Help and advice with anxious thinking

Hi all, I have just posted the below on my facebook page, so I will share it here also.

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. 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, 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 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, 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.

Secondly a lovely lady who follows the blog also started a blog of her own and I promised to eventually get around to putting it on here for others to see. Again it was posted on my facebook page so some may have seen it already, but for those that did not here it is.

And finally we lost a few posts after the blog was recently compromised, I have not got around to bringing them back up but will do so in the next week, the comments will be lost, but the posts will be back.


For more information about my book ‘At last a life’ visit

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279 Responses to “Help and advice with anxious thinking”

  1. Doreen Says:

    Thanks Paul – very hot topic on the blog at the moment

  2. krista Says:

    Hi Paul, I came across your website a few days ago. I bought your app yesterday and have already finished the book on the app. I like everything you have to say. I have had agoraphobia and panic attacks for over 20yrs. I have some people in my life that if they leave town I think I will be in a constant state of anxiety till they return. I feel I understand your message on what I should do. Yet I feel like if I don’t prepare for when they leave I will be a total basket case. I feel stuck between letting go and trusting and being totally bombarded with panic if I do nothing. I think if there is no one around that knows my problem I am totally alone and the being alone is what brings the panic. Can anyone help me make sense of what I am doing? Thank you.

  3. Mikestevens Says:

    Does anyone get this? I struggle with sleep anxiety. I’ve been doing pretty good with my sleeping, but this morning I woke early and couldn’t get back to bed. I had these thoughts in my mind as soon as I would doze off but they weren’t really even scary thoughts. But oddly enough I was having a fearful reaction to them.
    The thoughts were kind of mundane but they were still scaring me and making me fearful. Then the thoughts were coming along the lines of “this is starting over again. My sleep is going to get bad again”.

  4. Michelle M Says:

    Thanks Paul. I was suffering yesterday, fine today though and just going with it.

    All the best,


  5. Lui Says:

    Had anxiety all my life. It escalated last year. Trough this blog it got so much better. Still have huge problems. Don’t now what to do to overcome social anxiety. I am not sure what to do. I am so unsure around people. I am quiet popular cause people like me although I am akward at times. I got really confindent last year. But I am still really anxious. DonÄt know what to say when i am alone with a person. Akward silence alert. Any advise how to overcome this?

  6. Lizb Says:


    I have sleep anxiety too and its so frustrating! I didnt sleep at all last night. Only got as far as a doze and that was it! My sleeping was improving after a year of anxiety and then for the last month it has been up and down. Just had nearly a week of sleeping well, then last night no sleep and i dont even know why. Yes i get a bad feeling some nights when i close my eyes or weird images or thoughts. Sometimes just a bad feeling which stops me nodding off or my heart will start thumping etc. although some nights i simply just cant get off. I feel your frustration. X

  7. Mikestevens Says:

    I get that bad feeling too. Hard to explain: it’s like a general uneasiness that sometimes turns into complete dread and fear.

    This is why I think sleep anxiety is a bit different. Because you can still have a successful experience with social anxiety… But with sleep anxiety when it kicks in it almost completely halts any possible success, because it feeds right back into what you’re struggling with.

  8. Mark R Says:

    Sorry about this but I need to vent:

    I’ve had anxiety nearly all my adult life with some breaks in between where I felt great. I’ve had this bout since April 12, last year was a total write off but this year has been a huge improvement. I’ve managed almost to be myself and live alongside it………I’ve done trips to London, France, Spain, Italy, been to Glastonbury, started dating again, got my business back up and running.

    The last month or so I’ve felt worse than ever, September was utter hell and I feel like now I’m going over old ground. I feel bloody awful, all tense, no appetite, crying all the time. I’ve lost interest in everything, I stlll do stuff but really have to force myself.

    I suppose I’m really frustrated as I was almost feeling ‘alrightish’ and on a practical level I was doing everything in my life. I’m probably negging people out here and I’m really sorry but I’ve had a lot of suffering and don’t see that I will ever get better completely.

  9. Tracy Says:

    Hi guys, I can totally relate to you Mike. I am personally going through a bad spell of sleep, a couple of weeks ago I got the idea in my head that I would never sleep again. Doctor have me sleeping tablets which worked but are horrible. I now realise that this is all down to anxiety and its set me back because I was doing so well which has naturally thrown me off track. It is just another symptom of anxiety that is all. I know this simply because its the anxiety of not being able to sleep that keeps me awake. There is nothing physically stopping us from doing so. What makes sleep anxiety feel so different is that is stops us from sleeping which naturally is very exhausting. I have stopped googling stuff, after several poor nights sleep I had a couple of fairly good ones which made me feel pretty good so I am not going to worry about the effects of sleeping. I am also going to stop doing things to ‘help me sleep’ such as exercise, drinking hot milk etc. I will do these things simply because they are good for me. I may be walking around like a zombie but I know this will pass in its own time. Even if because I get so used to it it no longer bothers me!!

  10. Paul David (Admin) Says:

    This may help also as this is a question I answered on Facebook on the same post.

    Fariba Bonakdar

    Hi Paul, i react anxiously to all the thoughts like: oh should think this or should i not..its always a back and forth with each thought and i think oh there is something wrong with my brain..cause when i started becoming anxious this summer i had a massive head pain and this way of thinking (should i shouldnt i) back and forth started, on anything. How can i get passed this back and forth anxious toughts and move on? Btw your book is what keeps me going and i know there is hope.Thank you so much for writing this book.

    Fariba you are having a battle with what you should and should not think, these thoughts will come and go, let there be no resistance, none are good or bad, wrong or right, they are just thoughts. Allow them to come, but don’t start questioning them. From now allow yourself to think anything, don’t label it as good or bad, don’t judge it, just let it come without judgement and let it go of it’s own accord.

  11. Will Says:

    I’m having serious health anxiety right now. So I’m having a minor complaint checked out on Friday – it’s most likely nothing serious, and my family don’t seem too concerned, but I’ve got it in my head that it’s what I dread to think it is. I just can’t stop going through worst-case scenarios in my head and I can’t stop seeing life at the moment like I’m in my last months or something.
    For the past week or so I haven’t been able to calm down. It’s only 4 days away now and I just want the check-up to be over and done with so I can relax again, but in the meantime I just feel so bleak, anxious, sick, and like I’m on the verge of a panic attack. I’m trying to get into the “don’t worry about something until you know for sure” mindset, but I just can’t relax and stop worrying. Has anyone else been through this kind of health-related anxiety before?

  12. Stephen Shale Says:

    Hi all, thanks Paul, another good post. I’ve not commented since last year, but still read all the topics.

    But was just sat here this weekend, me and the wife have a rotten cold, and that made me think of how differently I treat those symptoms compared to feeling anxiety. There is no control, no impatience to get better, I just wait it out until it passes, I understand what is happening to me. And that i think is the biggest thing (for me at least), understanding exactly what is happening, can instantly release a lot of stress about anxiety. Like I understand a cold, it does not bother me. I think this will always be the most memorable part of Paul’s book.

    This year I have been going about things in a much more proactive way. For example, last year i kept a diary to keep note of when i was anxious, but this year i’ve switched that around and kept note of when i’ve done something that i previously would not have because of anxiety. It’s been really encouraging the more I went on, seeing how much I’ve done this year, not caring about the symptoms.

    The one thing that still bugs me though: I had a meal/night out with people from work a few weeks back, and I ended up feeling so nervous all day before, that I didnt really enjoy the meal, through lack of appetite. But I’ve done the eating out things loads this year (public eating is something i’m tackling). Basically what i hate is these feelings that arise completely against logic and how strong they are sometimes, despite having made so much progress this year. I guess it is just a lack of understanding in that area. Any ideas?

    It has dented me slightly since, as I can feel nerves more than usual for a few things coming up.

  13. Mikestevens Says:

    Hi Paul,
    I don’t mean to be a pest it’s just that this sleep anxiety really scares me. It’s almost been a constant thought for the past 8 months. 8 months of my life feeling like its on hold because of this fear.
    Some nights I’ll lie down and my mind just doesn’t know what to do. Like its on high alert. I feel captive to these thoughts and this symptom. Some nights i won’t be able to fall asleep because I’ll have these thoughts that really aren’t even that disturbing…. But they upset me for some reason and then trying to fall asleep is impossible.
    Then there’s the dark dread. Where I’m panicked with fear that I won’t ever be normal again.

    Most days I feel dizzy and lightheaded. I don’t know how to carry on like this. I can’t take sleep meds because they make me far worse.

    I have a family and I’m tired of being trapped in this nightmare.

  14. Krista Says:

    Is there a chat room everyone that responds to this blog can go to to discuss things? I think since we are all using the same method to recover it maybe helpful.

  15. JOE PRO Says:

    To Mike Stevens: If you keep WORRYING than you will stay in the cycle of not sleeping having anxious thoughts and believing them. They are all FAKE and temporary and can never do you any harm just let them be there. Observe them and accept them for being nothing but anxiety there is NO FEAR if you face them and ask for more. Try not to sleep and stay awake reading a book at watching t.v. Your body is just relating sleeping with anxious thought and feelings. I went through for a whole…..YEAR! It got better when I stopped focusing on it as life or death. Just allow your mind and body time to heal without reacting for awhile you will get better. Face And recover hide and suffer. There is nothing to be afraid of like the child that says there is a monster in the closet. OPEN THE CLOSET…good luck your never alone I’ve been there bro…just calm down and you will be laughing at this whole episode soon.

  16. Kat Says:

    Can paul or anyone shed some light on this? I really struggle with decision making when anxious and I go back and forth so much until I lose sight of what I really want to do. How do you decipher what is anxious thinking from what it is you really want to do? I am really recovered a lot in regards to other aspects of my anxiety but this leaves me paralyzed with confusion. How do I approach this? thoughts are appreciated.

  17. Scott Says:

    Hey guys

    Been following on here for a bit, and havent posted in a while. My struggle is with obsessive thinking and the fear that it is due to a brain problem. Silly as i know it is anxiety. I started yrs ago with panic attacks and overcame that with the realization my heart was fine and i needed to face the panics, they gradually los their hold. I went through the sleep thing and joe pro is on the money, if you try to force it, sleep will not come. It took me a bit to grasp that and i did worry for a bit even after i started to sleep probably just residual apprehension brought on by how bad i made it to not sleep 6-7 hours on most nights. It stunk but sleep will return, you just need to let go of the rope. By worrying about sleep in my times of high stress i started testing my “brain” about weird thoughts and obsessing. I have months of doing good and recently did well for about a year when i was slated to travel to a place where i struggled bad years ago. Anyways, i have created new what ifs that seem silly but are causing me alot of angst and to be honest have broken my heart as i thought this last stretch of good i had conquered it. I am a good dad and love my family more than anything and am fighting and tensing against the anxiety and feel sad because i lose my “present moment” when worrying and it takes away from me being a good a dad and husband. I am beating myself up and watching myself with one eye on my thoughts if that makes any sense. Any advice paul? Candie? Helen? Anyone? I have had months of good and months of bad last few years and it is always caused by brooding about if this is truy in my control as i dont recogniZe fully how inget out of each episode but indo believe i “drop the worry rope” long enough somehow and get distracted. Thanks in advance for any responses. I just wanto be the dad and husband i an when anxiety is low or not there. Scott

  18. rachh Says:

    Mikestevens.. Your nervous system is on high alert is picking anything that is a fear/significant/important and blow it out of all proportion and it MAKES you think it is worse than it is. Because you keep worrying and thinking about it and because your anxious body is creating worst case scenario you are responding the way you are.
    You need to try and stop making sleep your life and stop judging your day to be positive or negative on the basis of what level of sleep you had.

    Although you feel like you are the only one you’re not.. I have the same feeling as you over something as natural as feelings for my partner.. I am on high alert everytime i am with him basing my day on how i feel about him whether “i feel the love or not” believe me it is a pure nightmare. Both mine and your fears are very different however just see how Anxiety has latched onto something we deem important.

    I have had a better day today because i think a partner is someone you are with who you enjoy life alongside not have to just enjoy them and only them. They are not your life they are something you are with who you are able to enjoy experiences alongside..

    You need to enjoy life and not worry about sleeping.. It does not matter if you sleep or not.. If you rest your body it is recuperating. Live alongsode your anxiety and ignore the thoughts as they are made significant by your nerves.

    Hope this helps you’re not alone.

  19. Mark R Says:


    Don’t mean to be harsh here but you’re asking the same question around 3/4 times a day. You’re only going to get the same advice even if Paul replies to you so please take it.

    Sleep anxiety is NOT a different disorder, it is part of anxiety. If you read other posts on here everyone anxiety has affected them in different ways……….some people its sleep, some appetite, some dizziness, health, panic etc.

    I don’t want to trivalise your pain here but you are not going to move forward until you ACCEPT FULLY that anxiety is going to affect your sleep. It affects my sleep, I’ve had 12 months of peaceful sleep but this last month I have woken up in a panic on more than 10 occasions. Do I worry about it? Nope.

    What you need to remember is that you are on high alert and your mind is trying to protect you. If that means waking you up if you hear a noise outside, or have a bad dream then it will.

    Sleep is not just an anxiety issue either, I have a lot of friends with the same problem who have never had anxiety. It seems to me you are TRYING to sleep, this will never work. If you try and sleep you will find it hard as you are keeping your brain awake, just let it be…….if you sleep you sleep, if you don’t you don’t. Whats the worst that can happen? You wiill feel tired the next day? Is it really so bad?

    So for a few nights at least, just try and accept.

  20. Bryan Says:

    Nice work getting things rolling again, Paul! Glad to see it.

    Have you been watching NFL games this year, Paul? Pretty interesting season. (Especially if one is a Broncos fan. :)

    Be well.

  21. Mark R Says:

    How are things Bryan?

  22. Bryan Says:

    Hey Mark,

    Things are OK. I’ve had about 2 weeks of rough but more stable times. I’ve got family visiting so there are some challenges there. Most importantly, I think my acceptance level has been very good, and at times I’ve absolutely done great. I’ve mitigated some potentially really lingering panic attacks and symptoms with better attitude. (Though, I recognize that I am not supposed to be accepting to GET RID of the symptoms, still… that tends to be a result when I’m practicing the right way.)

    The past couple of days I’ve felt a bit more depressed, which is actually usually a good sign that the wave may be passing and I may be settling into a better baseline. But, I don’t want to make predictions and I’m just trying to take it a day at a time, and embrace any flare-ups as another chance to practice.

    My whole commitment now is to how I react, taking it with me, and reacting the right way. If I feel crappy, I feel crappy. This is where things need to continue to go for me and I can see things slowly starting to change.

    Like I said, I’ve been trying to practice acceptance and Weekes’ methods for a couple of years, but it’s dawned on me after reading this blog and interacting with people that I needed to re-commit to the true concept of acceptance. Because at my peaks, I’m still worried… still fearful… still not 100% where I can say… “come get me”… any time. I’m closer though, very close.

    How about you?

  23. Charles Says:

    MikeStevens, maybe this example will help?

    Anxious thought: “crap, it’s bed time, what if I can’t sleep tonight?”

    Accept: “This what-if question just made me anxious, I have 3 choices here: 1. I will think how terrible tomorrow will be if I don’t sleep tonight; 2. I will try to convince myself that lack of sleep wont kill me, it’s fine, everybody gets it once in a while; 3. I admit that I just had an anxious thought and it’s scaring me quite a bit, but I won’t do anything to make this fear go away, this fear can stay as long as it wants.”

    Now, the reality is probably you are so scared of your sleep right now your thought will automatically go down the catastrophic path, you won’t have the mental power to catch it, but it’s ok, your anxious thought will probably continue like:
    “oh man, i am going to be like a zombie at work tomorrow”
    “if i am a zombie tomorrow i will feel anxious, then i can’t work well”
    “tomorrow will be the same thing, hell the rest of my life could be the samething, i won’t be able to sleep ever again”…
    But the answer is all the same: “I admit that I am scared by all those thoughts right now, but I am NOT going to do ANYTHING about it, it’s not because i can’t do anything about it, i can probably read paul’s book and get some reassurance, but i choose this, i choose not to fight and i am going to lie in my bed, scared as hell, that’s what i am going to do tonight”

  24. Tracy Says:

    Charles, that was a wonderful reply thank you.

  25. saverina Says:

    How do you know when you’ve recovered?

  26. Sally Says:

    Thank you Paul for the link to Nicola’s story it was so very encouraging X

  27. Mark R Says:

    Hi Bryan,

    Everyday is different to be honest, its as if I’m experiencing the whole of this bout again but in a mini time scale if that makes sense? It started off with panic a month ago, since that I’ve had apathy, loss of appetite, no sleep, depression, hopelessness, some days where I’ve been myself almost. It’s very strange!

    Like you though the last 2/3 days I’ve been pretty depressed, I couldn’t stop crying yesterday at all. During the day has been the hardest and I seem to struggle but usually around 6/7pm I feel a whole lot better and I’m more myself.

    I like how you call it a ‘baseline state’ as that’s how I see it really. Acceptance and patience got me to that state for this year so that’s the only thing that will get me back there again, and hopefully higher.

    The ‘fear’ has gone for me really, just been replaced with a dull grey DP feeling and apathy, not ideal at all.

  28. Mikestevens Says:

    Thanks for the replies everyone. I do really appreciate you help and patience with me. I’ll truly try to let go and accept it all. I guess…. I guess I just want to be me again. I miss having the energy and desire to be goofy with my family. I miss coming home from work and being content and peaceful.
    But I will accept it all.

  29. Shashank Says:

    Hello everybody..Doreen i suffer from walking axiety..I was very much in deep despair state ….i was always trying to rid myself of all the pain whstaich startts to happen as soon as i start to walk or stand…but last few days ago i started actually to feel better amidst facing my fear…it all happened when after days of controlling my symptoms and pain i truly accepted my anxiety and just gave in…the next moment i felt calmer and few moments later the pain vanished off to a great level or what i remember it completely vanished off…from that day i feel quite.confident and have a strong attitude…and have faced many a setbacks very bravely though i wasnt able to face a few…now i feel i am recovering…though the sensation starts to happen but now i feel confident that i will be able to face it…..i am trying to remove the unnecessary fear from my subcinscious mind
    …sometimes i succeed and sometimes i dont…But i am happy that at least i am much out of it..i want to thanks Paul for the marvelous website and blogs of his and all other who help people like us…But my question from Paul,Doreen or anybody who is recovering or recobered that “am i doing it correctly”…and any tips from them is really appreciable as i am still in doubty feelings..and my last question is how to overcome a setback when symptoms become extremely painful and intense as when the sensations are very troublesome or setbacks come in very strong anxiety in turn becomes too high which in turn intensifies the pain and thus i fail to overcome that setback

  30. Kat Says:

    I am sorry to be a nag but I commented earlier and I was just wondering if someone could try to give me some advice on indecision and anxiety. Thanks to you all :)

  31. DCYL Says:


    This is pure speculation on my part but perhaps anxiety is making you OVERTHINK the decision. Perhaps you are afraid you will make the WRONG decision. Remember anxiety makes you feel things a lot stronger than they really are. I would suggest that you MAKE a decision and move forward with it. Can’t let indecision or anxiety paralyze you.

  32. DCYL Says:

    A thought plus Paul’s posting gave me an something I wanted to write about. Basically, it’s two examples of anxious thinking versus “regular thinking”.

    When my anxiety first started, it was confusing to have all these feelings and weird thoughts floating around. It took a while but instead of sitting around (which I did early on) I started talking to friends, doing activities, and getting exercise. I got into a nice little routine. All of those served as NICE distractions. However, I wasn’t really recovered yet. I remembered that for a stretch of three weeks, I did not do any exercise on a Saturday. I normally spent a few hours playing basketball with friends. Due to various things, we did not play. I remember my anxiety kicked up as I struggled to find something to fill the gap. I remember it being a big struggle. In looking back, while the activities helped they were also crutches but somewhat needed.

    Fast forward to the past few weeks. I injured my hand playing softball a couple of weeks ago. I have not been able to play basketball for those two weeks including Saturdays and a few other days. I couldn’t do any weight lifting as well. While my memory did flash back a bit to a couple of years ago, I was fine. I found other things to do. I started running again after not doing it for years.

    My point is is that anxious thinking frets. Regular thinking accepts your situation and you just find other things to fill in your time. I’m by no means perfect but we all can get there.

    Hope this helps. :)

  33. Kat Says:

    Thanks DCYL for the response! I am definitely afraid of making the wrong decisions and that is why I become so confused with anxious thinking. Also I felt your last post about anxious thinking versus “regular” thinking helpful. Thank you so much and I wish you all the best.

  34. Shashank Says:

    Even i had posted a comment in the blog and need some advice so anybody who can help me out?????

  35. DaanVT Says:

    I feel like I`m having a breaktrough lately….
    I`m noticing that I`m starting to “like” my bad days and anxious moments because I can use them to practice about not caring about my anxiety. I know they are temporary and I`m more and more able to really understand it doesn`t matter how I feel at a particular moment. The thing that counts is that i`m gradually changing my wellbeing for the better.

    Besides the positive effect it has on my anxiety, I`m noticing this “embracing bad feelings” approach is also working on other things in my life like diet and exercise, causing me to have voluntary lost 10kg without much effort at all. Maybe eventually this 10-year anxiety condition will have a positive effect on my life and who I am as a person.

