis on the thoughts and at times let them over ride my mind. Fine by me will be my moto from now on and stop dwelling on silly thoughts.

  210. Anxious Indian Says:

    Sue, I had this exact same issue for months. What got me baffled plus a little worked up was that I had no more anxiety, and yet these thoughts would come frequently like you mentioned, and sometimes rage through the day.

    I started worrying that perhaps I am addicted to these thoughts, and some part of my mind doesn’t want to let the anxiety go.

    I will share with you what finally took care of this lingering issue.

    – One day I simply got tired. I thought that anxiety has gone and yet these vile unwanted thoughts keep repeating and that makes me keep thinking or obsessing about anxiety. So I decided to TOTALLY leave the topic. I thought “so what if these thoughts pop up. Even if it is a habit or addiction, I will no longer focus on it. It’s a matter of a few seconds and then I can get back to my flow. I have a life to live and will focus on that”.

    – When I did that, my mind relaxed all the more because I no longer had anything else to ‘figure out’ or ‘try to fix a habit’

    – The effect, to my very own surprise was that the habit and thoughts faded away.

    – After a while, even when I remembered it, it didn’t seem vile but rather juvenile and stupid.

    I am not 100% sure how this works but this is what I strongly believe: Getting ourselves out of the anxiety experience has a side-effect of creating some habits in our mind – the habit of problem solving, questioning. These thoughts are not coming on their own, we are unintentionally remembering them or trying to suppress them (which makes them pop up). We do not even realize because this becomes a habit.

    And then it irritates us, so we obsess about them on some subconscious level.

    Once you decide, ok I will let these habits and thoughts come and go, you break the ‘obsessing + problem solving’ habit.

    By ‘problem solving’ habit what I mean is thought processes like “Xyz has gone, now only zyx is left and I wonder why this is still lingering on’

    Once you decide to chuck the subject away (because it is wasting time and habits are anyways still lingering and you can’t intentionally change them), paradoxically the habits and thoughts go away for good.

    Trust me, this is how it is.

    All the best for the last few steps, you are already there!

  211. Peter Says:

    Hey Anxious Indian. Good to see you around, I’m a big fan of your old posts. :)

    I was just wondering if you left the blog behind during your recovery? Like, did you find that stepping away from the subject was helpful? I think perhaps I’m too immersed in the subject of anxiety.

  212. Maggie Says:

    Good evening all,

    Nolan it is great to see you back.
    My question guys is about Panic Attacks, they terrify me.
    Any suggestions?
    Thank you so much!

  213. Tasnim Says:

    Hey guys!

    I have been doing preferably well now that I am in college. better than 8 months ago. I still get health anxiety, and the scary anxious/Pure O thoughts time to time, but not with same force. The thought/fear of schizophrenia is still here somewhere too. I have been better though.

    The thing that puts me off is how I’ve developed a fear of the state of anxiety, depression or OCD. Anytime I think about myself in the worst of the state 8 months ago, or anytime anyone mentions these words I stiffen and find myself in a daze. I see that I’m sensitive to this because I never want to be as bad as I was then. When I have my moody days, or sad days, it gets even worse because I start fearing that it will lead me towards depression. The thought of OCD scares me as if it means I’m more prone to go crazy because I was prone to OCD. (Pure O).

    I just wanna know if anyone has experienced this after recovery, and were they able to approach the topic without getting into that zone again. Do you understand what I’m saying.

  214. Horton Says:

    Hello everyone, Horton here.

    I could use some advice from Nolan or any one of you other clear headed people

    I had a stretch of success all the way from March to August. Now things werent perfect, I had hiccups and still wasnt myself, but
    I was comfortable and could sense an impending recovery. With each month I got better and by August I was mostly living my life as normal, I got to that point where you are comfortable enough that you could live the rest of your life with anxiety (and ironically means the end of your disorder)

    But just as things were wrapping up my father, from whom I have been estranged from, showed up from nowhere. In just one week he made a huge mess before disappearing again.

    The thing about trauma is that it creates a disconnect. So the progress I made, lessons I learned and worst of all my memories of that period of success are gone.
    I need advice on how to go forward. Is it possible to pick up where you left off? Do I have to start over, especially because I have spent the last few months making myself worse. What should I do in the meantime? Its extremely difficult to keep busy like I had in the summer as my mind is blank when it comes to anything but intrusive thoughts.
    I could use some help getting started on my journey through this low point.

  215. Rik Says:

    Joe & Eitan,

    I am right there with you guys in the same stuck way of thinking and it is 100% DP and DR from intense fear and anxiety that causes us to get into this mess. I was beginning to do much better and could see myself recovering fully but then I foolishly went out on Friday and drank a lot with my friends and on Saturday I had a huge panic attack that pretty much lasted all day and the same on Sunday. As a result it set me back massively. What I have learnt though is that I can recover. It may take me a while to get back to where I was again but I will get there. I am currently waiting for CBT as this helped massively last time I had obsessions. I am pretty confident that once I get some kind of face to face help and support with this that I will be able to overcome it. It is much harder on your own but I was nearly there. The only trick I used to overcome it was to simply let it be and assign all bizarre or scary thoughts to my anxiety and leave them alone. I began to find myself again and as the anxiety lessened and the thoughts lessened things became easier and easier until I had periods where I forgot about it completely and was just myself. You guys can get there but it takes some time to cultivate that trust again and for the feelings of general anxiety to start to fade. I have read numerous times that the DP and DR is the last thing to go when you overcome your anxiety and I would definitely say that seemed to be the case for me. As hard as it is try to take that leap of faith and that first step to just put it all down to anxiety and take a step back from it.

  216. Bryan Says:

    Tasnim,

    Your post is filled with charged labels and medical jargon. One thing I might suggest off the top is to try to just refer to these things as something simple like “stress symptoms.” (Which is 100% true.).

    When we use charged language and medical definitions (only created to sell drugs by labeling people)… we send the message to the brain that we are uniquely damaged or afflicted by something important. When in truth… we just feel crappy due to the result of stress and a fatigued nervous system.

    Beyond that, while we all relate to looking over our shoulders a bit… Our goal is to become OK with stress symptoms. We don’t have to love it, but our ultimate goal is to be ok with them there…. ok with them gone and continue living life and focusing outward regardless. With that concept in mind, read back your question and see if it helps. Hopefully it will a bit. I truly understand your question, this stuff takes time and practice. Sounds like you are well on your way to normal living.

  217. Bryan Says:

    Maggie,

    “Panic attacks scare me” … is not a question. It’s a statement.

    Have you read Paul’s book?

    Have you read Jeff’s book: The Panic Switch?

    I highly recommend reading both and the latter if panic is your issue. They will help you understand the simple mechanisms and harmless nature of panic. We should educate ourselves early in the process so we can take the fear out of stress symptoms.

  218. Maggie Says:

    Thanks a Lot Bryan!
    I read Paul’s book and I will again.
    I read Claire Weekes but not Jeff’s.
    ok will work on it even if some days it is
    hard.
    Again thank you so much for your reply.
    All the best!

  219. Anxious Indian Says:

    Hi Peter, I am glad you found my posts helpful.

    What you say about being “too immersed in the subject of anxiety” holds true for almost all of us here.

    I did step away from the blog during recovery. The idea was not only to try and move away from the subject, but more so to stop trying to figure things out or trying to gain better-n-better understanding. I wanted to focus on life instead. I did not want to make it a daily aim to get better – a goal which actually makes us focus on the anxiety all day everyday, and give it way too much importance than it deserves.

    I decided to consciously start practicing to focus on living a full life – spending time with family and friends (no matter how bad or fearful I felt), trying to get better at work in office (even though there were days I couldn’t focus on absolutely anything), watching TV and basically just living an average daily life.

    Thinking about anxiety had become a habit, and a very strong one, and some hidden desire to ‘figure out’ the very abc of it kept me in the loop.
    The habit was so strong that even after I recovered, I thought of it so much that I started questioning whether this had become an obsession.

    But then I thought that if I could develop an obsession, I could break the habit too. I would think of anxiety on auto-pilot but the moment I realised I was doing so, I would stop and move away from the subject. After a lot of ups and downs, the new habits overtook the old ones, which holds true in the case of all habits we have.

    And believe me, once the anxiety goes, you realise how much time you wasted obsessing over some thoughts or habits that didn’t deserve even a second worth of attention!

  220. Peter Says:

    Thanks for your response. :)

    I was wondering if we could chat a little via email? I promise not take up too mcuh of your time….my email is pmelillo2 @ gmail . com…feel free not to, I just wanted to talk a bit about your recovery. If not that’s really okay. 😀

  221. Sue Says:

    Thank you Anxious Indian,

    That is how I feel at times as though my mind does not want to let go of the last bit of anxiety as it has been such a part of my life for the past 3 years. Like you say you have not got the anxiety any longer just the crazy thoughts hanging
    in there making you believe in some small way you still have the problem with anxiety. Sometimes it is as though your brain is searching for something to worry about. When there really is nothing any longer.
    I will take notice of what you have said and get on with my life which I have been doing. Thank you for your help and I will forget anxiety now andjust be me.

  222. Stephanie Says:

    Hello all,

    Anxious Indian is absolutely correct. For all those wondering why the same thoughts and feelings continue to pop up, it’s because you have developed a habit of giving inappropriate attention to those thoughts/feelings. Unfortunately the habits develop almost naturally. When you first experience anxiety, the natural response is to start questioning and frantically searching for an answer or cure. We do that by googling, visiting blogs, asking friends/family for help, looking for reassurance, avoiding, etc. All of that sends signals to our mind/body that something is wrong.

    The answer then, as Anxious Indian said, is to develop new habits. Every time an anxious thought/feeling pops up, instead of googling, looking for reassurance, avoiding, etc., we can choose to live our life as if we had no anxious thoughts/feelings. For example, say you’re getting ready to cook dinner and suddenly start to feel anxious. That turns into some dizziness. You can either run and sit down, pulling out your phone to google “anxiety and dizziness”; or, you can smile and say to yourself “oh well, it’s just some anxiety” and continue on with dinner preparations.

    As with any new habits, the process will take time. You’ll have setbacks. But ever time you decide to make your life bigger than anxiety, you’re taking a step forward and telling your mind/body that nothing is wrong.

    You’ll find you’re stronger than you thought. You are stronger than any anxious thought or feeling. And your life can be about more than anxiety – even in the midst of it.

  223. Alz Says:

    Bryan ,
    Thanks a lot . I am doing – im working, im exercising , im socialising , iv also started taking classes for a foreign language. Im putting everything that people have told me in practice. What scares me is that what if i get worse and just can’t function.. i guess the idea of progressing and then having moments of doubt and unreality really scare one. I don’t want to lose out on this life… i love my husband, my work, my family and i want to have a child in the future. I want to be able to give my 100 percent to them. In all of this , i have seen my husband suffer so much and again i know Doreen says the idea of madness is different for everyone but I am having the continuous thought that i will lose it all.. that i will become mad and will lose out on this life. I know there’s no reassurity but like you said, doing doing doing.. The weirdness that i feel , the imagination going wild, questioning reality all will go away with time but i feel like iv changed so much as a person ..
    Rich and Melissa reply really helped me put things in perspective and i really appreciate the advice he gave. From time to time when i feel a bit odd i come here for support and i haven’t been on this blog for a while which itself is a sign of progress..
    I don’t know when you were going through the anxiety cycle Bryan but Im sure you tried to seek help . If not, i commend you on handling everything on your own. I’ve been going through different feelings, thoughts, images etc for 9 months now and yes there’s no time limit to when anxiety leaves you but this blog has been a big support to me when I encounter a new fear/symptom.

  224. Alz Says:

    Bryan just read your October 8th mail…
    Amazing. Hadn’t read it. My above mail shows that i want to move forward despite the thoughts and I am functioning but with the constant fear and thought of seeing images etc and thinking im delusional.. how do i move forward given that these thoughts are continuously bugging me.
    Another fear is when i go home from work i get scared i migt start seeing thigns..again driving.. i get sacred… i dont understand how these fears have begun.. the working of my mind and how it functions is something im trying to get a hang of…

    Alz

  225. Kid A Says:

    To Nolan, Anxious Indian or anyone with a clear head!

    Over the past 3 years, I’ve had all the usual anxiety problems; Depersonalisation, palpitations, existential rumination, constant worry, fearing of losing control/grip on reality (yada yada yada). Now I did get somewhere with all this, and felt recovery was inevitable…

    However, fast forward a few months, and I’m currently without out doubt, the worst I’ve been. I feel physically ill, a whole range of new symptoms that I can’t seem to accept are anxiety. Weird sensations like, dizziness, like I’m leaving my body, head throbbing and every simple little thing makes me panic (watching someone peel an orange set me off!!)

    my question is, how is this so? Although every google search has led me to anxiety forums etc. I feel like this is somehow far more serious than before. how do I move forward? I rarely seek help, as I know this strengthens the problem, but somehow it just doesn’t feel like it’s just anxiety

    Kid A

  226. Melissa Says:

    Hi Alz,

    You mentioned that you like to come here when you experience new anxiety symptoms, but that is the thing. No anxiety symptoms are really ‘new’. They are all coming from the same place.

    I recently got married, and so I was really focused on that for a while. Now that it is over, I started feeling a bit anxious again. The attitude I have is different now than before though. Instead of letting the symptoms and feelings bring me down and ruin my day/month/year. NOW I look at it like ‘OF COURSE you are here…I just got married, there are changes happening in my life…why would you not be there’. Alz, you need to stop letting your anxiety impress you. It is there for now, it will not be there forever. Just be like ‘oh hey there anxiety, how’s it going? I know you’re visiting me right now, but let’s chat later’ and then move on with your day.

    Take care,
    Melissa

  227. Bryan Says:

    Alz,

    Another site that may be helped for you to check out is AnxietyCentre dot com. (Note spelling). They offer individual coaching and also have skype call recordings which go very deep into the “what” with regards to anxiety.
    You are spinning your wheels at stage one and many of us do. I did for a long time. Perhaps they can help you with individual attention. Because it appears that simply re-asking the same question (which is really just a statement) is not helping you progress. I have worked with AC and highly recommend them. Great people.

    In the interim I have a challenge for you. When you post here, try not to mention your symptoms specifically. And try not to reiterate that you don’t like it. Certainly you have made that clear and we understand and sympathize. But even for 2 weeks, see if your posts can be about HOW to move forward. Better yet, read…. learn and DO based on thr great posters like Paul, Nolan and Indian here. The more you listen and apply… the further you will go. The opposite is true for repeating symptoms and restating dislike for stress conditions.

  228. Bryan Says:

    NOT A QUESTION:

    -I don’t know how to cook.
    -My cooking is bad.
    -Cooking is so hard, I hate it.

    QUESTION:

    -How did you learn to cook?
    -What was the first step?
    -Which cookbook is best for beginners?
    -How can I minimize mistakes in the kitchen?

    See the difference?

  229. Anxious Indian Says:

    @Peter, Sure feel free to contact me anytime. I dropped you an email.

    @Sue, what you put there is absolutely right. Focus on life and don’t care about any weird habits you have created.

    You are right that after struggling with a topic (anxiety) for years, the mind is just not ready to let go. It keeps trying to think about it or do problem-solving.

    Also, just ask yourself this question: Even if we created the habit of thinking/remembering our intrusive thoughts, don’t we magnify the whole issue? Again a habit created by anxiety. We have somewhere given anxiety a ‘larger than life’ label in our minds.

    If for some reason a non-anxious realises that they have developed a habit to think scary or weird thoughts, they would go like “oh what the heck, forget it I won’t do it anymore”

    For us anxious ones, the reaction is, “Oh God! I have this habit. I will perhaps never let go of this. I will keep pushing myself into anxiety. I will never be free”. And then we end up obsessing about it and monitoring our thoughts.

    Just remind yourself there is no ‘IT’. Anxiety is just some thoughts+feelings and that’s about it. If you have developed a habit, it’s no biggie, it will fade away once you stop worrying about it.

  230. Alz Says:

    Congrats Melissa!!
    So happy for you :)) Ur husband is a lucky guy ! Thanks for the advice.
    Bryan thanks for the advice as well but since i live in Pakistan i cannot afford the coaching which requires online payment etc. I have a therapist in a different city who i skype with but you know what? I pay her and I have to give all the answers so whats the point? She’ll ask me “why are you feeling like this? etc etc”If thats all she will do then Id rather get help here. She also does emdr which i think doesn’t have the impact it should when on ur skype vs face to face.
    At the end of the day one has to face their demons on their own and learn how to accept the working of their mind- no one else can develop an understanding of that better than the person going through anxiety him/herself.

    Alz

  231. Kamini Says:

    Hello All

    I promised to myself to write my recovery story to you and this is what I am doing today confidently.

