Allowing Anxiety

I posted this on my Facebook page yesterday so thought I would share it here to…..Sorry if it does not appear correctly when I copy and paste it, it’s just easier then writing it all over again.

I was talking to a friend who suffers with anxiety and depression the other day and he said to me ‘When you first said to do nothing I wondered what the hell you were talking about, I wanted instructions how to get better, a technique, some A-Z plan on how to do it, but I totally get it now’.

It took me back to my years of suffering when I spent a fortune on so called cures and the latest method that would free me. It was only when I had hit a total brick wall with it all and realised that at best searching this way just carried on giving me hope and sometimes some temporary relief, but it certainly never went anywhere to solving the problem. It was at this time I asked myself what all this searching was about. Then it hit me that it was all about trying not to feel something. I then thought, ‘What if the answer is to feel this stuff that I have spent years avoiding, suppressing and fighting, what would happen if I stopped trying to constantly feel different than I do?’

This day was the day I started to see things from another point of view, that this was never about trying to feel any different than I did. That my suffering was my mind and body trying to take me back to balance by releasing all this stored up anxious/negative energy within me, it wanted to be free of me as much as I wanted to be free of it. But I would not allow this release to happen, I always had some method to try and stop this release, put the brakes on feeling the way I did, stay away from places that triggered this stuff within me. Everything I did was always about trying not to feel it. Even visiting counsellors was never about educating myself, it was all about wanting them to tell me how to get rid of it, no wonder I got nowhere for so many years.


Anxiety really is just excess energy trapped within the body, the next time you feel it, rather than be lost in it, just step back and observe it and you will see this for yourself. When this energy comes up to be released it does feel very uncomfortable and the reason people try to avoid or suppress, but this just keeps it trapped within and all that happens then is it will constantly keep coming up until you finally, like me, realise that there is no way to stop this release by will power or some technique.

I came to the conclusion that this was never about finding or executing some technique, it was about throwing every technique out and being fully open to what arose. As painful and uncomfortable as it was to feel this stuff, it was the only way to be free of it. It is like a tap full of dirty water and the clean water is underneath, the only way to get to the clean water is to turn the tap on and allow the dirty water to flow through for a while, there is no short cut to recovery.

Most people have the attitude of ‘I want this stuff gone, but I don’t want to feel it’ sorry, but this is what will keep you searching for the rest of your life, mostly likely spending a fortune on false promises. The truth is there is no short cut to being free of anxiety, trust me if there was someone would be very rich and we would all know about it, it would not be some hidden secret on the internet. You can either spend a few months allowing this stuff to come up or a life time searching for temporary relief.

This is not a way of feeling better, this is a way of releasing stuff and when you do so you may feel more anxious than before, you may feel more tired and confused as this energy being released can cause a lot of inner chaos initially. You just have to have faith that this is a good thing and no harm will come of this. Many people who initially feel worse can think they are doing something wrong and then go back to suppression techniques, but it just follows physics, the more open you are, the more you will feel.
Through this process of allowing you may also have moments of real bliss and freedom as a chunk of energy is released. This does not mean the release is over, it means that you have released a good chunk of energy or your body is giving you a break so you can recuperate, it does not mean this is the end of the release. The release will happen in stages with many ups and downs until you are free of this energy. When you are free of this energy then it is impossible to feel anxious for no reason again, you will just feel anxious when you should do, as there is no more excess energy to be triggered.

So the next time you feel anxious, see it for what it is, just old trapped energy wanting to be released. Don’t try and sort anything out, don’t try and put the brakes on anything, don’t identify with this energy, it is of no importance, just be fully allowing of it and allow it to be released. Feeling uncomfortable is not a bad thing, in fact it’s a good thing, as it’s the only way to release old stuff and recover. You can’t feel peace without initially going through some suffering, that is how balance works. Trying to skip this stage is exactly what keeps you in the cycle of suffering.


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141 Responses to “Allowing Anxiety”

  1. tony Says:

    I first found your website around 2010 and bought your first book soon after. You have helped me so much in my struggle with anxiety and depression. I still am bothered by negative thoughts and get anxiety when I am in situations where it would be hard to make an easy escape (during church mass, in a classroom during a lecture, stuck in traffic, etc.). I feel out of it and enter into an almost dream like state before and during such an event – like I am unaware of who I am, where I am and what time of day it is. After such an event is over and I am safe I feel some relief.

    And advice?

  2. Nick Says:

    Hope everyone is Ok, I’ve been anxiety free for 6 years I was on citalopram too, but I recently hit a setback then I had 3 weeks of normality then set back from saturday- but I’m coping and just letting the uncoftable and mind chatter sit. It’s the constant thoughts that is the hardest it’s a strange affair for sure. I just remember the other week I felt normal and the thoughts disappeared and I just laughed at any previous bad memory or thoughts that came and they where not frequent at all. I am going to tell people this tho , I personally think this is the best advice to get on here and Paul should even try and get people to help get the information out. My story is identical to Paul’s and I won’t mention the guy who claims to have the answer to anxiety but he provides a program and charges 150 pound but you get councililing support . It’s more or less a set of rules that is like the information here. I don’t doubt he’s genuinely out there to help but people get desperate and spend all kinds.
    Paul obviously is genuine and the best Info should be free and I hope Paul can make some money which he doesn’t push because people have took people’s money and recovery should be for everyone!

  3. Simon Says:

    I too would like to personally thank Paul for his help and advise over the years. I too had bad anxiety and depression 2009 to 2011 (Ish)…. it went away without me much noticing it to be honest that’s why I was 2011(ish). I remember Paul sending me a copy of his book after I had downloaded the PDF. It’s been in and out of the cupboard more times this last 6 months. I’ve had some real struggles on and off but truly believe in his method. But yes it takes time and you latch on to so many things on the journey to recovery. I remember having no sleep 6 months ago, now I get a good 6 to 7 hours a night, I remember waking every day with a banging head thinking it would never go away, my jaw was so tense I didn’t think I would smile again…. but as the months have passed, so have some of the sypmtoms, yes other symptoms come and go, but this truly shows you that the less you pay attension to it, the less it bothers you over time.

    I told myself 6 months ago when the anxiety re-appeared that I would not let it beat me, that I could do this and it would only be a few months at the most and I would be fixed!!! …… mmmmmmmm, big mistake, I put a time on it, I pushed myself so hard not to feel this way, I read and read Pauls books, listened to Claire Weeks audios on repeat and when I look now, all I was doing was TRYING TO FIX THIS FEELING…. a feeling that does not need fixing, I just needs to be left alone and to carry on the best you can. Yes I try to act as though nothing is wrong sometimes and people don’t notice that inside I am being eaten away…. but I know that the less attension I give it, the better I will start to feel. Ups & Downs, Highs and Lows, Good Times Bad times…. but patients is the way


  4. Anon Says:

    I too would like to thank Paul. I had EXTREME anxiety due to benzodiazepines withdrawal. This site was what got me through. His method is now confirmed by research. Look up meta cognitive therapy (met). It differs from cbt in that you take your attention away from thoughts and symptoms instead of examining them. 80% recovery rate from anxiety and depression. Much better success than cbt and the method is basically what paul teaches. It begs for our attention and we absolutely have to ignore it. It takes a long time but it works.

  5. Matt Says:

    Great post, Paul! Feeling everything is key. The only way to recovery is through it, not around it.

  6. alz Says:

    RICH .. hope ur well. U posted something for me when i was having self harm thoughts…. can you repost it ?? I can’t seem to find it .


  7. alz Says:

    i agree with Paul’s post 100 percent but (and theres always a but with anxiety sufferers :P) how do you function in the here and now when your mind is completely overwhelmed with all sorts of thougths. I mean theres a stream of anxious irrational thoughts running along with the rational thoughts which allow you to function normally so to speak. SO when there is such a turmoil i guess the depersonalization begins and then it leads to a floaty , dreamlike state. You think you’re functioning but not really and then the cycle begins again.. im starting to get it but it can get realy frustrating and disturbing… just go on with faith i guess

  8. Finley Says:

    Hey , Currently suffering DP and DR and have done for 2 years since I was 16. Took Paul’s advice and it is really helping with my social anxiety ( I have been meeting friends alot more , joined sports teams and no longer fear simple tasks like going to refuel car or even going to hairdresser!) . However in terms of my DP, I feel the symptoms have become a little worse . Only instead of spending hours thinking about my DP i have been just getting on with my day and keeping myself distracted.

    Is it normal for my DP symptoms to get worse after i stop “fighting it ” ? Thanks

  9. Sarah h Says:

    Hi everyone. I am so up and up and down with the anxiety. I’ve gone through all different stages with it. I still wander if it’s more than just anxiety like personality disorder ect. Having thoughts like do other people really think like I do. Now whenever I’m going out for drinks on a night out it just completely takes over and ruins it. I never let it bear me where I won’t go though. Shopping is a nightmare I have paranoid thoughts that staff will think I’m shop lifting. Can anyone else relate to me? I feel as though I’m just stuck and never feeling 100% ok. I allow myself to feel whatever the anxiety makes me feel. I go to event and parties but there is still always that thought of I wonder what it’s like to just enjoy yourself and be normal :(

  10. Matt Says:

    If your mind races and wanders, is full of anxiety or irrational thoughts, then so be it. It is what it is! Anxiety needs to be released. As Paul says in his post, you may feel worse at times, but this is just anxiety at play. Let anxiety do whatever it wants. Believe you me, I know how hard it is to think rationally or calmly when you’re trying to cope with anxious thoughts and feelings, but acceptance is the way through this. If your mind analyzes, let it analyze – what I’m saying is: don’t analyze, but if your.mind analyzes (which it often does out of habit) on its own avcord, then so be it. The way to recovery really is to just accept everything anxiety throws at you and do nothing more. If you feel like you can’t accept, then accept even this. Finally, be patient with time. In time things will get easier and easier.

  11. Matt Says:

    One more thing, and I know I found it hard to deal with.this at first, but.if you feel uncomfortable in social situations or that people’re acting weird or aren’t confident etc…, then accept this and don’t let this stop you.going out. The best thing you if you have anxiety is to get on with.your day as normally as possible, as if you were anxiety free. Go jogging, walking, watch a movie etc… There is a silver lining to anxiety I believe ~ you’ll be a more confident person than you ever were.

  12. Lata Says:

    Hi all…its been much time i have not been here…i m in confusion…i m not completely free from anxiety…but i dont get scared in social situations anymore…my biggest problem is that i have many scarry physical symptoms…i feel weak and empty in my body…and feel i m falling behind…i feel dizzy and vertigo…my upper body pains alot…i m confused…i have done blood test…my vitamin d is lowand cholestrol is on higher than normal…what should i do…any suggestion would be appreciated

  13. Toni Says:

    Hey guys,

    I can’t believe I am back on this blog :( I came here about 3 years ago. I was suffering from GAD then. The worst problem has always been my DP and my thoughts about existence. This page and blog helped me so much! After a year or so I felt completely anxiety free! There have been many positive changes in my life since then! Sometimes I thought, wow, this is it, my life is back!