  36. Kyara Says:


    You haven’t accepted the anxiety at all. You worry daily about your sleep. In order to move forward you have to accept that this is anxiety and you have NO CONTROL over it. You do have control over acceptance. You can accept that every night around bed time you have these thoughts that you don’t like. You can allow them to be there allow yourself to be uncomfortable and for your mind to race. Eventually you will calm down and your mind wont race. As long as your body is at ease you will most likely fall asleep. Acceptance is the ONLY way to move forward. If you continue fighting you will continue to not sleep. Start to recognize the anxious thoughts so that you don’t react to them with fear. I too have been in a mode the past couple of days where I worry that I won’t be able to sleep and that my anxiety will then get worse, but I have allowed WHAT EVER feelings I have at bedtime be there and recognize that this is just fear it’s not a real concern. Acceptance Acceptance Acceptance. This is the most important thing. You will get better, you will feel normal but first you have to let your body fix it’s self. It needs a break. I hope this helps.

  37. Bryan Says:


    Hang in there. You know it will get better even if it is hard to imagine right now. Stay the course and relief will come. I’m in the same boat. It can take a long time to change our habit of responding with fear and despair.
    But we read story after story of those who have done it.

    Keep us updated and be well!

  38. Mikestevens Says:

    Kyara, thank you. You, and everyone else, are completely right. It’s easy to accept when I’m feeling good. But when the dark thoughts and feelings come I revert back to looking for the same reassurance. That’s not accepting, that’s running from the fear, doubt, and anxiety. I need to stop doing that. I feel bad saying this; but my mom died at a young age. I was pretty young when it happened. Dealing with that was hard.. But nowhere near as hard as these past 8 months have been for me. I know what I need to do. Thank you all for your patience and help. I’ll be signing off for a little bit. Coming here has been very helpful, but I’ve also been using it as a crutch. When things get dark I’m back here asking the same questions over and over…. Not being accepting of it at all. God bless and thank you. I don’t know if any of you are religious… If so, please say a prayer for my wife and son. I love them so.

  39. JOE PRO Says:

    You will be fine Mike just take some time away from anxiety and focus on your family. You have not change in the least bit and anxiety cannot stop you from doing anything so give your family a hug and a kiss cause that’s what is real anxiety is a fake monster that can never hurt you. Just leave it behind! God bless you and everyone for a speedy recovery. We will all be stronger people because of it.

  40. DCYL Says:


    There is no one right path. You will go through ups and downs. Just let it be there. Sorry for the brief note but i will explain separately

  41. DCYL Says:


    After 10 days of resting and icing, my hand was still hurting. Finally decided to see a doctor at a local drop in clinic. I was a little worried it might be worse than a sprain yet calm. X-rays confirmed i had a small fracture. Bad News, i am in a splint for a few weeks and have to minimize some activities.

    Good news: Still got my legs so i can walk and do other things. Oh and no anxiety. If this was a few years ago, it’d be a struggle. Right now, i am annoyed but fairly clear minded about this. I am planning to see what other things i can do while i am out.

    Point is we all can get better. :) Though typing wit one hand sucks. :)

  42. Krista Says:


    I think I’m almost where you are at. If there is a way to chat privately I’d like to. Maybe we could coach each other along.

  43. Shashank Says:

    DYCL thanks for the reply…eager to listen from you soon….

  44. Doreen Says:

    Shashank – as DYCL says, there is no ‘one size fits all’ way out of anxiety. You don’t overcome a set back, you just gradually move out of it in as calm and accepting way as you can. Any attempt to force progression just adds to the tension.

  45. DCYL Says:

    Tried to post this last night but maybe paul has to approve as i was using a different internet connection at home:


    Doreen is correct. If you hit a setback, just let it be. The mistake a lot of people make (including me) is obsessing over the setback. Usually this happens after we’ve been doing well. We feel “free” and then we feel crappy again and wonder why.

    Easier said than done. Remember that all recovery means is your body is back in balance. Anxiety never fully leaves you. You will feel anxiety (or what we normally call nervousness) a lot before big events or other things. The difference is when you”re normal, you don’t overreact. Hope this helps.

  46. Mark R Says:

    ‘If you hit a setback, just let it be. The mistake a lot of people make (including me) is obsessing over the setback. Usually this happens after we’ve been doing well. We feel “free” and then we feel crappy again and wonder why.’

    As my therapist put it I’m trying get out of a hole by digging, a natural reaction but I just need to be patient.

    Well said. I’m afraid that’s what I’ve been doing this last 6 weeks or so and its temporarily put me back ‘in the loop’. As my therapist put it I’m trying get out of a hole by digging, a natural reaction but I just need to be patient.

    As Bryan stated in a previous post that he’s looking at improving his acceptance, this is what I’ve been doing building up knowledge with books and meditation.

  47. Grace Says:

    I feel the need to say something and hope it’s okay. I posted a little while ago and have decided to do so again.

    More needs to be understood about Acceptance.

    Acceptance means acknowledging that our thoughts and symptoms, although harmless, are meaningless BUT THAT’S NOT ENOUGH. Acceptance needs to be an ACTIVE process; it needs to be translated into diverting oneself from the thought or symptom once it’s acknowledged by getting on with tasks and daily living – whatever that is. This is very important. We also know we CAN’T THINK our way out of anxiety. Our thoughts and symptoms/sensations are products of an anxious mind.

    If I’m just sitting there when the fear comes (however that manifests in you) and I’m not engaged in some kind of chore or activity or don’t have something planned, I’m back in the anxiety loop before I know it. We need to break the habit and it starts with NOT talking about anxiety all the time. WE ARE NOT OUR ANXIETY. WE NEED TO STOP FEEDING IT. If Anxiety is a BEHAVIOURAL CONDITION, then it can only be cured through a change in behavior and habits by replacing anxious habits with NON anxious ones. So, FIND NEW, POSITIVE HABITS TO LOSE YOURSELF IN.

    MIKESTEVENS – I can tell this sleep anxiety is really frustrating for you. I understand. DO NOT GO TO BED unless you’re tired and dozing off. How do you get tired and doze off? – by DOING, DOING, DOING – dance in your living room, play a board game, listen to loud music in your ears, read, anything to distract yourself from your anxiety and it also gives your mind a NEEDED break. If it means you fall asleep at 3am or 4am or later…IT’S OKAY. We really don’t need as much sleep as we think. Anxiety has shown us that and we still come out the other side. Your frustration stems from not wanting to feel this way anymore.

  48. Krista Says:

    After reading Graces post I felt the need to write what I understood acceptance to be about.
    Acceptance to me is accepting that I am feeling anxious, allowing it to be with me for right now. Accepting all the feelings and symptoms that come with having a panic attack allowing them to come without trying to stop them from coming. Distracting yourself by getting busy, can be looked at as a safety behaviour. Instead of accepting the unwanted feelings, you would be yet again trying something or anything to not have to feel the anxiety, giving it more power and keeping it alive for the next time when you feel you have to busy yourself to not think about it.
    I want to be able to think and feel whatever comes my way and not feel the need to busy myself to not think about it. That is when I feel I will be free. That to me is true acceptance.

  49. Lyca Says:

    Having this anxiety really made my life miserable. Ive been suffering for this in 10 years already. Ive been almost fine already. Ive been doing things i used to do before just except having an excessive, repeated thoughts and going to somewhere else alone. i still dont know how to be feel comfortable being this way and to be alone in a public place. I know nothing’s bad gonna happen but i am not really that strong to face it. :( i wish everything will be fine again to everyone who have this. God bless.

  50. Doreen Says:

    Agree with Krista – getting on with one’s day is fine, and allowing the anxiety to be along side is excellent. Gradually one will find that the activity is the primary focus and hopefully the anxiety has gone or at least drifted to the back ground. But racing round in order to distract to me is not the answer. I don’t call that acceptance.
    Plus, I do find it very off putting to read things written in capital letters. I know that it is for emphasis but it feels like the writer is shouting.

  51. Nikki Says:

    Hi krista I can totally relate to your experience. I have what i call mild agoraphobia too. I can go anywhere with people but struggle to do much by myself. I find myself in a constant state of anxiety worrying if there are people around during the day should I need them. I too find the thought of accepting not knowing who is around very overwhelming. I have very little structure to my days which does not help. I would love to volunteer or get a part time job but do not have the courage to even consider putting myself out there. When I go out with people I have terrible anxiety. My legs shake I feel dizzy and cant think straight. Usually I can ride this out as it always passes after half an hour or so. I have no idea how to even attempt riding out the waves of anxiety if I go out by myself. I think pauls way of recovery is defo the way to get my life back but it is not easy for sure. Xx

  52. rachh Says:

    Havent been doing too well..
    Been seeing my therapist who is doing some paychodynamic stuff with me amd delving into my past.
    Back to square one a bit.
    My anxiety was caused about me worrying about this strange sensation i got one morning when i woke up and felt the urge to get away from my boyfriend. It was almost as though he felt unfamiliar and i felt a claustrophobic type feeling. I then got this sudden rush of feelings for my ex boyfriend which i started questioning.. He was vile to me and controlled me. This scared me.
    Before this happened i was normal and because i dont understand what this is. Because i was so worried it would happen again avoided him like the plague, dreaded him coming to my house this is what kick started my anxiety.

    Maybe i do need some psychodynamic therapy to work out what happened here. I dont know but what i do know now is that im scared and this is feeding my anxiety.
    Im worried because i read somewhere that if you have been bottling things up all sorts of things can happen. I had controlling parents and have always kind of been a bit lost and not known what i wanted to do in life but i was fine before this feeling on new years day and i feel so frustrated that i dont know and no one else knows what happened:( so upset.

  53. emmae Says:

    Hi all, I have had an awful few days and am finding it really hard to be kind to myself and accept, so I was just looking for some support. I have fought anxiety for a long time and over the last few weeks entered a different mode of acceptance – letting everything in and doing my best to get on with things. Allowing my mind and body to go where it wanted – No trying to get better. I was exhausted with fighting. However, I have new neighbours and my anxiety has sky rocketed. I had a bad experience with neighbours a few years ago and then last year had some lovely neighbours. They moved out last week and we now have new ones. They are not particularly noisy but the change has really affected me and taken me back. I haven’t slept for nights and I feel petrified. Rationally I can make sense of it but my anxiety is just horrendous about it. My anxiety was really high before and then felt bad enough but this is horrible again. I can’t concentrate, I feel unreal, my memory is bad and it’s like I feel so out of control that I can’t bear it. I am finding it hard to hold a conversation or feel part of anything. I know it all sounds silly, but this is how I feel. I feel like I have lost myself and am never going to refind myself. My nervous system feels so sensitive that any thought or feeling sends me in to an extreme anxiety attack. I feel lost and am just wanting some kind words to reassure me and give me some direction again. I have a son and a husband and I feel so detached from them when it is this bad. All my urges are to get rid of these feelings, make myself feel better etc etc and it’s like I feel scared to let go again. I am having extreme waves of fear all day and in those moments I just want to hide away / run away. It’s like I know what I need to do but haven’t got the energy to do it. I would really appreciate some support. Thanks

  54. Krista Says:

    Nikki, Not sure how long you have had agora, but if I can tell you anything after struggling, learning and researching this for 20yrs it’s that fighting this with everything you have isn’t the answer, if it was I’d definitely be cured by now.
    Use Paul’s ideas to help you along. I don’t believe in any over night cures but if you and I stick with this method I know only good things will come from it. I have seen some results with this method in a very short period. Facing the feelings and getting to a point of them no longer scaring you is what I believe is the key. Easier said than done, but I got to that point a few times this week and it felt amazing. So as long as we move towards our fears and not away I think we will see results. :)

  55. Nikki Says:

    Thank you krista. Let’s do it together! There are not that many people on here who have agoraphobia (which I know is just another layer to anxiety! ). Have you managed to go out on your own using pauls method? I too have found it beneficial to let go into the anxiety instead of fighting it. Its just not easy lol! Xx

  56. Nicole Says:


    Just wanted you to know I had read and understand. I am in a position where I understand it all and what i have to do but some days I can so it and some says I can’t and it actually feels horrible. But all I can say is if you’re like me and being hard on yourself just don’t. Try to accept that some days are really really hard but it’s all part of the process. I have an amazing life with all I want and need but some days even the thought of helping my children with homework sends me into a panic! Rather than saying this is unfair or I used to love helping them, try and say to myself, just do it however you feel and don’t worry about it.

    Hope this helps, it’s so hard sometimes, I know and the hardest thing of all is letting horrid feelings and symptoms that we hate so much, just be. It goes against everything and sometimes I feel I will be the one who can’t do it.

    I read the success stories and much as I love them sometimes they make it sound so easy when to me it feels like the hardest thing in the world x

  57. emmae Says:

    Nicole, thanks so much for your kindness and understanding. It does feel like the hardest thing in the world to do at times. Thanks for reminding me that the really really hard days are part of the process. I suppose it’s that encouraging and kind self talk even when it feels like your nervous system is going haywire and you feel no reassurance at all from those words … but to dig deep and believe them. I have been crying on and off all day … the tears just come and I have to just let that happen I suppose. Yes, I think my expectations are way too high and that needs to also change. My friend said to me the other day …”how about getting on with things not to feel better but so that you don’t feel worse” … and yes, maybe I just need to strip it all back and start with my tiny baby steps again. Thanks again Nicole for your support. It is really appreciated on such a bad week. Take care you too and with time, patience and understanding we will get there xxx

  58. Grace Says:

    There’s a difference between DISTRACTION and DIVERSION.

    Distraction, in our case, implies trying to get away from feeling something. Just makes us more anxious.

    Diversion is something else entirely, more positive in nature. Diversion is about engaging in things that we love NOT to get rid of the anxiety per Se (although that IS the benefit), but more so for its own sake…because WE NEED TO LIVE OUR LIVES and do things that we enjoy – things that we were doing before but then stopped, because of our anxiety. And through that process, the anxiety retreats because it isn’t foremost on our minds.

    Haven’t you ever been involved with something where for a while, you completely forget about your anxiety? It’s as though it doesn’t exist. Then you finish doing what you’re doing, and suddenly you’re conscious about your symptoms/sensations/thoughts again? Anxiety is a habit.

    The point is…there is acceptance…but it involves ACTION. They are two sides of the same coin. If you’re feeling better by accepting how you feel, then there is understanding, true understanding and knowing and with that, comes a sense of peace. But you didn’t come to that understanding without having done some leg work, first!

    During a PA, yes, I stayed with them but then, feeling as shitty as I did, I went about my business because that’s life and through living, either through tedious or exciting tasks, I got better and better.

    If you want to stay anxious, be around anxious people all day. If you want to stay anxious, talk about anxiety all the time. If you want anxiety to rule your life, keep researching the net. If you want anxiety to play a dominant role in your life, accommodate it every chance you get.

    I think you get what I’m trying to say…Anxiety will move on when WE MOVE ON because it is a BAD HABIT that needs to be broken. A person with a drinking problem won’t get better if he doesn’t stop having that drink. Anxiety is the same way. The more power you give it – the bigger it gets.

    All the best, everyone! Remember, anxiety is harmless. Go about your life as though you don’t have it because, essentially, they’re ‘just’ sensations, ‘just’ feelings, ‘just’ thoughts. They’re part of our internal defense mechanism… ‘just’ inappropriate. Sounds simple, I know…but when you get to a certain point in the journey, you really do see it for what it is….just a Bad Habit, that needs to be replaced with GOOD HABITS.

  59. Kyara Says:

    Nicole & Emmae,

    I am also in the same position. I felt great for a couple of days last week and then Sunday came and I realized I wasn’t enjoying my sons birthday party. I had to keep reminding myself that I am NOT always going to find happiness in every second of the day like I used to and I’m not going to enjoy doing thing with my kids the way I used to FOR NOW, but in time I will come out of this. Yesterday I was really anxious, but I let it be there. On the drive home from work I put a song on and just cried to release the tension I felt inside. I felt much better after crying. As I read in Claire Weekes book, once we face the fear we will never be truly as afraid of it as we once were. That is one step towards recovery in it’s self. If we are able to let it be there and go about our day then pat on the back to us. This WILL be rewarding in the end, and if you can’t see a reward in it then maybe it isn’t the end yet but were getting there. Be kind to yourself and be proud that you have come as far as you have no matter how many years it has been.

  60. Marco Says:

    Hey everyone. Just wanted to ask something. I’m currently in a very odd period. It’s almost like I’m ‘in between feelings’. I’m not anxious, but I don’t feel ‘my old self’. I’m not happy, but I’m not sad, just kind of flat. It’s really strange. I can’t quite explain it, I hope what I’ve said has made sense. Anyone else relate to this ‘non-feeling’? Thanks.

  61. Krista Says:

    Kyara and Nicole. Loved your encouraging words to Emmae. Anxiety definitely seems to be one step forward and two steps back at times. What i took from your postings is that we all seem to be very hard on ourselves yet so compationate towards someone else going through the same thing. We need to be kinder to ourselves i think.

  62. Mark R Says:

    Grace says

    ‘If you want to stay anxious, be around anxious people all day. If you want to stay anxious, talk about anxiety all the time. If you want anxiety to rule your life, keep researching the net. If you want anxiety to play a dominant role in your life, accommodate it every chance you get’.


    I appreciate what you are trying to say but you need to realise that you are at a different stage of recovery to others. I very much doubt you got to where you are without support and to a lot of people this blog is the only support they get.

    Sure some people need a kick up the backside asking the same questions day in day out but the majority of people on here are getting on with their lives, are making progress but your post seems to imply that everyone needs to just stop talking about it to get better. Recovery encompasses much more than a hardline approach.

  63. Mark R Says:

    People need support along the way, depending at what stage you are at. A lot of people use the blog because they cannot afford therapists or their doctors give poor or little advice. It gives a little bit of a misleading message to tell people not to talk about it or come on here.

    If you are further down the line then the blog will hold you back, but for some anxiety is a lonely and frightening place and those people need support of others.

  64. DCYL Says:


    Have to concur with Mark a bit. Support is part of the process. But the support doesn’t have to talk about anxiety all the time. It can be discussion about other things. Support can be an activity as grace says.

    What Elaine says is not to over focus on anxiety. We’ve all done it at some point. Once you get to a certain point in recovery, the need for support does decrease from my perspective.

    I dropped off the blog for a while ad it still stirred some feelings up. Lately, been on a lot and feeling ok. I’m doing well and trying to help people along

  65. Charles Says:

    Grace, what you said makes sense, but that’s a result of acceptance and not the way to it. If you truly gave up the fight with anxiety, then when it comes, you just leave it and don’t engage then you have no other choice but to carry on with your life. And that’s already pretty advanced into recovery.

    I don’t agree with your point of “you have to leave this subject in order to recover”. If that’s the case then Paul will still be anxiety ridden. It’s all in the attitude.

    I am having my best days so far, and honestly I am not doing anything other than giving up the fight. Funny thing though, I get a setback every time I try to summarize my learnings after a period of doing well. I now realize that summarizing all the right things I did is a form of fighting as well, it’s like preparing in case bad times come again, but if I truly give up the fight then that is not necessary.

    Also this kind of helped me as well. When I am anxious I used to think: I want to go out, BUT I’m anxious. Try to change it to: I want to go out, AND I’m anxious.

  66. Krista Says:


    Saying that the anxiety retreats because it isn’t in the forefront of our minds if we just get on with our life in a new hobby etc, is the kind of advise that keeps people ill. I did that forever and never recovered.

    There will come a time when the person has no choice to be still and silent, if they are used to getting into something to keep the anxiety in the back of their minds as you advise, how do they deal when this happens?

    Answer is, they wont deal well, they will dread it every time and be no closer to recovery.

    I know first hand as that was my method for many many many years. It does not work!

    I get that your just trying to say that continuing on with your life with anxiety is the right thing to do. But I guess what bothers me is that you leave out the biggest part which is getting to the point of not caring if anxiety comes and welcoming the challenge to face it without fear.

    In an earlier post you said you have had anxiety since January. I think that is relatively a very short time to be so set on how one recovers from this. You’re giving advise that many have tried over and over and remain the same. If you don’t face anxiety you can’t get better. That is the basics of Paul’s method, that is why we are on this blog because we believe in his method.
    Also about not searching the internet if you don’t want to be anxious, I’m glad I did or I wouldn’t have found sites like this. You also said don’t talk about anxiety if you don’t want to be anxious. This is a site about anxiety, the Subject is bound to be raised now and then.

  67. DCYL Says:

    I see people commenting on graces post. I think it needs to be said that any advice anyone gives has to be taken with a grain of salt. I think keeping your mind occupied helps with anxiety. It breaks the cycle of focusing on our anxiety. There is other advice that has advocated what grace said. Not sure if that is where she got her advice. Regardless, no matter what Paul, grace or I say, people need to so what works for them.

    I do agree with krista that it is difficult to be active 24/7. At some point, we do just have to be with anxiety.

  68. rachh Says:

    I find it all very confusing.
    I know you need to get to a point where you no longer care but i cant seem to do that.. And then theres the advice to do nothing. If i do nothing i stay the same.
    Same with thoughts we are supposed to let them in.. You cant let thoughts in without listening to them. If i let my thoughts in i ruminate unless i “do” something like putting them in a mental box and concentrating on other things. But then you concentrate on other things and then thats distraction.. If i dont distract myself from these thoughts they hang around and my mind has sod all to think about.
    I do stick to pauls advice but i find that having the “dont care attitude” is easier said than done especially when you have a well person and an ill person. It is much easier to say have a dont care attitude when you are calm.