    I am Kamini and I am 33 and a mother of 2 daughters. I suffered from anxiety for nearly 11 months and it was constant with not a minute of relief. This happened to me last year when I was in my 8 months of pregnancy. I think I took pills like aspirin and had side effects. It all started by irritability and lack of concentration. I was not taking this seriously, but then one day, I just woke up with thoughts stuck in my head, same thoughts playing and playing around my head every time.

    This led me to a full blown anxiety and I was getting worse day by day as I was looking for answers in my already tired mind of how to get better. When I delivered my baby after one month, I suffered major depression with full blown panic attacks. I had no desire to live and was not happy to have a baby (which was something I was waiting impatiently when I had no anxiety). I could hardly stay calm on my chair and was thinking that anytime I would just get up and run away. This is where I developed fear as I could not understand what was happening to me. I thought I would stay like this forever. I felt jumpy everytime and I could not concentrate on anything. Doctor diagnosed me with major depression and provided me with anti-depressants and sleeping pills, whic did help, but I had a lot of side effects.

    I started developing agoraphobia as my fear was growing. I was letting it rule my life. I could hardly get out of my head as I just wanted to get better. Then one day I decided enough was enough. I have things which are important than my recovery. If God wish that I stay lik this, then its ok. I decided to change my attitude to things also and followed Paul’s advice in some places.

    Very, very slowly, I could see changes, I would have relief for 2 minutes and then this increased to 10 minutes, where I would forget my anxiety and think of other things. I started to socialise with my friends on fb again. I started following things I like on Instagram (this helped me a lot as I concentrated on photos I like). I gave more time to my family. I started watching TV and socialising. Still I could felt anxiety and the panic attacks raging,but I let time pass as much as I could. I tried to rest during the day and started doing prayers.

    You won’t believe it, I now feel 90% close to recovery after 6 months. I still feel jumpy and panic attacks, but very very very rarely, when I am really tired. I got a part time job as consultant in a diplomatic organisation and I am performing my job effectively.

    All that I can advise you all is that we are not broken. Our mind and body are still the same, but they are just very tired. We need to give them a break.

    Stop looking for answers. Give your mind and body rest. Believe that whatever you are feeling is just symptoms of a tired mind. this is what they really are. Go enjoy life. Give time to your family and you will see the difference.

    Best of luck to all of you.

  232. Marie Says:

    Hi,

    I posted about a month ago, but haven’t received a response. Just wanted to thank Paul and all those who have been posting about their road to recovery. Ever since I read Paul’s book and stumbled on this blog three weeks ago, I’ve been better at handling my anxiety. It’s still not 100% “perfect”, but I am truly grateful. Lots of daily surrender and prayer and learning.

    I’m only on the fourth month of this whole anxiety journey (I’m only really counting from when it escalated and when I actually gave it all my attention). When it started, I tried to look for every possible means to get rid of it and get better. But really, as Paul says time and time again, the best solution is to keep living life. I went to a naturopath/acupuncturist.. I haven’t taken any of the supplements and I don’t really know if the acupuncture did anything as I was already improving before the session. So thanks, Paul, for sharing your story. I am truly grateful.

    Now, I just have to mostly deal with anxiety about my health. Stress has made me more susceptible to viruses and my allergies are kicking in more (environmental and seasonal allergies run in my family.. but they seem to have become more present and obvious since anxiety kicked in – or at least, I used to NOT care about them and now I do). I’m seeing an allergist in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I’m trying not to be fearful of what I eat. Daily allergies come out of nowhere and the viruses make my throat painful. It’s not an ideal combo for someone who is anxious about their health.

    Keep walking.

    Blessings,
    Marie

  233. Matt Says:

    Hi,

    Does anyone feel like their heart beats harder and (mildly) faster throughout the day because of their anxiety? I know it can happen in panic attacks, but does it also happen when just having chronic anxiety? I’ve been seriously worried about this symptom for the last few weeks :(, and I know it’s not helping the situation.

  234. Alz Says:

    Matt,
    palpitations are a very common symptom of anxiety and the more you get worried about it, the more it happens . It’s one of the first things that happned to me when i got anxiety and now it doesnt even bother me. Don’t worry .. you won’t suffer any sort of physical harm from palpitations…

    Alz

  235. Matt Says:

    Alz,

    I think it’s more of the fact that my heart has been beating somewhat faster throughout the day that bothers me, not the occasionally skipped beat. Of course, I also only notice it when I’m anxious, which lately has been 24/7 because I’m worried about my heart, which keeps the cycle going.

  236. Alz Says:

    Melissa…
    hi .. ok so im doing the ” anxiety leave me alone ., need to focus on my work ” . However when i get scared about the imagination bit .. for eg thought the staff member was wearing red liptick and she wasnt, thought the door was open but it wasn’t , what should i do? Continue with my work? Getting confused about names is also something common and reaffirming if something happened or didnt happen.. (anxiety with its tricks)… i should again concentrate on work and move on?

    Also is there anyway someone can share at last a life and beyond with me ??
    i have been to every bookstore here and cant find it

    Regards ,
    Alizeh

  237. Feli Says:

    KID A,

    It’s anxiety. I couldn’t even grab my phone and scroll through Instagram or id freak out. Opening the fridge would feake me out, it is just anxiety. Every symptom you feel is anxiety unfortunately. I got over it by telling myself it was stupid, letting my body freak out and continue to do whatever naturally. You probably weren’t handling stresses very well and something might have set it off. Don’t get worked up over all this. It’s ALWAYS anxiety, every search you do even confirms this. Right now you can’t accept it because that’s how the anxiety beast works. Makes you believe it’s everything else.

    Relax. When the symptoms come let them and remind yourself it’s JUST anxiety. The more you do this the symptoms will relax but you need to get to a place of remembering how you got over it before and continue again on that path.

    I know it’s frustrating but all is well. I think if you keep reminding yourself that these symptoms come because of a negative release that must come out because it is pent up will help. This is a normal setback just don’t let it get to you, go through the motions and you will be back to where you were.

  238. Bryan Says:

    Matt,

    You can have a basic work-up from your GP if you want, but what you describe is 100% anxiety. Went through it myself. Very common.

  239. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Ramji,

    I’m just now seeing your post. When it comes to sleep issues, I’ve had them all: not being able to fall asleep, waking up multiple times a night, waking up early in the morning, nighttime panic attacks. Like you, I would feel physically ill the next day from the lack of sleep. I think that’s what would bother me the most and what compounded the cycle for me. I wouldn’t sleep well, then I wouldn’t feel well, then I’d tell myself “I can’t keep feeling like this, I need sleep!” And of course the more pressure I put on getting sleep, the less sleep I got.

    I had to change my attitude. Nolan really helped me here. I had to tell myself, “If I get sleep, great. If I don’t get sleep, oh well.” At night I would allow myself to feel however I felt. If that meant feeling anxious and tense, then so be it. If that meant waking up early in the morning, ok. I just continued to live my life. Yes, the days after I didn’t sleep much were hard. I still felt crummy. But I stopped letting myself agonize and feel sorry for myself. Because really, what did any of that accomplish other than making myself feel worse? Inevitably what happened was, the less focus I gave to sleep, the better I slept.

    I still sometimes have sleeping problems. But the difference is I don’t despair when it happens. If I wake up early, I can almost always fall back asleep because I don’t fight it (whereas before I would think “Well, that’s it for sleeping for me. Now I’m going to have a horrible day because I only slept x number of hours”). And even if I don’t, who cares. I can still live my life.

    So the bottom line is, what can or should you do about your sleeping issues? Nothing. They’ll go away on their own once you stop trying to make them go away.

  240. Alz Says:

    Matt Bryan is right . You can go to a doctor to seek some reassurance but it def sounds like anxiety induced changes in ur heart beat.

  241. Nolan Says:

    Hello Ramji,

    With any sleeping issue I’ve had it every way imaginable.
    -Not being able to fall to sleep.
    -Waking up at midnight and not being able to get back to sleep.
    -Nights where I would sleep for 1 hour blocks… waking up between each block.
    -Waking up at 3, or 4, or 5 and not being able to fall back to sleep.
    -Dozing off only to be awoken as soon as I did doze… this could happen for hours on end.

    Went probably a 2 year period with rarely feeling anything close to “a refreshing evening’s sleep”.

    My days were constant, unrelenting focusing on all things sleep: “how does one fall to sleep”, “will I ever stop focusing on sleep”, “what happens if as soon as I dose off my body jerks me out of it”.

    Intense waves of fear that would make me think about no longer wanting to live. So intense that I could only label it as “torment”.

    Anxiety quickly lead to depression.

    I remember reading Paul’s book and thinking “that makes sense”…. and, I had a good night or two of sleep (compared to what I had prior). But then the thought “what if he didn’t write this book for me? Why didn’t he focus on sleep enough? Maybe my problem is something more than anxiety?

    All of it was a bluff brought on by anxiety.

    Stephanie’s post nails it:
    I just stopped caring. Whatever sleep I got, that’s what I got…. case closed.
    I let all of the fear be there.
    When I’d close my eyes at night if the intense torment started pouring out on me… I simply laid there with my eyes closed and allowed anything that was going to happen. And that’s what made the difference.

    not right away… and there were set backs. But I was done making it any more of an issue for me. I was going to make my life bigger than the amount of sleep I got…. or the fears related to it.

  242. Debbie Says:

    Hi did anyone ever get where they have word pops just words popping in your head out of no where sometimes even vulgar . Can go on all.day .

  243. Mark R Says:

    Debbie,

    Most things that pop into my head are vulgar, I wouldn’t worry too much.

  244. Debbie Says:

    Hi mark even if its gor people you love and it vomes out of no where .and they have done nothing wrong.

  245. Owley Says:

    Hi all, I have been lurking around for a while. Have been having anxiety on/off for several years. It has been fine for past couple months, then felt it slowly creeping back. Actually can kinda know the anxiety friend is showing up again. It is comforting to read the excellent postings here.

    Always a reminder to just stop fighting it. Just let the thots be and not engage them. That today is not a good day – and so be it. I’m grateful for small things like a good shower at end of the day which always relaxes me.

    Sometimes, perhaps the anxiety is a signal to slow down. and breathe.

  246. Belgian Says:

    Everyone,

    A word of encouragement to you all.

    The only way out of this state is to embrace it. To go through these storms, willingly. To float through them and to accept them fully. Time and time again.

    I see a lot of people who are still asking the same questions over and over. Alz, you for example, you are always looking for reassurance in the answers you’re getting here. I understand that at times it all seems too much and that one needs to be comforted.

    Don’t worry, you’ll always find someone’s shoulder to cry on here. But, try to understand that this attitude will not help you in the long run. In fact, it’s a classic case of not accepting and as long as you’re not accepting, you are avoiding. And by avoiding, you are making it bigger, putting much more importance to it than it deserves.

    I know this acceptance attitude is not easy and needs practicing. When I first started it, I mistook it for going through the experiences with clenched teeth. With a fighting attitude. This is not it. Only by truly letting go, solace can be found.

    It took me a long time to master this. In fact, I am still practicing at times. But even that is not that bad as it once was before. Once you’ve tasted the calm after the storm, you know that this calmness is always very near. More near than you would expect while in the midst of the storm.

    I am going abroad next week and this is the first time in ages – maybe ever – that I am not at all anxious about it. In fact, I am really looking forward to it.

    So there is hope. Hope lies just beyond the realization that finding happiness and love in life is a difficult, doubtful exercise accompanied with a lot of trial-and-error.

    It’s all about realizing that perfection lies in accepting the imperfect. It’s knowing that life is all about the journey and not about the destination. That every feeling of fear, regret, sadness, grief is as important and welcome as feelings of happiness, joy and love. If we are not clinging onto them, they will come and go.

    Recovery, acceptance are about this. Understanding that we can’t always control the direction life is heading us to.

    Most of the time, it’s like as if we’re stuck on a raft on a big river. At times going down the waterfall in a terrible speed and sometimes just calmly passing by a lovely scenery with the sun on our heads. We can’t control the water, but we can control our expectations and our appreciation what is happening to us.

    So next time hen it all gets too much. Think of the raft and experience what’s there to experience.

  247. Fleur Says:

    Hello,

    I have not posted on this forum for some time. Sorry for negative content but I need opinion from this great forum. My anxiety began 1,5 year ago. I had almost every fear as health related, schizo fear, panic attacks. Lastly I had relationship worries (ROCD), terrible fear that I don´t feel love toward my boyfriend. I had this worry for 1 long year.

    I thought, that when I will feel love again my anxiety will be gone.

    So now I am writing this and I feel love again. I think I hadn´t any relationship doubt since June.

    But I am now convinced that I developed depression. I read on google (mistake) that when you have no enjoyment you should go to gp and take a meds. That´s why I write here. I wanted to use acceptance method but I am afraid that this method is not longer for me :(. I can´t enjoy things like before. I finished my school now and I am looking for a job. But I am at home right now and I don´t see positive future for me. I have thoughts like “what´s the point”.

    I have almost everything. I finished university, I have great boyfriend, I travelled all america this summer and still I feel little bit empty (bored). My thoughts are “what´s the sense of these things when I can´t enjoy them properly like before this anxiety”.

    I would like to know if somebody feels something similar AND if this method is for me or not. This problem with depression may be my other worry but what if is real? I don´t know what to do.

    I would like to add that I don´t have problems with myself (self-esteem), I sleep well, eat well. When I socialize I feel good but what these thoughts about point in life means? I obsess over these thoughts so much, I can´t do anything without thinking about “why am I doing this”? Is it existential anxiety or serious depression?

    Thank you very much.

  248. Ramji Says:

    Thanks for the response Stephanie and Nolan; it gives me lot of hope that I can overcome this…

    One of the important point which I noted in your comments are that acceptance also apply for physical pain , these many days I was been thinking that acceptance are for “thoughts” and “Anxious thinking” but now I realised acceptance is also for physical exhaustion…

    Another thing which attributed more to my Sleep Anxiety is that I’am way from my home and living alone, loneliness feeds more fuel to my issue also often I try to forget my issue and try to be my old self, guess that’s a biggest mistake I did these may days.

    But from now I have decided to give more importance to my life than sleep Let whatever happens am not going to runway or hide …

  249. Belgian Says:

    Fleur,

    Welcome back! I remember talking to you about your relationship fears.

    It seems to me that you are not depressed. You still enjoy yourself, sleep well and eat well. If you want to be sure, go and see a gp. Depression is quite easy to determine for a trained professional.

    What I think that’s going on is that your anxiety has shifted from your relationship/health towards more existential thoughts. I would not call it ‘existential anxiety’. It’s basically just ‘anxiety’.

    This is important as it shows you what it truly is: anxiety. You know already how to deal with that.

    I can tell you that everyone questions his or hers existence from time to time. It’s part of the human condition to do so and it’s totally normal. Especially at the point in your life where everything is starting to enfold: Career, family, … . Try not to worry about it too much. Worry will not bring you once step closer to a solution to this unsolvable query.

    See this as an opportunity to deal with anxiety once more. You should be proud of yourself. You have graduated, you have traveled and have a relationship and all of this while being anxious :-)

  250. Simon Says:

    Hi all,

    I regular check the posts on here and find them very useful when I feel I am slipping and need comfort.

    My major issue is that I feel anxious about virtually everything from the minute I get up until around 7pm when I try to relax infront of the TV, even then I have to choose wisely what I watch in fear that I can’t bear to feel anxious again.

    But then, when I wake a 4am each day and lay there for a couple of hours before getting up it all starts again.

    I have had some good days, (well better than the 1st few weeks of having the illness). I had this in 2009 and it took what I think was about 2 years to recover and since then I have been living normal with all the joys that anyone else would experience, I find myself in this position again due to getting stressed about various work problems which I truly beleive tipped me over the edge.

    Saying that, this time I was determined to carry on working and trying not to let this ruin my life, however I get the same feelings that I had last time. I get panicky inside about the most ridiculous things but it’s so hard not to be alarmed by them. When I recovered from this last time I used to think “god – why did I realy think such silly things” and I thought it would never come again. However it has and no matter how hard I try to stay possitive, the negative feelings and thoughts flood me all day.

    I today contacted the NHS to see when my appointment with a CB Therapist would be as they did a telephone consulation with me 4 weeks ago and I have not heard anything…. what a shock I got when they told me I am on the waiting list with is currently 28 weeks!!! (28 WEEKS) OMG!

    So what do I do now? Feel i need to chat to someone just for reassurance that what I am doing is correct and what else I should do with the negative distructiive throughts…. but I guess I’ll have to go it alone.

    Any support or advise would me welcomed.

    Thanks for reading

    Simon

  251. Matt Says:

    Bryan,

    Thanks for the response. I figured it might be, and I have had a basic workout, including blood work, from the doc. They would do an EKG if I brought up this, but i know that it will be normal. Just wanted to confirm that other people have experienced it as anxiety. It’s strange how anxiety will fixate on new things, when old things have lost their luster!