    But now, here I am, back again. I can’t believe my anxiety came back. It was about 3 days ago when I started thinking about life again. I thought about dead and existence and questioned life and its reason.
    And Whaaam, anxiety hit me again. Everything feels unreal and I can’t stop worrying. I try to just let it be, but I mean, my thoughts are not irrational, they are FACT. I am not scared of dying tomorrow or having a brain tumor. I am scared of never existing again after I am dead. And this is not irrational in my opinion. This is fact and it is driving me crazy!

    Now, that I think back I am not sure If I ever felt completely anxiety free. Maybe my brain is already burnt down from all the anxiety. I remember when I was a child I really felt ALIVE. I could feel the sun in my face. I had lots of moments where I felt so happy for no reason. You know these “everything is perfect moments” ? I don’t think I actually ever had one of these moments in the past years.

    There were so many days where I did not even think about my anxiety. I literally forgot about it, but now that I think back life still never felt like completely real again or is it just my anxiety right now.

    I don’t know. I am super scared right now. I don’t want to be back to square. Can anyone help me? Maybe someone, who’s completely recovered?



  14. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    I’ve not posted in a while so just thought I’d give an update.

    I was doing very well until March when I hit a very nasty setback. I had some pretty unbearable days in that month but I just carried on despite how I felt. Towards the end of the month I decided to put my focus into finding a car for myself. This was a great help and things got easier for me towards the end of March. I even had a week or so where I felt completely fine and back to myself, work was easier, socialising was easier, happier, upbeat etc. I remember sitting at my therapy appointment bored because I wasnt anxious at all.
    A week ago I had a flare up of IBS, stomach pains, feeling sick etc. That passed but unfortunately I’m back to feeling awful with anxiety again. I feel rotten, lost interest in everything and the days are hard to get through again. I know from conversing with folk on the last post that it’s a storm and it will pass but man I’m feeling it and I’m at a very low ebb at the moment.

  15. Melissa Says:

    Hey everyone,

    Hope you’re all doing okay. I’ve been having a rough go at things. Struggling with the ‘mind pops’. I’ve had random words and sentences pop into my mind. When things are quiet mostly. Once I get busy or focused on other things they no longer happen. I am so scared. I’ve heard that this could be a trait of schizophrenia or psychosis. I feel like I can’t focus on things because I’m so tuned in to my thoughts and the potential of being psychotic.

    Please help. Do others have this too?

  16. Alz Says:

    Relax. It cant be psychosis if u understand it so well. Also stop listening to people or surfing the net. Being scared proves that you’re well aware that you are fearing psychosis or schizophrenia whcih means y cant have it. Also, just a couple of months ago, you were givign me really sound advice which no psychotic or schizophrenic person could prob give.

    Pls chill out. Ur fine :)

  17. Aj Says:

    Thanks a ton Paul, this blog and both of your books helped me come out of dark pit. I shared what I read with 3 of my colleagues suffering from severe anxiety and it helped them too. It’s a nice feeling to help someone, when you have applied and improved yourself. This method does work.

  18. Toni Says:

    Hey guys,

    I am also really struggling with thoughts about life, death and existence. These thoughts really drive me crazy, but I also try to just let them be there and to not entertain them. I also used to fear going crazy or having schizophrenia. i lost this fear completely, but the thing with the existential thoughts seems different.
    I mean, nobody can actually prove that this world is real. Nobody can tell me what happens after death.
    People can say ” you’re not going crazy” and I truly believe it, but nobody can say if this world is real or not, so nobody can really take this fear away.

    I felt pretty much recovered during the last 2 years and even forgot about my anxiety. Life felt awesome, but now this thought came back and I feel like it will follow me for the rest of my life, as nobody can prove that it is wrong.

    I really hope someone, who is already recovered could reply to this post.

    Thank you so much!


  19. Vadim Says:

    Let me tell you all something that might help you..
    This concept of allowing negative energy to rise up and do its thing until it runs out, its not just something that you will do regarding anxeity, once you master it – it will change your entire life.
    Allowing is a way of living, once you will let this chaos happen in you without any interference, then first you will be anxiety free, but than you will notice that many impulses and behaviors and insecurities which are “regular” are just this same negative energy,so you can release it in the same manner..this will make your life so much more complete and happier..

    I learnt all this from my anxiety, so i’m thankful for i live life fearless, in that im not avoiding anything that can trigger any negative emotion in me, because when something triggers a negative emotion in you it just means you need to completely allow this pain and your mind’s reaction to it to overcome it.

  20. Roman Says:

    Motivation post…

    Hi to everyone!

    I dont know English very well cause Im from Ukraine so sorry if it would be a lot of mistakes :)

    I live in Ukraine.

    Im now 26 years old.

    I suffered from anxiety for about 3 years and now I realise that even more cause all my lifestyle from 19 was leading me to that state.

    I was a serial worrier.

    I used to live with hard symptoms for about three years. Last year I read Paul book at russian language but I dont get the whole point. It makes a little relief, but…

    This December was really awful for me… I lost my business and I lost my girlfriend (she lest me). I was worrying and depressed in my flat.

    And I was thinking about it all the time. At 8 January I felt a real strong panic at night. I was trembling and a full of scare.

    I knew what was it… To that time i have already read Pauls book, but nothing in it seem to help in that state.

    Than its like in Rocky film with Silvester Stallone )))

    I want to know more. Yes my English is not so perfect, but I found Pauls blog and begin to read. From that moment everything started…

    I had another awful night at 9 January 2017… But I was with new knowledge and started to get a new attitude. When I felt real real bad that night I closed my eyes and said: So what? Is it the all you can do to me, anxiety? I want more!!! Show me what you got! 5 minutes later I felt real calmer…

    Next day I threw all my self pitty… I started to go to the gym like 2 years before.. Oh now Im in really good shape.. 100 kg with barbel lying on the bench for 8 times. I started running too.

    I used to lay in bad after work but I realised this was a kind of safe behaviour and it respected my self pitty.

    I started to cook for myself.

    I started to go to dates with girls. 10 or 11 new dates for 45 days…

    Someone will say: Oh yes, you dont than fill as bad as me if you go dating…

    Damn in some of it I was trembling when I set in my car and waiting for a new girl…

    I was only meeting them. Yeah with some of them things went more closer if u understand what I mean 😉

    Dont think that Im a pick-up master I only wanted my life back.

    In some days I felt very awful.. Sometimes I came back to fix mode… I know what youre filling..

    But even whan I was damn bad I took myself to see friends and I realised that in hour or two I felt more calmer…

    Three months from that 8-9 January went far away. Three months when I started to make my life and not waiting someone will do it for me.

    Now I feel real calmer. Many of anxiety came out. I do have setbacks I do feel worse when the weather is awful… but there is no worry about it… I realised all what Paul told in his blog…

    Oh yeah I have to say Im still smoking and drink 3-5 cups of coffee everyday I will make a deal with it soon. It doesnt really metter the problem in our habits, lifestyle, attitude.

    Yeah, smoking is bad. Coffee too! But there are a lot of people who smokes and drinking coffee and doesn’t have anxiety. But its very bad habbit I know.

    So… dont be pitty for yourself.

    Excuse but get your as* out! Stop living like a vegetable! Start to live your life! Let that anxiety thoughts, headache, panic be!

    I read there a lot of self pitty comments (I was like you 3-4 months ago but Im enough of it).

    Someone told here: I realised that gym and weight makes anxiety… pffff…

    Someone starts to say: My eye, head or something has ache, do someone has something like it? – Its the question of people who havent yet realised nothing… Read Pauls blog…

    Its Roman from Ukraine. Thanks to everyone for reading. Paul – my respect to you!

  21. Chris Says:

    Hi all, I was hoping if anyone could confirm experiencing a similar symptom with anxiety as I am at crossroads on what to do. I had never experienced long term or persistent anxiety until February last year. Post a flu I had ongoing fatigue and this lead to health anxiety. My sleep became poor and broken, I noticed sensations in my body, I had fasciculation’s, struggled to be present in conversations and extreme mental fatigue. After a number of clear blood tests I was introduced to Paul’s book. After reading the book making some improvements then struggling again then reading it again I finally got the message to just live my life and have made so much progress.

    However, there is one symptom which continues to be there despite 6 months of just trying to get on with my life. It seems to go in cycles in that I don’t feel completely myself but close enough for a week or two and then without feeling like I am anxious about anything my energy seems to drop away very quickly over the space of about an hour until I feel exhausted and I remain like this until I sleep. When I refer to energy it feels more like mental energy and I find it extremely difficult to apply myself at work as I find it hard to focus and think (not just with writing/reading but also in conversation), my motivation drops a lot and in a way I feel like I have flu like symptoms and run down. One thing to note is that I don’t feel like I could sleep. Once it hits I find myself feeling on edge that it has hit and I think it makes me worse. Most times now I just continue working and after a few days of feeling like this I improve. Overall I feel like this mental fatigue drives my anxiety not the other way around. Has anyone experienced something similar? Did you just soldier on and it eventually went away?

  22. Phil Says:

    Having being an anxious very self conscious person from high school age and shying away from a lot of situations and stressors it was almost inevitable I was to be diagnosed with GAD.
    This was triggered one morning after a heavy drinking session night before. A small panic attack led to depersonalisation and high anxiety. Meditation and CBT have not proved very effective and I believe Paul’s method is the only way home. It’s very hard to see past these awful feelings and thoughts 24/7 but when u experience brief moments/ minutes of clarity, it’s testament to Paul’s approach; the old self coming back through!
    After a lot of years of avoidance/ drinking alcohol, I know it will take time for the energy to be released. Dealing with the setbacks and knowing you’re not moving backwards is the hardest thing if anyone has any advice that would be great, thankyou!!

  23. Simon Says:

    I have just written how I am feeling right now and page crashed whilst trying to save it….. I really can’t write it all out again about my thoughts, feelings but I am in such a low place at the moment, crying beyond control and I am a 48 year old man….. why can’t I get a grip onmyself.

  24. Simon Says:

    I am constantly dropping on this blog to see how others are doing and wondering why no one has posted for days….. to me this means everyone is doing the right thing and getting on with their lives…. so it’s just me that is struggling with my feelings. I have had reasonable moments in the last 7 months but truly I amm struggling with all the negativity in my thoughts…. constant bombardment of negativity all day….. I don’t know what I need from you all, but I just need to tell someone how I am feeling other than my wife..

  25. Aj Says:

    I too am 47 years old man and just last week I had crying spree, but, I just cried and let it go. Last evening I was feeling stressed out and low but that too is part of life. I am learning still, but what Paul says is spot on. As I said I cried a lot last week, however I attended my work, I went out cycling and did other stuff. On one particular day a colleague said that look stressed and low, I replied I am right now, no hiding! If people are not posting doesn’t mean all are “cured”. I too am visiting the blog after a long long time. One thing I can say is I am much better than I was last year same time

  26. Simon Says:

    Thank you AJ,
    Knowing I am not alone is reassuring and I am also doing things I should be, working, bit of fitness and DIY. I just struggle with the feeling of emptiness and like I can’t breath..,, it’s a struggle but thanks for responding – it does help

  27. Mark R Says:


    I’m 36 and last month cried on my dad, I felt pathetic at the time but its completely natural. It’s not about getting a grip, it’s about coping with very difficult feelings and crying is an expression of that.
    Just because people aren’t posting it doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling. I’m struggling at the moment as noted in my post above. Like you I have had some good times but these last 2 months have been very rocky, but I know its temporary. Easter was very tough for me and couldn’t have come at a worse time. Whilst everyone else was enjoying their break I was struggling to get through the day. I still did stuff although not even one ounce of me wanted to. I find it very difficult to face these feelings after I’ve had a ‘good spell’ too.