    I think the main idea is to get on with life as best you can paying as little attention to it as possible.
    Btw i think the advice here is great and anyone recovering/recovered giving advice alongside pauls great book is amazing. Thankyou.

  69. Zoe Broadbent Says:

    Morning everyone,

    Even though I have recovered I can’t resist coming back as this is the place my recovery started and its where I grew, I will always have a place in my heart for this website. Its been 4 years now since my recovery and every moment of every day I enjoy, I help other recover from anxiety as well. I’ve kept anxiety as a part of my life as such a fond memory because I am SO grateful I suffered its made me who I am this very day.

    Thank you so much again Paul, I truly believe that with out the support from my Mum, Dad and your liquid gold information I would still be sat on my sofa scared and anxious.

    P.S to the sufferers on this blog right now never give up and never worry about losing time suffering because NOTHING compares to the time you’ll have when your free and you will be


  70. Nicole Says:


    I’m the same as you.

    I read all the advice on here, sometimes grab at it saying that’s the solution, then if that doesnt work come back and grab someone elses advice till a crisis moment comes and I can’t remember what I’m meant to be doing!! I’m sure that’s not what Paul wants at all.

    So I’m giving the blog a break, checking for comments every couple of hours can’t be good, it’s given me so much support but sometimes I feel I spend so much time getting support that I’m not actually really properly doing much, just taking fleeting comfort and not doing what grace says is the “leg work”.

    All I’m going to do is continue to stop fighting and live my life as I want and whenever anxiety says don’t do something I’m going to do it. My habit is to let anxiety decide what I do so I want to break the habit. Just that simple I’m not going to the priory, I’m not going to lose control I’m going to break a 3 year habit. I KNOW it’s going to be hard but so is living with anxiety.

    Good luck to you all, I really mean it and will come back to see how everyone is in a month or so xxx

  71. emma e Says:

    Hi all, some really interesting posts. I am feeling much better today. Had a rough start but just got on with things & feeling less anxious now. Yesterday was so vile but I got through with the support of people on here & my family. On such bad days I don’t think there is anything wrong with getting the support you need. Isolation can just make you feel more overwhelmed & sometimes the anxiety is so high that perspective is lost. I saw my getting support yest not as failure that I can’t do this on my own but as kindness to myself. If my best friend had been feeling as bad as that I wouldn’t tell her that she had to do it alone, I would have encouraged her to reach out. I suppose the difference is reaching out & getting support knowing what is happening & that it will pass rather than feeling back at square one, scrabbling for answers & solutions &

  72. emma e Says:

    Hi all, some really interesting posts. I am feeling much better today. Had a rough start but just got on with things & feeling less anxious now. Yesterday was so vile but I got through with the support of people on here & my family. On such bad days I don’t think there is anything wrong with getting the support you need. Isolation can just make you feel more overwhelmed & sometimes the anxiety is so high that perspective is lost. I saw my getting support yest not as failure that I can’t do this on my own but as kindness to myself. If my best friend had been feeling as bad as that I wouldn’t tell her that she had to do it alone, I would have encouraged her to reach out. I suppose the difference is reaching out & getting support knowing what is happening & that it will pass rather than feeling back at square one, scrabbling for answers & solutions & looking for another path. Having come out of that yest I can see, yet again, that that extreme level passes so my note to self is “know that & trust that” so the next time I nay be a bit closer to reminding myself of that in the moment. I am not saying that today I feel perfect. I feel pretty detached, spacey & flat but the raw fear has reduced. I did nothing to make it go away just got some support to hold me whilst it passed.

  73. emma e Says:

    Oh, just noticed that .y post is divided in 2!! Nevermind…I can accept that!!

  74. Bryan Says:


    I think your question is a good one. I’d love to see Paul or one of the senior members here address it. There is so much nuance in this work. It can be confusing to a depleted, fearful mind. I’d love to see some people tackle your question and the connundrums brought about with each choice. ( letting thoughts in, distraction etc)

    In fact that could be a whole blog post in itself IMO.

  75. Bryan Says:


    Are you recovered? Curious when you say the method worked for you (as opposed to what Grace stated) what that looked like exactly? How did you manifest the “don’t care?”

  76. Wendy Says:

    Rachh and Bryan,

    i am the same. some people say ” do nothing” some say” laugh your thoughts off or cut them off” and other people say ” accept your anxiety” .
    i don’t really know what this acceptance thing is and if i leave the blog for a while and go on with normal living it never really feels like accepting.
    it is so weird and i also really hope that elaine, candie or paul could write about what acceptance or doing nothing really is..

  77. Krista Says:

    I may come across somewhat harsh responding to graces post. I feel strongly about advise that maybe not entirely complete in it’s execution. Reason is is that I have had this for over 20yrs. Along the way I have taken advise that if it hadn’t been given it may have helped me find a way that actually worked sooner than later.

    I used what seems to be a rational and instinctual way to get through this. I did positive affirmations, breathed the right way, didn’t focus on it and went on with my life, took ssri’s, went through cbt therapy, hypnosis, paid for therapy session, paid for expensive anxiety programs.

    I white knuckled through my days, day in and day out. Smiling, holding down jobs, driving further out of my comfort zone, knowing that if I just keep at it work hard surely my bad habits would turn to good ones and anxiety would just go away.

    Well all these things didn’t work. Why when I’m trying so hard, am I the only one that isn’t strong enough to recover I always thought. My friends and family think I’m a very intelligent person, why am I so stupid and unable to recover was always on my mind.

    I literally did everything I could to keep anxiety away from me.

    Little by little I finally realized that I wasn’t mentally ill, medications were not the answer, it is a behaviour problem (in my case) and knowing this then started me on the journey of ridding myself of all the old beliefs about anxiety. Making a clear path to understanding my brain and how it works.

    We get bogged down with all the misunderstandings, bad advise etc, bringing ourselves to the point of total confusion.

    So now i find that at long last the only thing i need to do is not fear the panic attack. I have one and only one job now and that is to get myself to not fear having a panic attack. What a relief that is! Sure it maybe the hardest thing out of all of these past methods, but its going to be so worth it in the long term.

    Think about some things grace says about ,
    If you want to stay anxious, be around anxious people all day. If you want to stay anxious, talk about anxiety all the time. If you want anxiety to rule your life, keep researching the net. If you want anxiety to play a dominant role in your life, accommodate it every chance you get.

    So avoid anxious people, avoid talking about anxiety, avoid researching on the internet. What good is avoiding these things in order to not be anxious. Is this recovery? No. You want to be able to be around anxious people if you have to be, you want to be able to talk about anxiety if you need to etc.

    Do you seem my point? If your idea of recovery is having to leave when an anxious person is around or when people are talking about it or you come across it in anyway in your life then do that.
    But if recovery means to be able to do whatever you want when you want without restrictions than you can’t fear anxiety in any form.

    Learn from the mistakes I’ve made over the last 20yrs. You don’t have to suffer as long as i have.

    I just started this chapter of this long journey on the road to recovery, the accepting it fully one. So no i am still not recovered. But i have seen a big difference in myself using this method so far.

    This is the road that i ran from forever. Thinking somehow i could avoid facing it and feeling all the horrible feelings.

    I’m finally ready to do it, and feeling very optimistic.

  78. Bryan Says:


    Thanks for posting. Your story is inspirational and I agree, we need to be able to feel this any time and not recoil. Not avoid or distract. (Though I do understand Grace’s point of diversion being different.)

    If you are ever so inclined, it would be great to hear about some of your work in the trenches so to speak. I always like to know when people say they are practicing acceptance, what does that look like for them exactly. Not that it will look the same for all of us, but when you hear the little details of exactly how people handle those difficult moments, I believe it really helps us come to touch with our own ways to do the same.

    Anyway thanks again and happy Saturday!

  79. Sally Says:

    As a life long sufferer I totally agree with all the points you make.I have done all the things you have, tried it all meds therapy cbt the lot.Pauls way of acceptance is the only way that has ever helped me.No I am not cured but I have a whole lot more good days now thanks to him and am more optimistic than I have been for many years.

  80. Krista Says:

    Oh Bryan i hear you lol. That is the million dollar question isn’t it! How do i accept!!

    Like i said i have just really started doing this. One week or so. I too am trying to figure this out. Trial and error is how I’ve learnt in the past.

    I think it will depend on your past knowledge of everything as to how you approach this.

    I try and start my day with the reminder that this is how i am responding to any anxiety from now on. I have to remind myself a lot. I actually have much less fear about having one only after a few times of what i felt was really accepting.
    The fact that i have one goal now helps take the pressure off, instead of waking up and mentally going through all the coping strategies I’ve gathered over the years and wondering which combination i will use today to get me through the day with the least amount of anxiety.

    I don’t feel i could write a helpful step by step just yet. I need more time to get a good strategy for myself. But when i think i have something worth sharing i will share it.

  81. James Says:

    How intense does derealisation and depersonalisation get for some of you? I have recently come off my anxiety medication that I was on for a decade, and it am finding my sensations have become *very* powerful.

    I’m feeling overwhelmed especially by my derealisation and depersonalisation, as sometimes when I am out and about it strikes in a force I didn’t even really know was possible. I’m not talking about just feeling a bit detached, I get this strong feeling of being completely out of it and even speaking to people is almost too much – my voice doesn’t sound like my own and I start to wonder if I will lose my mind. I really can’t overemphasise how intense it can be. I have had DR and DP for years now, but I’ve never had it be quite his debilitating.

    I find it hard to see how I could ever just let this type of sensation be there and not be scared of it. I mean, it effects very strongly how I can interact with people because I feel like I’m in another dimension to them! It can come in waves too and hit really hard out of the blue.

    It truly is a hellish feeling, and it really takes it out of me. I just absolutely hate it and can’t see how I can cope with it to be honest :(

  82. Doreen Says:

    I am going to ask again – could people please stop writing posts with words in capital letters. It comes across to me as looking lecturing and shouting. Thanks

  83. Bryan Says:


    I have rolling panic not DP but I know how you feel. I know how intense the feelings are.

    But when you say don’t see how you can cope, I can’t help but think… you already are. You’re coping every day.

    All Paul is asking us to do is just try coping a different way since our way has clearly not worked.

  84. Bryan Says:

    Thanks Krista. I’ve been working on acceptance bases recovery for about a year and suffered for 3. I know what you mean. Do you have situational panic or rolling? (Random and sometimes constant)

  85. Marco Says:

    Sorry, I posted this but I think it got lost in the pack of posts, I don’t want to be ‘needy’ or ‘pushy’. Sorry again. Just wanted to ask something. I’m currently in a very odd period. It’s almost like I’m ‘in between feelings’. I’m not anxious, but I don’t feel ‘my old self’. I’m not happy, but I’m not sad, just kind of flat. It’s really strange. I can’t quite explain it, I hope what I’ve said has made sense. Anyone else relate to this ‘non-feeling’? Thanks.

  86. TJ Says:

    We are all bluffing ourselves. Think that over: we are all bluffing ourselves.

    Here’s why:

    Either you fell into this anxiety/depression trap because 1) you were continually, poorly dealing with stress over a long period of time; or 2) you had one very acute, traumatic event happen in your life.

    I’m in the 1 group. Continually, poorly dealing with stress. This was the part where we could have righted the ship, but we didn’t. It wasn’t full blown anxiety yet. It was just a constant unwillingness to deal with stress. I say unwillingness intentionally. Because other people in our lives were also under the same (or maybe even worse) stress. The difference? They never let it get to them the way we let it get to us.

    Take this example: you’re living in an apartment with your spouse. You have a neighbor living above you who walks like a gorilla and snores like a freight train. You hear this and it slowly wears away at you. You go from mildly commenting on how it’s a distraction to eventually hitting the ceiling every time you hear the noise.
    Your spouse? He/she hears it, could careless, and eventually it drifts into the background and they hardly even notice it.

    Now little stuff like this started to build and build and build. For months or years. You’ve been sending the message to your body, “uh oh, in a bad situation. Need to be ready for action!”.

    Now the section of your brain that controls the fight or flight response can’t actually see what’s happening. It doesn’t know if it’s a bear you’re dealing with or an inconsiderate person on the bus talking loudly on their cellphone. It just reacts and needs to do so quickly. It turns on the response, you’re body is momentarily in a heightened state of awareness. Adrenaline is flowing, areas of your brain that control being peaceful and content are shut off. Why? Well, think of it. If your symapthetic nervous system can’t actually see the stress but only knows that ‘bad stuff is a brewin’ would it make any sense at all for your body to still want to allow you to stop and admire a sunset, enjoy listening to music? Of course not….continued in next post

  87. TJ Says:


    So these little stressors are turning on the exact same system that would be turned on if you were confronted with a bear. The system does consciously think it through…. It simply reacts off of your body’s response to those stressors. It would make NO SENSE WHAT SO EVER for that system to have to consciously reflect on the nature of the stressor. Why? Because if you needed that much time to mill it over you’d be dead if the threat was a serious one: the bear.

    Now back to our mundane, bear free existence.
    We were using that system over and over and over. Constantly sending the message to our sympathetic nervous system ‘oh no! Things are bad!’ over silly things like a driver cutting you off in traffic.
    My wife never gets annoyed at being cut off in traffic. I do. Guess which one of us is struggling with anxiety?

    This system has been turned on so many times that eventually it got the unintended drift: things are very bad…. Need to be hyper alert.

    Now, this is all fine and well. This is where we hit that initial breaking point where we first felt the manifested symptoms of this system being turned on repeatedly: loss of appetite, or heart racing, or can’t sleep, or feel uncomfortable in the presence of others, or whatever.

    And this SHOULD have happened with the messages we we sending our bodies. It only makes sense for our body to respond that way after being repeatedly flooded with the same message, “things are bad, no time to enjoy that sunset, that nap, that meal”…. Continued in next post

  88. TJ Says:

    Now here’s the bluff.

    Your body should have had that initial response. You should have felt uncomfortable, queasy, on edge. You were telling your body for a loooooong time that things were bad.

    Maybe you would have just felt ths way for a week to a month. A week to a month of struggling to sleep, struggling to eat, struggling to be in public places, struggling to not be over-sensitive to your bodies racing heart or racing mind.

    All things being equal you would have drifted through this rough phase and came out clean on the other end.

    But why didn’t we? Well, our sympathetic nervous system doesn’t have conscious thought…. But other areas of our brain do.

    We were confused when this first happened. If someone right away were to explain, “hey, you’re in a bad way. Your body’s overstimulated. It’s going to be okay but you’re going to feel very wrong for a stretch of time until that system cuts off” and if we were to have believed them we’d never have been in this pit at all.

    But that didn’t happen. We started thinking, I have a disease! I lost the ability to sleep! My brain broke a switch!
    Those very uncomfortable initial and transient symptoms confused your mind. You started incorrectly drawing WRONG associations to make sense of it all. So guess what happened instead of that system eventually cutting off from its heightened state of arousal? It linked something benign as the source of that fear/ anxiety. Something benign like eating, or hearing your heartbeat, or sleeping, or being in public places.

    And that’s the bluff.

    You should have felt these symptoms initially. It only makes sense for your unconscious synthetic nervous system to react that way. Remember, it’s the same system if that threat is an elevator chord snapping and plummeting down the shaft or a person in your classroom repeatedly tapping their pen or smacking their gum as they chew.
    But we are not unconscious agents. We have conscious thought that tries to make sense of it all. It’s trying to draw associations to find out why you’re feeling this way. It must be public places, our your health, or a broke brain, or an inability to eat food properly or sleep properly anymore. THATS THE BLUFF.

    Those things don’t inherently have the ability to cause those symptoms. They only do because of a conscious mind trying to make sense of the symptoms brought on by an unconscious system (sympathetic nervous system) that was merely reacting to your manner of poorly handling mundane stressors.

  89. TJ Says:

    How to right the ship?

    Be accepting of the feelings, be at peace with them, don’t avoid the situations that you incorrectly linked as being the root of your anxiety.

    Live your life like you used to.

    View every time that you feel wrong as a great opportunity to tell your body, “no, it’s okay now. I made a mistake. I drew the wrong associations. I get that it will take awhile for the ship to be back on course. But so be it… It will be well worth the lesson learned.”

    How do you tell your body this? By living your life inspite of these feelings.

    This is why Weekes said its in the hard moments that we can make the greatest steps forward. Because that’s when we can really convince our bodies that everything is okay now. Will you immediately feel great? Probably not. Will the message still be sent? Definitely.

  90. elaine Says:

    sorry guys i wont be posting again .All i can say is read the book listen to paul and you will recover. I wish you future peace of mind and happiness that paul as given me. GOOD LUCK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  91. TJ Says:

    I’ve been there, Marco.
    Just be at peace with those feelings for however long they need to last. Will it get better? Most certainly.

  92. Krista Says:

    DP and DR are the symptoms I fear the most. I understand what your saying. However I have never had them heighten more than there usual horribleness. So I will try and give my perspective with the experience I have with dp +dr. Yes that is the feeling that I too have to sit with and be okay with lol not fun. I did expose myself to it the other day and did quite well. Is there a place U can go to bring it on kinda at will? Certain lighting can do it to me, so I went and sat in my garage where I usually turn the light out because I don’t want to feel DR, I felt it and just sat there and let it be there, not being to impressed by it. I know that if you are having this feeling constantly it would be different to deal with as the moments of clarity needed to kind of prepare myself to accept it wouldn’t be there. Regardless this dp and dr are just anxiety symptoms although they seem like it’s definitely you losing your mind. Trust and believe what Paul has outlined, and when you have your courage built up enough give it a try and just say screw it, be there, I don’t care, it’s just the same old crap you’ve been feeding me for years and I’m not scared of you anymore, come and do your worst… Maybe get fed up and say your not stealing one more minute of my life come and get me. try this once and I promise you will feel much calmer right away. I know it’s so difficult to let go and get to the place you need to just not care what it does. It this point you have felt the worst it can do to you so, what do you have to lose? Good luck James

  93. Krista Says:

    Bryan, how’s your progress with accepting, sounds like you have more experience with it than I do. Any words of wisdom? I have situational anxiety plus the rolling as you called it. Some days I just feel anxious for no apparent reason.

    I hope you don’t obsess about this flat feeling too much, it sounds like it’s better than being anxious all the time, yet not as good as where you would like to be. I think you should look at it as a non issue and not add unneeded stress to yourself. Just keep going and it will probably be short lived.

  94. Charles Says:

    In my opinion acceptance is not a coping strategy, it won’t make you instantly feel dramatically different, maybe that’s why it’s so hard to know if you are doing the right thing.
    Lots of people said before that it is a process, so it’s like practicing anything, pick any instrument or sport, you might not feel that you’ve improved after a particular practice session, but after a while you will notice a difference.
    The way I understand it, accepting is not entirely “doing nothing”, In his book Paul said he used to pace around and mumble through phone calls until he realized that all this “pacing around” and “mumble” are actually his way of avoiding feeling anxious, so he stopped it. So it’s not like he did “nothing”, he stopped fighting and avoiding.

    Maybe instead of searching for a way to “accept”, an easier way is to stop doing things that are definitely *not* accepting, I can share a few of those things that I did.

    I am overcoming a problem where I would anticipate upcoming events and think “what would I do if I felt anxious in that event?” this thought would in turn make me anxious in the present moment, then my anxiety would shoot even higher because now I think “all upcoming events will make me anxious, that can’t be good, what is going on?”. The wrongs things that I have done that I stopped doing are:
    1. dig into my past and personality to figure out why this happened.
    2. trying to convince myself that I will be fine when that event happens.
    3. trying to figure out what triggered it, why it didn’t happen before?
    4. trying to remind myself what I know about anxiety, how harmless it is.

    Maybe we can start a list of things that we shouldn’t do? I think that would help.

  95. Bryan Says:

    Hey Krista,

    Well, I’m a huge Claire Weekes fan. I also have worked with a therapist who is a specialist at natural anxiety recovery, and his methods are similar to Paul’s/Weekes, etc.

    It’s really all the same… yet slightly different from person to person. Even on this page, you’ll see a slight variance in acceptance methodology. I like what Paul teaches, and I think it’s basically everything we need. Weekes laid the foundation and Paul did a great job taking it a bit further into modern living.

    Personally, I find the “inviting the symptoms” form of acceptance works for me.
    I know Paul wants us to do nothing… and I get that. But, I find that a very slightly more active mindset works for me. I have somewhat of a hard time always just “living along-side” the symptoms, though some days that clicks, too.
    I find that almost inviting them to do their worst seems to help me make the most strides. That said, much of my issues comes out of sleep… in the morning before I can get my bearings. So, I often have a bit of trouble getting my legs under me to get my acceptance going in the first place, if that makes sense. We all have a kryptonite with anxiety… mornings are mine. But, I’m working on keeping my mindset such that I will eventually just wake up in acceptance mode. I also know that it gets better as we calm down.

    I guess I didn’t give much of an answer. But, for me… actively opening myself to the symptoms when they start to flare up seems to help me. It keeps me from ignoring, which I think for many of us can turn into avoiding. So, relaxing into the symtpoms, trying to smile and invite them in to do their worst. (As Claire Weekes says.)
    That seems to help me make strides.

