Knowledge of anxiety and fear can only take you so far

Knowledge can only take you so far

Avoidance of life is never due to the fact that life is this big scary thing to no longer engage in, it is due to the fact that we don’t want to feel anxiety/fear and so we avoid life in the hope of not feeling it. Life itself is never at fault here, it spins exactly the same for all of us, it is only our minds fears and perceptions that make it appear different.

I had many aha’s moments in my own recovery and realised that life was not to blame for my fear and anxiety, if it was, we would all be scared of the same things and avoiding life which that simply is not the case, most people happily engage in it and find joy in doing so. I realised that if life was not to blame, then I had to stop avoiding it. By doing so I was teaching my mind that it was a scary place to be avoided and with this approach my life became narrower and narrower and my minds fears just grew.

I then realised that by building up my knowledge I was trying to get to the point where I had such a aha moment that I would be able to get rid of fear and anxiety and just go out live again. I realised this approach would never bring any real results and would be an endless waiting period and that if I wanted my life back, then I had to take the plunge and go out and live it once again. I had to understand that through my past avoidance behaviours my mind would still have a lot of worries and fears when engaging with life fully again, even if they were false.

There really was no getting past the fact that if I wanted to my life back then knowledge would not do this for me, the only way to get my life back was to go and live it fearlessly. This does not mean that fear would not arise, it means I understood it would do and that the feeling fear was part of growth. Its presence was a sign of me stepping out of my comfort zones and building new habits, beliefs and perceptions. My mind would come up with every reason I should stay within my comfort zones, as it would falsely believe that it was keeping me safe. I don’t blame it as I had taught it that the outside was to be avoided, it was just doing its job and trying to protect me, but I needed to teach it that life was not something to be avoided, I had to teach it that I was fine and I did not need its protection anymore and within time it would listen.

I also realised that it was never about trying to get rid of fear, it is a hard wired part of each persons mind, it was about being OK with the feeling of fear. I am not saying you have to enjoy it, it’s not a nice feeling, but ultimately it is a harmless surge of energy that has its limits. I didn’t like the feeling of fear, but in time I lost my fear of it and in doing so I was then no longer moved by its presence, I could make my own decisions on what I wanted to do and that is when my life started to expand once again. My minds perspective also changed hugely with engaging in life once again, as my minds fears started to fall away and it no longer fired off its protection when it was not needed. I had taught it through non avoidance that actually engaging fully in life was fine. I was its teacher and it was my pupil and the best way to teach it would come through my actions.

I always tell people I never came to some huge understanding and then I was fine. Once I understood things then I still had to go through a period of reversing everything which entailed feeling anxiety and fear. I just came to the conclusion that if avoidance had created so many problems, then the answer to reverse this was abvious and yes this would entail a lot of discomfort at times, but getting my life back was far more important than that.

Some people believe they can rid themselves of fear and anxiety through knowledge alone and so jump from one person to the next hoping to be free of anxiety and fear in one go. In doing so they stay stuck in seeking mode as they don’t want to go through the period of discomfort that is needed to reverse the process of avoidance.

Yes knowledge does help unmask a lot of myths about anxiety/fear, it helps you to be able to accept its presence better through understanding it, it helps to understand why you are doing what you are doing and the process you have to go through. But at the end of the day, knowledge is pointless if you never take the actual leap to go out and live your life once again, it beats any amount of knowledge hands down.

I am not saying it is easy and a lot of people may get defensive and go on about how tough it is. I understand this, it was for me also, but it is through the toughest moments that real freedom comes. Even if you make small steps at first and stay committed to expand your life little by little on a daily basis, then this enough to start the process of reversal. Building my understanding was massive for me, but the only reason I live my life fully now was by engaging in living again no matter how I felt.

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

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116 Responses to “Knowledge of anxiety and fear can only take you so far”

  1. Aj Says:

    Hi Paul
    As usual very insightful post. I am visiting this blog after long long time. Two years ago i was in that dark place,anxiety was full ON, scary thoughts, tremendous guilty feeling, tons of physical symptoms including constant stomach upset, sleeplessness and all. I have both your books and understanding and applying what you shared in those books got me out of that hell hole. Now i am much much better, enjoying my work and hobbies. Living fearlesdely is what i am still learning. I understood that most of the anxiety is self created by over thinking, brooding over the past, cursing your current situation…. Questioning WHY ME? Changing the perspective of looking at life as it is is very important aspect. We expect too much and then feel bad if what expected doesn’t happen

  2. Lauren Says:

    Hi Paul,
    I downloaded your app months ago and finally had my ‘aha’ moment. After medications and therapy and mind-tricks, the real answer makes so much sense.
    I have a big decision coming up that my body is trying to ‘protect’ me from, but I am moving forward down the bumpy learning road because I know it is the only way forward.
    When the feelings of anxiety pop up, I am still in a place where they startle me, but I am learning to cultivate an attitude of being grateful for the practice and remembering that my body is still learning everything is ok.
    My biggest trigger has been memories of going through the worst of it. But as I move forward I am creating new memories of living my life and my confidence is growing.
    Thank you for updating your blog!

  3. Ian Says:

    Wow what a post Paul.

    So much I read of that is what I’m working to over come.
    The fear that life is a big bad world.

    Last night while going bed I had what must of been a massive release, My heart felt like it was going to bang. It stop me in my tracks for a moment it was that big of a release. But after a second or so I saw it as a release smiled to myself and went to sleep.
    Today my heart aches but I’m getting on with my day and taking it as more is being released.

  4. Nisha Says:

    Hi Paul,

    Iam completely okay with the physical symptoms. The only thing am struck is with the thoughts. From my childhood I have low self-esteem and anxiety, which I realised few years back. Now, these thoughts appear so real and it projects every thing in a negative way. Iam unable to make decisions (from small to big). How not to believe the thoughts? For example. ” I will be anxious for ever and it will create diseases”. ” I don’t see any hope in my life”, “I am worth nothing”, “Only others can do anything and everything they wanted, but I can’t”,and so on. How not to get into these thoughts? Should I replace them with positive thoughts?

    Thank you in advance!
    Nisha

  5. Bryan Says:

    Great stuff Paul. Thanks for thr post.

  6. Daryl Says:

    Nisha
    Yes, it’s tough no doubt but thoughts are just thoughts and according to Paul’s book (and others) the key is not recognising those thoughts as fact. The system is to understand that you have these kind of thoughts and always have but when you were well you didn’t take them seriously but now your nerves are heightened a lot of these thoughts stick.
    The idea is to allow them, accept them and carry on with what you are doing……..it’s hard and I haven’t cracked it myself because I keep revisiting them whenever I am at a loose end but a lot of us here are working on it………i got Paul’s book at the beginning of July and 4-5 months later I have definitely improved because I have a much better understanding of what is happening. I, like you just need to accept my failings, my worries and my thoughts without judging them or fearing them. Good Luck!

  7. daryl Says:

    hi

  8. Mamba Says:

    How long did it take people here for the conversations in their heads to clear? since reading the book i’ve become good at ignoring the negative thoughts and i’m getting fewer now but the conversations in my head and rehearsing conversations in my head (most of which i’ll never have) are still pretty bad. also going over and over music. you start to think is it just anxiety again? the same old stuff

    Any tips?

    Thanks

  9. Steve b Says:

    Hi Mamba. Songs was one of the last for me. Over and over for weeks. Then I had constant focus on death then puff. Like that. It was all gone.

  10. Mamba Says:

    @Steveb did you ever have a problem watching Films or TV? i just can’t switch off and relax. it has improved over the last few months but i kind of feel like i’m not watching something properly unless i totally switch off. I know my eagerness to be over the problem is holding me back but watching films means a lot to me.

    It’s like i have to stop caring about the thing i care about to move forward and enjoy them again which i’m finding very difficult to do :(

  11. Alz Says:

    So i was going to write posts several times but i stopped myself because I realised there is honestly no point. Like Paul says in his new post, you just have to live your life. I am currently in a phase where i am what you could call sleep walking- I am saying things but at the back of my mind theres a constant- did this happen or not ? Forgetting names etc is also very common . Then there are days like yesterday when i thought im completely delusional because i was doubting that my friend is hitting on my husband. Cant seem to get that thought out of my head. Anywya … all part of the package and i just have to live with it till it gets better. You know if by any chance i am heading towards madness then so be it. I can’t take this any longer.

  12. Si Says:

    I would like to share a bit more of my experience (this also helps me to vent off a little)

    So… over the last 6 months I have had maybe 3 to 4 experiences of maybe a week or two of feeling normal ….. what’s my normal?

    Well…..

    I wake early (between 4.30 and 5.30) depends on what my minds doing, I feel ok, no anxious thoughts whilst in a semi sleep mode, I can sometimes drop back off for a few minutes and maybe just lay there and think of the things I have to do. I have even got out of bed once and sat downstairs alone until the family have got up (not felt anxious or impatient)
    I plan things I would like to do, weekdays usually what jobs I have got to do at work, what meetings I am going to ect (no anxiety). I walk to work and see the same old scene’s same people, the old man sat in his front room just staring into space (but I am not questioning it and saying to myself – I don’t want to live like that)

    I go to work – get involved, get somewhat excited (liitle) about things we are doing at work. I think I should go to the gym at lunch but necer do (but I am not anxious about it). I get the odd “I can’t be bothered to do this or that, but I ignore it and do it anyway (sometimes)
    I go home about 4pm and take the dog a short walk, watch some tv and occasionally get called out (on call firefighter), but I’m not anxious and I am not thinking “hurry up 7pm so I can just chill” (why 7 I don’t know but I usually feel ok at that time of day)
    Weekends coming up – we’ll go to the movies and watch a film, do some shopping, visit mum and dad a- all the usual stuff (no anxiety). This last weekend watched Daddy’s Home 2 – fantastic fun!!! Do it!!!!
    ….. then arhhhh …. I can feel my mood changing a little, I feel a bit lost, I feel tight chested, I’m not listening to people and just homing in on myself…. Oh no – it’s back !!!!!!
    So here I am again… my usual routine….. Back on the blog, suppose the Claire Weekes Adiou will be out soon, can’t listen to my favouratte radio station with Chris Moyles because I get very anxious. Wake up early, anxious mind playing all sorts of tricks. Feeling like I must do something to stop this, trying to work out why I feel like this again…… promising myself that I can do this, but now my mind tells me to go and see the doctor, perhaps my meds need increasing, what if it’s something I am eating, I need to look after myself, I don’t want to feel like this, I was looking forward to Christmas, I was feeling relaxed and now “oh no” it’s back and I don’t like it!!!! When will it go away again?????
    Well – vent over, it will go away again and it probably will come back again and I suppose the more this happens the less impact it has on me. Like Paul and a lot of others say “you don’t have to like it, but don’t let it stop you” – so I will keep going, doing wanting…. But if I have to force myself “SO WHAT!!!!”
    AlZ – I totally get you, I can say that you’ve come this far….. you’ll keep going and going until one day you forget, you forget you haven’t been on the blog, you haven’t questioned something so much you don’t actually do it… THIS IS HOW WE ARE FOR AS LONG AS WE ARE… I am starting to get the point of “it will go when it’s ready, and I look forward to the moments of clarity, no matter how short”

    MAMBA – the TV and Movie thing – oh yes I know where you are coming from and in a wiered way I am happy that someone else feels like that too, but I can tell you only a couple of months ago I was so anxious and frightened about watch some TV and going to the movies, but over time the movie thing has just disappeared, yep when I book to go my mind checks to see if I have a reaction (habbit) and when I don’t it feels great, when I do I have to and you do too think “SO WHAT” do it!!!

    I am sorry if none of this makes sence, I have done nothing but think about writing this all morning (over in my head), does it help – probably not only to the point that I have expressed how I am feeling anf hopefully help someone else understand that its just thoughts and feelings we are afraid of, because when you don’t get the feeling of dread, the thoughts don’t stick!!!

    Best wished

    Si

  13. Carl Says:

    Great post. Anxiety reacts on what we’re afraid of , even if it’s just a thought. We fear the thought if it’s bad and any association with that thought , using our senses and then we react uncontrollably. We need to recondition our anxious brains to go toward our fears , not away from them. Confront them and let your body give you a reaction if it wants, you know deep within you that it’s false. The more you condition yourself to these fears, the better you’ll be until it no longer gives you a reaction. It’s essentially exposure therapy but over a longer period if you don’t actually go for therapy. Real life is the therapy, not forced CBT. The brain will rewire itself when it’s ready to, accepting and allowing it all to manifest without getting involved. It does take courage , it does take patience and perseverance but that is surely better than worrying about it constantly.