    Sounds like you’re on the right path, just let it express itself as it needs to. You certainly arent alone mate.


  28. Simon Says:


    This sounds so selfish of me but It’s good to know that I am not alone. I too found easter very difficult very much like Christmas. When I am working and have a routine I don’t feel so bad and I do look forward to a couple of hours infront of the TV before I go to bed. The majority of the day I am constantly analysing how I am feeling, when I don’t have too much to focus on I get realy lost in my head with so so much negativity. I have everything I want in life, I look at myself as a lucky bloke, there are people with real life problems that seem to be able to handle life, this is what frustrates me.

    The pressure to feel good for myself and my family is what hurts the most. I want to be around for them all but feel like I am on the verge!!! I can cry at the most trivial things out of shear frustration I think.

    Again I am sorry if I sound selfish, but if does feel reassuring that someone else is feeling the same things as I do. I am not really going mad!! am I ??

    Thank you

  29. Bryan Says:

    Hey Simon,

    48 here as well. Been at this stress disorder thing for about 7 years.
    I’m much better these days but still have storms roll through somewhat regularly. And I’ve had a cry a few times over the years when the suffering peaked. It’s a normal human response. But as I’ve learned to accept the storms, let them be and try to stay external… they’ve come less often and my overall baseline is much better.

    So hang in there and listen to the advice from the guys above. This takes time and real dedication to a new mindset. You’ll get there.

  30. Mark R Says:


    It’s so easy to look at others and think they are fortunate but the truth is you never really know. The amount of people who struggle with anxiety is absolutely staggering. I’d go as far as to say if you’ve not had a brush with anx/dep youre in the minority….I don’t give much credence to the 1 in 4 statistic.

    I think its helpful to step back and be objective too when you’re feeling crap. I’m guessing that you have good days/weeks/months and then not so good? When you feel down its so so easy to just assume it’s all been bad since this thing started, but it’s a mind trick, it’s just not true. Maybe that someone can remind you of this if you can’t see it yourself.

    Like I said I’ve been struggling with this bump lately and like you look forward to a few hours in the evening when I feel I can unwind. What has helped me is around 40 minutes of yoga in front of the tv after I’m back in from work. Takes me out of that ‘focus on myself’ mindset.

    It’s a storm/setback. Trust me and Bryan on this one as we’ve got the t shirt on them!!


  31. simon Says:

    Mark, Bryan & AJ

    Thank you all for being so honest with your struggles too, like I said it’s a little reassuring that I am not alone.

    Mark – like you said I have had good days (not yet weeks and months) where I’ve felt relatively ok apart for some small blips, and I do believe my mind plays tricks with me more when I am down. Frustrating thing is I have always had plenty of energy and enthusiasm towards life but at the moment the “Pushing” myself to do the most day to day stuff just drains me and I think that’s why most evenings I feel a little more relaxed.

    I did go a week without reading stuff, visiting this blog and I was quite proud that I wasn’t feeling to bad and tearful. However the last couple of weeks just don’t feel right, and then the spiral downwards seems to kick in and I feel the need to get back on here, write in my journal and although I need to take on Pauls advise about just letting it be, this I feel is where every blip knocks me back. Trying not to feel better is so not natural.

    But… I suppose this is my habit and hopefully one that I will get fed up of at some point.

    I wish you all better times ahead


  32. Nolan Says:

    Hi Simon,

    Just remember that the periods where the intensity of the anxiety is higher is perfectly normal.
    I would have a nice stretch of peaceful days where the thoughts and symptoms just weren’t there… but then that setback comes. It’s like the flipping of a switch: it effects everything. It effects how you view things. View them when you’re feeling more at ease and your mind has one conclusion… but view them when you’re in the storm and it’s an entire different conclusion your mind start drawing.

    Setbacks make you even doubt the truth of those good moments you had; all gains lossed (so it feels…. and so your mind seems convinced). But treat that storm the same by just letting it pass.

    I wouldn’t put too much concern on your tendency to want to feel better. Everyone wants that. But it’s how you react to that.
    If you find yourself slipping and going into the “I have to fight this mode”…. that’s okay. We all found ourselves there. But just don’t linger. My suggestion would be: remember the things that once made your life yours. Even if all of your passion for those things is dried up still fill your life with those things again. You’re going to feel like crap still, but the point is to show yourself that you can still live your life regardless of the storm that’s raging. And in time the storm will pass.

  33. simon Says:

    Thanks Nolan,

    Got a lump in my throat just reading this because on one hand I totally understand it but on the other hand I so think this is me forever.

    It is so true that when you get that peacful moment, which for me is probably an hour just watching tv before bed (this is actually annoying a bit too because I usually drop to sleep and then miss what I wanted to watch) I feel I can be normal and achieve the things I want. The mornings start horrendous for me, 4am wake up but don’t get up because I cant think of anything I want to do so I lay there for a few hours (weekday before work) and maybe 4 hours (weekends while the family are still all asleep) during this time I feel so alone. This isn;t a great start to my day and if I have a relitivly quite day it only gets worse. If I have something planned to do I usually find I am ok with it BUT I am always thinking about the evening and hoping for the relaxing time. (Gosh it’s weird)

    Can I ask you all, do you have like micro moments when you feel you can do something only to be followed straight after with a “can’t be bothered feeling”. This is where I battle against myself the most because I know I have to do the things I need to do?

    Sorry for the questions and thank you all so much for your support


  34. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Simon,

    For months I would wake up early in the morning too, and I’d look at my husband and daughter peacefully sleeping and I’d feel sorry for myself. I’d look forward to the evenings when I could feel relieved that I’d made it through another day. Finally I had to change my attitude and accept that this is just how things were for awhile. So I was waking up early and feeling horrible? Oh well. I was going to make the most of my day anyway. Then over time I stopped waking up so early. I started feeling more peace throughout the day. I stopped having to force myself to do every little thing, and actually started enjoying things again. This just happened naturally as I was just living life. This is not to say it was easy. I had plenty of moments of frustration and exhaustion. I did plenty of complaining. But I kept moving forward. The way I tried to look at it was this: time was passing no matter what I was doing, so I’d rather use my time being productive than just sitting around focusing on how I was feeling.

  35. Simon Says:

    I truly have to say that this blog and Paul’s advice is a life saver and I do not say that lightly. I am sure people who I have spoken to in the past about my mental health are sick of me praising Paul and the advice on here, but until you actually have a problem no one understands. I am not one for speaking out about my problems but if people ask I don’t mind sharing my experience.

    Stephanie, again it’s just a relief to no it’s not just me who has these issues, the comments from you all is what makes this site so special and what helps so many people. They may only be words, sometimes encouragement, sometimes advise, but they are words from people who understand what we are going through and that in itself can be calming even if very slightly.

    I have the habbit of looking at what I used to do and wonder if I will ever be able to do these things again (with the enthusiasm and interest).

    I would like to share something with all of you. I am a Fire fighter (Crew Manager) and yep my day is filled with all the dread and anxious feelings even to the point of I scare myself inside thinking I can’t do this job anymore…. but this is where I know it’s all a mind game because when we get called out my whole attitude, enthusiasm and energy is given to what ever emergency we come across. I could be in tears one minute and the next minute called out and focused and this is because I am focused on something other than myself and I don’t have time for myself. It’s only after I reflect and the dread starts again.

    So it just goes to show that we are all capable of doing and being the person we used to be if only when it’s really needed.

    Thanks again to all of you for your time to write and I hope what you write is also helping others.

    I am at the moment in a calm place…. its evening and I chill better and am focused more. I wish you all a good weekend and hopefully the great weekends won’t be too far away.


  36. Jolene Says:

    I too suffered badly Simon. For years, with hardly any moments of peace, I was stuck in a cycle of severe stress. Labels that I received (depression, anxiety) made it ten times worse, as I started seeing myself as a sick person without any hope of recovery. I agree with the comment that the thing that hurt most is having to feel better for your family. I have a husband an two kids, and my responsibility towards them (I needed to be a happy wife and mom), made everything so much more more stressful. I couldn’t be given a break. I remember the early morning awakenings (day in and day out) so vividly. I remember feeling so alone, anxious and exhausted in those hours. I decided regular medicine couldn’t help me and I needed to find another way to come oit of this hellish cycle. I stumbled on Pauls book, and following this started reading a lot about Buddhism. Things started to make sense to me and slowly I started to get glimpes of peace, which increased over time. I still get anxiety flare ups, and in fact in those times the intensity may be as high as in my ‘bad years’, but I don’t let it bother me anymore, which makes all the difference. It’s still there, but the suffering is not.

  37. Anon Says:

    Simon, I don’t have anything much to add, but I just want to say that I admire you. From where I sit, I see that you are stronger than you realize, and I admire the work you do and thank you for doing it. My young kids ask if there are real superheroes, and I always tell them that firefighters are real superheroes. Have you tried talking with a counselor? There are some good ones online. Thank you for all that you do!

  38. Nolan Says:

    Hi Simon,

    You said, “I so think this is me forever”…
    My quick answer is: It’s not. It won’t be you forever.

    This is kind of embarrassing for me to do, but if you want to see how bad of a shape I was in back in 2013-2014 (posts starting around May of 2013…. when I first found this blog) find posts by a MikeStevens. That was one of the many handles I used back then. You’ll see a desperate, full of despair man posting the same types of questions many times a day….
    It’s crazy reading them now because I’m just not that guy anymore. I was certain I was broken for good. I was certain there was no hope for me. But still desperately seeking reassurance and hope.
    I would go for months upon months of no peace at all. Sometimes the storm would be alittle less, sometimes alittle more… but it was always there for me.

    I’ve told this story before in the past, but one day (in 2013) I was in my kitchen trying to keep busy and I was putting away the dishes. A glass broke and there were shards all over the place. Immediately and automatically my mind honed in on one of those shards and the first thought was “end it”. My son was not even half a year old at that point and my wife was at her wits end taking care of him pretty much by herself and wondering what happened to her husband. And there I sat only wanting to end it all.
    I was home by myself and I just collapsed on the floor, angrily crying.

    Now I can look back on those times and view them fondly. They changed me. They made me a better person. I never would have thought it at the time, but it’s what ultimately happened.

    I’m not trying to turn this into a competition of who had it worse… but when you say that you have maybe an hour an evening when the storm/torment loosens the grip on you… I went 8 or 9 months with the full intensity on, never abating. The storm, the torment, the doubt, the despair, the broken thoughts, the desire to end it all there for 8 or 9 months.
    My first break in the clouds came one evening when I was carrying my son out of my bedroom. It lasted for maybe 10 minutes. But that 10 minutes was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever experienced. It washed over me and washed away the pain and the doubt, everything. I stood there dumbstruck but calm and peaceful. For those fleeting moments I could see beyond the storm. I could see that it would all pass, someday.
    Now, that moment did pass away and the doubt/despair came back.

