How to allow anxiety

Allowing

Your anxious energy is not something to get rid of or suppress. You can’t destroy energy and suppressing it just keeps it within. The way to be free of this energy is to allow it fully. You think you want liberation from this anxious energy, when the truth is, it want’s liberation from you. This is why is keeps coming up, it wants to be free of you, just as much as you want to be free of it.

Most people never allow themselves to feel this energy, they avoid places/situations, drink too much, over exercise, take drugs/medication, distract themselves in activities, they search the net for ways to get rid of it, look for gurus, try to perfect techniques, fight, suppress, spend all day in their heads trying to feel different. In doing this people get worse, as there is nothing more mentally draining and exhausting than constantly being at war with yourself, it is like lashing out at an invisible enemy that you have no chance of ever defeating. Also all this resisting, the constant struggle is the main cause of your suffering. The absolute best you can do is force some temporary peace, but then the energy goes nowhere, so the problems persist and the constant search for temporary peace continues. Whatever you constantly try to suppress will always keep on knocking until you finally give up your pointless pursuit for temporary peace and allow its presence within you.

Many people spend their lives in this loop, I did for 10 years until I finally realised the only thing I had not done was allow myself to feel the way I did. When I looked into this approach deeply then it made utter sense to me why this would free me of this energy that I had done everything to try and avoid feeling. It made sense how much struggle and resistance would fall away, how much more of a break my poor over worked mind would get, how much wasted brain energy it would free up. How if I wasn’t so concentrated on fixing me, then my awareness could go back on life and I would start to feel more real. It made sense to me that this was the only way forward. It wasn’t the day I recovered, as I still had so much anxious and fearful energy to release and for a while things heightened as now I was fully open to feeling how I did. It was like opening a tap and everything that I had suppressed came rushing up and it wasn’t always pleasant to face. But I truly understood the process that was happening, I didn’t see it as bad thing anymore, in fact quite the opposite, I didn’t think I was regressing on any given bad day. In fact quite the opposite, I saw it as my body finally releasing what needed to be released, I saw it as a step nearer to being free of anxiety.

The main 2 reasons people go back to fighting/suppressing is because the brains automatic reaction is to try and fight off uncomfortable feelings. This is why you/your brain needs to understand that feeling this anxious energy is a good thing, that when you are free of this anxious energy, then all that is left is peace. The other reason is many people don’t have the patience to go through this process, they think once they understand something then they should feel great, if something doesn’t work instantly, then they go back to searching for temporary peace. I personally figured I could either allow myself to go through a few months of discomfort and be free or spend a life time trying to find temporary peace and get nowhere.

A lot of people will say to me ‘Yes but it is not the anxious energy that is the problem, it is going to a supermarket, driving etc, that is the problem’ my reply is ‘No, these places are not the cause of your anxiety, they are just triggering the anxious energy that is within, if you were free of this anxious energy then you would not feel such a reaction to normal situations. If the problem was in these places, then everyone would feel this way, the truth is, they don’t. So don’t put the problem on the place or situation, the problem is not there, that is just a trigger for what is within, the problem is never on the outside, the problem is within. So there is no reason to avoid these places. See them as a place that triggers in you what needs to be released and allow the reaction.

When you are free of this stored up anxious/fear energy then you will only get anxious/fearful when you are in a real danger. We need this reaction to keep us safe and protect us. The problem only occurs when we accumulate too much of this energy (usually through a prolonged period of worry and stress) and we feel it it normal every day situations or as a constant feeling. This is a clear wake up call to allow this energy to be felt, as uncomfortable as it is to do so, you can never be free of what you refuse to feel.

I hope that helps people. I think I have covered anxiety quite a lot recently, so I will talk more on other aspects of anxiety and will do a post on disturbing thoughts next.

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

New Anxietynomore App

http://www.anxietynomore.co.uk/anxietynomoreapp.html

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

Follow me on Twitter @anxietynomoreuk or on Facebook www.facebook.com/anxietynomoreuk

95 Responses to “How to allow anxiety”

  1. Elle Says:

    Thank you Paul,

    I’m still trying to grasp the allowing as it’s been my habit to fight it for so long now. This post really helps,.

    Elle

  2. Paul David Says:

    Allowing does take a while to really grasp as the instinct is to fight, you are convincing your brain that it doesn’t need this automatic reaction as much as anything. It is understanding why fighting is so counter productive and why allowing makes utter sense. People who don’t understand what is being asked of them and why it is the whole catalyst for recovery will just fall back into their automatic response and go back to suppressing and fighting. It can take time for the concept to really sink in and what is being asked.

  3. Stacey Says:

    Looking forward to the post on thoughts Paul! This is where I am struggling at the minute. Annoying niggling thoughts that hit me in the stomach mainly about the things I least want to worry about :-)

    Stacey

  4. Alz Says:

    Paul great post as usual and I wrote such a longgggg reply which unfortunately didn’t get posted so I’ll hv to write one again :( this time I’ll save it befr submitting it .
    Paul Iv started following your blog since the past two years ( when I lost my first child due to still birth ) . Those times were really bad and there were such helpful ppl on this blog who might not even know it , but helped me through some of my hardest days – Bryan , rich, Doreen, char, Andy , Melisa Abd so on.
    I got through that time and started working etc – coming on the blog on and off. I would really appreciate some advice for you regarding what I’m currently going through which is related to disturbing thoghts ( your next blog post).
    Currently I am unemployed because I left my work due to excessive work load – it wasn’t my anxiety – it was honestly the sheer pressure and working on weekends tht was not really all tht fun. there have also been some family commitments during the past six months along with work which could hv been the possible trigger of my symptoms :
    1. Whenever I’m talking to people I know, I’m questioning whatever I’m telling them in my head – did tht happen or not happen ? It’s a new symptom which I hv never encountered before and really leaves me anxious because it makes me feel like I’m losing touch with reality .
    2. There’s a constant fear of me losing my mind such that when I go out to shop at the places I went to I am now super conscious of speaking and when I do speak , I can hear myself talking . According to char , it’s part of a chemical reaction etc.
    Now , given all my anxiety , mindfulness and therapist’s advice I know that I am suffering from anxiety And that these are just fears but Paul how can I spend each day ridden by these fears – it’s exhausting going out, talking to people and just living in a constant state of fear – losing my mind . Some days I wake up thinking it’s happened.
    I know everyone’s symptoms are different and Iv gone through a multitude of them but I would just like some help from you especially as I think like you said the tap on my anxiety has been opened and I’m accepting but want to hv a full life – devoid of fears! I want to start trying fr a child, apply abroad fr my masters And for once be able to manage my anxiety like you have after hving had anxiety on and off for 13 years . Now it’s just so different from the phish am symptoms I first used to get ..

  5. Alz Says:

    Phish am = physical

  6. K Says:

    Hi Paul,
    I completely agree with your concept of allowing anxiety be and going on with your life. With some success, I have experienced release in this way.
    However, two things are holding me back.

    First, although my “condition” started with anxiety attacks, my symptoms are very physical now – I get ever-changing body pains without a physical diagnosis. Since I have not met or spoken to people/patients who experience full body pain from anxiety, it makes me question if that is it. So I keep going back to the idea that I need to get to the bottom of the physical cause. Do you have any suggestions in this regard?

    Second, I was a shy child and, as adult, still get uncomfortable in some social situations. I think a lot of my unconscious decisions are motivated by desire to please or fit in. I want to go into therapy to explore that and see maybe I can release some deep-rooted stuff from the past. It seems that you think that therapy is just another crutch. Does your approach suggest I should face more social situations despite discomfort instead of therapy?
    Thank you,
    K

  7. Nolan Says:

    Hi K,

    I wouldn’t overthink the physical sensations too much. I think all of us had them to a greater or lesser extent. What matters is whether those physical symptoms grab your mind’s attention. I think you know what I mean.

    We all have our core issues and these can vary from person to person. But then we’ll have our side issues, which also vary. The side issues aren’t as important (they don’t unnerve us as much) as our core ones.

    I had side physical symptoms that didn’t bother me nearly as much as my core symptoms. These side physical symptoms were muscle twitches, constant dizziness, racing/erratic heart rate.

    But the issues that terrified me, grabbed the attention of my mind, and lasted the longest were: insomnia, conscious awareness of unconscious actions (blinking, breathing, swallowing).

    These were the ones that locked tightly to me. Made me think I was broken beyond repair.
    They’re also the ones that I was still able to successfully put behind me following Paul’s approach.

  8. Alz Says:

    Umm hoping someone could reply to my post

  9. John Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    How did you overcome sleep related issues. I suffer from GAD. I always have a thought if i don’t sleep tonight, I will not be able to cope at work tomorrow. This makes the problem worse sometimes. Have you tried medication for anxiety and sleep?

  10. Nolan Says:

    Hi John,

    Sleep for me was my biggest issue. The one that terrified me and the one that had me thinking I was broken for good.

    Early on I saw regular doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists… I read book upon book. One psychiatrist (in a 3 month period of time) had me on: Clonopin, Trazadone, Ambien, then Ambien CR, Lunesta, Lexapro, Xanax.
    None of this takes into account all of the over the counter drugs I was taking for it.