  14. Mamba Says:

    @Si good post. i’d write a similar post but would probably write 10 paragraphs more 😀

    On the watching films/TV: it’s like my head has to check “am i into this, am i relaxed” my desperation tp just “be normal” and not be constantly thinking is stopping me. i’m putting off the films i really want to watch because i dont want to spoil them. i watched 2 yesterday i like both a lot but then i have the thought “i probably would have liked them even more had i not had this problem”

    It always helps when i feel that i’ll get over this, that at some point my head will just relax. Reading the book and knowing it’s possible to get over anxiety helped a ton, it doesn’t just feel like it will be never ending.

  15. Mark R Says:

    Hi Si,

    Interesting to read your post as I feel pretty much in the same position as you. I continue to be up and down with times of being totally fine as you have mentioned, mind free with clarity and pretty much myself and at other times, less so.

    Unfortunately I’ve had a pretty rough week or so where I’ve been dragged back into the woods. My mind is self focused, body buzzing with nervous energy, refuced interest etc. Ive stuck to my usual routine of work, exercise, and socialising but my mind harbours thoughts of ‘When will it go again?’.

    I think there are two ways to look at it though. One would be the mindset of ‘I was great last week, yesterday etc. It’s never going to go. This isn’t fair’. The other is that ‘Well I’ve had times of being myself and feeling good again. This proves I’m on the right path and my mind and body need a bit more time.’ The latter is much kinda to ourselves and we need self compassion in tough times.

    Sounds like you’re doing well. Hope to here back from you.

    Mark.

  16. Alz Says:

    Here’s a bit of hope for you all . I’m catching a flight in the next couple of hours to meet my bro whose wife is about to hv a baby. I am in such a bad state that I’m questioning everything ? Is there actually a flight? Did I pack everything ? Etc etc . It’s a point of utter depersonalisation but I’m going to take this risk , go ahead and see what happens . I’m scared . I’m nervous but I’m going to move ahead in life so that later when I look back I don’t hv regrets thanks to my anxiety!

  17. Si Says:

    Hi Mark, good to hear from you and a little re-assured that it’s not jsut me.

    When I have moments of clarity it feel so good and I remind myself that if it comes back (which it does) I will be better prepared and stronger, however this is not the case. I find it all most impossible to see any possitives when I am in what they say is a “set back”, I would call it routine! because here I am again wanting re-assurance, hoping that someone can help, dreading the day, the future not wanting to do anything but neither wanting to relax.

    Yep I think we are very much the same, I too continue with work (struggle through), do some exercise (but could do more) and socialising I struggle with but then I have never been great with it. Holding a conversation is a real task the best of times yet when like this it’s a real chore.

    Yes I am putting pressure on myself to feel better and I should be thankful for the times I have had recently.

    For me it like this……

    When I am ok – I do most things without thinking (over thinking) and I promise myself when I feel it again – I will manage ok!

    When I start to feel it – I make the mistake (or is it a mistake) of thinking oh no it’s back…. I put up with it for a day or so and then come back on here, put on Claire Weekes audio and cry way way too much. Loose all interest and think it’s never going away. (This is where I am now)

    I think you are dead right with the latter option, however it’s very hard to do especially when you have had a good spell.

    Best of luck
    Si

  18. daryl Says:

    Si,

    I think that is all of us mate. It’s a chuffing nightmare………for me it’s obsessive thoughts…….and then I have days when they are never there (about my relationship) but I think the thing is that, like you, I notice they aren’t there which seemingly is a free invitation for all those thoughts to come back.

    When I have bad days I think of nothing else………just anxiety and obsessive thoughts, when I have good days I think of what I am doing and there is no room for anxiety because I am occupied until I stop……………then I start to think how good I feel and wow, could this be over?? Then BOOM that’s the invite for me to start the thoughts again…………you see what I mean. It’s like when I am in a loop I think about it, when I am out of the loop I think about it……..its habit, habit born of months of thinking this way……….checking in on how we feel.

    But a positive to be taken from this is that you have broken part of the chain……..you have found a way to forget it, to not focus on it, you must have or everyday would be the way you feel when you are in a “setback”. It’s just you don’t notice that you have made that breakthrough because when it comes back you get deflated. Think about it……….you have some good days……..that must mean you know how to deal with it………it’s not like when this first happened (For me) I couldn’t stop thinking at all, I was in constant panic everyday………..you have bad days and some good days and so you are on the way. What you have to try to do is stop checking in on yourself, good days or bad days (easy for me to say!!) because that is the crack in the door that it needs to squeeze back in…………then you get the F.E.A.R……..oh God!! It’s back and queue the loop again.

    Keep at it mate, and by that I mean the exact opposite to what I just typed!! Essentially stop trying, just accept it, it passes, you know that (shouldn’t be giving you reassurance!), the good days will be back soon and when they are don’t analyse them!!

    Now I just need to do the same myself :). By the way, you mention meds……….have they helped at all? I have a prescription here but I have not used it yet for fear of getting hooked and not doing this organically. Would love to know your experiences.

  19. Simon Says:

    Daryl,

    Thanks for making the effort to respond and help me and others get through this, if this is a crutch then so be it….. I would sooner have the crutch than not be able to express myself to others whom understand. There does come a time when you do drop this visiting (I’ve been here before) and in a way you take it for granted, but it really is a life saver.

    I’ve been driving a lot today in my work and spend quite a bit alone, had Claire Weekes to keep me company, but this time I am even thinking “Oh I’ve heard all this before….” I can recite some of what she says word for word :)

    Yep I suppose having some good days and bad must mean something is happening, and yes after a good spell the bad times hurt more. If I look back over the year I have come quite a way and done a lot of things I didn’t think I could with anxiety. my attitude is changing very slowly but I do find it hard to switch off from it when it’s intense.

    Anyway… to your question and hopefully a little advise from me, I have been on meds (Sertraline) for 6 months or so, my dose has been from 50mg to 150mg but I felt it was making me worse, so without the advise from my GP I have come back to 50mgs a day and actually feel that they have done nothing at all for me, but then that’s where the fear comes in…. do I drop them or not? but at the moment I am not bothered either way, don’t think the dose is helping but don’t think it’s doing any harm too. So my advise is if you feel you can manage without then don’t bother. I have a funny story (not like I want to laugh though) …. I went to my sons wedding abroad in July with 30 others and months before we went I was totally dreading it…. don’t know what I was dreading but I was dreading it. The week before came and I started to feel a little excited and then 10 days away and I never had one bit of anxiety, on return WHAM!!! it came back, I didn’t know what to do so I went back to my doctors whom I felt understood and explained that when I was away it had gone but now it’s come back……. get ready for it…… she said how old are you, I told her 49, she said oh so it’s a while before you retire isn’t it, have you thought about moving abroad!!!! – Sorry but I lost all faith in her that day, I know she only meant well but what would that achieve? What am I running away from, what will another country do….. I was ok on holiday because I was with friends and family and I suppose just enjoying myself. Moving abroad would not be the answer….. facing the fear and feeling it is.

    I am also not going to beat myself up now for posting on here – if I need to do it I’ll do it, if people think I am doing it too much “PLEASE PLEASE TELL ME”

    Thanks all, oh and Merry Christmas (got in early)

    Si

  20. Daryl Says:

    Mate, if it helps do it come on here as much as you like…….we’re all in the same boat HMS Anxiety!! But in reality you know your best times are when you sit with it and let it pass I reckon.

    Thanks so much for the heads up on medication……..I had my first diagnosable episode around 15 years ago and recovered 100%. I was on cipralex but knowing what I know now I reckon it was the placebo effect that got me rather than the meds themselves. I had a totally different no on them. I think the internet in some ways has hindered me getting out of it second time around……..I’ve searched for reasons just like I did 15 years ago but now I have access to a whole bank of information which in some ways helps but in other ways keeps me in the anxiety club.

    I can research so many things and when you can research, you can find negative info and that is what keeps anxiety going. It’s a modern phenomenon and I think that is why Paul talks so so much about dropping searching and googling in his second book.

    Don’t forget, when Claire Weekes was doing this, there was no internet…….no chance to check daily, every minute, every second…….she gave advice and it was taken at face value…….it probably wasn’t questioned and people accepted what she said……..our minds are powerful, even though you know both Paul and Weekes speak the truth, we are desperate to find an exception or a quick fix but that just keeps us in the loop even more…….as we both know.

    I am going to take your advice and keep going without the meds……mate, you’re fine, it feels awful but it WILL pass. Keep in touch and vent if you need to……it’ll be me next week!!

  21. Mamba Says:

    Does anyone do meditation? Have you felt any long term effect?

    I’ve been doing (trying) for months. it helps me in the moment but in the long term it doesn’t seem to have helped so much.

    On medication: I first took medication in 2008 and it drastically helped me. i’ve been back on medication this year and although it’s taken a long while to kick in it’s helped a lot. my head is a lot clearer, i’m not jumping from one mood to the next constantly, i was a mess to be honest. I’ve been on it 4 months, i’ve been told the full effect can take longer to work. i’d recommend it BUT whatever you do stick to the prescribed dose! if the you see no improvement after six weeks or so talk to your doctor about an increase.

    Is there anyone who posts here or lurks here who has beaten anxiety? i guess i’m looking for reassurance that i can get over this :(

  22. Daryl Says:

    Hi Mamba, what medication are you using. You say it has helped and yet you still feel you are struggling so I just wonder what benefits do you think you have had and did you recover fully in 2008? Sorry for all the questions, just interested in your experiences.

    And yes, lots of people on here have recovered, there are lots of positive stories out there so I’m sure we all can.

  23. Si Says:

    For everyone on here – just a reminder…..

    We all come on this site for different reasons, maybe re-assurance, maybe to just vent off and maybe for some good advise and support.

    However if like me, when you are feeling “Normalish” and getting on with life how often do you visit the blog, probably not very often.

    All I am saying is that when you read the blog it is usually because we are struggling, which in turn means we are helping one and other with the struggle. The real help on here comes from those who have recovered and want to help us all by giving us that hope that one day all will be ok.

    All I am trying to say (an probably not making much sence) is that don’t be deflated by people struggling on here…… you must think of all the people that have been on here, got the help, recovered and to a certain degree maybe do not wish to re-visit for their own reasons.

    So…… onwards and upwards and ignore that voice that says “you can’t” – because we all “CAN”

    Si

  24. Daryl Says:

    Spot on Si.

  25. Mark R Says:

    Thanks for that message Si.

    As I said in my previous post that I’ve been crap for a week or so and today is particularly nasty. I’m at work and have zero interest other than how bad I feel. Will push on but sometimes this is a total bitch.

  26. Si Says:

    Mark… trust me you’re not alone at the minute I too am at work with no interest what so ever in anything, infact just about everything is annoying me and making me low (working in a remote site at the minute) I am doing work but really don’t see the point…. and yep, checking on here several times an hour to see if anyone is out there…..

    Just been for a walk outside but didn’t realy fancy it….. Ahhhrrrrrr

    Should laugh really…. infact sod it – I will laugh at being like this (for the next 5 mins)

  27. Mark R Says:

    Hi all (in particular Si)

    After reading an article I feel compelled to write this.

    I’ve woken today not feeling too bad, but as for someone who is baited with anxiety this means nothing. It doesn’t take long for the anxious cogs to start turning and in a short while I’m on edge and feel awful. Now my mind begins the same routine:

    Tells me the day is a write off.

    Repeatedly informs me that it hates the feeling and to look for a way to stop it.

    Looks at others, feels jealous and wants the same life they have.

    Remembers my last ‘good’ day and pines for it in a defeated, melancholy way.

    Hijacks my thoughts and throws a roadblock into any of my plans.

    Sound familar?

    Now for me to deal with a bad day the way I did years ago would be to go home, maybe have a cry, look up anxiety and project the misery forward. Years of dealing with this have given me the nouse to respond a little more skilfully….

    Okay I feel awful. I still have things to today so will get them done no matter how I feel.

    I won’t always feel awful. I don’t need to project anything forward, just need to focus on today.

    Resist the urge to think myself better, argue with my mind and figure out why I feel rough

    Try and take the positives out of the day (okay I feel lousy but I’ve still done x,y,z)

    Don’t get me wrong, I hate feeling like this but believe we can mitigate the impact with a change in behaviour. Taking something out of a crap day and knowing it will end makes it easier to bear.

    Hope all is well,

    Mark.

  28. Si Says:

    Mark,

    Thank you very much for the above, and I am sure you will agree that when you are in the midst of the rough feelings it is extremely difficult not to see the wood for the trees.

