How to overcome avoidance behaviours with anxiety

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

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

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

Basically they restrict their own life because they become a slave to the way they feel. Be it too much effort or they have got to the point they hate mixing or that they feel awful or awkward in social situations.

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

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

It was like a little voice in my head that would try and keep me safe by telling me not to go here or there or not to put myself in certain situations. Your mind actually thinks it is keeping you safe by doing this, this is a built in thing with everyone and it acts on what information it receives. Someone without anxiety may have been fine with dogs until they got bitten and then avoid them, your mind has picked up on this and will put you in a fight or flight situation when you see one and the more you avoid the bigger the reaction, even when it is a harmless little sausage dog. The only way to stop this fight or flight feeling is to start to mix with dogs again, even when these feelings come. By doing this you are telling you mind your fine now and it stops trying to protect you and leaves you be.

But that voice in anxiety sufferers has been made to be wired up wrong, it seems to go off and totally irrational moments, ones where there is no danger yet we have created this through our own actions and behaviours, if we avoid talking with someone then it is only doing it’s job. So yes we have created this false programing and we can be the one to re program it too.

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

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

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

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

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


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574 Responses to “How to overcome avoidance behaviours with anxiety”

  1. Legend Says:

    I am not avoiding people or situations but still feel anxious and the symptoms.
    I know I need to stop the obsessive thinking but not sure how?

  2. Karen Says:

    Great post. I guess my question would be ….. when you start doing something you have avoided and your brain keeps telling you not to do it. Will it always learn that it is safe and stop saying that? I have been pushing through certain situations for a while now and my anxiety is still off the scale. I am beginning to wonder how long it takes when I am trying so hard!

  3. Charley Says:

    I personally would be so grateful if you could do a post on intrusive thoughts…. That’s the hardest symptom by far for me.

  4. Candie Says:

    Karen it sounds like you are doing things hoping if you do them enough you won’t feel anxious. That’s still avoiding. Do them, if anxiety pops up then let it be there.

    Legend you can’t rid yourself of obsessive thoughts. When your anxious every thought seems scary, it’s best just to let it seem scary and not try shake the fear. This teaches your body to catch up and stop sending fear signals and the thoughts die off. When I was anxious everything seemed scary, the thought of cooking tea, going outside, thinking about thinking etc. if you get involved in any of it you will spiral. Some people make the mistake of thinking if they accept a thought it won’t seem scary- so they go round and round in circles trying to accept the thought to avoid the anxiety. Well that’s what I did! This made me worse. If you can feel the anxiety and see it as a false signal, choose to allow the thought space but not act on that first signal caused by sensitisation the thoughts taper off :)

  5. Kat Says:

    I have a question going off of obsessive thoughts. It is also the hardest symptom for me. I am in college and obsess on whether or not I want to change my major or switch schools or what I want to do with my life. So I spend so much time trying to decipher what is anxiety and what is my true feelings. For example, is anxiety making me feel like I want to change my major or is it that I truly feel I would like to major in something else. Then I go off trying to figure out how I “truly feel” and where my heart is leading me. I don’t know if that makes any sense but I hope to someone it does and maybe someone could give me their perspective or advice. Because I have contemplated so deeply on how to figure out what I want to do that I’ve spiralled down and not gotten anywhere. I was well on my way to recovery about 6 monthes ago and now it’s like I’m back to square one. I appreciate any help. I wish you all well.

  6. Sam Says:

    I completely understand Karen and Kat! I have the same problems. I go to college everyday and it doesn’t feel any less scary after 2 years than it did before, I still have a state of fear for my life for no reason and worry something is going to happen. And also with Kat I’m exactly the same! I think “what am I looking to do with my life?” Or “what do I actually enjoy” and it’s hard to know what is anxiety speaking and what is my true self too! I would love answers to those questions as well :) if you wanna chat Kat or Karen I may be in the same boat and not practice what I preach but I’m happy to help

  7. Bryan Says:

    Thanks for the post, Paul! Excellent stuff as always.

