A Blog for all Anxiety Sufferers

How to be free of over thinking

Hi Everyone I am sorry for not posting much recently, I have just been super busy with the audiobook and updating the main site and this blog, mainly giving both a makeover and also making them both mobile and tablet ready. Everything changes at a fast rate and so you have to constantly keep up. …

How do I allow anxiety?

How to allow anxiety

Allowing your anxious energy, is not a technique to get rid of or suppress your anxiety. 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 it keeps coming up, it wants to be free of you, just as much as you want to be free of it.

Allowing yourself to feel the built-up anxious energy

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 most 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 and overworked 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 a bad thing anymore, 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 and finally realised a major key on how to recover from anxiety.

Why we fight and suppress feelings 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 lifetime 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.

Being free of anxious energy is what recovery is all about

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 in normal everyday 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, as you can never be free of what you refuse to feel.

I hope that helps people….Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

How to overcome anxiety and fear beyond just knowledge

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

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

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

Recovering from anxiety beyond just knowledge

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

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

Recovery from anxiety is more than just understanding what the problem is

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

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

Knowledge is important, but we have to implement it through living again

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

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

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life.

How do I become free of fear?

Free of fear

Firstly sorry for the lack of posts recently I have been busy with other things. Also, I have just moderated over 100 posts so sorry if you posted and did not see it. You can now post freely without moderation.

Anyway, on to today’s post entitled

How do I become free of fear

I put 3 tweets out last week and they received a fair bit of interest and some discussion, so I thought it would be a good idea to do a post on them in more detail. By the way, if you want to follow me on twitter its @anxietynomoreuk

Today I am going to talk about feelings of panic and fear or you could call it an energy surge, as that really is, all it is, a surge of energy. Does this energy surge feel uncomfortable and scary? Yes….Is it harmful in any way? No

How I overcame fear really was by truly understanding it. Firstly if you believe we were created and I think no one can deny that we were. We have a heart that pumps blood around, a stomach that digest’s food, teeth for chewing, a voice box for talking, feet so we can stand up correctly, arms to hold things, ears to hear, well I could go on and on here. It’s pretty obvious we are a damn perfect creation with all our needs met.

One of those needs is the fight or flight response, it is vital for our survival and was put in there for a reason. Otherwise, if someone jumped out at us with the intention of attacking us, we would just stand there and be in far more trouble than if we fought or fled. The reason the feeling is scary is because it has to be, it’s giving you the option to fight or escape, it also needs to surge energy through you so that it speeds up your heart rate and pumps adrenalin into your system and all the rest of the amazing changes it creates, so you are presented extra strength or extra speed when you need it.

So where am I going with all this? You kind of know most of the above anyway. Well, the big realisation I had when I felt fear was that it was a normal bodily reaction, it was never meant to be harmful in any way, our creator would never be that cruel. Yes, it was uncomfortable, but it wasn’t harmful to me in any way. I realised the energy had to run out, it had to have its limits. I started to really get to know fear around this time and its limits and realised that it wasn’t fear that was the problem, it was my fear of fear. That was what created a cycle, I did not have to lose this feeling of fear, I had to lose my fear of it and allow the feeling to manifest itself and release itself.

Fearing fear is what caused me to avoid life, yet life was never to blame

It was actually the fear of fear that kept me from avoiding life, it was what the fear of feeling it that kept all the feelings trapped inside me. I always thought I had to somehow no longer feel it, find a method for it to go away and then I could be free, but I could never be free unless I released this energy and that could only ever come by allowing myself to feel it. I also realised the reason my fear came when it was not appropriate was the amount I was carrying around inside me. My body kept trying to release it, but I would not let it. I either avoided or ran away from any triggers or tried to suppress the feeling, be it by fighting, running away or distraction of some kind. I would do anything but allow myself to feel it and with that came no freedom from it.

I then realised that I could never overcome fear by avoiding life, it wasn’t going to come through reading books or planning my life around it. By doing so my life was getting narrower and narrower, I wasn’t living, but trying to arrange the world so I didn’t feel this fear and that was the big problem, the thing I always missed, if I wasn’t allowing myself to feel it then where would all this fearful energy go? Nowhere, it would stay trapped inside of me.

So I then realised that life was not the cause of my fear at all, if so everyone would be scared of the same thing. I realised deeply that the outside only triggered what was inside of me !! Life was actually my teacher here, it was triggering what needed to be felt and released, yet I blamed it for the cause of my fear. I blamed the outside for my fear so hence I avoided the outside. I could not believe I had not seen this before. Avoiding life was about the dumbest thing I could do, blaming life was the stupidest conclusion I could have come to. Life was actually trying to free what was inside of me. I saw that my feelings weren’t against me, they just wanted to be free of me as much as I wanted to be free of them. The only way was to actually feel them, not avoid them, how could I ever be free of something I refused to feel?

Learning to understand fear and knowing its limits

I also really started to understand fear as my minds protection system, because I had avoided certain places my mind had truly thought there was real danger there. Well it wasn’t its fault it came to this conclusion, as I had taught it this, it was only doing its job, what a wonderful creation, always trying to keep me safe. So the next step was realising that I needed to teach it that I was fine and again that meant no longer avoiding whilst understanding that the reaction would kick in for a while yet until it learnt that I was fine. Also as I allowed myself to feel this reaction, this fear energy would be released, I would become more free of it. So then any reaction in the future would be minimal and normal, it would go back to its normal setting and not flood me like it was currently doing.

Was this easy? I would say it was challenging at times, but a challenge I kind of liked deep down. The feeling of fear is uncomfortable, there is no getting away from that and we don’t like feeling uncomfortable and hence we take the easy way out and then tend to arrange our life around not feeling it. I just decided I truly wanted my life back and some uncomfortable feelings were no longer going to stop me. It was also exciting knowing I could do anything no matter how I felt inside, that I could act independently from my minds fears and the energy surge and that it was no longer controlling me and what I did. I truly knew what process I had to go through to be free and that life was giving me all these wonderful opportunities to release all this stored up fear energy that I had refused to feel for so many years. The bottom line is there is no easy instant way out, each process I had to go through to be free, took action and courage and some understanding of the process I was going through.

Going through the feeling of fear is uncomfortable, but utterly harmless

This is why so many people get stuck, as they want to be free without having to go through feeling uncomfortable, but you can never be free of anything you refuse to feel. I look back and every counsellor I went to see, every book I read, every pill I took, every technique I tried and it was all built around trying to make a feeling go away and that is why I got nowhere for so many years until I realised that is not how it works. It’s why people go from one thing to another getting nowhere, maybe the next thing or the next thing, the next book, the next counsellor, the next retreat, maybe the next one will tell me how to get rid of these feelings. In my case, I had tried everything and realised that the answer was not going to come by trying to get rid of something. That to be free of something I had to go through the process of feeling it. I believe the blind alley I went down for so many years was a good thing, as it taught me to stop searching, that the answer lay within me and not the outside, that no one or no technique could fix me or get rid of anything.

Anyway so back to fear and where am I now?

I’m fine thank you and I live my life fully and have no fear reaction unless it’s truly needed and don’t mind the feeling at all anyway, I have grown to know and understand it and would not care if it’s there or not.

To finish, I am not saying this is easy, I am not saying you don’t need courage and that things will change overnight. My understanding really helped me, but it still took courage at times and I did not try and conquer too much too soon. I just always tried to stay relaxed inside no matter what inner chaos was going on. I knew deep down I was perfectly safe and fine and that it was all part of the healing process. At times that took some trust as old reactions to leave or avoid would kick in, but not once did anything bad happen. There was always a peak and then nothing, peace would always return no matter how I initially felt.

The more I went through this process, the more trust I had in it and what I was doing and in time things calmed to normal intensity. The reactions I used to get in certain situations just weren’t there anymore. I was free to go anywhere and do anything, the truth is I always was, but now I could do it without any inner disturbance. This is because all that fear energy I had suppressed and built up for many years was allowed to be felt and released, so there is no longer anything in there to trigger and the reaction will only come when I truly need it.

Just remember, life is not the problem here, life just triggers what’s already inside you, you can’t feel what isn’t inside. You only avoid life when you think that the outside is the cause of your fears, only when you blame the outside do you avoid life.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

How to be free of anxiety

Free of anxiety

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

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

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

No longer trying to get rid of my anxious feelings

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

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

Dropping all techniques to control or suppress anxiety

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

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

This is not a way of feeling better, this is a way of releasing stuff and when you do so you may feel more anxious than before, you may feel more tired and confused as this energy being released can cause a lot of inner chaos initially. You just have to have faith that this is a good thing and no harm will come of this. Many people who initially feel worse can think they are doing something wrong and then go back to suppression techniques, but it just follows physics, the more open you are, the more you will feel.

Allowing anxiety is an up and down process that takes time

Through this process of allowing you may also have moments of real bliss and freedom as a chunk of energy is released. This does not mean the release is over, it means that you have released a good chunk of energy or your body is giving you a break so you can recuperate, it does not mean this is the end of the release. The release will happen in stages with many ups and downs until you are free of this energy. When you are free of this energy then it is impossible to feel anxious for no reason again, you will just feel anxious when you should do, as there is no more excess energy to be triggered.

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

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

Anxiety questions answered

Anxiety questions answered

I asked people on my Facebook page to ask some questions on anxiety the other day and I would pick the best 3 out, here is the 3 I picked and my answers.

Q.1 I feel like I had a good hold of my anxiety and I can see the things I worry over are irrational most of the time, however, I feel that the physical symptoms of my anxiety take over and I become locked into the fear and panic. It almost feels like the physical symptoms come first then my mind makes up a scenario to go along with it. Is there any way of overcoming this?

The first step and one that you have seen is that most of the things you worry over are irrational, the anxious mind is a master at creating worries that don’t actually exist, which is just its way of dealing with the energy being released. Creating a space between you and your fears/worries and seeing them as a manifestation of your anxiety through anxious thinking, is crucial, so you don’t then start worrying over a made up worry, creating more anxious thinking, more emotions and then getting stuck in a loop. As you say, thoughts feed the emotions and emotions feed the thoughts if we allow ourselves to get sucked in and believe what our anxious mind is telling us.

Ultimately every thought is the minds attempt to release an emotion that has been suppressed. You think it is you that needs to be liberated from your thoughts, but the opposite is true, what you are really feeling is the emotion and thoughts attempts to be liberated from you, they are trying to leave. So, the deal is to allow your mind to have all its worries and fears, let it spout any nonsense, allow it to have any movement it wishes, but in a detached way, where you are not seeing the thoughts and worries as true, you’re no longer energising and putting belief in them by getting involved.

When you pull your energy, focus and belief from a thought, then it no longer creates the emotion. Belief in thought is what creates an emotion, not the thought itself. Someone can have the thought that no one likes them, if aware, they just see it as just an old anxious thought popping through and they are not affected, yet if they believe that thought, then they will get an emotional hit and then may act through it by trying to people please or becoming defensive to other. So, the deal is to just let all the anxious thoughts pass through in your awareness with no concern, let them play out as they wish. In doing so they begin to die down, they don’t have the fuel of your attention and belief to keep them alive.

When your mind is racing, if you observe it, you can sense it is excess energy, this is what causes it to race. What is the best way to stop it racing? Would it be to think more? Try and control the thoughts? Try to suppress them? No, the best way would be to allow the energy to run itself out, so allow the mind to race if it wishes, see all the negative rubbish and the worrisome scenarios it creates as just part of this energy releasing itself. If you believe the stuff it creates, if you get involved with it and start seeing it all as true, if you add worry to worry, then you create more energy and then you create more thoughts, more emotions, it’s like throwing petrol on a fire and wondering why it won’t go out.

So, to finish you break the loop by letting the whole dance of energy play itself out, yes, it is uncomfortable, but leaving it all alone without getting involved with the thoughts, without trying to put the brakes on the feelings is what brings it to rest, it burns itself out. This is not a technique, it is the total opposite of a technique. This is a full allowing of the energy within you to manifest itself in any way it wishes and then the energy has run out without you trying to interfere, then it will come to rest when it has burned itself out, trying to stop the release is what creates more turmoil. It is the battle with themselves to control, suppress the release that is the main cause of people’s suffering, not the release itself.

Q.2 I would like to know roughly how long it took you to fully recover and how many setbacks did you have during recovery?

Each one of us is different and so I don’t want anyone thinking that how long it took me will be the same for everyone. It all depends on how long you have suffered, how open you are to feeling your anxiety etc. Me personally it took around 6 months to feel real freedom, then around another 4 months to be totally anxiety free, where I only got anxious when I should be, like most other people and not for no reason.

I am telling people this so they don’t have impossible expectations. On setbacks, I had many, but again you have to understand what a setback is, to realise that it is totally normal and a good thing. Anxiety, as I have said before, is just negative energy trapped within the mind and body, the energy needs releasing, there is no other way to get rid of it. To get rid of it, then you need to allow it to rise within you and leave, like the steam from a kettle. But most people don’t do this, they judge, suppress, fight, try to distract themselves from it, anything at all but to feel it, where does it then go? Nowhere, it just stays where it is ready for another go at releasing itself and with all the fighting and extra worry, more may be added to the stores.

So, you have to realise that feeling bad is actually good, it is your bodies way of trying to get rid of this energy that is causing you so much turmoil, but you won’t let it, so what choice does it have but to keep it stored within? So me personally, I had to go through a lot of these purges. When I was open to this release of energy, then yes it was uncomfortable, there was no getting away from this fact and a purge could last between an hour and up to 2 days, but as tough as it was, I stayed open to it, I understood the process, to feel good again I had to feel bad, my body was just releasing all this stored up negative energy. If people have any doubts what it is, then look how people who have anxiety tend to ramble, not be able to sit still, it is just too much energy in the body, why do people feel better after the gym or a run? It has burnt a lot off for a short period of time until the body then replenishes itself.

Just knowing what it was, really helped me through this process and I knew no harm would come from me allowing myself to go through this process. Your body though cannot get rid of all this energy in one go, so it goes through cycles, this is what a setback is. It has got rid of a whole chunk of energy and then if you allow it, you can have a period of bliss after, some of my most blissful experiences came after the toughest releases. But I knew this was not the end, I knew the body would go through another purge and that was fine, in fact, I looked forward to it in a way as I knew this was where progress was really at, feeling bad meant more was being released and I wanted it gone. Feeling good was great and I welcomed it, but feeling bad was good also, as more stuff was coming up to leave and taking me nearer to recovery. The whole deal really is not to cling to any bliss and don’t reject the bad, which is what keeps so many people stuck.

In the space of a few months, the purges came less strongly and less frequently, I could have a few weeks feeling great and then when I felt rotten, it was pretty easy to deal with as the intensity was way lower than before as so much had been released. Then the point came when I felt real freedom, the anxiety was all but gone, the racing/fearful thoughts all but stopped.

So, yes setbacks are a good thing, what most people do when they have a period of feeling good is think they have cracked it, that it is all behind them, I have seen this so often. Then when the energy comes back up to be released they try to shut the process off again, they berate themselves for feeling this way, they search back to try and find what made them feel so good the week before, run to something to try to make themselves feel good again, which is the total opposite of what you should do, you must continue to be open to anything. So nothing has gone wrong in a setback, you have not gone backwards, it is just your body having another release. In fact, this is a good thing, a chance for you to release that energy, the less energy within your mind and body, the less anxiety you feel, the less you suffer psychologically.

Q.3 How do you tackle anxiety without feeling pressure to get rid of it? I feel like all the self-help stuff comes with so much pressure of “I’m doing this specifically to alleviate anxiety” that whilst you’re doing it you’re worried it’s not going to work, so it won’t. Don’t know if that makes sense!

All I can say on this is exactly what happened to me and many others who have recovered have told me. I am not trying to convince anyone I am right, people can make their own decisions if what I say resonates with them. So, what I write below is not meant to start a debate, as no one can convince me otherwise and I have no intention of convincing them either, but what I write rings so true with me on a very deep level and is what brought me recovery.

Trying to get rid of or alleviate anxiety will never work, trust me you will end up on the self-help treadmill forever if you attempt to do this, I tried for 10 years as I was pretty clueless in those days and got worse, it utterly exhausted me mentally too. I basically had to try every technique, every book, every counsellor, I had to exhaust myself with trying before I realised that this was not going to work. I remember thinking, if someone had the magic answer to get rid of anxiety then I would not have to search for it. I looked at all my self-help books, the pills I had taken, the counsellors I had seen and asked myself, what has this all been about? It has all been about trying not to feel something and nothing has changed, am I going to keep blindly going down this route when it is not working? What if I no longer tried to feel different than I do, what would happen then?

What is avoidance? Is the problem really the supermarket, the social event, the car drive? No, it is all about not feeling anxiety, this is what is causing all the problems, what is keeping me stuck in the loop. This is what is really restricting my life, it is all about avoiding this energy release. This really was the start of me seeing things from a totally different angle, it taught me no one and no thing out there could get rid of my anxiety.

This anxiety was not something I could get rid of, this anxiety was something I was going to have to feel, avoiding, suppressing, trying to sort out had only made me worse, this made perfect sense, as how could I get rid of something I was denying myself to feel? It made utter, utter sense to me. It made total sense to me why the self-help market had failed me, as it was all about the promise to get rid of it, without feeling it. I can’t tell you how much money I wasted on this promise. Every new counsellor I saw at the time gave me a new technique to try, more suppressing, more things to carry around in my head, more ways to avoid feeling it, so it stayed in my body and created havoc.

What I found was, the whole self-help market only brought me temporary relief, so a new book and I would feel good for a while after, but a few days later I would be back in old habits. The counsellor would make me feel good and hopeful, then a few hours later I would be back to where I was. A lot of the self-help market is all about the next book, the next retreat, the next session, it keeps people hanging on, like, nearly there folks, not far now. I am not having a go at the whole self-help market here, there are a lot more well-educated people than in my day and if someone educates you on anxiety and what it is, I am all for it, absolutely. As the more you understand, the less you fear it and the more allowing you are to allow yourself to feel it. I also think someone understanding to talk to is good too, it helps release a lot of mental space.

My point is you don’t need to keep on searching for relief. Recovery can never lie in temporary relief, it will never sort out the underlying problem and the underlying problem can never be sorted out if someone is constantly searching for temporary relief. It will also never come from a technique, as a technique is again all about suppression. If you’re looking at the self-help market to make something go away then I am afraid you will be searching for a long time, if you look at it to educate yourself so you understand enough to allow yourself to let go and feel it then this is the direction you need to take.

So allowing myself to feel all this energy within me in instead of trying to find ways to control, or suppress it brought tremendous relief to me, in a sense that I threw all my books out, threw away all my techniques, I did not need to go and see anyone anymore. There was nothing to fight, nothing to go over, nothing to suppress, nothing to fix. The mental energy this freed up was amazing too.

I always tell people when I allowed myself to feel all this energy stored within me, it was like a detox, I felt more than ever, as it was like I had finally turned the tap on and was no longer trying to turn it off, this energy had full freedom to manifest itself as it wished. I had some really tough periods, this energy was not nice to feel and the instinct was to try and turn it off, but I wanted it gone and I resisted the urge to close off to it. I would often need space and time on my own when it got tough. I would also have periods of calm within the storm as chunks of energy were released and then the cycle may start again. I just had to stay as allowing as possible to it all, if my mind raced, created scary thoughts then so be it, if my body was racked with anxiety, then fine, this is a good thing, let it all come up, I want it gone.

So, I would say follow what resonates with you. I came across a few teachings that resonated with me, ones that educated me on how the mind and body worked. Anything that did not resonate with me I discarded, it wasn’t for me. But most of all I was my own best teacher. I really started to see things on a deep level. I went with my own intuition, my own wisdom and came to a lot of my own answers. Answers that made utter sense to me.

We all have this in us, I can’t just physically pass my understanding on to others, I can only write words down and hope that they can see it for themselves. I have seen people read my book in one sitting and bham they have truly got the message and made huge strides very quickly, others take more time. It all depends on how the words resonate with them and if they truly see the message behind what I write and see something for themselves. Me explaining something in a different way can give someone a real Aha moment and the reason I keep writing.

Well, I hope that answers a few concerns. I am sorry I have a really busy schedule and won’t be able to answer any more questions for now but may do this again in the future.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

What causes anxiety?

What causes anxiety

It is not always how your anxiety that causes your suffering, it is your rejection of your current state that does. As when you reject something you either try and suppress it or you fight to get rid of it and both of these take tremendous effort and energy. So most of your suffering is caused by the extra turmoil in your mind created when you fight with the moment physically or mentally. It is the extra tension created by your refusal to accept your symptoms of anxiety, your current state.

But this is what is happening in the moment, it can’t be other than it is. When you accept this and stop searching for another reality, the mind relaxes, as it has nothing more to do and it is the absence of this tension that releases so much of your suffering. Constantly fighting with your present state is the reason that so many people stay in a cycle, they keep re-creating their own suffering and so the system never gets a chance to heal itself.

So much suffering comes through your battle to not feel anxiety

So much mental suffering is caused through the mental battle with yourself and how you are feeling, constantly looking for another state, another reality, a refusal to allow yourself to feel how you feel. This battle keeps the mind overactive, it causes so much mental strain and chaos, the mind becomes so unsettled and there can be confusion, irritability and strain. So much of how you feel physically comes from the strain and tension in your mind.

The mind craves a rest from this battle you are having with yourself. You can never find calm through more thinking, more effort as you are again just using the mind to try and achieve this when it desperately needs a rest, it gets more jobs to do, you are trying to solve the problem with the problem. This is why techniques rarely or if ever work, as techniques are another way to try and manipulate a different state, it is another job for the mind to try and perfect. It is never about trying to force another state through personal will and effort, it is about letting go of all techniques and effort and then the mind finally gets the rest it needs and in time with rest, it will calm itself.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

How do I give up my struggle with anxiety?