    None of it work in any reassuring way.
    The best, Ambien CR, was promised to give me at least 8 hours of sleep…. I was able to get 1 and half hours on it. The sense of despair was never higher in my life than that night.

    All day long my thoughts were consumed with sleeping: how to fall asleep, what do I think about, what should I avoid, should I have the lights dimmed in the house a few hours before sleep, should I avoid all computer use hours before sleep, what should I drink, what temperature should the drink be at.

    The funny thing is: when I was a good sleeper I didn’t do any of this stuff. I had no “sleep hygiene” protocols and was still able to sleep with no issue.

    So I had to go back to not caring. A poster who used to post here named Dominic put it this way “turn your what ifs into so whats”.
    So, whatever sleep I got any night was simply what it was…. and I was going to stop paying so much respect to the issue.

    I still had bad nights, but I started getting good nights too. But after every bad night I got up in the morning with the attitude of “big deal, I got alittle sleep…. I still have a life I’m going to live regardless.”

    It might seem like ‘just words’ at first, John… but it’s the starting point of developing a new attitude towards it; one that is not motivated and guided by fear and helplessness.

  11. Nolan Says:

    One last thing…
    for some practical advice with sleep:

    Have no expectations of how much you should get.
    Be fine with whatever you do get.
    If you get rushes of fear during the day (or night) regarding it: put up little resistance to it. Welcome it with an “whatever” attitude.
    When you close your eyes… let your mind race as much as it wants to while you lay back watching it with a dispassionate attitude.

  12. John Says:

    Thanks Nolan for detailed explanation. It was very helpful..

  13. Debbie Says:

    Alz how are you doing?

  14. Alz Says:

    Hey Debbie !
    Long time . Same as above . Would love some advice from people . It just gives one reassurance !

  15. Debbie Says:

    Alz i know iam in a rut myself these days my mind at times thinks like yours meaning is it really going on or iam i imagining it is scarey.

  16. Debbie Says:

    Alz sometimes i feel like i cant put sentences together its always something weird .

  17. Alz Says:

    Debbie I remember that you were seeing a therapist or talking to one . What does he / she say ?

  18. Debbie Says:

    Alz i dont see him for a while now cant really afford it at 99 dollars each session. I think this has been the worst ive ever been living in my mind 24 / 7. Always self scanning my brain. Its a living hell but i wake up and made it through another day. So i survived it.

  19. Stacey Says:

    Struggling after googling a bit too much(silly of me)
    Read a post today where it’s said people have to just put up with it for life and try manage it. (Made me feel awful)

  20. John Says:

    Hi Stacey,

    Have you ever be free of anxiety completely?
    There is very less chance

    Can you have anxiety and have fullfiling life?
    Definitely you can. You can reduce your anxiety by using Paul’s method or medication or both and achieve live your life similar to the person one who does not have anxiety.

    I am doing the above. If I look for a complete cure ( I do not know of it exists), I would be putting myself under pressure and make it even worse. I measure my success not based on the level of anxiety that I have on a particular day, it is based if I am going towards my goal irrespective of how bad or good anxiety make me feel. I suffer from GAD by the way

    It is not easy. It’s tough but it is the only path we have.

    Take care.

  21. Nolan Says:

    Hi Stacey,

    What do they know? I’d lump that in with all of the uninformed to bad to terrible advice I received from GPs, psychologists, and psychiatrists (not that none have anything good to say, I’m sure some do, but that wasn’t my experience).

    I’ll say this though… I suffered from intense anxiety for a long period of time. I was certain I was broken for good. Anxiety and depression have this ability to not only stain the current moment, but they can also make your future seem little more than meaningless torture and your past moments of feeling content as being part of another life you no longer will ever get to experience again.

    As certain I was broken before, now anxiety/depression (and all of the symptoms) are pretty much an afterthought for me. I have had an occasional spike, but they pass quickly. And the spikes happen more in the abstract (the fear of fear), they don’t really bubble up the symptoms (namely, for me, insomnia). To put it into perspective: months can go by and I don’t experience a thing.

    And it wasn’t until about mid 2016 when the intensity was so low so as to not even think I had anything one could sincerely call anxiety. And my last moment of depression was probably about spring of 2015.

  22. K Says:

    Hi Nolan,
    I went to see a psychiatrist yesterday. I wanted some answers if my physical pain can be relieved with therapy. I am torn – don’t know if I should try another medication (occasional small dose of remeron helps me with both pain and insomnia, but I am hesitant to take it because of possible withdrawal effects). He said I should explore my past and relationships to see if there are any mental blocks. I am torn whether I should really go there.
    I must say it feels very powerful to overcome an episode of pain with just facing and observing. Over the last couple of weeks, I was able to not break into tears every time the pain came (something unheard of just a couple months ago – I would always get depressed when pain started). I should probably just continue on this path, shouldn’t I?
    I hear you guys loud and clear with regards to acceptance method, but, my god, my life feels like hell, I am exhausted from caring after my toddler and want a break. These choices with are so incredibly difficult and just make me more and more anxious.
    Thank you,
    K

  23. Nolan Says:

    Hi K,
    I was at my worse when my child was about 7 months old. He was a handful too. Constant wanting to play with me… constantly wanting to be picked up. He wouldn’t just play by himself. So, running on some nights with no sleep at all (and being dizzy pretty much all the time) I would find myself at my wits end (that sounds like an understate to type it out).

    Now I had many different meds for sleep but for me nothing worked. And the next morning I was now not only sleep deprived, but I also had that stuff floating around in my system making me feel groggy and drunk on top of the anxiety/depression/insomnia.

    Is it bad advice to look back on those past relationships and try to come to better terms with them? I don’t think so. It might be a good thing to do.
    However; I still think that even with those being relatively unresolved you could still move forward with the acceptance approach and overcome anxiety and depression (and whatever symptoms that go along with that).

    I say this because I’m sure I have unresolved relationship issues with my parents (mom was an alcoholic, had a rough life, and passed away at a young age…. dad was doing his best to keep her safe but sometimes having not enough to go around to keep his children engaged), my sister (we have a lot of issues between us), some guys who jumped me pretty bad back in high school…. and many other unresolved issues with relationships.

    This isn’t a ‘woe is me’ story. As a matter of fact my story is probably not all that unique. My only point is that despite all of these ends that aren’t nicely tied together I feel pretty good the most of the time. I would say that I probably feel better than when I first even got my bouts of anxiety and depression and insomnia.

    Paul’s approach doesn’t just help with anxiety/depression; it also helps with better responding to those little stressors that build and build in a person’s life…. that build and build up into something that later can manifest into something like anxiety or depression.

    Hope this makes sense.

  24. Ryan Says:

    Nolan/K,

    I think that is a great response Nolan, and it really does make a lot of sense

    I won’t go into detail about my problems, as you say and I believe, that they all manifest from the minor things

    but I did wonder if you could expand on what approach got you out of this?

    I have followed Paul’s advise, and have had some success, but I do find it very abstract at times

    I’m at a point where I no rarely get physical symptoms, they all seem to be mental. And I don’t obsess and worry about them, but they feel as if they will never go

    Cheers

    Ryan

  25. Alz Says:

    Came on the blog after sometime . Haha Char I was replying back to you thinking you’ve msged me ( mistakenly opened Paul’s last blog post) . Anyway I’ll just repost it here if you ever do visit this blog :)
    Hey Char !
    Always good to hear from you . So I went to my Therapist (god bless her !) and she’s really calmed me down. It’s all anxiety / obsession. I went off the blog and am trying to face my fears . Went out of the city to meet frnds . If I can’t concentrate, feeling despair and can still hear myself while talking , I’m letting it all be . At the end of the day i joy down my thoughts and write a counter argument ( cbt). Obviously it’s not fun listening to urself talking and wondering how ur making sense , trying to concentrate while people talk and fearing that you will lose yourself BUT there’s no other alternative but to live and carry on with my life goals . I have not had it this bad or so I don’t remember it being thisbad but it’s all chemicals affecting the brain which can be rewired and though I hv not lost the fear I’m carrying on with life !
    Glad to hear you’re well !
    Thanks for asking ?

  26. Mark R Says:

    Hi all.

    Back again.

    Struggling again at the moment. After a domestic squabble on Thursday my system has been rattled and I’ve woken today in that doom state. Feel terrible, very low, no appetite or will to do anything at all. I’m going to the football later but about 1% of me wants to go. But I will go to fill up the day.

    I’m pointing the finger at the above. Does anyone find that any kind of slight stress can bring back the feelings in full force?

    Many thanks

    Mark.

  27. Shirley W. Says:

    Hello Mark R…..I remember you from when you and I were on here together before. I struggle with any stress – it seems to trigger my feelings to full force. I am okay as long as the sea is smooth but once it gets a bit choppy so does my mind. At least you were going to make the effort to go to the football. That’s a positive.

  28. Sally Says:

    Hi Mark
    Any kind of stress or argument sets me off It is the same for people without anxiety disorder but because we are like we are it is so much more intense Hang in there remember you have been here before let it be no fighting and it will subside you know deep down it will
    Chin up Sally

  29. K Says:

    Nolan,

    Thank you for your time and reply, your thoughts make a lot of sense. I think I will go into therapy for a bit to explore my past to see if I can release some of the junk.

