Anxiety & Panic Questions and Answers
Throughout my years of helping people I have given various answers to all sorts of questions around anxiety, and certain questions have come up far more than others. So, for everyone’s benefit, I have listed some of the more popular questions below.
Q.1 Will these anxious feelings ever go away?
Yes, they will. Once you understand why you feel like you do, you can then start to unmask a lot of the fears you hold about anxiety. There are so many myths about anxiety that it worries me just how many people are misinformed and truly believe they will never get better and that they will just have to live with this condition forever. Too many people spend years like I did, searching for that elusive miracle cure that just does not exist.
Your mind and body have been through a lot in the time you have had this condition. It may be emotionally spent and feel so tired. None of this has done you any long-term harm. Just see your mind and body as running at 50% at the moment. Letting your mind and body recover at its own pace is the key. An overnight cure is impossible after what you have been through, it is a process of reversal through understanding.
Understanding anxiety also takes away so much fear out of how we feel. A lot of anxiety is a habit, a learned behaviour that can be reversed. Every stage and symptom has a logical explanation which begins to help us realise that we have been the creator of our own suffering. With less fear and more understanding, we also lessen the constant worry and deep thinking of our condition and so we begin to break the cycle. It is the lack of information on the subject that keeps the worry cycle going and which adds to the belief that we will just have to live with it.
Once we start to understand anxiety and apply the understanding we have learned to start recovery, then change can be dramatic. In my recovery, I found that the more knowledge I had and the more I understood my condition, then the easier it was to allow how I felt and get on with living again. I started to lose the fear of my symptoms and so they began to hold less power over me and I started to pay them less respect. My attention began to no longer be on me and how I felt and more back on life, I began to feel more at one with the world again.
It is your desperation to rid yourself of how you feel that keeps your anxiety alive. The stress you put on yourself day in day out and the constant worrying and over thinking about your condition wears you out mentally. It’s time to stop beating yourself up about how you feel and give your mind and body the rest it so craves.
Knowledge is power. The less you fear your symptoms, the less they mean. This also stops the worry cycle you may find yourself in, which is the very thing that keeps anxiety going; the very thing that keeps you trying to suppress or avoid how you feel. You are bound to worry and overthink if you don’t know what is wrong with you or what you can do about it. That is why you need an explanation to help break this cycle. Once you truly understand anxiety then you can move on to full allowing. Allowing yourself to feel this excess anxious energy that is stored within you is what clears it up and frees you. You can never be free of anything you try to avoid, suppress or fight.
Q.2 Why did anxiety chose me?
Anxiety does not choose certain people. It is not something you just get like a cold. Anxiety is the result of your body and mind being overworked, be it through long hours or stress at work, a problem or collection of problems that you have been worrying about for a period of time. Your nerves have taken on so much for too long and go ‘bad’, as many put it. If you work anything beyond its capabilities, whether it be a blender, a vacuum cleaner or a car, it will break down or begin to clunk and run badly. Your body and mind are the same.
So, anxiety is not an ‘it’. It is not something your body wants to go through. It is your body and mind telling you it can no longer work at the pressure you are putting it under. That is why it is important to take your symptoms with a pinch of salt and not get stressed about the way you are feeling. Adding more stress and worry to an already tired mind and body that craves a break from its current onslaught is not the way to heal.
Anxiety really is your body’s way of talking to you, telling you that you can’t carry on this way; that what you are doing, is doing you no good. That you are overworking the mind and body, this is where the word breakdown comes from, as this is exactly what happens and why you feel so terrible, anxious tired and irritable.
Suffering is always a wake-up call to change. Your mind and body are not built for the worry and stress you are putting it under. The trouble is many people who reach this stage with anxiety then start stressing and worrying about their anxiety and a vicious cycle is created.
If you eat bad food you will suffer and be sick. If you drink too much alcohol you will get a hangover and feel bad. This is your body’s way of telling you not to do it, that it’s not doing you any good. If you feel pain anywhere, it is your body telling you there is a problem in that area. These laws are true for psychological suffering too. It is just your body’s way of telling you there is a problem. It is not telling you to get rid of anything, it is not telling you to worry more. It is telling you to change things; to stop doing what you are doing and then the suffering will go away. You will never fix worrying with worrying. You will never fix anxiety by being anxious about it. The only way to cure suffering is to stop doing what is causing that suffering and then go through a period of healing.
Q.3 I now have a lot more knowledge of anxiety, yet I still feel bad, surely now I should feel great?
This question arose because a woman on my AnxietyNoMore Facebook page wrote a comment saying “I thought I had a handle on this, but yesterday I was wracked with anxiety again”. Unfortunately, she was totally missing the point that I make and trying to use my words as a way of feeling great, a way of not feeling what she needs to feel.
This is where people go wrong. They think that when they have far more knowledge on the subject of anxiety, they should now be past feeling bad and should just feel great; that knowledge alone should free them. I keep telling people that when I truly understood anxiety and the cycle I was in, I realised even more what I would have to go through. It wasn’t a free pass to being free of my anxiety.
A lot of people believe that there is an endpoint where knowledge alone will free them; that there is a secret answer out there to this puzzle and when found they will then be free. People who believe this are usually the ones that end up searching for the rest of their lives, constantly looking for that answer to make it all go away instantly. They move from one book to another, from one guru to another, constantly looking for the golden ticket to freedom. Sorry, but that answer doesn’t exist.
Once you truly understand anxiety then it is just the start of a process you realise you need to go through. You finally realise that there is no magic sentence, pill or technique that will free you. You realise that you now have to go through a process of no longer suppressing and avoiding this anxious energy. You now see that avoiding, suppressing or protecting yourself from it just doesn’t work; that this is not the way to freedom. In fact, these are exactly the actions that are keeping all this anxious energy within you; it is the reason you are not progressing and why you stay stuck.