  252. Nolan Says:

    hi Ramji,

    You said: “But from now I have decided to give more importance to my life than sleep Let whatever happens am not going to runway or hide …”

    Exactly. That’s the attitude. Let everything else be there for as long as it wants to be there.

    Regarding the exhaustion I know exactly how you’re feeling.
    I remember a time my wife and I brought my son to a forest to walk around. I felt dizzy, worn down, heart racing, mind racing even faster than my heart…. and exhausted to an extent I didn’t even think possible. I dropped down on a bench and just started crying. There was a sharp cliff off to one side where I sat. The thought of throwing myself over it kept my mind focused on that.

    Then I’d look at my son…. carefree playing and giggling and interested in everything.

    It made little sense to me at the time…. but it was in still doing all of that stuff that helped slowly pull me out of the darkness.

    The dizziness and exhaustion lingered for a bit even after my sleep started to be normal again. But even those eventually dropped away.

    Welcome it all…. and live your life bigger than the dictates of anxiety/depression/symptoms/fears.

  253. Nolan Says:

    Hi Simon,

    If you need someone to talk to I’m more than happy to be there.
    Or, if you want to just chat on this… completely up to you.

    But for now: live your life and let that garbage’y feeling be there.
    You’re going to notice the thoughts and feelings, so don’t hold yourself to the standard that you need to completely ignore it all. That’s unreasonable for anyone.
    But, you can change your attitude to being more welcoming of the fact that you have these struggles.

    Work by no timetable of recovery. Meaning, don’t put too much attention on how improved you are at any given moment. Maybe today is better than yesterday… maybe tomorrow will be worse. Don’t let those concerns hold your attention for too long.
    It’s okay if you find your mind going there…. be fine with that. But, then get back on with living your life again.

  254. Doreen Says:

    Alz – you know the answer to the question you asked Melissa some posts above. Of course you should concentrate on work and move on.

  255. Nolan Says:

    Good to see your name, Doreen.

    :)

    Listen to Doreen. I might use more words…. but it was essentially Doreen’s straight forward advice that was what I needed to hear.

    I came here one day after a particularly bad stretch and was just using the forum to keep repeating my same questions over. Doreen cut through all of that and asked me what I thought I would accomplish with asking the same questions over and over…. and why I’m not following the advice.

    I remember that day fondly. At the time I was alittle taken aback. I wanted more “comforting words” and Doreen noticed that. And she also knew that those words were ultimately going to be cold comfort and I’d find myself running back to the forum when the chips were down. Looking back on it Doreen’s advice was invaluable.

    So, thanks Doreen.

  256. simon Says:

    Nolan,

    Thanks for your kind offer of listening. I truly don’t want to get too bogged down in the whole subject but at times I find it very difficult to understand if I am actually doing or not doing what I am supposed to be.

    Would it be ok to email you direct with some of my issue I am stumbling across. I assure you I won’t be a pain, I just have questions that I hope someone else understands and can assure me.

    Thanks again so much

    Simon

  257. Doreen Says:

    Tried posting this message already but didn’t work so may end up being here twice.

    Hello Nolan – good to hear from you and hoping stuff is working out re your job.

    Family life here is some what stressful but has been for a long time so nothing new.

    I know some people may find my posts abrupt but I hope that the mixture of your wisdom and understanding and my more direct approach may help folk.

    Glad my responses to you helped all that time back

  258. Bryan Says:

    Simon,

    The good news is what you describe us completely normal and common for stress hyper stimulation you are experiencing physical and mental symptoms of stress. Since you’ve been through this before and seen it pass, you know these are simply stress sensations. That being said, they certainly can be awful.
    I am much better see days but I can hit patches where it all feels like it’s back and the need to seek reassurance can be high.

    What I find helps is going back to the basics. Have you read Paul’s book? Jeff’s book, The Panic Switch? Claire Weekes? These road maps are there to help us put the right mindset back in place because that’s all we can do. We can’t chase off stress symptoms. But we can implement the mindset that we are safe, that this is only stress and that we can work through it with acceptance and outward focus while we wait for the stress storm to pass.

    If it has been a while for you since you had stress symptoms, revisiting these materials and the key… putting them into practice is really going to help you gain your confidence again.

    This process always involves our action to implement properly. (Which is a form of implementing non-action of course. Confusing, I know. )

    As Doreen pointed out. If we know what this is (stress symptoms) and we know how people see these matters through (Paul’s method etc)… Then it is w matter of implementing the process. Getting started with the kind of lifestyle and mindset that allows it all to pass, which is what it will naturally do when allowed to, at its own pace.

  259. Nolan Says:

    Thank you, Doreen.
    Your approach on the matter is most certainly what helped me.

    Hi Simon,
    Sure, we can exchange emails. Let me first ask a moderator: what’s the policy on doing that?
    Can we just post our email addresses?

  260. Doreen Says:

    Hello Nolan – when I was moderator i was advised that it is best if people don’t post their email addresses as possibly someone like you might be inundated with queries. I used to do the exchange between the parties. However I cannot speak for Rich who is now the moderator.

  261. Jamie Says:

    A general question – is it a bad combination for someone with anxiety issues (e.g. me) to be with someone that is stressed a lot of the time (about her daughter, her unhelpful ex and her job to name 3 things). I can’t help but think I need to be someone who is a bit calmer as her stress makes me more anxious which I don’t think is good for me.

  262. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Jamie,

    My question in response to your question is, do you really want to make relationship decisions based off of your “anxiety issues”? First, we all know that anxiety clouds our thinking, and second, you don’t want to label yourself by your anxiety. That being said, I understand the need for self-preservation. You want to eliminate any unnecessary stress in your life. There’s nothing wrong with that; in fact, it’s a healthy practice. But there’s also the irrational anxiety-induced wanting to run away and hide from anything that makes you feel anxious. That isn’t healthy. That’s avoiding.

    So the bottom line is, only you can decide if the relationship is truly unhealthy or if you’re wanting to avoid the normal stresses of a relationship. When my husband is stressed, it often makes me stressed too. Does that bother me? Sure, sometimes. But how selfish would it be if I told him to never share anything that might upset me?

  263. simon Says:

    Nolan,

    Thank you … if the moderator could set that it up would be good just the thought of having someone to write to for reasurrance at the moment would be great I think.

    Bryan,

    Thank you also for your input and re-assurance too. Yes I have both Paul’s book & Dr Weekes book (and audio) of which I listen too most days whilst travelling to work, although I sometimes feel that it’s not enough.

    I know it’s all about acceptance and like I said I had this before and when recovered I was normal again even did a course on mental health awareness because I found it interesting, I told everyone how Pauls method “Is the one and it saved my life”……. BUT….. when your actually in the anxiety / depressed state gosh how you don’t beleive it, how you panic about never getting better, how you wake everyday thinking I can’t keep feeling this way….

    Well i’m sure I am not telling anyone hear what they already know.

    Sorry for the negativity, but I needed to let some out!

    Thanks

    Simon

  264. Alz Says:

    Thanks Doreen ..
    Can anyone tell me what i should do with regards to the constant feeling of losing one’s mind and being surprised at how one is functioning normally.. is this depersonalization? So again you move past it …
    Now my second question is, as i had mentioned above , my therapist is after my life to have a session with her and I dont want to have one. I don’t want to talk about the past or reaffirm my fears . Has that happened with anyone ? I know at the end of the day she can’t sit in my mind and fix it.. Im relying on Paul’s advice,the advice people have given here and faith to find my way out. She is really nice but i don’t want to bring up my fears maybe because i now know i have to face them..
    all the thoughts…fears.. images etc… they will go on their own or I will learn how to deal with them… i just fear my mind and I don’t have enough faith in letting go like Rich advised me to do.
    Alz

  265. Katrina Says:

    Hi
    I’ve a question regarding recovery. I’ve been working on not avoiding anything and putting myself in situations that will stir up feelings of anxiety etc
    I find that sometimes I can sit with the feelings and let them pass or wait them out. For example I had lunch with a work colleague today somettgst causes anxiety, we shared a beautiful pizza, I became hot and overheated from anxiety and was wearing a heavy jumper, instead of making an excuse to finish up quickly I took off my jumper and sat in this restaurant with a singlet top and was covered in red nerve rash, and sweating from panic, I didn’t care, the pizza was too delicious to give up so I sat with the uncomfortable feeling.

    Later on this evening I got an invite to a friends for dinner, again another opportunity to put myself in the line of anxiety fire. This time the anxiety wasn’t as intense but I just couldn’t deal with the bad feelings, I’m not sure why? I know we have times when our resolve isn’t as strong and I’ve dealt with a few really bad days in a row, but was feeling good about not running from anything. I ended up making an excuse to leave, not imediatly but I did leave because I felt awful, which made me feel worse, now I’m beating myself up for not facing the ‘benign tiger’. Is it ok and common to not always feel up to facing the exhaustion it takes to challenge yourself, I know the method is to accept what comes up, but sometimes it can be embarrassing not being able to speak properly because of panic or by being red as a beetroot, or by feeling and looking despairing. People comment to me when I’m not myself and I find it hard to make excuses for it. How do others deal with this part of recovery?
    Cheers Kat

  266. Alz Says:

    Kat,

    In one post Paul mentioned how he didn’t care about his anxiety and what people thought. I think the added pressure of what people will think (am i normal , not normal ? am i showing anxiety , is this ok ?) makes us more anxious . The key is to stop caring – stop caring about what blunders you’re making etc and to move on ..
    Alz

  267. Fleur Says:

    Belgian,
    Thank you I really appreciate that you responded to my post. Yes, I will go to my psychologist about 1 week. I hope and I think she should know if I have depression or not. I am afraid to see my GP, because I assume, that she would prescribe me antidepressants. She prescribed me ADs, when I started suffer with panic attacks. And it wasn´t necessary that time.

    I think my main problem (and that´s the cause of mini-depression) is that I ended university, and now I have nothing to do. I always had big dreams about my career. But I burnt out. I know it because I had big stresses through my study, that´s what caused me anxiety for sure. I hated that school. I was so strong-willed, I wanted to finish it so much, that it caused panic attacks. I studied banking but I can´t cope with stressful job. And now I´m looking for some easier job. And my boyfriend studies in different city. I am home alone every day (except of weekends). I must admit I don´t have friends. I was always introverted. And I had 2-3 close friends. But everybody moved away from this city. Everybody moves ahead and is happy. I am unhappy I think. You know this anxiety+without job+without friends. Before anxiety I had a goal in my life. Like I said I always wanted well-paid job (be good in what I study) and a baby. Now I can´t do stressful job and I am afraid to have a baby. How can I have a baby with this anxiety? I heard that women have post-partum depression. I can´t imagine myself. I would be a mess. I don´t see positive future.
    Sorry for negative content. I think I need to talk with psychologist, but she always says the same thing. That I am ok, that I need hobbies, exercise, that I don´t have depression. Is it possible that this feeling of missing something is anxiety?
    Acceptance is about „do nothing“. But I must do something because I am without a goal in my life. I must be active I think, exercise, find a purpose for my life but with anxiety it´s hard.

  268. Bryan Says:

    Katrina,

    Sounds like you’re doing a great job and your attitude is right on target.
    Remember this is a process that requires lots of repetition with thr goal bring that eventually this all becomes second nature. It still sounds like “getting rid of anxiety” is a central focus for you and who can blame you? Who wouldn’t want normal life back?

    But over time as you practice more, it will indeed become more built in. It’ll become automatic ans you won’t expend any thought towards these decisions and that’s when the body can adjust back to a normal state of functioning. (Eliminate stress symptoms.). Also keep in mind that good and bad days, ups and downs with the process are totally normal. The trick is to take the good with the bad as you move through it all.

    As for what your friends think… to me that falls under “oh well!” What can we do about what they think? Are we responsible for their thoughts? Do we owe the, an explanation? Are they without flaw? Without any physical issues?

    If they are good friends, you can give them a basic explanation… “I’ve had some stress related health issues lately.” Most people relate to this. Personally I downplay it when talking to acquaintances if it comes up. And if they are really close friends, they won’t judge and highly like will relate.

    That’s my approach anyway. We don’t owe anyone explanations…. but then again hiding it because we are afraid of being judged just creates more stress. A casual, unapologetic, even keel attitude about it creates the least additional strain for our minds.

  269. Doreen Says:

    Alz. You are continuing to do what Nolan so very gently advised against. You keep asking questions as if each thing you are experiencing is new and requires a new answer. It isn’t, it is yet another manifestation of anxiety.
    And yes, ditch your counsellor if she isnt helping.

  270. simon Says:

    A little support please??

    I made an appointment with a GP at my surgery last night to see what I could take for the constant headache / tension, she asked me how I was feeling and I was honest with her by telling her I was still struggling quite a bit. When she asked what I was struggling with I tried to explain without actually stating (life in general), I explained that my world just seems to be upside down, I feel empty, have to drag myself to do things and have no enjoyment. I told her that even when I try to be positive, all the negativity about the positive overtakes, and I just wanted to be normal and do normal things without all the feelings and thoughts I was getting.

    Now she is a well established GP whom I am sure has seen many people like me, however the impression I got from her was that I was unique, that my medical should have worked by now (Citalapram) and that maybe we should put me on a higher does. She then went onto say that she feels I do not have anxiety, but depression and it could be in my genes and have I always felt depressed…. GREAT this then got me thinking, OMG have I realy always been depressed and will this be me forever. OK…. so yes I know I have depression but to have a GP tell you that and tell you that “you are really very distraught aren’t you”, only for me to reply (obviously in tears) that I think “I THINK” I am making a little progress (not as much as I would like though) and that although I struggle every day I am still going to work and trying to do things that I would normally even though I have no desire at all. OK so she listened, but as for encouragement GOSH it was lacking.

    When I mentioned I had to wait 28 weeks for a CBT therapist, she said “oh that’s shocking” have you tried searching for help on the internet (GGRRRR) everyting I am trying to avoid doing. She then gave me another telephone number to call another NHS CBT service and said try if you can get in any quicker. I’ll see you in a months time, we will double your does from 10mg to 20mg you have noting to loose.

    So I get home, pour my heart out to my very supportive wife and told her, then I looked at my prescription which says 2 x 10mg per day only to realise my current prescription is 1 x20mg per day (so I’m actually on the dose she was increasing me to)

    Now all my head is doing is questioning more and more and I’m roleplaying questions in my head all day long.

    Like some of you may already know from my recent posts, I had this before in 2009 and it took sometime to get better, but I did get better and was off the meds for 3 or 4 years!!, But the GP didn’t seem to think that having angina and 3 stens fitted last year at 47, having some issues at work and a couple of other things going off in my lfe or recent would not cause me to feel like I do?

    So where do I turn now? I wished I had never gone now because I feel more bewithered.

    Thanks for any support

    Simon

  271. Bryan Says:

    Simon,

    I know how distressing it is to feel awful. But you’re starting to repeat your same questions and while I know the need for reassurance mat feel high, you are totally safe and totally capable of moving through this willfully. You are experiencing the effects of stress on your mind and body. Nothing more. I personally don’t believe in magic pills from the GP because this condition is about stress and reaction, not a flaw in bodily make-up. But that’s just me.

    Again, the answers are all in Paul’s book. In Claire Weekes’ books. Read through this thead or through Paul’s blog posts. It’s all here.

    The key is not in asking th same question a different way or re-stating your dislike for your symptoms. The key is in putting what people have told you and what you have read to work.

    It’s like reading about jogging obsessively every day and wondering why we can’t run a marathon. Eventually… we have to set forth and actually jog.

  272. Nolan Says:

    Hi Simon,

    You said:

    “”She then went onto say that she feels I do not have anxiety, but depression and it could be in my genes and have I always felt depressed…. “”

    She doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Or, she’s speaking well beyond her knowledge of the topic.

    I’ve had bouts of intense existential depression(doubt everything, no purpose to life, no motivation to do anything, everything I do is pointless…)
    I was told the same thing and it’s simply not true.

    My bouts of depression started back in 1992.
    I’ve had both intense bouts of depression and anxiety. And I respond to them the exact same way. I stop respecting them so much (Thanks Paul!).

    Sometimes I’ll still get that feeling building up inside of me… and I react to it like it’s not the end of my life any more. That when peace and understanding are ready to come back into my life then they’ll come.
    Most times now it just takes the wind out of the sails. And I’m feeling fine as I ever was.

    In the past I would freak out, question anyone who’d listen… hoping that some other person could say just the right thing to snap me out of it. Rarely that approach worked. Because rarely was anyone able to even understand exactly what I was feeling/thinking.