    Keep up the good work. You clearly have a great grasp of this concept and I’m thrilled to hear that you’re making progress after so long. :)

  96. Bryan Says:

    Charles, that’s a great point! Was just thinking that yesterday. The hard part about acceptance based recovery is… it never works when you’re doing it!
    I’ve even noticed that in the course of a day. I’ll do a great job accepting symptoms in the morning and I’ll try not to expect anything from it. But, naturally your mind gets impatient if nothing changes. Then you eventually just accept that it’s not going to change… and suddenly, it does. And then the light bulb goes off… it IS working when you do it, but we don’t see the results for a while. It’s truly a cumulative process. It may take hours, days to see the results of acceptance during a hard time.

    That, I believe… is why it’s so hard for so many of us to make huge strides right away. I think some people get a bit luckier than others, and their bodies cooperate more quickly. But, for some of us… it takes a long time, but it does work. I’ve seen it in limited amounts. I’ve made progress. I just need to keep working on truly letting go.

  97. Tracy Says:

    I do believe that patience is the key to acceptance. I am no longer terrified of going to bed but instead lying there and accepting that I won’t sleep well. Exhaustion is horrible, I am aching all over and it is hard to be a positive zombie. I lay next to my partner who sleeps like a baby and I feel sorry for myself because I used to be like that! I know how new mothers must feel! I just want my mind and body to calm so I can get some zzzzzz’s. I am reminding myself that acceptance is the only route on this journey and patience is the petrol. I need lots of it! : ))

  98. rachh Says:

    Love love love TJs post.
    I am a really stressy person and get stressed about the tiniest thing or if i dont get my own way.
    Does this mean if i try to look at things from a different perspective it will help me in the long run?

  99. James Says:

    Thanks Krista. I feel like I do try and expose myself to it, but I guess I could do more to help that way. Perhaps going and intentionally bringing it on like you suggested is a good idea.

    I suppose the fact that no one has replied saying that they get such intense depersonalisation and derealisation means I am the only one :/

  100. Lizb Says:


    Im in the same boat as you regarding sleep. I feel so jealous of everyone around me that can sleep! I’ve hardly slept for a month and am waiting for it to pass. The longer it carries on the more anxious i get! Very hard going into work on little or no sleep. The thing with sleep is you cant force it, so we have to ride out the storm x

  101. TJ Says:

    Remember, sleep isn’t the issue. You didn’t lose the ability to sleep.
    You struggled with sleep initially because of that first boost of anxiety when your system went on high alert. And you should have. I’d guess the vast majority of anxiety sufferers had that first stretch of an inability to sleep. The thing that makes those different who aren’t struggling with sleep now but still have anxiety is that their anxiety didn’t latch on to that initial struggle to sleep. It latched on to something else, like public places or eating or health concerns.

    We incorrectly drew the association with sleeping and the bed…. They just drew different and still very much incorrect associations.

    That’s the bluff of anxiety.

    It could have passed after that initial burst, but we didn’t let it. We assumed it had something to do with an inability to sleep or be in public or having heart issues or unsteady legs.

  102. TJ Says:

    The bluff is that it should have left after that initial surge. We just never let it subside because we didn’t know from where those initial feelings came. We searched and searched… Looked here and there….freaked out assuming that there became something haunted and mystical and disturbing about public places or sleeping or whatever.
    Those poor things: the bedroom, the public market, our hearts, our legs, our significant others, the food we eat….. These simple and honest and natural things became stained with an association of fear that they never ever should have been stained with.

    Our conscious minds were trying to make sense of something an unconscious part of our brain did in response to a continual message that our bodies kept sending it.

  103. TJ Says:

    Yes rachh, that’s exactly what I’m saying.

    You’re struggling with anxiety right now. These other things that generate stress in your life, find a way of being at peace with them. Don’t let them have that effect on you.

    It’s possible. We see it every day. One person on a train is getting all worked up over the audacity of someone talking loudly on their cellphone. While the person right next to them hardly even notices and is contentedly reading a newspaper.

    Which of these two people will more than likely develop anxiety or keep sustaining their anxiety?

  104. Bryan Says:


    Great stuff!! Thanks so much.


    Your posts are appreciated. You should continue posting. The no caps thing is a harmless request IMO. Avoiding that is no biggie. Hope you’ll stick around.


    Agree 100%. It’s hard not to look for results and progress all the time.
    But. Accepting where we are means even when it’s awful. Those are the times I still need to master. Great post.

  105. Bryan Says:


    Sometimes people just don’t respond. You are far from the only one.
    In fact what you state is almost anxiety 101 for many. DP is the common cold of anxiety. It’s near the top of the symptoms talked about here. Scan the comments in other threads or just read Paul’s posts. You are experiencing some of the most basic expected symptoms of anxiety.

    I don’t mean to say it’s easy. It can be brutal. But you are not unique.
    You can rise above it.

  106. Charlotte Says:


    I agree with Bryan’s point do and d r are really really common. I have lots of feelings of unreality and they can be strong. I also sometimes can hear my own voice and it feels like its not mine. My mum also has the same, so it is definitely not just you.

    Also u say u came of your meds recently, if it was because you are better then well done u for that !


  107. Lucy Says:

    A few really positive posts lately that have provided just the boost I’ve needed to know that I can go on..! Krista I have the same goal of just not fearing a panic attack, if I could get to that stage I believe I would be half way there. My symptoms quickly escalate from anxiety to panic, like my brain thinks “oh no we’re anxious, now we must have a panic attack.” It’s because I am scared that it keeps rolling on. I know they are harmless but they can be so utterly gripping that sometimes it’s difficult to remember that. I know I have made progress though from where I was, and will continue to do so. Some days now I actually feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. That’s not to say the days where it’s black as ever have gone, but I am beginning to even out a little. I am full of positivity to face this week! And the next, and the next… I am fully prepared to face this monster head on and see it is nothing other than a little shadow. Anxiety has tricked me into thinking so much has been taken from me, when it really hasn’t. Thanks for the excellent post TJ and everyone else who contributes their ups and downs :)

  108. Doreen Says:

    TJ – I agree with much of what you have said, but I would not divide the trigger for anxiety into 2 such neat categories. Some people have had many more than one traumatic event in their lives and others may have to live with stressful situations for much of the time. For them the difficult task is recognising when the anxiety has spilled over into the rest of their lives and onto situations that in themselves are only marginally anxiety provoking or even not at all. Difficult but not impossible.

  109. TJ Says:

    Doreen, trying not to split hairs here. But whether its one or more than one traumatic event I think most would agree that a traumatic experience is qualitatively different that mundane, regular stress that builds and builds.

  110. Mark R Says:


    Doesn’t even have to be stressful or traumatic for anxiety to come back. My last two bouts were started when I made big changes in my life, and they were positive, not stressful at all…..well not on a conscious level anyway.
    I know plenty of people too this has happened to, maybe its when you venture into something new/the unknown, a survival thing kicks in, who knows.

  111. Charlotte Says:

    Mark r
    I’ve had same as you ! My anxiety has always been after a life changing even some of them positive, for example I had two children , and anxiety kicked in after both ! We moved house, anxiety kicked in after that, I got a really good job I like, anxiety kicked in after that !

    It’s probably connected to change and how we manage it, I know I don’t like change but in my life over the past 5 years or more its been nothing but change, there has been very little stability, which I think has contributed in my case

  112. TJ Says:

    Hi Charlotte,

    You say that your anxiety came on after positive changes, but then also that you don’t like change and your life has been nothing but change for a long period of time.

    Those changes were indeed good things…. But it was still ultimately how you viewed them that lead to stress.

    It’s not as if you were perfectly content with these changes and wham… You were still hit with anxiety.
    Changes for the good or bad, for someone who doesn’t like change and they regularly undergo change they’ll still he experiencing stress from these situations.

  113. Charlotte Says:

    Hi TJ

    Yes I agree, I can see now, its how I view the changes and my thoughts and worries around each change that affected me. In this day and age it’s hard to avoid change, and in my life I have another big round as we are facing outsourcing or moving down the country.

    I suppose its a good test of my new found acceptance and how I am trying to just accept life rather than fight it

  114. Charlotte Says:

    I meant to say it has taken me a long time to get he perspective that it is how I have viewed the change, and I realise I have always been a worried and also looked on the negative side.

    I’m also having a rough time still, after a good week or so, today had been hard as its nearly a year ago my anxiety started, and lots of memories of how painful that time was are comin back

  115. TJ Says:

    Here’s a great opportunity then to show to your mind and body that everything is okay.
    Let those feelings and thoughts be there… but try not to stew in them. Live your life. Don’t fight them. don’t add anxiety to anxiety. But that also doesn’t mean you can’t also focus on the positive in your life. You’re sending a VERY powerful message back to your body and mind saying, “no, it’s alright. I’m doing better now. I understand this anxiety for what it truly is.”.
    Don’t force feed yourself positivity to try to block out those negative feelings and thoughts. Because that’s still fighting it.

    If nothing else prove to yourself that regardless of how bleak it may seem you can still live your life as you did before all of this happened.

    Weekes says, it’s in the hard moments where we can make the greatest gains towards recovery.

    You can do this, Charlotte.

    I can’t stress enough… It’s in the hard moments that you make the greatest gains towards recovery.

  116. Mark R Says:


    I don’t think I didn’t like change………..I was very, very happy just before anxiety came back in April 2012. What I didn’t respond well to was the anxiety when it did come back………..I spiraled right down and in hindsight there was no need for me to do this.

  117. Mark R Says:

    ………but on the plus side I’ve learnt a hell of a lot over this last 18 months, what makes me tick, what I really stand for, where I want to go in life. I’ve also got into meditation, this has been an immense help in separating my thoughts and turbulent mind from me.

    One of the most important things I’ve gained is the right inner voice, one that tells me that I’ve been here before, its temporary and I need to just ride the storm. TJ, Claire Weekes covers this in her books. Had I been in possession of this in April 12 it would have saved a lot of suffering.

  118. TJ Says:

    I like that. Developing a strong inner voice that is more positive and reassuring.

    I wonder how many of us have more negative internal dialog? I mean, even before all of this started? I know I do/did.

    I would wake up in the morning and by the time I hit the shower I’d be going over potential arguments that I might have with someone at work. How I would ‘1 up’ them. I even reflected on it at the time, “children don’t do this. Children are excited for their day, to meet up with friends. When did I become so negative?”.

  119. TJ Says:

    Hey Mark, could you point me in the direction of where in her book that she speaks of the inner voice?

  120. Mark R Says:


    It’s its in Essential Help for your Nerves pages 171-176.

  121. Marco Says:

    TJ & Krista, thanks for your replies. I will try not to obsess about it. As you’ve both said, it’ll pass. Just a new sensation that I’ve not experienced before.

  122. Mark R Says:


    You mention that we need to send messages of safety back to our brain and I think the most important way to do this is with relaxation. This never gets mentioned on the blog, just wondering what everyone thinks/does of this?

  123. Charlotte Says:

    Thanks TJ for your kind help and advice, your posts r great.

  124. Bryan Says:


    I’m a fan of daily relaxation/meditation. I understand where Paul says that we should only relax because it’s comfortable… not to “get rid of” anxiety. I get that, I get what he’s saying. I know it’s a mindset he’s teaching us to get into.
    I would only say that sensitization is a deeply physical state, and I went the first 2 years of my anxiety trying to pretend everything was normal and do anything I wanted. As soon as I added relaxation and made it a point to rest so my nerves could recover, I made progress.

    So, I personally think relaxation/meditation is a good thing. Paul mentions that he got into it a bit. I think he’s just hesitant to tell people to DO “things” to “get rid” of anxiety. I know it’s a nuance, but I think it’s mandatory when we are sensitized. It’s like a broken leg. You don’t have to sit and think about it all day, but resting it is going to help it heal.


    You said…
    “I would wake up in the morning and by the time I hit the shower I’d be going over potential arguments that I might have with someone at work. How I would ’1 up’ them. I even reflected on it at the time, “children don’t do this. Children are excited for their day, to meet up with friends. When did I become so negative?”.”

    Interesting, and I can totally relate. Even though I consider myself positive, I do a lot of this. So… then, what did you do? This is a crucial question for me. Did you take the “let the thoughts be there” approach or… did you work on changing that thinking?

    That key point is one of the biggest points of confusion for me with regards to Paul’s methods. Many say just to let them be. But, letting them be to me seems to mean letting negativity fester. And just not “getting involved” with them to me doesn’t make sense. If the thoughts exist, they’re in my brain… so I’m involved. No, I don’t have to actively freak out about it… but if the narrative you described is going through my head in the shower, what is the best course of action?
    Doing nothing? Or… challenging the thoughts and gently diverting attention to something else?

    That’s a really important factor that few seem to be able to address…

  125. Kelly Says:

    Sorry for the long comment, I actually came across an older post “the best way to overcome anxiety is to do nothing” on here from last September and found some of the comments from others very helpful. So I apologise for referencing old comments.

    I have found this and the responses very helpful. I just wanted to say thank you to Helen for your reply to Dawn.
    I went through a similar thing when my husband and I got engaged. We already had bought our house about 6 months prior and things were going great, I was hoping he would propose in the near future. We were overseas on a holiday when he proposed and I was the happiest girl on earth. However the minute we were about the board the plane home I was suddenly hit with these feelings of guilt and anxiety and wondered if I really did love him. I’d never even doubted this before. I felt terrible, I felt sick to the stomach. I told him that I was freaking out a bit about the whole marriage thing once we arrived home but at the same time I did want to marry him. I think I was also a bit freaked out about the focus being on us. We’d been to about 10 weddings in the past two years, I’d been bridesmaid for 3 of them, so I was used to just being someone in the background and not necessarily the person up front with all eyes on them so I found that thought rather daunting too. I got over this reasonbly quick but it scared the life out of me. The wedding was fine, I felt uncomfortable at times because of the focus being on us but I did what I’m sure most anxiety sufferers do, I tried to rid myself of these uncomfortable feelings vigorously. This was about 4 years ago that all of this happened.
    We now have a 1 year old son and seeing my husband with him is just the best thing ever. However about 2 months ago I had an anxiety attack again, just randomly as I’d gone to bed one night. Worrying again about my feelings for him. I had not had a thought like this for 4 years so I was questioning it in every single way. I kept thinking that this must be a sign of guilt and that maybe I should no longer be with my husband but then at the same time I don’t not want what I have in my life right now (if that makes sense). I told him that I’d been having anxious feelings again but this time I felt like EVERYTHING had just overwhelmed me at once. Motherhood is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, nothing can truly prepare you for it. I love my son more than anything and I wouldn’t change a thing but boy can it test you in every way. I feel like I’ve just done 12 months of military training! Sleep deprivation, multi tasking etc. I have a lot of issues with my dad and his lack of being there for me for the majority of my life. That’s something that I’ve always just pushed aside, been upset with from time to time but never actually faced my issues with him and dealt with them. I took the plunge and decided to see a counsellor about my issues with my dad which then turned into dealing with life issues in general. I have purhcased your book Paul and I am finding it very helpful so far. The counsellor is helping and he hasn’t given me all of these steps to follow if I feel anxious, in fact he hasn’t told me anything specifcally to do when I feel this way. I’m not to the point where anyone has said I need medication, I’d actually prefer not to go down that road. Especially after reading about Paul’s experiences. I don’t feel anxious from the moment I wake until the moment I go to sleep at night so I don’t feel that I’m what you would call a ‘severe sufferer’. I just get these little jabs of anxiety from time to time, hot flushes and feeling a bit sick in the stomach and it’s mainly these thoughts of wondering whether I love my husband and if I’m happy with my life. I’ve found your methods helpful Paul and I feel like I’m progressing. I’ve also found it overwhelming to think that once you have kids there’s no turning back, it’s not like you’ve started a new job and you realise it’s not for you so you’ll resign and find something else. I found myself getting confused because I don’t want things to be different so why was I questiong what I have? I often wonder if these really are feelings of guilt or if it’s just the demon that is anxiety trying to make me act on these thoughts?
    I’ve spoken to a lot of people close to me about being overwhelmed with motherhood and everyone has said that their relationship suffered in that first 12 months or so. My cousellor hasn’t acutally said “you have such and such condition”. He’s touched on the post natal depression subject once or twice and I feel like that is a big part of why I started feeling this way. So I’m trying to get through this and not make and drastic changes to my life based on anxious thoughts.
    I hope this makes some kind of sense. I’m curious to know others thoughts on what I’ve just posted?

  126. TJ Says:

    Hi Bryan,

    Some thoughts I have more conscious control over. Some I don’t.
    My fearful thoughts I’ll let chatter away with a gentle reminder to myself, “it’s just anxiety”. Because these strike me a bit deeper. I try to pay them little respect, as Paul says.

    But the negative self talk I feel I have more control over. They tend not to have the same fearful response in me. I’ll challenge these thoughts at times. Or sometimes just trying to focus on the more positive.

    For me, this negative self chatter was around before my anxiety. I don’t doubt alot of these tendencies of mine helped ‘set the stage’ for anxiety to blossom.

    My wife is a very peaceful, happy person. I once asked her, “do you ever go through arguments in your head that you may have with others? Like you’re 1-upping someone in a disagreement?”.
    She thought I was joking when I asked her this. And to make it even more embarrassing…. These were thoughts I was having right as I was waking up.

    I wasn’t always like this.

  127. TJ Says:

    I’m only talking from my experience here.

    I think alot of the initial negative background noise thoughts we bring on ourselves. Through whatever forces we started focusing more and more on negative things.

    Say we’re leaving the grocery store and we didn’t like the attitude of the cashier. I have a big tendency to focus mainly on that cashier. It stains my memory of the trip to the store.
    My wife? She experienced the same cashier…. But she’s focusing on something cute our son did while shopping.

    We get to the car. I turn to my wife,”that cashier was rude. How does she even keep her job?”
    My wife, “don’t let it bother you. She’s probably that way to everyone.”. And then she’ll be talking about the cute/fun stuff while I’m stewing over that cashier.

    It becomes a strong habit.

    Break that habit by sending a different message to your brain. Doesn’t mean that you won’t have this initial tendency to focus on some negative aspect of whatever you just did. Start small and be consistent.

  128. TJ Says:

    Hi Mark.

    I think relaxation is very important.
    Early on though I was trying to use it like some magic bullet…. And it only served to further frustrate me. I would do it hoping that that night I would finally get some solid sleep. The sleep wouldn’t come and it would sour/stain my mind towards whatever technique I just implemented.

    That’s not so much to fault relaxation measures as to fault both my aim, my hopes, and my patience.

  129. Bryan Says:

    You’re very insightful, TJ. I’m going to guess you’re a bit older? I”m 45 as of two days ago. I’ve gone through periods in my life where the negative chatter was more prominent. But, I’m generally an upbeat, positive guy. I’ve always seen my future as bright.

    Though, I will say… the kind of argument in our heads I have tend to be not so much pure negativity, but often some kind of protection mechanism. So, the argument (imaginary) with a co-worker is about protecting my turf, my job, my well-being. (etc.) I’ll focus on people who I imagine may be undermining me. (They never are.) I’ll then wonder about how I’m performing in front of people of importance. (Usually good, and of course worrying about this is fruitless.)

    THIS is what I think has increased 10-fold for me in the past 5-7 years, since being a dad… husband, then divorced, etc. I think those self protective thoughts went way up, and the happy go lucky thoughts went way down. Thank goodness for my little girl, because she brings me so much simple joy. She’s helped keep me sane through this.

    But, I know just what you mean. I think a lot of it started pre-anxiety, and contributed. But, some of it is amplified because of anxiety. It’s a chicken-egg thing. Which came first? I don’t know, but like you.. I know I didn’t used to be like this. And while I know I need to let certain thoughts be, I feel some need to be gently diverted and challenged so better focus can be had. Essentially…. what you said.

  130. Krista Says:

    Thanks for sharing, I also am a huge fan of Claire Weekes, what a pioneer she was. What is it about the mornings that are causing the anxiety? I get not liking mornings, Ive actually made it so that I don’t have to much of anything till at least 10:30, because I really don’t like them either lol. But it sounds like its more than not being a morning person in your case.

    You sound like you are on a slow and steady path to recovery and you seem to be a positive person. Keep it up :)


    Is negative internal dialog and having fearful obsessive thoughts the same? Should they be dealt with the same?
    Being negative about a cashiers attitude and fearing an up coming event or having racing thoughts about having a panic attack I think maybe two different things.

    TJ, you said you were annoyed by a cashier, annoyed by a gorilla walking/freight train snoring neighbour, annoyed by a person talking loud on a phone, you think about arguments with co-workers and ways you can 1 up them. Im not an expert but it looks more like your more worried about whats going on outside yourself than inside. Maybe you have a low tolerance for things that are going on outside yourself that aren’t to your liking. Or maybe you have a feeling that you are being disrespected by people and you feel you need to prove something. I too am extememly sensitive to noise, my mother so graciously told me that I have a disease called misophonia lol. Look it up maybe this is you too. I cant stand when people eat loudly also, drives me nuts. But I do not see it or handle those things the same why I handle panic attacks. I just realise that that is my issue not theirs, take a few deep breaths, try and calm myself down. I often just leave the situation if I have to, because it makes me very angry, not anxious. so leaving isn’t avoiding panic, its leavings so I don’t say something bitchy to someone for doing a normal thing. Like I said that is my problem not theirs. Do you get actual panic attacks from being annoyed?