    Ryan,

    I find it helpful to reread the ”letter to self” sometimes (Google “nothing works weebly”). It is one more interpretation of the acceptance approach. I think it covers all the possible specifics.

    My own take is that we can discuss all the angles of anxiety and specific approaches for hours, but, at the end of the day, we just need to face whatever uncomfortable feelings that come upon us, leaving behind all safety rituals, and carry on with our days like we are normal (because we are!), maybe taking some breaks for a little self-pity and self-encouragement along the way. The lag between “turning on” this new attitude and feeling better is a few hours to a few days apart. The more we practice this new attitude, the better we feel (after the lag). And then there are setbacks in between, which feel like you are back to square one. Same answer – turn on the “facing whatever” attitude and carry on. Take a break (nap, go out, etc.) if you have to, but then move on with your day/week. I am not the best to give advice as I fall back into my safety mechanisms, feeling sorry for myself and looking for issues, but I see results when I face my fears.

    Thanks,

    K

  30. Josh C. Says:

    K, your description is spot on. I’ve learned that the less I feel sorrow for myself, the less I wish I didn’t have to “deal” with anxiety and depression the more comfortable I became with all of the feelings and thoughts. Self pity isn’t always obvious but I could see it there after I completely quit trying to cure myself. I had MAJOR sleep issues like Nolan. I work shift work and rotate working 12 hr shifts of days and nights. My job is 90% mental, watching computer monitors and observing a process. I was terrified of not being able to think clearly enough to do my job. I still and may always have days (or nights) of minimal sleep and the fear of not sleeping still arises with me at times. But ive had great days after sleeping only 2 hrs and have had horrible days after sleeping 7 or 8 hrs. I know that it’s all just habitual. It’s all just habits that I’ve formed. The new habit of full acceptance just means that you’ve chosen to feel all of it without feeling sorrow for yourself about feeling all of it. I’ve had some really great days while experiencing a ton of anxiety simply because I chose not to feel sorrow for myself.

    Josh

  31. K Says:

    Thanks Josh. I know exactly what you are saying with regards to having a great day after two hours of sleep and having an out-of-nowhere turmoil when I least expect it after a full night sleep. The biggest thing that gets me is bodily pain (like fybromyalgia, but doctors say I don’t have it). I am happy to report though that I have had some baby step progress with that once I finally managed to not attach emotionally to being in pain and not sleeping (it almost sounds masochistic, but it really is better for me than drowning in self-pity). One day at a time, we’ll get to our happy place.

  32. Josh C. Says:

    K, I can understand . I occasionally experience restless leg which can keep me awake and I have chronic lower back pain. Both of these can increase the anxiety I experience depending on their severity.

    I know people with physical pain issues worse than mine yet they do not have anxiety which tells me it is possible to experience pain without anxiety.

    SO many of the physical symptoms can be anxiety related. I used to experience weird headaches and strange numbness and tingling on my back when I was fighting anxiety. I know your situation is more than numbness and tingling though, and my intentions aren’t to downplay your pain but to encourage you to keep on keeping on because I know that a lot of my physical symptoms went away when I quit fighting anxiety.

    Something Nolan wrote (I don’t remember which post the comment is on) stuck with me. He said something to the effect of, “If this is me forever, fine.” I can remember desperately wanting to have that attitude towards anxiety and all the crazy physical symptoms but not being willing to totally let myself go there. I continued fighting for several more months until I finally just completely gave up one day. I said to myself, “Nope. No more. I’m done. I give up.” And literally in that moment all the things Paul, Nolan and others have said over and over regarding acceptance just made sense. I experienced some of the worst anxiety I’ve ever known for the next 3 days because I completely quit trying to stop it. But I understood it was a great thing to have this new attitude, to let it all shake me up and not try to stop it regardless of how long I was going to experience it. I finally knew what Nolan was saying. I was totally willing to live my life full of anxiety and depression from there on out. I haven’t “struggled” with anxiety since. I’ve felt it at varying levels on and off but it no longer is something to work at it. It’s not something to free myself of.

    Josh

  33. Nolan Says:

    Hi Ryan,

    you asked:

    “but I did wonder if you could expand on what approach got you out of this?”

    To put it simply: I made my life bigger than anxiety again… with no expectation that my anxiety would ever go away.
    To slowly start reclaiming my life. The fear of anxiety (and the exhaustion from the symptoms) sidetracked me for many months. I started doing the things that once made my life mine again.
    For months my life had become an existence of constantly thinking (intentionally and reflexively) about anxiety/depression and my big symptoms. And I would dedicate all of my free time to reading more about it; trying to find hopeful stories of others who had my exact same problems (deviations from my problems in success stories always had me thinking “well, my problems are different…. so this can’t be of any help to me”).

    Sleep deprived, terrified, exhausted, and completely lost… I started to do the things of my life again: going out to dinner with friends, reading books, physical labor (I was convinced that too much physical exertion would throw me back down into the deepest recesses of the pit), staying up late, watching movies late, eating bad food again (many with anxiety go through these convoluted steps of only eating certain kinds of things in hopes of getting rid of anxiety).
    In other words: I gave a big “so what” to all of the “what ifs” that haunted every moment of my mind. (I’ve stole that from Dominic).

  34. Nolan Says:

    Beautifully written, Josh C.
    Got me choked up here reading that at work.

    “I continued fighting for several more months until I finally just completely gave up one day.”

    Exactly the same with me. I look back on that day for me with so much fondness now. A moment where I felt as lost as a person can be…. I now look back on that time as one of the best moments of my life.

  35. Josh C. Says:

    Nolan, many of your writings have choked me up. I related to so much of what you experienced. Deep down I knew if you could get out of the muck I could too, I just had to get to that point of completely giving up the battle. I tried for 6 years to rid myself of anxiety and depression using every method known to man. Many, MANY times I would give half hearted attempts at accepting all of it but would ultimately go back to all the methods after “trying” to accept didn’t work. I was on and off meds several times and would drug myself to nothing more than a zombie in attempts to get some sleep.

    Through all of it I promised myself that I would help others if I ever made it to the other side. It is miraculously simple how I’m here today encouraging and helping instead of desperately seeking answers as I have done in the past.

    Thanks for all the help and encouragement! You’re words have done amazing things for people. I’m living proof.

    Josh

  36. Ryan Says:

    Josh/Nolan,

    Both your words are appreciated.

    I have to say, I never let any of my feelings stop me doing anything. That’s what worries me.

    I don’t react anymore, I do everything I need to and have for the last year or so but ultimately I still feel like dog s**t most of the time

    I’m constantly deep in DP with existential ruminations, it’s like I’m stuck in my head 24/7 because of anxiety, and I fear never getting back

    Like you say, I suppose by reading this back it shows I’m not ok with feeling like this, hence why it paradoxcially continues

    Any final thoughts welcome

    Ryan

  37. Nisha Says:

    Hi Paul and others,

    My worry is about having non stop intrusive thoughts. Yes i should not worry. But how not to worry? if i say something, its not like fighting with a thought? Its really confusing me and taking my life.

    I really do not know how do i let go of it? I understand its not about “how”. But still i am stuck with one thought after the another.

    Also i read about “Allowing”. How to allow the thoughts without talking anything to remind about it or to understand about it? Because it was said its like fighting a thought. I really do not know what is allowing and what fighting is?

    How to see its just anxiety creating stories without talking anything consciously? It would be of a great help to get an insight about this.

    Nisha

  38. Kostas Says:

    Hello everyone,
    I have a problem with the understanding part.I know that everything i feel is just energy and do understand why i feel anxiety,but when I actually feel anxiety on a high level I subconciously still want it to be gone.I guess I do not have to do sth about it and let it be changed naturally,despite my instict telling me that I have to always be able to allow it.Am I right?

  39. Kostas Says:

    To be more specific,I have read Paul’s book and truly understood the content.It is very sensible that I firstly thouht that it was like a technique and wanted it all to be gone as soon as possible.As time passed I understood that this was not the meaning of the book.I got it that i had to stop visiting the site and rereading the book every time i did not feel good.The feelings are not harmful,but just incovinient.despite knowing this, my automatic response is still the same and I still think involuntarily that it is smoething that I have to fight.The urge to fight is what I think is the most difficult part to actually allow,as we all have been thinking this way for a long time.Also,for everyone who thinks that allowing is something that they personally can not achieve,I can assure you that I used to think the same way, but without me trying to change it, some days now I can really get through and be at peace with my anxiety!Sorry for the long post,wish the best to everyone

  40. K Says:

    Nolan’s statement about people with anxiety eating certain things made me chuckle because I have tried gluten-free, dairy-free, meat-free, all kinds of supplements. I even try to put my husband on supplements. Clearly, I am getting nowhere.

    Josh, Thank you so much for your encouragement. Having gone through bouts of headaches, then bouts of this or that, now I tend to lump every sign of physical discomfort under anxiety/depression. Some of it could be just from life, like back pain from picking up my daughter. I am trying to learn that not every sign of discomfort is a cause for alarm.