Stop struggling with anxiety

It’s not your thoughts or emotions that keep you stuck and keep you suffering, it’s your constant struggle, constant searching to get rid of them that does. If your open to anything there is no struggle. Less struggle = Less suffering, Less struggle = Thoughts and emotions change naturally. You can’t force or create a particular state through struggle or personal will, this just creates more of what you are trying to get rid of and mentally exhausts you.

Be open to any state

My own recovery from anxiety came when I saw enough to give up this fight to control and change how I felt, the same thoughts and feelings were there for a while, but I lost interest in them, without my interest, without the constant fighting, the constant struggle I started to feel some peace and I came out of these thoughts and emotions far quicker, they felt lighter, less serious, had less impact.

If a person was able to no longer fear any state they were in then recovery is inevitable. It is your fear of the state you are in, the story you put around it, the constant struggle. So much suffering is self-created through lack of understanding, yet we think it is an outside force doing this to us, it is not. So let go and have trust that your mind and body knows how to heal itself without your constant attempts at manipulation.

Someone put this as a reply to this message on my twitter account which is so true.

“Imagine a world where we witness thoughts without becoming them & experience feelings without being overwhelmed by them.”

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life.

How do I release all this anxious energy within?

Releasing anxious energy

I have just posted this and my Facebook page, I hope it helps in some way.

Complete allowing is the way out of anxiety and all the other symptoms that go with it. Be it unhealthy thoughts, panic, restlessness, depression, feelings of detachment. All this is created by months and maybe years of worry and your body and mind is then full of excess negative energy. This is why you feel the way you do, forget all these labels that are given out.

The only way out of this is to then release it all. Fighting, suppressing, constantly analysing and trying to fix it cannot work and can only give small pockets of temporary relief at best, it can never truly fix the problem. In fact, this is the problem, as it just creates more of what you are trying to get rid of, so the problem persists. Add to that all the worrying about how you are feeling and there is a whole more negative energy being put into that mind and body, can you see the cycle now?

So why do we spend so long trying to fix, suppress and fight these feelings? We do so because our mind is a survival machine and it wants rid of these feelings, it screams ‘Do something, I don’t want to feel this way’ so we go around in circles changing meds, seeing counsellors, reading books, self- analysing, trying different techniques, anything not to feel this way. And we keep searching not understanding why we can’t seem to find this elusive answer.

Well there is the answer because we have never allowed ourselves to feel this negative or anxious energy present within our mind and body, so it has never had the chance to escape and has been kept stored within us and so creating exactly what we are trying to escape from, it’s a vicious cycle. Even when you know that it is the wrong thing to do you keep doing it. Why? Through fear, you are always in fear of how you feel and fear overtakes what someone has told you or what you understand at a basic level.

When you see things for yourself it takes on a whole new meaning

On my blog, you get people who have truly seen it and they flow with knowledge and understanding, they allowed all the grot to happen and are now recovered. They did so because they did not just see my words, more that my words resonated with them on a deep level, they truly saw it for themselves. You then get the other person who has read the same material I have written and they are still doing all of the above and the reason is because deep down it has not clicked with them yet and the reason I keep writing.

It took me a while to have that lightbulb moment and get it. I was like ‘WOW’ that’s why that did not work, why that did, I see it now so clearly’. Was that the end of my suffering? No, as there was so much negative stuff present within me, seeing why would not get rid of it overnight, I knew I had to go through a process I had spent years trying to avoid. In fact, finally allowing myself to feel it, I felt it more strongly than ever at times, but with also days of peace and bliss I had never felt before. I loved the good days, but I was fine with all the bad too as all the negative thoughts and emotions I felt no longer scared me and I knew it was a vital part of the process.

Your mind and body is trying to release what is stopping you from feeling at peace

My realisation was the end of all my suppression and coping techniques, as it made no sense to continue to do so. Even when my mind screamed, ‘Escape, fix’ I smiled at it as I knew deep down I was totally fine with whatever symptoms came up, I was not under attack and whatever was going on could not harm me in any way. I truly saw my mind and body was full of negative energy through years of worry and analysing, this needed to be released by completely letting go and allowing it all to rise up within me.

The mistake a lot of people make is they think that letting go, allowing, is a ‘do’, they want to know how to do it, why? Because again they want to use it as a technique not to feel a certain way, when this is all about feeling it, not the other way around. You can’t ‘DO’ allowing or letting go, it is not a do, it is an attitude. It’s about not holding on to any strategy, not having any rules or technique, not protecting yourself in any way, it is about letting go of everything, about fully opening up and allowing everything to arise within you. People think if they let go of all control, all resistance that something bad will happen, they will somehow lose control, but don’t fall for your mind’s tricks, it won’t. When you truly allow and fully let go then all these feelings are then felt fully and every time this happens some of this negative energy is released, this is the way towards recovery.

This is not some idea I have, this comes from personal experience, I have seen so many recover this way, and for me, it is the only way.

Just remember you are always there underneath all this negative energy, this is all just surface stuff and not who you truly are. When the last of mine was released all the symptoms left me. All the labels I was given were nonsense, I did not need years of therapy, I did not need to deal with each symptom separate or need a bunch of rules or techniques. I did not need to get somewhere or escape anything; the answer was much simpler than that. The answer really is simple once you see it for yourself, hopefully, my words will help you do that.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life.

Anxiety Success Story

Anxiety success story

I have been getting a lot of success stories recently from people who have recovered or have made huge strides. A lady was very keen to share her story with others and asked if I would please share it. It’s only a short story but hopefully, it gives hope and comfort to others.

Hello Paul,

I just wanted to start out by saying that your book saved my life. I cannot thank you enough for all of the information. I suffered from anxiety and severe depression after the birth of my son on July 7, 2014. I came home the following day with my baby and that night suffered from what I know now is a panic attack, and thus my anxiety began. I had every symptom in your book and no answers. I had no idea what was going on. I thought I had a heart attack or something else horrible was happening to me. I ended up in the emergency room, and after 5 hours of strenuous tests, I was told that I was ok, which left me bewildered. I went home and began thinking about what could be wrong with me? What had happened to me? And it began happening again and again because I kept fearing another episode. I thought for sure I had postpartum psychosis or some other type of postpartum problem.

I went to doctor after doctor, with no answers. They all just looked at me and wondered why I was so agitated. Kept trying to force pills that did not help. I was pushed from therapist to psychiatrist to finally a therapist that really helped in my recovery. I stayed away from my son and could not even be around him because I had such disturbing thoughts that I might hurt him or myself. I was back into the emergency room because I knew for sure something was terribly wrong. Barely missing being admitted into a ‘mental’ hospital I was sent home again to try and get better. I slowly began to slip into depression, stopped caring about what I looked like, stopped eating, stopped sleeping all because my brain would not stop searching for the answer to this new found problem.

I tried to explain what I was going through to my husband but he had no idea, nobody understood. I was alone trying to fight my way out of this hell. I figured I would end up in a mental hospital never to see my family again. But I began to research what this could be and stumbled upon your site online, and then your book. And in such a short time suffered from severe depersonalization. My anxiety was so bad I could not hardly read the book or talk, never mind holding a conversation. I started to read and finally, I had found the answers to all the questions my mind was seeking. It all began to make sense. I just gave up the fight, it was very difficult to do but I did it. I had many, many bad days, thinking I will be stuck in this hell forever.

Then I began to have moments of quiet in my mind. The tools in your book started to help I was so relieved. There were many days I wanted to give up, thinking I would never smile again, never be able to take care of my children or love my husband. I realized that the anxiety was there to help me, a friend that would force me to stop the worry and the stress. I had to read your book many times to let the information really sink in, but slowly, very slowly my mind began to reverse these habits I had started and though I don’t feel I’m 100% recovered, I know that full recovery is just around the corner. I can now do all of the things I could do before, including taking care of my son. I made myself smile on the days where it was impossible and never gave up. I realize now how important life really is, how important friends and family are.

Though I can say I hope I never reach that place again, I know that I can get through it and now because of it, I am a better person. I realize now how important your health is. You really just need to get on with your life and take the anxiety with you, and man is it the hardest thing to do because all my anxiety wanted me to do was stay in bed. To others that are suffering from anxiety, you will get through it. And believe me, I was one who thought “yeah right,” I’m going to be like this forever, my life is over. But just let go of the fight, let your body heal itself and never give up. There is so much to live for. Thank you so much, Paul, for all of the information you provide, I really thought I wouldn’t make it out of that hell and was ready to give up. But I did not and thank God every day for that. I hope this helps provide hope to someone as all of their success stories did for me. I really cannot thank you enough.

Rochelle

Here is a link to more Anxiety Success stories

If you would like more information on overcoming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life.

I’m fed up of trying to get rid of my Anxiety

Trying to get rid of anxiety

One of the biggest mistakes people make is they think their aim is about getting rid of anxiety, the second is they think they have to protect themselves from feeling it, so they hide away, avoid social interaction, run away from thoughts and feelings, push them away.

Remember the aim is not to, not feel anxiety, it’s to no longer care if you do or not. This is why people buy numerous books, see numerous counsellors, walk around with 20 sayings and 15 safety behaviours. Their aim is to either get rid of it or not feel it.

Both are wrong, you must actively go towards it to unravel the lie behind it, to desensitise to it, to build up new beliefs and habits. Don’t try and protect yourself by avoidance, the respect for the thoughts and feelings just grows, instead of trying not to feel it, ask for more, don’t hide away, reveal your anxiety to yourself and to the world. By this I mean don’t treat it as the thing to protect yourself from, to hide away from, don’t treat it as your little secret you have to keep from others, putting on an act hoping your secret is not revealed. Go from caring to not caring, go from trying to keep it at bay to welcoming it, go from trying to not feel it, to feeling it at will.

I spent years in a loop of trying to not feel it, years trying to get rid of it and to no avail. My realisation came that everything I did, every book I read, every counseller I saw was all with the aim of one of them telling me how to get rid of it, it then dawned on me that this was my mistake and I should do the opposite.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life.

How to overcome avoidance behaviours with anxiety

Avoidance and anxiety

Well I was going to talk today about intrusive thoughts, why they come and how to let them go, but the draft I wrote yesterday did not save to my computer and I lost the lot, it was a long post and will have to be re-written at a later date now.

Today I am going to cover the subject of avoidance. Some sufferers suffer from this quite a bit, some hardly at all, but I think everyone can get something out of it.

Avoiding places that trigger anxiety is totally counterproductive

Avoidance can take many forms, people may avoid social situations, the neighbour, answering the phone. They may turn down invites to meet with friends, not go for the job they want, not join that evening class.

Basically, they restrict their own life because they become a prisoner to how they are thinking and feeling. They may find doing things too much effort, have got to the point where they hate mixing or that they feel nervous or awkward in social situations.

This was me and what I thought at the time, was that I had to work out the magic formula and then I could start having my life back, that when this awful thing called anxiety went away, then my life could be normal again. The problem was that I did not know how to feel normal again, I had tried everything and nothing had worked.

Yet this is exactly what I needed to get my life back on track ‘Do nothing different than I did before anxiety’ I realised it was me that was changing my behaviour !! Hiding away and avoiding things was only telling my subconscious that there was danger here, there and everywhere, I could NEVER recover this way. The way to recover was to go against these instincts and do it anyway, to teach my subconscious mind that everything was fine.

It was like there was a little voice in my head that would try and keep me safe by telling me not to go here or there and not to put myself in certain situations. Your mind actually thinks it is keeping you safe by doing this, this is a built-in system within everyone and it acts on what information it receives. If you avoid certain places, then your mind registers this and files it under dangerous and will kindly let you know the next time you are in that situation, again the mind is innocent in all this, it is just going by your past actions.

Avoidance becomes a learnt behaviour

Someone without anxiety may have been fine with dogs, until one day they get bitten and then go out of their way to avoid them. Your mind has picked up on this avoidance and will most likely put you in a fight or flight situation when you see one. And the more you avoid, the deeper the threat goes into your subconscious mind and why the reaction comes instantly upon seeing a dog before you even think about it. This is because the subconscious mind works a lot faster than the thinking mind. The only way to stop this overbearing protection system is to start mixing with dogs again, even when these feelings of fear come, as they most likely will.

By doing this you are telling your mind that you’re fine now and you no longer need its protection, you can even thank it for doing its job and trying to keep you safe. This is the same as someone gradually doing something and getting used to it, it is your actions the mind picks up on, you can’t talk yourself better. The only language it understands is your actions, so when you no longer avoid, in time your mind realises you’re safe after all and slowly starts to turn off this protection system.

That little voice in the anxiety sufferer can go off at totally irrational moments it seems, at times when where there is no danger, no threat and it can bemuse us. Yet we have unknowingly created this reaction through our own past actions and behaviours, if we avoid talking with someone, if we avoid socialising, then we are building up a fear in our subconscious about being around people, so it is only doing its job. So yes we have created this false programming, which is great news as now we can be the ones to reprogram it too.

There is no big secret to change this, all I did was understand that it was me that created this, I was the one who decided to change my behaviour and do things differently, so of course my mind just followed and tried to keep me safe, it was me that kept telling it there was danger when there wasn’t, it just went along with what it was being told.

You don’t have to follow the voice of avoidance

The way I turned it around was simple, I just stopped listening to this little voice, if the phone went off I answered it every time, anxious or not. If I got invited out then I would go, at first it felt odd and I did feel some anxiety, but so what, I wanted my life back. If a neighbour approached I would not look down, I would walk right up and chat. That little voice that tried to keep me safe was still trying to do its job at times, but I just thanked it and told it I was fine. In time this voice and the fight or flight reactions left me, it realised there was no danger there now and there was no need to keep me safe any longer. I slowly, but surely reprogrammed myself and was now free to go anywhere with no problems whatsoever. The journey was quite exciting, seeing my life come back slowly, but surely, I even got a thrill out of testing myself and seeing me come through and the progress I was making.

It was not always easy and the temptation to hide away was still there at times, but I never did. It was like I was looking down on myself at times and seeing the silliness of hiding away and the things I was avoiding.

This really is how I solved this part of my anxiety, I just went against every instinct and did it anyway. I had the power to change things, we all have. I changed it from being able to do everything before anxiety to avoidance, so I always had the power to change it back again.

Anxiety never stops you from doing anything, that is always your choice so don’t be a slave to it. From today if you suffer from any avoidance behaviours the only way to get through them is to just live your life like you did before anxiety and take the feelings with you.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life.

Why am l always trying to escape Anxiety?

Trying to escape anxiety

Well I was going to talk today about intrusive thoughts, why they come and how to let them go, but the draft I wrote yesterday did not save to my computer and I lost the lot, it was a long post and will have to be re-written at a later date now.

Today I am going to cover the subject of avoidance. Some sufferers suffer from this quite a bit, some hardly at all, but I think everyone can get something out of it.

Avoidance can take many forms, people may avoid social situations, the neighbour, answering the phone. They may turn down invites to meet with friends, not go for the job they want, not join that evening class.

Basically, they restrict their own life because they become a prisoner to how they are thinking and feeling. They may find doing things too much effort, have got to the point where they hate mixing or that they feel nervous or awkward in social situations.

This was me and what I thought at the time, was that I had to work out the magic formula and then I could start having my life back, that when this awful thing called anxiety went away, then my life could be normal again. The problem was that I did not know how to feel normal again, I had tried everything and nothing had worked.

Yet this is exactly what I needed to get my life back on track ‘Do nothing different than I did before anxiety’ I realised it was me that was changing my behaviour !! Hiding away and avoiding things was only telling my subconscious that there was danger here, there and everywhere, I could NEVER recover this way. The way to recover was to go against these instincts and do it anyway, to teach my subconscious mind that everything was fine.

It was like there was a little voice in my head that would try and keep me safe by telling me not to go here or there and not to put myself in certain situations. Your mind actually thinks it is keeping you safe by doing this, this is a built-in system within everyone and it acts on what information it receives. If you avoid certain places, then your mind registers this and files it under dangerous and will kindly let you know the next time you are in that situation, again the mind is innocent in all this, it is just going by your past actions.

Someone without anxiety may have been fine with dogs, until one day they get bitten and then go out of their way to avoid them. Your mind has picked up on this avoidance and will most likely put you in a fight or flight situation when you see one. And the more you avoid, the deeper the threat goes into your subconscious mind and why the reaction comes instantly upon seeing a dog before you even think about it. This is because the subconscious mind works a lot faster than the thinking mind. The only way to stop this overbearing protection system is to start mixing with dogs again, even when these feelings of fear come, as they most likely will. By doing this you are telling your mind that you’re fine now and you no longer need its protection, you can even thank it for doing its job and trying to keep you safe. This is the same as someone gradually doing something and getting used to it, it is your actions the mind picks up on, you can’t talk yourself better. The only language it understands is your actions, so when you no longer avoid, in time your mind realises you’re safe after all and slowly starts to turn off this protection system.

That little voice in the anxiety sufferer can go off at totally irrational moments it seems, at times when where there is no danger, no threat and it can bemuse us. Yet we have unknowingly created this reaction through our own past actions and behaviours, if we avoid talking with someone, if we avoid socialising, then we are building up a fear in our subconscious about being around people, so it is only doing its job. So yes we have created this false programming, which is great news as now we can be the ones to reprogram it too.

There is no big secret to change this, all I did was understand that it was me that created this, I was the one who decided to change my behaviour and do things differently, so of course my mind just followed and tried to keep me safe, it was me that kept telling it there was danger when there wasn’t, it just went along with what it was being told.

The way I turned it around was simple, I just stopped listening to this little voice, if the phone went off I answered it every time, anxious or not. If I got invited out then I would go, at first it felt odd and I did feel some anxiety, but so what, I wanted my life back. If a neighbour approached I would not look down, I would walk right up and chat. That little voice that tried to keep me safe was still trying to do its job at times, but I just thanked it and told it I was fine. In time this voice and the fight or flight reactions left me, it realised there was no danger there now and there was no need to keep me safe any longer. I slowly, but surely reprogrammed myself and was now free to go anywhere with no problems whatsoever. The journey was quite exciting, seeing my life come back slowly, but surely, I even got a thrill out of testing myself and seeing me come through and the progress I was making.

It was not always easy and the temptation to hide away was still there at times, but I never did. It was like I was looking down on myself at times and seeing the silliness of hiding away and the things I was avoiding.

This really is how I solved this part of my anxiety, I just went against every instinct and did it anyway. I had the power to change things, we all have. I changed it from being able to do everything before anxiety to avoidance, so I always had the power to change it back again.

Anxiety never stops you from doing anything, that is always your choice so don’t be a slave to it. From today if you suffer from any avoidance behaviours the only way to get through them is to just live your life like you did before anxiety and take the feelings with you.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life.

Don’t allow your anxious thoughts to become who you are

Negative thoughts

As the last post was so popular and received 3 times more hits than any other post I decided to expand on it, also this comment below from the last post is so true and encouraged me to write a more detailed post.

“Kristina thanks a lot. You are right, I have to change my attitude to my thoughts. My problem is that I believe my thought, believing it, I accept it as a reality and thus become afraid of it. I need to not respect the strange and abnormal thoughts. That is the key.”

The post is really to express that you are not your anxious thoughts, you are separate from them and it is your choice if you wish to believe them or not.

A lot of people are a slave to their thinking and see it as the truth and follow it without question, with the attitude of “if I think it then it must be true” and all decisions and actions are then based on what they think.

It is like someone who has been cheated on in their last 3 relationships, they will then be much more inclined to have thoughts about the next going wrong and their new partner and the relationship may have to suffer because of this. The thought will be ‘He will probably do the same to me’. She may then question where he is, continually seek assurances and drive herself silly through her insecurities until the relationship finally breaks down. Now there was nothing wrong with this thought, it came through a belief created through past experiences, but she became identified with the thought and saw it as the truth. It is always the association to a thought that makes it seem real.

If this lady could have caught the thought and realised it was part of her past experiences and not fact then she could have put her insecurities to one side and enjoyed the relationship instead of letting a thought destroy it. Those insecurities may have still popped up, but she could have seen the truth behind the thought and why it was there and not to treat it as fact.

This is the same as when someone may go to a supermarket and have a funny turn and then their mind creates the thought ‘Hey danger, don’t go back there’ this is in no way true as what danger is there in walking around putting groceries in a basket? If the person can see past the thought and do it anyway, then they will see the truth that it was just a thought and not based on fact, just a past experience.

This is where the old saying ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ comes from as it is basically saying recognise your fear, but do it anyway as it is a false fear and by doing it you will find out for yourself. Once you do it and you survive fine (even if you do feel uncomfortable) then the thought process next time is ‘Hey I got through fine, no danger there’ again your experiences are shaping your thought process. There are many people in that supermarket with no concern whatsoever as they are all fine and safe, just as you are too, so don’t let a thought trick you into thinking otherwise.

On the other side of the coin if you came face to face with a tiger and the thought was ‘Danger, get out of here’ then the thought is real and helpful and is there to protect you as there is real danger and you need to avoid the tiger. This is what we were programmed for and the reason we need to feel some fear, the reason your mind looks for fear and tries to protect you. But there is no real danger in visiting a supermarket or visiting friends, so it is tricked by anxiety into getting it wrong and these are the times when you decide to not believe your thoughts, see the truth behind them and do it anyway.

Remember thoughts are not the problem, you can think whatever you wish, it is your reaction and your belief towards them that is.