  131. Krista Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to any fellow Canadians on here :)

  132. Krista Says:

    TJ you may find this interesting if you don’t already know about this, not saying this is a cure and follow what they are saying, just showing you that there is a condition that deals with the noise issues you have,

    5 misophonia-beating tips you can apply today

    “Overcome Noise Sensitivity” courtesy of djfoobarmatt

    “I have thought about killing her! Well, rather than do that I’ve taken time off work!””Err, that’s good.” I asked Malcolm what terrible sin his colleague was guilty of to so enrage him over so many months.”I know she doesn’t mean to, but it’s the way she clears her throat. I’m just waiting, listening out for it, and it drives me nuts. I mean literally nuts; it’s made me depressed.”Noise sensitivity – technically known as misophonia – isn’t just a mild irritation or dislike of noises. For the sufferer, the noises become over-riding obsessions and can lead to depression, anxiety, and severe anger. When he came to see me, he had a new additional noise focus.”I can hear the neighbour’s water feature. It seems to come on occasionally and when it does it drives me crazy! I always seem to be waiting out for it, but other people say they can barely notice it.”Noise sensitivity can make life unbearable. It might be the sound of someone eating or any random noise at all. In my practice of treating people for noise sensitivity, it tends to be noises made by other people, such as smacking lips, but it could be anything. If you find yourself becoming irate, irrational, and enraged to a particular sound then try these tips to help you overcome noise sensitivity.
    1) Know your noise sensitivity triggersWhat exactly is bothering you? Malcolm didn’t mind this college coughing, but when she cleared her throat, which apparently she did often, he became enraged. What specifically upsets you? My noise-sensitive client found that he wasn’t just being upset by the sound itself, but by the expectation before the sound occurred and feelings of anger after he’d heard it. At weekends he’d obsess about the noise and think how he could possibly avoid this poor colleague (whom he quite liked). But the noise itself may not be the only trigger.Malcolm had many stresses in his life and, not surprisingly, the misophonia became much worse when his general stress levels were higher than normal. It’s as if the noise just became a focal point for all of life’s stresses and frustrations.What exactly triggers your noise sensitivity and what generally triggers it?
    2) Think about when you are less noise-sensitiveWhen examining problems, it seems natural to focus on when the problem does happen – and that’s useful. But we also need to learn how not to ‘do’ the problem. One way is to focus on when it doesn’t or hasn’t happened when we might have expected it to.Malcolm remembered a time when he’d gone for his lunch break and bumped into an old school friend. They’d reminisced and laughed and agreed to meet up again; he remembered going back to work and, for the first time, not even thinking about the woman’s throat clearing. This little snippet was invaluable information because it gave us a clue as to what Malcolm needed more of, in his life, to decrease his stress response being triggered by sounds.When is your noise sensitivity not triggered in a situation you’d normally expect it to be?
    3) Fill what is lacking in lifeIt was interesting that when Malcolm felt connected to someone and had laughed, his noise sensitivity had abated for many hours. Do you feel isolated, directionless, powerless, or as if your life has little fun or creativity? If so, then it might be that all these stresses (and not meeting needs always causes stress) may be causing the noise sensitivity.I encouraged Malcolm to start seeing people he liked again, to relax deeply and regularly, and to take up a little exercise. He found that starting to meet his basic life needs, in addition to other work we did, resulted in the happy ‘by-product’ of a massive reduction in his focus on noise.What might be lacking in your life? And how can you actively go about filling that hole?
    4) Re-tune your hearingI mentioned that Malcolm had also become over-sensitive to the intermittent sound of his neighbour’s water feature. Now, we see and hear all kinds of things, but we are not always aware of seeing and hearing all these things. The great hypnotherapist Dr Milton Erickson told a story of when he was a young man and went to work in an extremely noisy factory. To his amazement, whilst he couldn’t hear what was being said to him because of the din of the factory machines, all the other workers could hear one another. And to his even greater amazement, he found that after a week he too could hear what his co-workers were saying. How? Through selective hearing, that’s how.If you stare at the wall, you’ll notice you can either really focus in one spot or you can de-focus on that area and focus on parts of your visual field around the edges of that spot. Even though your eyes haven’t moved, your focus has.You can do this with hearing, too. When you are deeply engrossed in a film or book, your ears may hear when your name is called, but your brain doesn’t register that sound. When you are sleeping deeply, there are all kinds of things your ears hear but your brain doesn’t. I asked Malcolm to wait for the sound of the water feature (which he was already doing) and then, when he heard it, to listen intently to sounds outside the house and to list those sounds (“car passing, kids playing,” and so on). Of course, he found he couldn’t be as focused on the water feature when he did this.Try to de-focus on trigger sounds by focusing on other sounds around.
    5) Overcome noise sensitivity with hypnosisI used hypnosis with Malcolm not only to encourage a tuning out from the sounds that had upset him, but also to help him change the way he felt about those sounds. Go and see someone who is skilled in the use of clinical hypnosis to help you relax around what troubles you – and for a flavour of this right now, click on the free audio clip below.Malcolm learned to ignore that water feature and went back to work a changed man, relaxed, fine about that throat clearing, and determined to make a fuller life for himself.

  133. Doreen Says:

    Possibly context has a lot to do with whether we experience a noise as stressful or not. If it is being produced by thoughtless intrusive behaviour then I suggest that generates a lot more stress than something which just happens to make a noise. For instance my husband who is one of the least anxious people I know is like a coiled spring when the boy next door plays instruments with his mates with all windows open and so loud that we cannot conduct a conversation. And this can go on for hours. Whereas the cuckoo clock next door ( the house adjoining ours) which used to chime every half hour was more of a problem for me, mainly because when I was sleeping badly it reminded me every half hour of what the time was. Eventually my neighbour moved it to her far wall so problem solved. But my stress was about whether I would sleep, not about the behaviour of my neighbour.

  134. James Says:

    Thanks for the replies. I am still feeling concerned though that my DP / DR is worse than it should be for anxiety. I often get so scared with it when I am out and about, because I feel so detached it is untrue. I am not even able to really speak to people, and my mind can go too blank to answer a basic question to a friend. It can be truly paralysing, and I fail to see how I can live along side such a symptom???

    Maybe I have DP disorder, and anxiety as a result of it?

  135. Charlotte Says:

    Well it’s Monday am and I havin a bad one ! Woken with anxiety and racing thoughts, this is me forever, when can’t I just accept and move on, I’m a failure and am letting my family down, what if I have to take time off work etc. I’m just trying to pay these thoughts no attention but its so hard.

    I reAd some of the posts and they have made smile, by the time I’m in the shower TJ I have also gone over all the things I haven’t done at work, how bad the consequences will be, I will lose my job and then my house blah blah blah!!

    At theent I’m just thinking of some positives for a change , like my 1.5 year old who thinks having sugar puffs for breakfast is the best great in the world and shouts yay when she sees the box !! She’s is now blowing kisses at the tv to her fAvourite character !

    Does anyone get upset that anxiety robs them of feeling happy and enjoying things ? I’m never sure how to manage my expedition that I want to feel happy all the time and that I’m missing out on things cause of anxiety.

    Ah well lets see how today plays out.

  136. RachelT Says:

    Hi everyone, I stayed away from the blog for a few days to just give myself a bit of time away from anxiety following a blip i had a week ago. I had been practising mindfulness during the week before and had managed to unwind myself a couple of times when I had felt anxious. I was over the moon that for the first time I had found a tool to bring myself down a bit for the first time in 11 months. Id also been practising acceptance, total non judgemental acceptance, allowing it to be there, noticing it and just carrying on with my day. I was feeling really confident. I then had a wave of panic on the Saturday morning which was unusual and I decided in my new found confidence to follow it through and ask for more (Ive read this can explode the threat) and I really wanted to burst that bubble once and for all. It didnt work out, I became scared and it blew my socks off. Ive been scared ever since ( 8 days ) Ive carried on regardless, been out, made dinner for friends, worked everyday etc but I am shaking inside. I have still been tying to adopt acceptance but its the fear, fear of going mad, fear of not being able to break this stupid self defeating habit, fear of losing everything and the sadness Chorlotte, oh yes, the sadness that im acting my way through but not enjoying things. How can I get rid of the fear? Im on high alert all the time, my stomach is in knots and Im looking for signs Im going bonkers constantly. my vision is acute and Im looking for things out of the corner of my eye and my hearing is sensitive. I assume this has now become my form of health anxiety. Anybody else on here ever been on this path?



  137. emmae Says:

    Hi everyone, I have just enjoyed reading through people’s posts on acceptance, mind chatter, thoughts, what to do / not to do and relaxation etc.
    I will just add some of my thoughts and experiences to the mix, and I hope they are helpful to some. James – I also saw your stuff on DP / DR and I will also respond to that at the end.

    Thoughts and mind chatter – I tried for so long trying to divert attention away from my thoughts and mind chatter and just found this exhausting. The point I have got to now (and I think this is similar to TJ) is just let all the automatic mind chatter be there – sometimes I get engrossed and then I naturally come back to the present moment. When that happens I just notice that I have come back. This is something I have learned from doing mindfullness meditation. This has stopped the watching and “trying” and has enabled me to get on. Yes, at the moment, as my anxiety is pretty severe still, my mind is chattering alot. But the judgements have stopped. So what that my mind chatters. I have dropped it as a problem, which paradoxically has been quite freeing. The same with thoughts, however sometimes I am able to also offer my mind an alternative. So, “I can’t cope with going shopping today” can become “let’s go shopping and see how it goes”. So, I am offering a more soothing voice to my brain. Sometimes I just leave the thought there – I know it’s anxiety and often that’s enough to not buy in to it. I see myself as being the middle ground person and although this chatter and the thoughts are in my head they are not me. This has helped to distance myself slightly from them. Sometimes I wonder how this will change as I am just allowing it all to be negative and anxious etc – however if I challenged every thought I had I wouldn’t be able to do anything else. I think knowing it is anxious mind chatter has helped me to be less effected by the content.

    Relaxation – I have found mindfullness meditation helpful. This has helped me with the above and has a very non judgemental element to it. I also do yoga at home which I find particularly helpful. It enables me to get back in to my body from being so in my mind and this seems to be very calming. I have tried to make this part of my weekly routine, and even when it feels like the last thing I want to do I do it and mostly feel better as a result. Again, I don’t do it to feel better, I do it because I like it.

    Acceptance – My interpretation of this is that I allow all the thoughts and feelings and get on with my day. Sometimes I need support when I feel completely overwhelmed, that’s fine too. I spent along time trying to do this on my own and isolating. I have now discovered that I sometimes need that kick up the bottom to talk about something else on a really bad day or a shoulder to cry on when I feel really fed up. This is normal and being kind.

    James – your DP / DR comment. I have this very intensely and it feels horrible. However I am working on not judging myself for this, telling myself it’s ok and that over time it will reduce. My thoughts are very negative about this “that it will never go, that I will feel so disconnected and detached forever etc etc” however I try to say calmly to myself “Right now it is very intense and I am living with it as it is. In time it will reduce”.

    Anyway … I hope this adds to the current debate.

    Take care all,
    Emma x

  138. RachelT Says:

    Ive just read Pauls post from Monday, January 12th, 2009 at 1:08 pm. Answered my anxious mind. Thanks Paul

  139. Krista Says:

    I think your right, after my first post to TJ, and after reading that piece on misophonia, I realized that noise can cause anxiety not just the extreme anger I feel when say someone is making any type of noise when they eat. I did like the advise to readjust your focus on a different sound while the annoying/stressing sound is happening. I personally am going to try that next time im in that situation. In your opinion would you deal with the anxiety this post is talking mainly about, the same as you would with noise stress/anxiety?

  140. Krista Says:

    Great post Emma :)

  141. James Says:

    Emma, thanks that does reassure me a bit :)

    I managed to accept my anxiety pretty well on the journey home I think. Considering it like any other problem, like a cold or a broken leg really does help.

    It seems the second I am doing well though, something else comes and scares me. Just now I was sitting down at the dinner table and telling my family a story, and as I was talking my mind froze and I felt I couldn’t think even enough to tell the story. It was a really horrible sensation, and I had to kind of tail off and not finish the story :(

    Is even this anxiety??

  142. Kelly Says:

    Feeling a bit anxious today. Trying to not make a big deal of it though and not let it overtake me.

    After returning to work from maternity leave in June my job is super boring. I do 3 days a week and it’s good money, I’ve been with the company for 12 years but I think I’m realising that I’m stale in this job. Since returning to work I feel like they’ve just given me the mind numbing jobs to do becuase I’m only here 3 days. Some days I have absolutely nothing to do. So I feel like I get my son organised in the mornings for daycare, rush around trying to get myself ready in amongst having him at my feet only to come to work and be bored.

    I feel like this is contributing to my anxiety which in turn makes me doubt whether I’m happy with my life and everything in it. I posted here the other day but I think it was a bit long for anyone to want to read the whole post.

    The thing is I’m scared to take that plunge and leave. Just means I have to find something on the days that suit me around my sons daycare which isn’t the easiest thing.

    Thoughts anyone?

  143. Charlotte Says:

    Hi Kelly

    I guess it’s hard to give specific advice to someone, but I was told not to make decisions when feeling anxious as often your decision capabilities are changed. I have two young children and work 4 days a week, I have way too much work to do in 4 days and have to manage complex projects and timings, I find it really stressful and worry it causes me anxiety ! I often think about changing to a job where there is less work.

    So I guess the real issue however is how you react to work, ie every job could be stressful depending on how you manage stress/ anxiety.

    Hope this helps in some way

  144. Nikki Says:

    Hey guys just wanted to share how I have been the last few days. I am finding this all a bit overwhelming and frustrating. So much so that I feel I could burst into tears about it all. Yesterday my daughter wanted me to chum her into the city to do some clothes shopping. I find it difficult to go out the house with people but almost impossible to go out alone just now. I do however take every opportunity to go out when people ask me to. The thought of the city felt overwhelming but I was up for the challenge. She wanted me to drive the car which was fine but all the way in I was aware of my anxious thoughts. They were mostly about getting parked and about the distance we would have to walk to the shops. You can guess by the time I got there I was pretty anxious. I was ok with that as I was expecting to be anxious. However by the time we walked to the shops I was shaking like a leaf and dizzy as heck. In the first shop I felt like I was going to faint. I was trembling and wanted to run as fast as possible back to the car. I didn’t though and stuck it out. I once walked to the door to leave but turned back again in order to stick out the feelings. After about 45 mins I felt my body relax. I was then able to stay in the city for 3 hours and even tried on lots of clothes myself. At the end of the day I felt exhausted but proud.

    However today another friend wanted me to go out with her and I was just as anxious. We went to a smaller shopping mall that was much nearer than the city. In the first shop I had to leave as my body was trembling too much. I honestly didn’t think I had the stamina for facing my anxiety today. I then went into another shop as my friend was returning some clothes. At the till I honestly felt I was going to pass out. I was trembling, feeling faint and actually had to steady myself on the counter. All the time I kept saying its just anxiety, let it go, float into it, it will pass etc. Once we were clear from the till i felt a huge relief. I made myself stay in the shop till I had calmed down. We then went round many other shops and even stopped for lunch. Again I was out for three hours.

    What i am so frustrated with are the huge physical surges my body has to go through initially when I am out. I find it hard riding them out when I am with people and I have no idea how I am going to do it when I pluck up the courage to start going out by myself. i have been struggling a lot the last two years as my body has collapsed into a heap of anxiety after huge life changing events. I am so disappointed that after two years there seems to be no huge difference in my symptoms despite always putting myself out there to experiencing the anxiety. Reassurance, positive words and hugs welcome. Feeling very worn out and exhausted with it all today. xx

  145. MikeStevens Says:

    Hi everyone,
    I’ve been doing a bit better. I’ve really been putting forth the intention to be accepting of all of this. And my days are not nearly as bad. Sleep has been a bit better too.

    But here’s my question:
    I’ve drilled down to what my fear is.
    My fear is not being able to initially fall asleep. So, when I close my eyes it’s almost like performance anxiety.

    I’ll be in a pretty good mood in the evening. I’ll even crawl into bed in a pretty good mood too (which is saying alot. I would start to sweat and panic at just looking at my bed). But, when I shut my eyes my mind alertness peaks.

    I’m not worried about anything other than will I fall asleep or not.
    The good thing is that even in worry about this, I’m still falling asleep. I’ll wake up early and struggle to get back to sleep. But, this is much better than what it had been.

    I guess my question is- how do I overcome this performance anxiety? How do I not focus on the fact that I want to fall asleep?

    Thanks so much for all of the help so far. I don’t feel anywhere near as panicked about this as I did in the past.

  146. Lucy Says:

    Nikki.. Be proud of yourself that you done those things regardless! Yesterday I done A LOT, was out on my own for quite a while getting things done and then went out in the evening with a friend. I can genuinely say I enjoyed going out last night, I felt pangs of anxiety, a couple of times where I thought “I should leave” but carried on regardless and they all passed. I really wanted to show myself and my body there was nothing to be scared of as we were at a concert, something I previously would have loved, no questions asked! However, today I am shattered for it, woke up panicky etc. Maybe it’s because I pushed myself yesterday.. But I won’t let it take away the progress that this was to me. Even if it doesn’t seem it, you are making progress. I feel exactly the same with the physical surges, probably the part that I find hard not to be scared of the most but despite all the times I’ve thought I would pass out or be sick, I never have.. Sometimes it’s helpful for me to remember that, even if it doesn’t make me feel any better. By doing the things you are doing, you are facing anxiety one day at a time, keep going! :)

  147. MikeStevens Says:

    I just want to say thanks again to all of you especially Joe Pro.
    I hope you all know how important you’ve been in my life.

  148. Charlotte Says:

    Hi all

    I have had my worst day in a longtime, I’ve just had a panic attack in a yoga class of all places!!! I had a sudden and severe feeling of being detached and then rushing thoughts of I am always going to be like this, I’m trapped in my own head, etc. it was horrible and I had leave and promptly burst into tears.

    I suppose it has been building for a few days as I’ve noticed I’ve been on the blog more and also getting agitated.

    RachaelT , I could have written the post you wrote yesterday, I have felt exactly the same!

    Sorry needed to write it all down, am tying to learn from it and realise that the setbacks are the very things that will help us recover…..

  149. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    Not posted for a few days.

    As setback appears to be the hot topic at the moment I thought I’d just share my thoughts….

    I’ve come to the realisation that a setback will only pass if you apply the ‘don’t caring’ attitude again. I spent a lot of time in September on here, researching setbacks, how long they last, how to cope with them etc but that was taking the onus off me to put the spade work in and face how I was feeling. In hindsight I stopped doing everything I wanted to do and just concentrated solely on trying to get rid of it……..that’s fighting!!
    One of my friends had a word with me the other day and said our friendship was going down the pan because I spent most of my time in my room. I felt quite insulted at this and told him I only do stuff when I half feel like doing it. He said that’s stupid and should do stuff however I feel. There is a lot of truth in what he said and it’s the whole ethos of this site.
    I had an awful day Friday but then played pool after work, on Sat I played golf, went bowling and played in the arcade (I’m 33 in a few weeks!), Sunday went for lunch etc. My mind comes back on me a lot but there were times when I was completely outside myself which is refreshing. I even went back to the gym today.
    It’s taken me a while for the tables to turn in my favour, and to realise a setback not just pass on its own, you need to dig deep and apply the same strategy that got you where you were. Setbacks are vile, frustrating creatures but the saying is that they only have as much power that you give them. I’m afraid up to this weekend I’ve been regularly giving mine 5 star petrol.

  150. TJ Says:

    MikeStevens, you can’t have performance anxiety if you don’t care how well or not you perform.

  151. rachh Says:

    Ive had a rough couple of days.. Delving into the past to find answers.. Looking on facebook posts from last year which made me feel so upset as i so want to be that person again. Questionning my boyfriend on where our relationship went wrong last year.. Sobbing to my mom. Saw therapist this evening who has given me some good tips.. Heres to tomorrow.. I will wake up feeling anxious no doubt but im going to face the day.

  152. TJ Says:

    Great post, elaine

  153. Sara Says:

    Hello everyone!

    Hope you’re all doing well. I haven’t posted here in a while. I’ve just been doing really well and have been continuously pushing myself to keep moving forward. I came across something right now and thought I would share since it might be helpful to one of you…

    “Feel the fear and do it anyway…

    Often we think “I will do it when I’m not so afraid” but in reality it works the other way around. The “doing it” comes BEFORE the fear goes away. The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is by getting up and doing it.”

    hope that resonates with atleast one of you.

    Have a good day : )

  154. Kelly Says:

    Thanks Charlotte. I think my problem is that I’m just done with the job and the company I work for. I think I’ve had my time there and now it’s time to move on. I’m trying to deal with my anxiety and I think being bored day in day out is contributing to my anxiety, there’s not enough distraction for me to get on with and continue living along side it. Plus I think I’m up for a new challenge which could be good.

  155. Doreen Says:

    Like the do’s and don’ts Elaine. Think it brings down what for ‘sufferers’ can sometimes seem like a very complex emotional turmoil into something uncomplicated and probably universal in the way of coping with anxiety.