    On a different note, I notice that on good days my brain tends to run at 100 miles per hour trying to analyze and plan for everything in my day. I am trying to pace myself. Not sure if it is a form of control. I should probably just let it run until it exhausts itself.

    I am tempted to try another medication before I completely give up. It helps a close family member, changed her life after years of suffering. And again that letter to self guy says that if medication helps you do more relaxing things, then it just helps retrain your brain that there is no danger. I don’t know. Please don’t take my advice on that, anyone. I am just trying things out.

  41. Josh C. Says:

    Kostas,

    What you described is completely normal under the circumstances. Your mind is going to be triggered to start seeking a solution. It wants your attention. It’s reacting to a threat, doing exactly what it should be doing. It’s our habitual perception of the threat that causes all of the intense anxiety/panic when we don’t want it.

    When we teach ourselves that the old threats aren’t threats anymore by allowing the rush of thoughts to “FIX THIS! FIX THIS! FIX THIS!” our mind slowly starts to understand that it doesn’t need to alert us anymore of the threat of feeling anxiety. In other words, understanding that for now your mind and body are going to react to threats that you aren’t concerned with anymore.

    You will still feel panic and your mind will still be flooded with an “anxiety to-do list”, but the attitude is, “yes, I see what you want me to see but it’s not threatening to me anymore so I’m just gonna let you (mind and body) run all of this out.”

    It’s not a one day, one week or one month attitude. It’s a life attitude. It truly is adopting the attitude of “If this is me forever, fine”. (Nolan’s words)

    That can sound horrifying (I KNOW!!) but once you no longer care if you ever recover the anxiety starts loosing the grip on you. It still comes and shakes you up but it is no longer a problem. It’s just part of life. It’s no different than having to run to the store for eggs. No different than having to wake up for work. It’s all just part of life. You stop hoping that today is the day you finally “get it”. You COMPLETELY give up trying to figure it all out. You give up trying to accept it correctly.

    You can do it. Everyone can do it. I know because I’m doing it.

    Josh

  42. Josh C. Says:

    Ryan,

    I know exactly where you are. I was there for 6 years. I read over and over about how to just accept it. How to allow anxiety and just live with it. I tried SO many ways to do this but I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t working!

    Then one day (a day or 2 after going back on Paxil for the 3rd time) I just got so sick of worrying if I was ever gonna be ok. I had tried everything yet nothing gave me any lasting peace. In an instant I knew I had been trying to be ok all along. I had been trying to fix myself by trying to accept it. At that moment I totally gave up. I told myself, “I’m not doing this anymore. I’m gonna live the rest of my life either trying to fix myself (which always lead me to a dead end) or not trying to fix myself.” I decided to be fine with who I was no matter how I felt for the rest of my life. I stopped telling myself things like, “ok, I’m gonna give this approach a month and see if it’s working.” Or “maybe NOW I’m really accepting it. I’ll know in 3 months if this is the correct way to accept.” I had worn myself out trying to do everything correctly.

    Ryan, I finally understood that recovery wasn’t a mountain to climb. It wasn’t a day in the distant future where I would no longer feel anxiety, panic and depression. Recovery was my attitude toward anxiety.

    Josh

  43. Josh C. Says:

    K,

    I ate very strict diets for months at times. I had my days planned out to prep my anti-anxiety meals, get in 2 meditation sessions, go for a 3 mile run, get to bed at 9:30 among other things. I had read at different times (through my searching for a cure) about all the things I should be doing everyday to rid myself of anxiety. When I was actually able to complete all of the daily to-dos I rarely felt any better but had to keep it all up to fix myself. Most days I couldn’t get all the to-dos done and that was depressing to me. I was constantly thinking, “I can’t do this! How do people do all of this?? I have a job and a family, it isn’t possible to live with all these expectations!”

    This cycle of trying then quitting in depression then trying again and quitting in depression continued for years. This is what ultimately lead me to COMPLETELY giving up trying to stop the anxiety. I literally could not stop it and I finally understood that. Paxil would help but I knew it was never a cure. I knew I would eventually be back where I was.

    I had to go through all of this to understand that I wasn’t ruined. All the trying without any real, lasting results proved to me that I couldn’t fix myself. I understood that my attitude towards my life and anxiety/depression had been holding me back, not the anxiety and depression themselves.

    Josh

  44. Alz Says:

    Josh and Nolan thanks for giving people hope constantly . Iv written several posts above hoping that Paul or someone would reply because my symptoms seem ‘unique’ and ‘unbearable’ .But, I guess for everyone, their symptoms seem the same . Accepting is something that goes against our very nature because otherwise , why would we have anxiety in the first place? Unfortunately there is no magic wand or pill that will rid one of this self created mess. Just a willingness to see how bad it gets and then realising that it’s actually a spoof. Hope I can get to that stage!

  45. Josh C. Says:

    Alz,

    The truth is that you are going to experience some symptoms and thoughts unique to you. I spent a lot of my time searching the internet for someone that had all my symptoms, all of my same life experiences and was living the same lifestyle i was but I never found that person. I did find others that had many of the same experiences and sysmptoms I had, but never somebody that had held their son in their arms for an hour after his birth while watching him turn blue and pass away because he never developed lungs in the womb. Nobody that had adopted 3 special needs kids that completely overwhelmed them most of the time. Nobody working 12 hr shifts rotating days and nights that screwed up their sleep.

    I could go on, but the point is that there are people experiencing exactly some of the things you are but nobody is experiencing EVERYTHING you are. There isn’t somebody living the exact same life as you.

    For a long time I thought I was the exception to the cure. My life was too overwhelming and I was too traumatized to ever be ok. So, I sought and fought to be cured for years. “If I could just not have this or that problem I could be ok. If I could just get a new job I could finally start recovering. If I never would’ve adopted these broken kids I wouldn’t be so stressed and wouldn’t have all this anxiety. I have way too many kids and too many life obstacles to ever be ok.” In short, I blamed life for doing this to me.

    I’m not at all saying to stop trying to improve the quality of your life. I was doing that before anxiety and I’m doing that now. I still excersise and eat healthy most of the time (but I do eat junk some too) but I no longer avoid this or that or blame my circumstances for my health.

    I quit trying to figure it all out. I quit expecting to eventually not have anxiety. I quit expecting anything on any day. I just lived for today. I still felt like crap and had crazy to me thoughts that seemed to never end, but I knew worrying about all of it never did me any good. I decided to be ok with being this way the rest of my life. I had learned that not being ok with it got me nowhere.

    Hope this helps!

    Josh

  46. Kostas Says:

    Josh,I really appreciate your advice.That is something I was stuck with a lot of time.I will not give up despite all the hate towards anxiety that has grown into me.It is surely something that will change if left alone.Thank you again

  47. Mark R Says:

    Josh,

    Some great advice for others on here. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

    Reading your story I just wonder if we are in the same boat….

    I’ve been with anxiety to various degrees since I was 21, I’m 37 now. I used to struggle hugely for a year then it would retreat and I would be well for a number of years. However since early 2010 anxiety has never really gone away for me. I’ve gone up and down, having great days, weeks, months and then the polar opposite. Due to this really I gave up on any type of ‘recovery’ and come to terms with the fact that anxiety would reappear for me.

    Like you I’ve blamed it on various things. Maybe I shouldn’t have had that drink last night, those chips or dated that girl etc. But truth be told its never been a thing I could point to easily, always more chaotic and random.

    As Ryan said it doesn’t stop him doing anything and that is the same for me really. I have to admit the frustration is there. I can go for a while not feeling anything at all then wake one morning (as I have done this last few) and feel like total crap for no reason whatsoever.

    You don’t really mention in your posts if you still struggle or consider yourself recovered so that was my question really. Does anxiety pop back into your life at points as it does with me.

    Many thanks

    Mark.

  48. Josh C. Says:

    Mark,

    I’m 38 and your story sounds exactly like me! My anxiety started with a terrible panic attack in October 2011. I had a ton of stress in my life then, more than I had ever had in my life up to that point. The panic attack was the start of pure hell for me for the next 15 months. EVERY SINGLE DAY was a nightmare that wouldn’t end. I thought all was lost and I’d never be the same.

    I eventually got on Paxil and about that same time read Hope And Help For Your Nerves. I started feeling better and 6 months after getting on Paxil I got off thinking I had whipped anxiety for good. I thought I had beaten it.

    I had anxiety on and off for the next couple years, and didn’t like it at all but it wasn’t anywhere near the severity of that first year. I would literally make myself think, “Face, Accept, Float and Let Time Pass.” over and over and over when the anxiety was bad. I saw this as the secret phrase to force myself to think when anxiety was bad. I wasn’t actually doing any of those, but I thought I was by repeating it over and over in my head.

    In October 2015 the anxiety came rushing back and my secret phrase stopped working. I regretted everything I was or was not doing. “I should have tried going to bed at 9 instead of 9:30. I shouldn’t have eaten those chips with lunch yesterday. I should’ve ran another 10 mins yesterday. I should’ve spent more time meditating.” My life was nothing but a huge regret. During this time I found anxietynomore. I read everything I could looking for another secret to beating anxiety. I desperately searched for someone just like me, in my same circumstances that held the magic words to get me out of the nightmare again. I had zero patience because I wasn’t sleeping (2-3 hrs of sleep in a 24 hr period, sometimes 1 hr of sleep) and my life was extremely busy with work and raising kids. I wanted so bad to accept all the terrible feelings and thoughts but I didn’t have time to go through it all. I needed to be fixed NOW. So, I went back on Paxil after a couple of months of trying to force myself to accept and allow anxiety.

