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 this months post until next month, as I thought this would be more helpful at this time.

I try and write this blog through my own journey and my own pitfalls and sort of do it like a story book of the hurdles I faced and overcame. One point that is very important and I have tried to get through before and that Scarlet has touched on, is the need to live your life with anxiety. Again and again I see people trying to rid themselves of it, going around reminding themselves of little phrases, watching their progress, wondering why the anxiety is still around, they think ‘I must be doing something wrong’, they become bewildered and end up going round in circles, sometimes on the verge of tears, as they seem to be the only one that is stuck with this condition.

Firstly I want to pull up some great advice by Victor in the last thread. Many times I read someones comment on here and think ‘Yes they have fully got the message’ and Victors below is one of them.

Brian, You said “I spend every day just thinking about ways to look at this website and acceptance, trying to figure out what I am doing wrong.”

I find myself doing this at times too, even within the past week. Read Scarlet’s reply to me from July 4th, it has helped me a lot.

What I want to tell you is that thinking about it, trying to figure it all out will not help. You have to just BE. I know it is very difficult, trust me. I am the master of creating habits and have always been a worrier, even before I began “suffering”. I have found that trying to focus on the present is the best thing to do, Paul said in his book something along the lines of “If I was going to cook, then I would focus on cooking, not think about anxiety” I have applied this and what scarlet says the past week and it has helped tremendously. Out of habit anxiety will cross your mind, but you have to just let it go and do not fear it. It takes time to break the habit.

Paul said something, I am not sure if it was in the book or a blog, but he said that he did not even know recovery was possible. I think a lot of us get so caught up in recovering, we forget to just live, which is how you recover. You say you go out with your friends, that is great! I do too. But I have wasted several activities with my friends thinking about anxiety the whole time, while not even getting one anxious thought!! What a waste of thinking that was! Hope that helps, and if I could help more please just ask.

Victor is totally correct. Don’t go around questioning anxiety all the time, it is like having a broken leg and questioing it all day, trying to find ways to rid yourself of the pain, question why it hurts and going into a situation and just thinking about your leg and not being interested in the world around you. Well, we don’t do this because we understand we have a broken leg and that we will feel pain, there is no reason to walk around trying to figure it all out or try and rid ourselves of this pain.

Well its the same attitude with anxiety. Many people wonder why Mr X has finally got it and is improving and I am stuck, well its all about his attitude. You will not recover while you walk around all day trying to rid yourself of how you feel, you are just focusing and worrying about ‘you’ again. I used to go out every Friday and usually feel a lot of anxiety symptoms. I would almost watch for them coming and then spend all night mentally trying to ‘right’ myself. I would say ‘It’s OK to feel this way’, ‘Try and act normal’, ‘My mind is just tired’, this would go on all night and I would just about get through. One day the penny dropped, all I was doing was dreading the night and waiting for the anxiety to descend. I was focsuing on me as soon as I got into the bar and then having a mental battle with myself using coping behaviours. Nothing ever improved, so I decided the next time I would just go out, no second guessing how it would go, no coping behaviours and mental dialouge. Well the difference was amazing, yes of course anxiety crossed my mind many times, it was bound to out of habit, but I kept going from the conversation to me, instead of just me all night, It was like my mind was for once trying to integrate back into the world, I for once had given myself a chance to be part of what was going on around me. It did not go perfect, but so much better and if I kept practicing it would then start to become me and that’s exactly what happened. People put too much importance on things going perfect, if they have any anxiety at all then they think they have failed. I never looked at it like that, I never expected or demanded anything. If things went great then fine, if I had a tough night, then that was fine also.

There is no need to label a bad day as a setback. Accept that everyday is not going to go great, the more you allow this attitude to be you, the more you allow yourself to not focus on you and how you are feeling. In my early days I would wake and check in how I was feeling, my shoulders would drop as I felt bad. I would step out of bed and question how I was feeling all the way to work. I would then start with loads of phrases to try and control it or make it go away. This would not work, so I would then go home and feel sorry for myself, maybe go out drinking to escape and go through the whole process again, feeling more and more detached from the world around me. Well of course I would feel this way, it makes perfect sense now. But what if I woke and just accepted the day for what it was, that would surely go better. No questioning, no worrying, no internal dialogue, what if I just lived along side how I felt, maybe that would work. Well it sure did, but it was a process, I still had up and down days, but I allowed this, I did not have a bad day and start questioning everything all over again, I just allowed it to be, I was more interested in just living now and not ‘me’. Being so interested in me had got me nowhere over the years, it was time to change.

I also need breaks from the subject as the site has grown so big I spend a lot of time involved in the subject and also need time outs. I don’t want the subject to be the only focus in my life, as it’s not healthy. I do as much as I feel comfortable with doing and have many other interests. So don’t let it become your life, have some time outs, find other hobbys. The blog should be a learning tool where you can gather information that will help you understand far more and erase a lot of fears. Many people have come here in the past and recovered and they moved on, they wanted to live again and did not feel the need to come here anymore, they wanted to put it behind them and move on.

Below is Brians statement

“I spend every day just thinking about ways to look at this website and acceptance, trying to figure out what I am doing wrong.”

What he means is I have spent all day trying to rid myself of anxiety and it’s still there, well its the very focusing and trying to rid himself that has caused the problem. I don’t mean rush around and trying not to think of anxiety, you will from time to time through habit, but that’s fine, don’t see it as a problem. My focus would shift to me many times into my recovery, I would have some truly testing days with my symptoms, but I stopped caring, it was all part of the process. It’s the bad days that has others questioning it all again, running back to the blog to see what they have missed, becoming bewildered, wondering and worrying why this damn thing has not left them.

I do hope that message has helped.