    Some people may need extra help at times (Claire Weekes herself acknowledges that medication can help some people feel more settled and able to then use her suggestions). Others may have a supportive therapist who can encourage movement forward. Each to his or her own as to what is most helpful.

    I would also suggest that it is adding the 2nd fear (feeling scared about feeling scared) that possibly traps people the most. Stopping doing that may be the key to what is meant by acceptance.

  156. Charlotte Says:

    Thanks Elaine and Doreen

    I feel like I have done something wron as its all come back. I had changed meds, returned to work and have counselling.

    I feel like I’m back at square one and feel like Im Failing everyone as I have all this help and yet I still can’t cope with anxiety.

    Not sure how I’m going to get through the day

  157. LizB Says:

    Hi Mike stevens

    You are not alone, I am exactly the same and have been for the last 6 weeks, my problem is falling asleep so some nights I don’t sleep at all and some nights I only get 2-3 hrs. I too am working on accepting this bump in the road. The longer it’s gone on the more anxious about it I have been. I know it will only start getting better once I fully accept it and don’t care any more. I feel dreadful at work today but I’m sure we can crack this and look back on it and wonder why we got ourselves so worked up about it all. x

  158. Scott Says:


    I just found this site last week and am trying to implement as much as I can. My story briefly.

    I’ve been running on anxiety for the last 20 years. Diagnosed as ME/CFS 15 years ago and only just diagnosed as anxiety last week. I’ve worked through my symptoms all my life save for a 3 month spell 10 years ago. I am great at getting through everything I need to, but not great at enjoying life. My coping mechanisms for the last 20 years have been all wrong – just putting myself out there and suppressing the feelings. I work full time, play and record my band and generally give my mind no time for rest. I hate rest, it’s when I feel at my worst.

    Anyway, I started working on a very stressful work project a year ago and started seeing some terrible mood swings, but had no time to back off or deal with it. Then 3 months ago after a second consecutive weekend of arguing with my wife (happily married for 18 years) I had a thought that destroyed my world – My relationship isn’t working and I need to leave. I Worked through it for 7 weeks constantly worrying, trying to fix my relationship that really wasn’t broken apart from one thing that we have agreed to work on when I’m better, then just collapsed in tears. Haven’t been able to work since (luckily my employers are understanding), a complete mess of worry and terror about leaving my wife. Funny thing is, when my brain turns off I feel fine with her and have happiness and clarity, but every other day I feel dreadful like I have to leave her to get rid of the pain I am feeling. The whole thing is quite surreal, embarrassing and I feel unbelievably guilty for thinking the thoughts I’m having, and guilty for what I’m putting my wife through.

    I’m trying to put Paul’s methods in to practice, but the fear that the thoughts are true and, if they are, their impact on both her and me devastate me so much that I find it difficult to not react to them. I think my mind has run with this constantly for 3 months and I’m struggling to find a way out of my hell.

    Anyway, I’m not looking for reassurance – I am now fully aware of how short term a fix that is in this condition – I just wanted to know if anyone has had thoughts that scared them so much and seemed so believable that they had trouble putting them down to anxiety.

    Thanks for reading.

  159. Mark R Says:


    These were your very words from your penultimate post……

    Sorry needed to write it all down, am tying to learn from it and realise that the setbacks are the very things that will help us recover…..

  160. Charlotte Says:

    Hiya mark, I know I know!!! When the anxiety gets so high though you lose all sensible thought and rationale, well I do anyway.

    Still struggling but am at work and getting involved in a project that needs me to concentrate……

  161. MikeStevens Says:

    LizB, I slept about NINE HOURS last night. I woke up knowing that if I didn’t have to go into work I could have slept some more.
    This hasn’t happened to me in a looooooooooooooooooooooooooong time.

    Don’t get me wrong. The same fears and doubts still are bubbling up today.
    But I’m taking Elaine’s advice (GOD BLESS YOU ELAINE!!!) and not running from the fear, accepting any crappy way my body feels, and just being at peace with it.

    LizB, I know you’ll get better too. I know it, know it, know it.

  162. MikeStevens Says:

    Joe Pro, Rachh, Mark R…. thank you all too (and of course Paul David)!

    For the past week I’ve actually been able to fall alseep pretty well. Even when I can feel the doubt and fear bubbling up before bedtime. I’ve still followed the advice to just accept it, let it be there.

    I know I still have to let more time pass, that I’m not out of the woods yet. But this has been a very good stretch for me.

  163. eliza Says:

    I read an article by Dr. Keith Ablow: “An Anti-Anxiety drug That Is Too Often Overlooked”.

    He writes: “One medicine I believe is being underutilized is Clonazepam. Clonazepam (Klonopin) is a benzodiazepine anti-anxiety medicine in the same category as medicines like Valium and Xanax. But, unlike those medications, I have found that clonazepine is less likely in my patients to promote long term dependency and that it is especially effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety in the setting of depression, panic disorder and many other conditions.”

    Listening to Dr. Claire Weekes’ CD’s and taking 0.5mg clonazepam was key to getting me to where I am today, functioning well and feeling great. I went down to taking only 1/2 of a 0.5 mg tablet with no withdrawal symptoms whatsoever.

  164. Bryan Says:

    Klonopin is a benzo and hence carries a big risk of dependency and extreme withdrawal. It’s like playing bingo. Some people are lucky some aren’t.
    Taking a benzo was a huge mistake for me and I had 18 months of withdrawal.
    I realize some people get lucky and come off ok. But many if not most don’t.
    There is lots of info out there.

    My recomrndation for anyone considering it… try not to. Or, ONLY take during peak bad times and NOT daily. It was pure hell for me.

  165. MikeStevens Says:

    I have to wonder…. when Weekes was writing the views on things like Atvian were pretty positive. They just didn’t know the full impact those drugs would have on a person.

    I know from my own experience that they did not help me. Sure, I might have crashed and ‘slept’ for alittle bit, but it didn’t feel like sleep. And the next day I always felt worse than if I wouldn’t have taken anything.

    I would wager that if Weekes were around today she probably would have a vastly different opinion on benzos.

  166. Bryan Says:


    Nice to hear about your shift. Keep us updated as things progress.

    I’ve stabilized a bit. Still feeling set back but trying to accept and let it pass.
    Time will do its work if we stay out of the way.

    Keep up the good work.

  167. MikeStevens Says:

    The author of Sophie’s Choice, William Styron, believes that his depression (which he chronicles in Darkness Visible) came on in part because of regularly taking Atvian. And the attitude of the time being, “take as many as you need”.

  168. Bryan Says:


    100% correct and if you read all of Weekes work she recommends sedation on a very short term basis. If she had all of the info back then you are right. She may not have recommended it at all. But, she does show caution in her writings about all drugs.

    I’m not judging anyone on medication. I take a low dose of beta blocker to help with my heart. But benzos are another story and people should exercise caution.

  169. James Says:

    Is body numbness normal with anxiety? It is a new symptom for me after 10 years of anxiety and only hand numbness- never full body numbness.

  170. MikeStevens Says:

    Great point, Bryan.

    I like when I hear that hypnotics (Ambien, Lunesta) don’t carry the same bad side effects as benzos…. I have to laugh.
    I reacted terribly to both hypnotics and benzos.
    Ambien gave me about 2 hours of sleep.
    Ambien CR gave me about 3.
    Lunesta gave me about 1.

    And all of them made me feel like a zombie the next day. Not just groggy…. but groggy, detached, depressed, anxious.

  171. Doreen Says:

    I was not recommending that people take tranquillisers – but just to say that the medication that is prescribed today is helpful to some people. I just think it not helpful when people are being prescriptive about what others should or should not do as part of their journey towards anxiety being less of a problem. I am also loath to use the word ‘recovered’ because for each person that can mean a different thing, but some people may interpret that as meaning complete absence of anxiety.

  172. LizB Says:


    That’s great news!! I will take heart from your success and will be practising my patience and acceptance tonight!

    What brilliant progress, you should be proud of yourself. Keep me posted x

  173. MikeStevens Says:

    Thanks LizB,

    I won’t get too far ahead of myself, but it’s a good sign. It’s a sign that I can still do it.

    I still get that feeling of fear and panick when I close my eyes. It’s like my body is going on high alert. My mind isn’t as peaceful as it used to be when I would close my eyes. It’s like it’s prepping itself for the frustration of not being able to fall asleep because of “habit and memory” as Jim Neidert would say.

    Are you anything like that? Does that happen to you?

    I am trying to view the positive side of this: at least I know where my struggle is. I know what my fear is. It’s this. So, when I close my eyes and those feelings come… I’m going to just keep on accepting them. Even if I get bad sleep. I’m going to send the message back to me that it’s fine…. it’s no big deal anymore.

    Also, when I get that “dozing off only to be awaken with a racing heart and fearful thoughts” I’m going to be at peace with this too. Because this is my other hurdle. Maybe even chuckle about it when it happens and just take joy in the fact that I know I’m not broken anymore.

    Please keep me posted too.

  174. Bryan Says:


    Yes. 100%.

  175. Charlotte Says:

    Hi Scott

    You will see most people on here have exactly the same issue with thoughts as you. If you read Rachh posts you will see they are really similar to yours.

    I have and am having thoughts that scare me but mine are focused at the moment on my mental health and that I am going mad and will always be like this etc.

    I also had to take some time off work and I know how horrible it feels/

    You will find lots of support here

  176. JOE PRO Says:

    That’s great news and MikeStevens and to be expected! You have taken the need to sleep out of the equation and such the anxiety follows. Your body and mind are now working in your favor as long as you keep the “whatever attitude”.Without fear there can be no anxiety FACT. What you resisit persists! Do not try to go to sleep let it cone and take you away focus on something else until your tired and your eyes are heavy like honey. No logic or rational thought is required put yourself on autopilot cause your not flying the plane. Sleep like breathing is never a problem until you start trying to interfer with it. Soon your hypoventilating when in reality you have tried to do the job yourself. Let it me and focus on your life and allow nature to take its course! You are fine mind body and soul you just need to let yourself go…..congrats on your progress I know how much confidence you must feel! YOU did it and your body salutes you.

  177. MikeStevens Says:

    Joe Pro you’ve been such a help to me.
    It’s funny, I’ve told myself “hey, if I can’t fall asleep I’ll get up and play some Xbox” (I enjoy the Halo video games). One night it actually got me excited to not be able to fall asleep to play the game instead…. and I fell asleep and slept for about 7 hours that night :)

    The times where I’ve dozed off only to be awoken with a racing heart within a few minutes I’ve actually started responding by chuckling alittle to myself and smiling about it saying “oh well, whatever happens happens”.
    And I’ll still be able to slip off to sleep. I haven’t had one of those huge waves of panic that overtake me and make me start freaking out about never getting better.

    Don’t get me wrong. I still have the waves of fear and doubt during the day. But that positive “inner voice” Claire Weekes talks about is slowly getting stronger.

  178. Wendy Says:

    What is acceptance???

    I now just cut off my thoughts. Whenever a strange and scary thought comes up I say something like: “Whatever” and go on with whatever i am doing.
    Is this accepting?
    Some people write that acceptance comes from within and that you truly do not care about any symptom anymore.
    I still kinda hate my anxiety and my symptoms and especially my thoughts still scare me, but I don’t analyse them.
    Is that acceptance?

  179. Mark R Says:


    I know, it’s so unpredictable. I’ve had a day where I’ve let it be there only some moments where I’ve been swallowed into that awful black hole………that’s when all positiveness and perspective go out the window. You have to ride those moments out though.


    My advice about your ‘bump in the road’ is to give it as much time as it needs. For weeks I was getting anxious that this setback was taking longer than the others and that was making me anxious for it to go. Like Elaine says, tell yourself ‘I don’t give a s**t anymore’.


    It’s all about the attitude and time. When you feel it you don’t notice the subtle changes but then when you get time to reflect….I’m eating better, sleeping well, more interest in other things, socialising better, gone back to the gym, even joined a meditation class.

    Just curious are you in the UK?

    Elaine, I do love your no nonsense attitude!!

  180. MikeStevens Says:

    Hi Wendy,
    Acceptance, to me, is largely that “oh well, whatever” attitude.

    I have been dealing with sleep anxiety. Some nights my fear would just start spiraling out of control (fear that I would never be able to fall asleep again) that I would start sweating like mad, feel like vomiting, wishing I was dead, full of intense dread and doubt.

    But one night after following the advice on this board I started to get those same feelings building up. Opposed to freaking out by them I just said, “oh well, I don’t care…. do whatever you’d like”…. I’d say that within 5 to 7 minutes that fear/doubt/dread/panic subsided. I felt calm and was able to sleep.

    But it was very much that “whatever” attitude

  181. Mark R Says:

    By the way……for all the Claire Weekes fans if you go onto YouTube and type ‘peace from nervous suffering’ there is an hour video of an interview she did in 1983.

  182. rachh Says:

    Hi wendy i really struggle with my thoughts.. Mine are horribly intrusive and unless i stop myself i continue analysing reliving the thought and then it spirals out of control and the tension that builds is horrendous.
    I think acceptance is more about the symptoms of anxiety.. The panic, sicky feeling, shakes and stuff.. and not allowing them to stop you doing things but to gently float through them.
    I think for obsessional thoughts you have to stop the habit of allowing them spiral out of control..
    Acceptance is allowing yourself to do whatever not let the symptoms bother you but also not believing/allowing your scary thoughts to take over your day.
    I personally think worry is a bad habit and one of the things which begins the anxiety cycle.. Once we understand that worry is completely fruitless.
    For me personally its the worry which got me here in the first place.

  183. rachh Says:

    Scott i could write a book about the problems with anxiety and my relationship.. Mine stemmed from exactly the same problem.. I split up and got back together with my partner because of arguing and when we got back together my anxiety took over. Sometimes my head is so muddled trying to figure out where it all went wrong bla bla ill be happy when i know this or when i know how i felt then.. This i have found out is worry and what got me in this horrendous mess in the first place.
    Im feeling calm tonight but i know anxiety will be on full throttle in the morning.. Feel free to post questions and things on here and i will be quite happy to share my experience as i know they will be very similar because its anxiety and the thoughts are rubbish:)

  184. rachh Says:

    Sorry ill shut up after this post.. Mikestevens soso glad you’re feeling better.. I so feel your pain and despair when you are having a bad time and to hear you positive is lovely! Well done you! Your comment about being actually excited made me laugh! What positive changes you are making.. Just dont beat yourself up if you have a bad night.. Whatever whatever whatever:)

  185. Charlotte Says:

    Hi Rachh

    I like your posts tonight ! Your anxiety is similar to mine in that I am also generally calm at night but then when I wake wham it’s there again, and the cycle begins again !

    Oh well am gonna try and to sleep early tonight, my one and a half year old has woken us at 2 am for 2 hours at a time fir the last few nights, so I have a splitting headache from lack of sleep !……

  186. rachh Says:

    Hi Charlotte,
    Thankyou, yehh if ive had a bad day my evenings are like a dream. I guess because my adrenaline has been burned.
    Dont blame you. Im feeling tired tonight too. Ive had hellish day today.
    Can see the light at night. I know im not accepting and im letting it take over my day but going to focus on breaking the habit amd floating through the sensations tomorrow.

  187. Charlotte Says:

    Me too, I’m not accepting either, let’s both float onwards and upwards tomorrow !

  188. Kelly Says:

    rachh, thank you for your posts. I seem to feel better after reading about others who have experienced similar things to me. I have a lot of things going on in my head at the moment in regards to a lot of different aspects to my life. One of my main anxious thoughts is “do I love my husband”. The things is the thought of leaving absolutely scares the life out of me, I feel sick at the thought of what it would do to him and me. I don’t want that so I know that it’s just anxiety playing havoc with me. I just find it hard sometimes to give those thoughts the “whatever” attitude. I’m pretty good most of the time but the last week or so I’ve felt a bit anxious. My husband went away for the weekend last week and I felt anxious about it, scared that I wouldn’t miss him. This weeked I am away on a girls trip, which I think will be good becuase we have a 1 year old and I feel like I need a little break, but I’m feeling a little bit anxious about going away too. Scared that I’ll have bad anxiety and not be able to get back to my comfort zone as I’m not driving to our weekend destination.

    Anyway, I feel a little bit lost with myself at the moment. Motherhood is tough and it’s hard coming to terms with the fact that there’s no turning back. I didn’t expect it to be easy but the reality of it is hard.

  189. Charlotte Says:

    Hi Kelly,

    I’m with you on the motherhood one, I think most parents think it’s really hard but a lot are to afraid to say anything. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I’m not afraid to admit it.

    Just remember though all can do is your best !

    I hope u have a lovely weekend away, if anxiety is there then just take it on your break with you ! Hope you get a good sleep and relaxation.

  190. Scott Says:

    Thanks for all your comments. I’m glad I’m not the only one. Had a good night out tonight. Used acceptance to process any thoughts as they came in. Now to try and keep the good feelings in my mind for the next time the panic comes round.

  191. Kelly Says:

    Thanks Charlotte, I totally agree that being a mum is the hardest thing I’ve ever done/doing. I love watching my son grow and the time we spend together and the time we have as a family but boy it’s hard. I feel like exhaustion is the root of me feeling pretty lost at the moment and I have a really good baby. Plus being bored in my job gives me time to think too much. My hat’s off to the mums that have kids that are whingy or really bad sleepers.

  192. Krista Says:

    I’m realizing I’m having the most trouble with anticipatory anxiety. How can I practice accepting when the thing I’m fearing isn’t happening yet? I don’t get full blown panic attacks while I’m anticipating the upcoming stressor, I do get stressed out, kind of racing thoughts about the upcoming event thinking about the worst possible outcomes, like I said I’m not full blown panicking but it’s like I’m on the verge constantly, and I can’t seem to calm my mind down enough to think rationally. What should I be accepting at this moment? Any thoughts anyone?

  193. Forever Alone Says:

    I have found that “role-playing” helped my social anxiety tremendously. I built up a character and “faked it”. Eventually, my subconscious mind accepted the new character as the new me. I still have social anxiety occasionally but it is almost nonexistant. I can do public speaking with ease and only occasionally get nervous (large groups). I have been able to hide the social anxiety now though when I do experience it.

  194. LizB Says:

    Hi Mikestevens, Joe pro and Mark R

    Thanks for the advice and some great posts from you all! So nice to have people that understand!

    Mark R and Mikestsevens you both have the right attitude and are making progress. I slept well last night for the first time in a long time so am feeling great today, and the sun is shining! I think when you hit a setback it takes time to remember everything you have learnt and truly put it into practice again, which is where patience comes in. I’ve realised this time that I need to give it space and it lasts as long as it lasts. A good tip I read about in a magazine is to visualise yourself worrying about the problem i.e. your anxiety, distrubing thoughts, sleep or whatever it is and see how you look and how you feel if you continue to worry and fight. Then imagine yourself if you just let it be and gave it space. This helps me when I find myself in that cycle and I think to myself ‘right which one do you want to choose’ you have a choice of which road to go down. Letting it be always wins, it just takes a bit of time to put into practice.

    Carry on with the great post everyone and peace to you all! x

  195. Charlotte Says:

    Hi Elaine

    Are u able to share abut how u managed to move to such a position of acceptance ? I understand you had very severe anxiety as one point but you have obviously made a great recovery.

    How did u manage to just adopt the whatever attitude ? What is gradual or was in literally overnight u decided enough was enough ?

    Thanks for any further insight or help for us still struggling !

  196. rachh Says:

    Gosh these feelings are so horrible.. My thoughts are vile too:( think i need to keep remindimg myself they arent my thoughts.

  197. Lucy Says:

    Krista I anticipate a lot and completely understand being on edge about events that haven’t come yet.. I have been stressing for 6 months or so over my brother’s wedding (we have to travel to the other end of the country and stay for 2 nights, I don’t really like being away from home although I used to love it.) it’s now about 5 weeks away and I have just given up the worry. I cannot miss it because of this, I’ve also resigned myself to if I have a panic attack, I do. What can I do? Nothing. It will just to have to be dealt with. I anticipate the same about returning to work, but again, I will just have to deal with it at the time. On good days I can see it would be a welcomed distraction as I currently have a lot of time on my hands when my daughter is at school. Anticipating does nothing to change the outcome. It can be difficult but you just have to learn to “let it go” in a sense. Yes I am worried, but worrying about how worried I am can’t change a thing. By anticipating we add anxiety to the anxiety, therefore giving it far more respect and power it deserves! Hell, the thought has even cropped into my mind that I *might* just enjoy it a little bit. We tend not to think how equally GOOD things could go when we get caught up thinking how BAD they could go.

  198. Charlotte Says:

    Nice post Lucy, and I would say an awful lot of my anxiety is anticipatory.
    , not so much in terms of going places, but what might happen if for example my son won’t do his homework, so I then worry that means he might not do well at school, become a drop out and be unhappy – he is only 5 !!

    I worry if I can’t stop my anxiety then I will lose my job, my husband will leave, and I will have let me kids down.

    It’s all the same stuff isn’t it we are all trying to see into he future rather than just living in the moment…..