    I’ll cast my vote for the next to possibly be the “fear of setback” topic you talked about doing a few weeks ago. Would still love to read that.

    But, ever-grateful that you continue to do these. We all gain so much from them.
    Bless you, man!

  8. Bryan Says:


    Claire Weekes generally advised not making huge life decisions while highly sensitized (in an anxiety state) unless you had to. That doesn’t mean stop living, but perhaps your work should be more towards finding acceptance of your condition than trying to make a lot of big changes right now.

    If you HAVE to make a choice, just go with what you think is best for you… and do your best to ignore any “warnings” your anxiety gives you unless you can write it on paper and it really seems logical. Confide in people you trust and make the best decisions for yourself. Try not to overthink it.

    Then, get back to acceptance as your work. That’s what I do every day. I’m learning after years to let this thing be there… and still am a work in progress. But, it IS progress.

    Stay at it. Keep your head up.

  9. Hanna Says:

    Great post Paul! It was perfect timing for me as I needed to make a phone call and I was really anxious about it. So I thought I’d just look at your site for som encouragement and there was the post on non avoidance. I made the call with anxiety and survived. I am quite good at avoidance and even when I do go through with things I feel so terrible it just reinforces why I don’t like doing certain things in the first place. However I think the penny has finally dropped that that’s the whole point. I’m not doing this to feel better I’m doing this to learn to not care how I feel so that anxiety doesn’t matter anymore.

    For others struggling I have tryed to do what Paul said for ages. Nearly 18 months I’ve been trying. I’d make progress in one area only to get stuck in another. I finally realised recently what I’ve been doing wrong. I’d be doing everything Paul said but with the attitude that if I did I would feel better and then when I didn’t or I had a set back I would feel like it wasn’t working and try find another approch to Paul’s message. I’d think maybe I just need to do nothing then I’d feel better. So ever time I felt anxious I’d say do nothing do nothing. This might then make some of my symptoms feel better but not others. In the end I had different approaches for different symptoms but they were all being used to make me feel better. To rid me of anxiety.

    I’ve finally understood and accepted the crux of this. My approaches though based on Paul’s concept had become safety behaviours. They were words I said that helped with different symptoms. But I can see now that’s what’s been keeping me stuck. Everything I’ve done has been to feel better. True recover will only come from no more safety behaviours, no more avoidance and a much deeper acceptance that I’m going to feel awful a lot and that that’s okay because it’s anxiety. That my thoughts are going to go mental but that that’s okay because they are not me. I choose to collapse into anxiety. No techniques, no tools just an understanding that I will feel like this for as long as it takes. It is liberating the fight is over. Though I still have the symptoms it no longer matters it will take as long as it takes.

    If you are still going round in circles I believe the key lies In Realising you can’t use any tools and your not going to feel better. You’ve got to learn to feel crap and be okay with feeling crap. And although that sounds scary and not pleasant it truly feels liberating. Imagine no longer caring if u felt anxious again or had crazy thoughts ever again!

    I believe we all can get there.

    Also I have a lot of nutty obsessive and scary thoughts and agree with those that say that can be the hardest part. I’m finding realising that my thoughts aren’t me while letting them go haywire is helping. I seem to be beginning to detach from them.

    Hugs and I believe in all of you :)

  10. sam Says:

    hii everybody…hope u all r doing great…it would be really great if paul or anybody else can guide me through the bozzare situation i am in now…my anxiety is almost cured…i don’t have running thoughts all day….i can functions almost as well as any normal person…but inspite of the anxiety being gone …i find that some physical symptoms are still persisting …especially the tightness and numbness feeling in the chest and rib cage..(though i am the least worried bout it coz i know it will go away…as all other symptoms have gone) but can’t help asking that what might be causing my symptoms even after my anxiety has gone away almost completely and my mind is free of worry