    And when that torment comes back it erodes everything away with it. You’ll believe that that blip of hope you felt was just an illusion. That the true reality, the true nature of you now is despair and confusion. But that’s just the trick of anxiety/depression.
    It stains everything… it’s literally like a switch is flipped and now you view yourself and reality through this opaque lens. Arguing with it, fighting and struggling with it just plays back into it.
    The things that “just made sense” when your mind was calm and relaxed don’t make sense when the anxiety/depression are on high. All of the good/sound arguments as to why you’re really not broken fall flat when you’re in the storm. It’s like this horrid logic of despair that there’s no getting around. There’s no arguing your way out of. But that’s only because that’s not the way to redeeming your old self. You’re going to be convinced that you’re just broken and that there’s no peaceful harbor waiting for you.

    So, ride out the storm. Yes, it’s going to suck. The full brunt of it is going to be there. But live your life regardless. Not to chase it away, but just to make your life bigger than anxiety/depression again. To have other things to focus on and live for again. Peace will come back to you…. but you can’t chase peace down. You can only start to give peace alittle clearing in your life, alittle place where it might find a place to alight… even if momentarily.
    The storm will rage again but treat it the same way.

  39. Mark R Says:

    Seems very apt your post to Simon for me today Nolan.

    I was showering last night and had the thought “my life should be more than this”. I then felt very low and ending up sobbing on my living room floor for an hour. I’ve woken with no appetite, very anxious, depressed. I feel utterly dreadful and have no motivation to do anything.

    I am supposed to be going on a stag do for a meal and hotel stop over in a few hours but I just can’t face going with the long travel etc. Would be my ideal of hell being around drunk people feeling as low as I do.

    This storm has been almost 2 months now, barring a week where I felt absolutely fine. I agree Nolan it seems beyond thinkable that I ever felt or will feel any better even though it was only a couple of weeks ago.

  40. Mike Says:

    I’m reading some of your posts and all I can say is I’ve been there and know the terror this disorder can cause but as someone that’s been in and out of the cycle several times in life the only pattern I see is when I stop doing things I enjoy it simply gets worse. Thinking stress will go away but cutting things you enjoy out is a path to a relapse. I blamed my job, god, my family you name it but Imo humans weren’t meant to sit idle. We evolved from people that had to fight for their very lives daily so if you don’t do challenging things or keep the mind occupied the mind will create stress in it’s place. Anyways I wish all of you the best of luck.

  41. Stephanie Says:


    We’ve all been there. There’s no shame in it. But Nolan’s point is that your life CAN be more than this, even in the midst of anxiety/depression. I know it doesn’t feel like it, but that’s also why Nolan said you can’t try to argue or convince yourself, because you’re seeing through the lenses of anxiety/depression. That’s why it takes acceptance/faith to move forward regardless. Accept that you’re not broken; have faith that this is only temporary. And then go do something that proves it!

  42. Nolan Says:

    Hi Mark,

    It sounds like you’re pretty low right now. I know it’s hard to truly believe this, but I’ve been there and have faced the same insurmountable doubt that I would ever have peace again in my life.

    Just like with you, all of my hope for redemption had dried up and my life felt like it was laid to waste. I just wanted the clock on my life to speed up so that I could finally meet some end to this.

    Mark, I want you to carry all of that pain with you and still live your life. You feel exhausted, confused, lost, full of despair, angry, sad… so be it: live your life. I mean, all of those negative feelings… you’ll still be feeling them if you hide out in your house. One way you can still live your life even with the storm raging…. the other way you let it dictate to you what you’re going to do, letting it further impress you with its force.

    When we’re struggling we’re like a kid on the end of the diving board. Knowing that he should probably just give up the thinking and just get down to the acting… But we’re standing there running our mind in hundreds of different directions trying to think the right conclusion… trying to think the right thought that will make it just click for us. So that all of our fears and apprehensions will just evaporate in the presence of that one bright, burning thought. We eventually forgo action, come down off of the diving board, and think “I just need alittle more time to think this through… then I’ll get it. Not now, of course… but another time.” And we let our fears dictate our actions.

    Or, we can look down into the uncertainty of it all, let our fears bubble and agitate our mind, and maybe even with a smirk on our face say “F’ it”… and jump off of the board.

    It doesn’t pay to entertain too much thought at a time like this because you already know how, given the presence and intensity of anxiety/depression, it’s going to stain all of your thoughts and conclusions. Every thought avenue will lead to a dead end and every wall will loom higher.
    So, just act. Just live your life regardless. Because again, whether you hide out in the house or go out and risk it the storm will still be there. Then it’s just a matter of who’s telling you how to live your life? You or your fears.

  43. Lavender Says:

    Nolan, thanks for the postings – they are very encouraging and tell of the cold hard truth of anxiety. That there is simply no magic solution / switch to get out of it instantly. Indeed, to let the storm rage on and live life.

    To Mark, Mike, Simon : hang in there. It is a rough, crazy and horrendous ride. We all been thru it, and some of us still unwittingly landed on the ride again and again. That is me… However, eventually when we stop feeding the anxiety, the ride eventually stops and we are out of it. It will happen so gradually that one doesn’t realise it immediately. There will be such a sense of relief and peace. I crave for it in the midst of the anxiety storm and berate myself for falling again (and again) for the anxiety tricks. Over a long period, like a plant growing, we are slowly and surely going to get out of this period. You can’t see it happening but take baby steps daily.

  44. Shirley W. Says:

    Firstly, I discovered this wonderful website aid to recovery in 2006. I have managed to live a good existence for 10 years since. Various things have happened and keep happening that add to my current low level. This current situation started in 2016 and I despair at how long it has gone on for this time. I was also able to use Paul’s advice last time to get a hold of the ruminating and continual thoughts. Without sounding condescending it is nice to see the guys on here who are going through the same type of things. It shows a changing and nicely proportioned level world, lads/chaps who are not frightened to share their feelings. Anxiety does not discriminate. I always found that this was the most friendly website in the website world. It always made me feel part of a family. I have been ‘let go’ from a job that really wasn’t helping my anxiety but there was a chap there who often used to say to me. You can’t change the past, you can’t change what is going to come in the future. Live for the moment! I am trying to put this in to practice. What saddens me is the fact that all of these wonderful things are going on at the moment, Spring in particular, this time last year I never saw any of this happening. This year, I have noticed, so I feel I am improving. There are also so many people out there who have tougher lives than me, I feel I should be grateful for all the good things I have but it seems such a big hurdle. What Lavender says is true – it is baby steps. Trouble is – I want to take great leaps. I live on my own – as if anxiety isn’t isolating enough as it is. I have a few fair weather friends who pop up on text every now and again. ‘If you need to talk’ they say – unless they themselves have gone through anxiety it’s hard for them to understand – likewise after I improved the last time I didn’t want to come on here because I had moved on from that debilitating time and I didn’t want to be reminded of it. Now, what upsets me the most is that the morning is bad and as the day goes on I climb to a certain degree of level and in the evening can go to bed as if nothing is wrong, if I could do all of my ‘I should do that’ list then I would be well away. Part of me wants to stay up for more hours so as to hang on to that feeling but I know that I have to get into bed and sleep, for it all to start again the next day.I love to see darkness descending because night is nearly here which means ‘peace’ for my raging mind. I never took anti d’s in 2006 but after fighting to stay off them this time around gave in a few months ago. The one I am on at least gives me a peaceful nights sleep. I feel ‘weak’ for having given in to medical intervention and want to push them aside as soon as I can because the body is it’s own natural healer. Medications mask the problem ~ you still have to be weaned off them. I feel they do more harm than good. Especially as they take so many weeks to get into the system? Shouldn’t medical research have moved on a bit more by now? I have managed to pick up two past interests recently. Patch working (all sewn by hand) and reading. To someone who can do this without a blink of the eye it’s ‘no deal’ but to me it’s a landmark. Getting slightly better. I just need to reign my thoughts in now. I also feel sad that I was once an adviser to others on here who were suffering. Now I am back – it’s a bit like coming home……in a nice way of course.

  45. Alexander Says:

    Hello everyone. This is my first time commenting on this blog but I’m no stranger to anxiety. Currently im going thru a new type of anxiety/ symptoms that I have never had . It’s more of mental anxiety this time and I’m more scared than ever . Never have I’ve panicked this much in my life . I don’t know how this happened. I had all sorts of symptoms before they don’t scare me at all . I mean I had it really bad. Everything u can think I had it and conquered it . I had all sorts of irrational fears . Even some things I can’t explain. Thru all that suffering I’ve learned a lot about fear . Also Paul David big thanks to you . You have got me through some very very dark times . I eventually fully recovered. Thank god . I was at peace . For years I was fine until now . This is very heartbreaking to say . My anxiety is back much worse than ever . I fear so much that this is not anxiety anymore. I fear this something else. It’s taking over my life . Someone please talk to me . I’m mortified now . I’m very desperate! . I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I just wanna cry all the time . I just don’t know how all this could happen . I want to be normal again . I miss my old self .nothing makes sense anymore .Someone plz reply

  46. Newbie Says:

    Hi guys,

    I’m new to all this. Basically I am by no means the worst sufferer of anxiety, not even close. Up until the start of March I was absolutely buzzing. I had been free of any anxiety symptoms whatsoever. Doing things I wanted and things I didn’t (which back in the day would have been a no no). I couldn’t even remember what it felt to have it.

    This past couple of weeks though its been flickering back up. I have been just doing what Pauls book said. However yesterday I had this brief irrational thought – “What if I never get relief again, and anxiety makes me do something really bad to myself”.

    First of, I am not in any way suicidal and would never ever ever ever ever ever harm myself in anyway. The thought just scared me. As I type now I’m in a good place. I spoke to my girlfriend and she agreed with me it was just an irrational thought. Usually my irrational thoughts back in the day were health anxiety related. I knocked these into touch. Maybe this is just the theme it took this time because there is nothing I’m afraid of apart from the feeling.

    Also I feel like talking about this contradicts Pauls approach to just accepting and letting go. But I wanted to write in a forum (I hate them because there so gloomy) lol

    Wishing you all success in your recovery.

    We were born knowing love – We learned fear.

  47. Alz Says:

    Hello all ,
    Iv realised writing here just sort of reinforces the fears until you get a reply which resonates with your current state and gives you some sense of comfort. Sometimes , writing , also makes you realise how silly your thoughts are even though in your head they are so REAL .
    Anyway I’m currently ( and it’s been a while ) hving scary thoughts of self harm and the fact that what if in my state of irrational thinking I do something ? I know I can’t translate my anxiety into words but the fear and thought seems so real – e.g. What if in that split second when my mind is so irrational I make that mistake ?
    I don’t know if anyone will reply .. I seldom wrote here now . Iv accepted almost evthing and resigned myself to this state but this sudden new obsessive thought is constantly nagging at me ..,

  48. Doreen Says:

    Alz – treat it like all the other irrational thoughts you have listed on here and kick it into the long grass by ignoring it.

    It is always the same method – the content of the thoughts are not relevant.

    You will really be on the way to peace of mind if you can just tell yourself that this is just one more irrational thought and you can ignore it like all the others.