  199. rachh Says:

    Elaine can i ask ifyou had intrusive thoughts or obsessions

  200. Candie Says:

    Oooh I remember anxious thoughts, was the last thing to go for me! I feared everything. All day every day thoughts would pop in- from the intrusive weird stuff to panicking about housework or if I was a good mum. Then I would worry I was worrying, was awful! It really is as Paul says with this one though, they go away once you accept them. Everyone thinks worrysome stuff, but when your sensitised you get heightened reactions that a healthy body wouldn’t have to contend with so before you know it your delving into each thought and it becomes a habit. All day every day trying to unravel them and ultimately tryin to escape the anxiety they cause. In the end I’d had enough of worrying and decided what will be will be, I let myself think anything and my body would often send fear pangs which made it hard to resist rumernating but once you resist doing it then it gets easier and you reverse the habit. I think exercise is important, really helped to burn off my excess adrenalin and boosted my mood.

  201. Alan Says:

    Kelly, I’ve been struggling with similar feelings about not loving my wife and finding it difficult to let the thoughts be there without trying to figure them out. I’m still doing all the things a normal husband would do but scared that these feelings are real and it’s my subconscience telling me that I’ve been in denial all this time and the feelings will only go if I leave my family. Prior to anxiety, we had a normal relationship and I never used to dwell upon any negative aspects. Now, the thoughts come uninvited as soon as I wake. Hey ho, I’ll carry on trying to allow them space in my head and not react but it is difficult.

  202. Mark R Says:


    I know you asked this question to Elaine but I don’t think acceptance can be felt overnight. Acceptance for me is built up over time where the symptoms mean less and less to you and life means more and more. It’s not something that can be felt on a logical level but I think you can start by thinking ‘I don’t care anymore’ and build from that, this is what I did a few weeks ago. I thought well I’ve done all this stuff this year despite feeling awful and now anxiety is telling me I can’t do anything, well you’re wrong so sod off.

  203. Lucy Says:

    Charlotte, the worries spiral from one to another so, so quick. I think a number of us experience that pretty intensely. It’s so easy to get caught in the past, which we can’t change, or the future we cannot predict. Sometimes when you catch yourself you just have to stop. I don’t mean distract or ignore, but just realise what your mind is doing and let it do it. Sooner or later, it fades. I’ve already had a couple of high anxiety moments today from thoughts, but when I stopped and didn’t become tangled in more what ifs, it passes a lot quicker. I worry about similar things regarding my little girl, it’s natural when you want them to be happy, healthy and do well in the world! As Candie says because we are already sensitised they hit us harder and stick around more compared to someone who isn’t. I know I have friends who worry about the exact same things, it just doesn’t impact them like it does me, because they get on with everything else they have to do and don’t focus on the thoughts all day, which I’ve definitely been guilty of!

    And thank you Candie, I know a lot of people who seem to think that this is not recoverable., posts like yours and Elaine etc make me think I wish they knew how wrong they were!!

  204. Mark R Says:

    Candie Says:
    October 17th, 2013 at 11:52 am

    In the end I’d had enough of worrying and decided what will be will be, I let myself think anything and my body would often send fear pangs which made it hard to resist rumernating but once you resist doing it then it gets easier and you reverse the habit.

    For me when I feel like I’m tensing up I just remember that I’m resisting the anxiety so I just say to myself ‘resist nothing’ and I naturally relax.

  205. MikeStevens Says:

    Another very good night. Fell asleep before 11pm and woke up around 6. Crazy to think that there was a time when I thought that this would just never happen again.
    I’m so glad that back in June a friend of mine mentioned the title of Paul David’s book “At Last A Life”.

    Again, I’m not completely out of the woods yet. But in time I’m certain that will come.

    My one question to Joe Pro, LizB or anyone who has overcome or is still dealing with this:

    When you would close your eyes would you ever get this wave of panic along the lines of “Uh Oh….. what should I be thinking of in order to fall asleep?”. It’s like this feeling of my mind and body going on high alert.

    I have been just accepting this thought and telling myself, “it’s nothing but anxiety working through habit and memory of past suffering”. And even with that thought I’m still falling asleep.
    But it’s still an unsettling thought. Because when it comes I can feel the tension building and the adrenaline starting to flow a bit (but…. not nearly as much as it had).

    Just curious.

  206. rachh Says:

    I feel quite helpless.. My mind is so foggy and i cant think straight..
    I keep thinking about my relationship and why i finished it.. I was calm when i did and accepted everything back then it seems like when we got back together this all came about.. Worrying if i was doing the right thing whether we were going to work whether we was just workin because we were happy again..
    My brain needs a break and i cant give it one because i dont know what i want and feel so lost in everything.
    I wish i could think straight and enjoy my life and my relationship but im just concerned it wont work now because its been a year and i havent been myself the whole time just a fake person in a fake relationship that wasnt working before and is still not normal:(

  207. Bryan Says:


    So glad to see you back :)

    I had a question about your post. You said…
    ” I let myself think anything and my body would often send fear pangs which made it hard to resist rumernating but once you resist doing it then it gets easier and you reverse the habit.”

    This is where I always wonder what methods people are using. When you say you stopped ruminating, that is st least partially an active process no? Can you describe maybe with an example what you mean here? I know letting go is the key… but there seems to be a verb involved here. That’s the part I wonder about…

  208. MikeStevens Says:

    how about just trying something like this:

    Go and sit out in nature and look at a forest (or whatever in the past that would have given you peace).

    Set your attention on that thing (leaves changing color).
    When those thoughts bubble up, let them. Relax your body and remind yourself “it’s okay these thoughts are here and they can be here…. but I’m still going to admire this forest.”
    Then easily bring your attention back to the forest.

    Prior to doing all of this set the amount of time you’re going to do this for.
    So before you get to the forest (or whatver) you’ve already determined how long you’re going to be there for. I only think this might be a good idea because you won’t then be troubling yourself with “Should I stay longer? Or just leave since this isn’t all that easy to do”.

    Set a time and commit to it.

    Focus your attention on the thing of interest, when those intrusive thoughts come don’t fight them, allow them to be there. Loosen your body and easily bring your attention back to the thing of interest.

  209. JOE PRO Says:

    To MikeStevens: You need to go to bed tired and have a good routine to establish your circadian rhythm. Hot shower warm milk read a book to your kids ect ect . During the day do not think about sleeping or what you should think or do to fall asleep. You subconcious once again sees this as you trying to interfer and send a surge of adrenaline when you lay down and close your eyes. You have NO conscious control over falling asleep but do control what you do before you sleep. Focus on those things and allow sleep to take you. All we can do is allow ourselves the best circumstances to fall asleep. Also use your bedroom to only sleep and make babies nothing else. No t.v cellohones books eating ect ect in bed. It sends the wrong signal to your subconscious. Why do you think jail cells are so intimidating? You think you would sleep good the first few nights in a cell with a small metal bed no pillows? Be happy you have a huge bed with a comforter pillows next to your mate. The adrenalin you feel when you close your eyes is your anticipation of sleep. You need not think about sleep just do your routine and go to bed tired and your body will eventually pull you into sleep like a magnet as soon as you hit the bed. You see you have given your body no choice in the matter and your subconscious is no longer fighting you for control so no more bursts of adrenalin needed. It takes time but that is the secret behind great sleep. Remember its OK to have a bad nights sleep here and there just establish good habits and the “whatever” attitude towards lingering anxiety and you will recover 100% There is NO OTHER outcome possible!

  210. Candie Says:

    Sure Bryan. Well say I had the thought what if I don’t love my bf, I’d acknowledge its anxiety and then rather then try ignore it I’d decide that if its true its true, I won’t argue in my mind anymore or worry about it. A so be it attitude. Now I knew I loved him but fear thoughts seem so valid because of how easily my body would react that I would be off in my head analysing everything. This is acceptance. I used to think if I ignored the thoughts they would go away, but over time I realised I was ignoring to make them go away when really I needed to face them by accepting uncertainty and not going over them to disprove them. Same with scary weird stuff. I’d often wonder if life was a dream or what if I harm someone. Well in the end I decided if life is so be it and if I am going to go crazy and harm someone then worrying wasn’t going to change a thing so I sort of decided not to worry if I would and cross that bridge if I came to it! Now we all know we wouldn’t hurt anyone but you really have to decide not to dig for answers. Live with uncertainty and decide life is too short to worry with what ifs :)

    I also worried about normal stuff excessively, if I was a good mother, worrying about worrying about anything and everything. Well with this I realised I had to first allow myself to experience the thoughts. This took so much fear away and then tapered off. Before I would wonder if I was a good mother and panic and push away the thought to control how it made me feel. Now if I wonder that I accept I can only do my best and my best is good enough. I think with anxiety you are so full of adrenalin you opt to escape a thought rather then look it in the eye and accept. Like Paul said he would worry excessively about if people thought he was strange socially or if he had upset them. I did this too and eventually I decided not to care, if people thought I came across as odd so be it. When you no longer care to figure the thought out it doesn’t matter if you experience it and you move on :)

  211. Charley Says:

    Hi, I’ve suffered anxiety on and off for since I had my first child 8 years ago. Had a traumatic birth and had terrible flashbacks. Muddled through and over the years and had peaks and other times have been totally free for long long periods. However for the last 2 months my anxiety has reached an all time we level. Panic attacks, insomnia due to the anxiety, constantly on edge and the most Awful intrusive thoughts which range from the complete weird to even weirder. My main fear is I’m going mad and I’m going to be carted off and will never see my kids again. Luckily 2 weeks ago I stumbled across Paul’s site and have downloaded his book. It’s been amazing for me to read and I found a lot of comfort in that I’m not alone and I’m not going mad. However the intrusive thoughts linger and to be honest freak me out. I try so hard to put into practice what Paul says and to desensitise, let them in, but they are so horrible my thought process then thinks I must be insane. Just wanted to tell my story and join the thread for some moral support/chat.

  212. Lizb Says:

    Mike stevens

    Yes i have this too and i almost watch myself for signs of going into sleep or dozing. I think i have had every sensation possible to be honest, rapid breathing, the jolts, panic, feeling hot etc etc. great advice from joe pro on sleep above, thanks joe. Lets keep practising! If theres one thing ive learnt its i can function on a lot less sleep than i ever thought i could! Heres to progress x

  213. Scott Says:

    Haven’t seen this mentioned but I’m sure it must have been. I am incredibly up and down. More so since I broke down 3 months ago, but this is something that has always been there. So we all know how the down bit feels, but today I have had a good day. Slept well, worked through some relationship thoughts and generally not worried compared to the last few months. But, after talking to a friend for 30 minutes I felt incredibly Up. Falsely so. I can feel the adrenaline kicking in and my mind going over how everything is solved, nothing to worry about. I can feel this creating anxious feelings, but do I accept this and the inevitable crash which is probably only an hour or two away, or do I try and calm my system down?

  214. Bryan Says:

    Brilliant Candie. Thank you so much!!

    I can’t recall, did you suffer with physical symptoms as well? (Panic, physical distress, etc) Most of my thoughts seem to be reactions to severer physical symptom and worry about them staying etc.

    I know you’re told this a lot but your posts are a treasure. So helpful to so many.

  215. MikeStevens Says:

    Ain’t that the truth, LizB!

    I’m going to keep on just letting this be there for as long as it needs to be there and not reacting to it.

    Just need to overcome the habit and memory of past pain…. resend the message to our bodies that things are okay now.

  216. Candie Says:

    Hi Bryan yea I had them all. Dizziness, nausea, headaches, racing heart and chest pains, hot and cold spells, pins and needles, lump in throat, wretchinh etc. these are all adrenalin that’s all. Now you need to decide not to worry about these anymore and let them happen. Get some exercise, take good quality vitamins and tyrosine was a godsend for calming me and helping with the low energy. Drink plenty of water and take care of yourself. You have to stop the quest to be free of all this, when you stop trying to be free you tell your body there is no danger and it stops the adrenalin eventually and they fade away. The truth is when people are stressed or got the flu etc they experience similar but they don’t try and worry it away. You can have your exact same life you had before anxiety, that is yours by choice regardless of a few harmless thoughts or feelings. I used to go about thinking anxiety robbed me of everything, never wanting to have my life until it went away. I created it all really, it took a while to see that though :)

  217. Mark R Says:

    I can’t recall, did you suffer with physical symptoms as well? (Panic, physical distress, etc) Most of my thoughts seem to be reactions to severer physical symptom and worry about them staying etc.


    We’re in the same boat. I can go through periods where I feel quite lucid and have some perspective only to then get overwhelmed and get hit with the ‘What if it never goes away’, ‘What if I never get better’, ‘What if the setback lasts months’.
    I just try and let it have its little moment and leave it be, its hard though because it feels so awful and so real.

  218. Alecia Says:

    Dear Anxiety,

    Just wanted to write and let you know it’s over between us. I have let you control every aspect of my life since the beginning. You have broke me down to my lowest point but you will not win. Go ahead, give me all you got. I don’t care anymore. You tell me I will never be the same again but you are wrong. I don’t believe you anymore. I am stronger than you. You can hang around all you want but I will not give you anymore attention. I am ready to start living my life again. I miss my family and friends. I am ready to move on. Goodbye anxiety.

  219. Charley Says:

    Just a quick question as today i have woken up a little shakey… Do your intrusive thoughts jump from one thing to another? Just as I desensitise to one thought another pops up and freaks me out and I’m in the fear cycle again which just increases the volume and intensity of the thoughts/images. I am trying hard to work on the theory I picked up on here that there are no good thoughts or bad thoughts, just thoughts, nothing more. Hoping this will help me. Thanks for listening.

  220. rachh Says:

    Thankyou mikestevens.. And everyone elses comments.. Woke up feeling really bad today but floated through it and practised a little mindfulness so i didnt get tangled in a web of thoughts.
    Feel slightly more confident but the day brings what the day brings..
    Thank god for this website.

  221. Charlotte Says:

    Have also woken up feeling really bad must be a Friday thing !!!

  222. Nikki Says:

    Me too in fact its been a tough few weeks. Feel like my anxiety is spiralling out of control. Saw doc this morning who wants me to take AD’s. I told her I didn’t want to. She has recommended diazepam for a few days to settle my body. Feel like I will never get my body under control. Don’t know how to begin accepting the horrendous physical symptoms my body experiences.

  223. Charlotte Says:

    Hi Charley – yes intrusive thoughts do that, my are an expert on finding new topics or just altering slightly but enough to frighten me again. They r all just thoughts but they are clever as they pick on our worst fears !

    Nikki , Doreen made some good points about medication, it is a personal choice. I take meds because for me they take the edge of the anxiety they definitely haven’t cured me but they have helped things a little. Are you new to the blog Nikki ?

  224. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    I’m feeling in a funk today……in that DP bubble and miserable.

    I know this is mostly anxiety talking but when I was on holiday I felt okay and thought ‘Well I’ve done the hard part (last year), the rest of the road is easy. Now I feel it is more unendurable than ever thanks to setback.
    I know Claire Weekes says that setback is a little trickster and will try everything to ensure we think we’ve slipped back and never recover, it’s just trying to remember that when you feel utter crap and to carry on forward.
    This setback has got easier over the last few weeks but I’m back caring about the symptoms, caring about recovery and that’s so frustrating.

    Sorry I try to be as positive as I can on here and help others but feeling fed up to be honest.

  225. Nikki Says:

    Hi Charlotte I am not new to the blog but don’t post much. I have what I call a form of agoraphobia. I find it almost impossible to go out on my own but can go anywhere with people. I get overwhelmed with physical symptoms that I find it very hard to go out there and accept. There doesn’t seem to be many people who struggle in the way that I do on the blog so it feels hard to get the right kind of support. To be honest tho the support I had recently haa been fab. X

  226. Charley Says:

    Yes, mine can chop and change throughout the day even. I can be in a conversation or doing something and my mind will wander and I think oh no why did that thought/image pop up? Its so hard not to be freaked out. Like others I’ll also think ‘ooh I haven’t had an Intrusive thought for a while’ and bang there one is. At the moment I am inviting them in but I get scared of what crazy thing my brain will come up with next! This blog is brilliant though and although I’m new I really want to help others as well as get support.

  227. rachh Says:

    I really want to let go of this anxiety..

  228. Charlotte Says:


    To let go you need to release your grasp…. Imagine holding a pen in your hand – the pen is your anxiety, to let go of the pen you have to release your grip on it…..

    Not that I can do it Rachh, I’m holding onto that damn pen for all its worth, but I get the release idea!

  229. Charlotte Says:


    Also see my above post if it helps at all ? U are always so positive and have helped me loads. When u say u have dp is that the feeling of detachment etc ? I get that and have it at the moment it is horrible but it doesn’t last.

    Try not to set expectations and keep reading the good stuff !

  230. Mark R Says:


    DP is a constant thing for me. Sorry for the negative rant, sometimes I just remember the old Mark and how he enjoyed and went about life compared to how I am now. Obviously that’s not a useful way to go about things though.

  231. Charlotte Says:

    Hey mark

    I am with you, I never used to have intrusive thoughts, ongoing anxiety, panic attacks etc. it is exactly one year for me since I was diagnosed wih post natal anxiety and that is probably playing on mind at the moment.

    The old mark hasn’t gone anywhere, he is still there just a bit hidden under anxiety. Treat yourself with kindness and he will be back….

  232. Bryan Says:


    Excellent stuff. Yeah I saved an of post of yours from around the time the light bulb went on for you. It was great to read that transition as it happened.
    I am indeed working on living with symptoms there. 95% of the time I’m great at it. But that 5% still disturbs me because my panic is so intense and so long. (Days wirhout much relief during bad peaks). But I know I can master this part of it too. I just need practice with acceptance. I just came through a big setback so hopefully my skills are more anchored.

    Bless you again Candie. Have an awesome weekend!

  233. Mark R Says:


    Would you say your setback has passed? I’ve had some days where I think it has then the last two days got in a right tizz.

  234. rachh Says:

    If we are anxious does it mean were insecure?

  235. Lucy Says:

    Like your post, Alecia :)

    Rachh I think for those of us who worry about how we come across to others, in social situations etc that is insecurity to a degree. Doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing though! I know plenty of people who don’t experience anxiety but experience insecurities. Every body has them.

    Charley my mind does exactly the same, I think part of the frightening part can be how fast they go or how they change from one thing to something else.. Either way whatever they do, they are still ultimately just thoughts. Let them do their worst because believe me, when it comes down to it, their worst is really not that bad.

  236. MikeStevens Says:

    Just to give a positive update:
    Last night was another great night.

    Today I’ve felt so normal.
    Whatever happens after this moment, let it happen.
    I’m losing my fear of this at a very fast pace.
    If it bubbles back up, great…. just another opportunity to accept it and retrain my brain that it doesn’t matter anymore.

    Mark, you’re in a bad way right now.
    You might not think this right now, but it will get better.

    I saw no end to this nightmare…. but now I’m seeing the end of it.
    I can read my post from: October 7th, 2013 at 5:09 pm
    and it doesn’t even bother me.

    one day I’ll read that post and smile about it. Thinking in my head “thanks for Claire Weekes, Paul David, David Carbonell, Jim Neidert, Joe Pro, Elaine, Mark R and everyone that was there for me”.
    You know what? I’m feeling and thinking that right now.

    God bless.

  237. Matt Says:

    What helped me, and I’ve been on this blog about 4 years, is just go out and live your life. That is what helped me recover. Anxiety is scary, but it is all untrue in our heads. I recovered by being around other people, going to places that I feared, etc. At first, it seems like the most impossible thing to do…but overtime the anxiety lessens and lessens until it isn’t there anymore. Again that is my experience, it may suck for some of you going through what I did…but when you come out the other side? Your are a totally different person, and I mean in a good way.

  238. Charlotte Says:

    Hey Elaine

    I get feelings of detachment and also felt odd when I looked in the mirror I’ve never heard anyone else say they felt that when lookin in the mirror before, thought it was just me !!


  239. Charley Says:

    I’ve had that too Charlotte and Elaine… I’ve been almost too scared to even look but now if that feeling comes I make myself look… Anxiety bluffing us again x

  240. Charlotte Says:

    Wow really thought it was just me going mad !! I used to think what sort of person can’t even look a themselves in the mirror… Now I know just someone being bluffed by anxiety!

  241. Nikki Says:

    Hey struggling like mad. Feel like my anxiety has gone into crisis mode. Utterly terrified and consumed by the most horrendous physical symptoms. Took a diazepam yesterday but don’t want to take anymore. Feel like my body and mind are out of control. Tips and advice welcome! I am already dreading next week as I am worried how I will be when my hubby goes back to work. Need to calm down! Can’t believe how fast my anxiety has escalated. X

  242. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    Had a negative rant yesterday and was feeling pretty crap by the time I’d come back from work. I went and had a game of pool then came upstairs about 10pm then something bizarre happened………

    I was sitting there and something inside me said ‘just let go’ and all the tension released from me and all the blood came back into my face, arms and legs. I’d never felt better for about 3 hours.

    I woke up this morning feeling crap again but just wondered if anyone else had experienced that?