This is true with my anxiety and how I used to see thoughts as fact. I was very bad socially when at my worst and when I came through I carried a lot of my old fears and experiences around with me and thoughts like ‘People aren’t interested in what you have to say’ or ‘I will just feel awkward all night’ or ‘I don’t fit in socially, so why bother going out?’ with this belief system I would hide away in the corner or make excuses not to talk to others or try and rush the conversation, totally believing my thoughts about who I was. My thinking was totally wrecking my life and the decisions I made and how I acted. This was not me, it was my thoughts based on past experiences that I decided to believe that were causing me all this pain and restricting my life so much. I had chosen to believe my thoughts about who I was and how I would perform and so tried to protect myself by hiding away in the corner or not going out at all. This had to change and I knew I was being a slave to my thoughts and that I needed to separate myself from them, to let them say what they wished, but to just do things anyway and not see them as fact or become involved in them.

On realisation of the above, I also started to catch what I was thinking and would see the silliness behind it. An example would be a neighbour approaching and the thought then would be ‘Oh god don’t let her come over, I will have to chat and then I’ll make a fool of myself, quick indoors’ I would habitually run indoors and then think phew got away with it, right I just need to wake up one day and all this will be behind me. I never truly looked at the silliness of the thought, it was just a case of it must be the truth because I thought it. When I finally did stop and truly looked at the thought I had a realisation that my life would never change whilst I was controlled by my thinking, I realised that the thought was absurd, what danger could there possibly be talking to the woman four doors up? I also realised that in this and other occasions that my mind thought it was keeping me safe, but in reality it was doing a bloody damn awful job of it as all it was doing was restricting my life.

So the next time the neighbour approached or there was a social gathering I may have had the same thought, but dismissed it as false and did it anyway, it was actually quite amusing at times when I looked at what my thoughts came up with and the absurdity behind them. Things did not always go great feelings-wise, but as usual I just went with how I felt, all thoughts and emotions are fine and after years of conditioning I did not expect things to go perfectly in all the things I had previously avoided, but there was a big shift and in time through no longer associating with my thoughts and seeing them as facts my life started to open up, my restricting negative thoughts began to disappear, I did not need protecting from the woman up the street or a gathering of friends, it was absurd later to think I did. My confidence in every aspect of my life began to grow and the old confident me came back and all because I decided to no longer believe or become associated with my old and conditioned thinking. I could think, but I did not have to believe.

I am sure my mind thought it was keeping me safe at times and it was only gathering thoughts through past experiences, but these thoughts would not shape my future behaviours or experiences, from now on I would.

To no longer associate with or believe my thoughts whilst understanding why they came was such a big part of my recovery.

I hope I have explained well enough what I am trying to get across and I am not trying to simplify things as nothing happens overnight, but I hope people get something from the above.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life.

Help with anxious thinking

Help with Anxious thoughts

I hear a lot of people complain about upsetting or scary thoughts. The simple advice here is to remember that you are NOT your thoughts, whatever passes through is just anxious thinking, yes thoughts created because you’re anxious, they are nothing more than anxious energy finding an outlet.

Rather than pull away or believe them, allow yourself to think them with no resistance and observe them in a curious way. Anxious thoughts love people to fear them, believe them, react to them, they need your participation, your belief in them to survive. The more respect they are given, then the bigger the impact, the bigger the impact, then the more they are feared, the more they are feared, then the more they growl, the more they growl then the more down and frustrated the person is and a cycle is created.

If this is a problem then just remember that these thoughts are NOT you or who you are, you are NOT your anxious thoughts, they are just a by-product of anxiety and it doesn’t matter what the thought is, what it says, it’s false, so just be an observer of the thought and don’t get caught up in it. Allow them to come and go as they please and instead of pulling away or reacting, observe the false message that just popped up, smile at it and move on, allowing whatever wishes to come next.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

Help and advice with Social Anxiety

Help with social anxiety

Hi Everyone,

Well, this will be the last post before Christmas, so a happy Christmas to everyone. It is not my favourite time of the year and I am glad when it’s all over, but I will try and put my bah humbug to one side and enjoy the good parts of it 🙂

Today’s post is about helping with Social Anxiety, again the post may help some and not others, but I try to add a full range of topics, so as to hopefully help as many people as possible.

Social anxiety can take many forms and many people may not even know they suffer from it. I was one of those people that even when most of my anxiety had gone I would feel strange and odd in front of people and avoid any eye contact. I would also get what I call brain freeze where I would just go blank and clam up, not knowing what to say and then feeling really embarrassed and stupid.

It helped when I learnt this brain freeze was just a stress reaction and not something where I was wired up wrong and that I would always be this way. Initially, I truly thought I had no control over how I felt in front of people and would just try and get through it, hoping I did not make a total fool of myself. Many times I would just do everything I could to avoid social interaction. As usual, I was never happy with this and refused to just accept that this was me forever. I then went on a journey of discovery about every aspect of social anxiety and realised it was me that was doing this to myself and the main culprits were avoidance or when in conversation, trying to rush and act my way through it, whilst hoping people would not see through me.

I would also do the usual subtle avoidance tricks like looking at my phone to avoid chatting, sitting in the background hoping no one would notice me, staying silent and adding nothing to a conversation, crossing the road if I saw someone I knew. Does that sound like I was adding to my social anxiety? Of course, I was, I was reinforcing that people and conversations were the enemy and must be avoided at all costs. Of course, I was responsible for the way I felt and the lack of moving forward!

At this point through what I had learnt, I decided to reverse the bad habits I had developed and there really is not enough space here to write everything that I did learn, but here are the key points.

Firstly a lot of my Social Anxiety came through the fact that I thought people would see through me and the ‘anxiety’ game would be up, add that to the fact that I felt like I was always being judged. I always felt I had to keep things buried, smile in the right places, act my way through, that no one must know my secret and that I must come across as normal! Trying to do this makes you feel like two people, one trying to have a conversation and the other trying to hide how you feel. So this was the first thing to change. I had to understand that people were not judging me and even if they were and my voice wobbled and I said something silly then so be it. The key point here also was in the past when things went bad I would see it as a failure and build up my avoidance, now when I stayed and chatted, even if inside I felt awful, I would see it as a victory, something to be proud of, proud that for once that I did not run away. I understood that this was a long-term thing and conversations would still not go great for a while, but in time they would get easier. It was the long-term plan that was important, not the short term. In the past, I demanded way too much and wanted to get it right first time and if not, then I was sure I had made a big fool of myself and mentally punish myself and avoid even more the next time.

The second thing I did and this was a tough one, was to truly no longer care what people thought. This was hard at first, as we do care what people think, usually, the ones who say they don’t care are just masking the fact, that they really do. So, yes, we all care, but is it really that important? Always caring what people think has a big effect on your personality, in fact, it crushes it, as your always trying to come across the way you think you should and not as you really are, this in itself erodes your confidence. Also, many people who care always play it safe, like they daren’t show the real them in case people won’t like them, better to agree with others or say nothing, they also tend not to have an opinion on anything and it’s all to do with wanting others to like them. Well, I like people with an opinion, a view, it makes them what they are. So this was another step for me, no more agreeing if I did not mean it, no more hiding in the background with nothing to say and if I had an opinion I would share it. I would fully be me from now on. Again this was not an instant ‘I feel confident’ trick and it took time, but being me had me feeling far more real, it really built my confidence back up.

The other thing I did was to stop all avoidance behaviours, if I saw someone I knew I would not cross the road, if I was asked out socially, I would not make excuses not to go. Again this was tough at times and went against everything I had taught myself, but bad habits got me into this hole and good habits would get me out of it. But I had a new approach and that was ‘Instead of worrying about situations, I just took them as they came’. Without the big build up before the event, just taking it as it came made things go far better, many times I thought, ‘Wow how easy was that’. Again if it did not go great then that was fine also, I did it and that was the main thing.

Lastly, a big part of social anxiety is confidence, a confidence in yourself. To boost my self-esteem I decided to get myself fit and lose weight. Changing your life for the better can really make you feel good about yourself and that only adds to your confidence. I felt great by getting fit, mentally and physically and was very proud of my achievements and this led to me feeling far more confident and confidence really does help you when mixing with others. My anxiety levels dropped a hell of a lot also and I felt far more clarity mentally and this in itself made conversations far easier.

With my new look and confidence, I then decided to do something I would not have dreamed about a few months before and joined a running club.  Meeting and talking to loads of strangers whilst doing something positive took me right to where I wanted to be. I no longer go to the running club, but a few of us still meet up a couple of times a year.

To finish I would like to say that whilst we think everyone notices how we are feeling, that people are judging us, they really are not. They are too busy with their own lives and problems to care about us. Also, a small stutter or odd conversation will not have others judging you, they would hardly notice and so what if they do, it’s hardly a crime and will be all worth it when you reach where you want to be.

So no more excuses, no more hiding away or playing it safe, no more worrying how things may go or what people think, just begin to put yourself out there and feel a new you emerge. I was rewarded for all my hard work, for all those times I put myself out there when my instinct was to avoid or make a quick exit. For making the effort to get fit and build my confidence back up, to begin to mix with people once again.

I hope the above helps

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

What is the best way to overcome anxiety?

how to overcome anxiety

Hi Everyone,

Well, the last post was a while ago, so I thought I was due to say a few words.

I also have a few bits and bobs to cover before we go on to today’s post. The first being that the anxietynomore app is now available as an option on the Android as well as the iPhone. As usual, I don’t push things on anyone, but it is there if anyone wishes to buy it and a few people did ask me to let them know when it was available. As it is new, if anyone has any problems then just let me know.

The other thing is Doreen who posts here will now help moderate the blog. This will help keep it spam free and make sure it runs as it always has and stays a friendly and helpful resource. I do need help as every year things take off more and more. In the last year alone the book was made available on Amazon and in many high street online and offline stores and is mainly sold outside of the site these days. The book also went onto the Kindle and is hopefully due on Amazon.com very soon, making it easier for people in the U.S to purchase it. The app was also created in different versions and has been very well received. The trouble with all this is it takes a lot of time up and I am forever on with a project and I will be the first to say certain things have suffered as a result as it takes time away from other things. Things are calming down a bit now and I promise to be around here a bit more to contribute, the blog and site is where it all started and it means as much to me now, as it did when I first set it up.

Anyway on to today’s post:

Many people ask me what they should do to eliminate their anxiety or how do I get rid of this particular symptom? I was one of those people who went over and over things, trying to find a solution to the way I felt, constantly trying to stop myself feeling this way. Well, that was my mistake, I was ‘Trying not to feel a certain way’. One thing that I learnt very quickly is that “Trying to rid ourselves of anxiety only increases it”. Yet this is what most people attempt to do and just end up more entrenched in the habit. I say the opposite and tell people to feel it, to go towards it, do nothing to try to get rid of it. People develop safety behaviours and avoidance techniques that can severely restrict their lives because they don’t want to feel it. How can this be the way forward? The truth is that it is not, I only turned my life around when I finally accepted that I had anxiety and it was not going to go overnight, I shook it by the hand and said: “If you are going to be around for a while then we may as well get along”.

To recover from anxiety we have to be willing to feel it and that’s means taking it with us wherever we go. Yes for a while we will still feel anxious, we may still feel detached or have anxious thoughts hanging around, that’s fine and only to be expected. We also have to be willing to feel it for a while, not a day or a week, but as long as it takes. I have people email me and say some lovely things about the book after reading it, but I had one a few weeks ago saying ” Paul I have just finished your book, but I am not cured”. I am struggling to understand which book she read as it says nothing about getting to the end and a magic wand comes down and cures you. This is the sort of person that will be off next week to try another miracle cure hoping that it will instantly go away, she has no intention of feeling anxiety for a minute longer.

The more desperate you look for recovery, the further away it can seem, as you are putting so much pressure on yourself to feel better and making it your whole life. Why not just step back and do nothing, whilst getting on with your life as you normally would, this will do you far more good long term. I am not trying to make it sound easy, it is not at times and I used to want to hide away at home and shut out the world, but I refused to, as I wanted to be part of that world again. Just so there is no confusion when I talk about doing nothing, I mean, no longer trying to fix or figure it all out, not doing nothing by sitting at home looking at the ceiling. Go out and live your life, uncomfortable or not, take all your insecurities with you and feel it all at will. You don’t have to wait until anxiety leaves you to have a life, you can have one now. If you want to be part of the outside world again then go and join it, don’t let how you feel stop you.

The constant stress and battle to feel better is what kept me in the cycle, it consumed me and my day. So just try not to become one of those people. I know we feel like we must keep on top of things, to get the better of this thing, but it has the opposite effect. One of the calmest and most together people on the planet are Buddist monks and their whole belief is to let themselves and life just be as it is, to not over think or worry about things. Since my own recovery, I have a new outlook on life and don’t worry about trivial things or things I can’t control. I am also a far more forgiving and laid back person and it is what I learnt through my own recovery.

To finish I will never forget a story I read where 3 men were burgling a store in the middle of the night and were caught and arrested. They interviewed one and he said that when he heard the sirens he was full of fear and dread, then when the police were outside shining lights in, that his fear increased and they tried to hide. But he said once they had them surrounded and made it clear that they knew they were in there, then they all lit a cigarette up and felt a sense of calm. It was like ‘O.K the game is up, come and do what you have to do’. I felt that story reflected me and my anxiety, I feared the feelings for years and tried to keep them out, once I gave in and allowed myself to feel this way then there was a sense of relief and I felt calmer.

To finish today’s post  I am also going to add a list of tweets I recently put up on my twitter account to encourage people, I hope they help in some way.

Anxiety is like quicksand, the harder we struggle to escape, the deeper we sink.

A tired and overworked mind tries to drag you into worrying about anything and everything, just resist the need to get involved.

If anxiety tried to stop me from doing something, I would do it, even more, to show it who was in charge.

Stress on a healthy body registers a small reaction and is dealt with as a problem to solve; stress on an anxious body gives an exaggerated reaction and makes things seem far worse than they really are. The problem is the same; it is the reaction that is different.

Avoidance is something you create; don’t blame it on your anxiety

Don’t keep endlessly looking for a cure for your anxiety, create one by no longer letting it rule what you do and don’t do.

Making the decision to allow anxiety into your day releases so much pressure, stress and worry and gives your mind and body the space to recover.

I created a lot of my own problems through avoidance, I uncreated them through non-avoidance, it gave me my life back.

How you feel today has no bearing on how you will feel in the future, things do change.

Don’t get lost in a world of self-criticism, wishing you felt differently, the first step to recovery is accepting how you feel for now.

To overcome anxiety we have to be willing to feel it.

Fears are never as bad as we think when faced, their growl often turns into a whimper, it’s our imagination that makes us think differently.

People who suffer from anxiety tend to avoid feelings and then blame it on the place or situation, suggesting it’s that which causes anxiety. Lose your fear of the feeling and then every place and situation is the same.

Thanks Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

How do I calm my over active anxious mind?

Scary irrational thoughts

Firstly, sorry for a bit of a disappearing act recently, as stated the App has taken up so much of my time and the book has shot up in sales with Amazon and certain shops now stocking it. Everything has taken off in the last year or so and it is hard work keeping up and I have to cut back on certain things.

I should though be around on the blog more, as things have calmed a little and it starts with today’s post.

A mind that never seems to switch off

I know a lot struggle with an overactive mind and wonder how to calm it. Again there is no quick fix, but I will pass on what really helped me. I like others struggled with an overactive mind, that did not seem to switch off, it really was the last thing to settle. When we are anxious, then our body works over time and the reason we may sweat or feel restless and unable to sit still, with this comes an overactive mind that seems to start on one subject then jump to another with little rhyme or reason.

Firstly I realised that a calm mind, led to a calm body and the mistake I was making was to try and figure my way back to a calm mind, to try and unravel what I was doing wrong, what I needed to do etc. I was sure there was a secret out there that just needed discovering. It was then that I realised that I did not need to figure my way back to a calm mind. A calm mind could never come through more thinking, more figuring out, it would come through doing the exact opposite.

People may have different experiences, but the root to cure is the same, over worrying and thinking causes the mind to become frantic and overactive. I will give you my own example, which stemmed really from a fear of losing the people around me that I was close to.

My main problem was, that I would keep jumping back to something that happened last week and how I felt, this would mainly be negative thinking like ‘That night out with friends last Tuesday did not go well at all, next week I will try harder to fit in and come across as normal’. So then I would be looking into this coming Tuesday and building up to what to do to make sure it went better this week, so as to make sure I did not ramble through and come across as odd, what I had to do was do this or that and I would then go with a bunch of mental instructions and the night would again be a disaster as I would not be joining in, I would be mentally trying to fix myself and remind myself what to do. Then home again and looking back to how bad it went and feel sorry for myself and fill myself with self-pity, waking the next day trying to find more answers.

This is what I mean by looking back, I would constantly go over how things went and what I could have done better, then I would be looking into the future and plan certain things to make sure they went OK. All this mental planning was constant and it could be a simple trip out with friends or going round to a family gathering, I was obsessed with how I was coming across and how things were going, then filling myself with negative thoughts about how bad my life was and how it was not fair that others could enjoy themselves and not me, then more thoughts on how to fix it, my mind just never switched off.

How I overcame this was to say to myself, that this was the last time I went over something that had happened and the last time I planned for something that was up and coming and more than that I would not entertain another negative thought, my mind could ramble on about anything it wished, I would allow the noise, but I would no longer get involved with it.

Through habit, my mind would sometimes drift back to something that happened last week or try and plan for the future, but I would say ‘No, not going there, not joining on your drama anymore’ or a negative thought would come up about my situation and I would say ‘No I don’t do negative anymore, anxiety has taken enough of my life, it is not having any more’. I would then wake up with a smile on my face and just face the day whatever may come, no planning, no safety behaviours, no negative thinking about my situation, no going over something that someone did or said or how a situation went. I am not saying from that day on everything was brilliant, it was not, but it was far, far better.

This new approach was a major breakthrough for me and I felt far more mentally free, just no longer involving myself in the dramas or negative thinking of the mind had a huge effect on me. Again if it wanted to think negatively or create some drama, then it was free to do so, I just wasn’t getting involved in it anymore.

Other things I did

I always tried to stay positive and just when anxiety was just about to control what I did or did not do I would say ‘You have had enough of my life you are not having anymore’ and then go out and live my life fearlessly, it wasn’t always comfortable, but I was back in charge.

I also got into meditation a little, maybe just 3 times a week for half an hour. I would just get out of the bath when most relaxed, lie on the bed and just let go, I would just let any thoughts or emotions just come and go, like clouds passing in the sky, no trying to change them, but no involvement in them either. I still do this practice to this day.

I also made sure I got out in the fresh air and went walking, running, cycling, again a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. I also cut my drinking down and felt so much better for this. I still went out as much as before, but instead of getting drunk I would just stick to 4 pints.

Again it is not an overnight thing, but the above really helped me on my way to who I am now.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

What is the best road to follow to recover from anxiety?

Which road for anxiety

Hi everyone and welcome to 2012, I hope everyone had a good Christmas

As stated I have been very busy with another project, it is now just about completed and I will reveal all that in my next post. But it has been the reason I have hardly been around, it took a lot longer than I expected and a lot more work. I am also looking for more success stories for this project. I tend to get emails or posts of thanks on here when people recover, but rarely a more detailed story of their recovery. If you wish to forward any on to me then just email me your story and I will tell you exactly what it is for, before publishing it.

I am going to put up 8 posts this year and I have a clear view of each one. 2012 is the year I hope to really get certain things across and this comes through what people post on here and continually struggle with.

Right on to today’s post which is called 2 roads and the choices, we can make

When we suffer from anxiety, we can hit a fork in the road and make 2 choices, one sign points us to a safe, but a lonely road, a road that leads nowhere. The other points to a road that is full of life and choices, the road looks more daunting but leads to a fulfilling place.

I once saw a documentary on a soldier who lost both legs in Afghanistan and when he came back to England his mother said he had given up on life, that he just stayed locked in his room, locked in his own head and became very depressed with plenty of ‘Why me’? He had decided to give in to his disability and taken to hiding away feeling sorry for himself. This was until someone came and spoke to him and said ‘You can have a very fulfilling life with the way you are, you just have to make the choice to live again, how will you know if you don’t try?’ From that day on, this soldier was determined to give life a go and stop hiding away feeling sorry for himself. He made a choice to forget his disability and went out socialising, finding local clubs he could get involved in. This person then went on to represent his country in a particular sport and made so many new friends, going on to live a life that he started to really enjoy.

I am telling this story because this person had a choice, he also met a fork in the road and took the safe one at first, to hiding away feeling sorry for himself, the road I took many years ago. Well I was sick of this road and I decided one day to stop wishing it all away, anxiety was just the way I felt, there was nothing I could do about that, I had to accept that it was part of me for now. The outside world had not changed and anxiety or not I was going to be part of it once again.

We can choose a road of avoidance, one of trying to control our anxiety, thinking this temporary relief will help us long term. But it never does and leads to a very restricting life, one were we make excuses not to go here, not to do this and that. We are giving in to the way we feel and letting it control us and what we do, this is the wrong road and leads to more feelings of hopelessness and disconnection with the outside world. You also begin to make deals with your anxiety, ‘I won’t go here if you leave me alone’, ‘I will avoid this place if you don’t come today’.

By human nature we try and find relief, normally it is the right thing to do, but with anxiety it is the opposite, because in trying to find relief your life becomes narrower and narrower, you begin to feel more and more sorry for yourself, as you hate that you can’t go here or there. You can also start to go over and over things in your head, either by trying to fix your anxiety or trying to find another way out.

One day you must realise this safe road is not working, it is leading you nowhere, it is just restricting your life more and more, it is not reliving you of anything and certainly not helping the problem.

Let’s go to the other road, the one without safety behaviours, without control and avoidance. This is the road I finally decided to take and anxiety would have to come with me, it no longer had a choice, there were no more deals to be made, no more excuses, if it wanted to be part of my life for now, then so be it, but it had lost its hold over me.