    Never the less – something I feel I have been practicing which is probably why I do get some good spells, but how so easy it is to drop back in the hole. Suppose I must continue no matter what – like everyone else.

    I do not like the word mindfullness and I don’t like all the trying this and that to make you feel better because that brings the focus back on the condition. But something sticks in my head I thought about the other day and thats to “ACT AS IF”, act as if I don’t have anxiety which in essense means do anything without it stopping you. Now I have a drum set in my man cave at the bottom of the garded, I don’t play them particularly well but I have a thrash about to some music. When I am on the drums I imagine myself in a band in a pud, nothing more than that and I feel relaxed and happy (when I haven’t got anxiety that is), so this I feel is a little like “mindfulness” but in an ordinary way….. we can change our thoughts to change our mood even if on ly for a short time, and with time we will feel better.

    Hoping this makes sense to everyone – don’t we all plan and play movies in our head?

  29. Mark R Says:

    Si,

    Absolutely agree. It’s almost impossible to imagine feeling any better when anxiety is blowing at full force but the same goes for when we feel seemingly okay. When there is no anxiety in my head it just feels like it happened to someone else and is just a slight ache in my body.

    Yesterday was hard for me but I still did I needed to do. I’ve woke feeling the same too but I’m on the coach now to the football despite feeling total crap and the protestations of my mind.

    It’s utterly frustrating and can wipe the floor with us sometimes but we can only do our best can’t we?

  30. Simon Says:

    Had an awful few days now, everything feels pointless, I wake at 4am but just lay there with all the stupid anxious thoughts. I’ve got the granddaughter this morning and it so hurts not to feel the fun I should be feeling, had some more tears on the wife’s shoulder (she is my absolute rock). Can’t sit still but on the other hand don’t want anything to do. The wanting to be normal again is very very frustrating especially with it being close to Christmas too. Feel utterly misserable to the core and can’t seem to ignore my feelings. But I know I have to keep plodding on, even the evenings are feeling a little bad now but IT WILL PASS !!!!

  31. Mark R Says:

    Is Simon and Si the same person?

  32. Simon Says:

    Yes mate I am the same person don’t know why I put Simon dont usually. Think this is the Mark and Si show lol

    Sat doing a suduko but still can’t concentrate

  33. Jamie Says:

    Just out of interest, where is everyone based ?

  34. Mark R Says:

    That’s okay. We’re both struggling and it helps to converse. It’s not like we hog the blog.

    You are right. These days always pass! We have had okay times so the proof is in the pudding really. I’m sorry you’re struggling mate, I feel exactly the same and everyone on here knows how it is.

    Jamie I’m in Birmingham.

  35. Simon Says:

    Cheers Mark – trying my best today to accept feeling awful, it’s strange because we do all understand it and know why we are like this yet when I’m the cycle you just can’t convince yourself and everything you do is such a massive effort both mentally and sometimes physically.

    Jamie I live near Nottingham

  36. Alz Says:

    Just wondering where Melissa, char, rich , Bryan , Doreen etc are ;Helen as well

  37. Jamie Says:

    Hi Alz

    I think as people begin to feel better and ‘recover’ (I know some don’t like that word), they visit this blog a bit less. I am sure they will pop back now and again to lend a bit of support

  38. K Says:

    Hi all,
    Great post. I do feel very overwhelmed with knowledge about anxiety and I think I am still paralyzed by fears. Mostly fear of living with chronic body pains, aches and stomach issues. These physycal things jumpstart my worries and sadness. I have been like that for months. I quit my job. I am a mom to a one-year old. I feel so guilty to be sad around her, she will start picking up on that at some point. I want her to be strong and happy.
    One thing that comforts me is that I believe I have “graduated” from many other symptoms. I have days or weeks (although not for a while) when I did not feel any pain and I am barely bothered by anything then. As far as remember what preceded those days and weeks is a conviction that I am absolutely healthy and that there is nothing wrong with me. Then some new doubt creeped up on me.
    It seems that we always have a choice between what we are communicating to the limbic system, consciously and unconsciously (reference to “nothing works letter”.) But I have a very hard time pretending that I am not in danger and just living my life without fear of being in pain tomorrow or for the rest of my lifex It is like I need to wake up in a good mood, with no pain, and THEN I am happy. I know that I anticipate being in pain. And because I started feeling pain so many times before upon awakening, I almost don’t know another way. Something about this is like faith in God. A non-believer wants to see a miracle before concluding that there is God. A believer just believes and lives her life.
    My mom keeps pushing me to try another medication. I am resisting, I do not think it will help.
    My husband shows pity for me. I hope he still loves me. I am an anxiety/pain-addict and pity is my drug.
    I probably sound like a crazy person at this point. Sorry, my mind has not been clear lately. It has been tough.
    Thank you,
    K

  39. Anon Says:

    K, I don’t know if this helps but there is a pain doc named Dr Hanscomb who is a former longtime sufferer and explains that adrenalized nervous system has faster transmission, and that is why we feel pain when anxious. It is real pain, but it is due to anxiety and adrenaline. Like you, I had a very hard time believing this due to extreme lower back pain for over a year, which suddenly vanished once I was able to relax more and get more sleep. There were times when I could not move. But I did notice correlations, like back spasms when my kids were stressing me out. You don’t have to believe it but only to believe in the possibility that anxiety is causing it. That is enough.

  40. Julib Says:

    Hello,

    Good post, thank you Paul.

    Is it normal of anxiety to make you feel complete overwhelm every day? or is this more depression?

    I have had a bad setback in anxiety the last 2 months, it’s been very physical, panic attacks, high general anxiety and loss of appetite. I daily feel like a walking shell, weak, fatigued and unable to cope with just normal every day life, and as a mother that is hard. In the past anxiety has hit me in the form of intrusive thoughts mainly and anxiety about going out and socialising, it has never felt this physical or overwhelming. Every day I feel awful and struggle to get through each day and cry a lot. Even functioning at home is proving difficult most days.

    I feel completely stuck. I was wondering if anyone can give me advice on how to push through this because every day nothing is changing. I wake daily, dread in my stomach, strong nausea and unable to eat until later in the day. I have ibs so often on the toilet alot too. Dread all day and extremely worn out from it all that all I can do is rest and do minimal tasks.

    On top of this everything triggers anxiety and overwhelm. Examples, if I see people on TV out living normal life I feel anxious, sometimes my children can trigger anxiety if they are loud and talking a lot (it just overwhelms me), everything makes me feel sick when I walk about, cooking is tough because of this, showering and washing my hair can overwhelm me….. I am finding it hard to word this but it’s a complete exhaustion and overwhelm and everything seems to trigger my anxiety and stomach to churn.

    If I think of Christmas I feel sick and cry. I just feel my brain is so sensitized. I am constantly worrying that I can’t eat properly, worried I’ve developed eating issues, worried I won’t ever recover from this, worried why I am feeling my brain is in a dark scary forest and I can’t find a way out… That’s the best way to describe it, I feel I am in a dark forest and it’s eerie and everything is frightening. I feel so afraid and overwhelmed even just sat in my house.

    My husband is being amazing, he takes care of me after work and helps with the children. He says it’s all anxiety and I don’t need to see a doctor as all they will do is throw diazepam down my throat and insist I took medication. I reached out to a therapist privately last week, which took a lot because I even get anxious talking about my anxiety right now. Normal? She was awful, she told me to hug a pillow, breathe into paper bags, think positive and ignore the physical symptoms. She said I didn’t have anxiety, it was all past trauma stored in the body and I needed to do EFT tapping to get it out of me. Such a waste of money and I cried I would never get any support.

    Does this sound like anxiety? Can I help myself through this? I spend every day feeling so eerie, low, afraid, overwhelmed and can’t function much at all. I feel the worst wife and mother right now. Any advice is appreciated. I have been trying to apply acceptance but I am utterly useless at it right now, and this is all feeling like I can’t help myself out of this and I worry I am the worst case of anxiety there has ever been.

    Ju

  41. Si Says:

    Hi Ju…….

    First and foremost….. you are not the worst wife or mother AT ALL!!

    I am not going to lie, I am not the best to be giving advice as I too feel just like you at the moment. One of the most frustrating things you are having as I read is that you are so overwhelmed by such minor minor things, washing your hair, fearing Christmas, wanting to be like normal people.

    This is all part of anxiety as I am sure most people on here would agree. That said it’s also a form of depression how can it not be, you feel totally lost and deflated with every aspect of your life RIGHT NOW…. I say RIGHT NOW because it will go and that’s one of the things you have to remind yourself kindly about. Will medication help – my experince is no, but that’s just mine.

    I’m having a bad patch at the moment, completely melted this morning for a few hours … cry, cry, cry……but I have had some good periods of late and it’s not until you feel this low that you appreciate you have had some good periods.

    I get it with the therapist, I bet you think to yourself “no one can help me!”, well they can, support from people on here can go a long way, ultimately we have to do it ourselves. I had this back in 2009 for a couple of years and I like to think I had made a full recovery up until last year when it hit me again. I thought it would go as fast as it came but guess what? But why does it still hang around, because although I tell myself not to fight it – how can you not?

    All the knowledge that you have regards acceptance is all you need as I was told by Paul back in 2009. We have to drop everything, all the coping stuff, stop searching and put ourselves out there and live NO MATTER HOW WE FEEL.

    Now…… I feel like a fraudster because I am giving advice that I also find very very difficult to follow when in a bad period. Only last week my boss who also has anxiety asked how I was doing, on the air of caution I told him I was doing well at the minute (didn’t want to push my luck incase my mind was listening and thought I’ll Show You). I told him that the bad times will come back no doubt but it was ok……. well of course it was ok to say that when I was feeling quite normal. So move on another week and look at me – I am on here every minute hoping for…. hoping for ….. hoping for … for WHAT???

    I think you are stronger than you are aware, in fact I know you are. One thing that WE need to do is to be kinder to ourselves, accept that we feel rubbish but continue to do the best we can. The thoughts are just thoughts and they create the feelings….. So lets both try to accept them by just acknowledging them.

    Wishing you well

    Si

  42. Anon Says:

    Julib, you are me. Every. Single. Symptom. I am mostly past this now. I took benzodiazepines for 3 months. They made it incredibly worse. Unbearable. My kids triggered me. Every single thing exactly as you write. It is temporary. Paul’s method works. It is a crashed-out nervous system that needs to rest. Meditation helps. Walking outside daily helped me. Listening to anxiety podcasts. You don’t have to fight or question it. Do any nice thing for yourself that you can. Any positive action helps. It is a very very slow recovery process. The thoughts are lying to you and it is safe to ignore them. They fade away so gradually it is imperceptible. You are not alone.

  43. Julib Says:

    Si,

    Thank you for replying to me, it means a lot. Especially while you are struggling yourself, so thank you, you have given me good advice.

    I have been struggling for about 7 weeks. In those 7 weeks I have gone off food, I feel sick all the time and even fear being sick so I struggle to eat proper meals. So that’s become something my anxiety has latched onto. I hate being alone in the day because of it.

    I feel such a terrible mother, I have been almost housebound these last 7 weeks because of how awful I feel. In the early weeks I was having constant panic which has now settled and I may get 1 or 2 a week but every day my general anxiety is high, I feel sick, restless, uneasy and totally overwhelmed.

    I agree I of course feel depressed. Who wouldn’t in my situation. Everything overwhelms me and yes they are minor. I fear being sick, what if I am sick and need a doctor, what if I cant eat again and end up ill, what if I am ill Christmas day with anxiety and end up in bed all day (anxiety really can floor me that bad), what if I can’t cook for my family again,, what if I never get through this…. I panic doing simple tasks because I always feel sick and weak with fatigue, so washing my hair,, showering, cooking… all can trigger panic or anxiety. I feel everything overwhelms me and I am ashamed of being like this. I feel I am letting my husband and children down. I hate them coming home and seeing me probably looking tired and low, resting… I am ashamed.

    Anxiety seems to really depleate me energy wise, I am so tired from the last 7 weeks so I am struggling with that too on top of everything else. I really worry that I can’t get through this. I like I said, struggle to discuss my anxiety as even that can cause me to feel anxious, sometimes reading an anxiety book makes me anxious lol! What is wrong with me?

    Thank you again for replying to me, you made me feel calmer and some hope. I wish you well and I hope things get easier for you soon.

    Ju

  44. Julib Says:

    Anon,

    Your reply made me cry, thank you for your reassuring words.

    If you see my reply to Si above you will see how much this is effecting me. I feel the worst wife and mother and worry I can’t help myself through this because of how fatigued, and how bad my nausea is, it’s hard for me to do things right now to distract.