True knowledge leads you to finally be open to how you are feeling, even in your darkest moments. It is at your darkest moments where a true purification of this energy can happen, but only if you are open to it. Allowing this anxious energy is like going from a closed fist to an open palm. It is a relaxing of this grip you have on yourself; the grip that was only stopping this healing process from happening.
But you also have to understand that releasing all the anxious energy that you have created within doesn’t feel great and it will come up as dark energy, be it intrusive or disturbing thoughts, anxiety, sadness, irritation, nausea etc. This anxious energy will release itself in many different forms, but you need to see this as a good thing, not a bad thing.
If you are allowing of it and I mean being fully open to it without trying to find a way to feel good, without trying to suppress it or protect yourself from it. If you are truly open to it, then in time it will release itself and you will start to feel better as our natural state is peace and it is only this that is stopping us feeling our natural state.
You may have to go through many of these periods before you feel real freedom. This is exactly what a setback with anxiety is, just another release your mind and body needs to go through. It does not mean you are back to square one in any way shape or form, it just means another release of this anxious energy is happening.
When you do something that makes you feel anxious, then this is just a situation or event that is triggering inside what needs to be felt; it is just triggering the anxious energy that is stored within you. Energy in most cases that you have created through constant stress and worry. The outside event is innocent in all of this. It is not the cause of your anxious feelings, the anxious energy trapped within you is.
The only reason I can go where I wish now and do the things I do without being wracked with anxiety is because I am free of the anxious energy within me. So nothing on the outside can trigger it, as there is nothing left inside to trigger. So the outside didn’t change for me to no longer feel anxious, the inside did.
People miss this vital point and usually do two things to avoid this anxious energy being released. They either try to rearrange the outside so they don’t feel this anxious energy or pretty much avoid it all together. But they are not actually avoiding the outside, they are avoiding the outside triggering the release of this anxious energy. This is why avoiding the outside or trying to rearrange it will never solve the problem.
Being open and fully allowing of how you feel is not easy, as if it feels bad then it is our instinct to try and close it down, to suppress or avoid what we don’t like, but this is exactly what keeps us stuck and what keeps the anxious energy stored within. The only way to be free of anything is to allow yourself to feel it. There is no other way out, no shortcut, no magic pill, sentence or technique. I keep telling people that if there was, then we would all know about it. Good news travels very fast in today’s technical world.
True recovery takes time, commitment and true understanding of the process we need to go through. Anyone who tells you any different either doesn’t know what they are talking about or is just making impossible claims so as to part you with your money. Knowledge though is very important, as it is this knowledge that finally leads you to be fully open and the more open and allowing you are, then the quicker the process of being free of this anxious energy happens.
Q.4 Why do I feel better in certain situations and not in others?
This is a very common one and it all comes down to how you think in other situations.
For example, you may feel better in the safety of your own home rather than at a family gathering. The only difference in these situations is in the way you think. You are the same person and it is not the situation that makes you feel worse, it is your thought pattern and memory working together.
You may spend the day worrying about going to a particular function, setting your body up to be anxious on arrival, and then blame it on the situation you are in rather than the thought pattern you have created during the day while at home. You may get there and then also worry about making a fool of yourself, spending the whole time tensing and trying to control how you feel and creating more anxiety. Do you see how we do this to ourselves? It is not the situation, but our perception of the situation, that causes us to feel more anxious.
You must just accept how you feel wherever you are and in whatever situation you find yourself. Deal with yourself and not the place. If you feel apprehensive then that’s fine. Don’t try to feel any different than you do or try to keep some kind of grip on yourself; just releasing this grip will automatically relax you.
If you truly accept how you feel in every situation and stop trying to keep a grip on yourself or looking for the easy exit, you will find that, although you may feel uncomfortable at times, nothing bad happens to you, and as time goes by your reactions lessen until you feel more able to cope. Anxiety loves avoidance, so take its power away, move forward and allow these feelings of fear to be present. This is the key.
Moving towards your fears is far more productive than hiding from them. By continually hiding and running away from how you feel, you are training your mind and body that there is danger in normal, everyday activities and teaching it that its reaction is correct and needed. The mind is just doing what it is designed to do and is just responding to the signals you are giving it.
So, if you allow yourself to feel the way you do without avoiding or running away, you are teaching your mind that you are fine and that there is no danger here. The only language it understands is your actions; it watches and listens to your behaviour and is taught to react that way. So, when you tell it that you are fine through your actions of non-avoidance, it will then start to listen. It will understand that you’re totally safe and in time will switch off this fearful protection system.
Avoiding symptoms just does not work, as you must realise by now. You need to let all feelings be there and not avoid them, but go through them, even invite them in. This worked for me. I ignored my body’s instinct to avoid and started to embrace how I felt. I moved towards the feelings of fear and apprehension. Eventually, I started to understand my condition so much more and regain control. I was in charge again and could act independently of my thoughts and feelings. I did not get rid of fear through personal effort or any kind of technique; I just got to know it and lost my fear of it by realising its harmless nature. It then held no power over me.
Q.5 Why do my thoughts race and why are they so negative and worrisome?
This is an extremely common question and why I dedicated a whole page to this subject. If this is something you struggle with then please visit my page below explaining why these thoughts first arise and what keeps us in the cycle.
Q.6 I feel so unreal and out of touch with the world around me. Am I going mad?
This question was by far the most popular, so I have now created a page dedicated to this symptom known as depersonalisation, just click the link below to take you directly to the page.
More questions answered below
Do keep coming back as I am always adding more questions and answers to the list.