    This might not make the most sense to you: but just live your life regardless. Pay the anxiety and depression no extra special attention. Sure, it’s not fun. But trust me, when the peace comes back to you you’ll feel it and know it. And these storms that throw you into such confusion and despair will not hold that same power over you. You might even look back on them fondly. I would have laughed at someone for saying that to me…. but trust me when I say that I can look back on those very dark and very painful moments while being thankful for them.

    There’s nothing special you need to do. Nothing beyond living your life again and not letting the effects of anxiety or depression dictate how you’re going to live your life.
    Set no time table that you need to be “better” by. Just live your life doing the things that make your life yours. Don’t back out of plans, don’t spend every moment of your day ruminating about how you got here, how you’ll get out, and if you’ll ever get out.

    One thing that helped me was making my life more about other people and less about me. I tried to do things that made my wife happy, things that made my son happy. If I couldn’t feel that joy and peace then I was going to work at increasing the joy and peace in another’s life. And if it came back to me then great.

    For starters: with your wife…. start talking about other things. I flooded my wife with my concerns, fears, despairs…. she was willing and happy to listen. But I could see it was wearing her down. When she asked me how I was doing decided I was going to stop focusing only on the darkness “I’m doing good”, she’d look at my suspiciously, knowing full well that I was struggling and to assuage her even more I’d make myself smile at her and say “don’t worry…. I got this”. Even though I doubted it. LIke I said my goal was now shifting to being focused on her concerns, or my son’s, or my dad’s, or my neighbor’s..

  273. Hayley Says:

    when it comes to kids I have to have some kind of order to how things are done! Aghhh someone please help. I have just read Paul’s second book – fantastic!!!!

  274. Hayley Says:

    Hi I have read Paul’s second book recently and truly want to begin to taking a different path with the anxiety that at times rules me, I would be grateful if anyone could help? I have 2 children and my worries become obsessive so after I read Paul’s first book I had some great times but eventually was swallowed by anxiety again and fear! I need to carry out certain tasks as I work and have children but find myself debilitated mainly feeling am I pleasing my anxiety or doing what I need to do as a mum. At my worst I have been unable to go upstairs in my home. Should I set a routine re chores and see these through regardless of how I feel or should I ‘go with it’ thinking fuck it.. I want to know the best way to feel my anxiety and allow. I am currently living in fear daily if someone could please help I would be very grateful. Than you Hayley

  275. Travis Says:

    Is anyone else very confused on what constitutes as “DOING” and “NOT DOING?”

    It seems like no matter what I do I cannot stop thinking about if i’m applying this method correctly or not… I can let certain thoughts just be and eventually they fade away.. but what is left is basically me just going round and round in my head asking myself “am I not accepting enough?” “did I just try to distract myself?” “is me telling myself that its okay to have these feelings just another method that I shouldnt be doing because that would give the thought too much attention?”

    I have also heard people say “let the thoughts be there, but NOT because you want them to go away eventually” How does one accomplish or even know that they have accomplished not wanting them to go away??

    I CANT HELP THAT I WANT THESE THOUGHTS TO BE GONE. how do I change that? Paul says you cant change how you feel but in the same breath tells us to change how we feel about anxiety?

    How do I put the puzzle down without battling against the urge to pick the puzzle up? Battling would mean more resistance… and Paul says resistance is bad.. Or is the only battle we SHOULD be fighting, the battle to resist the urge to put the puzzle together??

    I am to the point where im willing to pay someone who has recovered to do skype sessions with me. please let me know if anyone who has made a full recovery is interested… Im willing to pay up to 75 per hour just to talk to someone…

  276. Joey Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I’ve made significant strides with my anxiety over the past several months and now that I’m not feeling so afraid of the thoughts and sensations anymore, it just feels like I have alot of energy in my body- like I want to randomly run, jump, etc. Lol. It’s almost like nervoud energy, even though I don’t feel particularly nervous. Is that normal for anxiety and anyone else here experienced something similar? It’s just kIND of an odd feeling and it’s new to me.

    Thanks,
    Joey

  277. Tom Says:

    Hi everyone!

    I know that in order to get better, I have to just live my life, and do the things I would do anyway. However, the tiredness and exhaustion I feel are keeping me from enjoying things that I used to.

    For example, most of the time when I go out with my friends for a drink, I feel too tired to socialize, and the alcohol doesn’t feel good either. Or when I sit down to play some guitar, or to listen to some music, I find no inspiration, and am emotionally unresponsive to it, which makes it feel like a chore.

    At times like these I can’t help but think that it’s pointless to live when 90% of the time I can’t enjoy the things I supposedly enjoy. This also makes me question if whether I have depression, or if its just the tiredness from the anxiety.

    What am I doing wrong? Should I stop doing these things? Or should I continue to do them, even if they feel forced? Could it be that I have depression?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  278. Stephanie Says:

    Tom,

    Please see Nolan’s response just a few posts up regarding depression.

  279. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Travis,

    Many people get caught up in the do’s and don’ts, rights and wrongs, of anxiety. You’ve already recognized that you can not stop these thoughts from coming, nor can you stop yourself from wanting them to go away. You’re right – – and that’s completely normal. The key of doing by not doing (if that’s how you want to word is) is to simply get back to living your life. Make your life about more than anxiety. Stop caring so much about how you’re feeling or what thoughts are running through your head at any given moment. When the thoughts/feelings come (and they will), acknowledge them and move on. You don’t have to try to stop the thoughts/feelings or stop yourself from wanting them to go away. The thoughts/feelings will go away naturally in time as you continue to just live your life. It sounds contradictory (and that’s why so many people get hung up on the details), but it really is about nothing in regards to your anxiety and doing everything in regards to living your life.

  280. Bryan Says:

    Tom,

    You ask a good question. I’ve felt the same at times and first off can say that yes, we have to keep living outwardly and with as little focus on our stress symptoms as possible. But when it feels empty or like a chore, it can be a challenge for sure.

    One thing that helped me was trying to shift my focus to others. I have a daughter so that was an easy place to start. If I couldn’t enjoy the beautiful weather, she sure could. So I’d take her to the park. I’d take solace in watching her enjoy and being part of it.

    I also started doing some volunteering and charity work. Stress symptoms (anxiety) can make us very inwardly focused. This helped me get outside myself and try to serve others. Sometimes I felt like hell doing it… but I knew I was helping someone. It was a “take away.”

    Some days, my takeaway was just that I cleaned the house. I’d use the excess adrenaline to do chores and clean, organize or complete projects. If I had to feel like crap… I’d at least be able to look back and say I produced something.
    Usually, I’d get a break in symptoms at some point and was happy to have the clean house, for example.

    Now days I’m lucky that I usually feel pretty good and can organically feel enjoyment and positive emotions. Life is good. But I still get rough times and “practice days…. Or weeks!”

    Remember, our goal is to settle thr mind and as Paul says release it all. Willfully living along side stress symptoms without reacting or analyzing allows the body to do its work.

    My usual disclaimer as always… I know this is hard. It is for me some days too. But we can do it.

  281. Doreen Says:

    Simon- it certainly sounds like your GP was very unhelpful in the way she worded things and her ‘bedside’ manner needs improving. However, I wonder if what she might have been meaning is the following (something I happen to think may be true)

    I suggest that we are all possibly genetically wired to respond to stress in particular ways. For instance some people might get migraines, other stomach ulcers, others feel angry etc. In our cases we respond with anxiety and/or depression.

    And some people might have grown up in very stressful, unhappy households and their anxiety button is always on alert.

    That does NOT Mean that we have depression/anxiety on a permanent basis. Just that we have those traits in certain situations.

    Knowing that can help prepare us for how we might feel should stressful events happen. And that can lead to acceptance of those unpleasant feelings, which in turn can lead them to feel less intense and short lived even if they do return from time to time.

    I suspect that is what she might have meant, but even if she didn’t I hope this explanation can make some sort of sense.

  282. simon Says:

    Bryan,

    Thanks for your comments and support, I do have both Pauls and Dr Weekes books of which are my bible, to some degree maybe a crutch, however I think one of my real problems is I question everything and pull myself down about my ability to do most things including work and adopt peoples advise.

    Nolan, again thank you for your support, I totally relate to what you are saying and it does feel a little more re-assuring that I am thinking and feeling the same as others. I too have a very supportive wife and again your comments about it taking it’s toll on her too is something that worries me also. Over the last week or 2 I have however not drowned her with all my trouble and just tried to get on without all the questions (apart from the questions that I answer in my own head), and yes sometimes it feels dreadful!! but if I keep looking back I have managed ok, what am I so concerned about, just a feeling.

    Doreen, again thanks… the last time I had this condition in 2009 I knew nothing about it at all and did all the things wrong to start with. However I did notice it creeping up this time to the point I went to see my GP to tell him my mood was starting to get low but I knew how to deal with it, I felt that confident that I got through it last time, however and as strange as this sounds I started to read Paul’s book and Dr Weekes book and I feel my condition escalated, so I was wondering if again I was doing wrong, I was trying to rid myself instead of letting it be.

    I am feeling a little more positive after all your support and I will try to just let it be and carry on regardless (well as best I can at the moment)

    Thank You

    Simon

  283. Kat Says:

    Doreen,

    I agree with your assessment that some of us are simply wired for this. I believe that wholeheartedly because when I look back at my life so far, despite having anxiety/panic disorder for 16 years, I was always someone who had exaggerated nervous reactions to things. I was raised with two sisters, all in the same environment, and each of us have very different responses to stress, so it can’t be a situational thing entirely.

    I don’t often post anymore, mainly come to the blog to check up with things are rough on my end, and even then I mostly search for the positive stories because they are ones that keep me on the right track. I’ve made significant strides in recovery over the past two years, partly due to this blog, and also because I see a doctor who specializes in anxiety disorder without the use of medication. His approach is virtually the same as Paul’s in that I can unlearn this thing and modify the way my brain works in respect to anxiety. It’s been a positive thing, but I will admit that there have been bad times as well as good. I will say that when I’m feeling good, I am very aware of it and am extraordinarily grateful. That in itself is something of a gift.

    Today, though, is a rough one. Days like these, I wonder if it wouldn’t make sense to just go on a prescription because it seems to be taking forever to get past this and I am tired of putting my life on hold. Don’t get me wrong, I get out each day, work and do things with the family, but that feeling of freedom that I so covet continues to elude me. When I think like this, I get angry with myself because I know I have made progress, and how did I let one episode bluff me so easily? But, the feelings are convincing, and I haven’t learned enough yet to stop falling prey.

    What I find supremely frustrating is that just when I’ve learned to accept one physical symptom and it lessens, another pops up. Right now, I’m dealing with the tingling sensation in my face and tightening of my scalp which brings on a headache. Then, I start to worry, which leads to long bouts of anxiety, which makes me kind of depressed, which leads to depersonalization (which I really, really hate). Today has been really trying because I feel like I’m failing. So much success and then I’m back to square one!

    Does anyone have any personal anecdotes about conquering this kind of backslide? I know that acceptance is key, but acceptance seems almost impossible when you’re in the throes of the storm. I would really like to get back on track with this.

    Take care,

    Kat

  284. Katrina Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I agree with you 100% acceptance during the throes of the storm is very difficult. I just try to reassure myself that it is a storm and it’ll pass when it passes. Not easy at times.

  285. Nolan Says:

    Hi Kat,

    You said: “. I was raised with two sisters, all in the same environment, and each of us have very different responses to stress, so it can’t be a situational thing entirely”….

    I just want to say that one’s reaction to stress is not something etched in stone. Not to take the issue up here, but I don’t see how something one’s stress response is even something that could be coded genetically.

    And I’m not saying this to be difficult. I’m saying it to free up a person’s concern that they’re predetermined (at some level) to poorly respond to stress.

    Historically I am terrible at responding to stress. In a group of people I was usually the worst person to handle the bad news… whatever that news might be.

    Paul’s approach works good for anxiety and depression…. but it also works well for responding to those little stress responses that can snowball out of control and take over one’s ability to calmly respond to a bad situation.

    I have people that I’ve worked with over the years who regularly comment that I’m a much more steady disposed person.

  286. Kat Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    I can certainly see your point. I have never been one to care where this problem came from, necessarily, because I know it doesn’t matter. It is what it is, or something like that. Still, in the past few years, I have had a couple family members step forward and admit that they have been dealing with it, too, one for over sixty years! She lives in a different country, so I know I didn’t “learn” it from her. That makes me wonder if there is a genetic predisposition, if it wasn’t somehow ingrained in me. Of course, I also believe that this kind of pattern can be deprogrammed with the right knowledge and practice. And, patience, which it appears I am lacking 😉

    My stress response tends to show itself after a major event or upset. It’s like I go numb in the moment and respond robotically, but then a week later it all comes down on me. I know my main issue is the thinking I do. I am such a ruminator that my body has a very set reaction. Working on it, though!

    Thank you for the response. I enjoy reading others’ impressions of this situation, mainly because if I had all the answers, I wouldn’t need support. I’d like to think that one day I’ll be able to freely dispense advice knowing that I’ve got it all figured out. I, too, have had people remark at how they admire how I am handling my anxiety issue, and I am always grateful for that, but sometimes feel like a fraud. I know that I’ll always feel some level of it because it’s a natural human response, but I really would like to stop thinking about it so often because that seems to be my greatest obstacle to recovery.

    Take care,

    Kat

  287. Doreen Says:

    Hi Nolan – I see your point and maybe genetically wired wasn’t quite the right phrase to use. I was trying to say that reactions to stress can differ from person to person and some people respond by anxiety/depression. I know that is certainly true for me or else I wouldn’t have ever been on this blog.

    The same situation might make others react differently. So my way of reacting by feeling anxious is woven quite deep and knowing that helps me accept those feelings rather than fight them.

    And certainly not to add the second fear of ‘feeling anxious about feeling anxious’ which is obviously the place many people are in when they first come on this blog.

  288. Dale Says:

    Hi,

    Long time follower of the blog I have had anxiety for about 10 years on and off, mostly with the scary irrational thinking. I have been good for a good while until the start of the week, I was at a stag party and over indulged and when I got home got a really bad hangover. Since then my anxiety has been quite bad and I keep thinking that I am going to go back to how I was 10 years ago which is bringing on the surges of adrenaline and I keep feeling like I’m not all here. I know I have the tools for recovery but they seem to just be dug a bit deeper this time.

    I also think it is down to guilt how I am feeling as it’s down to my own fault. Is recovery from this type of setback using the same tools of just letting it be and not to worry? I read that the alcohol can suppress levels of this and that and cause a chemical imbalance etc and I now think I’m anxious about this, and that it won’t go away without somehow getting these levels back up.

    I hope this makes sense.

  289. Matt Says:

    Hey Bryan (or anyone else),

    I hate to ask you another question about heart rate, but i just want to ensure that what i’m feeling is normal so I can just accept it as anxiety. I was mentioning before that I’ve recently noticed my heart rate being about 10 beats higher than normal. I’ve also been fairly anxious recently too. I’ve been getting that feeling that I have adrenaline in my body a lot (where you feel your heart pound, racing thoughts, etc), which is all very much anxiety related.

    However, I feel like my heart rate has been slightly elevated for most of the day. When I try to google about it, most information says that palpitations and racing heart symptoms happen during panic attacks, but is it possible to have your heart rate slightly elevated for long periods of time (mostly throughout the day). It does sometimes go back to normal, but lately I’ve been so hyper focused on it, i can’t tell if i raise it when i check it and worry about it, or if it’s already higher. My heart isn’t racing super fast (like in SVT, or another abnormal arrhythmia), so it’s not life threatening or anything, but it makes me worry something more serious is wrong.

    If some others have the same symptoms of just a pounding or slightly faster heart rate through out the day, then I’ll feel confident i can chalk it up to anxiety. It just seems weird that I’ve had severe anxiety for 4 years, and i’m only now just starting to deal with this symptom (I’ve had it in the past, but not for as long). My anxiety is weird in that the longer I ignore symptoms, a new symptom will pop up in it’s place.

    Anyway, cheers, and thanks in advance for any help!

  290. Matt Says:

    ^ Also, I know that elevated heart rate happens in panic attacks. I don’t really get full blown panic attacks, more like periods of high and low anxiety throughout the day, with associated symptoms. If it was a full blown panic attack, i would feel confident having a high heart rate, as it would happen for 10-20 minutes, and then I would be over it. It’s the longevity of the slightly raised heart rate that concerns me. I know this worrying over it isn’t helping anything, and only making it worse, so I’m trying to stop! It’s just hard to let the worries go sometimes!

  291. Tom Says:

    Thank you, Bryan and Stephanie! I will go on just living my life as much as I can.