    I really hope things are getting easier for you. Thank you for reaching out to me, it means a lot.

    Ju

  45. Anon Says:

    I know, Julib. I had all the same intrusive thoughts. Try to accept that they are like a radio with bad music playing in the background. Once they go, you will see that you are in fact a good mother because of the fact that you still parented while dealing with these debilitating feelings that make it so hard. Don’t set goals, just do what you can. That is enough. It’s ok to have bad thoughts, but you don’t need to believe them. You might try a CBT book. It teaches how to objectively consider these thoughts. They truly are just mind noise. I know it’s hard to accept, but it’s just mind garbage. Truly.

  46. Anon Says:

    Julib, you can search this blog. People have posted about food aversion many a time

  47. Julib Says:

    Anon,

    Thank you.

    I can see my thoughts are causing a lot of issues. They race all day but it’s the very strong physical feelings, weakness and fatigue I am experiencing daily that’s also causing me anxiety. Fear, adrenaline, fear cycle I guess. It’s exhausting me and I worry about how i feel all the time. I hate walking around for long because I feel so weak and drained. No fun.

    Thank you again for your help. I don’t feel I am doing enough, my husband cooks almost every night unless I can do it. Our children are all teenagers so that does make things easier but I still feel I am letting them down.

    Ju

  48. Anon Says:

    Julib, it is awful, I know. But you are stronger than you realize. I had all the symptoms for more than a year and was convinced it was hopeless. I can confirm that they are not as harmful as they convince us. check out the site the worry games. She has 5 kids and writes about this from a mothers perspective. It helped me a lot to know how many people are in the same boat.

  49. Julib Says:

    Anon,

    Thank you.

    I just worry it’s not normal to feel so weak, sick, fatigued as I do. I feel so off my feet with it all and the nausea and fear of being sick is making me worse. I live every day in fear of how awful I feel physically, always remembering the last 7 weeks and how scary it’s been. It’s been so traumatic and the memories just surround me.

    I shall take a look at that site, thank you.

    Ju

  50. Julib Says:

    Anon,

    Also when my physical anxiety spikes, like tonight we are without heating and I am cold and shivering, which for some reason has triggered my physical anxiety. I am shaking, cold, stomach nausea, weakness, flushed face etc.. then that triggers my sensitized mind. Anything anyone talks about then triggers me to panic, I can’t watch tv or talk to anyone when my anxiety spikes this bad. Is that normal? When my physical anxiety hits like this, I then feel sick, shake and anything anyone talks about can trigger me and I have to be by myself. Then I worry why that happens. Why I seem to trigger badly about anything and everything when my physical anxiety hits. Even watching tv and seeing people on tv at work, out with friends, or my kids just talking or my husband spikes my anxiety and i panic worse.

    It’s so strange and i worry what that is. Is it just panic?

    Ju

  51. Si Says:

    Ju…… yes it is all anxiety, I too experienced this major, however it has lessened over time. All you have to do is accept it, accept you feel this way, don’t try to stop IT or try and reason with it or try and force it away….. live with it, it’s horrid but please please try not to worry because this creates more worry

    si

  52. Anon Says:

    Yes Julib. It seems like nobody could possibly experience something so awful, but it is all par for the course, and we can all relate

  53. Julib Says:

    Since and Anon,

    Thank you, that’s reassuring.

    I’m very worried about the nausea. I have a fear of eating incase I’m sick so of course the anxiety obsesses over it and I get afraid to eat. I feel sick all the time and have an upset stomach at times (it sends my bowels into overdrive when I get anxious about being sick). So I am struggling to eat. When I see food or smell it I can even feel sick. I’ve never had this before with anxiety so it’s horrible. I’m managing to graze all day but for the last month I’ve been living off bananas, oat cakes, oat biscuits, plain crisps, oats and plain potatoes. On a good day I can eat a meal but some days I csnt manage a meal and have to graze all day. It’s horrible and yes I obsess over the nausea worse when alone in the daytime as it scares me. It’s a horrible symptom and one that’s bothering me alot and the worst part of all of this. I worry I will be ill if I don’t eat meals and I’ve not had meat for weeks because my stomach is so fragile.

    My husband says I am fine as I am eating each day even if it’s grazing. It’s just horrible how sick I feel some days thinking of food. Last week it was much better and I managed to even cook some meals and I had spag bol one night with no issues. My anxiety of course is making me worry I have emetophobia or an eating disorder because of this going on so long. Oh anxiety I hate you lol.

    Thank you for your kind replies today, they’ve soothed me so much.
    Ju

  54. Debbie Says:

    Julib iam the same way when i have anxiety i cant seem to talk to anyone it makes me feel worse also i cant watch tv it scares me . I have the same thing with eating i have lost 20 pounds . I have a alot of stomach issues gastritis etc. so that dos not help.
    Debbie

  55. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Julib,

    I’ve been where you are, and I’m here to say that it doesn’t last forever! Nausea was one of my main symptoms, and like you I was tormented by it (made worse because I also have a fear of vomiting). I would think “What if my nausea prevents me from eating and I starve to death?!?” I would obsess about food while at the same time panicking before every meal. For weeks I would start my day off by having to go to the bathroom, then the nausea would hit and I would force myself to eat breakfast. I didn’t want to go anywhere, especially social situations where eating was involved. I told myself I was physically weak because I wasn’t eating enough. Days, weeks, and months were passing and I was spending the time solely focused on every bodily sensation. So what did I do? I eventually had to tell myself “So what you’re nauseous! Yeah you don’t like it and it’s uncomfortable, but you can still live your life.” And I did. I started some light exercising. I went back to work. I engaged with my family. All the while the nausea would be there, sometimes better, sometimes worse. But my fears never came true. I was always able to eat, even if I was forcing myself. Then, gradually, I didn’t have to force myself as much. I found myself enjoying food again. Then the nausea wasn’t there every day. Then it was gone entirely. And when it would come back during my more intense moments of anxiety, I knew it was just a temporary uncomfortable feeling.

  56. Mamba Says:

    Apologies to Daryl for not responding sooner. i try not to be on anxiety boards/blogs too much and i’d been looking through a few for the 3 or 4 days so needed a rest.

    This is probably going to be a long post…

    I first started on 20mg citalopram/celexa in 2008, i’d been advised by my Doctor & CBT Therapist to try medication but like you probably are now i was anxious about getting hooked or what the side effects might be. It wasn’t until a bereavement that i decided i needed something and i didn’t give a damn about the side effects or anything else at that point. it feels like a lifetime ago but the side effects weren’t too bad (everyone’s different) an increase in sweating, some insomnia, at times drowsiness through the day and for me the worst was weight gain. there can also be sexual problems, lets just say if you want a quickie think again 😀

    From what i remember i had few problems at the time. it helped a lot with my depression and my anxiety improved. CBT helped as well. i guess around 2010-2011 i started to skip doses, several days on several days ooff. weeks of feeling great then having to start taking again. i was sick to death of being tired, sick of having no motivation and concerned about my weight gain.

    Then in 2011 without going into all the details my life fell apart, month after month something else happened as well as another bereavement and another bereavement in 2013 (which honestly nearly finished me off) all during this time and up until this year on and off the medication, without telling my doctor anything that was going on.

    By 2015 i was completely off the medication my Mum (she’s fine now) was ill which took my focus off myself and i just got on with life. every 2 or 3 weeks i’d feel down and my rumination/chatterbox/constant thinking happened everyday but i coped. It started to get back on top of me by the end of 2015 so put myself back on 10mg and AGAIN just got on with life, every 2 or 3 weeks i’d feel down and my constant thinking happened everyday until…. i found a lump in my stomach.

    Anxiety’s definitely at it’s highest when you think you have cancer. i pushed and prodded the lump so much over the first couple of days my side turned a yellow/purple/black mess. saw the doctor 3 days later and he told me “just a fat lump” i should have been relieved but as i see it now my anxiety was so high and my messing around with medication was so dumb my fear just continued for most of the year.

    This year having again been off Citalopram for 3 or 4 months i decided to give it another try (you would think i’d have given up by now 😀 ) 10mg. still constant thinking every day but not hugely anxious or depressed, just the feeling down (feeling everything turns bad etc) once in awhile. then after a few months i decided to up to 20mg and my head just went crazy, i just couldn’t control my thoughts, feeling panicky, thinking stupid things, being hugely melodramatic etc i stopped taking it altogether the next day i felt normal again. still with chatterbox but i didn’t feel my head was going a million miles an hour.

    I was told on a forum that i’d been very very stupid to be doing what i had been doing. SSRI’s don’t work like this and need to be taken everyday for them to work. over the next few weeks i tried to learn as much as possible about SSRI’s and anxiety. Confessed to my doctor, slowly went back on citalopram 10mg to 20mg and i’ve now been on 30mg for 4 months. My head is so much clearer, the side affects (which increase with each higher dose) in the first month or two were bad this time around with some of the worst depression i’d had in years but there’s less chatter, the rollercoaster up and downs have gone. i’m still getting “blips” every so often but feel i’m on the right path. i’ve just finished my first part of CBT (now very different from back in 2008) and will be seeing a therapist in the new year.

    I’m not cured far far from it, if i had wrote this last week i was feeling hopeless again. i was introduced to the book At Last A Life by someone who had Anxiety for 16 years and with the help of the book and Citalopram is cured/over it, the book has helped me understand what i’ve been going through (shame a Dr couldn’t have told me) and i have hope at some point i can live happily.

    Should you take Citalopram or anything else? it’s a tough decision but it does help, especially when you find the right dose and give it time to settle, i’ve been told i won’t feel the full effect for another 2 months.

    Any other questions please ask.

    P.S Reading this back and it’s a little bit TMI!! i just started typing 90minutes ago and couldn’t stop LOL

  57. PAH Says:

    Hi folks

    It’s a long time since I’ve posted or even visited here. After a couple of years struggling with anxiety I have been absolutely fine since late 2015. Until a couple of months ago when I let a couple of funny feelings drop me into old habits. I think I panicked, ‘oh no it’s back’ and I now found myself feeling back to square one. The stupid thing is I still have days when I feel fine but days like today when I am lost inside my own head feeling miserable. I deep down know what i need to do, just crack on and allow myself to heel in my own time but I’m finding it really hard to stay positive and to stop trying to think and fighting myself better!

    Having felt fine for ages and then wham, I decided to re-read Paul’s book and everything makes so much sense. I had a period of pressure at work before my summer holiday and it was on this holiday when things slowly began to unravel. One question….. I seem to have an ‘inner commentator’ in my mind repeating things like ‘it’s ok to feel like this’ or ‘it’s just an energy release’. I’m conscious of not turning Paul’s meaaagw into a technique therefore do I just allow the commentator or ramble on in the background whilst I trying to crack on with my day????

    Think I’m maybe trying for the perfect recovery and thinking about what I need to do too much so any thoughts or sencoragement greatly appreciated!

  58. Julib Says:

    Hi Stephanie.

    Thank you for your kind reply. I hate to think of anyone else suffering like this but it’s reassuring just to know I’m not alone. I know seeking reassurance is bad for anxiety but I think at first getting that comfort can go a long way.

    I also forgot to mention how hypervigilent I am. Every single bodily sensation sends me into high anxiety or a panic attack. Last night is an example. I felt cold and shivery after washing my hair and wham I had almost a panic attack, I was shaking and adrenaline hit me hard. Why? I’ve no idea. It seems my body keeps doing this. Any sensation, it can be heavy chest, a few palpitations, feeling cold, warm flush… It will trigger panic and I shake. It’s horrible and worrying it’ll never stop.

    I also generally feel off all the time. Everytime I go downstairs to do a chore I tire easily, my heart races, I feel hot, weak, I feel sick and breathless and I have to lie down as I feel so ill. That scares me. Some days I’m ok and can potter about the house fine but other days those awful symptoms hit and I try to stay and push through but I feel so ill. My husband thinks thsts more I’m fatigued and reconditioned from being off my feet so much in the lats 2 months. I gave had to rest a lot and have done less so I guess it’s normal my body is struggling to keep up with the demands of the house. But even that scares me it’s not normal to be so fatigued that even walking around my house is exhuasting me. Some dsys though I can fine and I can fold the washing, cook a meal… But most days I’m so drained my heart races doing anything and I’m not even anxious it just hits because I tjink my body is so tired, like my husband says from weeks of adrenaline.