At first going out and about and not trying to avoid my feelings was hard and I felt disconnected for a while, but I no longer cared, it was caring so much that got me into the hole in the first place! If I let anxiety into my life without question, then what is there left to fight? What is there left to go over?, What is there left to avoid?, What is there left to control?

The mistake people make is that they are always trying to feel better, this has the opposite effect, as you will never be free of what you refuse to feel. I may post something and people may then use my words as a mantra, say it is ‘Truly accept the way you feel’ they may then repeat this in an attempt to make themselves feel better. There is the mistake, they again are trying to control their anxiety with a saying, trying not to feel it, they have missed the point entirely.

When I took the choice of the other road, I expected to still feel anxious, I expected to still feel disconnected, more in fact, as I was going out of my comfort zones. I held no expectations to how I would feel, my only goal was to live a fulfilling life again, how I felt was secondary and certainly not something I would be trying to control anymore, I had tried this for years and it did not work.

In time this second road lead me to a far better place, to a more fulfilling life, places and experiences I had avoided in the past opened their doors and let me in, my life grew and grew, feelings and insecurities dampened in time. The other road had the opposite effect, life became narrower and narrower, I felt more and more isolated, my whole day seemed a battle of avoidance and control, no wonder I never got anywhere. But I loved this new road, it was not as safe as the other road and had a few bumps in it, but it was full of victories and surprises, I felt good about me again, in control.

I was actually always in control, I just never realised it. I had just had to let go of all my uncertainty and insecurities and embrace life again. Life was my salvation, it was my cure, it was not something to avoid and hide away from.

To finish, just remember you are not your anxiety, you are not your thoughts, so don’t feel the need to control. Many people who progress and those that recovered tell you that eventually they just became an observer of the way they felt, they shifted their focus elsewhere and it did not seem as important as it did before, it was just something in the background. This is because when they accepted it as part of them through understanding, they could then begin to focus on other things in their life. They had stopped spending hours inside their head trying to constantly fix things, constantly finding ways to control or rid themselves of the way they felt. Until you truly let anxiety in without question and stop making deals with it, then the same fruitless battle will continue. Nobody has ever fought or thought their way out of anxiety, it is like quicksand, the harder you fight to free yourself, the further you sink.

I hope that the post helps. My next post will address how to get out of your mind and free yourself from over thinking.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

Anxiety and depersonalisation success stories

Anxiety and Depersonalisation success stories

As promised here are some success stories gathered over the last year or so, I get many of these sent to me through emails or people post them on the blog and I think they are a great way to inspire others.

I recently added a few to the book and here is a small collection of them. I was going to try and paste them in here, but the blog does not take kindly to pasting and it messes all the fonts and layout.

I have also added an ex-members story Tarmo who suffered from depersonalisation and came through. He offered to write a piece for the chapter on depersonalisation in my book which was very well written and may help others.

Also, I have added a new page to the site Entitled advice for family/partners. This is just a section to help partners help and understand better what their loved one is going through.

Click the links below to go to the relative pages

Success stories

Anxiety success stories

Advice for family and friends

Support from family and friends with anxiety

Tarmos story of recovery from Depersonalisation

How I overcame depersonalisation

Hope that helps some people

Paul

If you would like more information on overcoming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

How to change your attitude towards anxiety

Change your attitude to anxiety

Firstly sorry for the late post, as stated it was computer problems. I still don’t have access to my files where I placed the success stories, so here is a separate post until I get my files back.

Just before I start I have recently joined twitter if any wants to follow me at @anxietynomoreuk . I will post on there when there any new posts, interesting comments, changes to the new site and any other news of interest.

One other thing, I keep getting emails from people off the blog asking if I can do a post on this subject or that subject. I can’t do requests, as I can’t just help one person, it has to be for the benefit of everyone, so please don’t be offended.

OK, to today’s post.

After looking through and reading a lot of posts I decided to talk about people’s attitude toward anxiety. If anyone ever asks me what was the eureka moment, what really helped? I always say it was a shift in my attitude to how I felt. This mainly comes through a better understanding of the subject, as it is far easier to be less impressed by certain symptoms of anxiety when you understand it far better. This is why you see people on here move forward over time. They start to understand far more and their symptoms impress them less, yes they may still dislike them, but they are able to see them in a different light. When someone writes a positive post, it is obvious that there has been a big shift in attitude to how they view how they feel.

So let’s try and help change this shift in attitude. One thing to make very clear is to resist the need to work everything out, please don’t waste time and energy doing this, it is time to interact with the world around you and not yourself and how you are feeling, this just makes you feel more inward. Read the posts and replies on the blog, add a little info elsewhere and then just get on with making the tea, seeing friends and being you. That is what I did not do in my early years. I would read some info and then go away and go over and over it, trying to figure this out, that out, testing myself, questioning this or that. It truly was a vicious cycle and I had no hope of being part of the world around me when my whole world was me.

What I ended up doing was educating myself and then I would just go away and live my life exactly how I would if I did not feel this way. I had been totally indulged in me and how I felt, my mind was totally shattered, it could take no more, it needed a break, the best way to do this was to DROP the subject and just go and live my life whilst taking how I felt with me.

That is why people go to work and then have a home life. If they dealt in cars all day and then thought about cars all night when they got home, went over and over which car to sell tomorrow, spent all there weekends thinking about cars, then the subject would become them, they have let nothing else in, this is why it is vital to take some breaks. You can’t take breaks if you go into every situation questioning why you feel this way, why it went like it did, what may help etc.

The best advice and one line I think I can ever give to put this point forward is ‘Live like you don’t have it’ that truly was me in the end, I went around like the person I was before and took how I felt with me without question and I eventually became that person, I was no longer a victim. I have said many times if you act like a victim of anxiety, then you become one, a slave to it. I don’t claim this to be easy, it can really test your willpower at times, but it is so helpful in the long term.

I would go to a quiz each week with friends and I mostly felt horrible and detached, I truly just wanted to go home, but I didn’t. I never tried to come across as normal or act my way through the night, I was just me and if that meant being a little quiet then so be it. I was not running home feeling sorry for myself, anxiety was not winning, I was. These trips to the quiz went on for many months and each time I went I would feel a little more comfortable and a little more normal until I was sitting chatting away and enjoying myself. I would also walk up town twice a week and feel overwhelmed, the crowds, the unreality of it all etc, but I would just go and do my shopping. Sometimes I had to look at the price of an item 3 times before it sunk in, but I never questioned why I felt this way, I just got on the best I could. Again these trips became easier and easier, a shift back to me was certainly happening.

This is the reason so many people stay in the cycle because every instinct says ‘go home, it’s easier there’ or ‘try and fix this, this is not right’. I think everyone who has recovered or really moved forward, will all say they had to go against their instinct many times. That is because we are built to make a decision when anxious, anxious feelings usually mean there is a threat. Well there is no danger and there is no need to flee, it’s a false signal that we should simply move on from.

I always say people are too impressed by how they are feeling at the present time, that’s when all the ‘What am I doing wrong’?, ‘Why do I feel this way’?, ‘What can I do to help it’?, ‘I hate this feeling, why me’? starts. How you feel now has no bearing on how you may feel in a few months time, none at all.

So 4 key points to finish:

1.  Begin to learn to be less impressed by the way you feel, even if you don’t understand why you feel a certain way, it doesn’t matter, just place it all under the umbrella of anxiety.

2. Live your life like you don’t have it. Don’t scurry home or cancel appointments, run away from a friend to get away from a conversation etc, just go everywhere at will, anxious or not, it can’t and never will do you any harm.

3. Don’t go over and over how you feel or feel the need to work it all out, dissect it. By all means, educate yourself by reading the book or the blog and then just go and get on with your day. Never be afraid to drop the subject for a while, I have advised people on here that they are becoming too indulged in the subject and to have a week off and just add some living in.

4. Don’t see anxiety or the sensations that come with it as the enemy, embrace them, they are only feelings/sensations that can do you no harm.

I hope someone finds something in the above

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

Why do I constantly feel trapped inside my own head?

Trapped in my own head

Again sorry for the late post, I have been away and had 101 things to sort out when I got back.

I was going to do a post on D.P, but have decided to cover another subject that comes up regularly on here and something I struggled with in the latter part of my recovery. Which is I could not seem to shake the attention of myself, as though my mind would not stop reverting back to me and how I felt.

Most here know that this comes through months and in a lot of cases years of being bothered about how we feel, looking in, monitoring our symptoms and spending hours trying to do something about them. I was a master at this for many years, always looking and searching in my mind for that magic cure or sentence that would stop the hell. In my day there was no internet to look through or find information, I found the medical world a waste of time and was just shoved from pillar to post and given more useless pills.

I was in such a lonely place, a place where I lived 2 lives. One was trying to figure out this hell, just existing through the day, like an empty walking shell with little interest in the outside world and my surroundings and the other person was the one that had to act through the day, trying to appear normal, smile in the right places, try and hold some sort of conversation, when all I wanted to do was run away. It truly was a living hell and one I was falling deeper and deeper into. The more I thought and worried about me, the more isolated I felt, so I thought and worried about me even more, it was a terrible cycle. I even recall walking to work one day where I felt so self-aware and so out of touch with my surroundings that I had to count cars on the way, just something to try and connect with the world around me, I was so worn down with it all.

Many people go through this feeling of detachment for a few months and then are able to find the right help and come through this stage pretty easy as habits have not really been ingrained as of yet. Just like the person who has lost someone close and appears in a world of their own for a few weeks, eventually time heals and they can connect quite easy with the outside world and their surroundings. But the reason is the same, they are consumed with grief and their own feelings, they have little time for the outside world and what is going on around them, hence while they seem lost and distant. Someone may even lose their job and be like this for 2/3 days, they are just so concerned with a subject they can take nothing else in. That certainly relates to most people who suffer from anxiety and our main reason is that we don’t understand and become more and more concerned with how we are feeling and how to get better.

For many like myself though, this habit can seem to be ingrained and hard to shake off. Well, I went through this for years and was able to love the outside world again, feel part of it, no longer care about how I felt. Of course one of the stages was an understanding of why I felt the way I did if I understood it there was no need to waste my time going over it, so it did improve and certainly stopped the cycle, but this self-awareness still hung around to a degree.

In the past, we have covered the usual points of finding hobbies and keeping busy, not sitting around with too much time on our hands feeling sorry for ourselves. Allowing ourselves to feel odd and strange without caring or being alarmed by it. This is 2 very important points that have been covered before, but I wanted to add a few more points and ideas as looking through posts people do tend to struggle with this self-awareness.

Firstly a lot of people may think, ‘Right that’s me done with the subject, I am not looking it up anymore or reading about it, no from tomorrow I am never thinking about it or concerning myself with it again’. What they end up doing is, trying to push the subject away and ignore it, this ends up a battle in itself, as they have thought and spoke about it so often they can’t just turn it off like a tap. Building your knowledge up with anxiety is fine and there is no need to avoid the subject, I am involved in it and probably will be all my life and it certainly does not have me feeling lost and self-aware again. The reason being is that I don’t spend too much time on it, I have a healthy social life that keeps me very busy and the subject is just a part of my life, not my life like it used to be. There are plenty of other things that take my attention through the week and my life is healthy and my mind is stimulated. So don’t think you have to ‘not’ think about the subject, it’s fine to come here when you need a boost or you feel you need something answering. The problem can occur though when sites/forums, or whatever it may be, becomes your day/week. Switching the computer on and spending your day trying to find more answers, looking, reading, going from one site to another trying to find something to make you feel better, something you have missed, when the real tonic for that day would be to have your breakfast and go about your day however you felt, for once don’t be concerned about how you feel or how to make it better, just live your life. You can never hope to be part of the outside world again if you don’t involve yourself in it.

One point I really want to add to the above is to finally trust yourself to go it alone and not rely on this place as a crutch, to drop all the safety behaviours you have. I don’t think you ever stop learning about anxiety, but there comes a point when you understand enough to say ‘I am not using the blog as a comfort blanket anymore’, I will still read up now and again, as it helps me at my lowest points and sometimes I do feel stuck at times, but I need to trust in myself more and move forward. And when I say trust in yourself, I mean don’t feel the need to repeat sayings to yourself through the day, trying to remember what so and so said to help in this situation, reminding yourself how to get through this, what to say etc. I mean to let that go, to be completely empty handed of all sayings and techniques, to completely trust in yourself without any outside crutch or sayings.

I also did this, it was like a military situation when I went anywhere, I would feel anxious and repeat mantras of ‘It’s OK, it is just adrenalin’ ‘Accept it Paul’, next the oddness would descend and I would be trying to scramble back to what I had learnt about this ‘Erm OK this is just my tired mind, me focusing on myself for so long, it will pass’ Then it would be ‘hang on I have accepted it and it is not passing’, ‘erm what else can I say? I must cope with this’,  I would then try another saying, then it would be ‘Have I done anything wrong, this is not getting any easier or better?’

Can you see what I was doing? I was back on me all day long and trying to find ways to cope, no wonder I felt odd and anxious. I realised in time that I just had to go it alone, I could not rely on sayings or safety behaviours to get me through the day, I had to fully trust in my mind and body, the greatest healers in the world, they did not need me to keep interfering, I just needed my ‘whatever’ attitude and nothing else.

After the realisation that if I just let go of all these sayings and safety behaviours I could cope fine, it was a massive step forward for me. Don’t get me wrong, some days were still hellish and I could feel hyper-aware, but I would just go straight through it, live that day with the oddness and strangeness with little concern and not run away from it or try and make it better, but to just go straight through it.

This was the final stage in me losing my awareness of me and it was that true feeling of believing I now had the tools to move forward without a crutch or the need to remind myself of what to do. Trust me, you never lose what you have learnt, it is all stored up there fine. It is like learning to drive, you don’t have to remind yourself any more of moving the gears, pressing the clutch, you don’t have to take a new lesson each week, you have learnt enough and it became automatic in time. And this is how it eventually comes with getting through your day. So don’t be afraid to put down your tools and safety behaviours, drop your sayings and just go it alone, trust me you will be fine.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

More anxiety tips

Anxiety tips

Today I thought I would do something a little bit different and make it where others can participate and share there own helpful anxiety tips on what has really helped them. I would say educating myself was by far the most important thing that helped me, understanding why I felt the way I did, helped take all the fear and worry out of it and opened up the door for me to begin my recovery. I no longer spent each day worrying and trying to fix how I felt, this, in turn, helped my mind and body have the breaks it needed to heal. But there were a few things along the way that helped me and without going into loads of detail on each one here are just a few.

Exercise, food and keeping busy – I have mentioned it before but I took up exercise and it really helped. It burnt off all the excess adrenalin for a while and when I came back from a workout I felt great. The anxious energy would eventually build back up, as my body was stored with this energy, due to years of over worrying. But exercise helped give me a new focus, boosted my self-esteem, helped reduce feelings of stress and increased overall well being. Also eating a good diet can help with anxiety and cutting down on alcohol can be very helpful. Many people do turn to junk food and alcohol when suffering from anxiety to try and suppress how they feel, as a way of trying to make themselves feel better. But all this does is make them feel more down and lethargic, they may put on weight and their self-esteem goes down even further. Changing my diet and cutting down on alcohol made me feel much better in general, gave me far more energy and motivated me to get out more and engage with the world.

Getting out of bed when I woke – I used to feel a little spaced out when I woke and would start to go monitor how I felt, sort of go through the day in my head, feel that ‘Oh here we go again’ start to the day. I found just waking and getting out of bed and being active in other simple things made a difference. Just going down and making breakfast, living my life how I should do and not sitting around moping and feeling sorry for myself.

Moving towards my feelings of anticipation – An anxious mind will have us believe all sorts of things that never actually happen. I would be one minute avoiding a situation in case I felt bad and the next, I was not going to let anxiety to win and say I was going. I learnt that when I felt this way, it was far better to just go without thinking about it, just move right into the middle of whatever was having me question it. This attitude probably saved me from a life of avoidance. When I just went, I can honestly say sometimes I still felt apprehensive and at other times nothing and I have never felt so happy and proud of myself afterwards. Each time just unmasked a little more of the truth behind how I felt and my confidence just grew and grew, I could do anything and go anywhere, it was just my anxious mind that was trying to trick me into believing otherwise. You begin to no longer question or worry about places and situations, as you have been there many times before, there is no ‘unknown’ left. This is not to say I run around doing this and that, I just continued to build it up slowly.

Never being impressed by how I felt at any particular time – Too many people use the word setback when really they are just going through the usual up and down stages that anxiety brings. Just as someone with depression can have good and bad days, so can someone from suffering from anxiety, it’s all part and parcel of it. A lot will come on here and say ‘I have cracked it, I have not felt anxious for a few days now, I am free’. I always worry about these posts, as when they do have the next anxious moment, they will let it throw them into total despair and feel sorry for themselves, wonder and question why, try to scramble their way back to how they felt the week before. Don’t get me wrong, it took me a long time to build an attitude of being positive however I felt. Reacting to how you feel day by day or week by week just has you monitoring and fighting how you feel. Good or bad try and smile and get on, the good days will be back as night is day, but don’t try to force them.

Accepting all the oddness as part of me – I suffered pretty badly with D.P and feelings of detachment. One of the hardest things I learnt to do was accept these feelings as part of me, but in time I did. At one time I was trapped in this hell, because I spent every waking minute monitoring how I felt, trying everything to fix it, make it better, I became more and more locked in my own mind. I then began to live with it, accept the strangeness as part of me, be it, in a conversation or just walking down the road, I no longer let it impress me so much. I almost thought of it as being drunk, I accepted the feelings of drunkenness without a second thought because I understood them. Once I began to understand these feelings of detachment, it became easier to learn to accept them, even though it was tough at times. But again this is what saved me, I began to monitor myself less and less, the world around me began to again take my attention and little by little I felt more and more normal. Seeing someone who was grieving is the same thing, when you get that vacant stare out of them like they are not really there. This is because they have not been able to think of anything else but the person they have lost, they have had no time for the outside world and have become trapped in themselves and can’t seem to properly connect, but in time they begin to come to terms with it and they take more and more interest in other things and the world around them and normality returns, that is exactly what I had to learn to do.

There are a few more that I will share with you later, but these were my own top 5.

Please feel free to share anything that has helped you, it would be good to list a few from others. I also have a list of helpful anxiety quotes on my main site that people may find helpful.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

Why fighting your anxiety doesn’t work

Fighting anxiety

Firstly I am back from the Isle of Wight, certain promises on accommodation and hours were not kept and it was not what I expected, so I thought it best to return and thanks to Candie for holding the fort while I have been away. So as I have not posted in a while I decided to jump straight in.

One thing, I think a lot of people are guilty of is trying to change or suppress how they feel. This I feel needs expanding on, as in many cases it can come almost automatically. To find out if you fall into this category ask yourself these questions:

1. Do you spend any of your day trying to change how you feel?

2. Do you ever avoid something that may bring these feelings on?

3. Is your whole day consumed with getting better?

4. Do you only see a life without anxiety as something you must achieve?

5. Do you have a mental battle with yourself during the week, going round in circles trying to figure it all out?

If the answer is yes to any of the above then you are still trying to change or suppress how you feel. Let’s start with each question and expand on it.

1. Do you spend your day trying to change how you feel?

This is a very common habit to get into, one I certainly fell for. We have tired and worn nerves that make our skin feel tingly, tense and we can become irritable. We also have a tired worn out mind that makes thinking slow and we feel odd and spaced out. None of these you can change by fighting against them, just allow and give them space. I was once walking into town and doing the usual, trying to control and suppress how I felt, I must control this, keep it under wraps, make it better.

I then went into a shop to pay for something and realised I had lost my wallet that had quite a sum of money in it. I was frantic trying to find it, I checked all my pockets, traced my last steps and went back to work devastated. I realised for the half hour when I was looking for this money, that it became more important than how I felt and that I felt quite normal for this period like my attention had switched from me and I was no longer concerned with how I felt, but more with the money I had lost.

That episode taught me that I needed to learn to switch my focus off me by no longer trying to control or suppress how I felt, it was not important and was only leading me to feel more detached than ever. I needed outward things to take up my attention and not waste so much time on me.

Question 2: Do you ever avoid things that bring these feelings on?

Another classic and we can become masters at this. I always felt it was better to not feel these symptoms and would avoid situations that would bring them on. I used to make excuse after excuse to fit in with not feeling this way. Of course, in time I realised this could not bring me home, that it was OK to feel anxious, this is where my progress will come from. So I no longer hid away. In the past I felt detached and anxious in social situations so avoided them, well no more, if I felt odd/anxious then so be it.

I would avoid going into crowded places in case I felt overwhelmed. This changed and I went towards them with a ‘so what’ attitude. I would feel a little overwhelmed, as expected and feel the need to escape, but I never did, I would not be bluffed into running away from a feeling. My life that was becoming narrower and narrower was now beginning to broaden and I realised more was less, the more anxiety I felt, the less it came in the future. To lose my fear, I had to feel it and see it through and really see it for what it was, unmask the bogeyman that was holding me back. Every time I felt anxious or overwhelmed, it had a peak and would always die down, if I had not gone towards and through these feelings, I would have never found this out. This realisation broadened my life and I began to build up my confidence to do more and more.

Question 3: Is your whole day consumed with getting better?

Another trap I fell into, I would almost watch my progress daily, getting excited at the good days, thinking ‘that’s it I am fine’, then getting really down about the bad. I would always be tuning in to how I felt, it was a daily ritual. Again I lost this habit, by moving away from the subject. I stopped reading up on the subject, stopped trying to find the next elusive eureka moment. I realised I needed to get back to living again and I almost dropped the subject and trusted that the knowledge I had built up was enough, that I would never lose what I had learnt and I no longer had to spend my day trying to find new answers. This really did help me.