  292. ken Says:

    I haven’t been here in a while but I thought I’d come back I still don’t feel better and have been actually feeling worse but I just recently finished a psychological evaluation and was found to have mild autism and I think which is why interpreting the information I read is really troublesome on top of withdrawaling from a benzo I’m feeling really hopeless lately. And hoping things get better but thought I’d stop by

  293. Bryan Says:

    Hi Matt,

    I answered that same question to you Oct 24th. Here again is the answer:

    >>Bryan Says:
    October 24th, 2016 at 3:08 pm
    Matt,

    You can have a basic work-up from your GP if you want, but what you describe is 100% anxiety. Went through it myself. Very common.

    So, again I would refer to the same concept that we have two choices with stress conditions. We can….

    1. continue to protest the condition by fretting or asking the same basic questions repeatedly.

    2. Take action to help ourselves feel better by putting the proper mindset and lifestyle in place.

    The choice is up to you.

    Again… Cardiac doctors have NO problem identifying basic issues like yours. My wife is an Nurse Practitioner in a cardiac surgical unit. What you describe is common and harmless. I had it. You can ask for a low dose of a beta blocker if you can’t function because of it. But it’s not dangerous to have an elevated heart rate because of anxiety even when you’re not currently in a panic attack. Again, it’s common.

    The solution for all of this is there for you to implement. It’s truly up to you how long you want to feel this way.

  294. Bryan Says:

    I would suggest that everyone here take a moment and read Nolan’s post from October 28th. It’s brilliant and cuts right to the root of how to move through the daily grind when thee stress reactions (which is what they all are) descend on us. We are blessed to have folks like Nolan offering these insights. I highly suggest reading that one a few times and trying to internalize the meaning.

  295. Eitan Says:

    Hey guys. I’ve been feeling better and my obsessive worries and everything have calmed down (though a few still exist). Probably since I upped the Prozac but it’s still a pretty low dose. I feel more normal like I did before the panic attack but still don’t feel very happy. Should I just let it be and accept the state/mood I’m in? It’s like I’m still trying to figure out why I’m not happy or what’s gonna make me happy and still checking to see if I’ve changed or anything. Nolan says peace comes to you when it’s ready so I’m trying to embrace that mindset that it will come when it’s ready with no timetable.

    I still have some worries that my brain is messed up forever and I have unlocked some mental illness over the last few years and will remain unhappy no matter what. Like either meditation, genetics or my personality have all caused this and it can’t be fixed. I’m 23 now and believe i’m just in a quarter life crisis/transition phase and that this will slowly go away as time goes on. I guess I’m confused cause I’m very hopeful and optimistic yet I still don’t feel great. I still haven’t stopped monitoring and analyzing so that could be a major part of it.

  296. Meg Says:

    Eitan,
    I haven’t been on this blog for a long while but do occasionally check in and post if I feel I can help. I suffered with very severe anxiety for well over a year starting in January 2015. Thankfully I’m feeling much more stable and back to “normal” now and have been for quite a while. In a weird way I’m thankful it happened as I feel I understand my anxiety so much better!

    I definitely believe what you say about a quarter life crisis – think it’s sort of behind what I went through too. There’s so much pressure when you get to your twenties and I think for many people it can be overwhelming. The only piece of advice you should listen to is to be patient. You truly can’t think yourself better and you won’t wake up one morning and suddenly be OK. Believe me when I say it is possible to “have” anxiety but not suffer with it. I’ve been anxious since childhood and I still am now but I by no means suffer any more and I think the chance I will in the future is very slim because of what I’ve learnt about myself.

    I promise you haven’t unlocked a mental illness – if you had those close to you would have noticed…I’ve had to tell myself that many times!! All those thoughts can just be lumped together and thrown on the anxiety pile.

    You can no way force acceptance it truly is something that will gradually build up until you see the bigger picture. I think what I and most people did wrong is that you feel like acceptance is something you have to actively do – like forcing yourself to sit still and try to relax when you feel anxiety creeping in. This act of doing something just causes you to plateau and gives you a false idea of what acceptance is. It didn’t come to me all on its own, I also worked on my lifestyle to help myself live a healthier life. I now meditate everyday, exercise, socialise, say no sometimes and don’t set ridiculously high standards for myself but I don’t do these things to try and get rid of anxiety, I just do them because they make me happier and healthier which makes my life bigger than anxiety.

  297. Eve Says:

    Hello everyone I am so happy I have managed at last to have found this blogg
    I have never been on anything like this before so stay with me ,
    I am a long sufferer of GAD and DP I have had my condition since I was sixteen
    I am now 69 but i have had a very good life and lots of good breaks.
    The last 6mth has been bad the DP has raised its head I am not moaning I am just so happy that someone else has the same symptoms like can’t look at my husband at times and other people felt strange looking in a mirror,at my self never had any help with this just managed it,these feelings I have kept to my self and managed my self but Pauls books have helped me so much
    I will be back on this site if I can find it never been on blogs or Twitter
    Thank you for listening to me but I really want to say goodbuy for ever to these
    Frightening feelings for good . Eve

  298. Jim Says:

    As someone who has been through the mill, especially during the 90’s and come out the other side, I never expected to be searching the net for help, yet having experienced a new attack last week, a lot of memories came flooding back. When I first experienced panic and anxiety, I am not sure blogs or advice on the internet was even available and to be truthful, having tried every therapy under the sun and then some, I found myself gradually getting better to the point I never really expected it to resurface and this attack is probably the first in at least 16 years. But its happened again today hence my posting now. So many sites will tell you symptoms, suggest techniques etc but they don’t hit the mark about the true terror that a panic attack can bring. It’s a personal thing and a lot of what Paul posts and says in his book is true. The statements above have had a profound effect on how I think and I can relate to some as I have thought the same over the years. It’s releasing the discomfort that is key, for me anyway. But when I am in the full throes of tension and fear all I want to do is escape. Yet I feel stranded really. My throat gets tense, I have trouble swallowing, I sip water constantly, I have in the past even turned to prayer. I am hoping that by posting this, I will get some further relief because at the moment it’s bedtime and I find night time particularly difficult to cope with. It’s not that don’t sleep, I wake with the can’t swallow feeling any time during the night which sets it all off again. I have to sleep though, just as you have to eat and breath so at some stage it will occur but only when I am ready. I can trace these feelings back into my childhood but it never had a name then and I couldn’t speak to anyone about it but its plagued me throughout my life. I can be bullish at times, I often have been. On occasions I simply have to drive myself through it. But it’s always in the background. I would never tell anyone how to behave in a panic situation. But I think the most important statement I can make having shrunk right back to the point of being almost housebound in the 90’s is don’t stop doing what you know you can do. Set a baseline and start from there. It doesn’t matter if you hop down the street with your finger up your nose if that’s what gets you through. I have so much I’d like to post because I think it’s important that any experiences are shared by those who know and I mean really know what its like to go through this. Panic and anxiety ain’t fun. People who haven’t experienced it can’t possibly know. Many people have said things flippantly without understanding this. I don’t know what it’s like to live with epilepsy, how could I? I don’t suffer from it, so don’t feel ridiculed by your condition. I found things easier once I explained to people what was going on. Some are open to it, some aren’t but if you can rid yourself of the stigma, if you have one, you begin to open yourself up a bit. Its difficult doing something someone expects you to do when you feel anxious but when its your decision to do something, its more easy to cope. I know the overriding message that comes from this blog is to give feelings their head and let them go. Good advice but for me at the moment that’s a bit difficult. I don’t expect a quick fix, I never got one last time but I will try to put into practice the things that are suggested here. I hope this hasn’t bored you, I started with the intention of getting a few things off my chest and ask if anyone else has difficulty swallowing due to tension in the neck and upper stomach. It’s releasing that which will give me some respite. Perhaps some of what I said may relate to you and put a positive perspective on some things, I don’t know. I hope so, this isn’t meant to be a negative post

  299. Jim Says:

    As an addendum to my last post, try to think of your recovery as climbing a ladder. You start at the bottom, climb a few rungs and slip down again. But, not right to the bottom because you’ll always stop on the rung above where you started. Why? because you had the courage to take those few tentative steps in the first place so your already a rung higher. Eventually you’ll be able to look down and see exactly where you came from. You’ll be surprised how high a few rungs can take you

  300. Star Says:

    Ok, So I used to be a frequent flyer here. But stopped because I didn’t know how to let go and it was causing me further anxiety. Since then I spoke to someone who opened up to me about her anxiety which she healed and it changed a lot. Changed my view on therapy. I thought nothing could help me. I’m back because I thought I’d share what I have been learning.

    I have been fighting this anxiety off for so long. I find it would be harder for me when I would have a breakthrough and the anxiety would clear, because then I thought I was over it, and when it would come back, I would fall into so much despair and try and recreate my experience to ‘heal myself’ make it all go away. And that leads to tremendous suffering. This whole ‘technique’ I know Paul says it is not a technique. It is NOT a technique. More like a theory. A mechanism. You let go of fighting the anxiety and it automatically releases something in you. But you cannot force yourself to stop fighting it.

    I found with therapy I have been having ups and downs. But I had the non-helpful goal of ‘fix me’ and ‘make it all go away,’ take away this darkness, this suffering, this terrible helplessness. But it doesn’t work like that. When I would have some breakthroughs; I was anxiety-free and in touch with myself like I have not been in so long, for about a week at one point, I would think that was it, I got this. Then it would come back and I would try and make it go away; try replicate what I had done.

    My friend drilled it into me a few days ago. You have no control over your anxiety. And this is when I remembered Paul’s message. You have no control. Did you decide that the day that the anxiety cleared it was going to happen? Did you manage to ‘make it happen’? No. You didn’t have a clue. I always heard the message but I would try and let go of control. That isn’t how it works. You need to realize that you have no control over your emotions, your anxiety, whether you will feel good/ like utter utter deep crap. That is the relief. That in the darkness, you can sit in it. Feel the pain. It’s called pain for a reason. It will hurt. Hence the natural tendency to fight it. But when you see that it’s ok not to be ok, that’s when you are free. And that is when you are open to see the pain of other people and that everyone has crap. And anxiety is your crap. And it’s dark and TERRIFYING.

  301. Dale Says:

    Hi,

    First time poster.

    I have had anxiety for about 10 years on and off. I do seem to get caught up in setbacks every now and again mostly with scary irrational thoughts about family but have been good for a while now.

    I am currently in the midst of a setback just now. I was on a stag party weekend last week and over indulged a bit (I don’t drink often). I got a bad hangover and then boom anxiety mostly about passed suffering, not going back to how I felt especially now I have children, what if I am back to square 1 etc. I also think the setback has come a bit harder because I have been good for quite a while too.

    I read a while back the effects of alcohol on anxiety etc and that it can supress stuff and I guess another anxious thought I’m having is if the recovery path for this type of anxiety is the same? I don’t know if I also feel worse as it is my own fault.

    When I feel rubbish I do feel I have the tools to get through it but also feels like I’m lying to myself at times but I guess that’s just another anxious thought!! Is it ok to say to yourself “let it be, it will pass” and then just get on with it or is saying something to yourself a coping behaviour?

    Thanks

  302. Ben Noble Says:

    Constantly judging myself in situations would make me physically exhausted at the end of the day. It’s so much work to run every single different possible social scenario through your head! I’ve been making a habit of mindfulness meditation and it seems to be helping. It helps me “stay out of my head” and keep destructive thoughts out.

  303. Eitan Says:

    Meg & Star,

    Thank you for the kind words! Yes it’s very difficult and I’ve been overthinking and have a lot of negative thoughts the last day or two. I’ve always been sensitive and now i’m ruminating over it. It’s so weird because my thoughts will say all these negative things, but then when I talk to myself out loud to fight them it’s like the opposite of those thoughts. I guess it’s a compulsion and it’s better to just let the thoughts shout instead of fighting them. I guess i’m scared of believing them if I do nothing. It’s like even though I know i’m overthinking, my mind does it anyway. I agree that my acceptance needs to gradually build up. It’s almost like I’m too stubborn to let go completely, like i’m waiting for the right moment or time when i’m fed up. My gut says I need patience and that I will get through this, no matter how bad I feel. Just my doubts and insecurities are magnified so much more then they have been in the rest of my life. Sometimes I think “how the hell can I ever get through this? what if i’m too sensitive/broken to ever heal? what if you’re cursed?” but something tells me I will and I will be the person I want to be.

  304. Eitan Says:

    It’s just very draining when you have negative thoughts that build up from one another like this:

    “what if there’s something wrong with me? what if that means i’ll be alone forever cause there IS something wrong with me? well if something’s wrong with me then that means you probably hate yourself. oh my god, what if i hate myself? how do i know if i do or don’t? now i have to analyze if i do or don’t. but i do like myself, i just have insecurities and need to accept myself more and build my confidence. but what if those negative thoughts are right and you’re just in denial? i’m too smart to believe these stupid negative thoughts. but what if you aren’t? how can you know? what if you hate everything and don’t want to be here anymore? But I love life, my family and friends and I respect myself and want to better myself. what if you don’t?”

    so exhausting.

  305. Paul Says:

    Hi every one just wanted to ask see if anyone has had something similar. Last month My nan got taken into hospital and has recently passed away. For the last few weeks now ive had ringing in my ears which varys from day to day its worse when i lie down or have something close to my ears. Ive been to doctors and she told me it was tinitus i havent been in the best of places recently. I was wondering if anyone else has had something similar?? Thank you

    Paul

  306. Star Says:

    Eitan, I can relate to you on many levels…

    The thoughts are enough to make anyone go mad. Heck, I am still going through it. I just had a really intense reaction to get something done and had so much fear. I have so much fear about being irrational, that people will notice, that I am inferior, blemished, broken, even though I have such loving family and friends and most people like to hang around with me despite my ‘irrationality,’ at times. The way that I got through it was– Ok so I am irrational. Accept it. If I come across as irrational, so be it. I feel like I sound like Paul, LOL. I didn’t understand it in this way before; I would force myself to do things amidst the fear and try and tell myself that I shouldn’t care. But it’s just about getting to that place naturally and compassionately where you are ok with it. With everything that it brings. Be ok with all the thoughts happening. Look at them in a aloof, detached manner. You don’t have to believe them that they will happen but look at them as a possible option. Ok, so if there is something wrong with me, it’s ok. It isn’t my fault. I did not create this anxiety. It was given to me.

    I would get so beat up on the fact that I had anxiety; thinking that it meant that I wasn’t smart- an identity I have held onto my whole life; it meant that I was weak- when I thought I was so strong and tough and always had the witty answer. But the reality is that the anxiety is not you. Yes again this is a cliche one with anxiety. But it is the truth. You are not anxiety; I am not anxiety. Anxiety is a reaction we have to external stimulus which is just trying to protect you. Your body thinks that you are in danger. That is all. ANYONE with anxiety, I believe, would be acting as you are, feeling like you do, even if they were the smartest guy in the universe. This is what I believe. Anxiety does not mean you are weak. It means you are sensitive. It means you are human.

  307. Star Says:

    Oh and just another thing. What if I hate myself? Ok so I hate myself. No analysis. What if I’m in denial? Ok so I’m in denial. What if I believe these thoughts? Ok so I believe these thoughts. Those are all things that you cannot control. You cannot control your emotions. You cannot control your thoughts. They just are. You are experiencing them. That is all. And now they are dark. They are horrible. They are depressing. But they still are just thoughts that are not in your control. I don’t know if it helps or not; it doesn’t have to help. Even that just is. If it doesn’t help, it doesn’t help. It’s ok. Regardless on whether or not the words have an impact, and they don’t have to, they are the truth.

  308. Eitan Says:

    Thank you Star. But will it ever reach a point where I will have clarity and will feel normal and just know that all those thoughts are irrational? My brain feels like it’s going to explode with all these thoughts. I know whenever these thoughts come through it distorts everything and feels so real. It’s like I’m so confused I don’t know what’s rational, real, right or myself anymore.

  309. Star Says:

    Yes, but you see, you have to accept the madness and not want it to go away. You don’t have to enjoy it. It is bloody hard. But there’s no saying when it will go and if it will go. You have to accept it. Because there is no choice. It doesn’t necessarily make it go away straight away; but there is definitely a huge relief that you are not the one who is at fault for the deep pain. As for the suffering it causes, watch them. Don’t become them. Know that it is just trapped pain.

    That is what I find. I am still in the thick of it; but I definitely find that the realization that it is not in my control or any of my business to try and manipulate my thoughts, my feelings gives me relief and ability to do things with it still there rather then to obsess about it. Even though I do have strong panic still.

    I have had great releases in the past where after I felt great clarity but they never happened because I have made them; they just happen.
    Don’t put pressure on yourself to reach any place. If that does come up for you– the desire, the expectation, the resistance, then notice that it is there and let it pass by ‘oh there is a part of me that is resisting’ etc. There is no good emotions to feel/ bad emotions to feel they all are just emotions…

    I can totally relate to the last bit about being confused. The emotions are very strong and can take you in with them and rationality is impossible. I had to make myself a little sign when I was working on something last night and I felt deep panic and anxiety, saying ‘Your irrationality is not your fault’ and ‘All you can do is your best that I can in this situation.’ Do I think that my anxiety does and has compromised my performance in life? Yes. But I know that I have been doing my best at every opportunity. And that it is not my fault. And that fighting the anxiety just causes me to be more drained.