    All of this makes my health anxiety run wild. I worry all the time it’s not normal for anxiety to sweep you off your feet and need to rest so much, it can’t be normal to be so fatigued, or all the weird cold, and odd symptoms I feel every day. I just don’t feel right in my body at all all day and my anxiety runs wild. I even walk over hunched over some days as I feel so fatigued and breathless. In the early weeks if this last month I barely left my bedroom I felt so bad and panic hit hard everytime I went downstairs. Luckily that’s improved but I still can’t do lots of jobs as I feel so weak and my heart bangs. My husband reminds me all of this has come since the anxiety hit so I am just weakened from 12 hours a day of panic and shaking like I was the first 4 weeks.

    Sorry this got long. It’s just all worrying me a lot and I fear I’m the only person to ever feel so physically unable due to anxiety.

    Julib

  59. Julib Says:

    Debbie.

    Sorry I meant to thank you too.

    It’s good people can understand what I am experiencing but I hope things get better for you soon.

    Ju

  60. daryl Says:

    Mambo,

    Thank you so, so much for your detailed response. It is brilliant to hear from someone who has tried them. I know I was on Cipralex (a derivative of citalopram) around 15 years ago and it helped me massively and I fully recovered (I didn’t know it was anxiety, I thought I was depressed as I did this time until I worked it all out!).
    I have tried to rid myself of anxiety without the help of SSRI’s for the past 12 months and I have made progress due to this blog, Paul’s book, Claire Weekes and a couple of other very good blogs………….I just feel that starting the drugs may be something that just gets me over the line (I have hit a bit of a wall with my obsessive thinking) so I can concentrate on building up my resilience, especially to the irrational thoughts.
    Your post has been really helpful and is something I will put with other info I have for when I make my final decision. What is particularly helpful is learning that I must stick to the recommended dose and stick at it for more than a couple of weeks if I make that decision. You learnt the hard way and taking the time to pass that info on to me is very, very kind.
    I went to the doctors last month…………got the pills last week…………..am still ‘umming and ‘ahhing about whether to take them or not!! To be fair just having them in the house has helped me to focus less on my anxiety and I am actually having a good run at present (may be this is a compulsion!).
    Many thanks again. There is no replacement to hearing from those who have real life experience your advice is invaluable.
    x

  61. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    I just feel I need a vent in all honesty so apologies in advance.

    I spent the second weekend in a row in that doom laden place where I felt so terrible and low that I felt like every minute seem like an eternity to get through. I still pushed myself despite how I felt but nothing was enjoyable. When I got to the end of the day it was a massive relief for me and I went to bed hoping that the next day would be easier. Sunday I even had some tears which was the first time in a long while.
    The last two days have been easier but I feel unhappy and p***ed off that I continue to be up and down. Some days I’m awful, some days and I’m middling and some I feel that detached from anxiety that it seems like a mild ache in my veins. I know it’s the same for all of us but I’m tired of going to bed with the next day being a lottery on how I will feel. It’s so frustrating that I can be whistling, singing, and then looking forward to meeting someone on a date in the evening to shuffling around the next day and hoping the time would speed up so I can dive under my duvet.

    I can go for months and months with only slight bumps in the road so I guess these last few weeks have been a sticky patch for me but unfortunately it has been the same for the last few Christmas periods. It will end, I will even out as always but when you’re in a certain place feeling any kind of relief seems unthinkable. Sat here now with all the stupid thoughts that ‘Yeah it will be another Christmas to write off’.

    Rant over.

  62. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Julib,

    Trust me, I understand, and you’re definitely not the only one. I spent months (not kidding) basically sitting in a chair all day. My daughter was only about 6 months old at the time, and we had to go stay with my parents so I could have help. I was literally afraid to do anything: walk around, take a shower, sleep, you name it. I was absolutely convinced I was going to collapse or pass out. I was afraid to be alone with my daughter because I didn’t feel capable of taking care of her. I constantly felt hot, sweaty, shaky, weak (and of course, nauseous). I felt trapped in my own personal hell. But like I said in my other post, I finally had to stop fighting all these awful sensations and waiting for them to leave. How could they leave when I was spending every minute obsessing over and analyzing them? I had to start living my life WITH the feelings. I had to take a shower feeling shaky and weak. I had to go to the store feeling hot and sweaty. It was a slow journey with many many ups and downs. My like Paul says, it’s never life that is the problem. For you it’s not cooking dinner or chores that’s causing your anxiety – in fact, those things are how you move forward. Every time you choose to not let how you feel stop you, you’re showing yourself that you are more than you’re anxiety.

  63. Char Says:

    Hi Alz!

    I’m here ! Been popping on now and then to keep up! Went from bad anxiety last Thursday me I was on her – to much better for a few months and now anxiety creeping back in…. such a pain isn’t it

    How r u doing Alz

  64. Char Says:

    My goodness I should read my posts before I post – sorry about the spelling ! I meant to say if you remember I had bad anxiety in the summer – that’s when I think when I was last posting on here. I got much better – “normal” even – what ever that is ! Can feel anxiety creeping back though… is it such a pain…

    How are you Alz?

  65. Jamie Says:

    Mark R and Simon – just a suggestion but do you do any physical exercise e.g. the gym or go running ? I really enjoy running and yesterday, after an up and down weekend, I felt absolutely horrendous yesterday night. When my daughter went to bed, I was downstairs with tears in my eyes and just felt like I could not face work tomorrow. With my job, I can start at lunchtime and work through to 8pm sometimes if I wish. I dropped my daughter to school and went to the gym for a workout. The effect is always the same for me and I always feel better. As Paul talks about in his book, it’s a great way to burn off all that excess stress and worry. I felt so much better and I’ve gone in today thinking clearer and a bit calmer. Don’t get me wrong, my anxiety is still there but it’s much less noticeable today. It’s not a cure of course but I’ve found it a brilliant way to burn off the excess anxiety when needed. Just a thought from me.

  66. Julib Says:

    Stephanie thank you, your reply makes sense.

    I had a tough day today with bad weakness all in my body, low blood pressure feelings everytime I walked around, weak legged, I just felt all over completely weak from morning till now. I’ve never felt this so bad so it did worry me today if was a health issue but my husband reminded me I’ve not eaten well the last 2 months so I’m bound to have tough days. I’ve had no choice but to rest all day, I’ve barely been downstairs because I honestly felt too weak. I’m hoping it passes by tomorrow because I’ve not felt like this in the last 2 months so I’m not all that sure it’s ok to just blame anxiety but we shall see, maybe tomorrow it’ll be better than today.

    I’ve weirdly felt a little calmer today despite feeling so physically awful, it hasn’t even triggered panic which usually any physical sensation and fear does.. It’s funny because I have chronic fatigue syndrome and was at my worst last year. I felt terrible some days but never had panic like I do now over even the smallest symptom. It’s quite possible today has been a flare in my cfs and it’ll pass if I rest.

    Your post has given me a lot of reassurance it’s very normal to feel so weak and off your feet. I’ve struggled so much with this bad anxiety spell that I’ve had to rest a lot. It’s floored me and caused awful weakness and yes a fesr of passing out.

    Thank you again.
    Ju

  67. Mark R Says:

    Hi Jamie,

    I try and do 10k at the gym on the bike 3 or 4 times a week. I have a bad knee so I can’t run unfortunately. I agree that it is a huge help although sometimes I feel that bad I can’t face the gym.

    Mark

  68. Julib Says:

    Hi Stephanie

    Sorry to bother you again, I posted on Paul’s last blog post, I was in the last few comments so I think it was over looked with the new blog post. If you get chance could you take a look and let me know what you think? It took a lot for me to wrote as it’s a huge part of this current anxiety set back and it spikes me badly anything of that nature so I’ve been so worried it’s not anxiety.

    Don’t worry if you are busy, I understand. I’d appreciate your opinion.

    Thank you
    Julib

  69. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Julib,

    It’s definitely anxiety. We can develop a fear over just about anything. When I was about 11, I had a bad nightmare. I put on some music to help me feel better. For awhile after that, whenever I heard that particular song that I had played, I would feel fear and dread. Now, was it the song causing this? Of course not; it was the association my mind was making with that nightmare. Same thing is happening now with you. Your mind (for whatever reason, it doesn’t matter) has currently decided to latch on to medical stuff. What do you need to do about it? Nothing. It’s not the medical stuff that is the problem, it’s always just your reaction to it. If you avoid, it will only get worse. So just go about your day, and if you encounter something medical related, so be it. If you have a fear reaction, that’s ok. Let yourself have the reaction (it’s probably happening automatically anyways), just don’t add to it by trying to suppress the feelings, questioning why you’re feeling that way, or running away. I know it’s very uncomfortable, but it’s the only way to move forward.

  70. Julib Says:

    Thank you for getting back to me Stephanie.

    Friday my son was hurt in school (nothing major but school rang to tell me) , I had the worst panic attack and was shaking, flushed face, dizzy, hot flushes and couldn’t get off my bed for hours. That’s how ill they make me feel. I thrn cry afterwards feeling like an idiot I can’t cope.

    Another thing is I mentioned I get overwhelmed easily and also sometimes my children just coming home can trigger my anxiety. My son every day has drama in school with a boy who doesn’t like him, and everyday he comes home, straight to me telling me stressful things about this boy he hates, or about a fight someone had that he witnessed or that he wants to move school etc… Basically all stressful stuff. Today he came home ranting about school and omg I suddenly felt overwhelmed. I’d had a bad day of raised general anxiety that even going downstairs to make a drink kept triggering panic. Unlike me as this had passed and I was functioning much better around the house.

    Anyway as soon as the kids came home my stomach started churning, my face flushed, I felt very high anxiety hit and wham as soon as my son came to see me telling me about school and the negativity with this boy he doesn’t like wham I had a huge panic attack. My face went red hot, felt dizzy, shaky, fast heart… I was lying on my bed terrified I’d pass our with how hot my face was. I then stupidly pushed myself to wash my hair in the attack and wham I triggered my attack worse.

    I’m now OK but upset, why am I overwhelmed this easily? My son seems to spike my anxiety a lot. I adore my kids. I have 3 and the other 2 I’m fine around but my other son seems to be in with a crowd that like to be mischievous in school and I’m forever having phone calls he’s been late to lessons or given cheek to a teacher. So unlike him as he’s such a good child but this crowd are at a rebelling stage in school. My husband says it’s no wonder it spikes me as it’s stressful, negative and what I don’t need right now and nothing positive ever comes from his mouth when he returns home from school. I guess he’s right but I feel stupid I can’t cope and even have panic attacks if the school flash up on my phone or when be walks in after school, I seem to get overwhelmed. At home he’s a dream child, no issues at all its just he’s in with this crowd in school.

    I’m very worried tonight why I’m overwhelmed so much when he comes home and worried why I can’t cope with anything right now. Is this normal? It’s upsetting me a lot. I feel a useless mother as it is being so off my feet. I’ve had to rest so much recently and not always able to cook dinner and rely on my husband. I’m upset as things were improving and the last week I’ve been thrown back into general high anxiety all day and now the panic attacks that cause such a hot flush to my face I panic I will faint. They had stopped. They literally floor me and I end up bed ridden as I’m so hot, dizzy, weak and feel so ill during and after an attack. I feel like I can’t recover and keep worrying is a health issue causing this so I obsess about that too because I’ve never had general anxiety or panic like this.

    Sorry to offload. I’m just wondering if what I’m experiencing is normal. I feel very lost and have nowhere to turn.

    Thank you for being so kind.

    Ju

  71. Stephanie Says:

    Julib,

    You’re overwhelmed easily because you’re very sensitized right now. There’s nothing else wrong with you. You don’t need to analyze every new issue that might pop up, it’s all the same. Doesn’t matter if it’s about your health, sleep, relationships, social interactions, self-harm, or whatever else your mind can concoct up. It’s all anxiety, and so the response is always the same. Always. Always. Always. Let yourself feel however you’re going to feel, but continue living your life.

    So let’s take your reaction to your kids coming home. You start to feel the fear/dread. You get hot, sweaty, shaky, nauseous, etc. Now, you can choose to escape your room and lay down, thus reinforcing the idea to yourself that you’re “ill” “unable to cope”. Or, you can greet your kids and ask them about their day, thus showing yourself that there’s nothing wrong with you. No matter what you choose, those uncomfortable feelings will be there (because they’re happening automatically at this point – your mind’s way of trying to keep you “safe”), but one way is just going to keep you in the loop and the other will allow your mind the space it needs to find peace again.

    Now, I know you might be telling yourself “I can’t. The feelings are too intense.” I told myself the same things. And the longer I did, the longer I was tormented by these feelings that I was never allowing myself to fully feel. I know it’s scary. But peace and freedom are only ever on the other side of the feelings. Suppressing, avoiding, making excuses will just keep us on this side.