  49. Alz Says:

    Thanks Doreen . It is def an irrational thought . However it’s v exhausting when ur mind is constantly running on a tangent and then U have to function in ur daily life and keep up with everything

  50. Simon Says:

    @ Mark R….

    Just wondering how you got on at the weekend with the stag do?

    I ask because I too am in the same predicament in relation to going on a stag do in a couple of weeks. I too am very anxious at the thought of people having fun and myself not feeling much like it.

    I honestly believe that I will probably have moments of feeling low, but I am quite optimistic that I will be ok.

    I have just had a couple of days where anxiety and depression seemed to have lifted enough for me to do things without even questioning myself or how I am feeling. It’s crazy!!! I can think and feel so positive when I get moments like this, but when it starts creeping back in (bit like that today) I start getting anxious and worry again.

    Anyway, thanks for everyone on here that gives their support, it’s a great tool.


  51. Anon Says:

    Keep going Simon! It is so gradual to go away as to be imperceptible. But you now have seen that it goes as well. The short periods of normal get longer. It is very gradual. Not the same type of improvement as we are accustomed to with illnesses. Very different type of recovery.

  52. Ves Says:


    We are continuously trying to improve ourselves. We are trying to be perfect, to have a perfect time, perfect job, perfect family, and perfect health. But reality is that incompletion is the way life is.
    If we accept the imperfections from where the problem come? When whatsoever happens to you say it is okay, then from where can the problem come? When we accept limitations, then from where can the problem come? The problem arises from out of our non-acceptance. You cannot accept the way you are, hence the problem.

    If you can imagine yourself someday accepting, totally accepting the way you are why don’t do it right now? Why wait, for what, for whom? Now is always available. But what we do instead of accepting it right now? We project in the future. Future is hope. Hope is imagination. There exists not.

    We are miserable here in present, but happy in future. So we always postpone our present. But future is only word in the dictionary. It does not exist in reality. Everyone who passed through anxiety will tell you the moment you lose any hope of getting better is the moment you had to live and accept the present. And that is the moment when you start coming home.

  53. Jamie Says:

    Thanks for the post.

    I’ve mentioned this a couple of times on this blog and part of your post alludes to it. You say people that have ‘recovered’ / seen big improvements in their anxiety abandoned all hope of getting better. So for the majority on the blog that are struggling in the midst of anxiety (or maybe it’s just me) then will abandon all hope of getting better…… but with the objective of getting better because others have. Does that make sense ? This is the bit I struggle to get my head around.

    I totally get giving up the fight and accepting everything without question but you’re doing it with one eye on getting better as others have on this blog. Maybe it’s just me that has difficulty with this mindset ?

  54. Lavender Says:

    Hi Jamie,

    I get what you are saying, and mildly amused becos it is exactly what goes on and on inside my head too! The part about “I get this”, followed by a “But…” and more questioning about how can all this make sense.

    The issue is : it does not make sense. And it is the same anxiety trick that keeps us trapped inside the cycle.

    It does not have to make sense. We don’t have to understand / comprehend it fully. Simply let it be.

    Like what Nolan had written before – it is the horrid logic of anxiety which has a stronghold over our mind (for now) and it is constantly questioning and wanting to engage our energies in this neverending loop of despair, skepticism at whatever “solution” we attempt to use to solve the problem.

    so in the end, it is simply to surrender and do nothing. Having decided upon this, I will still be questioning and struggling. That is ok. Cos Ms Anxiety isn’t giving up so easily yet. I also called her “Ms Self Critic”. I would gently remind her to please stand down, and I continue with my day. Still feeling terribly awful / tired and I still struggle through the day. Slowly but surely, she will slip away and the peace of mind which is our natural self will return. :)

    I don’t think I have ever ‘recovered”, but with each anxiety occurrence, I hope it is a practice in getting better (a bit each time) in learning to be kinder, more gentle to myself and to ppl / things around me.

    So, press on. Keep one foot ahead of the other. Keep moving. It will get better. Not today, maybe not tomorrow but keep the faith, and you will get there. You can’t see it yet, but you are already on the way.

  55. Ves Says:

    “but with the objective of getting better because others have. … you’re doing it with one eye on getting better as others have on this blog….Maybe it’s just me that has difficulty with this mindset ?”

    Hi Jamie,

    We have two centers: 1) thinking center – Mind and feeling center – Heart.
    You will never abandon hope if you are in thinking center because hope is just projection of Mind. You have to drop the Mind completely and move to the Heart – feeling center.
    Dropping hope means moving from Mind to Heart.
    When you say “you’re doing it with one eye on getting better” then you are still in thinking center. Mind is very cunning and very calculating. Mind always doubts. When you say “I get it. But ….” That is living in thinking center – Mind, intellectualizing. Drop the Mind.

    Through thinking Mind you will not solve it because there is nothing to be solved. You have to feel anixety and it will dissolve on its own. Be open, be vulnerable, be accepting.

  56. Dee Says:

    Jamie, I had the identical question and many others spinning through my mind. It went away without ever having been answered. the key is to recognize that all the questioning is a symptom of the anxiety and trying to address individual symptoms does not work. The condition can have endless symptoms and they don’t need to be addressed individually. Spinning thoughts and seemingly logical questions are actually symptoms. The answer is: I don’t know the answer and it doesn’t help me to know the answer. My brain is insisting it might help me but that is just more mind chatter. My mind can chatter away as much as it wants. I’m going to go do something else now and I am fine with feeling out of control.

    You keep doing that hundreds of times. The questions don’t get answered and after a while the questions disappear and you wonder why you ever thought it mattered at all.

    The way out of this is not by using logic. Trying to use logic to alleviate an inherently illogical condition is not helpful. Our tired brain insists that we need to make sense of everything. It’s wrong. Recovery happens without these questions being answered. Consider yourself like an actor but the audience is not other people. The audience is your own mind. Show your mind that things are ok by pretending. Your mind is your audience. You are the actor. All the questions are like annoying background noise in a large crowd. Or annoying music at a shop. Just let it be there and agree to feel awful for however long. It all is irrelevant but seems so real. Put your interest and attention elsewhere. Wake up and say: today is a relaxing day. And live as if it is.

  57. Jude Says:


    Your last two posts, absolute brilliance.

  58. Jamie Says:

    Hi Ves

    Your post is around abandoning all hope of recovery but Nolan says to someone, a few posts up “It’s not. It won’t be you forever”. This is what I find a bit confusing. Nolan has had massive progress too.

  59. Kathy Says:

    I am in the middle of reading Paul’s second book. I felt this would be the catalyst to get me closer to recovery. My anxiety has always been triggered by health problems, as far back as a child. Long story. Anyway, I have suffered for over 7 years with pretty severe anxiety, especially the first 5 years. Got Paul’s first book, read Clare Weekes and was well on my way, then seemed to reach a plateau. Got the second book, and, well, here I am. I went in for my physical last month. They found a lung nodule. Fast forward several tests and a biopsy and I have been diagnosed with early stage adenocarcinoma of my left lung. This was done just this past Monday. Out the window went everything I have learned and it’s as though I didn’t absorb a single word from the 2 books. I know most people would be all over the map, emotionally, right now. They would be anxious and nervous. Well, I sure am. I can’t think straight, my nausea is off the charts. Somebody smack me around and straighten my butt out. I am better than this. I know I am. But I sure am not feeling it right now.

  60. Anon Says:

    Jamie, I had the identical question and many others spinning through my mind. It went away without ever having been answered. the key is to recognize that all the questioning is a symptom of the anxiety and trying to address individual symptoms does not work. The condition can have endless symptoms and they don’t need to be addressed individually. Spinning thoughts and seemingly logical questions are actually symptoms. The answer is: I don’t know the answer and it doesn’t help me to know the answer. My brain is insisting it might help me but that is just more mind chatter. My mind can chatter away as much as it wants. I’m going to go do something else now and I am fine with feeling out of control.
    You keep doing that hundreds of times. The questions don’t get answered and after a while the questions disappear and you wonder why you ever thought it mattered at all.
    The way out of this is not by using logic. Trying to use logic to alleviate an inherently illogical condition is not helpful. Our tired brain insists that we need to make sense of everything. It’s wrong. Recovery happens without these questions being answered. Consider yourself like an actor but the audience is not other people. The audience is your own mind. Show your mind that things are ok by pretending. Your mind is your audience. You are the actor. All the questions are like annoying background noise in a large crowd. Or annoying music at a shop. Just let it be there and agree to feel awful for however long. It all is irrelevant but seems so real. Put your interest and attention elsewhere. Wake up and say: today is a relaxing day. And live as if it is.

  61. Anon Says:

    Kathy, I am sorry you are dealing with this. Those feelings are understandable and normal. Have you checked out the site called Chris Beat Cancer? He has so much encouragement there. Also Marty Rossmans downloads are good.

  62. Nick Says:

    Hi everyone, ok hopefully this can relate and move me past this block. I recovered from anxiety and was 6 years free, I was on citalopram tho and that helped a lot. I just stayed on a low dose eventually for that time. So I’m back on a different tablet now. I thought I recovered about 3 weeks ago.. well I was well on my way to.ok now I’m in set back but can someone relate to this.

    I feel actually ok just a little low maybe in interested in things but all I do from the start of the day to end is talk in my mind about anxiety and ask questions and discuss to myself. I’m told it’s a symptom.i just remember when I was recovered I didn’t even hardly think about anxiety and my mind was flexible to move on.

    So I’m in work now and even when I’m dealing with customers it’s like I’m just still discussing it and I can’t seem to get my thoughts not fighting it but feel drenched by it… the weird thing is I’m not really panicky or having adrenaline run through my body. The good news is I do have some good moments etc. I hope everyone here recovers and has the best life. If anybody relates to or explain that would be great.

    I keep thinking of the past where I recovered I just remember it came quick after so long suffering or atleast I think it did I just remember be able to concentrate on things and felt good and then after about 4 weeks of feeling good I didn’t even think about it and was more looking forward to my hobbies etc.

    Peace and good luck to everyone, if you have been suffering a very long time I do recommend maybe trying an anti depressant , just get some diazepam when u start it coz they seem to temporary make you worse.

    Also look up niacin it’s vitamin b3 and seems to promote some relaxing elements in high dose, also I take magnesium and krill oil and vitamin c basically all for health but you never know something out there might just help. Peace x

  63. Kathy Says:

    Anon, no I haven’t, but I will. Thank you!

  64. Tom Says:

    Hi everyone!

    I have a question regarding focusing on external things. If I get an anxious thought or sensation, should I consciously turn my attention towards something I am doing in the moment, for example the dishes, or watching a movie?

    I am a bit confused about the not-doing part of acceptance, since I often think of concentrating on something as an active response. Does intentionally focusing on something else count as trying to repress anxiety, or is it the right way to go?

  65. Jamie Says:

    Hi. I thought I would check as I haven’t for a while.

    I went to a BBQ with work colleagues yesterday afternoon and then on to town for more drinks. Although, I could feel myself getting anxious while I was travelling up there, which in turn reached its peak as I was about to knock on the door, it was not as bad as events I have been to before but it is all part of the process I suppose.

    When I first arrived and sat down talking to someone from work, I could feel the voice screaming for me to get out of there and telling me I was about to get panicky but I rode it out and it was fine.