  310. Joe Says:

    Anyone think it’s worth getting a therapist? I get that the aim when it comes to recovering is not to try and do things to get better but it might be worth it. My last therapist whom I had for unrelated depression last year didn’t really help when my current chronic and unrelenting anxiety began but she was a specialist for the issues that I was dealing with before. I’ve heard from Eitan that ACT is the ideal therapy for this but I don’t how to ask for it and stuff. I’m also pretty sure it’s not going to work. What do you think ? Are meds worth a try also? Took them for my last depression that I just mentioned and I’m undecided as to how effective they were. Might get me to stop drinking as Prozac gives me a mean old hangover and drinking doesn’t exactly help my anxiety in the long run.

    Made a long post a moment ago but it didn’t come through for some reason. Annoying because it took ages to write, if it does come through I apologise for spamming this blog guys.

  311. Joe Says:

    Also I’ve noticed some of the advice says to ‘let the thoughts and feelings be there and pay no attention to them’. I’m not trying to be pedantic here but isn’t that kind of contradictory? Like how do I allow them to be there? Isn’t not paying attention to them a way of trying and struggling? What exactly should happen in my mind when I remember the obsessive thought that hurtles me back to hyperawareness and racing thoughts?

  312. Bryan Says:

    Joe,

    Good question…

    No, not paying attention to something is not the same as fighting against it.
    Do you wear a ring of any sort? I was married recently and now wear a nice wedding band. Occasionally I notice that it’s on my finger. I hadn’t had one on in a very long time so now I notice it randomly from time to time. But it’s a fleeting thought. Just an awareness and then my mind goes to something else.
    I certainly don’t think… “Oh no…. I have a ring on!! I must do something about this!!”

    You might say “yes… but wearing a ring isn’t the same. It doesn’t cause pain or suffering.” And you would be right. But do you see how we can notice something and yet not grapple with it? We can notice it without entangling ourselves with it. My ring is on all day. I’m aware of it quite often, yet I have no emotional reaction.

    This is the goal with thr thoughts and sensations. To carry them with us as if they were an article of clothing or the way we would any other harmless thought. YES it is difficult but we over time train our minds to take the emotion out of the thought by not engaging and grappling with it. A thought is nothing without your emotional reaction.

    For each person this process is going to look a little different. It’s been years for me and I am still fine-tuning the acceptance process when things flareup. For some of us this may come more naturally than for others, but we can all apply these principles and move through the storms.

    Go about our day —> thought arises —> recognize thought as harmless as any other —> gently shift back into more important matters —> resume whatever function or task you were doing or need to do without any analysis or additional emotion —> repeat once or 1000 times depending on thr day.

    That’s how I work through things, I would actually be interested to hear how some of the other more experienced folks work through them as well. I feel like this process is where people truly resume normal living and see the elimination of stress symptoms. (Anxiety etc)

  313. Joe Says:

    Hi Bryan

    I sort of see what your saying about not emotionally reacting to certain thoughts/feelings. I’ve had these thoughts before and not reacted to them like I do now. None of my thoughts are really about things that might happen. It’s more a sense of just being freaked out by human existence and various aspects of it. I recognise they are just thoughts in the end but I’m not always so certain. As I think Eitan can relate I feel like I’ve made some real discovery about the nature of existence that I can’t really forget so easily. All I can really do is just allow myself to dwell on this realisation if that’s what my mind wants to do, or so it seems to be.

    It does seem so simple but my mind just gets impossibly confused during ‘thought arises’ stage. Just don’t know how to switch off all the racing thoughts. It feels like ‘I go into manual mode’, sort of like when you become aware of your breathing and you feel like you have to do it manually (which is incidentally one of my anxieties from time to time). Then I just kinda forget about it somehow. Not really sure how because when I do, my mind is wandering in ‘automatic mode’ if you will. Don’t even really feel like I’m in the right frame of mind during the ‘manual’ mode of hyperawareness etc.

  314. Joe Says:

    Sorry I mean ‘don’t ever feel I’m I the right mindset’ when the mindset comes from

  315. Jamie Says:

    Jamie Says:
    October 26th, 2016 at 9:40 pm
    A general question – is it a bad combination for someone with anxiety issues (e.g. me) to be with someone that is stressed a lot of the time (about her daughter, her unhelpful ex and her job to name 3 things). I can’t help but think I need to be someone who is a bit calmer as her stress makes me more anxious which I don’t think is good for me.

    Stephanie Says:
    October 26th, 2016 at 11:05 pm
    Hi Jamie,

    My question in response to your question is, do you really want to make relationship decisions based off of your “anxiety issues”? First, we all know that anxiety clouds our thinking, and second, you don’t want to label yourself by your anxiety. That being said, I understand the need for self-preservation. You want to eliminate any unnecessary stress in your life. There’s nothing wrong with that; in fact, it’s a healthy practice. But there’s also the irrational anxiety-induced wanting to run away and hide from anything that makes you feel anxious. That isn’t healthy. That’s avoiding.

    So the bottom line is, only you can decide if the relationship is truly unhealthy or if you’re wanting to avoid the normal stresses of a relationship. When my husband is stressed, it often makes me stressed too. Does that bother me? Sure, sometimes. But how selfish would it be if I told him to never share anything that might upset me?

    Thanks for the response Stephanie and apologies for the delay.

    Things about my girlfriend make me anxious but some of these things may not make the next person anxious.
    1) She has a very messy flat (I mean VERY). How could I live with someone like this as I am very neat and tidy ?
    2) She has 2 dogs that are high maintenance, leave hairs everywhere and I think be allergic to them (they bring on asthma symptoms that I also get around cats)
    3) Her ex partner (and father of their daughter) is permanently angry, hates the fact she has a boyfriend and generally tries to make her life as difficult as possible.
    4) My gf gets stressed with the lack of parental help from said ex and her daughter’s moodiness.

    There are obviously positive points to our relationship and I must really like her to still be with her after 8 months. However, being the person I am, I just focus on the not so good bits. I have explained my anxiety and she has been very understanding / supportive. She also is quite insecure because of her family history and there have been issues where her insecurity has made me anxious which has made me back off which has in turn made her more insecure. We have worked through it and do as best we can.

    I think she is frightened to discuss too much about how things are going between us as it will make me anxious. As you say, when I think about it, if she starts talking about difficult her daughter is sometimes or her ex, this makes me anxious, I don’t like the feelings and then back off. That is my default reaction.

    She has bought this up whether we love each other yet and ask myself if I do. The honest answer is – I don’t know. The only way I would know would be if I ended it to see how I reacted but you cannot do this in life to people. As you rightly say Stephanie, my anxiety clouds most of my thoughts and gets in the way of feeling emotions such as love, anger, hate etc. My concern is the heightened anxiety which has appeared since my marriage ended nearly 3 years ago will now get in the way of e.g. feeling love, forging a successful relationship in the future.

  316. Jamie Says:

    On a separate note – I wonder if any anxiety sufferers can relate to this point?

    I have been laid up very poorly for a week now with gum infections and mouth ulcers, temperature etc. I have been off work for a week, lost weight, had difficult eating but slowly I am improving. This I think was caused by anxiety.

    One realisation I had a long time ago (probably 15-20 years ago) is this….whenever I am genuinely ill for example, I have a cold, the flu or whatever, I am ‘relieved’ is the best way to describe it. This may sound warped but if I am unwell with an ailment like this, I never feel anxious.

    Because I am unwell, I do not by default ‘check’ my body to see if I feel anxious and if I am, worry about it and try and fix it. I haven’t really felt anxious all the time I have been unwell and have just slept or watched TV.

    Does anybody else agree ? I would be interested to hear other people’s thoughts.

  317. Bryan Says:

    Joe,

    You said >>> I can’t “switch off the thoughts.”

    Please reread my post or reference Paul’s advice on unwanted tonights. Switching them off is not the goal at all. (Nor will ever happen while trying to do so.)

    Jamie,

    Do you have an actual, measured fever by the medical definition? (Over 99 F)
    If not, I agree it’s anxiety. You’re not taking any meds are you? Meds can cause the issues you speak of.
    But so can anxiety. I’ve had canker sores, flu like symptoms and genreral flu like sickness that turned out purely to be stress. (“Anxiety”) Like you the real flu doesn’t ever seem as concerning. So yes what you describe is relatable. Frustrating but that’s just how some of us express stress in our bodies. Key is to move forward with the same process we have been taught.

  318. Michael Says:

    I am a new returning person to this group. I had anxiety and obsessive issues so badly four years ago that I nearly checked myself into an inpatient center because I could not function. I fully came out of it with the help of the information on this site. I got ignorant and fell back into the trap of obsessive thinking and constantly thinking when I was hit with some difficult life circumstances. I promised myself that I would not allow myself to return to this state, I watched it happen trying to do hard to do what I did before. My problem was that I TRIED to replicate what helped me last time and in doing so forgot the major point that this site has repeated over and over. I wanted to badly for it to stop. Just wanted to check in and say hello and leave you all with this video which many of you have probably seen before. It is just a reminder, ultimately it is up to each of us to open up and accept things and stop fighting, i know we each may need to revisit this site from time to time as a reminder. But i have made research and reassurance my crutch. And i know it is ultimately up to me to go out and just be. Thank you Paul for all of your help and advice, good luck everyone, you are all fully capable of doing this.

  319. Rosa Says:

    Hi there,

    I haven’t posted here in a year or so and did only a few times back then. I have suffered from anxiety for 10 years with good and bad times until I had a really bad time 3 years ago. I discovered Paul’s website 2 1/2 years ago and have been implementing his advice since then. It took me ages to notice any improvements as anxiety had been so ingrained and part of my life. But then things became better – I was able to look after my small son, I was able to apply for jobs and got one, I notices moments when my focus wasn’t on me and I noticed moments when I felt some peace. And now I am in the middle of a really bad setback. I feel almost as bad as I did 2 1/2 years ago. I am constantly anxious and feel really weak. Nothing makes sense.
    I really do try and follow Paul’s advice. I don’t resist the feelings although it feels awful. I try and continue with my life as normal as possilbe. I just feel that I need some encouraging words. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself that I have had to deal with anxiety for such a long time and that it takes away so much of my joy and spirit and personality.
    Thanks

  320. Jamie Says:

    Jamie Says:
    November 4th, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    I have been laid up very poorly for a week now with gum infections and mouth ulcers, temperature etc. I have been off work for a week, lost weight, had difficult eating but slowly I am improving. This I think was caused by anxiety.

    Can I just clarify – I think as a result of being a bit rundown and worrying a bit too much, I have ended up unwell but I do not think this is anxiety now. This is a genuine illness that will get better with the right rest and meds.

    The point I am making is I rarely feel any anxiety symptoms if I am otherwise unwell.

  321. Tony Says:

    I know this post has had hundreds of replies already but I didn’t know where else to write this. I am so desperate and feeling hysterical and overwhelmed.
    I haven’t slept for about 5 days. Only the odd hour or two here and there; very shallow sleep and full of dreams.

    It started Tuesday night when I tried to sleep the day before an interview and couldn’t, mostly because I’d had a few days off before and had slept a lot, so I couldn’t get my brain to shut down. So last wednesday morning, I took a pain medication called Tramadol to keep me awake as it had the effect of doing that to me. And it worked. But the night I got home I tried to sleep and couldn’t and panicked as it was nearing 40 hours with no sleep and I knew this was not good. Once the panic set in? That was that. It spiralled out of control.

    Now I have been an anxiety sufferer all my life, sometimes the anxiety is the free floating emotional kind, and sometimes its comes off the back of some obsession or actual concern or worry.
    The last really big ‘nervous breakdown’ of anxiety I had was in 2008. I thought this was the last big battle I’d ever have with it in my life time. After all, I’d learned about non resistance, opening to the feelings, not avoiding them and allowing them to be there and after everything I tried, and months of hell, it was the only solution that worked. Success, no anxiety for 8 years.

    So you think I’d have known better than to let this anxiety get totally out of control. But its different this time. No matter how crazy with anxiety I was before (and it was very extreme before) I would always be able to sleep. Eventually. It affected my sleep by giving me nightmares, but I’d sleep.

    Now I’ve always been the type of person who cannot sleep in other people’s houses, hotels or any other place not in my bed on my own. I also become sleepless very easily if I feel pressure to sleep before an important day.

    But this is something else. Its been 5 days now of next to no sleep. I try and accept the anxiety and not fight it but the longer I go without sleep the more I cannot fight this rising panic of thoughts about what will happen to me. I’m frightened of going insane, of health problems, I’m frightened that this anxiety about sleep will tighten into such a locked vicious circle that I’ll be too anxious about sleeping to sleep forever.

    People keep telling me “sleep will come eventually, the body will shut down when it needs to” Well when? It ‘needed to’ about 4 days ago. That didn’t stop the insomnia marathon. What will stop it in the future? I know I shouldn’t do this to myself but my body is exhausted and my mind is dizzy, spaced, and I’m yawning constantly. I can tell my body is desperate for a rest.

    I am so, so scared. I don’t have a lot of close friends or people around me and I feel so alone. I never thought I’d be back where I was in 2008 or worse but its been so long since I have had anxiety this bad it has caught me off guard and put me into shock.

    Every time I get into bed to sleep I close my eyes and I can feel so much energy and fright in my body and I can’t shut down. The anxiety goes up to 11 on the scale and I feel desperate and terrified. I can’t tolerate it, I feel to overwhelmed and alone. I have lost all the courage and faith that this will heal on its own the I had in 2008 that helped me get well. I feel hopeless and scared.

    Sorry I know this isn’t very positive or well written. My brain is running off fear and no sleep.

    Thanks for reading anyway. I just wanted to share

  322. Stephanie Says:

    Hello Rosa,

    We’ve all been there. Setbacks are a part of recovery. I know it’s easy to feel sorry for yourself and think “oh no, not this, I can’t feel this way again.” But instead, think of this as an opportunity to continue to develop new habits. As you say, anxiety has been a bad habit for many of us for so long, that sometimes we fall back into it. Setbacks are a chance to continue to learn and grow. So keep living your life. Let the crummy feelings be there. They will leave in time.

    God bless.

  323. Cheryl Says:

    Hi,
    I’m going through the recovery of anxiety and I will up date when I feel 100% keep going everyone
    I always worry about my health ( us anxious people do) I have had pins and needles for a month now , the doc, chiropractor says it’s a trapped nerve , I have some sciatica problems but I think it’s bought on by stress and tense muscles .
    Just wondered has anyone else experienced this ?

  324. Rosa Says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    Thanks for your kind words. It helps to know that I am not the only one who has to deal with anxiety. And I try to see it as a learning opportunity and to allow everything to come up without being too impressed by it. Sometimes I am just fed up with it, but I guess I just have to get going. There is no alternative!

  325. Eitan Says:

    So today I found out from somebody that some people I know find me really attractive. I noticed I didn’t feel too excited from this and I started to analyze why I didn’t because I would think I would feel ecstatic. Then it led to me to thinking why i’m never satisfied and if i’ll ever be truly happy. Or if i’m some messed up person who will never have a real relationship cause i’ll always be bored and never be satisfied. Then this lead to other dark thoughts like being lost in life. Then I started to get the HOCD gay thoughts again and if i’m being truly honest with myself or if i’m faking everything and really a sociopath.

    I’m scared of taking a leap of faith and letting myself be swallowed by the confusion and doubt. It’s almost like i’m scared of acceptance because it’ll mean i’ll never want to achieve anything or i’ll become somebody else. Like I need to find the answers to these questions or else i’ll never figure it out or know. I know this is the doubt from anxiety/OCD.

    Bryan i’m hoping you can answer. My thoughts constantly change. I can have a moment where I feel alright and okay and then one thing will get me to analyze again and lead me down the what if path.

  326. Bryan Says:

    Eitan,

    The bottom line is that you feel there is still a consequence if you simply let these thoughts come and go. Your mind is tired, fatigued and taxed from trying to constantly fight off and figure out these (meaningless) thoughts.

    You cannot possibly ward off thoughts with more thinking. It’s like trying to lose weight by continually eating more and more calories. Your brain is simply fatigued. How do I know?

    Because you are worried about these thoughts. So, they must not be who you are. If they were who you are, you would embrace them. But you are adverse to them. You want them gone so the real you can re-emerge. This clearly tells you these are just nonsense thoughts. The product of a fatigued mind that thoughts stick to instead of bouncing off as they normally would.