    Read Paul’s post again. Knowledge can only take us so far. We have to start living it out. You said you stupidly pushed yourself the wash your hair when you were feeling anxious, and then you felt worse. That wasn’t stupid! You felt worse because you’re so used to avoiding how you feel, that of course you’re going to feel worse at first. Remember, your mind is just trying to keep you safe, and you’ve been telling it for awhile that these feelings are dangerous. But now it’s time to start showing it – by your actions – that there is nothing wrong with you. Stop making excuses for yourself and do just one thing today that isn’t dictated by your feelings. You’re the only one that can make that choice.

  72. Jamie Says:

    Mark R and Simon – I asked where people were based as I wondered if any of us were near enough to maybe meet up. I thought it may help. I’m in Kent

  73. Jamie Says:

    Great posts Stephanie. Would you class yourself as fully ‘recovered ‘ now ? How long did you suffer bad anxiety for ?

  74. Julib Says:

    Hi Stephanie

    Great advice and yes it all makes sense.

    You know my reaction lol.. It really is too hard for me to carry on, it’s why I worry I’m beyond recovery and the worst case of anxiety. Of physical anxiety. It knocks me completely off my feet.. For example when the panic hit tonight, I felt dizzy, weak, huge hot flushes to my face, shakes, heart racing, blood pressure throigh the roof. I feel awful, I honestly can’t stay on my feet. It’s why I’m resting so much because when I walk about the house those attacks can hit me hard. They had got easier but this last week it’s back bad again and I even dread going downstairs to make a drink during the day because even a 5 minute poo downstairs makes me feel bad. Today panic hit so hard, I was hunched over, heart banging, dizzy and terrified I’d pass out. By the time I got back upstairs i was floored on my bed feeling horrific. It makes me terrified I will pass out.

    This eveey day has depleted my energy and I’m drained daily. I have chronic fatigue issues anyway but this has worsened things and it’s hard to apply carry on with life regardless. Everytime I try I’m either exhausted or I get those awful strong panic symptoms. Which yes is making me feel a useless wife and mother.

    I spend every day like this, dreading a shower, washing my hair, getting food and drinks…. Then feeling guilt for not cooking daily or cleaning. I can some days but this week it’s been so disabling.

    I’ve no idea how I’m going to cope with Christmas feeling this bad and I cried all day today about it.

    Your advice is helping and I’m going to sit and read Pauls book tonight. I hope I’m not the worst case and even I can recover. Despite these several symptoms.

    Thank you again. It means a lot to me. Sorry for so many questions.

    Ju

  75. Sally Says:

    Hi Julib This is rare for me to post BUT
    If you want to recover and I don’t mean living in happy happy land every day that is not sustainable for any human being you have say to yourself this is me for now and I have to live with this as best I can for now When you stop questioning looking for a so called cure the fire inside you will quieten and give you some sort of peace All the worrying about your symptoms and how you feel only makes things worse I know this may sound harsh but believe me I am an oap and a veteran of this condition Instead of concentrating on this say to yourself I can do this I have a husband and children who need me One other thing self pity is our worse enemy we only have anxiety we are not ex servicemen with anxiety and no limbs and have to cope with that Remember they are only feelings horrible I know but they can’t hurt you You can live a very good and full life your future is in your own hands we all have choices Good Luck Sally

  76. Julib Says:

    Hi Sally

    Thank you. I appreciate your reply.

    I agree, it’s just so hard as my symptoms are so very physical all day. Like today I’ve felt so sick all day, dashes to the toilet as it’sioset my bowels. I feel sick all day and struggle to eat. I have churning dread in my stomach all day and just generally feel drained and weak all the time so I find it very hard to function. I also get overwhelmed doing basic chores and panic hits so easily. Today feeling sick has made me terrified I case I am sick. Its really hard for me to accept this. I so wish I could.

    I wish I could grasp acceptance of how awful I feel and not add more fear. I’ve never been very good at the acceptance thing lol.

    I really do appreciate your reply. It makes a lot of sense to me.

    Julie

  77. Sally Says:

    Hi Julie
    Believe me I have been where you are now and the intensity of it will pass if you let go and learn to accept
    Sally x

  78. Julib Says:

    Thank you Sally.

    I hope I can. My head fills me with fears daily, afraid to walk incase I faint, afraid to eat incase I’m sick…. All because physically I feel so bad with the anxiety. It’s tough. I wish I could learn to not fear the symptoms and fears that whizz through my head.

    Ju

  79. Carl Says:

    Hello all,

    I am an Anxiety sufferer, however with one fundamental difference. I have lost all fear and all thoughts. The only thing that makes me a sufferer still, is because I get symptoms still, occasional butterflies and a fuzzy head feeling. They come and they go, i no longer care about them as they are harmless and nothing bad will ever happen. My body is well on the way to recovery and whilst I’d love to be anxiety free, I’m not wishing my anxiety to go, I’m embracing it, welcoming it, showing it that I don’t care and accepting it. Do me a favour all, try making New Years resolutions for yourselves, never come back to this website again. Pretend to live a normal life and take it with you. I wonder what would happen other than recovery?

  80. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Jamie,

    I guess that depends on your definition of recovered. I still deal with anxiety frequently, but the difference is that now I’m not as bothered by it. I’ll have a particularly rough patch every now and then, but I always come out of it feeling more free and understanding than before.

  81. Mark R Says:

    TestYW

  82. Mark R Says:

    For some reason my posts aren’t coming through.

    Sorry to post but I’m having a torrid time at the moment. I’ve been to work today and been as productive as I can and engaging. I felt so low on the drive home that I got in and sobbed on my living room floor for an hour. It can feel so desperate at times that you feel isolated. Just getting through the day as best I can. If I look to the future feeling as I so it seems so bleak and hopeless.

    I do try and be as practical as I can for others on here but I can’t be always. Sorry in advance.

    Mark

  83. Sally Says:

    Hi Carl
    Exactly Carl well said So what are we all to do if we can’t make it go away there is no choice but to learn to live with it and It diminishes and becomes manageable
    Sally

  84. Melissa Says:

    Hi everyone,

    It’s my first time back in months and things are going a lot better. I got some good news that I’m pregnant so it’s still early, but I’m trying to do all the good things for my body, including trying to accept and limit anxiety and panic. I’ve been very tired because of the pregnancy, so that hasn’t helped my anxiety.

    I’ve also been having a rly weird symptom and it has me freaking out. I’ll be in my apartment and then I get kind of thoughts or memories of what my old house use to look like and then I compare where I am now to where I used to live. It’s the weirdest feeling and it’s starting to scare me. I’m worried I’m losing my mind (obviously)…anyone else had these kinds of symptoms?

    Thanks,
    Melissa

  85. K Says:

    Hi Mark R,

    I have been in a loop for weeks myself. This week I had one clear day. What precedeed it was my forced willingness to deal with whatever pains and anxious thoughts I had at the moment. I did not try to take something that would make me sleep (nothing helps anyway), I did not start stretching my muscles, I did not go to my husband for comfort. I just stayed there for a good part of the night just observing what was taking place. I noticed that pain was changing location every few minutes or so, and the more I just observed, the less achy my body felt. I fell asleep and woke up a tiny bit refreshed. Half an hour or so into it I started checking on my symptoms and they eventually came back. Since then, I am trying the same thing – just observing. My symptoms are not gone and I catch myself checking on them, but being an observer without taking action makes me feel not as helpless. I am hoping to continue on this path, and I know that is the right way. It’s just so damn hard!!! I just want to cry and feel sorry for myself most of the time. Please try that too. Just be willing to not do whatever is it that you do when you feel your symptoms. Even if you just sit and medidate or take a nap or go for a walk or movies if you feel like it. Do something that you would do if anxiety was not torturing you at that moment. You don’t have to do something that does not otherwise interest you. Just do something regardless of anxiety. And keep doing it over and over until we beat this thing by no longer caring about it. I know it will help.

    Best,

    K

  86. Mark R Says:

    Hi K,

    Really interesting you should write that about observing as it is a good meditation method I use. I’ve noticed even just 10 minutes of meditating can bring the mind out if that highly anxious state. I usually do it in the evenings and observe where all the tension is. Makes you realise how much our minds resist all of this.

    I bawled my eyes out yesterday and didn’t feel any better for it. Today after work I treated myself to a new phone and a Toby carvery haha. I must felt the weirdest guy in there but oh well. I know all this crap is temporary.

    Thanks for the message.

  87. Louise Says:

    Hi I struggle with thoughts can anyone shed light on the tyoes of thoughts thy have or hav had… Im worried im goin crazy… I cud be doin something simple lik looking out the window thn a thought willchit me but more lile a weak thought from somewhere its strange. Its like as soon as I feel settled or happy wham its bk with negative thoughts

  88. Julib Says:

    Hi all

    Well I’ve had a very tough week but I put into practice some things Stephanie, Si and Sally advised. Despite feeling horrific physically with racing heart, shakes, nausea, hot face, etc.. I still have walked about the house, washed my hair with high anxiety present, cooked dinner and last night I even sat downstairs with my family for 2 hours and put the Christmas tree up. Anxiety was rife, I kept feeling very light headed and terrified I’d pass out and at one point had a huge rush of panic. It made me run to my bedroom, I lay on the bed for 20 minutes then went downstairs and carried on. Normally after a rush of heat, shakes etc I’d feel so light headed I’d not go anywhere but I did and faced it. I had 3 panic attacks yesterday, for me as soon as I feel the hot flush to my face it triggers panic as I fear passing out. I was exhausted before bed.

    How do you deal with hypervigilent feelings? My brain gives me a running commentary eveer time I walk around my house. Oh you feel tingly in your head, oh you feel light headed what if you faint, oh your legs feel bouncy, your heart is banging, oh your face is flushing, omg panic… … So I end up with such severe panic I feel I will pass out I go so hot in my face and dizzy. I am quite deconditioned right now. I have chronic fatigue syndrome as it is but this high general anxiety and anxiety attacks are tiring me out. I’ve had to rest more than usual these last 2 months so I’m even more unfit now which probably is why I feel exhausted cooking, walking about and get the physical symptoms worse as I’m tired so easily.
    . It’s hard juggling such physical anxiety and chronic fatigue, and lately I’ve been floored by it all.

    Also the fear of fainting because I flush in my face and feel so light headed lately is rife. I worry about fainting everytime I walk about. It’s hit me hard this setback. It rules everything I do. I even worry I will faint if I think medical things etc.. Fainting is a huge part of my anxiety. I was scared doing my tree last night incase I fainted and my anxiety wanted me to lie in my room. I resisted other than that 1 time. I also feel light headed due to my fatigue. If I overdo things and don’t pace myself with the housework I always get light headed for a while, I had this all last year with the cfs. It was my sign I’d done too much as my heart would race and I’d feel woozy in my head. As much as I didn’t like it, it never caused panic, I’d rest and it would pass. Where as now I’m anxious, when I do alot of jobs at home and it hits, wham I flush to my face and can panic about passing out. Even if I’m back having a rest, my anxiety notices all the symptoms going on a day wham I flush to my face and panic hits. .

    Any tips for dealing with these couple of things would be appreciated. I’m working hard at acceptance, for me it’s work as it doesn’t come at all easy. I’m just so stuck with the hypervigilent mind and fear of fainting.

    Thank you
    Julib

  89. Alz Says:

    Char!
    So good to hear from you ! I have been the same but I don’t try to come on this blog much . Since we last spoke , I started therapy and I see this lady every three weeks. It’s really nerve wracking befr I visit her because I hv to let out everything but I’m going to continue . In these 4/ 5 months a lot has happened – I flew to my mom to witness the birth of my nephew ( brothers son ). It was so stressful after what happened to me( he’s the first child born in my family after my loss) . However no matter how out of it I was feeling , how disconnected ,how obsessive , I went .the minute we found out he was born my brother, mom and I cried. People at the hospital were just staring at us but they didn’t know why this was so stressful for us . Anyway he’s adorable :)
    Then my husabands brother is getting married at the end of this month and the preparations are intense . Will be having a lot of family and relatives over – excited yet hesitant .
    Finally I resigned from my job ! It was getting super stressful and while I was going on and on and on to test myself , the day I got bk to work after visiting my family , I found out they’re giving me more work with no increase in the salary package . That’s where I just thought enough is enough . Everyone sees the hard work I’m doing and there is no appreciation for it . Also the place I work at is known to squeeze the juice out of u and make u work extremely hard . So I’m happy and can’t wait to have another work opportunity ( a better and more fulfilling one ) come my way !
    Anxiety wise I’m bad . I’m questioning reality and am obsessional about whether an event happened or not when I’m talking to people -don’t know if I understand that . I can’t talk to friends, family or even my hubby properly because I’m questioning what I’m saying – if it happened or didn’t happen or whether I’m making sense .Besides that it’s uncomfortable going shopping thinking evone is looking at me because of my anxiety ( or in my head my madness )
    Char if u could get in and out of vicious cycles then the anxiety creeping back should not scare u . Ur anticipating it and that s increasing the stress.im sure there’s some life event that’s triggering it . I know ul be ok :) u r ok !