I have said it before but I hate forums for this very reason. I have seen people post 15 times a day for years on end, their anxiety consumes them, they think of nothing else. They can never really hope to move away and start living again, the subject almost becomes them and they think and talk of little else. This is why it is important to take timeouts, to build up hobbies and interests. The subject is in my life, but at a normal manageable level and the reason I cannot answer personal emails on my main site. I truly would be answering people 24 hours a day, it would become impossible and again the subject would become my day/week, I would never get a break. Through the blog I can help people at a level I am comfortable with and have a life outside of the subject.

Question 4: Do you see a life without anxiety as something you must achieve?

This is a very important point. People who chase the dream of being anxiety free can tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves to do so and their days can be full of ups and downs and disappointments. Again they can begin to over search for that magic cure or sentence, always believing they have missed something. My real progress came when I stopped trying to get better, I came to the conclusion that it was OK to feel this way. My attitude towards how I felt changed and that is very important. Don’t see anxiety as the big green monster trying to consume you. Learn to be OK with how you feel, don’t see it as something you must be rid of before you can be happy again, don’t give it that respect and learn to live alongside it.

Question 5: Do you have a mental battle with yourself each week going around in circles trying to figure it all out?

Well, I was certainly guilty of this one. My mind became so tired and led to feelings of detachment, feeling spaced out and not with it. I always thought I had to fix it. My battle was twofold, one trying to make myself feel better and the other trying to find the long-term solution. Looking back I can’t believe I ever thought I could do this, as all I was doing was tiring my fragile mind further. In time it almost became automatic, like I could not think of anything else, the subject really had become me and rather than being able to try and think of a solution, I just thought about it, my mind no longer had the resilience to try and figure how to help myself.

I ended up with a deeply fatigued mind and to reverse this process I just had to step back and allow it to over think, to process obsessive thoughts and thinking, without being alarmed by it. I just really had to go with it until it found it’s resilience and clear thinking again. I certainly was not going to try and fix it, as this had brought this over fatigued mind on in the first place.

In time my thinking did become clear and flexible once again and I did not make the same mistake again and did not go down the ‘think my way better route’ I felt how I felt and that was it, trying to think my way better and figure it all out were just going to tire my mind further and this was something I would not do. I would not try to ‘not’ think about the subject, through habit I would and sometimes I needed to remind myself of something, but the 24 hour battle with myself was over.

Hopefully, there is a strong message in there and it helps people in some way

Paul

If you would like more information on overcoming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

Running away from anxious symptoms and feelings

Running away from anxiety

Hi all, Well todays post will be a little shorter than normal, but will cover an important point.

A lot of people complain, especially when waking, that they feel very self-aware, that they seem to be wired into how they feel. They don’t know if to try and push these feelings away and ignore them or go over them and try to control them in some way, using sayings or actions.

I also used to get confused in the early days and would almost try and talk myself out of how I felt when waking, as though I had to piece the jigsaw together. I would start with a few sayings like ‘It’s o.k to feel this way’, ‘It’s just a habit, your mind is tired’ or think ‘OK get up, get busy, ignore how you feel’ and so I would run around all day trying to force forgetfulness, but these 2 approaches never worked, even though I thought ‘surely I was doing the right things here’. But as usual, if it did not help, then I surely was not.

So I would continue to be very self-aware, feel unreal, nauseous on waking and throughout my day, why? Then it hit me, I was ruminating over how I felt, trying to make it better, mentally tiring myself further, I was cluttering my already cluttered mind up. Also by running away, I was tensing myself against how I felt, I must not think about these feelings, get busy, this was mentally and physically tiring in itself.

What I had to do is say ‘So what if I wake conscious of the lump in my throat, the self-awareness, the feelings of unreality, it is OK to be conscious of it’ I did not have to run around trying to push it into the background or try and talk it better, going through different sayings to ease it, to sort it out before getting on with my day. This was only tiring me out further and saying it was important NOT to feel this way. It was not important NOT to feel this way, in fact, it was fine. I was allowed to feel self-aware, I was allowed to feel nauseous on waking, feel odd and unreal. Everything I did before said it was not, my old attitude was, ‘I have to change this, I have to wake clearly, I must suppress these feelings, ignore them. This was all wrong, no wonder I was feeling more mentally tired and cluttered than ever, once again it was all about allowing. This new attitude helped me so much and was a major factor in moving me forward and made the day a lot easier.

I have done the post on when people wake, as this used to be my problem at times. I used to almost expect to wake feeling self-aware, nauseous, unreal. I spent so much time trying to fix it until I realised it was fine to wake up feeling this way, expect it if you wish, but be fine with it, lock stock and barrel.

I did this short post, as it has come up a few times recently. So for those who it is relevant, I hope this helps.

Just to let people know I won’t be around as much in a months time as I am doing some voluntary work away from home in the summer. I will leave some posts that Candie will place up each month, so the blog will not be affected.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

What does allowing anxiety really mean?

allowing anxiety

Hi Everyone, Well I did promise a post before Christmas and on that theme, I just want to wish everyone a good Christmas. It is never my favourite time of year, I am just an old bah humbug I guess 🙂 But seriously, a big MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone and a happy new year. I truly hope 2010 will be a new start for so many, one that brings so much more hope and happiness.

I won’t go on too much this month and wanted to just post a couple of things. One was what Emmanuel posted earlier in a thread.

Between Paul David and Jim, my two “mentors,” they suffered for 10 and 12 years respectively. I don’t know how long Paul’s road to recovery was, but Jim’s was 2 years. After 10 solid years of anxiety so bad he even hallucinated!

In answer to the above, I would go with a couple of years myself. So many people believe that I saw the light and within a few days, I was fine. It was never like that, I did though decide that me fighting to get better was a waste of time, it had never worked and only sent me deeper into the condition. I now know I was looking for an answer that was never there. I always felt that one day I would find something, be it a tablet or a sentence that would make it all go away.

A friend of mine who I run with has just had an operation on his knee and cannot run for a few months, the doctor has told him it will take a few months to heal and he will feel pain for quite a long time. He accepts this and just gets on with his day with the pain there. Imagine if he spent weeks looking for answers to make the pain go away tomorrow, every day searching in his mind, googling, looking for a doctor that can make it better instantly, fighting to control the pain, thinking and obsessing about it. He is trying the impossible and will have to just accept that only time will heal it, which is what he has done, so there is no extra suffering. We create so much of our own suffering, trying to overcome suffering, we just don’t see it.

That’s exactly the point I got to, I finally admitted defeat and that anxiety would be a part of me for a while and that I would give my mind and body as much time as it needed to get better. The above has been said many times before, but I just wanted to reinforce the message as it seems some people still refuse to allow themselves to feel the way they do. I used to wake up and monitor how I felt and then spend all my day trying to do something about it. I finally accepted that when I woke I would feel tired and anxious, that my mind would probably race, that I would feel odd and detached for most of the day, I would not ignore it or pretend to like it, but for once I was not going to try and do anything about it, I still felt awful all day, but for the first time I had given my body and mind a much-needed rest, if it would have been able to speak it would have said ‘Thank you so much for that Paul, I have been crying out for that break for so long, did you ever think I could heal myself when you worried and stressed so much, I mean you are wanting me to recover from stress-induced symptoms and then stressing about them, I mean come on I may be the best healing system in the world, but even I am not that good! Your mind would also like to say thank you for the break, it was so, so very tired and this is why you found thinking so hard, why your mind raced, you felt a little detached, it was being worked beyond breaking point, it just needed a day off.

I always say to people the day we admit to ourself and accept that this may be part of us for a while, is the day we will begin to move forward. People who refuse to believe this or don’t want to are the ones that stay stuck in the cycle of trying to rid themselves of something that needs to be left alone, they are in such a rush to get better and so many posts start with ‘How do I get rid of this feeling or that symptom?’, They spend all week trying and getting nowhere because they should be doing the exact opposite and leaving it alone, stop picking at the scab and the scab will heal.

Emmanual finished with this statement below: Again this has all been said many times and I want to now begin to move forward towards other things, but I wanted to post about it for the last time in a different way, so I can really push home the message.

The common thread to those who recover is simply this: STOP CARING ABOUT THE SYMPTOMS. Recovery HAS to occur when we give our body rest. Now most of us follow the following pattern:

The point for me in recovery was this:

When I reached a “good enough” stage (a stage I could have lived at for the rest of my life, even if not 100%) I truly stopped caring about any and all symptoms. Even when they changed drastically (which was the scary part). And things really cooked from there.

God Bless

I would also agree with the above and I never woke up recovered, it just crept up on me. I got to a stage where I no longer really cared, how I began to feel was far more bearable and it just became automatic to just get on with my day and pay very little respect to how I felt, this was the final stage of me being the person I am today. I can honestly say I never went for recovery, progress was enough for me, I never put any pressure on myself to feel 100% better, I was just so happy I had come so far. Many people never believe that they will feel better, they are so impressed by how they feel at this given time.

Many have said ‘I just feel I will never feel like me again’, My reply is always ‘Yes and I bet you could never imagine feeling like this before anxiety came along’. You only have to read about the people on here who have come so far, I remember loads of names who come back to post positive story’s and they have 2 things in common, 1. They all felt like they were in a hole they would never recover from 2. The real progression took patience, nothing came overnight. One thing that really helped me was a far better understanding of why I felt like I did and this is basically why I believe the blog helps so much, it gives people that understanding. It was far easier for me to dismiss how I felt once I understood why. This leads me to the next part of this post and the initial title.

Someone who landed on my site said this, which I think is so very true.

I went from one doctor to another, getting nowhere, they just pushed pills on me, I was a wreck, I did not want pills, I thought my brain was rotting away, that I was going crazy, why could they not at least give me some sort of explanation? All I ever wanted to hear was ‘ Listen Paul, you are going through something very difficult, but it’s a natural process that the brain goes through due to stress/anxiety/trauma and although it’s very unpleasant it is totally normal in the circumstances, so try not to be over-impressed by it, your body is just a little overworked at the minute’ How simple, but yet effective that would have been! All I ever wanted was a small explanation and some reassurance, if I had, I would not have spent some much wasted time stressing and worrying over how I felt…

I am on the fence when it comes to doctors on the subject, they receive all the flak, as they are the first people we see when we feel this way and if the doctor does not understand, then it must be serious. Firstly they deal with so many illnesses we can’t expect them to be experts on anxiety, it truly is a subject in itself. But they should be able to send you somewhere that can help, even if it is just somewhere that can give the explanation above. How hard would this be? The one thing that surprises me the most is that my own doctor says it is by far the biggest complaint he has to deal with, so why not just put a little more time learning about how to help or pushing for a resource that can? I don’t want to be too critical here, but it would save so many people so much suffering, just a few words of comfort would help so much and put many people’s mind at rest. I am not saying that people never find help away from the internet, but it does seem like looking for a needle in a haystack at times. I never had the internet to help me, but at least it now gives people a chance to help themselves and has become most sufferers lifeline, hopefully, in time this will change and the help and information will be within reach for everyone!

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

Why does anxiety stop me doing things?

Trapped in anxiety

Hi everyone, Firstly welcome to all the new people who have posted recently, it’s great to see it busy and people helping and supporting others. Again me and Candie try and keep it as spam free as possible and moderate it so it is a nice, helpful place to come.

I am also thinking of changing the look of the blog, it is a bit dated. If I can do this without losing all the old post then I will, if not then I will keep it the same as there is a lot of helpful information that I would not like to lose.

Onto today’s post:

The title above came about because of an email I received a couple of weeks ago that I would like to share.

To me, it is a very simple, but strong message.

Subject = Thanks for a new perspective.

After trying everything to try and “cure” my anxiety, I now realize that I need to just allow it to try and stop me living. It never will! Thanks so much for sharing your personal struggle. It helps to know that there is a light to look forward to.

Just that small sentence sums up so much of what I try and get across. Rather than try and force his way everywhere and fight to cure himself, he has decided to see if anxiety can really stop him doing things, he has taken away the need to ‘cure’ himself before he thinks he can live again, no longer spending pointless hours each day trying to ‘fix’ how he was feeling. A lot of people think recovery lies in these feelings not being around, but recovery lies in them no longer mattering and the only way to get to this stage is to go through them.

Many people will come on here and say ‘Oh I thought I was OK, but I feel awful today, what am I doing wrong?

‘I thought I had come through this, but I have had a dreadful week’

‘I feel so lost and anxious today and don’t know why I felt great last week’

Can we now say that these feelings do ‘really matter’ to these people? The answer is ‘Yes’ and this is the attitude we need to change. I can tell you I went through all this, great one week, bad the next, good weeks, bad weeks, but I never complained. It was awful at times and frustrating and got me down, but I had total faith that this was the process that I needed to go through. Many people refuse to accept this and keep looking for outside things to make it better, that one magic sentence that will make it all go away. I can tell you I completely stopped looking for anything to ‘make it go away’ I realised that this was not where the answer would come from.

I write this blog to help people along, to give them that extra bit of advice, that much-needed boost, but I certainly don’t want this to be a crutch for people for the rest of their life. I want people to eventually trust themselves that they now have everything they need to move forward on their own and to begin living again. At first, life is shakey, odd, full of ups and downs, but be prepared for this and as the email says, let anxiety try and stop you living, ‘It won’t’. Things may not always go as you would like, but that’s fine also, it’s all part of integrating back into normal living.

At one time I falsely thought that I could think my way better, that I needed to hide away until I had finally ‘sorted this thing out’ What I really needed to do was just live alongside it and stop letting it have such an effect on me, to change my attitude and live alongside it without letting it control my life for me. Instead of letting it stop me living, live and try and let it stop me, just as the person in the email put it.

Just to finish many people ask me how long it took me to recover, how I knew..etc. There was no one day where I woke up and everything was great. I just got better and better, layer by layer. I had built up such an insulation by just living my life, that I stopped getting such a strong reaction to everyday normal things. I stopped worrying about the way I was feeling enough for my nerves to right themselves. I had stopped the deep thinking, trying to make it all go away enough for my mind to become flexible, to be able to think clearly once more. I had basically reversed all the habits that had taken me into such a hole, but it took time and a few tears along the way. It was not all plain sailing. I had to go ‘through’ it all. To stay when I felt like escaping, to not be impressed when I felt odd and not with it, to carry on with my day when I just felt like hiding away, to stay in a conversation when I felt no part of it. Too basically go against all my instincts and understand and accept anxiety was going to be a part of me for a while and to stop making it my daily aim to get better.

I hope that helps some people

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

Advice on living with anxiety

Well, I hope everyone is well. I was reading through many posts this morning, as its a while since I checked in. Firstly welcome to anyone who is new, it’s always great to see people join the great community we have here. On reading through I did see a common problem and decided to shelve …

Anxiety and Overcoming Safety Behaviours

Hello everyone, here is this months post. I thought long and hard about what to write and again, used what I have read on here and what I feel holds people back from going from improvement to the next level.

Many people get stuck at a certain level, where they feel they have come so far, but can’t quite break through to where they want to be. This happened to me, I felt able to do things a lot easier and my anxiety and come down to a manageable level, but I seemed unable to move any further forward. Being me, I was never happy with this, I wanted to move towards feeling totally free, to move to another level.

What I did understand, is that I was trying to manage my anxiety and was using a lot of safety behaviours to do so. A list of these would include, avoiding certain social situations ‘I may feel bad, overwhelmed’ I won’t go there’. ‘What if so and so is there and I have to speak with them’. I would play pool with friends and afterwards, we would all sit around drinking and I would sit there feeling a bit odd/anxious and hardly involving myself in the conversations, more nodding and smiling when I thought I should. I may walk around town and if I saw someone I knew, it would be ‘Oh, no I will feel uncomfortable, odd if he sees me and wants to talk, I will turn my head’. In fact, avoiding eye contact and conversation was probably the main one for me.

I once went to a theme park and wondered if I would feel OK going on a ride, something I had done a 1000 times before, but I feel vulnerable and overwhelmed now, ‘what when the bar comes down I may feel trapped, overwhelmed, maybe I should play it safe and stay here’. A lot of places I was going to or invited to, involved conversations like this and I used safety behaviours almost on a daily basis, play it safe Paul, stick to what you know, if you don’t have to talk, then you won’t feel bad, if you avoid that social situation, you won’t feel uncomfortable or be in a situation you don’t want to be.

Well, of course, to move forward, I would not do so while I thought and acted like this, I had to drop these behaviours and learn new ones. So let’s take the first one.

What I did understand, is that I was trying to manage my anxiety and was using a lot of safety behaviours to do so. A list of these would include avoiding certain social situations ‘I may feel bad, overwhelmed’ I won’t go there. ‘What if so and so is there and I have to speak with them’.

I decided that I wanted to feel uncomfortable, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I knew to feel normal, I may have to feel uncomfortable and from now on if I saw someone I would no longer run away. I will go against my instinct and actually approach them. The very act of not pulling away and instead of moving towards, tells your body and mind, it’s OK, there is nothing to be bothered about and I found it went far better than I thought it would. What happened before is, as soon as I had no choice but to talk, I automatically went into ‘Oh no, let’s get this over with’ what chance did I have with this attitude? I also noticed instead of listening to what the person was saying, I would be straight ‘on me’ I was only bothered about how I was doing, hoping they would scurry off soon, keep smiling, acting your way through, they may go soon, was my attitude. So I did the opposite and actively went towards conversations, not pulling away or avoiding eye contact, how I felt no longer mattered was the key. I am not saying it went great every time, but it got so much easier and I had finally broken a behaviour, one that had built up through instinct.

OK on to the next

I once went to a theme park and wondered if I would feel OK on a ride, something I had done a 1000 times before, but I feel vulnerable and overwhelmed now, what when the bar comes down I may feel trapped, overwhelmed, maybe I should play it safe and stay here’. There were other occasions when I may have said this also.

Again I decided this was a road I was not going down. I knew felt a bit on edge and vulnerable because I feel anxiety in normal everyday life, its not harmful and never will be and I am not getting into avoidance behaviour and creating false problems. Let’s be honest here, it is always a fear of feeling overwhelmed and never a situation, we could do all these things easily before. So I had to strip away the fact that it was a situation and deal with me.

I did nothing earth shattering, I just went towards what I had been avoiding before, I understood that fear may rise, but what I found out is that it always cut out, it always had a peak, as if to say ‘Paul would you like to run or stay (fight or flight). I found this point was always the key point and I wanted to ride my fears out, it was only adrenalin, so come if you wish, I no longer care. When adrenalin comes, you may feel butterflies, a little shaking, your heart may beat a little, its just your body’s way of asking if you would like to fight or flight, then it would be ‘well you have stayed, so I will now cut off and let you get on’. Your body can only produce so much adrenalin at one time, that is a medical fact, it’s not harmful and will always calm.

I am not saying its easy to go against your instinct to run, but I trusted in how my body worked and responded. Many a time I would feel overwhelmed, but still, go towards it and mostly say ‘Is that it?’ as nothing would really happen, fear would rise a little and then drop to nothing. The feeling of achievement was wonderful and it gave me so much confidence for the next time, things just became so much easier, until it came to the point where I felt no apprehension and I had my life back, I no longer relied on safety behaviours to get through my day.

These were just my main safety behaviours, I had other smaller ones that I would pick on and say ‘Paul you’re using that as a safety behaviour, do this no longer’. Others may have their own safety behaviours and not really realise they do until they read this, some may be obvious, others not so. I am not saying go out tomorrow and banish them all, just work towards doing so, one at once or small steps is fine, just acknowledge and try to change these behaviours that hold you back in the long run.

I will try and come back and advise further on this and apologise for not being around as much recently. I just always seem to have something to keep me busy. The main site is having a massive overhaul and a big tidy up and this is taking up all my time at the moment.

I hope there is something in there that helps many people.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

I am always thinking about anxiety and feel so self aware

Self aware and anxiety

OK, as promised here is today’s post and something I wanted to cover as it is something I felt for a long while even into my recovery and sometimes beyond.

Feeling trapped in your own mind is an unpleasant feeling and one many people with anxiety suffer from. I could give a list of why this is, but in my opinion, the main cause is the pondless thinking about ‘us’. If you think about the average person walking down the street, they will be thinking about the meal on Saturday, then the meeting at work later in the day, meeting friends for lunch, everything is outward, whereas anxiety sufferers think mainly of themselves and how they are feeling, everything is inward, which causes many of the feelings of being trapped in your own mind.

I spent years thinking about me, worrying and trying to figure a way out of the way I felt, but this had the opposite effect and I began to feel more and more trapped and isolated. Of course I would feel trapped in my own mind, it makes sense to me now as I never let anything else in, the deep thinking about the way I felt and how to escape had sent me down a path where ‘anxiety’ had become me, I was so used to worrying and thinking that this became a habit, like a needle stuck in a record.

So what I needed to do was change this process and let other things into my day, live in the present and stop worrying about me, the past and the future, it was time to escape from my own mind, to unlock some doors and begin to live again. So I had to begin to teach myself to live in the present. If I had to cook, then I would cook, I would not cook and worry about me anymore. If I went to the shop to buy some groceries then that is what I would do, I would not spend the whole walk thinking about how to escape from my anxiety. Of course, the habit to think about me was there, I felt as though my mind was on me most of the day, but that was fine, that was a habit, this would thaw in time as long as I continued to practice this way.

Anyone who knows me will know I am not a big fan of forums, I really dislike them because again I think people become reliant on them, logging in every day to talk and read about anxiety, day in day out and to be fair I see the same names there years later. I am anxiety free now, but I am involved so much in the subject I do need to take a break from time to time, I need to have other things in my life and I make a conscious effort to play sport, to socialise, to go out riding my bike and other things. My week has many a focus and feels fresh and not bogged down with one subject.