    I basically repeated everything again. Then late last year (November sometime) it all came back again. I started the search for a fix again but decided I needed to get back on the meds.

    A day or 2 after starting Paxil for the 3rd time I had an “Ah-ha!” moment. All at once I realized I had never actually allowed anxiety to happen. I tried to force myself to be ok with it so that I wouldn’t have to feel it. In other words, I wanted my half-hearted attempt at acceptance to be a miracle cure. I realized that me not liking anxiety, trying to get rid of it, not wanting it to be there was the problem all along.

    Mark, I’m a month into this and still feel anxiety most days but it has very little effect on me. I don’t consider myself recovered in the sense that I don’t feel unwanted anxiety, but I do consider myself recovered knowing anxiety will never have the grip on me it did for so long. I honestly don’t care how I feel anymore. My feelings are just that, feelings. My thoughts are just that, thoughts. Anxiety is no longer something to overcome. I understand that recovery was never a day in the future that I could live without anxiety or depression. Recovery is living today with anxiety there and not wishing it wasn’t there. Recovery is our attitude towards anxiety.

    Do I think that one day I will live without unwanted anxiety? Yes. But, that isn’t my goal. That was my goal for 6 years and it got me to many, MANY dead ends. I was very frustrated! I’m fine with living with anxiety for the rest of my life now. This is why I know one day it’ll all go away…because it doesn’t matter if it’s there or not.

    Josh

  49. K Says:

    Josh,

    Let me just tell you, you are such an inspiration! I am sorry about your son and grateful for those kids. Look at you helping everyone around. Thank you for your support and encouragement.

    And really, Paul and everyone here, thank you so much for keeping me on the right course. The greatest victory is the victory over yourself and your fears.

    Best,

    K

  50. Ryan Says:

    Josh,

    Thanks for this simplification, almost sounds too easy

    respect for what you are doing here, big up

    Cheers

    Ryan

  51. Josh C. Says:

    K,

    Live for today. That’s where it all starts and ends.

    Josh

  52. Josh C. Says:

    Ryan,

    It is very simple, but that’s why it is so frustrating. It’s extremely difficult to be “trying” to be ok with all of it. This is why those that finally exhaust themselves (me, Paul, Nolan…) and give up altogether understand that the attempts to stop feeling anxiety was the problem all along.

    The dread of anxiety, the frustration, the wishing it weren’t there, the hoping I’m doing the right thing(s)…this is the catalyst for it. Take the catalyst out and there is still a reaction to be burnt off but nothing new is being put into it to keep it going and going and going.

    Josh

  53. Josh C. Says:

    Nisha,

    The intrusive thoughts are part of the burn-off. It is COMPLETELY normal.

    For years I hated the thoughts I was having. I hated not being in control of my thoughts. I just wanted to be able to think without panic being driven through me.

    But today I understand that the thoughts are all just burn-off. It’s how the anxiety escapes. It’s exactly how it should be. It’s your attitude towards it that makes all the difference. SO many people with anxiety experience this and it’s because our mind is just burning off the anxiety in us. Anxiety doesn’t escape through our skin, it escapes through our minds. When we let it escape this way we quit feeding the anxiety while letting it eat all the stored up food we’ve fed it in the past.

    Josh

  54. Nisha Says:

    Josh,

    Thank you so much for your response. I really appreciate your attitude towards your life inspite of the overwhelming situations.

    As you said i can understand that thoughts are just-off burn. I say to myself for my understanding that, “this thought is just another anxiety release and it is a good thing happening to you, nothing to be scared about this”. Immediately it has been a reminder to know what is happening within us and I do not fall into the trap.

    My biggest struggle is, “Am i understanding or am i fighting with the thought?”
    Is explaining myself a good approach or it is a fighting?

    I need a better understanding of this. Because Paul and others who have recovered always say: “See for what it is”. So for me to remind myself i consciously explain myself to understand it better. Of course it helps me whenever am thinking consciously. But i need to know is this a right approach?

    As far as I read from Pauls books, i mostly read about who people who were once confident and later in years got Anxiety due to other stressors and worries, got recovered by the right approach and felt the old self again.

    But in my case, its different. I have anxiety since my childhood with low level of self confidence, insecurity, intolerance, problem of acceptance, avoidance and lack of clarity about life, and so on. So how to change my belief system. If I change, again it is not fighting? Is this the same approach for every one who suffers with anxiety irrespective of when it all started? I am really confused.

    I would be grateful to get more clarity about this!

    Actually i was so hesitant to ask these kind of questions, although i visit this blog since two years. That was my anxiety who stopped me! It kept telling me: “Hey, you, why do you want to ask such silly questions?” “Why cannot you find it by yourself?” “See again you are seeking others for help”.

    But today i decided to ask for help how much silly my questions are.

    Thank you so much for your kind help and time which is immeasurable in this so called self-centered society. Respects to all of you who prioritise Humanity!

    Nisha

  55. Josh C. Says:

    Nisha,

    All the wondering is part of the acceptance process. It’s habitual thinking, nothing more. I know exactly what that like. I desperately wanted to just accept everything and move along but my mind would always be wanting me to try a new teqnique or question my attempts at acceptance.

    I realized that all of that was just going to happen and there was no reason to question my questioning (if that makes sense). I knew my mind was going to run wild with thoughts of all kinds and some of that was going to be me questioning if I was doing the acceptance correctly or if I should try accepting a different way. When those thoughts come up now I just let them come and go as part of not trying to change anything. I don’t question whether I should be having those thoughts or if they need extra attention. I don’t add to the questioning.

    I still have thoughts like, “Josh, what if you forget how to accept??!!” or “Josh, what if this doesn’t work in the long run??!!” but I completely leave those thoughts alone. I let the panic those thoughts create surge through me then leave. I don’t question those thoughts. I understand it’s my old habits just doing what habits do. My new habit is to not question all of it. My new habit is to leave it all alone to do whatever it’s going to do.

    Concerning the lack of self-confidence, being insecure and intolerant, lack of acceptance and direction in life etc… Nisha, that describes me. I also have a MAJOR lack of patience. All of these are reasons why I’m a Christian. I understand that I’m not enough for my family, my co-workers, or myself. I need something greater than me to help me in the areas where I fall short. I rely on and trust Christ for this.

    However, it isn’t at all necessary to have your life figured out to start forming a new habit. In fact, knowing you’ll never have it all figured out is a good thing. Nobody has it all together and is living a stress-free life. Understanding that is part of living for today. Not living today in hopes tomorrow will be better. As Nolan says, “Make you life bigger than the anxiety.”

    Hope this helps!

    Josh

  56. Debbie Says:

    Hi josh c iam feeling dizzy today and weird so now my mind is going back to what i ate last night i do eat healthy so now i will cut out what i ate last night . What is this a way of containment ? Just wondering i have lost alot of weight due to it iam asking beacause i see it has at times happened to you also .
    Thanks deb

  57. K Says:

    Guys,
    I need your help. I saw a psychiatrist today who was quite strict in his demeanor (he said that he doesn’t like when patients debate with him about which course to take), claiming at the same time that he strives to foster a partnership. He said that he sees psychiatric issues and that I am incapable of choosing what treatment is right for me (that made me feel like sh##) and that I am wasting my time and money going to wrong doctors and doing modern treatments (e.g. transmagnetic stimulation of the brain), etc. He wants to try Cymbalta for anxiety and pain. When I suggested he do this new genetic test that is supposed to rule out medications that probably would not work, he got uncomfortable and said that he would be making decisions and that the test is not something that he thinks would help (he then conceded that he would be willing to try it if Cymbalta does not help). I am so conflicted whether I should go back to him. I am tempted to go because what if I am incapable of deciding what is good for me. At the same time, I do not want to leave my free will at the door and be guided completely by someone else, even if an MD. Please help. I am not sure what to do. I do know that I want to try a medication.
    Thank you,
    K

  58. Josh C. Says:

    Hi, Deb.

    Food has been an issue for me from the very beginning of anxiety. The day after my initial panic attack in Oct. 2011 I completely changed my diet. I was convinced I had suffered a heart attack and needed to cut out any and all unhealthy foods and drinks. I was eating very healthy yet feeling worse and worse as the days went on.

    After 5-6 months of this I realized eating healthy food wasn’t helping me feel better so I basically quit eating altogether. In a 24 hr period I would have an apple or banana and a spoon of peanut butter. One day the thought of peanut butter getting stuck in my chest came up and terrified me so I quit eating it.

    This continued for over a year. I finally chose to get on meds and Paxil was prescribed. You may or may not know, but Paxil is known to cause weight gain. “Paxil packs pounds” is the saying. I was very skinny so gaining some weight would be good, but I was eating everything in sight. I gained 50 pounds in just 4-5 months. I was feeling good so my Dr. took me off the Paxil.