    One thing I did not notice as they day went on and people had more drinks is something that I probably only thought about as a result of reading Paul’s books and this blog. While others really ‘let their hair down’, dance and talk to lots of people (some they know from work, some friends of friends or people they don’t know at all), I find all of these things hard to do, probably due to my anxiety.

    Really letting go is not really in my nature and I felt on the periphery of everything, is probably the best way of describing it, and quite self-aware. I think I have always been like this and just kept myself to myself really and mainly just spoken to people that I know. As I say, I think I noticed it yesterday just because of the reading up I have done on my anxiety. Right back when I used to go out with my friends (when we were all single), I was never very good at making the first move and going up to a girl and talking to her while some of my friends were much more confident and did a lot better with the girls.

    I did have a good day, don’t get me wrong and I am feeling the effects today from the drinking but it made me look at others and wish I could be like some of them. Will this change now I am understanding my anxiety a bit more or are some people a bit more confident / relaxed in social situations?

  66. Jamie Says:

    “Check in” not “check”…

  67. Anon Says:

    Jamie, you wrote: “While others really ‘let their hair down’, dance and talk to lots of people (some they know from work, some friends of friends or people they don’t know at all), I find all of these things hard to do, probably due to my anxiety.”

    I socialize with a lot of people all the time, consider myself fairly extroverted, and have to meet and speak with many strangers for the work that I do. I have exactly the same feeling each time I’m at a party of social event. This is normal, even for an extrovert. It really doesn’t need to be analyzed. Anxiety doesn’t make you feel that way. Anxiety makes you analyze it unnecessarily.

  68. Ves Says:

    Thanks Jude.

  69. Bryan Says:


    I think Nolan and Ves are saying the same things. Nolan answered your question directly. “No.” This is not you forever. He knows this from experience. This is simply not how it works. However the advice he gives, as Ves points out does mean dropping the analysis and moving from what Ves called the thinking space to feeling. I personally just call that acceptance of what is right now. Am I always great at it? Hell no. Lol. But I’ve improved greatly and have a great life again because of it.

    An analogy is going on a diet. If you’ve ever lost a few lbs you realize that it just happens once you accept that you will simply be hungry at times. You don’t sit and analyze the hunger and weigh yourself hourly. You eventually resign to the diet and the body, which acts on fixed principles, has no choice but to shed weight. You get on the scale and you are 4 pounds lighter and you aren’t sure when it happened but it just did. So in essence you achieved a goal by forgetting about the goal and resigning to what IS right now. (And moving on with life)

    Not easy. I always add the disclaimer that despite lots of progress I’m still working on this process when the storms do come and peak. But I can say with certainty the advice given by Nolan, Ves and others is the way forward.

  70. Steve b Says:

    Great post Bryan.

  71. Jamie Says:

    Thanks for the reply Bryan

  72. Ves Says:

    Thanks Bryan,

    Yes you are absolutely right in your reading of my post. It is the same thing just describing different ends. Yes, everyone will recover as Nolan and many others have correctly said. It is absolutely certain because we all belong to same existence. Biology and Chemistry is the same in all of us so if one can recover why cannot the other? It will recover, but that is in the future, that is one end. The other end is in the present. One should always stay in the present because misery is in the present. That is the end that we would like to forget and with help of hope we always get pulled in the future, into dreams. Acceptance means giving up on hope.

    Hope is just projection of the Mind. Anxious mind is projecting that Paul writes a third book about anxiety. But everything needed is already written in his first book. That is how hope works. Hope is always projecting future, looking for golden key hidden in words because we don’t want to live in the misery of present moment. But words are just words, ink on the paper.

    That is why I insist on dropping Mind and moving to the Heart. Book is not a solution, it is just a map. It is like a pirate map with a path to the treasure chest. We still have to walk that path.

  73. Jamie Says:


    Misery is in the present ? Mindfulness is all about being present, observing thoughts and focusing on your breath. A lot of anxiety is caused by constantly living in the past and future. I can kind of see the point you’re making but not this part ?

  74. Simon Says:

    I hate being a pain and I hate myself for having to keep asking questions (I feel I should be just accepting and getting on with life) however…..

    I’m on a real roller coaster at the minute, it is so true that when you feel ok it’s so easy to look back and think “what am i scared about, what am I avoiding”. When I am feeling “IT” usually depression and anxiety symptoms which is alot of the time, I can’t seem to just let it be.

    When I am low (at the moment), I see no way out, this makes me frustrated and I do all the usual stuff of trying to feel better only because if I continue to feel low and anxious will this create a habbit of always feeling like this?

    At the moment I am feeling bad and I keep having to tell myself “just accept… this is ok….” but at what point do I stop even trying to tell myself this?

    I feel exhausted and am sure this is because of all the overthinking I am doing.


  75. Alz Says:

    I compeletely accept my present state – it’s one of confusion , depersonalisation and irritation. I accept that it will be like this and that I will most probably be like this for sometime . I also accept that I will get the most scary self harming and self defeating thoughts . I accept that it feels like s___t and that sometimes I’m just so introspective that I feel like I’m not myself (dp) . So I accept and accept and accept and in accepting all of this and my battle within of not accepting vs accepting, Iv realised That I have made massive progress !! Whatever it is, being scared , bewildered or any negative term – continuing with evday life and just going on despite knowing acceptance is hard has actually made me achieve a lot ! I still feel zoned out and spacey but I accept that this IS anxiety and IS me . LEt me work alongside it and give myself credit for functioning normally on a day to day basis despite feelign abnormal and anxious :)

  76. Doreen Says:

    Alz – just so well done. I used to list my achievements at the end of each day and give myself a pat on the back. Feeling self respect is such a motivation

  77. Anon Says:

    Brilliant, Alz. So true.

  78. Lavender Says:

    Hi Simon, at the lowest point, i tell myself – ok, i surrender. and allow myself to just give in to the inner turmoil, all the horrid thots running thru. just let them run. I hope you may be able to find a safe place or point that you can truly just give in / submit to this (and not harm yourself). Of course, during the day, one still has to struggle to get on with life, with work. Perhaps at the end of the day, there is somewhere that you may find some respite and allow yourself to just feel all the turmoil and let anxiety run its course? For me, I take a very long shower…

    And totally agree with Alz and Doreen : no matter how hard it has been, give yourself a pat on the back for surviving each day. Press on.

  79. Jamie Says:

    I am not concerned by it as I know it’s just anxiety but does anyone get that sensation where it feels like someone is sticking hot needles into the top of your head (all over the top of it) ? As I say, I’m not bothered by it and I’m just letting it happen. We seem to have different symptoms.

  80. Eloise Says:

    Hi guys. This is my first post, but I’ve followed the blog for ages. I have pure o, ptsd, depression and general anxiety. Fun mix huh? Well, I started practicing Paul’s method a year ago, and wow was it hard. I really believe that anxiety sufferers share some common traits,
    Are you sensitive? Empathic? Analyzing? Black-and-whitey thinker?
    I know I am. I take EVERY though I have seriously, not because I want to, but my mind and my body want me to react. I’m like the hamster in wheel person, who is trying to not get involved in my anxious mind. I get so frustrated and angry when people say “just get over it”. If they really knew how an anxious person feel, they would regret it. Imagine living every second of your life with your most terrifying thoughts. No matter how hard you try to escape them, they are in your face. It’s like a living nightmare that never ends you want to scream and cry, but you try to keep your chin up. Trying your best, even thought some days you are to exhausted to do anything. That’s the best place, doing nothing. Not adding to the fire. We can and we will.

  81. Lavender Says:

    Hi Jamie, interesting symptom of needles into the top of head… I hope it is not painful. but nope, I haven’t experienced that. What I have is tingling sensation all over my face, mainly the cheeks during intense anxiety. It feels like I have a mask over my face. It is uncomfortable but not painful. The first times I experience it – it totally freaked me out. Bu now, when it comes, I just go “oh, okie, tingly face…” and like you say, dun let it bother me

  82. Anon Says:

    Jamie, I had burning skin sensation on my shoulders for a long time in the mornings. It’s all anxiety. The symptoms are so varied.

  83. carlie Says:

    I have only ever wrote on here once during a bad time and I can’t even remember what happened but I stopped coming on here I started a part time job and my daughter started school. I started forgetting all about it and living my life. I was still anxious at times but I was sleeping and waking up ready for the day. I caught myself feeling happy and it felt great. About a month ago I had a week of bad sleep which I hadn’t had in a while it set off my anxiety and I knew what it was so tried to get on with my day. But my brain has been thinking about anxiety non stop and that what has been bothering me and set me back up into the anxiety cycle. I am waking up feeling anxious and then I am constantly thinking about it. I was so happy I was working and was even going to start training to further my career. I know this is all anxiety as I wasn’t even thinking about it before but just the thought of it is bothering me. I also wake up feeling sad which starts it off and it feels like my body can’t calm down. I have been looking up how to feel good but I’m making myself worse. Also I feel sad when I see others happy. I know I just need to relax and wait for it to die down but I have no faith on myself and the constant chatter and negative thoughts are weighing me down.

  84. simon Says:

    Hi Carlie,

    I am sorry as I am not going to be much help at all other than to say I totally get where you are coming from. I went years feeling normal after a very bad time with anxiety and depression and I actually thought it would never happen again, but it did! When I first started to feel it again back in September I felt so confident that I could overcome it and that it would not be around for long, but day by day week by week it started to get on top of me and I too feel I have no faith in myself to recover. Some days are a bit better than others and evenings for me seem to be a little rest bite and I wake in the mornings feeling dreadful and longing for the evening to come again just for the rest. What you say about seeing people happy makes you sad hurts so much I know, but also seeing people unhappy makes me sad too, it’s like a no win situation. I find it so hard to do the things I once enjoyed, so much that I find myself talking myself out of them, when I do actually push myself to do stuff that I feel should make me feel better I am constantly battling against my mind that’s telling me not to bother. Like I said I am not much help to you only to say you are definitely not alone. I can read and read Pauls book over and over again, but I can’t pick anything else up and read, I just don’t want to and can’t do it…. my life is anxiety and this is what I am working on, even though doing nothing about it is so against what we are.

    Keep in mind that you did it before and you’ll do it again, but it will only go away when it’s ready to go I suppose. Like I said, I thought I had this covered after having it before, but when you are anxious and depressed it is so so much harder to understand.

    I wish you well in your recovery


  85. Bryan Says:


    Paul’s latest book has a terrific section on storms. (Setbacks)

    It’s a great reference if a flare up has you needing redirection. Highly recommend going back and checking it out so you can get back on track.

  86. Stephanie Says:

    Heya Carlie. Sorry to hear that. Aw do i know how u are feeling. Once you get back in the cycle it really is so hard to think about anything except how horrible you are feeling. Allowing it is so hard when all you can think of is wanting to feel happy and ‘normal’ I’m the same one bad sleep and it can set it all off. You just have to stay positive as poss and no matter how awful the thoughts they can’t harm you they are just thoughts. Obv don’t force yourself to feel ok jus keep plodding along. I’m so thankful for this site and the books xxx

  87. Kathy Says:

    Still feeling high anxiety since I was diagnosed with stage 1 lung cancer and am approaching a surgery date. Not sure where to turn. I am doing a little better than when I was first diagnosed, but the worry over the surgery brings up the anxiety. Any suggestions? I also have anxiety induced nausea, which isn’t helping right now, as I am trying to get good nutrition and exercise for the surgery. Waiting for something like this is the worst. Gives your mind too much time to think of the “what ifs”. I’m not as bad as I once was, which is a surprise, given what’s going on, so I know I’ve learned a lot in 7 years. Just stuck right now. Any advice is welcome Thank you!