So anxiety or not just try and add other things into your week, try not to worry so much, anxiety has a habit of making us think the worst and on finding an outlet things get magnified. Trust me once you take the anxiety away then you find it hard to worry, the need is just not there. This taught me a lot once I began to really make strides into my recovery. Before I would be in worry mode and think everything needed to be sorted out, worry about what people thought, worry about meeting someone, worry about how I was feeling, the whole cycle. But into my recovery I would have some really good weeks, almost anxiety free and the need to worry would not be there, I would smile at some of the things that had me worrying the month before. The trick then was to realise that my anxiety magnified things and the next time anxiety reared its head I would just let everything go, it was not going to have me worrying, going over things trying to make things right, my anxiety was no longer going to send me down the road of worry, making me feel awful, the worries were false anyway, caused by my anxiety needing an outlet. In time I actually became a master in letting things go, the more you practice the easier things get.

Feeling free of my own mind was a gradual process, it came in layers, the worry slowed, my mind became clearer and I felt alive again, free of myself. Below is a list of things that helped me overcome this feeling and what caused me to feel this way in the first place.

What caused it:

The deep thinking about my condition

Worrying about everything and anything

Not adding other things into my day, having no other focus but myself

Things that helped me:

Getting out and socialising more, finding new hobbies, in my case, it was rediscovering my love for sport. In the early days, I had to drag the old worrying me there, but I went for a swim, went cycling and just stopped sitting at home brooding about my situation. I trusted that in time my mind would regain its flexibility, would welcome plenty of other things to focus on, become more flexible and in time it did. I would wake up and think about it being a nice day and about my bike ride, I would stop off for a drink and a sandwich, before I would wake up and think ‘Anxiety and how am I going to get rid of it’ to feel more real I had to live more real, was my motto.

Just living for that day. The first time I went running I was thinking how great I would feel, how my anxiety would improve and almost watching how I felt when I got back and being disappointed if I did not. Again I was doing things wrong, I was running to fix my anxiety and again doing two things at once, running and thinking about me, instead of just being in the present and running. So the next time I went I thought I don’t care how I feel when I get back if I feel great then brilliant, if not then OK, that is not why I am running anymore and the run was far better. I would lose myself in what was around me, the fields, the birds, the run itself and I enjoyed the run so much better. Before if I was doing a task and the curtain of dread and anxiety fell, I would go on autopilot with the task I was doing and concentrate on me again and why I felt so bad and try and fix it, but I knew in time this was wrong and the next time the cloud of anxiety fell, I let it and just carried on with the task in hand there was nothing to fix. And again in time, I stopped worrying about me so much and I became more involved in what was around me, I was bothering less and less about me. This took time but the rewards were great.

You will find many people who have recovered from anxiety no longer come on this blog, there are many like this as they now just want to go out and live again, they don’t feel the need to drown themselves in the subject. I tell a lot of people who visit here that the blog is a great place to educate yourself and not feel so alone, but take some time out from it, go out and do things, have another focus and maybe just come back for a read from time to time.

Anyway, I hope people got something out of the above. Just to let everyone know I will be doing the charity 10k for Anxietycare, two weeks on Sunday with Mike from this blog. I am just about up to full fitness and am really looking forward to it. Just to say thank you to everyone who has sponsored me, you all know who you are. I can’t tell you how thankful I am and I promise to post all the pics of the day up on here afterwards.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

Living your life with anxiety is what helps you recover

Living with anxiety

Hi Everyone,

Well, just a couple of things before I start. If anyone has been waiting for my book for a while now I am so sorry for the delay. I was let down by the printers on delivery and then the snow came last week and I was unable to get to the post office. All books have now gone, so again if anyone has been waiting I apologise.

Secondly, I am going to stick to a post at the start of each month. I never want to just write for the sake of writing, I always want something to say that I think will help. Also, I don’t think bombarding people with information helps anyway, its good to have some timeouts.

OK on to today’s post.

A lady got in touch with me last week who I knew from a couple of years ago. She sent me a lovely email saying how well she was doing and now realised what really held her back in the old days, and this was that she realised she wanted to get better before she lived her life and not go out and live it while she had anxiety.

The point is she was right.

The whole point of this post today is to stop seeing anxiety as the enemy, don’t wait or demand to feel well before doing something you want to do. There was someone who posted on here recently called Trey who said he had just about recovered and in his own words.

I finally “got it” and realized what everyone has been saying and I let everything go. I did whatever a normal person would do, who didn’t have anxiety I travelled, hung out with friends, anything no matter how bad I felt. I do feel normal again after years of anxiety and dp.

What he has done is go towards his feelings of dread and not let them stop him living his life, not only that, but he kept the faith that this would work in the long run. Too many think ‘Well I have been there today and I still feel bad, I just need to get rid of these damn feelings, that’s the only way I can get on with my life again’. The trouble is, this is why so many stay in a cycle, anxiety will always be the enemy if you spend your time trying to get rid of it, as it always has your fear and respect to feed on. Let me show you how the anxiety loop works in many cases.

Feel awful – spend all day trying to rid yourself of these symptoms- feel awful – worry about how long this will go on – feel awful – avoidance – feel awful – feel a failure – feel awful -get frustrated – feel awful – fight – feel awful – again start to google – stay bewildered.

The way to break this loop is to not see anxiety as the enemy and truly allow yourself to feel this way.

So then it goes

Feel awful – nothing, there is no avoidance as you are going everywhere at will – pride that you did not let anxiety rule your life – there is no going round in circles trying to rid yourself of the way you feel as you have allowed yourself to feel anything – there is no worry as you no longer care how you feel – the anxiety loop is beginning to break here. You have done nothing to keep your anxiety going, you may still feel symptoms and that’s fine, but there has been a lack of worry and fear added to the mix. If it there was an anxiety shop and someone came in and said ‘I have anxiety mate, not sure why, but it has been there a few years now, how come?’

I would say

‘Do you worry about it?’

‘Well yes I do, I want it to go away’

‘Do you go towards or try to avoid these feelings? ‘

Well I mainly avoid them as I don’t want to feel them’

Do you try and figure a way out of this or just get on with your day?’

Well, I try and figure a way out, its tiring and I do go around in circles, but I have to get rid of these feelings don’t I?’

Have you ever thought about allowing yourself to feel like this, good or bad, this will stop the worry cycle, the tuning in, the fighting to ‘rid’ yourself, in fact, it will break up this loop you are stuck in’

‘Actually no I have never thought of doing that’

‘Well you should as this is why its been around for a few years, you have been stuck in a loop of trying to not feel this way’.

This is the day a light went on for me, I have tried so hard to get rid of the way I feel and worry about it and the only result is to feel worse, why don’t I just give up and allow myself to feel this way. I need to do what someone would do, who did not suffer from anxiety. The average guy in the street is not going around worrying all day, if he did he would feel awful and drained, no wonder I feel the way I do and seem to be getting worse, not better, my body is just not having the chance to recover.

Never have the attitude of ‘I am not going out, I feel awful, what I need to do is get rid of these feelings then I will have my life back’ The only way to have that life back is to totally ’embrace’ how you feel and feel every symptom at will.

I felt awful for weeks into my own recovery, but I had for once broken the loop. Don’t get me wrong I had some testing days. I remember going out to a quiz each week and sitting there feeling dreadful and just wanting to go home. I would feel apprehensive at times and nearly go home, but I never did. I knew this was anxiety testing me. The total KEY point for me that night was the point where I wanted to go home. That was the point when I just bought another drink and strayed, anxiety had lost my respect, I had said ‘Do what you want, I no longer care, I am in charge from now on’. In time I actually loved it trying to test me, It was ‘Yes we have been here before and I always win, I am staying, so do whatever you want’. Before this, at the first point of feeling uncomfortable, I would go home, feel sorry for myself, try and mentally find a way out of this hell when ironically I had just left the very place that would have helped me move forward. Instead, I had given my feelings loads of respect, run away from how I felt and anxiety had won again.

I knew to get through I had to not care if I felt anxiety or not and this is the point I got to, by not avoiding and running away I had unmasked it as just a feeling, my body no longer had apprehension about going anywhere, my nerves had settled as I had not bombarded them with worry and self-pity. My mind had begun to clear without the daily onslaught it used to get. My confidence had come back, I had proved I could do anything and that I was in charge and not my anxiety. I was beginning to take charge again and the old me was returning, by living like the average man in the street, I was beginning to become the average man in the street, I was getting my life back.

I hope that helps people to understand a little more and I do try to add my own real-life situations, as I think people can relate in this way more than just writing down information.

Also thanks for everyone who has sponsored me on the post below, I am up to over £200 now and its all down to the generous people who have sponsored me. I have also decided to not drink until after the event in April as I do need to lose a stone or more before the race and be totally primed by the time it comes around.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

Taking a break from the subject of anxiety

Take a break from anxiety

OK, I hope everyone enjoyed a bit of off topic in the last post, we did seem to go back on topic from time to time, but we shared some stories and some laughs and got to know more about each other. This was not just an off-topic subject, it was also designed to give people a break and leads me to my next topic.

I know Scarlet has mentioned to others the need to take a break and I have mentioned it a lot in the past and in my book, but never have I put a post up about it, so I thought if I went into more detail it would make a good post and hopefully help people.

It is very important to take some time out from the subject of anxiety. It’s great to finally find information that can help and very helpful to read it, but sometimes people can immerse themselves in the subject, google symptom after symptom, spend hours looking for the answers that will make it all go away. People who have been here a while know, that last year I set up a forum and within a few weeks closed it down, not only did I take on too much, but I thought it was not helping people on here in the long run. I have never liked forums as they can become addictive and people spend far too time on them, telling people about their problems, helping others with theirs, reading about other peoples symptoms, day in day out and miss on out the vital timeouts that we need. It is the same if someone is depressed and went on a forum hearing peoples stories of depression each day, it tends to just drag you down even further.

The mistake so many make is that they chase recovery and don’t let it come to them. In this I mean they will spend hours every day looking up all their symptoms, spend hours looking for and chasing that elusive cure that will make a symptom go away instantly. I can’t tell you how much time I wasted trying to ‘rid’ myself of anxiety and not just live with anxiety there. I never considered just living and letting my body regain its balance, I fought with myself daily, I had to get rid of these feelings, why do I feel like this? , why am I not getting better? , will this ever go away? , what if I do this, will this help? , I never had a break from the subject, I made the mistake of trying to fight and think my way better, this was just like hitting a broken leg with a hammer, it would never recover.

It is also very important to put all symptoms under the umbrella of anxiety and don’t try to separate and work on each one individually. Nothing saddens me more than people asking for advice here on a certain symptom and then asking about another the day after, then another symptom the week after. I just know they are going to go round in circles finding something else to worry about, something else to google. You don’t need to separate each symptom, just see anxiety as one. Worrying about each symptom individually will create 20 different things to worry about, putting it all under the umbrella of anxiety, you can never have more than one.

There has been a lot of good advice recently about just living your life from people on here who have come through. I went from a person who did nothing, but consume himself with how he felt, hide away from everything, spend my days feeling sorry for myself, to one who just said ‘Enough is enough’ the only way to feel normal again is to live as normal life as possible. Instead of feeling sorry for myself I would go for a swim, instead of worrying about how I felt I would get my bike out, instead of spending hours trying to figure a way out of this hell, I would take a walk, instead of hiding away I began to socialise again. Things were odd at first as I was changing a habit I had got into, but by living my life and not living it trying to rid myself of anxiety each day, I felt the old me returning, I began to feel more normal. My day had something else in it but immersing myself in how I felt, it had a break, something else to concentrate on.

I remember going for a swim when I was probably at my worst, full of anxiety and D.P. I wanted to just shut the world away and not go out, but I went. I arrived in the changing rooms and felt weird, but I got changed and into the pool. I was somewhere else half the time, my mind reverting back to me, but it was OK, things would not change overnight. I finished my swim and got changed and again felt odd and a little anxious, but that was fine. When I arrived home I was happy that I did what I did and felt just a little better nothing major, but a little better. I went every week after that, not demanding or expecting anything and within a few weeks I felt almost normal at times, doing normal things was beginning to feel normal, when at first it was the other way around. I remember when I first felt I had recovered, I had an odd feeling of strangeness and that’s because feeling normal felt strange, like a prisoner first let out of jail, my body and mind needed time to adjust to feeling normal. This is what I mean when I say it comes in layers. A lot of people don’t want to go through anxiety, they think yes, yes, this is all well and good, but I would rather have the quick route and find the answer to make it all go away today, so off they go on their merry way, googling again, going on numerous forums asking questions on how to get rid of this damn thing, they just end up going around in circles, chasing their own tail and getting nowhere.

Going back to forums, some are good, but there are many that are poorly moderated and people who are looking for help end up trying to help others and you end up with plenty of conflicting advice that helps nobody. Also as I say I think they can become addictive and people can end up spending too much time there and not just living their life.

A blog I feel is more helpful as one person is posting advice and then people answer questions and discuss things afterwards on that certain topic. There is no option to google away on here, you’re not having loads of conflicting advice and not being bombarded with information daily. I want people to come here and read what is relative to them and take away any advice, live their life and use the information given. I also have breaks where I don’t come on for a few days, I have just learnt the need to add plenty of things into my day and do some living, it’s not an anxiety thing, its just I spend so much time working on the computer, I need some healthy time out.

So to sum up, live your life however you feel, don’t let anxiety make decisions for you, go out and do things, doing so may seem weird at first, that’s OK as we are changing a habit. But living a normal life is where normal feelings will come back, emotions, your body’s reactions. Do everything you would normally do if you did not have anxiety or D.P, this is the key. It’s OK to have anxiety, it’s o.k to have D.P, this needs to be your attitude and the opposite of spending your day trying to rid yourself of it.

I hope this helps and people can relate to it.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

Why does my anxiety seem to get worse?

anxiety getting worse

Hello everyone,

The title is just something that has cropped up a lot recently and I wanted to cover. Before I do a few words. Firstly I am going away for a week in a month, just a holiday and Candie will be moderating the blog for me while I am away and maybe helping beyond that. All comments are moderated, as I don’t want mixed messages coming through or people promoting their useless affiliate products on here, which they keep trying. I also want people to be helpful and supportive, which is very easy to moderate, as we have a very nice bunch of people on here. Candie also takes the time out to answer a lot of people and is very helpful and someone I trust a lot, so thanks for helping me Candie.

Secondly, I am starting some voluntary work next month. It’s on hospital radio and two evenings a week. I think most or each hospital do it. You get to chat with patients, ask what they want to be played and learn all about how to work in the studio and eventually get your own slot. It is something I am very interested in and can’t wait to get started.

OK, today’s post came from a post on the blog, which went something like ‘How do I get rid of this thing’ The ‘thing’ being anxiety. I must admit, when I first suffered, I did not know what the hell was up with me and just thought it would pass like a cold. Well obviously it did not and then I started to worry and obsess about it, especially when everywhere I turned nobody was giving me any answers. So a lot of people do believe they have been unlucky and question why did anxiety come to them.

Well, anxiety does not choose certain people, it is not something that you just get like a cold. Anxiety is the result of your body being overworked, be it through long hours, stress at work, a problem or collection of them that you worry about. You overwork your body and it breaks down, your nerves have been battered so much. that they go ‘bad’ if you like. Anything you buy, be it a blender, a vacuum and yes even a car. If you work that beyond its capabilities it will break down or begin to clunk and run badly. Your body is the same, so anxiety is not an ‘it’, it is not something your body wants to go through, it is telling you it can’t work with the pressure you are putting it under. That is why it is so important to take your symptoms with a pinch of salt, not to get stressed or worry about them, as again you are working your body far too hard, a body that is crying out to be left alone. The easiest way to not worry or get stressed about how you feel is to understand more about why you feel like you do and this is the reason I try to explain a lot in my book and on here.

Some people say they feel instantly better when they have read the book or a post on here. I say yes because you understand why now, it does not scare you as much, so you worry less and don’t get as stressed by the way you feel. The more of an understanding I received, (most of it I had to work out by myself, pre-internet days) then the better I felt and the less respect I gave to my symptoms. I had the same symptoms for a while and that point is important, as a lot of people hope they will feel better overnight.

Changing the daily habit of worry and obsessing over how I felt helped me to recover, it gave space for me to progress. How could I ever get better while I still worried daily and stressed every day about how I felt, ‘trying to fight and think my way better’, it was impossible, but something most people do without the right information, scrambling around daily for answers, worrying and stressing about how they feel, watching months go by without any progress, wondering if this hell will ever leave them. That person was me also and would still be me to this day if I had not educated myself enough.

I hope there is something there for everyone

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

What keeps us in the cycle of anxiety?

anxiety cycle

Firstly just a few words from me. I am working on my book at the moment, as things are in the pipeline to help it reach out to more people (more if this develops later) so I want it to be as good as it can be and I always keep a document named ‘Book updates’ and one of the most helpful places to have new ideas is by what people ask or write on this blog. If something comes up time and time again then it needs covering. I also had an idea for a new chapter that would be from people who post here/email me on how much progress they have made or their full recovery. I always say the more people that have stories of their own recovery, that others can relate to the better. In my own search all those years ago I had a massive interest in reading about anyone that had come through and I think this new chapter will really benefit people. It will not only be that they have come through or improved dramatically but what really helped them to do this.

Anyway, I am halfway through doing this and this is the reason I have not being around to post much recently. So thanks to all those who have replied to others as I have noticed one or two new posters recently, so welcome. Most people like to just read and stay in the background without posting and that’s fine. But to all those that do post and help and support others ‘A big thank you’ as it helps keep the blog going with me only having limited time to put into it and through the emails I receive I know how much this blog helps others and without the people who do post and support it would not be what it is.

OK on to today’s post

The title above is nothing new, but I wanted to add a conversation I had with someone recently, as it may relate to a lot of people and help them understand better as to why they do stay in the cycle, which always helps to reverse it. Many regular posters and readers may have come to this conclusion with things I have said in the past, but we get so many new visitors each day that I really wanted to add it.

OK, I was talking with someone the other day about his anxiety and how it came about. He said at the time that he was put under a lot of pressure at work and one or two things in his home life were also a factor, although he could not really remember what. He said ‘I have cut my hours down, the other problems no longer exist, so why do I still feel like this?’

I said that just like me when I first suffered; that you now have a new problem and this is the problem that is keeping your anxiety going. To which he replied ‘What new problem’?

I replied ‘Anxiety’ These feelings have become your new problem and this is the reason you stay in the cycle. I further explained that he may have worried about his job, the problems at home initially, with which he agreed. Right OK you put your body under too much stress and worry and it sort of broke down and you ended up with anxiety. Now what you are doing is worrying and stressing about how you feel and this is the reason the anxiety stays around, it has a new worry to feed on.

I did exactly the same, in fact, my initial problem did not matter, this anxiety was far bigger than what brought it on. I worried daily about it, fought it, tried everything to make the damn thing go away. How could I ever recover putting this much stress and worry on myself? I could not.

He said ‘I really understand what you’re saying here and I realise that I am doing all of the above and why I am getting nowhere’

So I told him you cannot hope to banish these feelings, so why not live with them the best you can. If you decide to do this then you will not add any more fuel to the fire. You will begin to break a cycle. Anxiety is like a fire that you throw petrol on. It won’t stop until you take away its fuel. It may burn for a while, but it will begin to dampen if you stop feeding it. I did the opposite for 10 years and it got me nowhere, I understand fully now why I got worse and not better. If my body would speak it would have said ‘Paul just leave me alone and I will heal myself’.

I hope people can relate to that conversation and it helps in some way.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

Why am I always people pleasing with anxiety?

People pleasing with anxiety

I thought long and hard about my next post, as I think I have covered a lot recently about having a ‘whatever’ attitude to how you feel and so many people have this concept, and reading through, so many have improved a lot. I have like a diary of my own suffering and how I got through each stage, so I have plenty more to say and do take on board what people post and do think ‘I remember that stage’ or ‘I remember when I struggled with that’ and try to cover such comments or posts the best I can.

Today’s topic certain people will relate to and it was certainly something I went through that held me back. When I first suffered from anxiety, I really had no clue what was wrong with me and in time my confidence really plummeted. Well we all know what people with little confidence have a habit of doing and that is ‘People pleasing’ not only that, but we try and cover up how we are feeling, still trying to be the jolly person with loads of confidence, when inside we feel lost and bewildered.

I remember going to work and just trying to please everyone. My confidence was so low, I felt that everyone was better than me, I had suffered from depression and wanted to make myself feel good and wrongly thought that trying to please people would do this. I stopped having opinions and just agreed with everyone, which is the quickest way for your confidence to plummet even further. I used to get frustrated as to where the old me had gone and try and cover up how I was feeling, acting through the whole day, ‘I must not let people see how I am’, ‘I must come across as normal and happy’ The stress of this had me break down in tears one day. I could no longer keep this act up. I was sick of trying to make people like me, which in turn had the opposite effect I am sure, as people lose respect for someone who has no opinions and just agrees with what everyone is saying, it certainly made me lose even more confidence in myself.

So one day I thought ‘No more’ I am not acting my way through the day, if people notice I am not myself, if I come across as odd then so be it, I am no longer pretending that everything is OK. So many people email me and say this hurts them more than anything. Losing who they are. I say ‘Don’t chase your own tail trying to scramble your way back to who you were or act like everything is OK, this will only put yourself under more stress’.

I also said to myself, ‘However I feel I am no longer trying to please people. However I feel I am going to have an opinion, this anxiety is just a surface feeling, I am still me underneath and that confidence will come back in time, but not if I lose who I am underneath and I have never gone around trying to please people in the past and anxiety will not lead me down that path’.