    This all happened again with my next bout of severe anxiety in 2015. I lost 50 lbs by barely eating then gained it all back after getting on Paxil again.

    I can’t count the number of times I swore off certain foods because I felt odd later that day or the next day. I knew anxiety was responsible for all the weird headaches, numbness etc… but I was so desperate to not feel anxiety or anything related to it that I would convince myself that not eating certain foods was the quickest way to not feel anxiety.

    But, I would see others eating horrible diets that didn’t have anxiety. I couldn’t figure out why I was working my butt off to be healthy (mentally and physically) yet I felt so horrible. Some people in my life weren’t even attempting to be healthy and were happy yet I was starving myself and exercising a lot and was miserable.

    Deb, when I completely gave up trying to not have anxiety it all made sense to me. It was never the food. It was never how many miles I ran that week. It was never how much sleep I got or didn’t get.

    I’m a big advocate for living a healthy lifestyle (to your ability) but I no longer avoid foods or anything else on the basis of fear. I eat birthday cake with my family to celebrate a birthday. I sometimes eat chips or popcorn watching a movie with my wife. I set realistic goals for exercise. I live in the moment, not concerning myself with how each activity I do will effect my anxiety. I don’t care if I feel anxiety. I feel it right now as I type this, but it doesn’t bother me. I dont need to fix it. It will fix itself if I just leave it alone.

    Enjoy today, Deb!

    Josh

  59. Josh C. Says:

    Deb,

    I should add that I have eczema on my hands that causes skin peeling and tiny cuts (like paper cuts) on my fingers. There is a diet called the Autoimmune Protocol or AIP for short. This diet is very restrictive and extremely hard to stay on long term but it clears up the eczema on my hands. I go on and off this diet but I know it’s not reasonable for me to stay on it more than a month or so.

    I’m telling you this so that you won’t misunderstand what I’m saying about the food. I don’t eat AIP to keep me from having anxiety, but to clear up the eczema. I make healthy choices and do research for my overall health but not because I want anxiety to go away.

    I read somewhere that anxiety isn’t a disease therefore it needs no cure. This is so true!

  60. Debbie Says:

    Thanks josh iam down to 104 pounds use to be 132 . Anxiety is hell. Especially intrusives. Again thank you.
    Debbie

  61. Josh C. Says:

    Deb,

    I have intrusive thoughts also. The less I care about them popping up and hanging around the less often they come. The more I just move along with my life the less powerful they become.

  62. Stacey Says:

    After a fab week or so I am due to go on holiday with my small children whilst my husband is away working. I was so excited for it but as it’s got closer the usual thoughts and fears about not loving my husband and the gloom feeling has come back! I don’t know if small changes and stresses(holiday) are a trigger but I think my problem is I don’t want to feel back like this so I’m fighting it!!

  63. kostas Says:

    Hi guys,
    Finally I have understood a very important thing and I would like to share it with you hoping that it will help and inspire you.It’s been about a year since first reading Paul’s book and after a long time I have come to a specific conclusion that has lift a lot of weight off of my shoulders.Specifically,once i read the whole content something clicked to me ,something that told me that the actual problem is your attitude towards those feelings.I stopped avoiding situations and started doing things that i used to enjoy,without actually enjoying them.The actual reason that was keeping me back was the fact that I could not confirm myself that I accepted correctly all these feelings,as I saw acceptance as a technique.Of course ,due to living with anxiety,confirming that was from the scratch impossible.I continued living with anxiety hoping that one day I will accept those feelings and that all this commentary in my head and the dislike will vanish.The previous weekend thanks to josh and his reply to me I understood that from the beginning after reading Paul’s book I have seen the truth about my feelings,but I could never accept my inner voice telling me that I should do this and that,so I ended up challenging my habit of disliking and analysing my situation.As you can see we all have those uncomfortable feelings and it is very sensible for us to be afraid of them,but they are not the problem.If you want to name something as the ‘enemy’,the only thing that was causing anxiety from the start was our inner voice and attitude towards anxiety.I believe that this is what we call ‘anxiety’.That is the only thing that needs to be changed and the way that will be changed is by living with it and see it as an old habit that wants to stop all this energy from being released,because the feeling is unpleasure.So accept that you will not always accept your feelings and do not see that as your fault.That is something that will change automatically so you don’t have to expect that day that this will happen at last.If you understand that, I believe that slowly you will also understand that this will take time,as your inner voice has been there for months or maybe years.I do not tell you that I am recovered,as now that I am typing my anxious part tells me that what i think and believe now is not true and that in a few days I will not be able to live with my anxiety,but my response to that is that there is no problem with worrying and being confused as it is something I can not control.But, I can surely choose not to worry about worrying that is actually what keeps me int the cycle.Let your mind play tricks to you and continue living your life.Love yourself and go on.This is a part of our nature and I cannot find the reason to label it as something bad.Greetings from Greece!!

  64. Stacey Says:

    Ahhh I’m on holiday and can’t shift the glum feeling and thoughts anyone any words of hope I want out this setback so I can enjoy it I thought I was over this last week

  65. Josh C. Says:

    Stacey,

    Recovery isn’t wishing you felt different. Recovery is being ok with the way you are now and moving along. You don’t have to like it, just be ok with it.

  66. Josh C. Says:

    Kostas,

    Choosing not to worry about the worrying is HUGE! Good for you!

  67. Josh C. Says:

    Everyone,

    I want to share this with you to help with understanding the process of recovering.

    I had a very tough weekend. I only slept 2 hrs thursday and then again only slept 2 hrs friday. I was dead tired and by Saturday my anxiety had become very intense. It was a very troubling setback, but my attitude towards anxiety never changed. I never attempted to not have anxiety. I never questioned the questioning going on in my head. I just let myself feel completely exhausted and feel totally overwhelmed with anxiety. I didn’t expect it to go away. I just keep moving along through all of it.

    Today I woke up feeling very depressed. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to eat anything. I didn’t want to try…at all. But I did get up and I got moving along with my life. I didn’t try to pretend I was happy or change my feelings. I just accepted that I felt terrible but went on with my day just the way I was. By this afternoon I had small windows of forgetting I was depressed at all. This proved to me that my acceptance of my feelings and my decision to get out of bed and get on with my day was the right thing to do. The depression didn’t go away completely, but that’s ok. I’m not expecting a miracle cure. I’m living for today just the way I am.

    There are rays of sunlight through the clouds. That’s just the way it is and I’m totally fine with that. I understand that just because I felt really good last week doesn’t mean I’m going to feel great this week. It’s a process. The more I understand that the more at peace I am with all of it…the good and bad days.

    Live today for today!

    Josh

  68. K Says:

    What should I do if I cannot fall asleep? I am not particularly anxious, but I am probably overanalyzing. I could take an antihistamine that makes me fall asleep. I guess I should instead stay in bed and try to not care whether I would fall asleep and whether I would be tired tomorrow? I am not in pain and I am thankful.

  69. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    I posted earlier in February that a domestic squabble had sky rocketed my anxiety. The same situation occurred yesterday and the same thing happened. Its a situation I have now walked away from for my own good but spent yesterday fully cranked up and was even sick in the evening.
    I’m also really poorly at the moment, proper flu bug and have zero energy and can barely get out of bed. Dealing with this and increased anxiety symptoms is no fun at all.
    I was just wondering though how I’m ever going to cope with a relationship when my system reacts like it does to an argument. The squabble mentioned above was girl related. Maybe I’m too sensitive to have one?

    Josh,

    I’ve only just logged in so need to say thanks for the message you left for me last week. Its remarkable how similar our back stories are. I think you have a great attitude towards it all.
    From reading your posts some things really stand out for me…..that these feelings don’t matter and Its important to live our lives regardless. Also the fact that Anxiety if left alone is just energy that burns itself out. The latter is very important to me when I’m having a rough time.

    I only come on here when I’m struggling but I’ve had some great days recently so hopefully I’m trending the right way.

    Be well all.

    Mark.

  70. Kostas Says:

    Mark,
    The situation you say that you are in is something actually good for you,but through habbit you see it as sth bad.The only thing that happens to you is a detox.When you allow yourself to feel anxiety,your second fear rises and tries to stop you through the best it can.So move on and see it as a part of the process,a difficult one,but also a really helpful one.Do not plan your day regarding the way you feel.Show to your second fear that there is nothing in fact to be afraid of and let it shout at you the loudest it can.I also go through a period of very heightened anxiety but I cannot find the reason to try and change it,or hide myself from the outside .I have convinced myself that this is what causes anxiety,so I prefer to flow with the energy and let it do whatever to me.But it will not stop me from anything!
    Be hopeful and everything will start to change little by little,anxiety is not your enemy and time is your healer.??

  71. Tom Says:

    Hello everyone!

    I would be greatful if someone would clear up my confusion regarding acceptance. As I understand, when an anxious thought arises, the right thing to do is to not feed it with my attention, therefore taking away its fuel.

    What I am confused about is whether in such a situation I should force my attention onto the activity I am doing at the moment, or if I should just acknowledge the anxious thought’s presence, see it for what it is, and even let my attention be on it if it wants to, but doing so with an attitude of not taking the content of the thought seriously.