    They key here is to know this… move on despite of it and realize you will be fine regardless of your brain’s calisthenics. We have to let the thoughts be what they are… clouds that come and go. They only mean what you put into them. Stay outwardly focuses and let them do what they will… and watch them lose their importance. This isn’t easy at first and does require a leap of faith but it IS the way to resume normal thinking and living.

    If it’s not this topic… it’ll be something else. They are all nonsense. Invite them in with a smile and live along side of them and watch them eventually vanish.
    Your goal is not to care. Not to change them.

  327. Belgian Says:

    Dear Jim,

    I would like to thank you for your post.

    It’s a reminder to us all that anxiety is an important part of us. It’s something that has always been there and will continue to be there to our last breath.

    It’s not an outside force, but it’s something rooted deep inside of us. Also people who are not suffering from an anxiety disorder know panic and anxiety.

    For us sufferers, at times we get entangled by the thoughts that accompany these anxious feelings. Especially for those of us who went through it before, the memories of past suffering can be terrifying.

    That’s why the only way we can recover is to go through it once more. To accept and welcome it once more.

    Jim, I know how awful this experience is. We all know and we take part in your suffering. But – as you said – recovery starts always with a first step.

    I share with you something my grandmother told me when she found out I was suffering from an anxiety disorder. She was the only one near me who truly understood me as she went through it herself. She told me not to capitulate for the feeling but to live my life however I feel. She told me to stay vigilant not to fall into the same trap. Believing what anxiety is telling me. She taught me that most things in life are not in our control and that we should at the best of our ability accept what it brings us. The good and the bad. It’s not your job to make yourself feel better. Let life do that to you.

    A wise woman indeed. Wisdom that can only come through experience. When I feel anxious I try to surrender to the feelings and I find this much easier to do with her words in the back of my head because I know in my heart that all this suffering is momentarily not eternally. And that better times are awaiting just around the corner.

    So they are for you, Jim. I am sure of it.

    Take heart!

  328. Joe Says:

    Bryan

    What I meant was that I can’t switch off the worrying. I’m not trying to get rid of the thoughts and anxieties, at least I don’t think so. I feel like I’ve lost the ability to think properly. I understand the goal is not to care and not to attempt to ‘do’ anything to get rid of this anxiety but I feel like these words have simply lost here meaning. I feel either the advice in Pauls book doesn’t apply to my situation or my mind doesn’t work in a way that doing this is possible. I overanalyse things so much bu nature but the advice is so simple. It’s not that I can’t believe or accept that the ‘answer’ is so simple it’s more of a case of my mind simply not being able to implement it.

    I mentioned that ‘automatic/manual’ mode thing in my last post. When I remember my anxiety and go into that ‘manual’ mode my mind just races and races from thought to thought on what to do and I think to myself ‘you don’t have to do anything just let your mind race and get on with what you’re doing’ or even just try and adopt an attitude of not caring what my head is doing and just getting on with things but soon enough I just end up worrying. In fact I feel like I worry about worrying and this makes things even worse.

    I feel like I’ve read the book and the advice on here so much that it’s just confused me and now I’m not really sure what’s going to happen. It makes no sense anymore. I reread the post like you said and Pauls post and even the book and it just doesn’t click with me at all. I’ve accepted and tried to live alongside my anxiety since May and still wish I was dead.

  329. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    Just wanted to give some encouragement to those who are struggling at the moment. I hit a real rough patch in August after my anxiety being at a low level for a while. For around 3 months I had the usual….no interest, no appetite, constant tension, inward thinking, stomach probelms, dp…same old, same old. It was my birthday on 26th October gone and I woke up feeling less internal than I had been, the natural joy and peacefulness returned. This carried on for about 10 days. I was external, planning future holidays and events, sex drive returned, planned a date, even read a book for the first time in months. Anxiety seemed like another passing thought and the 3 months just seemed like a bad dream.
    I woke Sunday morning to the same old tensions, lack of interest etc but I’m okay with that. I’m not naive enough to think it’s going to be plain sailing, its going to be choppy for a bit yet but I’m hugely encouraged that the old Mark is still here underneath all the other crap.
    So my message to people on here is not to give up. How you feel now is very temporary and very transient. Peace could be just around the corner but its important not to force it. If just a different day such as my birthday was enough to pierce a hole in my sticky mind then anxiety is flimsy at best.

    Mark

    sense

  330. Andy J Says:

    Hi Guys,

    Havent posted for a while, but have kept popping in now and again.

    I’ve decided to come off my Citalopram altogether as I want to see how I feel without it. I’m tapering off but have had increased anxiety since, including feeling really irritable. I know that this is all down to coming off the meds and so have allowed this to happen and for it to run its course.

    I think the post by Nolan from the 28th October is one of the best I’ve ever read on here. If you keep giving your anxiety/depression/what ever you want to call it, the time of day, its always going to be in your life. You CAN NOT battle this as its a fight you will never win. Thats because there is no battle, you are just fighting with yourself, your own natural responses. Its tough, but this isnt something which can clear over night. Its taken time to get in to this state, its going to take time to get back out of it.

    All the best,

    Andy

  331. Jamie Says:

    Hi Mark

    Good to hear from you and great that you have seen signs of improvement. I haven’t seen you post much on here lately. Do you think that has helped shifting the focus away from the anxiety / blog ?

    I am going back to work tomorrow after 7 days off with gum infections and mouth ulcers. I generally get anxious when it comes to deciding if and when to return to work if I have been unwell.

    Is it too soon ? Should I stay off longer ? Should I be 100% before I return ? I have also had some tummy problems with the antibiotics I have been on. The anxiety makes me question if this is anxiety or the tablets ? How can I go back with my tummy like this ? I have to just go with the flow and accept whatever happens.

  332. Doreen Says:

    Jamie. I assume you are asking those questions of yourself, not us as of course we cannot know if it is the right time for you to go back to work.
    But usually getting out of introspection by getting on with life is a major step forward which going back to work may help

  333. Bryan Says:

    Joe,

    I mean this with love… But you essentially just repeated yourself with different language. So I’ll try to do the same. :)

    What you’re describing is automatic or automated sensations or feelings. I’ve had these, in fact my struggles mostly featured random, automated rolling panic that came out of sleep and lasted as long as it wanted as well as sick symptoms, mental anguish, etc. all for no reason. So, don’t feel like you are different because your mind wants to go back to the worry. This is the very nature of a fatigued mind.

    The problem IS NOT the thoughts or worry.

    The problem is that you have assigned meaning to them.

    You have decided that it has great consequence…. that you are only OK if it goes. You designated all of this as an emergency and now your tires, rattled mind is trying to protect you from what you have created.

    I’m not as eloquent as many here and I still have times of struggle. I can only tell you that it is the additional worry, added worry and meaning you assign this that keeps it so important. If you decided to just carry on, allowing all and resigning to feeling how you felt… the brain would get a different message…. and eventually turn off thr alarms. Rest would come. The clouds will clear.

    Please read Nolan’s post from the 28th of Oct and Belgian’s post from Nov 7.
    Both brilliantly describe the surrendering mindset that allows for the mental break which fosters the start of healing.

    We can’t look for it to clear. It’s counterintuitive. But we can’t. It only happens when we truly decide we will let it all rage and focus outward. Never easy… but always our salvation.

  334. Lorenzo Says:

    Hi,

    Like everyone else here I have found this site and Paul’s book because I have been struggling from stress, anxiety and some depression.

    It’s been a little over a year for me, with no prior history of any problems. What kicked it all off was a series of unfortunate events coupled with a stressful period in my life.

    The doctors have ‘diagnosed’ me with GAD and through my own ‘intensive’ research I have created more of a problem than originally there.

    What I would love some of the more experienced members to sare some thoughts on are;

    What is it like to feel at first and then recover from DP/DR? At times I have felt strange looking at myself (hands, legs, feet etc). And situations / people have just not felt like they once did. Is this normal and when you recover how does it change?

    Also, I understand not giving the condition my time and that I have to practice to not fight the thoughts/feelings. But I have decided to see a counsellor on a weekly basis, surely this is add more fuel to the fire?

    I greatly appreciate any advice on what has certainly been the most challenging & frightening period of my life.

    Thanks

  335. Belgian Says:

    In addition to what Bryan just said.

    When I was reading his post, very strangely I remembered something.

    A couple of years ago – just before I had my own “big meltdown” – I was on the train with an ex-colleague of mine. She was going through a hard time, suffering from depression and anxiety. She was telling me how difficult it was to cope with it. In fact she was reading a book about happiness. I do not remember the exact content, but it was definitely one of those new age books full with techniques and mindsets to create your own happy life. She seemed to be holding on to that message. She truly wanted to believe that salvation laid somewhere in the words of that book. She also followed Yoga classes and apparently was obsessed by the quality of her food.

    I came back home and I said to my wife (girlfriend at the time) : “ I know why she keeps being unhappy”. “How on earth can she be happy when the only thing she is doing is desperately look for it?”

    The logic behind this is baffling.

    If we are constantly looking for answers on anxiety and how to get rid of anxiety, how can it ever leave us? In fact, the only thing we are continuously saying to ourselves is: Houston, we have a problem. This colleague, by always searching happiness, she only succeeded in confirming and convincing herself in what bad shape she was.

    I hope you see how you keep yourself in the anxiety loop by adopting this fighting spirit. Can you understand also that if you’d accept your situation and your feelings for the time being and actually put this wasted energy in things you actually like, you’d definitely be better off or at least give yourself a chance to feel better.

    That is why coming to this forum again and again to seek reassurance doesn’t work in the long run. We might need it from time to time, but it will only be useful as a temporary crutch. It will never serve you the same way as practiced and thus experienced acceptance can deliver.

    The information you get here from people that came out on the other side are not to be used as a crutch. Instead, they try to make you understand the above. When you’ve understood it, it’s up to you to take the first steps towards an accepting attitude. These first steps will lay the solid foundations of recovery. Each successful experience adds yet another layer to this foundation. As the foundations become stronger, so will your attitude towards anxiety. Recovery is all about building your life on these foundations. It’s about building it, not about finalizing it.

    Recovery is about the journey. It’s not a destination. We all know our final destination, in death we are equal, the anxiety sufferers and the non-anxiety sufferers. ? It’s about how we live the moments we have. Day in, day out. It’s about life.

    Our lives are never finished. There is nowhere to go specifically. Anywhere is fine as long as you practice acceptance.

  336. Tony Says:

    Hi everyone

    I posted a comment a few days ago that still appears to be awaiting moderation. The short version of the story I posted is that after years of being anxiety free I’ve recently had another bad bout of it and it started with a fear of not being able to sleep.

    In suffered insomnia for many days after and the anxiety gradually worsened. One thing that is beginning to appear now, as part of a morphing set of different physical experiences is this unbearable sense of restlessness deep within my body. I’ve read about this being referred to as akathisia online with most people experiencing this in their legs and lower bodies. I seem to be experiencing this in mu jaw, neck and upper body, connected with body’s need to constantly yawn. Probably due to the lack of sleep. I know we need to accept these symptoms and not to take them seriously. But the restlessness in my body can be intolerable at times and prevents me from getting the rest I need to relieve it. Does anybody else experience this? I think I’d feel a lot more reassured if I knew this was a common experience among anxiety sufferers and that it was not sign of some incurable neurological condition that is not connected to anxiety.

    I know I shouldn’t need this reassurance or else we’ll all be listing our individual symptoms and complaints and be comparing them forever. But is this physical sense of being impossible to keep still or muscle tension or deep discomfort in the body normal? I’ve never had insomnia this intensely before.

    Please reply and give me some feedback. I feel very confused and frightened. I’ve never experience this feeling with anxiety before.

  337. Eitan Says:

    Bryan,

    Thank you again. I’m curious though, is Acceptance the beginning of the path to self-love? I feel like I like myself but I definitely have a lot of insecurities and what if’s and personal issues and i’m wondering if acceptance is a way to get me to finally be at peace with these. This is important to me because I believe I really need to learn or grow to love myself before I go into a relationship with someone or finally be able to reach my full potential. My gut tells me I have the capability and it’s deep inside of me, but as you know, anxiety has already pulled me in several directions over this topic and I’m still unsure of how to do it when you’ve been a certain way all your life.

  338. Andrew Castro Says:

    Hey Paul and Everyone,

    So I suffered from bad anxiety and racing thoughts about five years ago. It was pretty awful and I didn’t know what was wrong. I was prescribed Xanax to help cope with it but I was so against taking medication that I decided not to take them. In a desperate time of research I came across Paul’s book and it instantly clicked with me. I began to read page after page agreeing with everything he said and it just made so much sense. Over the next couple months I implemented his words into action. I had made what I thought was a full recovery. However what I have realize now, as I am back in a cycle, is that I used his book to fix how I felt right then to get back to my life and didn’t actually make the full changes in my life. I fell back into old patterns of worry and stress, going out drinking with my friends every weekend. No bad anxiety was happening but once again it was building. I failed to realize and understand that this book is a way to change your perception on life, it’s a way to find a new path on life. All I did was fix myself so I could go back to the way I was. I fully understand the mistakes I made now and am on a path to completely change my life and the way I perceive everything around me. I quit drinking completely, I’ve learned to let things go and not stress or snap at things and let worrying thoughts go as well (This is still the hardest thing). I know now that this new cycle was inevitable and I was bound to fall back in a cycle because I truly didn’t grasp that this is a way to change your outlook on life and release old patterns. It’s not about fixing yourself with his words and then falling back into old patterns it’s about fully changing the way you view your thoughts and the world around you. I know I will come out of this new cycle a better version of myself and I am excited about that. For anyone out there that is reading or has read his book make sure and understand that when you read his words and put them into action to fully be dedicated to changing your life and not just fixing how you feel at the moment. Anyway that’s all. I’ve never posted on here before.

    I do have one question if anyone can help out.

    I seem to suffer from 90% of my anxiety during a certain time of the day. It almost always comes in the evening time like around 6-10 7-10. I’m sure its because that’s when it is its strongest then I associate that time with anxiety so that’s why it keeps coming. Just curious if anyone else has had that problem?

    Andrew

  339. Doreen Says:

    Well, I am profoundly anxious this morning along with many like minded people – no prizes for guessing why.

    However what I have learned about ‘anxiety and me’ is that in the past I would have been overwhelmed. Now I see it as appropriate in the circumstances and certainly I am not fighting the feelings. Just accepting them and giving the kitchen floor the mopping of the year!!

  340. Andy J Says:

    Nolan, I was wondering how you dealt with withdrawing your medication?

    At the moment I feel I have a lot of excess anxiety, which I can only put down to tapering my tablets. Did you just accept that this was how you were for the time being and that it would eventually cease when the side effects of withdrawal were gone?

    Its weird, that I cant actually fathom what my anxiety is about, other than being anxious. I do still have my intrusive thoughts too, but their severity has reduced with this ‘other’ anxiety.

  341. Cheryl Says:

    Hi , I wondered if anyone could give me a bit of help on health anxiety. I have had anxiety for about 20yrs and this book and Claire weekes has helped enormously.
    My fears are mainly health related it’s like they latch on to every minor symptom I have . I put a recent post about pins and needles and it’s taken a doctor, physio and chiropractor to convince me it’s a trapped nerve ( it is laughable sometimes)
    But now I’ve focussed on something else.
    I have read the book and totally get the accepting and don’t want people having to repeat what Paul’s written but I’m finding it hard when I get physical symptoms
    For example I have irregular periods due to my age pre menopausel im convinced I have cervical cancer , my smears are up to date I have a check at the docs who had a quick check ( she said my cervix looks ok) but my mind will obsess and obsess . If it’s not this it another
    Because I have the physical irregularities I can’t seem to relax into the thoughts and I’m feeling really stuck at the min
    Has anyone had this , recovered and how they dealt with it WITHOUT keep going to the doctors for reassurance?

  342. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    I don’t want to use this place as a crutch really but despite me feeling a ton better recently these and being myself for a while these last few days have been as bad as ever. Man this thing can thow you around at times, hard from bumping from one polarity to the other in such a short space of time. From being happy and confident one day to downtrodden and depressed the next. There isn’t even a question in this as I know I have to push on regardless. Just a vent.

  343. Louise H Says:

    Hi Mark
    I know the feeling, I have just been on a holiday to Spain, came back and was so jetlagged and tired the anxiety is overwhelming, I can,t stop crying, walking around thinking can someone help me I don,t know what to do, I read things other pejople say and they say don,t feel sorry for yourself, and then I think that is what I am doing, and that I can,t do what the book says and I keep going around in circles, I just feel like giving up! i hate saying it but that is how i feel.

  344. Margie Says:

    Cheryl if it makes you feel better I get the same way. I was fully recovered for about a year then some health glitches has sent me right back into anxiety again.