  90. Alz Says:

    Melissa !!!!!
    Congratulations :) yes ur back here after months with such good news! So happy for you . Remember that your hormones will go a bit awry during pregnancy so attribute any weird thought/ feeling to that and know that it’s just anxiety / hormonal imbalance . Every symptom is weird , scary , new and bizarre. If it scares u – its anxiety

  91. Stephanie Says:

    Julib,

    I’d encourage to read Paul’s post again. I do want to point out one part that I think is applicable to where you are:

    “Some people believe they can rid themselves of fear and anxiety through knowledge alone and so jump from one person to the next hoping to be free of anxiety and fear in one go. In doing so they stay stuck in seeking mode as they don’t want to go through the period of discomfort that is needed to reverse the process of avoidance.”

    I think you’re stuck in that seeking mode because you don’t want to feel the discomfort. But you are going to have to go through the discomfort if you want to experience true freedom. There’s no way around it, no shortcut. Getting tips from different people might encourage you along the way, but the journey is still one you have to walk yourself.

  92. Matt Says:

    Is shortness of breathe normal with anxiety? I alsways think that it’s normal with panic attacks, but not chronic anxiety. However, I’ve been having some odd sensations of feeling short of breath that can last hours. It’s very strange. I’ve had anxiety for 5 years, and my symptoms always seem to change, so not sure if I should be concerned or not. Thanks!

  93. Mamba Says:

    I’m not sure if this can be discussed on here but i’m feeling real bad tonight. apologies if not

    Can taking SSRI’s permanently effect your sexual libido especially the ability to sustain an erection?

    I’ve been on and off citalopram 20mg since 2008 with no problems. i’ve been on 30mg for 4 months and twice in the last 2 weeks i’ve lost my erection. now i’m freaking out that Citalopram has caused permanent damage. i have been fine 3 times during the 2 weeks as well.

    Any advice would be very helpful thanks

  94. Sally Says:

    Mamba
    I just googled Citalopram and one of the side effects is loss of sexual desire or ability You can look it up yourself
    Sally

  95. Char Says:

    Hi Alz

    So pleased you are making progress despite the anxiety. Lovely news on your brothers baby and well done for making your work decision – wow good for you and I’m sure a fab opportunity is waiting for you !

    Yes I can come out of anxiety so I guess I’m doing something right , but I guess I have not lost my hatred of the anxiety and that’s my sticking point….

    Keep in touch Alz

    C

  96. Julib Says:

    Thanks Stephanie

    I will and I agree I have to face this and I am doing with the things I’ve been doing but it’s so hard for me as my attacks floor me.

    Yesterday my anxiety spikes in the afternoon. Once it’s that high I so easily can trigger an attack and it’s so intense. Yet I decided despite how high my anxiety was to go downstairs. I did and wham severe panic. Herat banging, dizzy, fuzzy vision, felt faint etc… I stayed and got my drink and then went and sat down. I felt dreadful and after that my anxiety stayed super high for a good 6 hours plus. I ended up terrified to wash my hair that evening because once my anxiety is that high doing anything causes the most severe panic attacks. I’ve never experienced this in my life until the last 8 weeks. .

    On days my general anxiety is lower then I can go downstairs, wash my hair etc with ease but once the general anxiety is stuck high and I’ve symptoms at a high level like the bad nausea, light headed feelings etc… Panic can hit really strong. I get about 2 days a week like that and it is awful. I keep pushing thinking I have to still walk about regardless of how awful I feel but wham the attacks hit so strong I have no choice but to stop because as my hubby agreed I look and feel too bad.

    I cried last night to hubby and said how can I recover if on the dsys the general anxiety is high I can’t push through it without feeling such intense panic that floors me. I try to so things regardless and feel it but its honestly that strong I am floored by it. I keep trying to so things and feel the symptoms and on days it’s not as high I can handle the level of discomfort but on days it’s that severe it wins. I’m terrified I can’t recover then. I had 2 good days and thought I’d cracked it until yesterday and now I’m dreading the day ahead today after how bed ridden it made me from late yesterday afternoon.

    Thank you for replying. I just feel defeated right now.

    Julib

  97. Julib Says:

    To add to my last post.

    This morning horrific anxiety going downstairs 3 times to let my children out for school. My heart rate shot up and I thought ok I will just sit in the living room and let it pass but no I feel such severe nausea and I had to run the toilet and had the runs.

    I’m now on my bed feeling so light headed a day crying because some days it’s so strong. I feel bloody traumatised by it and no idea how I can recover whwn it makes me feel so poorly. I am so light headed since, feel sick and scared of passing out. It’s awful as this strong anxiety had calmed a lot and now it’s hitting me hard again. Why can’t I just see my kids off without feeling this severe anxiety? I feel I’m too bad to recover. Once a bad attack like today or last night hits I feel traumatised by it and upset for ages.

    I just wanted to explain how bad it can make me. And why I’m struggling to accept. I’m sorry to post again, I’m feeling at a loss.

    Julib

  98. daryl Says:

    Mamba,

    It is the anxiety………yes that SSRI can cause loss of libido as the leaflet in the box tells you, it is usually temporary as far as I have read. The thing is, if you focus on that then of course that will make the problem greater. In terms of anxiety I think that is one of the major issues we all have. We focus on it and that is what feeds it. You have never had problems before and 2 times in 4 months does not really seem like a problem when you look at it objectively. What is a problem is adding that second fear to the problem.

    When I had “issues” with humming (a tune or jingle from the radio) was the issue the humming? I was humming a tune, it was annoying but was it something that warranted total fear? Nope, it wasn’t, but that didn’t stop me panicking that I would: Never be able to sleep, will have this tune in my head for ever, go mad etc, etc. Cue me going down the hole and making myself scared and massively anxious IRRATIONALLY.

    The problem isn’t the side effects of the SSRI’s it’s your reaction to not being able to keep it up a couple of times over 4 months. You are scaring your self that this is permanent or dangerous. In reality you know it isn’t……..it’s an irrational or obsessive thought.

  99. Mark R Says:

    Julie,

    I feel for you as it’s clear you are really struggling. Unfortunately we have all been where you are and its not pleasant. I think it’s important to point out a few things though which may be hindering your progress….

    It seems to me that you are scared of anxiety and everything that it brings. Who wouldn’t right? It’s bloody vile. We need to remember that anxiety is not some illness or outside thing that appears, it’s us that creates it but obviously not intentionally. In a sensitised state these symptoms and feelings appear at a hair trigger response. So you could have the thought ‘What if my kids are late to school’ and it can send you straight into a panic. At the moment there is no choice, we simply can’t stop this happening.

    What we can do is acknowledge the feelings and carry on with what we are doing. I think a big step for you is not to retreat upstairs to your bedroom or bed every time you feel overwhelmed. If you continue to do this you are reinforcing the message that it is something to be frightened of and the brain will get the wrong idea. In order for your brain to lower the anxiety response you need to show it there is nothing to be afraid of. It takes a lot of courage and patience but it can be done. I’m not sure what your situation is but if you are alone during the day you could maybe do some housework, some painting, or pick up an old hobby.

    Typically I find that it takes 4 days or so for the brain to receive the positive messages we are sending so on that premise what we do now will feel beneficial in a week or so. You probably think that from the way I type I am recovered but I still have tough weeks. An example is that last week was very tough for me with the lowest point being Saturday. It was a total waste, every minute was torture and I could only find relief in tears. I went to bed feeling utterly desperate. Sunday I decided not to succumb to the wasteful energy of anxiety, I was going to make something of my day despite how I felt. I then drove to Liverpool for the Merseyside derby which took 5 hours due to the snow!! Sure I felt like total crap but my mind was on other things. In the evening I felt peace for the first time in nearly two weeks. I’m not showing off here but just giving an example to show it can be done and we’re not broken. Our minds can find peace if we let it.

    Make a promise today not to come on here. Not to retreat to your bedroom or bed. Pick up something else that isn’t anxiety related. You will reap the rewards J promise.

    Mark.

  100. Julib Says:

    Mark,

    Thank you for your kind reply.

    My anxiety hits my physically so hard it knocks me ill. Since the panic this morning I have felt so sick, upset bowels (sorry) and unable to eat. I have felt drained too so that’s why I retreat to my bedroom because I just cannot walk around the house feeling so sick and weak. I also have found the last 2 months my bedroom became my safe place, which I hate to admit.

    THings have been so tough that I’ve only been out twice in 2 months because of how awful this has made me feel physically. Some days I feel so physically sick and weak I can’t function even at home let alone go out. I fear I really am the worst person anyone has ever seen with anxiety with how little I can do. I mean who has such severe panic just washing her hair or seeing her children out of the door to school? i am ashamed of the way I am so reaching out here is hard.

    I have 3 children and a husband, during the day I rest on the tough days but on days I feel less sick I can actually function. I can cook a meal and eat it, I can read, watch tv, wrap presents, write…. but on days like today I am so traumatised by the mornings panic that I just lie crying and feeling so sick and ill all day.

    I had 2 great days and now i am back feeling terrible. I ate 2 meals Sunday and now I can’t even force a banana. I always know I am doing better when tI am on the toilet less and able to eat properly lol.

    Although this morning was horrific and I am upset by it, I have been downstairs 3 times today to make a drink, put the washing on, make a light lunch (I am yet to eat it).. I keep trying and trying.

    My biggest fear is the physical symptoms will cause me to faint. I don’t over breath with anxiety strangely but I think the fast heart and huge rushes of adrenaline just make me feel all light headed and my face flushes. I then panic I will pass out. I find it all very traumatic especially when my stomach issues trigger and I have no option but to go to the toilet during a panic attack, I find that even worse. It’s horrible. Sorry for the detail.

    I live in hope i can recover but I fear I really am the worst case of physical anxiety as it limits my life so much right now and hits me so hard. I worry how I come across here but I am desperate and lost right now feeling this awful. I worry this will be me forever with how ill it makes me feel and my inability to keep going when the panic hits hard. It’s too hard and even retreating to lie down doesn’t help, I can feel awful just lying down. Once high anxiety and panic hits I can feel awful for hours or a full day. I know I am making some progress because my husband reminds me in the early weeks I would have a panic attack and then have one after the other for up to 9 hours and lie shaking for that long too. Now I don’t shake and a panic can pass within 10 minutes and although I may get a few after eachother I am usually ok within an hour but may have some lingering anxiety. I need reminding of those times as it’s hard to see progress on bad days like today.

    Thank you again for replying to me, I do appreciate it.

    Julib

  101. Anon Says:

    Julib, have you tried drinking molasses tea for a couple weeks? I have found that to calm down my system.

  102. Daryl Says:

    Mark,
    Great post, I always find it helpful to read positive posts. I think your 4 day lag between doing positive things and feeling positive is really interesting and I think you could be on to something. What I often do when I get myself into a loop is get frustrated that by doing something I do not get instant relief from anxiety. I had never thought of that lag between doing and feeling but it is a really great way to look at this.

    Essentially that I may not respond the benefits instantly but if I keep doing the right things I will feel the benefits eventually. Cheers Mark. PS are you a red or a blue?

  103. Julib Says:

    Hi Anon

    No I’ve not heard of drinking that to be honest. I’ve been drinking peppermint and camomile teas to help soothe my anxious stomach.

    Julib

  104. Mark R Says:

    Daryl,

    Yeah read it a few times on certain forums and books and seems to hold true for me.

    I’m a blue mate. You’re going to tell me you’re a red now and make me hate you?! Haha. Football seems to be a big help for me. I’m in Newcastle at the moment from last nights game.

    Julib,

    Just wondered if you used to post here under a different username about 3 Yrs ago?

    Mark

  105. Mamba Says:

    Thanks for the replys

    @Sally i looked at google too much which is why i was so anxious and desperate to post the other night

    @daryl 4months on CIT but problems happened twice in two weeks.