So from that day if I came across as odd then so be it, if people spoke about me not being the person I used to be, quiet, more withdrawn, not as chirpy, then water off a ducks back, the real me will rise again in time. Also from that day on, the people-pleasing stopped, I no longer ‘Tried to make people like me, to help me feel better, this was just having the opposite effect, it just made me feel worse anyway’. From that day on the stress of trying to be something I wasn’t and not have to act anymore was lifted from me. I felt more at ease and in time, when I was free of anxiety, I was more confident than ever. The real me had risen again like I knew it would, it was always there, but it came back stronger than ever.

So if you can relate to any of the above I would like you to do the same. I hated trying to please others, I knew that acting my way through the day made me feel worse and like everything else. I always recognised this and tried to change it. These changes made so much difference to me in the short and long term. Never forget however you feel, that person is still there, just waiting to rise back up, more confident than ever.

Just to finish, so many people who recover say how much more confident they feel, also how they view life differently, they lose their lust for material things and just enjoy living again. They no longer take the simple things for granted and love just waking up in a morning and doing the simple things, that person was also me.

I hope today’s post helps in some way and that everyone had a great bank holiday.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

True acceptance of anxiety is key

key to anxiety success

I decided to write this post today after reading through a lot of posts recently. Firstly I want to say something again that was stated in an earlier post, some may have missed it so here it is, in a post. I think certain people get hung up with accepting how they are, this should be a whatever attitude and NOT a need to keep reminding yourself to accept how you feel, as you once again start battling with yourself and again becomes a ‘Do’. I think someone mentioned it in the last post to the effect where they had to keep reminding themselves to accept how they were. There is no need to do this and as some people may know it loses its force in time. Accepting is all about not doing ‘Not fighting, not worrying, not filling yourself with self-pity. Giving your body a break, its never a ‘Do’, so please don’t feel the need to walk around telling yourself daily you must accept this. I put it more as laying all your tools down and accepting this is you for the time being and not resisting or spending every day trying to get better. I really hope that makes sense.

Secondly, through some posts, I have seen people worry about the future with statements like ‘Will I be better soon? ‘I worry about going to….?’ ‘What if there is more wrong with me?’ etc…etc…Firstly please try just for a week or so deal with today, don’t worry about the past and don’t worry about the future. Just deal with today, how much extra stress and worry do people put on themselves doing this. If you just live in today then it takes so much of this away. Especially in people who suffer from anxiety, as people worry far more and put such a dark cloud on the tomorrow/next week. Minor issues become far bigger than they really are and we get into a cycle of anxiety/worrying, more worry, more anxiety which leads to more worrying, at some point, this cycle has to change. So just live for today and then take what comes tomorrow.

I once explained to someone who was in the same situation as another person, that the only reason she felt dreadful is that she worried about the situation and the other person realised there was no point. I learnt early on how destructive worrying was and yes it had become a habit for me, but again it was one I was able to change.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

My recovery from Anxiety and Depersonalisation

My recovery from anxiety

Well here is the post I promised. I do read almost every post on here as I have to moderate the blog by myself. But I do take on board what people are saying and then adjust my next post accordingly. I can’t post every week, otherwise, it would dilute the quality and I would mostly end up repeating myself. The best way to know what to post is by what people are saying as a collective bunch. I know some ask for specific posts, but I have to do it for everyone and I felt today’s post would help the majority.

Today’s post is more on my recovery and the journey towards my goal of living anxiety free. Firstly maybe I should not say goal, it was more a dream, as at the height of my suffering as I saw no way out, I truly did not. I thought this was me forever, nothing was working, in fact, I was getting worse. To be honest I didn’t even know why I was suffering from anxiety.

The first stage for me was not a visit to the doctor, he was only concerned with giving me pills. My first rung on the ladder was to find out why I felt like I did, a pill would never do this, I wanted answers. Eventually, through research and reading and eventually finding someone who understood the subject, I found a lot of these answers. Just to have an explanation and to realise that I was not alone, was enough for me to change a cycle. A cycle of self-pity, complete bewilderment and constant worry and fear of what was wrong with me. This is the very reason I was so bad, so lost and felt so terrible. My mind and body were about as tired and emotionally spent as it could be and all I did was worry, fight and pound it with questions daily, no wonder I was getting worse, but what choice did I have, when I had no answers? I felt I had to work it out for myself, to fight it and hope it went away. I look back at the hole I was in and get angry that I did not find the answers sooner, that no one could tell me anything. This would have saved so much suffering. I lost my job and many friends, more than that I lost who I was.

So the first stage was understanding, once I had the knowledge I could slow down on the worry, not be so bewildered, realise that I needed to step back and give my mind and body a rest and not fight through each day. Yes, I still felt awful, my body was so sensitised and tired, but for once I felt some relief and hope. Understanding is always the first step, this is why in my book I don’t just say do this or do that, I explain why you feel like you do, what keeps you in this cycle. Many people email me after reading the pages on my site or reading the book and burst into tears with relief that they have finally been given some answers and also a realisation that they are not alone. They have finally been given an explanation as to why they feel like they do, they have the first stage of recovery.

So I now had plenty of knowledge to what was wrong with me. I then believed I could get better, I never lost this belief once I had some answers. The next stage for me was working out what was right for me and what was not, a lot through trial and error and once one thing made sense, then other things would also. I realised very early on that I had fallen into a lot of bad habits. Avoidance being one of them and that hiding away was not the way forward and that I would no longer be bluffed by how I was feeling. I knew that normal living would eventually bring back normal feelings. I remember the first thing I did was join a Thai Chi class. I must have put off going 10 times in the week before I went. The thought of going into a room of strangers, feeling dreadful, anxious, panicky, strange, all the symptoms I felt at the time.

But I could either hide away or take the first step to a new start. So I went, and yes I felt awful at times, but something happened, I got into the class and for a minute or two forgot about how I felt and just got on. I finished the class and went home elated. I had floated past all the negative suggestions not to go. This is what happens, in a healthy body anxiety means fight or flight, it is telling you that you are in danger, take your choice. It could be a snarling dog that you meet and the option to avoid is a good one. This is where all the feelings of avoidance come from.

Well going to a Thai Chi class there is nothing to fear, no need to run, apart from your instinct brought on by anxiety, fleeing is not needed in that situation. This was why I knew I had to ignore the instinct to avoid, I had to just go and take what comes, what was the worst thing that could happen anyway? So I then began to go everywhere at will. I went socialising with friends, feeling awful and strange. I remember going swimming and feeling as though I was not there, thinking, that’s fine, the more I do it the more normal I will feel. Once you do things time and time again then feelings dampen, your body does not react to certain situations anymore, once you go through certain situations many times you build up a strength, an insulation if you like, places just don’t hold any fear anymore.

So this was my second stage of recovery. Begining to live my life again, without anxiety ruling what I did and the decisions I made. This was very important to me and in time I felt so much more comfortable wherever I went. I always dealt with me and not the situation I was in and if I felt awful then so be it, if I felt great even better. I sometimes felt overwhelmed in the early stages and wanted to run or go home and take the easy route out, but I never did and this is where the real victories came. I did it, I felt really awful, overwhelmed and I stayed, I now know I can handle anything, it was just a feeling, this is what these times taught me.

To sum up, I would have bad weeks, good weeks, great days out, days when I felt awful, but I did everything at will and never let anxiety rule what I did and did not do, this made so much difference to my life. I am not saying it is easy at times, but I knew how important it was. To feel more normal, I had to pack as much normal living in as possible.

The next stage for me was to then to do positive things in my life. I was at this point where a lot are on the blog with how I felt. I felt OK, but had bad days and still did not feel great. I was though, no longer fighting or worrying and questioning everything, constantly tiring my mind and body out.

I was just left with a tired and sensitised body through what I had put it through previously, so yes I would still feel crap sometimes, but I felt 1000% better than I once had. I had gone from having no good days to plenty. From feeling so odd, that I questioned if I lived on this planet, to feeling far more normal than I had felt in ages. Depersonalisation has been covered on here many times, but I had stopped concerning and worrying daily about how I felt, which in turn dampen these feelings of strangeness and I once again felt part of the world and not just 24/7 anxiety. I had also begun to get out an socialise, I went back to work and was again able to live my life. I may not have felt great all the time, but at least I could go wherever I wanted, I had reversed the avoidance cycle.

I then joined a friend running each night, just a 50-minute run. When I first went I felt awful, so tired and spent, but, no pain no gain, I wanted to get fit and bring something to be proud of into my life, again another focus, but me. I cannot express how much better I felt when I came back from these runs. I felt great, exercise is by far the best way of burning off excess adrenalin and not only that it really helped me think straight, I could think so clearly when I got back that I had another realisation, it was anxiety and excess adrenalin that made my thoughts race and come out fearful/scary/irrational, without this anxious energy, the thoughts weren’t there, which prove they were never real in the first place, just a symptom. As I have explained before it is the excess adrenalin needing an escape and this manifests itself sometimes in odd, racing thoughts.

I was now so into this that I took up cycling. I used to go with a group of friends and cycle all over my local county, sometimes for miles. I now had something else in my day. Instead of thinking about how I felt, I was planning my next bike ride or run. I was aiming to do a half marathon also and had so much going on that my whole life and focus was changing. I hardly cared about the few twinges of anxiety, the very slight feeling of strangeness, they became just a feeling in the background that really did not bother me. The exercise and looking after myself brought them to such a level that I hardly bothered or noticed, my days had another meaning to them now.

I did eventually give up the running and cycling and have recently just got back into it. But I was just about recovered then, recovery was never my goal, it just came to me. I think people reach out too much for it and end feeling disappointed. I first ran because I thought, ‘hey I will feel great when I get back’ and I would almost tune in to see how I felt, feeling disappointed if I did not feel great. I then realised I was again trying to do something about my anxiety, putting pressure on myself to feel a certain way. So I changed my attitude and ran for me, to get fit and if it helped me feel better then great. This attitude helped me so much as I ran and forgot myself, not running and then thinking about how much it would help me, again reverting back to trying to recover from anxiety, I had to let that come to me and stop focusing everything I did on this goal. I hope that makes sense and I would say that realisation was my final stage to recovery and the person I am now. You don’t have to go running and I understand it is impossible for certain people, but it was as much a new focus, as the exercise that helped me so much. So doing anything new, even if it is painting at home, gardening, a new hobby.

My own attention was on myself for a while, but this was just habit and would fade in time, when I first went running and cycling this was the case, but it was fine I did not let it bother me just carried on with what I was doing and in time my new focus was my new hobbies I had brought into my day. This has been asked many times ‘How do I stop thinking of me and how I feel’ the answer is you don’t, brooding at home does not help and the reason I say find a new hobby and focus to your day. But thinking about yourself has just become a habit that’s all, mainly from always trying to fee differently. Don’t try not to think about yourself, if the attention is on you let it be, but don’t get frustrated with it. I had it for a while, but in time it dampened when I gave it no respect. As I say I had other things to bother with and not myself, to be honest, I got bored with the subject in the end. I had really developed a ‘whatever’ attitude, it had become inbuilt in me, I no longer cared.

I also think the support I had from my mother and partner was vital, someone I could trust and knew would not judge me or tell me to pull myself together. I think it is vital to anyone who is suffering from anxiety, that their partner supportive and doesn’t judge them or tell them to pull themselves together. The partner may not always understand, but if they can just give them the time and understanding they need, this would help reduce the stress on them to rush recovery and reduce any guilt they have about not being the person they feel they need to be.

To finish, I will say some people will relate to all of the above, some to parts of it, we are all different and I had a few stages to go through as I suffered so long and fell so deep. It is a lot easier to recover, the shorter time you have suffered, memory and habits are not so raw and people may not be as sensitised. I have had many people email and after reading the book they are back to normal within a few weeks, but in almost all cases they have suffered a very short time, they unlike me were given answers very early on. If you have suffered longer, then it may take longer, but just go for progress, don’t put loads of pressure on yourself to recover, this holds so many people back. You also have a lot more information than I ever had, you have the support from others, that I so craved, but never received. As you see I went through a lot of bad times, to become the person I am now, did things I did not feel like doing. I used to lie in bed wanting and wishing it all away, but I knew deep down this would not happen, certain things were up to me. I hope there is something above for everyone. It is not a full account by any means, just a brief account highlighting the most important stages of my recovery and how I came through them. I am not saying everyone will go through the stages I did, but I felt I needed to go through the stages, so people don’t feel they are missing something and that it was easy for me. The truth is, that it was a very up and down affair, but so worth it to be the person I now am. My life is so different now and every day is a gift and that gift is there for everyone who keeps the faith. Anxiety and the symptoms that go with it are just feelings, never see it as anything else, it will only hold you back if you let it.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

Why do we have setbacks with anxiety?

anxiety setbacks

OK here is today’s post as promised. Firstly I want to express how much setbacks are all part of recovery. Again there will never be a post saying ‘How to make sure you don’t have a setback’ You almost certainly will, the post is to tell you how to deal with them.

Setbacks for me were the hardest things to work out

‘I thought I had cracked it, why do I feel so bad again?’

‘Oh I hate this feeling, I thought it had gone forever’

‘Last week was so good and now I am back to square one, this will be me forever’

These were just a few of the statements that I came out with when I first started to recover. What did these statements do? Well, they filled me with self-pity, filled me with thoughts of ‘maybe I am doing something wrong, this is not working’, I began to fight again, to try and figure out why this had happened, worried about ever getting better. I did everything wrong basically.

I eventually changed this way of thinking and said’ I have been through so much, do I really expect to be better overnight?’ No, of course, I am going to have a few setbacks. I felt bloody awful for months on end, with no good days, this up and down affair tells me things are improving, I am finally getting somewhere’. And that’s the hardest part, feeling great and then when we feel bad again, it seems even worse, as we enjoyed some good days and now its back.

Setbacks come because suffering is still raw, we have suffered and been through so much, our bodies and minds do take time to regain their balance, a stressful event or memory can trigger a setback. Sometimes we may just feel bad for no reason. Well, we feel happy some days and sad on others, but don’t feel the need to work out why. And this brings me to the whole point, there is no need to go too deep into why they come, as it does not matter, that is not important, its how you deal with them that is.

And trust me the more you go through setbacks, the easier it becomes, as you begin to realise they always pass and become an expert in letting them, they don’t feel as important when they come in the future. They just become a little nuisance and that’s fine. Don’t ever try and scramble your way back to how you were last week, just accept it as part of recovery, another chance to not care, to let it do its worst. Here is something Clare mentioned last week.

My only concern is that I never want to go back to the way I was a few months ago and I’m trying to make some changes in my life to solve that, like more exercise, eating better, relaxing more and talking about things rather than bottle them up. But unfortunately life deals you some knocks every so often and I’d like to think I could handle these knocks and not crumble with anxiety like I have done in the past. Thanks to your book Paul I have more confidence to get through the bad times, but I’d like to know if there were any changes you made to help you keep a positive outlook in life and not let stress get on top of you.

The changes Clare are very good, I can’t express how much making changes to my lifestyle made a difference. But do them for yourself, don’t do them with the attitude of keeping anxiety at bay, as then if you do have a setback you will begin to question everything again and also don’t live your life trying to keep anxiety at bay. Remember it is always, ‘It does not matter how I feel if I feel anxiety then so be it’ Do you see the difference. I actually welcomed a setback, I stopped caring about how I felt, so it was not an issue. I did all the ‘Must do everything to stop it coming’ and got nowhere. This is why people go around searching for medical cures, therapists, internet searches, forums…All to stop it coming or to get rid of it. And this is the reason most of the time they get nowhere, as the opposite is true, allow it to be there, welcome it, don’t care if it is or not and this goes for setbacks. It is hard and very tempting to fight or try and push it away, to try and ‘Do something about it’ but it gets you nowhere.

My attitude and what I teach others is welcome the good days and don’t get too down about the bad. Don’t try and scramble back to how you were. Don’t waste an ounce of energy on why you feel bad again, it passes, it always does. But setbacks can pass a lot quicker depending on your attitude towards them and then come with less force in the future. I once helped a lady who used to get very frustrated about having bad days out of the blue. With some advice, she emailed me and said her new attitude on a bad day was ‘Well my anxiety is high today, but so what’ she knew she could not control it, so she might as well get on with her day and not care even though the feelings were not too good. She still disliked the feelings, but she had stopped getting so frustrated, stopped the self-pity, the need to figure out why and her setback did not seem as bad.

I hope the above helps, I am not asking you to like a setback, just try and change your attitude towards them, they do come less frequent and with less power in time, just remember that they are part of the recovery process, it is a mind and body healing in its own way, in its own way and time, it can’t be controlled or rushed. But they always pass, so don’t let them get you down or pay them too much respect. Tomorrow could be the best day yet.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

Will I ever feel normal again with anxiety?

Feeling normal with anxiety

Well its been a while since my last post and sorry to everyone who follows my blog, I have been super busy and things will now be back to normal. I try and title the posts for people who may place these statements in the search engines, this way you reach more people. There is no point putting the word ‘advice’ as nobody will find it. So this is today’s title and something I have not covered before.

This post covers something that I went through and wanted to share with others, as I feel it is very important. When I was going through recovery, a couple of stressful things happened, day to day problems, that put me under a lot of stress and as my anxiety was always close to home, Bham! I was back in a setback. I can remember two very bad setbacks, as though I was walking a tightrope with my mind and also I was very anxious again, it was not a nice feeling. Now the first time this happened, I sort of hid away, did not dare put one foot in front of the other for fear of making myself worse, I thought about not going places.

Also, I tried to think and fight my way better, which is never a good idea. In doing this, I felt like I was being swallowed up, this was obviously not working, so I changed tactics and lived my life as I normally do. I stopped tiptoeing around, watching how I felt, basically being worried about it and how I could climb back up. I just got on with my day as normal, made breakfast, went for a bike ride, come back and made something to eat. Got up the next day and went to town and then went out at night. In all this I felt awful, I truly did not want to do anything, but sit and feel sorry for myself. But within a couple of days, I felt like me again. The second time I had this kind of setback, I did the same again and although again I just wanted to hide away, I did not, I was wiser now, and again a couple of days and I was back to my old self. My stress levels had gone down and I was back to just having anxiety in the background.

Now, this taught me a very important lesson, it was to help me all the way through my recovery. This lesson was not to be bluffed by how I felt at any time, no matter what, I was not going to be bluffed by the way I felt and would just carry on with my day as normal. More than anything it taught me that to find normal feelings, you have to live normally and have normality in your day. Don’t hide away worrying, don’t worry that your mind races or care what it says. It taught me that the best way to come through a setback was just to be, the more normal living I crammed in, the more my mind and body caught up.

Don’t be bluffed into thinking you are back to square one, you are not. It the height of a setback, normality felt so far away, unreachable sometimes, but as soon as I felt better and my anxiety levels dropped, I could not see myself in a setback. This is the point, don’t be too impressed by how you feel at any given time, these times always pass. The more you go through these times then the stronger you become and the more belief you build.

Some people say they like to keep working, as it gives them this sense of normal living and helps and I agree it can if you feel able to work, even if its just part-time. Anything normal in your day helps. I used to go swimming and felt the oddest person on the planet, but kept going each day and in time I felt more and more normal, I was not going to sit at home feeling sorry for myself, trying to figure things out all day, I wanted normality in my day. Even now I spend a lot of time online as I have to through what I do, but I have to have timeouts, to refresh myself and do other things, it brings a lot of normal living into my week and keeps my mind active and refreshed.

Hope that makes a lot of sense and helps people.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

I’m tired of fighting with how I feel !

Fighting anxiety

Firstly I have not dropped off the face of the earth. I have been very busy with other things, including building the forum which is just about ready and I will launch it in a while. I am also trying to get a new site of the ground and build a couple of others, one for a family member and one for a friend. Well, things have calmed down a bit, so I will be around a little more than I have been and here is my latest post. I do try and think of something that will help with what people have been talking about on here and what they struggle with. So here is today’s title ‘Don’t fight to be right’

The title sums a lot of people up who suffer from anxiety, even people who don’t know they are doing it. The two things people do when symptoms increase or come out of nowhere is

1. They fight their symptoms, they may have a mental juggle and try to do something about how they feel, they begin a little internal battle to make themselves feel better.

or

2. They run away, this could be when they are in company, they may begin to babble on or lose eye contact and try and get away from the conversation. Or without company they may try and occupy themselves, sort of take a sideways glance to how they feel, they don’t stand their ground, they begin to run away from how they feel.

I used to wake up feeling awful, loads of symptoms and feel very lost and odd. Straight away I fought to be right. I went over things, tried to make things better. Said things like ‘I must relax’, ‘I must accept these feelings’, ‘I must go with it’. Now yes I should just accept it and Tarmo covered this earlier in the blog. If we go around making these statements all day then it becomes fighting again, I was saying these statements to create instant relief, it should be an attitude. Again I used to say these statements all day until I realised I was fighting again.

Here is what Tarmo said and my response to it in an earlier post.

When “trying to accept” becomes “accept”, even for a very short period, is when everything really starts to come together. It shouldn’t take any effort (because then it becomes trying) but it sure does take a lot of patience! Keep your heads up everyone, it’s all within reach!

Yes, Tarmo is right and this is something I am going to add in my book, if you spend all day trying to accept, you end up again trying to do something about it.

It should just be an attitude and trust me it does come in time. You don’t have to go around saying ‘I must accept this thing’. What you’re really doing, is looking for a phrase to bring relief.

OK, if that is confusing let me explain something. When you are at the point of either running away or trying to do something about the way you feel….This is a very crucial point, as this is the time that if you don’t try and do something about it or run away then it will pass right on through you, it always does, it will just pass of its own accord when there is nothing blocking its path. I found this out, the point when I was just about to go in to ‘trying to control it’ or run away from the feelings was critical.