    Forcing myself to focus outwards on the activity I am doing is very tiring, and I can’t keep it up for a long time, since I cant concentrate well because of the fatigue and lack of sleep.

    Is letting the thoughts and sensations be there without taking them seriously the way to go, or do I also require to keep my attention on the present moment?

    I would appreciate any explanation, since I have been stuck with this question for a long time.

    Thanks,

    Tom

  72. Bryan Says:

    Hi Tom,

    Your question indicates a good understanding of the process and the decisions that arise for us. Your conundrum is common and I’ve certainly had this thought often through the years.

    The answer (your to me) is in between the two options you gave. In option 1 you used the word force. You probably know intuitively that force requires strain or fight and we want to avoid that the best we can. Conversely we do want to stay outward or external the best we can.

    So what about just making an agreement with yourself that these thoughts CAN come along with you, but that you do choose not to engage in debate/analysis/drama with them.

    So for me, I would get up and go to work. Or if at home get up and get busy with whatever I needed to do. If the thoughts arose I’d try to say… “I see you, but today isn’t about you… it’s about what I need to get done”… and gently redirect back onto my tasks.

    I think you’ll find that as you gently redirect back to your business enough times…without adding drama… the mind eventually loses steam for the BS and gains traction for the tasks/business/activity you are engaged in. Eventually…the thoughts just kind of vanish. You may have to repeat this gentle redirection 500-1000 times im a morning. (Or maybe only a few)
    But when done calmly and with consistent purpose… you overrule the BS and the mind gets on board with YOUR plan, and dumps it’s own.

    Of course this may be a daily process for a while. Of course you’ll have days where you do your best but honestly engage with the BS too much. And that’s ok. Dont add “grading” yourself to the BS. That’s just more BS. Try to accept that imperfection in this process is normal. I’m years into improvement but still have days where the stupid thoughts or worries can get me off track. But not often because I’ve chosen the path shown by people like Claire Weeks and Paul as well as great folks like Nolan around here.

    See it as a process to gently practice and firmly commit to, not a test or show of force. Your question shows that you are on your way to moving past it all. Keep it up.

  73. Stacey Says:

    Guys I’m feeling awful. I’m exhausted from taking two small children on holiday last week on my own so I think this is adding to it but my fear of not loving my husband is haunting me so much that I feel awful and shaky around him as the thought keeps coming in

  74. daryl Says:

    Hi Stacey,

    It is hard and that is the truth.
    I struggle with exactly the same theme, the same intrusive thoughts as you and I have been for sometime. What I will say is that by me giving you reassurance I am not doing you any favours, so I’ll try not to do that.
    In my case and I am sure in yours too,I find the thoughts so believable and to be honest the reason they are believable is because there is a grain of truth to them. There is a possibility we don’t love our partners, or it could be possible that there could be a better match out there but the reality is we had these thoughts many times in the past just like every single person does but we didn’t react to them. The power we give to the thoughts gives them importance and then suddenly we have given our brains an impossible problem to solve………..the brain loves nothing more than a problem to solve and so we then ruminate and research looking for the definitive reassurance we need to stop feeling anxious. The reason you focus on this (and I do too) is that it is a grey area where no definite answers can ever be found………..because you cannot find the answers and you are in the anxious state you keep searching for the answer, the answer that you do love your husband, the answer that you want to hear so that all this anxiety and worry will stop.
    Thing is, it won’t.
    I know from my experience that what initially caused my anxiety was not this theme of relationship anxiety. It was something else………..something that I now no longer see as as big of an issue. In other words, whilst I didn’t solve that problem, I must have accepted it……….it doesn’t hold much fear for me now.
    The issue is that I have replaced the initial “problem/doubt” with another problem………..another grey area for me to ruminate on and whilst we are in the anxious state I believe that is what we all do.
    Think about it………..if something extremely scary happened to you at this moment, would you still be focussed on whether you loved your husband or not? I doubt it…….you would tend to the current scary situation……….the doubts about your relationship would only resurface after you had dealt with the more pressing issue…………therefore this has become your (and my) default state, our relaxed state if you like and it is this broken way of thinking we have to allow to heal.
    The problem isn’t on the outside, the problem is on the inside (a bit of free reassurance there :)) and we need to focus on changing the way we react to our thoughts rather than changing the thoughts themselves. If I manage to do that (And I feel I am definitely making progress) I will let you know.
    In the meantime focus on your kids and your family even if your anxiety is is trying to make you do the opposite because those are your core values. Take care.

  75. Stacey Says:

    Ah thank you so much Daryl.
    You seem to know all the answers and what you need to do. Now just keep going :-)
    Thank you xx

  76. Josh C. Says:

    Tom,

    Acceptance is a difficult idea to convey, but Bryan (and others) have done well explaining it.

    When I totally gave up the fight, when I completely quit trying to not have anxiety, acceptance was the first thing that was there for me. I understood that all this time my trying to accept correctly had been me fighting. I realized it was me not wanting to have certain thoughts and feelings that kept fueling the anxiety. I saw how I had been keeping myself in the cycle by trying to get out of the cycle.

    I understood that I was just going to have to live for today and make it the best I could without worrying if I was doing or not doing things correctly. I quit worrying about which thoughts would come up and drive panic and anxiety in me. I quit trying to do anything except make today as good as I could.

    I started to see the scary thoughts as nothing more than thoughts. If I got sucked into them for a bit, so what. If I let them pass without a second thought, so what. If they stayed around a while, so what. If they didn’t come up for a while, so what. None of it was something to be concerned with any longer.

    I will sometimes just sit, close my eyes and let me mind race with everything that scares me for 5 mins or so. I give it all my focus and just let it burn itself off. Then I’ll get back up and move along with my day making it the best day possible. Nolan has previously stated, “Make your life bigger than anxiety”. That’s exactly what I do. That’s acceptance. Not trying to do the right thing today so you won’t have anxiety tomorrow. Not trying to force other thoughts so you accept correctly. Just feeling it all without hoping you don’t have to feel it someday. Being ok with all of it because today is all I have so I’m going to make the most of it.

    Josh

  77. Stacey Says:

    On bad days does anyone else feel really low and wake up with pure dread?

  78. daryl Says:

    Hi Stacey,
    Yep……….of course………there is that 3 seconds where you do not engage the brain and you feel “normal” but once you start thinking, there it is again :).

    It’s anxiety, its habit and if you can try to accept it the theory goes that it will run out of steam. Hope you have a good day………..just try to keep pushing on with the things you do, it isn’t easy but we have thought ourselves in to this, the trick is to accept that we can’t think our way out. They are just thoughts.

  79. Tom Says:

    Thank you Bryan and Josh for your replies!

    I will do my best to keep myself engaged with my tasks, and will try to not be hard on myself if it feels impossible on a given day.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

    Tom

  80. Fleur Says:

    Stacey, daryl

    Exactly! Every day when I wake up, I am normal, content for 3 seconds, but then brain starts thinking and immediately I am bad again. Pure dread

  81. Josh C. Says:

    Fleur, Stacey

    This is something just about all of us experience. It’s the habit so many of us have created. Wake up, start checking for anxious feelings and thoughts and sure enough, they show up. We condition our minds to do this by fearing the very thing we want to get rid of.

    When we stop caring if those thoughts and feelings greet us every morning they start loosing power. Then they come less frequent. Then they are just a memory.

    Forming new habits gets rid of old habits.

    Josh

  82. Stacey Says:

    Thanks for replies guys xxx so appreciate it I have felt so awful.
    Does Paul come on here much or do private sessions?
    Thanks in advance

  83. K Says:

    Hi Josh,

    I am doing the best I can to not do things right today for the sake of feeling better tomorrow but every time I stay up to watch TV, have a dinner with a friend or do something anxiety-free folks would do, I go to bed with a headache or wake up tired (my baby wakes up at 6am). How can I break this cycle?

    Thank you,

    K

  84. Louise Says:

    Hi all iv been following pauls advice for over a year now and it took me up until last month to actually get it all but I am having more weeks of peace im just wondering if anyone has ever had a fear of taking medication antibiotics etc and if so how did they get over this as this is kond of my last hirdle so to speak thinking im allergic to everything and also did anyone suffer with aches anf pains in their chest and back. Thanks

  85. Carl Says:

    Hey Josh,

    I have been suffering since March of last year, read all there is about acceptance. I go through stages, up and down. Some days better than others. It’s usually thoughts > nervous stomach (sometimes for no reason, sometimes over certain triggers) > foggy minded. Sometimes however, I get nothing at all and feel wonderful. Strange huh? The minute I think i’m getting somewhere, the minute it raises its ugly head again. It raises its ugly head by the way without any worry or added stress. The symptoms just simply ‘linger’ and linger and linger to the point now where I simply think ‘right, ok.. this is me now forever, they aren’t ever going to go’.

    What I believe is THE fundamental fuel for keeping me in this ‘cycle’, is my dire need and crutch to want to visit anxiety forums to seek more reassurance the second things get bad. I do use willpower and vow never to visit such sites again as I believe all it is doing is reminding me I am still suffering and also not fully accepting. I almost get disappointed in myself that I didn’t allow myself to fully accept because I wanted a quick fix again and feel stupid afterward. There is no quick fix, it’s a journey of self discovery.