  88. Doreen Says:

    Kath – to be honest I think you doing remarkably well. Who wouldn’t be anxious with your diagnosis and impending surgery? Seems absolutely understandable.

    The only advice I can give is that ruminating over the ‘what if’s’ may be counterproductive as you really don’t know the answers.

    And not to let the understandable anxiety spill over into your everyday life and attach itself to other things so you are overwhelmed.

    Very best of luck

  89. Wendy Says:


    it’s just a setback! and having setbacks means making progress!:) I know exactly how you feel! Just don’t entertain your anxiety! If your mind starts racing then ignore it. Don’t entertain your thoughts. Once you truly understand the message it is very easy. You don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to work for feeling better. There is absolutely nothing that you must or should do to make it go away. Just live! Live your life, even if you feel like crap, just ignore it and move on :)

  90. Wendy Says:

    Hey everyone,

    I just wanted to share something that came into my mind and I think it is actually very true and maybe it helps someone:)

    I think you can compare recovery with getting over a heartbreak. Imagine anxiety is the stupid guy who broke your heart and left you feeling like sh**. A broken heart hurts! You cry and cry and think about what you could have done better. You imagine him coming back or you start thinking back at all the times you had together and your whole life is full of self pity and tears. Well, at least that is how my first heartbreak felt! It was really bad!
    But usually one day you decide that enough is enough! This guy isn’t worth it! You decide to don’t waste another minute thinking about the guy who broke your heart! You decide to move on and to live your life. You accept the fact that the relationship is over and eventually you get over it and start being happy again!

    I think this is exactly how you should treat anxiety! Anxiety is the stupid guy who isn’t worth it! You don’t have to analyze the broken relationship 24/7. All that does is making you feel more and more sad and angry and broken. Move on! There is a life waiting and you can have it right now! And if a thought of this guy comes back into your mind then just don’t entertain it! The relationship is over and yes, it still hurts and you still feel like crap, but still, don’t waste another minute analysing this guy who isn’t worth it!

    So, I am not sure if this makes sense to anyone 😀 Also I am no native English speaker and therefore I am very sorry for mistakes, but I hope it helps.

    All the best,


  91. Kathy Says:

    Thank you, Doreen, I appreciate your thoughts. Letting go of the “what ifs” slowly but surely, as I know they don’t serve me well. I will let the anxiety be there as it is bound to, right now, but will continue to enjoy the small things I am able to, at this time and concentrate on getting through the surgery and recovery. Thank you for just caring enough to answer. That meant a lot.

  92. Alex Says:

    Hello, does anyone else feel like they have been stuck in an anxious mind so long that they have forget what it’s like to be normal . I want to get better but it’s hard to motivate oneself when you don’t know what you are aiming for . Personally it’s been just over 2 years since I truly felt connected to the world , were everything made sense .

    I have been making strides to get better and have days were my mood is up. But the feelings of unreality , disconnection and loss of self still persist. Does recovery come at once ? Surely feeling real and feeling connected is a straight opposite to feeling unreal and disconnected, is there any inbetween ?

  93. Lavender Says:

    Hi Kathy! wish I could give you a hug right now! It is perfectly human to be anxious given the diagnosis. You are already doing very well in trying to exercise and eat well. Give yourself some time to accept. Take small and frequent meals as your body will need the nutrients. Will pray for the surgery to be smooth.

  94. Chris Says:

    This is a great post. I haven’t been in here in a while but I really have come a long way when it comes to anxiety considering how bad I was when I first started posting!

    I’ve been going through this process, but this time it’s not over anxiety. Me and my girlfriend recently split and I’ve been super down over it, however I’m treating it the same way that I did with anxiety in the past, I’m just remaining open to it and accepting it and living life as per usual. It’s brutal, but I’m doing a good job with it and I reckon it has to be the best way forward.

  95. Kathy Says:

    LAVENDAR, thank you. I can feel your virtual hug!!! And thank you for your prayers. I know they will help!

  96. Jolene Says:

    Hi everyone, I have been given the opportunity to take over a charity from my parents, and can spend the remaining funds (considerable amount) in whatever way I would like. Being an ‘anxiety sufferer’ myself I would feel most inclined doing something for fellow suffers, as I know how much we need an extra bit of support now and then. My questions is though, can anyone help me with ideas? I can’t think of any! F.e. during difficult times; what is it that you need the most, but is not available? What would help you ease some of the discomfort? Any idea would be helpful! x

  97. Sally Says:

    Hi Jolene lovely idea of yours I think some sort of drop in centre for anxiety sufferers to just go on a bad day to find someone to talk to who understands and meet people who have anxiety too who can support each other

    Kind Regards

  98. Jolene Says:

    Thanks Sally, that’s a great idea! Would have helped me tons in my bad days, which felt so lonely. When you mention ‘to find someone to talk to’, do you mean professionals, or not necessarily? Thanks again for your thoughts!

  99. Sally Says:

    Hi Jolene just others with the same condition to talk to and support each other X

  100. Anon Says:

    Hi Jolene. Some of the worst anxiety imaginable is caused by withdrawal from benzodiazepines and ssris. There are withdrawal charities that I’m sure would love such a donation.

  101. Doreen Says:

    Sally – nice idea (a drop in centre) but wherever it was sited would only cater for a few people lucky enough to live nearby.

    i would suggest a charity which is accessible to all, such as MIND.

  102. Jamie Says:

    I agree with Doreen. As we all live in different parts of the world, I’m not sure a drop-in centre would work but a nice idea.

    MIND is a good idea though.

  103. Sally Says:

    Yes Doreen good idea

  104. Nicholas Christelis Says:

    Please responde somebody. I just need someone to give me a bit of advice.

    I have had very bad anxiety for the past few years. One of the reasons is because I have always complained about blurry vision.

    This is my prescription which is very weak:
    RE: – 0.50
    LE: -0.50/-0.25 x15. ”

    Wearing glasses stresses me out, wearing contacts is really uncomfortable.. but the bluryness upsets me and I don’t know how much/how often to wear the contacts or glasses and I don’t want to worsen my eyes.

    So I’m pretty stuck because the bluryness has caused me anxiety for many years and now the glasses cause me anxiety.

    Thank you for your response in advance

  105. Jolene Says:

    Thank you all so much for your thoughts! I like the idea of a charity such as MIND and I did think of that before I reached out on this blog, but I wasn’t sure if it would offer anything new, as MIND pretty much covers everything already. What do you think? x

  106. Beth Says:

    I’m really “struggling” still with the whole allowing without fear concept. Next Wednesday I’m heading on an “outing” 2 hours away, on freeways, across 2 bridges and I’m. Freaking. Out. I haven’t been out of about a 10 mile radius in many, many years but I’m going anyway cuz I wanna see my daughter at college. :) I feel like I can handle the uncomfortable feelings, but the terror is a whole ‘nother story. Why am I not having this “aha” moment where I just get it. Frustrated…

  107. panicky Says:

    So you get feelings of guilt about past events. Things that didn’t used to bother me are now boring into my head and I can’t seem to rationalise them. People I know have said they are nothing to worry about but they have wrecked my confidence and make me want to hide. When I feel like this I can’t imagine ever not feeling guilty about them again. Is this another anxiety trick? When I rationalise them I get to the point where I think they are stupid but then they bounce back at me and leave me feeling wretched and ashamed.. any thoughts?

  108. Lavender Says:

    Hi Beth,

    How about allowing WITH fear? Not without fear? Just allow yourself to still do the things you want to do despite the fear.

    For now, it is still screaming at you that you have to freak out, have to be afraid. But just do it. just go on that trip and do it afraid. It will be ok. Yes, it is very comfortable, but go for it. Becos that is the only way out. Press on.

  109. Lavender Says:

    sorry, I meant it is very *uncomfortable.

    And the elusive ‘aha’ moment will come quietly and without much fanfare, when the anxiety also slowly creeps away without saying goodbye. The irony is that we can “will” this to happen.

    As what has been said before, live your life. Make it bigger than the anxiety.

  110. Vic Says:


    it also took me a while to totally understand Pauls message, but when you understand it it is actually very easy.
    You need to understand that anxiety is nothing that comes to you. You are the one creating your anxiety by fearing it and by constantly thinking about it. All anxiety ever is is your own thoughts. It’s only there when you focus on it, and if your mind’s on something else, it’s gone. All your thoughts and fears- anything going on in your mind – is completely insignificant. Your thoughts are not you! Even if your mind tells you ” You will freak out on the freeways, you may lose control or whatever” just don’t believe it! Those are thoughts! They are nothing, they are not reality and they are not real! :) There is no need to constantly entertain your thoughts.

    So, whenever you start fearing this upcoming event be like “Yeah whatever”. Worrying is what causes your anxiety! You can’t control things and worrying about this event will only make things worse so just stay in the moment an live you life :) I promise you nothing bad will happen!

  111. Beth Says:

    Thank you Lavender and Vic…your comments are much appreciated. And, for the first time EVER I had a few seconds today of “getting it”! I can do things and still be terrified. I can still operate a car and go on this 2 hour adventure…if im scared, im scared, right? Then, of course, i was overwhelmed with the catastrophic thoughts once again. It didn’t “stick” but I know it’ll be back and it was glorious. :)

  112. Beth Says:

    Heart’s beating out of my chest with fear…what a yo-yo ride.

  113. Lavender Says:

    Hi Beth, totally can understand the yo-yo or what I imagine as ‘roller-coaster’ ride… hang in there! The ride will eventually slow down and end when we choose to let the thots pass by and not entertain them further.

    Hi Panicky, yes, what you described is just another anxiety trick. She is just so good at different ways to question us, throwing up yucky thots / stuff in a different spin, luring us into this web of rationalization which goes nowhere. (yes, I imagine anxiety as a she.)

    The thoughts are not you. Be gentle and kind to yourself.

    The over-thinking or rationalization only draws us further down the slippery slope, so just pause, breathe and decide to step back and let these thots pass by. I imagine them like on a sushi conveyor belt – no need to pick them up, just notice them and let them continue on. eventually your mind will lose interest and move on.

  114. Beth Says:

    Lavender-Would it be inappropriate for me to ask for your email address? We just seem to be on the same wave length and your thoughts really make sense to me. Thank you!

  115. Vic Says:


    When my anxiety my biggest fear was getting a heart attack, lol. Today I completely lost this fear. I can even laugh about it now. Trust me, one day you will be able to look back on all the stuff you feared and smile about it. Let your heart beat faster if it wants, but just don’t question why:)

  116. Beth Says:

    Thank you, Vic…just will be glad when Thursday night is here and I’m back home. I honestly haven’t been this freaked out in probably 10 years. My body just doesn’t seem to want to believe that nothing catastrophic is going to happen. It will be wonderful when I get to a point where, as you said, you can laugh about it. I really do appreciate all the guidance-especially now.