  11. Lisa Says:

    I wanted to come here to offer comfort and support to those who are currently going through anxiety .I have not visited the blog in a long time, I had my first anxiety attack at the end of Jan 2011, I found this blog shortly after and it really helped me to not fall into the trap that is anxiety. I can only offer some encouragement that anybody can recover from anxiety. Once you get to the point where you just don;t give a crap anymore it starts to become less and less important and this is the key .. you just stop feeding it because it is no longer a “thing” you just learn to accept however you feel and genuinely don’t care. It does take time but you just have to keep living no matter what. Anxiety and all its tricks become a part of who you are. You learn from it, you start to learn about yourself and you can see that you are just human and that anxiety is normal, It is just that you are hyper aware when you are anxious and so you condition yourself to focus on yourself all the time but this can be undone and you will get there. Yes the symptoms are not fun and I went though a very tough time with brain fog and other mental symptoms and physical symptoms and also feeling low and yet it all cleared. You just don;t even realize you are better until it dawns on you that you haven;t really payed attention to how you are feeling anymore. Its weird. Anxiety is not scary its how its being perceived at the time of experiencing it. I have had set backs as well but when they came I just went about my business and soon enough it passed and I didn’t bring attention to it. I get anxious when I have something stressful going on but its far more “normal” of a reaction. I just accepted that I have always been sensitive but I am so strong because of it too. Trust in yourself, in your ability to overcome. I had to learn to let go of everything. Let go, nothing bad will happen. When I let go things were far easier, even my bad days were not so bad anymore. You just have to be like ok so I feel like crap but I will keep going and I will smile and enjoy the small things. Even when I was at the height of anxiety for some reason I was able to still enjoy the small things the small pleasures and I learned to become grateful for everything I had taken for granted before. It’s as if I learned to become more present and I was so tired from all the mental symptoms that I just learned to enjoy every moment for what it was. I didn’t fear any of it anymore. One thing that has helped me get through was knowing that we really only have now. Do not waste your life thinking about the future or even when you will recover. Just live.

  12. Kat Says:

    Sam, I am glad you can relate to that, it’s so hard being at a time of immense growth and having anxiety. And it’s a time of many decisions that impact our future and I’m in the habit of overthinking too many decisions. But at least we’re doing it, college and anxiety! Brian, thanks for the response. When I thought about taking a step back from the decision I felt like maybe that was avoiding and that I HAD to make a decision. When you say Claire Weekes says not to make any big changes, does that mean during the entire time I have anxiety I shouldn’t make big decisiones unless i have to? Because I always confuse just focussing on acceptance and not making decisions with “avoiding” the situation and I don’t want that to become a habit. It’s so hard for me because I am always like well I don’t want to look back and say I would have a different job or a different life if I didn’t let anxiety make me so scared/confused about decisions. And I don’t want to let it have that power over my life. This is probably not the best way to look at it though I understand and I know acceptance should be my main focus. I kind of think that about 6monthes ago when I started truly accepting and felt like I could touch my old self, this whole new worry came up and I let it spiral a little out of control. Thank you for your help guys, really great to know people understand what I’m goings through.

  13. Jo Says:

    Some really positive posts here – all with the same theme.
    Feel crap? That’s ok. You are a person who feel’s crap everyday. Meh.
    And that’s how’s it working for me too.
    Oh. Another biggie for me is distraction. Not obsessively. But when those thoughts come into my mind. I do something. Anything. It really really does help.
    Be patient and peace will come eventually. xxx

  14. Kat Says:

    I wanted to say thank you for your post. It is so encouraging that you have gotten to that place and everything you are saying makes complete sense, I also love how you recognized the good changes that came about from your anxiety. Truly amazing and wonderful to hear.

  15. Bryan Says:

    Thank you Lisa!

  16. Celeste Says:

    I engage in avoidance. Phone, invitations, paperwork, etc. I have been divorced for 11 years and in that time I have only dated once. It was short lived. I avoid the dating game, mingling, websites, etc. Not comfortable.
    Fear of anxiety and the rejection.

    I have taken medicine for anxiety for many years now and I gained weight from the medicine. Gaining weight and my thoughts about myself have kept me isolated. Low self esteem over it.

    Huge awakening. Trapped in anxiety for several years now. The meds didn’t help they made t worse.