  345. Alz Says:

    Hello all ,
    Just an update . I can say im feeling better and things do clear up from time to time during the day . Doreen just one question , since Melissa is busy I guess: I feel like everything is a dream/ daze and sometimes my thoughts will be as absurd as ‘ what if I open the door right now and there is a whole different world outside ‘ I think watching Dr Strange and inferno back to back didn’t help much ? Anyway trying to get back to the daily life and yes there will still be lots of moments where I will question reality BUT how I am better than abt ten months ago when I actually lost my first child. Talking about the incident causes a sense of unreality / detachment but I go along with it … perhaps anxiety is GOD’s way of testing me? Not sure . Anyway the times I can’t connect with ppl as close to me as my husband and mother etc ( thinking they’re in a different zone from me ) feels odd and not good but I’m still going with those feelings for as long as I’m able to ground my thoughts and myself or for a long as my mind takes to reach equilibrium.

  346. Alz Says:

    Anyone else I’ve realised I didn’t really ask a question but anyone besides Doreen can also help. Are all the thoughts above normal given the circumstances?
    Also , my memory seems to be getting bad . Is that anxiety? I’m always rechecking names , things I hv to say etc . Along the way , iv realised lots of non anxious people hv problems with their memory but with me it’s always the thought that I am going mad or I will go mad because I’m forgetting things.. don’t know if that makes sense ..

  347. Alz Says:

    Hehe just realised there are certain things in my posts which aren’t too clear- didnt recheck . Hope the anxious and non anxious mentors can understand!7

  348. Alz Says:

    Cheryl it’s all anxiety ,
    It morphs from one worry to another . Perhaps before, ur anxiety was about something else.. now it’s health related and u know the pattern and vicious cycle .obv it will never be a happy health related thought – all anxious thoughts will be negative and at that time they will feel so real .Just go with the thoughts ,get ur tests and have faith !

  349. Doreen Says:

    Alz – I am not sure what you are looking for as you have answered your own queries in your response to Cheryl.

  350. Mark R Says:

    Hi Louise,

    It’s very difficult to take a step back and be objective. Obviously the positive in what you have typed is you’ve holidayed in Spain….that’s a huge achievement in itself. But the voice in your head, the one that tries to cancel out all the progress you’ve made shouts so load. I certainly can relate to that.
    I seem to have two modes to me….the one that enjoys life, hobbies and interests, makes plans, makes people laugh, finds interest in the geekiest of things. And then the otherside that submerges the former whilst anxious…..selfish, self obsessed, worried, apathetic and lazy. I find myself bouncing between the two like a ping pong ball. It’s great when you are yourself, it feels like you could never have another anxious feeling again. I never back down from my routine, I have to give myself credit for that although it doesn’t take much to admit I prefer to do things without the anxious feelings in tow.
    As I said in my former post I’m getting days and weeks of feeling pretty good, confident and joyful mixed in with the weeks when opposite and down. After all these years of dealing with anxiety I still don’t get how this happens. Its as if I just wake in the morning and the ordeal just seems like a bad dream. Someone once said on here that anxiety recovery is like climbing a mountain. You spend a long time in the foothills that the peak isn’t even visible…then you have glimpses of it. Sometimes you have to come down to go back up but you are still climbing. Hopefully I will reach the top soon.

  351. Alz Says:

    Thanks Doreen..
    Like MARK R pointed above , its like my mind is split in two .. im livign this life but theres a parallel thought pattern working on the side.. the one thats making me feel the unreality, making me question my sanity , making me think ill never be ok. I think the key is to just live ur life as u r for the time being . Its a weird sort of limbo dream like state which feels real from time to time. It feels odd doing things that i did before.. maybe that is part of recovery? maybe its all just a matter of time and effort that one puts in and totalky gives up to realize perhaps life could be the same again.. even if its not.. thats ok … maybe this is my reality now and how i will be living

  352. Char Says:

    Hi Alz

    Not sure if you remember but I used to post on here some time ago when I was in a setback. I have experienced everything you describe and believe me you are doing fine. You just have anxiety – nothing more and nothing less,’your mind has created some new neural pathways that are the anxious thoughts and they can become a habit – the more you can accept them and keep yourself occupied and practice mediation or whatever you like to do then eventually your mind will get bored of anxiety. Yes it can come back – -and mine still does but im sure some of it is memory and nothing more.

    I used to feel odd with all kinds of thing s – I even remember thinking my wardrobe was odd – I loved that wardrobe and it cost me a fortune !!!! Now I’m not anxious I can’t even imagine why I would think about a wardrobe but when I was anxious and sensitised to my thoughts it all seemed very real.

    Hope you and everyone r managing .

    X

  353. Alz Says:

    Char ofcourse I remember you :) feel strange to meditate if you know what I mean ..but thank you !
    Alz

  354. Char Says:

    Hi Alz

    Yes I know – it all feels odd. Have not been great myself today but plodding on !!

  355. Alz Says:

    Char.. plodding on is the only thing we can do.. Perhaps your reply to my post triggered the past..

  356. Jamie Says:

    Following some arguments with my girlfriend over the weekend about a few things and a hangover yesterday, I have been in reflective mood (drinking is not a good idea I think as the next day generally makes me feel quite down).

    A couple of the things my girlfriend said, although I did not like them, they hit a nerve afterwards. No one is perfect and I have raised stuff about her so she can say what she likes about me but to an anxious / sensitive person, it is hard to hear some things.

    She has basically said I am too uptight about money sometimes and I don’t really make her feel special that much. She has also said from time to time that I am hard to read and never knows what I am thinking.

    Now all of my friends and family told me what a b***h my ex-wife was for the way she treated me when our marriage ended so it is easy to get brainwashed into thinking that I was not at fault at all and it was all her doing.

    However, the money thing and the not making her feel special was mentioned from time to time by my ex so those comments have really hit home. On the money thing – my ex was a financial black hole and but my girlfriend is nothing like that but urges me to “live a little” sometimes instead of watching every single penny.

    It really affected me yesterday hearing these things from someone else and made me start questioning whether I am cut out for a relationship and whether I am making the same mistake(s) again. Another thing that really gets to me is the anxiety makes me hard to read (as I guess I am putting a ‘front’ on for most of the time), unable to make decisions sometimes and masks most other emotions so that, the upshot is, I do not even know how much I like her. I do not even know if I love her and that is probably due to the anxiety. This last bit also really upset me and makes me wonder if it possible to love again but my anxiety has been magnified so since the marriage end.

    At the start of the relationship, I could not stop thinking about her and wanted to see her / speak to her all the time. Now, I do really like her but I don’t have those feelings anymore and don’t know why ?

    My girlfriend knows about my anxiety, does give me support, urges me to talk about it so I guess that is a lot to be grateful for.

  357. Jamie Says:

    That is one way to stop a blog….

  358. Kat Says:

    Hi everyone,

    First off, I wanted to extend a bit of positivity to those who have been struggling: it can and does get better. This past year I have felt so much better than I had in previous years, and this blog has certainly been a part of that improvement. I continue to work through things, but given that most of my life has been an exercise in the many faces of anxiety, I know it will take time to quiet it. I have experienced virtually every symptom of anxiety, including panic attacks and horrible, low-level depression, but I have trusted the advice given here, and have also read most of what Claire Weekes has published, and it would be tough to discount or contradict the message extended by both Paul and Dr. Weekes. I have had moments when I’ve felt utterly hopeless, but I’ve also felt extreme joy and complete calm. I am not just anxiety, and neither are you.

    But, like many of you, I have setbacks. Recently, I’ve found myself in the midst of one and while I am trying to practice acceptance, I will admit that my impatience is getting in the way and actually intensifying my symptoms. It’s tough to reject the fight/flight response when it feels like such a natural way to handle things. I think I remember reading that Paul isn’t much of a Christmas fan. You may count me in that category as well. I have developed a very distinct reaction to the holiday and I really hate that I have. I want Christmas back! And, because I would like this, and because the days are shorter, and because I have a well-ingrained habit of intensifying anxiety at this time of year, I am having trouble retraining my brain to accept and be happy. I feel a bit defeated, unfortunately, and disappointed in myself for feeling so anxious/sad/exhausted when everyone around me appears to be excited for the holidays.

    I’m seeking advice on two matters:

    1)How do those who have recovered deal with overcoming patterns or set cycles of setbacks? Two years ago I lost my mother during the holiday season, so I understand why I was barely functionning then, but this past holiday season I was also a wreck. I need some encouragement regarding this upcoming season so I can at least enjoy some of it.

    2)This is my biggest problem: dealing with panic while driving. My first wallop of panic hit me 16 years ago while driving, and I’m afraid the fear has never left me. Sometimes I drive without a care in the world, but sometimes the anxiety rears its head and I have a very hard time with driving. I am particularly sensitized right now and have waves of panic hit me when I am at stop lights or stuck in traffic, or even if I am on a particular patch of road which I associate with anxiety. I have been driving the same route to and from work for several years, and logically I know what to expect, but the sudden emergence of symptoms is throwing me for a loop. Does anyone have specific advice regarding driving?

    Take care,

    Kat

  359. Katrina Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I have the very same situational anxiety regarding Christmas and holidays. I really want to enjoy them but the added pressure and the change in routine throws me and I always end up in a set back.
    I’m currently in a dreadful set back, and feeling really overwhelmed on a daily basis but trying to stick to this method on here. I’ve taken up running again as poor health this year contributed to my anxiety returning and stoping exercise didn’t help either, so I’ve started that back up again.
    No one wants to feel like shit, especially in times where we are meant to be happy, Christmas, birthdays, New Years, etc….. Its hard for a lot of people. I don’t think there is any magic trick just go into it head on and try see its bluff for what it is. Same with the driving, its just built up about habit, I’m the same with getting into the shower, my anxiety has attached its fear to ‘whatever’, and that’s what we ruminate on and hence our body fears the situation. Try to practise relaxing your body whilst driving. Thing for me is driving soothes me, I will often jump in the car and go for a drive if I’m feeling overwhelmed.
    Cheers Kat

  360. Kat Says:

    Hi Kat,

    I am always amazed when someone tells me that they find driving to be soothing. I really wish I did. I don’t enjoy driving much at all, which is always surprising to people who have been my passengers because they all say I appear to be a very competent driver. I don’t really understand it, either. I mean, all I have to do is sit and listen to music. I know how to navigate the car, I usually have a drink with me, etc., but it’s my reaction to it is very, very strong. I can’t have the heat on because I feel like I’m going to suffocate, so instead I freeze in the cooler temperatures because I have my window open. It’s ridiculous! And, because I have anxiety in the car, I become sensitized and start to develop symptoms elsewhere. It’s a weird and frustrating circle.

    Running is great. I wish I could motivate myself to do it. My doctor keeps telling me that cardio is part of the “anxiety tool kit” I should be using because it helps to “reset” the brain and adjust the chemistry. I believe him, but I have never been great with exercise and I keep avoiding doing it because I feel like it makes my anxiety worse. If you feel a difference from it, please post with an update. Maybe that will motivate me :)

    I tried to talk this out with my partner tonight. He is usually pretty good with listening, and he said that I’ve been so good for so long that this is probably why this setback is hitting me so hard. I know I’m not supposed to wish to feel better, but I can’t deny that I am.

    Thank you for the response!

    Take care,

    Kat

  361. Kat Says:

    Jamie,

    I can empathize with your situation because I’ve had experiences in which my anxiety has attached itself to my relationship. Certainly, when in this state I had a disagreement with my partner, I questioned our entire relatioship, sometimes felt he would better off without me, etc. If we had a really big argument, my anxiety would skyrocket and I couldn’t think straight, coming to the conclusion that the relationship was causing it.

    While some people experience anxiety due to a dysfunctional relationship, I’m willing to wager that most of us with anxiety experience heightened symptoms after an argument because our relationship means more to us than we realize. It’s tough to be rational when you’re feeling confused and agitated, and it’s easy to blame the other person when things are tough because we’ve connected our problems to them. But, in all likelihood, they’re not the cause. Our anxiety is.

    I’m not sure if this helps at all, but I hope you will see that arguments are generally part of any relationship. Most people accept disagreements, make up and move on. People with anxiety tend to dissect it and try to figure it all out, thinking that what they’re feeling is real, and if it’s real, then it must indicate a problem. Just take a breather and accept that what you’re feeling is exaggerated, and that being alone is not the way out of it.

    Take care,

    Kat

  362. Katrina Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I already see a difference in running only for five days in a row, for maybe half an hour. It takes the edge off and has been studied to be as effective as antidepressants. I know this for sure as I’ve been running for about 5 years, and when I’m in top shape (doing 10km runs) few times a week my anxiety just isn’t there, or the edge isn’t as bad, I can handle stress better, I sleep and eat better and my posture, confidence and outlook is better. I’ve been unwell for many times past two years so my ability to get out has been significantly reduced so the anxiety builds back up and returns as my outlet isn’t there.
    Its not easy and you don’t get instant relief, but it helps me a lot, and a lot of people I know only run for their mental health fitness rather than physical or weight loss. It does’take motivation and when I don’t have that I still go anyway. I recently read some scientific research that if you run for 22 minutes with your heart rate 20% higher than what its resting rate is that your thoughts automatically check out as the endorphins release. I’ve experienced this many times whilst on a run, can be running along then think, ‘gosh I haven’t had a thought for the last 5km’, that’s when you know its working. Get the sneakers out, even if you start with going to then end of the street and back, that’s what I did, set small goals, and just made it my new ‘non anxiety’ habit!

  363. Alz Says:

    So i had an intense breakdown yesterday. I am trudging along but the while day yesterday i felt lost esp during work and had the thought that i would lose my mind continuously. Was surprised that i could answer and do work normally. I don’t know .. maybe its that time of the month? Then the night before yesterday i couldnt really make love with my husband which further threw me in a state of anxiousness and bewilderment .. my mind saying ” alz.. ur done wiht.. u can’t even make love.. ur actually losing it.”
    Luckily my bro in law was home when i came back and i just vented ot him for half an hour or so – crying , sobbing and telling him its too much and i don’t want to lose out on friends, family and my husband.. Maybe because i am improving it feels scary that i might lose all i have gained? did this happen to others? is this a setback in the midst of an existing one?

  364. Bryan Says:

    Hi Alz,

    Please refer to the post I directed to you on October 8th. As many have recently, I went into great detail to try to give you solutions and thoughts on how to move forward. Yet, you seem to be set on continuing to repeat your dislike for your symptoms and wrapping venting or reassurance seeking in the form of a question. (When it actually is not.)

    I’ll continue to highly encourage you to consider what I (and others) have written to you about implementing the solutions as opposed to focusing on and repeating our dislike for the symptoms.

  365. Andy J Says:

    Hi guys,

    Does any one have any experience of withdrawing from medication?

    I’m now completely off Citalopram and have been feeling absolutely dreadful for the last week or so. My anxiety and irritability are through the roof and I’m struggling with concentration etc.

    I’m pretty keen to stay off them and do this without tablets but was just wondering if any one had any advice on getting through this stage. It’s particularly difficult with the lethargy and lack of motivation.

    Thanks for reading

  366. Pamela Jane leagas Says:

    Hello, l am currently weaning off diazepam, 3mg, withdrawals are awful but all the tablets we come off have withdrawals. It will get better. Does anyone have the feeling of ‘ cannot take a deep breath’ feeling with their anxieties? I have improved so much with this website and cannot thank Paul enough for making me realise l have not gone mad! My anxieties came about because I was ill, maybe l have always had them and this made them emerge! I have a way to go but think with this help l will be able to get better in the long run. 4

  367. Sue Says:

    I had my first experience with panic disorder and gad 13 years ago, I didn’t cope very well and suffered near enough every symptom in Claire weekes book hope and help for your nerves because I read the book and became afraid of the symptoms, somehow I blindly got through and recovered, I had my last setback in 2007 which is when I first purchased at last a life, I was petrified and still got through.
    Now I am suffering again and I am scared of what is happening, it started when I got heart pains and chest tightness in September and they stayed with me until January when I had a panic attack I can remember thinking to accept these feelings but the thoughts kept coming.
    I am scared of what is happening to me and feel like it’s out of control I have symptoms all day and night, I cannot sleep or eat as I am a jittery mess, sometimes I get a memory of what i went through before with the dark thoughts etc and how I was scared of everything that happened to me for every year since. I get moment’s where I seem to lose my fear and see it all as lies then poof it’s gone, and I’m blindly searching for answers to this as it’s like I can’t remember from 1 hour to the next. I’m trying my hardest to follow the book and let it all happen but I’m getting in deeper and deeper and am so scared, am I alone in this or has anyone else gone through it, please someone help I can’t carry on and am losing the will to live as I don’t know why i cant remember anything. Does the return of anxiety always manifest into all the symptoms or can you recover at any point. Also I seem to experience every symptom I read about, am I a lost cause, please please help, thank you.

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