  243. Charley Says:

    Nikki, have you tried the Dr Claire Weekes download? Google it, there’s a site where there’s 4 free audio clips, found them yesterday, they really calmed me down. Hope you feel better… Stay strong

  244. Nikki Says:

    Hey charley thanks for that I will go have a look now. I have calmed down a tiny bit by reminding myself that I don’t need to strive to get better and to accept my anxious state today. This has allowed me to have breakfast and put a washing on. Phew it sure is hard. Off to check out the downloads. X

  245. Sally Says:

    Hi Guys there is a Claire Weekes page on facebook that I found a couple of days ago with lots of videos of her interviews in case any of you haven’t seen it or would like to X

  246. Bryan Says:

    Hi Mark,

    Yes, it feels like the worst of that setback has passed. I don’t feel like I am back to my old pre-setback baseline yet though. But, I have felt some relief and even some more positive days where the symptoms gave me some peace lately. So, I’m ready and willing for anything else that comes, but it does appear that it finally lost steam. It may have been the strongest setback I’ve had since I started the concept of recovery. It lasted almost 2 months straight. But once again, I proved to myself that I always get through it and that at the end of the day they are just feelings, no matter how bad they may feel.

    I plan to do everything in my power to use this experience to help my new commitment to true acceptance and living no matter how I feel. There are so many helpful people here who have recovered and it’s just a blessing to be able to come and read their advice, rather than most forums where all you hear people doing is complaining about symptoms.

    I’m really glad Paul has decided to keep this place going and I hope he always does, not for me but for those in the future who will be where I am at some point.

  247. Mark R Says:

    Hi Bryan,

    Ive felt a little relief too but same as you, not quite at the baseline that took me half way across Europe and to Glasto!

    I seem to swing from ‘ah its lifting’ to even 3 hours of absolute peace last night (see previous post). to feeling dreadful and ‘its never gonna go, and I’m stuck like it’. The fact that I had peace confirms that it is transient.

    I too have carried on living where almost every fiber of my being wants to curl up and hide away……it’s been really tough.

    Glad you’ve passed through it though pal.

  248. Nikki Says:

    Hi Sally thanks for the heads up on Claire Weeke’s Facebook page – just found it and love it! Its so encouraging and hopeful. Ordered one of her CD’s from Amazon too. Well despite my horrendous morning I have somehow settled into gently getting on with my day. I think I have been so anxious that I am not aware how exhausted my body has become. I feel I have let go of something today. I have managed to potter around the house making soup and crumble. Did some admin on the pc and put a washing on. More than enough for an exhausted nervous system! Thanks for all your support. x

  249. Bryan Says:

    I agree. I am a huge Weekes fan and had no ideas she had a Facebook page. Thanks for the heads up. She was a pioneer. Wish she was still with us.

  250. Bryan Says:

    By the way Weekes talks of medication in part 2 of this video and you can hear just how cautious she is. She mentions even just using for one day in some cases. She clearly favored not using meds and you can hear her speak of how the dangers were just starting to become known by medical science.

  251. Mark R Says:

    I think medication is horses for courses really, each to their own. I think they help some in a holistic way but I’ve never met anyone who got over anxiety by medication alone.

    Just had some friends up and went the pub. Was pretty hard at the start but in the end managed to lose myself…….always rewarding when you persevere.


    What do you find the hardest? Socialising? Working?

  252. rachh Says:

    I kind of understand that it is the intense introspection and watching yourself which gets you in the loop.
    I know i keep going on but i dont understand what happens but i will be with my boyfriend and then all of a sudden its like my brain will switch on and i will suddenly feel kind of aware which makes me feel sick and starts the adrenaline.. Its like my brain will say oh no what if you start monitoring how you feel..this sets off my churning tummy and i start analysing how i feel. Then i feel like i need to get away from him. Its like my brain is reinforcing the fear of him. And i cant turn it off once its on because the more you try not to do something the worse it gets and then i feel like i need to get away.

  253. Bryan Says:

    Hey Mark,

    I get through work and social events OK, though I’m not really up for traveling just yet because physically I’m not there. I do exercise lightly every day.

    The thing I find the hardest is the cyclical, random nature of this. It’s the same thing every time… I accept, I do well… and I make progress. I have a couple better weeks, and then I go to sleep one night… it’s always when I’m tired… and I sleep deeper than normal. There’s something about that deep sleep that when my body comes out, my nervous system goes haywire again. And, I wake up with rolling, intense panic for no reason. Right out of sleep… no chance to accept, because it’s already there.

    So, I go about my day and just try to accept and work with it. But, the physical and cyclical nature of what I have seems to be so intense it needs days to play out. I’ll try to really focus on accepting and eventually it will get better. I’ll have more OK or good days than bad eventually. But, it’s still a cycle.

    The hardest thing for me is… how does this end? When does it end?

    I haven’t heard it discussed around here much because it seems like most people … the light bulb goes on, they start accepting and they slowly get better and better until they recover. Yes, they have setbacks but they recover.

    I also notice that it seems like 95% of the people here deal more with situational issues than I do. “I’m worried about school… I’m bad in social settings… I’m worried about a specific thought.”

    That’s not me.

    While yes, I do have worry and obsessive thoughts can pop up… mine is an extremely physical, random, chaotic condition that bares almost no relevance to what I seem to do or think. I’ve had every test I can think of and I’m convinced this is anxiety. Yet, I’ve never really ever read of anyone on these forums who described their situation like mine. (A cycle that gets better, and then the sleep actually perpetuates by starting it over every few weeks.) Now, I’m well aware anxiety acts differently in all of us. I’m also WELL aware I”m not broken. But, I have to say… that’s what it feels like. A broken mechanism in my brain that just re-starts the pattern during sleep every few weeks, and I’m left to simply contend with the aftermath.

    My day to day thinking has improved greatly. My acceptance has improved greatly. I’ve made progress because of this. But, I do wonder how this cycle ever ends for me. Because, I believe I’m doing what I need to do and even the cycle itself… I’m trying to accept. But, we all want to be better. Even if we aren’t supposed to pine away, we want to improve. I just hope at some point my work can give my body what it needs to snap this cycle. Because I’ll feel almost normal… almost me again… and then, one morning comes… and it’s all back.

    That’s my biggest problem, and as of yet… I haven’t met one person in three years who describes their disorder this way. So, I’ll just keep working…

  254. Kelly Says:

    Just curious to know what methods people on here have put into place when following Paul’s advice? Like, do you take a deep breath and say certain things to yourself in your head? Like, “these thoughts are fake, I can overcome this, my anxious thoughts are not real” etc.

  255. Bryan Says:

    Kelly… not really. Have you read Paul’s book? If not, browse through the posts from people like Candie, Helen and others. (And Paul’s posts back when he used to post here.)

    Trying to grapple with your thoughts is not what he recommends. He recommends allowing them to just be there, and not react to them. To recognize them for what they are… a product of anxiety and move on.

    Now, there may be some overall, general type of statement you can keep on hand… like “it’s always anxiety, it never matters.” But, Paul warns against statements because they lose their power. More important is the belief… the belief that it’s not dangerous, no matter what thought/feeling you have. Because what we say really only matters if we believe it.

  256. Kelly Says:

    Thanks Bryan. I’ve read about 3/4 of Paul’s book however I feel that I will need to re-read just to take it all in and fully grasp it.

    I’ve been carrying on with life and doing things that I have felt uncomfortable with or felt that I am going to be uncomfortable with so I haven’t let it keep me from doing anything.

    I saw a post from last September where Helen had replied and I could strongly relate to some anxiety issues she had been through so I’m hoping she still posts on here. It’s all been extremely helpful, so thank you again.

  257. Candie Says:

    Bryan that Deep sleep anxiety, I had that! I didn’t understand it until one day I clicked. I’d been dreaming and it had set my nervous system off. Once I realised this I’d wake up anxious and it would pass in an hour or two :). I never remembered the dreams so want sure what was going on but it’s very common in those without anxiety to experience this.

  258. Candie Says:

    Also Brian, have u been tested ever for hyperglycemia? As low blood sugar episodes really set my anxiety off. Long Deep sleeps are known to dip blood sugars which can cause nightmares which then sets all the symptoms off.

  259. Doreen Says:

    Bryan says

    “I also notice that it seems like 95% of the people here deal more with situational issues than I do. “I’m worried about school… I’m bad in social settings… I’m worried about a specific thought.”

    Actually, I am not sure that is the case Bryan. I think it more likely that the anxiety has latched itself onto particular situations/thoughts and if it wasn’t those it would be another one.

    And you certainly haven’t got a broken mechanism in your brain. Something and it may be a dream as suggested or a noise perhaps jerks you out of your sleep and as you quite rightly say you are in panic mode before you are even properly awake. But unpleasant as that is I think it is just another manifestation of the anxiety that is hovering around and which you are able to accept so much of the time.

  260. Mark R Says:

    Hi Bryan,

    I’d have to agree with Doreen that most on here aren’t troubled by specific worries just circumstantial ones. This is the same for me really, because of anxiety everything I did before with complete ease seems an epic chore and a worry, for the past 18 months I’ve lived a pretty uncomfortable life.

    I know where you are coming from though……my bad days used to start with an upset stomach, so every time one would crop up I would attribute a bad day to what I had eaten. As time went on I realised that bad stomachs were part and parcel of it and bad days would crop up for no reason. In my humble opinion this seems to be the case with your sleep, trying to find a reason so to speak for the cycle.

    ‘The hardest thing for me is… how does this end? When does it end?’

    Well as you pointed out others start to accept and then recover, I think you pretty much answered your own question here………as Claire Weekes says continued acceptance will do the trick.

    Not sure about you but I’ve had bouts and of A & D in the past and come through… the time I thought it was because I changed my job, relationship, started college but in hindsight the only way I recovered was acceptance of the symptoms and discontinued the battle.

    This has been the strangest bout for me as it has been very up and down with good and bad days dotted all over the period with 2 very bad setbacks. My previous experiences have been awful at the start with no good days and then seemed to tail of towards the end with no setbacks at all.

    You’re definitely on the right track with two key points being acceptance of how you feel and the willingness to stick to your life regardless – that’s the winning formula. You can’t ask for any more than that, with the remaining part being down to time.

  261. Bryan Says:

    Doreen, Mark, Candie

    I feel blessed to have responses from three people with so much knowledge.

    Candie, I have had blood sugar testing but it was quite a while ago. I suppose it couldn’t hurt to mention this to a doctor and I am due for a checkup. I am definitely jarred awake most mornings by high chemistry or bad dreams or just a combination. But, there are those certain mornings that I mentioned in my prior post where the chemistry seems to come together to restart cycle. Oddly, this always seems to be when I’ve made progress and I’m feeling better, my body has calmed down. It just seems that the hyperstimulated state IMN keeps my body from going through the sleep cycles properly.


    Thank you, and I definitely no I am not broken. I am a huge believer in this recovery method and I have seen progress. It’s just a bit disconcerting because it seems as though I am stuck in this loop while others have been able to break through it and of course that leads us to wonder if we are doing something wrong. I believe I’m doing the best I can to practice acceptance and move forward, but it’s hard to analyze ourselves I suppose.

    Thank you all for the input, it means a lot and is very enlightening.

  262. Kay Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I found this site this morning after internet searching and have to say I really do hope it turns out like you all say.

    I had a funny turn of a very rapid heartbeat 2 years ago. It only happened twice but both times very scary. Had two ecgs, one of which was for 4 days and nothing abnormal found. Since then I am constantly aware of my heart beat and often get a bang and my heart misses a beat. Again doctors tell me this is normal and nothing to worry about.

    Two weeks ago at work I started feeling shaky for no reason……shakes got worse and worse and I felt sick and faint. Ended up with upset stomach and going home. Went to docs and they said my iron levels were a little low but apart from that all fine. Last Monday shakes started at work again, worse than before…….went to get a drink of water from the kitchen and my best friend came in to chat to me…….all I could think of while she was talking was that I needed to get away from everyone as I was so scared I was going to pass out. By the time I returned to my office I was shaking uncontrollably. I knew I needed to get to the doctors convinced I was about to die but as soon as I thought about telling my boss I needed to leave I had a huge hot flush come over me and started sweating. It was like by acknowledging how bad I felt made it worse ??

    Anyway ….since then doctor has signed me off work with anxiety attacks and I seem to be getting worse…..Tried to go out for a sandwich with my hubby the other day and started worrying it would happen in the cafe and everyone would see me be ill and I would die literally. Got covered in red blotches and felt so sick could hardly eat.

    Now spend all the time thinking I will NEVER be me again and that I will be miserable forever till I die of heartattack …..

    I so want to be the bubbly me again and believe that the reason I feel ill everyday is this anxiety but its so hard, always feeling dizzy, ill, ringing ears etc….it just doesnt seem normal.

    I pray this gets better soon, both my parents have died reasonably young and I dont want to die feeling like this……..I want my life back and my husband wants his wife back xx

  263. Lucy Says:

    Bryan, I don’t think you are the only one to experience it like this… I always resonate when you describe the waves of panic, I know this is a common symptom but it seems a lot of people are lucky enough for their bodies not to push them that far. For me it is very physical too, if panic did not cause my heart to race or “skip” beats, or my legs didn’t feel like jelly, or I didn’t feel the nausea, the bodily vibrations/shaking etc, which in turn convinces my mind that something terrible is about to happen, I feel I could pass through a lot easier! But I suppose it was never meant to be “easy.” I know it can be absolutely overwhelming sometimes, I feel that today, but keep doing what you have been doing and eventually that cycle will break. As for feeling “broken” I think we all do at times! And we most definitely are not although we can certainly feel it. I thought I was on a good road to acceptance but when things get really bad it’s like I just forget everything and I’m back to feeling that utter despair. It’s so hard to not fight it all away some days! I just want to stop being scared. This feels like a post I would’ve written 7 months or so ago but still, I’m going to Bryan, I don’t think you are the only one to experience it like this… I always resonate when you describe the waves of panic, I know this is a common symptom but it seems a lot of people are lucky enough for their bodies not to push them that far. For me it is very physical too, if panic did not cause my heart to race or “skip” beats, or my legs didn’t feel like jelly, or I didn’t feel the nea. Keep doing what you have been doing and eventually that cycle will break. As for feeling “broken” I think we all do at times! And we most definitely are not although we can certainly feel it. I thought I was on a good road to acceptance but when things get really bad it’s like I just forget everything and go back to despair, I just want to stop being scared and I can feel myself “watching” myself while my inner dialogue is going and I feel like I can’t do anything. This sounds like a post I could’ve written 7 months ago. I know I’ve had some definite ok days lately, today and yesterday’s awfulness doesn’t reflect that. So, more floating and more accepting! I know it’s been better than this, so “this is forever” is just another anxious thought.

  264. Lucy Says:

    I don’t know what happened there my phone chopped and changed parts around, anxious typing!! But I’m sure you get the point.

  265. Bryan Says:

    Lucy, great points… great thoughts and it was worth reading twice! :)

    I’m sorry that you suffer with the extreme physical side of it like I do. The hardest thing is how random and unattached to anything I do it all seems to be. But, that’s just the way it manifests for me, I suppose.

    Your encouragement is appreciated and I’m like you… I know this is the way. I’ve seen progress. Like you said, the cycle has to break at some point if we’re accepting and not fearing it anymore. But, that is a process.

  266. Lucy Says:

    I just find it difficult to not be “on edge” when times are harder, like I am always anticipating a panic attack. I have accepted living with the anxiety but I know I need to let go of the panic. I know now anxiety will always be a part of me because it’s a natural emotion, all people have it, and eventually it will return to it’s normal level, but I honestly feel the panic does not have to be me. I am not sure if that means I’m going wrong somewhere because is that in a sense willing it to go away? If it would subside I feel like I’d be as much as 50% closer to recovery. I also find it much easier to sit it out when I am at home, but it’s much harder when I am out and about. It is frustrating when the process is a long, drawn out one, but it will be worth it in the end! Some days I feel I need to go back to square one and just give up all over again, and go from there.

  267. Charlotte Says:

    Hey Lucy,

    I was wondering how you were doing, most people are writing I the next post so hope this gets to you. I’ve had a rubbish few days, complete rubbish, panic , intrusive thoughts, crying again. Feel like I’ve forgotten everything I learnt, but then I realise I do have moments where to use Claire weekes term I have glimpses of normality, so I’m holding onto these moments hoping they will become more and more frequent.

    Is it half term with you this week ? It is with us in cheshire, so the rain we’ve had has been most annoying !!

  268. Lucy Says:

    Hi Charlotte,
    I know we have to accept this all as part of it but it’s rubbish to go back to feeling awful when you’ve had okay times. I suppose the attitude that we have then is the one we need to keep up when it’s harder. Like you I have the glimpses of normality so that is all we need to go on :) after a while though, just as I notice when I feel bad, I’ll notice I’ve been feeling fine then boom I’m back to checking on myself again! Sorry you’re feeling rubbish too, but we never forget all that we’ve learnt we just feel like it.
    Half term for us is next week and I’m hoping for some okay weather at least so that we can get out and about rather than being stuck x

  269. Charlotte Says:

    Hi Lucy,

    Most of the country seem to be on half term next week, think we are early. The checking in gets me anxious I hate it rather than accept it. I can feel like I am watching myself all the time which gives me the fellings of unreality. I’ve got a counselling session tonight so gonna work on acceptance again and checking on !!!

    Do you have therapy ?

    I’m planning what to do with my two kids today as I’ve got the day off work. Am thinking of a bit of play in park and then cinema, anxiety will just have to come with me!

  270. Lucy Says:

    Yes I know what you mean, it makes me panic that I’m doing it yet AGAIN when I’m checking in.. So frustrating when you know you are reacting the wrong way but sometimes it’s so strong I don’t know how to do anything else. Distraction sometimes works but I feel like that’s just avoiding it til later. I am in touch with well being, attended a work shop and the lady who followed this up told me a month ago she wanted to step up the intensity and work more with me. I spoke to her Monday and she seemed shocked that I was still having panic attacks even though I know all about what’s happening to me, told me that graded exposure wouldn’t work for me. She wasn’t too helpful and said “ok so I really think I should talk to my supervisor about stepping you up a level” clearly forgetting she said this is what we’d do a month ago! I am keen to give it a go, do you find it helpful to you? I’ve also started a kids version of meditation with my little one lately so going to persist with that too, not to rid myself of any feelings but to know she’s learning about how to deal with worries from early on!

    Taking it with you is the right attitude, I know we know what to do it’s just not giving up when it’s tougher!

  271. Charlotte Says:


    I like therapy , I find it really good to get all my worries and issues out and to talk to someone neutral about it. I’ve got plain old anxiety resulting from post natal anxiety, although I sometimes think it’s just anxiety is just so happened after I had my children !

    I’ve not heard of graded exposure, but I’m sure you would find therapy good.

    Someone recommended a book called the happiness trap by Russ Myers, I’ve just got it and it’s really really good.

  272. Doreen Says:

    Hi Lucy and Charlotte – please add your posts to the more recent blog- they are so worth reading and you may get some new points of view

  273. Charlotte Says:

    Hi Doreen,

    How do I do that, do I just re-type ?

    Thanks for your kind comments !

  274. Doreen Says:

    Yes, just type it again under the new blog.

  275. AJW Says:

    I do think maybe Grace has a point about leaving the subject behind. However, I find myself feeling awful every morning, then I turn to this site or google to try and find help. I seem to find something to get me through the day, but I also realise it’s not a good thing to be doing this everyday. I want to accept so badly, and the days I have been able to accept that ‘it’s all anxiety’ I have felt almost recovered. However, I don’t know how to accept all the time. I’m feeling very despondent today after 2 years of suffering with the same obsessive thoughts, revolved around one person in my family who was bereaved, my anxiety started after this. I try to think the thoughts are not real, but hard as they are not about something random. All based on the same topic. I cut contact with this person (who I don’t like very much), to try and prevent anxiety occuring in the future. A family member, so hard. That was 7 months ago, and I am still suffering. Of course feeling guilt, indecision etc. but I am trying to think, hey that’s your anxiety talking, not you. I promised myself yesterday, I would be not visiting websites anymore and here I am again. Any advice would be grateful, you are all Trojans !

  276. Aaron :-) Says:

    Ive had a setback zero control of my mind anymore i no the facts there not my thoughts but when i first started my recovery i thought some thoughts were mine even if they were slightly positive but when i felt nearly recovered i new they was not so now i end up telling myself that none of these are me and nothing seems to be going in there shall i grasp any positive even if i no it isnt mine ?sorry if this confuzes anyone .

  277. Amba Says:

    My biggest question is, I have gotten to the point where I don’t know if I am just paranoid from getting a bad thought or the fact that they are just there always pestering me? What’s the diff if there’s any? Would really like to know please ??? Thanks

  278. panicker Says:

    I have anxiety for years but it peaked last year when I remembered fantasies that I used to have. Whenever I feel better the obsessive thought loop goes off.. I am a monster etc. I am a really kind person but the negative thinking makes me questuon myself and I get stuck in an awful anxiety loop. Any suggestions? Xx

  279. Sue Says:

    Can someone tell me why you can be OK for months and then the negative thoughts you can before can creep in again. The other night I had the same 2 thoughts going through my mind the whole day. And it was as though I had a compulsion to keep thinking them. My head was tense and muzzy. and I wen to bed with a terrible headache. The next day I woke to find the thoughts had gone but still had a headache. Today I woke up very tired but went to work and been ok. I find it hard to know what I did that brought this attack on or is this ti be expected from time to time until it eventually goes. The same thoughts have been going through my mind for 3 years. Is that how anxiety is because I wonder if I will ever be rid of them They go for months and then come back.

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