    Still pretty stressed about it. speaking to a doctor (not one of my usual docs/a fill in doctor who at times i wondered if she could understand me, she’s not from here, i’m trying to say nicely that she’s from another country :) ) REALLY didn’t help

    She said she never heard of someone having this problem with Citalopram. which freaked me out a little. then started talking about blood tests, more freaking out, started talking about it not being a problem there’s plenty of medications you can take for it, More freaking out

    Asked me if i wanted to switch to Fluoxetine (i think thats the one she said) even though she didn’t think it could be the citalopram. i asked if i should reduce dose and see if that helps, she said “side affects aren’t dose dependent” she also asked if i’d read the leaflet that came with the medication like she had no idea what she was talking about.

    Trying not to catastrophize it but failing. every twitch, movement and muscle ache near my groin is a sign of something. i’ve also been ill over the last few days which is making me think its something other than the medication. barely eating, feeling hungry but not wanting to eat, regular trips to the toilet,
    keep checking my glands in my neck, left side slightly swollen, i think, maybe it’s just the anxiety playing with my mind. i’m not usually a hypochondriac

    I’ve spoken to and seen many people online who have had this problem with citalopram & other SSRI’s. i agreed with the doctor to reduce the dose first, actually i think i insisted.

    Problem is with Christmas around the corner i’m worried dropping the dose might increase my anxiety and also affect my recovery in the long run. I don’t want to be the miserable guy at the christmas table ruining christmas for everyone and i also wouldn’t mind enjoying it too

    Are there major side effects when dropping from 30-20mg?

    Thanks for any help

  106. daryl Says:

    Mark
    No mate, I’m not really a footy fan TBH. Rugby League is more my thing and I am a big Saints fan. I love it! My Dad is a Blue though so I feel your pain ;).

    It’s funny when you talk of the thoughts being a hair trigger……..that is exactly how I see it. In books they say, see the thought, let it come and just don’t engage with it. The thoughts come so quick that it is almost impossible for me to spot them before I have engaged. I look back on my year of anxiety (12 month anniversary!!) and I see that I have improved and having only read Paul’s book at the beginning of July I suppose its only been six months so the improvements are there so it is frustrating when I have bad days. I now just seem to struggle with intrusive/obsessive thoughts and I have booked myself in for CBT starting in a few months time and I am still toying with the Citalopram that the Doctor prescribed (as in whether to take them). My telephone appt with the therapy service said OCD could be at fault for this which I know is just an offshoot of anxiety.
    Like you say, when the nonsensical thoughts come it is only after I have reacted that I notice them and that annoys me. It’s a struggle and it gets me down but positive posts from the likes of yourself are really helpful. Especially when I know how hard it must be coping with all this on top of being an Everton fan 😉

  107. Julib Says:

    Hi Mark

    I used to use the blog a few years ago yes.

    Ju

  108. Julib Says:

    Hi all,

    I reached out to another therapist to consider therapy after Christmas. I told her how I’m struggling these last 2 months with general anxiety. I told her I constantly have unease, upset stomach, nausea, generally anxious constantly. It can trigger panic doing anything and I only feel calmer when sat or lying still but even then I can feel horrible generally anxious and dread of what I have to do that day. The moment I function the high anxiety hits and it can trigger panic. She basically said she wasn’t going to lie to me, and that I won’t ever be recovered from anxiety and that with cbt we can learn ways to manage it. I felt so deflated.

    She then asked what I’d been currently doing to cope with the overwhelm and high anxiety I feel functioning day to say. I explained about Claire Weekes and Paul’s work, basically accepting it and carrying on. Building up slowly doing chores, getting out etc.. And she said ‘well that won’t help you. Pushing yourself whwn the symptoms are as severe as you have and the scary thoughts that overwhelm you, pushing through will only make the panic worse’. She said I had to find ways to cope when I walk about, do chores etc.. Not push through when the symptoms are that severe. My symptoms at times are so bad I have to stop and wait till it passes before continuing.

    I have constant general anxiety, I always feel on edge, unease, generally anxious and I feel it all in my stomach. I often have to run to the toilet as it flares my ibs. If I rest it’d there but less so than whwn I walk about. Example, just now I went down to make a drink, do the washing… And the whole time my stomach was churning, upset stomach reeling hit like I’d have the runs (sorry), hot flush to face and just a general horrible unease. I stayed and did what I had to do and then sat to have a rest and let it pass. I find after I’ve done things thsts when the panic can hit because the general anxiety is spiked so high. But I lay down and let the heat in my face pass, let my heart rate fall and it passed. Now I’ve been practicing this 2 months and it’s not getting easier. I’ve never ever experienced anxiety like this. I had chronic fatigue all of last year and I’d feel anxious functiining due to how unwell fatigue made me but I never had severe anxiety or panic functioning even though I felt like death doing chores. Yet now I’ve got fatigue again probably due to 2 months of anxiety and waking at 5am most days, I feel horrific. I’m beginning to worry is a health issue causing it or something because the horrible general unease and panic whwn doing chores just isn’t getting better even when I face things every single day. I’m doing more now than a month ago yet I still feel horrific doing things. Last night I even panicked washing my hair, and that had got a little easier.

    Can anyone relate? Is that normal to feel unease and such awful general anxiety doing anything? I just want to feel able to function around my house normally again without feeling so sick, bad bowels, unease and panic. All I’m doing is putting washing in the machine or making a drink for goodness sake lol.

    I’m so confused. I’m beginning to think therapy isn’t the answer. Sorry this got long. I just feel lost and like this is me stuck and the worst case of anxiety anyone’s ever seen.

    Julib

  109. Debbie Says:

    Julib i hope u feel better i felt alot like you feel i went through it all dizziness ,breathing ,every symptom . Now iam stuck with leaky heart valves i have and i get panic over it and my heart starts beating fast sometimes my pulse gos to 140 from having a panic attack i know how horrible they are anything with medical i get them . I have found anxiety centre has helped alot its 38.00 for a year it explains everything about anxiety you can get a therapist and skype with them . Also every few months you can skype with jim folk the founder and others in a group for free .
    Debbie

  110. Louise Says:

    Can anyone shed some light on intrusive thoughts this seems to be something that I struggle with, I hear people mention thoughts about relationships and health.. Which iv had but has anybody ever had any about self harm or harming others or worry about death in general. Its the one that I just cant leave as I worry that it will happen if I do. Please any advice.

  111. Mark R Says:

    Julib,

    I think the issue with using a CBT therapist is that it can conflict with the advice on here. This isn’t CBT, this is acceptance. I’ve found that the best type of therapy to compliment the advice on here and Claire Weeke is Act as this is acceptance based.

    The one thing I found the most important from Claire Weekes books more than anything else was ‘no longer mattering’. What I mean by this is that eventually the symptoms won’t matter to you and your mind will give them the brush off. However to get to this stage life stuff needs to become more important. Only you can do this by accepting how you feel and doing things regardless. At the moment your anxious storm is raging as it was for me last week but I kept going to work, to friends, football etc no matter. This week has been easier but I’m stuck with the pesky annoying thoughts and symptoms, but a huge improvement.
    From an outside point of view and please don’t take this the wrong way is that what is keeping you stuck is looking for a cure outside of yourself. You repeat yourself over each day which probably feels cathartic but in the long term won’t help. There is no magic bullet here unfortunately, trust me on that, I’ve been looking for years.
    You’re in a storm/setback/blip/wobble, whatever but the only way it will calm is for you to resume life as it was a few months ago no matter. Yes it feels like hell but if even just 1% of you wants to do something then do it. You’ll look back in a week and things will be better but please refrain from repeating your story as it will only hinder you.

    Hope that helps.

    Mark.

  112. Stephanie Says:

    Julib,

    I agree with Mark. It’s not helping you at all to keep coming on here and sharing the same thing over and over. People are responding to you and giving great advice, but you keep coming back with the same post, asking the same questions. I’m not sure what you’re trying to accomplish, but the time you spend writing a post on here would be better spent doing anything else. Frankly, you are the one keeping yourself in this state of suffering, therefore you are the only one who can get yourself out of it. Please, do yourself a favor and take a break from the searching and questioning. Do something for somebody else. Take your mind off of yourself for even just five minutes.

  113. Kostas Says:

    Hi Julib,
    Have you ever thought to consult a physician for taking appropriate medication for anxiety? If the treatment is successful for a period, then the vicious anxiety cycle could break, and be able to face it better!
    I was able to face my nervous breakdown this way in the past.
    Now I am also free of the medication, after a huge effort of course.
    Best of luck
    Kostas

  114. Julib Says:

    Mark – thank you for your reply. Much appreciated. I just reached out to a therapist as my own friends suggested I should see one but I’ve reached out to 2 and not had the best experience so I guess I cane here to post about it because I was wondering is this something I can deal with myself or should I keep trying to find someone. It confused me I think. Your replies are helpful, and I do take things on board as I’ve made some progress this week despite still feeling awful.

    Stephanie- thank you for your reply. Like I just said to Mark, the therapist situation confused me. I’ve reached out to 2 now and was confused about whether I can deal with this myself. I am doing my best, in my recent post alive explained how I keep pushing through and doing chores etc despite how terrible I feel. Which is progress for me. I had a huge panic attack yesterday and sat through it, didn’t call my hubby and within an hour I was walking around the house, washed my hair, started with my daughter and played a game. So I am really trying. I’m not coming on the blog daily reading or posting, I’ve posted whwn I’ve felt I needed support and I have taken a lot on board as my husband has noticed a change, despite still feeling awful I’ve tried.
    I’ve had a horrible week with the general anxiety and then the therapist experience confused me so I just wanted to post about that as I’ve had friends suggesting I try therapy but I’m unsure whether to after the rubbish experience I’ve had recently.

    Kostas- I’m on medication already which I tried to wean off this year but it didn’t work out. I for now am staying on it. Ive been on it 4 years now for sleep, lack of appetite and the trauma I experienced 5 years ago. It worked well and maybe it even still was until I slowly started withdrawing in the spring.

    Debbie – I have seen he Anxiety centre website. I wasn’t sure how worth it was signing up. I k ow therapy is extra but ie there much more on the website if you have membership?

    Thanks again all. Have a good weekend.

    Julib

  115. Julib Says:

    Louise

    I had intrusive thoughts for about 18 months or so a few years ago. They were awful and I honestly thought I’d never be without them but now I am living life free of them.

    I was told they were a form of OCD, basically just high anxiety. When we are anxious we are so hypervigilent that we notice every ache, pain, thought etc…. We have thousands of thoughts a day but when anxious we grab hold of the worrying or scary thoughts and think, what does that mean? will it happen? am I a bad person for thinking that?

    My thoughts were what if I hurt myself or others. I threw out any objects I feared could harm myself or my family. I was terrified and at one point I would be too scared to be alone or near my children. I’d live in fear of them being unwell and needing to be home alone with me (they had amazing attendance at school lol) and I’d dread school holidays. As a mother I felt terrible for feeling the way I did but it was all anxiety.

    I did have some therapy to help accept them but honestly Pauls book and Claire Weekes made me realise they were a product of high anxiety, nothing more. The fact I was so terrified and avoiding certain things proved it was all anxiety.

    A thought is that, just a thought, not a desire or fact. The way I overcame them was to go towards my thoughts and say ok maybe that will happen but for now I am going to sit and cuddle my children and watch a movie. I used to hug my children and husband everytime a scary thought hit. I stopped avoiding things and slowly my brain got the message that there was no danger. It did take a long time but it worked.

    My GP told me they were high anxiety, our worst fears are what the intrusives focus on. It’s all so normal.

    Now a few years on I love my children being home during the holidays, I love days alone with them, I can be alone too and not fear any of those things. Do the thoughts still hit? Sure, they were a habit for so long so of course at times the thoughts come into my head but they float out like clouds. In the same way any thought does. I no longer grab them and think oh no!!!! I no longer get the punch to my stomach with those thoughts. They just don’t concern me at all.

    My best advice is just allow them in, run towards them and say ok bring it on anxiety, think whatever your anxiety wants you to think. They are just thoughts. Another thing I recommend is meditation, it teaches you to just notice thoughts with non reactivity. It helped me no end.

    You are not your thoughts, they are not fact. Learning to step back and realise they are just thoughts and not action is what helped me to recover. I know thoughts of that nature are awful but they are no different to a thought of what you’ll cook for dinner. If there is no desire or excitement to carry a thought through then trust me, it’s 100% anxiety.

    Julib

  116. Louise Says:

    Hi julib thank you so much for replying I jus get so involved that I ebd up feeling so dwn tht I fear il become depressed n carry it through I nwver realised thoughts could be so scary thank you again x

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