  117. Vic Says:

    If your body freaks out then just ignore it. It’s nothing more than anxiety. It can never harm you. If your heart starts beating faster don’t go into the analysing mode and question everything. Just focus on what you are doing and let it beat as fast as it wants :) Don’t pay these sensations any attention! They loove attention, but they just don’t need it. They pass once you accept/ignore them:)

  118. Beth Says:

    Thank you…again. They are persistent little buggers, though, aren’t they?

  119. Lavender Says:

    To the moderator(s) : I don’t think we can share our email address here? Perhaps someone can advise how we may privately contact another one in this forum? Thank you.

  120. Jamie Says:

    You can post your email address if you’re clever Lavender. I know others have.

    E.g. the word “at” instead of the sign and abbreviate the email provider. I hope I’m not breaking the rules there…

  121. Beth Says:

    Sounding like a broken record here, I know…leaving on my “journey” early in the morning. Mostly I feel like I wanna lose my lunch cuz my thoughts are raging. I’ll be so glad when I reach my destination-in one piece, no less. Thanks everyone for your kind words of encouragement…it means a lot.

  122. Doreen Says:

    When I was moderating I was asked to advise people not to put their email addresses on this blog. Not sure if the advise still applies.

    But if you also post on the ANM Facebook page then your name will appear next to your post and you can then be contacted by private message. You can always alert the person on here and whom you wish to be in touch with that you have done that.

  123. Jamie Says:

    I have called in to work sick today as I have a very mad migraine. I suffer with migraines not as much as I used to but they are always caused by overthinking / worrying and this is the case again now (mainly trivial things too).

    Anyway, the reason I am posting is I have been beating myself up for 1) not going into work and for 2) taking half a diazepam to try and relax my head. A lot of the advice on the blog and in Paul’s books is not to avoid things / carry on regardless but also look after yourself and don’t overdo it. I have not been off sick for a long time.

    Do people not go in to work if particularly unwell with something stress related or do people carry on regardless e.g. go to work, socialise etc no matter how bad you feel ? Is it that bad taking medication to try and feel better ?

    I have spent most of the day checking in with my body to see if I feel any better, worrying if I still have a headache and worrying about whether I will be well enough to go in tomorrow. I have also done my usual and been constantly switching between mantras, saying and mindsets in an attempt to relieve the headache / fix it

    For example – “I don’t care how I feel”, “I will not waste my life worrying”, “let go”, “be calm”, “it will pass”, “do absolutely nothing”…..
    All of these little sayings make me feel better momentarily but they are not cures and more overworking of the mind cannot be good I guess. I was just wondering what people’s thoughts are on this ?


  124. Vic Says:


    you are still trying too hard to feel better! You don’t need to try.You don’t need to check if you already feel better.You will get better, trust me, just be a bit more patient with yourself:)
    You are doing exactly the the things that kept me in the circle for so long. I know anxiety sometimes feels like a crying kid and you always want to look after it and do things to stop it from crying, but the thing is you don’t have to do anything! Relax, drink some tea and then do what you love and go on with your life.

    It is totally fine to stay at home for a while if your headache is too bad, BUT don’t use your free time to question it all over and over again. There is no need to do that!!:DJust relax, go for a walk, get some fresh air or do a hobby.

    To your mantras: I also used to say all these things in my mind, but after I while I understood that I was just trying to “think my way out of anxiety”.
    Just be like “Whatever” if anxiety comes up. Ignore it, don’t pay it any attention. It does not need attention! 😀 Imagine anxiety is someone that broke your heart. You have two choices then: You can think about this person over and over again, feel self pity and cry your eyes out or you can be like “okay, I’m not going to waste any other minute thinking about this stupid person, that doesn’t love me. It’s a waste of time and it does not change anything, so I am going to live my life now without this person.”

    It is also okay to take medication in my opinion, but I never heard of anyone with anxiety being cured by taking pills. That is because there is no magic pill and no magic cure. You can take them, but in my opinion you just don’t need them:)

    I am very sorry if some things are a bit hard to understand. I am no native english speaker, but I’m going to spend some months in the states this summer so my English should be much better when I’m back 😀

    All the best,


  125. Beth Says:

    I. Just. Dont. Get. It. I made the 2 1/2 trip down to see my daughter at college. Now, I’m fixated on the drive back. How, oh how, does one just allow? How, when all I do is fear, fear, fear and listen to my heart race. Ignoring all those scary thoughts, symptoms, negative emotions absolutely terrifies me-it’s all I think about. “Just let the thoughts and sensations go by without paying them much attention…”…ignore them…How? I’m still glad I got down here, though, she was so happy. :)

  126. Doreen Says:

    Beth – your final comment is the one that really matters. Thats why even if you couldn’t ignore the symptoms it is essential that you keep on acting as if they aren’t there.

    “I’m still glad I got down here, though, she was so happy. :)”

  127. Beth Says:

    Thank you, Doreen. :)

  128. Lavender Says:

    Dear Beth, give yourself a pat on the back! Cos you made the trip down! :)
    It is ok to feel the fears, the racing thoughts – we can’t stop them. I’m also going through the same questions in my mind, alternating between trying to push them away, or trying to allow them to be.

    agree with Doreen on keep on acting. There is a saying – “fake it until you make it”. So although I’m feeling really anxious, I still put up a front and do the daily things.

    as at now, I’m at work – feeling rather groggy due to lack of quality sleep. But I know it is ok and this will eventually pass. Not today, maybe not tomorrow. Just have to take it day by day.

  129. Lavender Says:

    To Jamie, don’t be too hard on yourself… it is perfectly ok to take a day off due to the migraine. I have also taken medication before – it helps to provide temporary relieve. So it is like medicine for a bad headache.

    In current state, it is probably a lot of struggling, and doing whatever the mind throws up – the mind is trying to help but it is only making it worse. Regarding mantras, i find that if one keeps repeating it in the hope of trying to feel better immediately and afterwards, it doesn’t last. So once again, it is back to just letting ourselves get soak in the rainstorm. and wait for it to pass.

  130. Felicia Says:

    Hey everyone! Just thought I’d stop by and say I’m FINALLY having pink days as scarlet would put it back then meaning days with no or little anxiety! I can truly say I’m on a whole other level with my anxiety in this healing journey.

    What helped me with irrational and scary thoughts is that regular human function wasn’t born to be this way and any weird stuff in my head would therefore seize funtion of a normal mammal or human way to live and survive. Thus concluding all these fears are opposite of what life is really about. Once I excepted that and relaxed all this common sense and normality flooded my life and mind and I’m so extremely happy. Sorry if that doesn’t make sense but it relates to the type of horrible anxiety I had ??

  131. Felicia Says:

    I don’t know why those question marks are there loool ?

  132. Bryan Says:


    I get migraines too and while rarely they are the one thing in my years of stress disorder that have caused me to miss work. It happens and like you I tend to overthink it. So I’ve made it a point to allow myself to just rest and recover when they come and attempt to not engage with the mental babbling about it. As for meds, how about Tylenol next time instead of the benzo since Tylenol is a benign drug? Just a thought.

  133. Stephanie Says:

    Does anyone else suffer with paranoia or know if this is linked to anxiety?? I’m questioning whether it is something alot more serious and I will loose my mind!? :/ been here before but all feels so real. Any advice or experience of this would be wonderful. Thanks xx

  134. Vic Says:


    this is a very common fear of anxiety, but I promise you you won’t lose your mind and you won’t go crazy! It is aaall anxiety and because of your tired nerves it feels real. Trust me, once you give your mind the rest it needs you will be able to see things clear again and then one day you will laugh about this silly fears :) People who lose their mind don’t question it. The fact that you are on this blog writing about your fear shows that it is nothing more than a tired mind and you won’t lose your mind:)

  135. Jamie Says:

    Thanks for your replies to my post.
    P.S. Vic – your English is fine. I understood you perfectly :o)

  136. Stephanie Says:

    Aw liv thank you. Anxiety is through the roof today !! Think it’s because I had a rubbish sleep last night. I know when I think properly it is only when I’m anxious that the paranoia really feels so real! Supposed to be at a family party tonight and so so tempted to not go and hide at home in my Pjs :( so hard when it’s so intense can’t help but just want to feel ‘Normal’
    Do you think it’s possible to suffer every type of anxiety?? Has anyone heard of HOCD or ROCD? Any knowledge people have would be great. Thanks

  137. Vic Says:


    I have suffered from every sort of anxiety 😀 It started with hypochondria, then I got panic attacks, GAD and finally dp. The thing is it does not matter what sort of anxiety you have! Put it all under the same umbrella, there is no need to separate everything.
    Also you should really try to force yourself to go on social events! If you want to feel normal again you have to add much more “normal living” into your life! Trust me, even if you feel horrible nothing bad will ever happen. I mean, what is the worst thing that could ever happen on a social event? Yes, you may feel anxiety but that’s it. It won’t harm you or anything and it will pass once you stop entertaining it :)

    Your nerves are tired and that is why you feel anxious about everything. Go out, talk to other people and give your mind the rest it needs. Don’t question everything. There is no need to do that. Accept anxiety, don’t entertain it and live your life. That is how recovery works and trust me, you WILL recover;)

  138. Stephanie Says:

    Vic I know you are so right. A few years ago when mine first started out bad, I couldn’t understand what was wrong but had time off work and didn’t go anywhere and spent the whole time worrying about why I didn’t feel right. Luckily came across Pauls first book. It helped massively !!! I really have jus got on with life but then it comes on all of a sudden again and it’s like I’m heading back to square one. When you say had every type of anxiety, do you not have any side effects now ?? It’s like I nearly am recovered but it doesn’t go 100% the breathing is the worst thing when i can’t get even sighs (as silly as it sounds) or when I go to bed and start worrying about not sleeping and then stay in this half asleep half awake zone all night. Sleep was a big issue a few years ago and definetly effects the anxiety massively. Went to the party even tho spent most of the time feeling weird and thinking other people can sense it! …

  139. Beth Says:

    Thanks to all who were so encouraging regarding my recent journey. :) Since my return, I have felt worse than I have in months-constant terror, fear, anxiety…all of it. Even been searching my area for someplace to check myself into. I know it’s “just” anxiety and negative energy waiting to be released. But, how does one get past the fear?! I feel as if I’m right on the cusp of “getting” this but it’s just out of my reach…

  140. Karen Says:

    I just want to say that when I was 35 years ago I took infertility medications that caused me to start having panic attacks. I then started into the anxiety disorder. I was so anxious I could not even drive to the bus stop to pick up my daughter without having multiple panic attacks. I am a nurse and only called into work maybe 2 times because of anxiety. I don’t know how I made it through my work days. I had very bad anxiety for 7 years. I had the horrible thoughts about my family, I could not go into stores without panicking. I would come home from work and go to bed. I had the unreality feeling constantly. It was a really hard time in my life and I still feel guilty that i was not the best Mom or wife I could be during that time,but through it all I kept going and today am a very happy, confident Mom,wife and nurse. I can say that I love life!

  141. Stephanie Says:

    Karen, which medications was it ? I sometimes wonder if the imlanon effects hormones and makes anxiety worse..

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