    I say to myself, right…from monday onwards I am never going to visit a site again… that way I MUST be accepting, and given enough time it’s bound to go right? The most I last is ONE week ! and I return :(

    What I also believe is that recovery is possible for some…but not everyone.

    Thoughts?

    Cheers.

  86. Mamba Says:

    Has there ever been like an offshoot/collection of posts on this blog? like a reddit, facebook group or a forum? i’d really like to read the success stories of people on here. knowing you can get clear of this is one of things that keeps me going.

    i’ve been back on 30mg citalopram for 6 months now and back to taking citalopram every day since March. Life in general is a whole lot smoother, no morning worry, no constant waiting for bad news or fear of the next phone call. Still too much chatter in the head but managing to ignore the negative stuff most of the time. feeling better than i have in a few years.

    One of my big problems is relaxing especially to enjoy films and tv (i’m a huge film nerd). it has improved but that feeling of just being switched off and totally engaged in something rarely happens. it happens at other times like when i’m reading or playing games etc

    my head just keeps chatting away and a constant checking to see if i’ve switched off. there are times when i get “ok, concentrate this is an important scene” than (i guess) the adrenaline increases and the frustration builds and more questions and looking for answers starts to happen “this is only temporary” “concentrate it’ll pass” and then every now and then

    “can this just be anxiety?”

    “i’m going to be stuck with this forever”

    I’ll go to youtube to watch something and then all of a sudden i’ll get a thought “you won’t get into this” like with other negative thoughts i try to just ignore it and at times it’s stops and at other times the checking just starts again

    I’m worried about asking the doctor what to do next due to knowing they’ll just up the dose and i’ll have to go through the increase in anxiety again and side effects

    Has anyone on here had similar problem and managed to get over it? do you think it could just be something that has to fade with time and patience? or could i need a higher dose or a change

    Thanks for any help

  87. Josh C. Says:

    K,

    It sounds like you’re doing the right things for the wrong reason. If you’re going to eat with a friend or staying up to watch tv hoping that it will make your anxiety go away, that’s just a technique to cover up anxiety. Doing those things because you’re ready to live your life again regardless of how you feel about doing them is the attitude to have.

    I have to wake up at 3:30 am at least 7 days a month and stay up all night going to bed at 6 am at least 7 nights a month for my job. I also have young kids that get up very early. I understand what being tired feels like. I’m exhausted most of the time. I get headaches too. I understand what feeling crappy is like, I really do!

    But, I no longer let how I feel determine my day. I got sick and tired of living in fear of myself and how I felt. I decided today is the only day I have so I’m going to make the most of it…headache, exhaustion, how ever I feel. I do this EVERY day. I still get thoughts and feelings of dread some mornings but my response to all of that is, “I hear you, but you lived my life for me for years and now I’m living my life with or without you.”

    Life is crappy sometimes…FOR EVERYBODY. Wasting the days wishing my life was different or I felt different isn’t an option for me anymore. I get up and live my life instead of spending the day dreading my life and wishing I had not stayed up so late or gone to dinner with a friend. I still feel anxiety and depression on and off but I’m not living for those anymore. I’m living bigger than those things. Those things get my attention at times and that’s ok, they are part of my life. I don’t care if they are part of my life. Im ok with feeling them even though they are uncomfortable. My life is so much more than those things now.

    Hope this helps, K!

    Josh

  88. Josh C. Says:

    Carl,

    I know exactly where you are. For over 6 years I was a total wreck for months then feeling good for months. Up and down, round and round. I finally got sick of riding that roller coaster. I quit letting my thoughts and feelings determine my days. I quit wondering why I couldn’t just get past all of it. I quit trying to figure it all out.

    To be honest, I hate the way I feel some days but those feelings no longer set the course of my day. I have 2 choices every day…I can choose to live my life with those feelings there or choose to let those feelings live my life for me. (It’s the same attitude with fearful/intrusive thoughts)

    To address recovery, I no longer care if I recover. To quote Nolan again, “If this is me forever, fine.” I quit hoping I don’t have to have certain feelings and thoughts someday. Maybe I fully recover, maybe I don’t. I’m not concerned with what the future holds for me in that sense. I’m making the most of today. I honestly don’t see how anybody could recover always hoping that 6 months or a year down the road will be the day to start living again. In my mind recovery is what I make of today. I no longer view anxiety and depression as something to get rid of. If they are present, fine. If they’re gone, fine.

    They are thoughts and emotions. EVERYBODY has them. It’s our attitude towards them that determines our days.

    Carl, GO GET TODAY!

    Josh

  89. Josh C. Says:

    Carl,

    I have sworn off this blog more times than I can count only to come back a few days later looking for the right words to quickly make me feel better. It’s totally normal. It’s human nature to want to fix things we don’t like. I have read Paul’s posts and the comments many times, studying each sentence to find the magical phrase for relief. I have tried so many different ways to accept. I have forced myself to think only positive thoughts. I have done just about anything to not feel anxiety and yet it never got me anywhere. Once I recognized this I came to terms with the idea of acceptance. The strong desire to not feel it just fed it. I stopped viewing it as something needing to be fixed. I understood I had spent years developing habits that kept me in the cycle and I was completely giving up the fight and the desperate search for a cure. I still had days of feeling super amped up and I would come to the blog and search for relief, but as the days went on I stopped looking for a cure. I stopped coming to the blog looking for relief and instead started coming to share what I had learned.

    It takes courage to just let yourself completely fall into anxiety, but there is also some sweet relief in it as well! The struggle ends. The feelings still linger, but the fight is over. The days become what YOU make of them, not what anxiety makes of them.

  90. Carl Says:

    Thanks Josh for your replies.

    You are completely right, I guess that deep seated within me I am still wishing and hoping it will disappear one day. That to me isn’t truly accepting, it’s setting myself up for failure. There isn’t a day that goes by without me ‘checking’ how I feel. Even if just for a brief moment. When I feel good, I think ‘wow I’m feeling great at the moment, this is awesome’ that often then brings the feelings back.

    Also when my body doesn’t react to certain triggers sometimes (zero anxiety felt), I think ‘oh wow, I didn’t react that time, I must be getting better!’ But then other times I do react to them. When I say react I mean feel an automatic feeling I have no control over, I don’t overwhelm myself with fear and panic. This again, is a form of self checking and therefore having certain expectations. If I recognise I didnt experience anxiety , it still causes me to think of it. The aim would be to experience triggers without the anxiety and not even recognise that I didn’t feel anything, if that could happen 24/7 then to me, I am cured.

    Get on with our lives , with or without it, get busy living or get busy dying. – Shawshank Redemption quote.

    Thanks.

  91. Carl Says:

    Josh,

    If you don’t mind me asking, what is the longest period you can think of where you’ve stayed away from anxiety websites? Whether that be to seek reassurance or to give reassurance.

    Carl.

  92. Josh C. Says:

    Carl,

    Before I found this blog I would read Claire Weekes Hope and Help For Your Nerves over and over again. That went on for 6 months or so but at some point I quit reading the book due to thinking I had finally overcome anxiety. It never fully went away but due to being on Paxil I was able to function daily but the Paxil made all of my emotions numb…I was no longer super anxious but I didn’t feel much of anything.

    After I got off the Paxil and all the anxiety came back I found this blog. I came on here several times a day searching for a cure. I was never cured so I went back on Paxil, felt better and was off the blog for several months, again 6 months or so.

    This happend 3 times before I finally said, “Screw this! I’m done doing this.” and quit the Paxil and didn’t come on the blog for a couple of months.

    Carl, my life is extremely stressful and I have really bad work anxiety and also have bad sleep issues due to the work anxiety. I don’t expect to ever fully recover because my lifestyle is not healthy but there’s not much I can do to change any of it. It is what it is. I only slept 2 hrs last night and have been super amped up today. My anxiety was through the roof most of the day today! But I have quit trying to get rid of the anxiety. I just live with it now. I accept it being part of me. I know my weeks will be mixed with good days and bad days and I’m ok with that. I don’t like anxiety and I hate being tired but there isn’t anything I can do to change either of them…I tried for years to do so!

    Josh

  93. Doreen Says:

    Hi Nolan. Good to see you are still popping on here from time to time with words of wisdom. I think there is little I can add in the way of support to those who are still struggling as there are so many others on here who are getting the message and helping others. Good to see.

  94. Carl Says:

    Josh,

    I empathise with what you’re going through and hope you get your quality of life back soon, if not already. Because that’s what it comes down to at the end of the day, quality of life. If medication helps give that back, then great. Unfortunately I can’t relate to any medication as I’ve never tried any. I tried to get over it naturally… albeit it’s been hard.

    I guess everyone experiences anxiety from time to time , it’s natural. We need to remember it isn’t something to ‘get rid of’. We know deep down it isn’t needed and the threats are false but our prehistoric brain doesn’t know that. That primitative part of the brain lacks reason and intelligence.

    On another note, Nolan, are you Beevee from Healthunlocked?

  95. Stacey Says:

    I can’t see a way out this setback it feels worse than ever so awful!!! Any advice

Leave a Reply

*