Archive for May, 2008

Anxiety and setbacks explained / Why do we have them?

Monday, May 19th, 2008

O.k here is todays 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 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 nusiance 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 worse. 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 how I felt so it was not an issue. I did all the ‘Must do everything to stop it coming’ 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 ‘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 days 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 recovery, they always pass, so don’t let them get you down or pay them too much respect. Tomorrow could be the best day yet.


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Off topic post, just a few bits and bobs!

Monday, May 5th, 2008

Firstly I have to say its good to get back to the blog. The forum did not work out for various reasons and the best thing to do was close it before it grew too big. Just seeing people’s post and comments below and the feedback I have had I think I did the right thing.

O.k I hope everyone had a good bank holiday. I went out today to a pub next to Manchester airport. It backs on to the runway and you can see all the planes take off and come in. They have a few things going on, bouncy castles for kids, a mini park, food and music. Its also where I met my partner for the first time a few years back so call me a bit of a romantic : ) Then stopped we off for something to eat and I went up a belt size with steak pie, chips and my big weakness……Cider!

Talking of food and beer I recently decided to look after myself better. I have done a month now and feel so, so much better. I got into a rut of drinking and eating far too much, eating all the wrong things, sleeping too much, not excercising..etc…etc…I have now got my running shoes back on and cut my drinking down to once a week and then just a few pints. I also invested in a fruity machine…Wow these are brillaint to start the morning off, just fill it with fruit and then some orange juice or similar and then withing two minutes they are done. I have one every morning and with the cutting down of beer, bad foods and more exercise I feel 100% more healthy. I just thought I will lose a bit and gain so much by making some changes. Lets just see if my will power holds out : )

Just one more thing on looking after myself. I have a full body massage or an indian head massage once a week or at least as much as I can afford. This is my de-stress time. I know they can be expensive, but if anyone can afford one from time to time I would recommend one. I feel great for the rest of the day and can’t wait for my next. All this was alien to me before, but I guess after abusing my body, which brought led to me first suffering with anxiety, I now try and look after it and don’t take my health and well being for granted like I once did.

Well that’s me, I think its good to just go off topic from time to time. Also I like to post quality and not quantity, so I do wait until I have something to say, sometimes its what people comment on or something that keeps coming up.

Hope everyone is well


How do I feel normal again with anxiety?

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

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 it sent me into 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. Well I felt like I was being swallowed up, this was not working, so I changed tactics and lived my life as I normally do. I stopped tip toeing 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 anytime, no matter what, I was not going to be bluffed by the way I felt and just carry on with my day. 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 what it says, I only ever had odd thoughts that stuck when I had high anxiety, so I knew that’s all that caused them and so never let them bother me. They were something that would calm when my anxiety levels went down and they always did. 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 body caught up. In fact that was my saying ‘The more normal things I do and have in my day, the quicker my body catches up’ . It taught me a lesson even when I felt average, just to live my life and not be bluffed by how I felt. Don’t be bluffed into thinking you are back to square one, you are not. It the height of a setback feeling good 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 the stronger you become and the more belief you build.

Some people say they like to keep working or take a break and like to go back, 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 on-line as I have to through what I do, but I have to have time outs, 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.


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