Let me give you an example. I go back to when I had the battle when waking. One morning I felt odder and lost than ever, I had never felt symptoms so bad. This time I thought I am not going to fight, do what you want, I stood my ground and did not fight or question it, did not run away from it, it sort of washed over me and then within an hour or so I felt fine. The same night I went out with friends and later into the night ‘Wham’, I felt odd and awful again, I was again just about to go into the ritual of doing something about it, fight, question, and I thought no, ‘Whatever’ and just got on with what I was doing. Yes, I felt bad for a while, but it did pass and I was beginning to learn something here, this part when I felt at my worst was crucial, I needed to stand my ground and not run away from it or fight it. The next day I was at a bar in a pub when I saw someone I knew, the symptoms rose, I felt uncomfortable and this is the point where I always acted and tried to get away as quick as possible, I would always run away from how I felt. Well right at the crucial point, the height of my whole instincts telling me to flee, I didn’t, I thought ‘no more running away’. I felt uncomfortable, but the more I stood my ground, the better I felt and I got through the conversation and actually started to enjoy it. Can you see the crucial point I am talking about?

This is a post from someone who was doing really well recently and then fell back.

Ok all I’m really struggling at the moment. I really don’t know what happened. I’ve read Paul’s book and couldn’t believe how much sense it made. I kept the book close around in case I would need some help or guidance. I also visit this site to get help and support. This blog is great.

I started feeling a lot better and started having periods (maybe a few minutes and slowly I would fade back into the full dp state) where my dp faded and I almost 100%. It felt so great. I guess I started getting busy at work and stopped visiting the website and reading, I guess I thought I knew it all and my anxiety was fading away. But then all of a sudden I started feeling really bad and falling into bad habits. I felt good at work for a few days when I felt good and could talk and goof around with coworkers everything kind of opened up and I started to see the world again and felt like I could connect and have “more like me” comments. Now I’m scared to talk again because I don’t feel like me or I guess they don’t know how I am feeling is causing me to question everything I say. The panicky feelings are back and my heart just runs and I feel so confused on where I went wrong. I want to move forward, but I’m so confused. Also, does anyone constantly look back and analyze how they felt at this time last year or so on? I’m just so hard on myself in my mind and don’t know what to do.

What he has done is have plenty of good times and then as will happen, had a setback and has then started to fight to be right, he has questioned everything again. ‘Why was I better and now feel like this’ the crucial points where he felt bad, has had him fear everything again, fight, question, he has not been willing to pass through them again. When you have had a period of feeling good it is even harder, we question it, even more, we fight to be right even more, we become bewildered. We basically lose the tools that made us feel better in the first place. I keep repeating myself because I really want to get this through to people.

If you care how you feel at any given time then you will begin to fight and question it all over again.

IT IS NEVER ABOUT IF YOU FEEL BAD OR NOT, THAT’S NOT IMPORTANT, ITS ABOUT YOUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS IT’.

If you have faith and don’t fight or run away it will pass, trust me it will. You will have bad days and times again, just again trust that it will pass, don’t fall into the trap of fighting or running away from how you feel.

All I did and what I others need to do is break the chain of anxiety. Feel awful, fight and question, feel good and get on with their day, feel bad, fight or run away again….etc..etc..It’s like acting in a movie, it will get you so far, but you will not break the chain. I had to go through many periods of feeling bad before things became easier. But each time gave me more confidence and it began to be automatic, it was my new habit, I did not have to walk around telling myself to do this or that, it just became natural not to fight or question, especially at the crucial points when I felt at my worst. I had now built up the trust that it would always pass and that it was FINE to feel odd or lost, it did not matter, yes it was not nice, but it always passed and I needed to keep going through these times to reach my goals. When we try to constantly do something about how we feel or question it all, we are trying to do something about something that is totally normal in the circumstances, this is what I figured. I have anxiety, I have been through so much, I should feel odd at times, anxious, a little lost, why I am I constantly trying to fight this? Let it be and trust in my own bodies healing system to bring me through.

Hope that helps people in some way.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

Will my anxiety ever go away?

push anxiety away

This title I have used is because it is one of the questions that people search more for on google than anything else. The trouble is that people will try anything to make it all go away and this in many cases is the problem. Their desperation to be better in many cases makes them worse. I know this is what happened to me. I don’t think a day went by where I did not worry about how I felt, a day never went by without me trying to figure a way out of this hell, a day never went by where I did not try to do something about it. I searched through the yellow pages for something to make it all go away, I tried acupuncture, hypnosis and many other useless treatments that just parted me with my money. My whole week was set around making it all go away, every day was a battle.

My day would go something like this…..I would wake and feel awful, very anxious and almost like like a walking shell. I also felt odd and strange, not with it, but I had to earn a living so off I went to work in autopilot. I would get to work and try and hide from everyone how I was feeling, put on an act and hope to hold it all together. I would then be in my own little world for a few hours trying to figure out how to make it all go away. I would worry and obsess daily about how I felt. Then I would go home after an awful day of worry and self-pity. Then I would search for the miracle cure to make it all go away, maybe a trip to the library to read my 30th book on the subject, I had to get rid of this thing. At this point, I had been given little explanation, if any, as to what was wrong with me, so I had to try and figure it all out myself. This went on for many years and I was getting worse…Why?

Well, a lot of people develop anxiety through a build up of stress, which is true in my case. I then felt worse because I spent all my day worrying and stressing about how I felt, the last thing my mind and body needed, was this onslaught, it wanted a break. My mind was so, so tired from all the deep thinking, trying to figure it all out. Did I give it a break? Did I hell, I constantly tried to figure a way out, again worried and obsessed about it, so my mind tired further and I felt more lost than ever. I felt so disconnected from the world because I had not allowed myself to connect with it, the subject of anxiety and how to find a way out had consumed me, is it any wonder I was getting worse?

Sometimes, even after advising people, they can carry on in this pattern. Never quite sure that its not something else and they need to keep searching, worrying and trying to do something about it. In my book, I said it is like having a broken leg and hitting it each day, it will never repair, it needs to be left alone and given a little time. The day I gave up the daily battle with myself, is the day things got easier. I was not cured by any means, this would take more time, to heal the suffering I had created.

I won’t claim things are easy, they were not for me at first, the real rewards come later. But this is another mistake people make, they become impatient or let one bad day throw them back into despair. So off they go on their roundabout of searching for something to make it all go away again. There is nothing wrong with educating yourself on the subject if the information is useful. Just remember helpful information is to help and lead you to stop doing, it is not there to add more techniques to your growing list. I instantly knew when I read something if it was good information, it made sense, it felt right, it taught me to let go. All the miracle cures and therapists I had seen before did not, I knew deep down the answer must be out there.

I hope there is something there for people to relate to.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

How I first suffered with anxiety

Anxiety help

Hi,

Well today’s post is a double post from a question and a point somebody made through the blog. Firstly I did first suffer because soft drugs that took over my life a bit. I know a lot of other people also first experienced anxiety and depersonalisation this way. Here is the original question.

Paul if you could share a little of your drug experiences, personal as they are, then I think it would help a lot of readers of this site.

I am not going to go into the effects of drugs and I have no right to preach to anyone, but here is how I fell into the trap of anxiety and everything thing else it brought with it.

I basically got into the dance culture of the late 80’s and got into soft drugs, speed and ecstasy. I felt my personality was changing over time and began to feel not with it, a bit dreamy and very little energy. I suppose if you treat your body like that it will get its revenge. I ignored all the signs and carried on until I first felt panic. I had never felt like this before and it really scared me, I knew then I had to stop taking drugs at this time and get myself back together, so I stopped. I began to build my health back up, but I still suffered from bouts of panic and worried daily about them, I had no anxiety at all at this point. But the constant worry of these bouts of panic and the way I felt made me anxious, as usual, it was all the worry of how I was feeling that created more anxiety. I then worried about the anxiety and went to see my doctor, who put me on Seroxat and propranol. Well, to be honest, I felt worse, I was also trying to hold down a full-time job. So I fought and worried daily about how I was feeling, all this extra worry and stress made me feel worse and then one day I felt unreal, this is when the depersonalisation came on, so I worried and fought even harder. I can see so clearly now how each stage started and why I fell deeper into my condition.

Here is something else I would like to expand on from a comment above.

A final note, Paul suffered for all that time, yet he continues to immerse himself in an environment of people with anxiety issues, I must admit reading some of these posts is great and encouraging, but sometimes it just reminds me of how I feel. If Paul suffered for that long and can come on here and discuss all of this with us, when at one point the word ‘anxiety’ used to send him into a panic, then I honestly know if we stick to the methods, we can all get better.

I agree that we can begin to remind ourselves of how we feel and it does not help at times. This is one of the reasons I don’t have a forum, I am not really a fan of them. They are full of people’s problems and loads of conflicting advice. Someone suffering finds it hard to deal with their own problems without being subjected to many more on a daily basis. There was no way I could have helped others when I still suffered myself.

I always felt able to read about the subject, if I could relate to it and I was learning new things, reading something that you can really relate to and that makes sense tends to make you feel better, mainly because you lose a lot of fear about how you are feeling. Reading horror stories of how people are getting worse or how they can’t go out can have the opposite effect, especially when suffering from anxiety as our emotions and reactions are a lot higher.

I help people now and have no problems at all with doing this. As I no longer suffer and have no fear of symptoms, then it is very easy for me to help and talk about the subject, otherwise, I would have to put myself first and not do so. It is a pleasure to help others when and where I can and we have some wonderful people on here, some who really impress me with the way they have picked up a lot of what I try and get across.

Anyway, that’s me for today, I hope you all had a good weekend and that everyone is well.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

Don’t see anxiety as the enemy

Anxiety enemy

A similar post to this was on the earlier blog that was lost. A member here asked if I could post it again, as he found a lot of comfort in it. So here it is.

People often ask me how I suffered for 10 years and then found my way out of anxiety. Well, the main reason is that I now know I did everything wrong. I spent years basically trying to fight and think my way better. Not one day went by without me trying to rid myself of how I felt. And that was the problem, I was trying to rid myself of something that was normal in the circumstances. I suffered anxiety firstly because I had panic episodes through drug withdrawal. I had no idea what was wrong with me and worried daily about these feelings, this added anxiety to the episodes of panic, Wow, now I really had something to worry about. What were these new feelings? The shaking hands, the lack of emotion, the irritability, the blurred vision, the racing thoughts. After no answers were given to me by the medical world I worried I was going crazy, I searched my mind daily for answers, I got angry, filled my day with self-pity. I worried daily as to what was wrong with me. All this worry led to depersonalisation, my mind protected me from all this worry and shut my emotions down, I felt like a walking shell. I forgot how to smile, to feel emotions, struggled to hold a conversation. So I worried and fought even more. Can you see why we get worse and not better without the right help and advice?

All my body and mind wanted was a break to regain its balance. But I worried daily and added loads more stress to the mix. I thought deeply each day and this tired my mind even further and made me feel even more detached from my surroundings. This was something I had to change and I did. As soon as I realised what was wrong with me and why I lost a lot of fear and bewilderment.

The mistake people make is they are always trying to rid themselves of how they feel, instead of just getting on with their day no matter how they feel. I always say don’t put yourself under any pressure to feel a certain way, If you’re having a good day then fine, if you’re having a bad day then fine, just go with it, don’t fall into the trap of trying to constantly do something about it. It is NEVER a case of ridding yourself of how you feel. It is all about changing your attitude towards it and knowledge and understanding does help change your attitude, it is a lot easier not to worry or be bewildered over something you understand. As one person once said to me ‘ I understand now if you treat anxiety like a monster and it will treat you like a victim!’ That is a very good way of putting it.

Some people email me asking about medication or if hypnotherapy is good, what do I think about this method or that method. What they are really saying is I want this to go away today, again they want the impossible overnight fix. My own recovery took time, it was like defrosting, normal feelings and emotions came back bit by bit, there was no overnight success. I receive emails from people who are doing so much better, many fully recovered, and in all cases, they get in touch a while after first buying the book or landing on the site. This is because they have trusted in what I have said, not rushed things and given their body as much time and space as it needed.

So don’t fall into the trap of seeing anxiety as a big monster, something you must rid yourself at all costs, this turns into fighting, worrying, self-pity, it gives it all the fuel it needs to continue. You don’t have to go around saying ‘This is just anxiety’, ‘I must accept this’ etc.. Just have a ‘allowing’ attitude’ towards how you feel and move on with your day.

Hope that helps

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

Mental health worker asked me to help with anxiety

Work place stress

Well I was not going to post until Monday, but I received an email today that really brought home the lack of support there is out there for sufferers of anxiety. The email was from a mental health worker assigned to help people with anxiety and panic issues, this is her actual job. The letter stated she had looked at my site and found a great deal of insight and would like to know if I could tell her more and advise on how she could split things up to make it work for a 6-week course in helping patients, this is the time each one is allotted.

I found this incredible, someone who is paid and supposedly trained in helping people with anxiety has no real clue and has had to surf the web and then ask me. No wonder people get worse and not better when they seek help. I will of course reply to her, as I would not like to see these people get told a load of mumbo-jumbo that will just not help.

I understand that anxiety and recovery from it really is a subject in itself, but training and paying people to give advice on something they know so little about makes me so angry. It’s like taking your car to the vets for a service, it’s just not going to help and you are seeing the wrong person. The real trouble comes when the person puts so much trust in this person, they receive little help and advice and then falsely believe they will never get better, who can help them now?

Well I will sign off with that thought.

Have a great weekend

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

What medication do I take for anxiety?

anxiety medication

This is a question I get asked a lot, what is the best medication for anxiety? And should I take medication? Anyone who knows me and my views will know I am not a fan of them. Not just because I believe recovery comes from within, but also the wrong medication is given to sufferers. I know of around 30 different medications handed out for anxiety. This is because people can get wrongly diagnosed and also because the patient comes back and tells them it is not helping, so they shift them on to something else. No other condition has so many different medications to treat it, maybe the answer lies away from tablets then?

I was given Seroxat to treat my anxiety, which is mainly an antidepressant. Did it make me feel better? No, I wanted answers to what was wrong with me, that would have helped far better. I got a lot of side effects and decided to come off them. I was also handed out beta blockers, these were supposed to slow my heart rate down. Again I never mentioned my heart raced, it rarely did, I suffered from chronic anxiety and this did nothing to help. Again I decided to come off them and find my own answers, I just felt until I had some answers to the way I felt, medication was never going to be the answer.

I had someone last week say they went to the doctors and explained their symptoms, the reply was to just stare at them and hand out some tablets. This is exactly what I went through. The doctor just looked confused, if he did not know, then it must be serious. Going back to the lady who went to see the doctor, back she went and stated the tablets were not helping at all. His answer was to double the dosage, again they did not help and she felt more bewildered than ever, falsely believing that she was the only one in the world to feel like this. She got in touch with me after reading my book and said it helped far more than any medication. An explanation of how we are feeling always does, it takes so much fear and worry out of the equation, the very thing that keeps anxiety and panic alive.

The only time I would see a place for medication for anxiety, would be that the sufferer finds something that takes the edge of the way they feel and are given the correct advice alongside it. Medication without an explanation is just a crutch. I never wanted a crutch or something that could bring other problems, I wanted to come through naturally.

I am not a doctor and don’t claim to be. Some people do find a little relief with medication, but far more I come across don’t. That is always a personal choice. My advice though is always to educate yourself, knowledge is always power with anxiety. It is the very thing that got me home and not some tablet.

The main reason for this post is that it pains me to read emails asking what medication they should try, some have been on medication for many years and have not found any peace, swapping and changing every year. I tell them the answer does not lie on an outside cure, but a cure from within. I have yet to meet anyone who had recovered solely through medication and I don’t believe I ever will.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

Why do doctors not seem to understand anxiety?

Doctors and anxiety

This is something I asked myself in my early days. I believed my own doctor was going to tell me what was wrong and make me better. Well, I reeled off my symptoms and he just stared at me. Well, how did that make me feel? I really thought I must be the only person in the world to feel like this, as the very person who should know, has no idea what is wrong with me. Well, he just handed me some medication for my anxiety, which was useless and made me feel worse. In fact, all I wanted was an explanation as to what was wrong with me. The word anxiety was not even mentioned. It took many more visits before he referred me somewhere else. By this time I was in a real state, I worried daily, I fought my symptoms, I got so frustrated, I was getting worse, not better.

Eventually, I was sent to someone who told me what the problem was. But if only someone could have told me far sooner, I could have maybe researched the problem, it could have certainly saved me of months of thinking I was going crazy.

Looking back, I believe the medical world failed me, failed me on something that is far more common than any other complaint people see their doctor for. This was confirmed by my own doctor. He stated it was by far the biggest complaint people come to him with. But I also now understand that anxiety is a subject in itself and doctors are just not trained or equipped enough to deal with it. But I do believe that there should be someone that he could send you to that does, or at least a leaflet explaining certain things. One reason that I feel it is largely ignored, is that we all have to feel that we must keep it to ourselves, we suffer mainly in silence. People can be sympathetic to you having flu, but anxiety, that does not exist, its a work dodgers illness. Hopefully, in the future, we can bring far more awareness to the problem, so people do not have to suffer in silence and can get the help they need far quicker.

Just to finish I received an email last month asking for my help, he was under so much pressure at work, he told me his symptoms and asked if I thought this was anxiety. Who was he?…..Yes, a practicing Doctor!

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

How do I recover from anxiety? My Story

my recovery from anxiety

I thought I would just post more of my own story about how I recovered. A lot of people who have read my book will know my story, others will not. This short post has a message and is not about self-promotion on my own recovery, as I am sure you will acknowledge as you read on.

How did I recover? My own recovery came through knowledge. I have spoken to many people who have recovered over the years, some who have become close friends and they all pretty much recovered in the same way. This is why I have stuck with my own beliefs throughout. This is the reason I don’t put adverts on my site and the reason I turn down all offers from others to place useless products, to make money out of other people’s suffering on my site.

Knowledge brought me so much. Without knowledge, I spent all my time worrying about how I felt. Why did I worry all day? Because I had no idea what was wrong with me, I was a serial worrier for many years. All this worry wore out my nerves and kept me in the cycle of anxiety and panic. I also spent all my days tuning into how I felt, thinking deeply, trying to figure a way out of my hell. Why? Because with no help from the medical profession apart from pills, I felt I had to try and think my own way better, what choice did I have? All this did was tire my mind further, making me feel more lost and detached than ever. My whole day was filled with fear, Why? Because again I had no idea what was wrong with me and certainly thought I would never find out, I believed this was me forever. I always believed I had to fight and think my way better, the daily strain on my already anxious mind and the body was immense, is it any wonder I got worse and not better.

I have been involved in the subject for many years since my recovery, going on to help sufferers in my spare time. The one thing that stood out more than anything, was that people still had a total lack of good information on the subject. To this day people seem to be passed medication and sent on their way. People would sometimes burst into tears in front of me because for once they had been given an explanation as to why they felt like they did. This was the very reason I set my own site up and went on to write my book. I did not want people to spend 10 years like I did getting worse through lack of information. I don’t get bitter, but I could have been helped far sooner than I was. In fact, it was left to me to get all the answers I craved for all those years.

So don’t be fooled by claims to cure you within a week. Recovery comes through knowledge and patient progress, nothing can be achieved overnight. I could have anxiety and all its symptoms tomorrow and know that it would pass in time, as I would not give it the fuel to continue. My own recovery did not come when I no longer had any symptoms, it came when they were no longer important. They subsided a hell of a lot, yes, but they no longer felt important. And this came through a lack of fear of how I was feeling, brought on by understanding.

I know in the deep depths of suffering there can seem no way out, but there is. I was as bad as anyone, worse than most people I help and don’t get me wrong, my recovery was a very up and down affair. I had a lot of bad days, but it was my reaction to those bad days that was the key, I realised there would be many setbacks whilst recovering from my anxiety. I knew my symptoms would not leave me overnight, but I needed for once to step out of my own way and let my mind and body recover in its own time. I never set targets, demanded anything and this is one of the reasons I did recover.

Paul

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

How do I stop anxiety?

Stop anxiety

This question I get asked very often. ‘Paul how do I stop my anxiety?’ Well, again this is unfortunately why they stay in the cycle. They spend all their time trying to rid themselves of how they feel. I wrote in my book that this is like having a broken leg and hitting it each day with a hammer. Well, it is never going to heal. This is the same with anxiety.

If you read my story on my main site you will see that I suffered for 10 years, was I unlucky? Did I take longer to recover than others? No, its because I spent all my days trying to rid myself of how I felt. I also spent everyday fighting, trying to control my symptoms. All day worrying about them, going around and around in my mind each day trying to find the answers out of this hell, only to hit one brick wall after another.

The truth is recovery is all about ‘Not doing’ anything about it. I feel one of the major flaws of people who write books, therapists etc is that they tell you to ‘Take breathing exercises’, ‘To imagine you’re on a beach’ ‘To count to 10’. This, in my opinion, is all wrong, as it is all about control, about trying to cope. It is not about allowing, it is about manipulation. Treating the symptoms of anxiety may ease them for a while, but they won’t cure you of the condition, you are treating the symptoms and not the cause. You have to cut out the roots, not prune the branches, as they just grow back.

I only recovered when I stopped trying to control my thoughts and feelings, when I just allowed my suffering to happen, with no attempts at control or manipulation. When I no longer tried to feel different than I did and just passed on my healing to the best healing system in the world. My mind and body knew exactly how to heal, I just needed to step out of the way and let it do its job.

If you would like more information on over coming anxiety, then visit my site anxietynomore. If you would like to know more about my book then visit At Last a Life

Paul