    Desperate to overcome this and recover so I purchased the book and plan on participating on a daily basis in the hopes of recovery. I need to find a way out of this. Thank you….

  17. Emma Says:

    looking forward to your post on intrusive thoughts

  18. Em Says:


    I’m new to this blog. I’ve read a lot of these posts and they do help, but I still don’t feel I can fully ‘accept’ anxiety. Also, how can you tell the difference between avoidance and justifiably removing yourself from a stressful situation? I’m in quite a pressured job, and I’d been doing well, until about a month ago. I had a couple of minor stressful incidents in work (customers yelling at me over the phone, being verbally abusive) and began to feel stressed and unwell in work pretty much all shift, every shift. I haven’t avoided, but this has been going on for a month now and is not getting better, if anything getting worse. I have a weeks holiday now thank god, and feel a little better, but wondering if I can/should continue in this job if it’s making me ill. I’ve had other anxiety issues for a while (panic if travelling too far from home), but my day-to-day anxiety levels were fine for ages until recently. Any advice would be appreciated.

  19. rachh Says:

    Guys im starting to get acceptance and mindfulness in really fleeting moments like every now and again i can see things from a different perspective and feel more at one with the world and people around me. Is this the start of it because this not even a feeling “moments” i am having where the pressure is off.. Will these moments rekindle eventually because i dont know how im doing it.

  20. rachh Says:

    And by fleeting i mean for 5 mins every few days!! So most of this time im full on disconnected or blank.

  21. Karen Says:

    Great Rachh. I am practising mindfulness too and I can see how it will work but it is hard. Time and practice I think.
    Candie I did not understand your reply, I thought that that’s how it works. Expose yourself to a feared situation long enough and the fear should subside? Sadly it has been making me progressively worse in fact back to me at my worst …. confused. I have read your post several times to try understand what I am doing wrong then some lines from Dr Weeks book also jumped out at me…. forcing yourself is not accepting, you have to accept and float. I think I am beginning to get it even if I can’t yet do it.
    The other thing that confused me was that we should allow and accept all thoughts, racing mind etc. So I was allowing my mind to continually spiral negatively. What I am now beginning to understand is that yes it can do that but I must not get involved or react to it. In fact one post from Paul I found said he had to learn to think positively and no longer let himself feel sorry for himself. I missed this before.
    So now “I can’t cope” constantly swirling is being changed in my mind to …… “It is natural to feel like I can’t cope in the sensitised state I am in and thats ok but as I accept that and get better I will not feel like that forever”
    Am I right, am I getting it now?

    Sam and Kat I now what you mean I constantly push myself too hard and try to do everything to prove anxiety is not ruling me. We need to be kinder to ourselves, one thing at a time.
    Have a great bank holiday everyone.

  22. rachh Says:

    Karen another thing to look at i am finding useful is will beswicks book from hia site eckhart tolle (which is slightly far fetches) judgements again!! And dbt self help. Dont know if im allowed to put these up but im finding them useful for acceptance finding the wise mind and the self.

  23. Mel Says:

    If anyone could help….
    Does anyone get these bursts of anxiety as soon as you start drifting off to sleep?
    They’re worse when I try to take a nap but they come during the night as well.
    I’ll start to slip into sleep and then WHAM! I’m alert and my heart is racing alittle bit.

    I’ve recently been under a lot of stress at work and not dealing with it all that well.
    Prior to that I never had any problems with sleeping.

    Does anyone have this? Should I just accept this too? Not make a big deal out of it even though it’s kind of scary?


  24. Monica Says:

    For 2 nights i dreamed about my niece being lost. The first dream we couldnmt exactly find her and i could5 believe this was happening so i started thinking if it was a dream and crying that if it is to just wake up. Then i just last nifht i had another one where she got lost an i was about to pass out cuss i thought we wouldnt find her and then my sister found her and collapsed and the floor and started crying so bad because i was so scared but happy. I just wanted to know of these dreams can be cause my anxiety. Having these dreams scares and i dont want to fall asleep tonight and have another one of those dreams. Last nights dream was so bad that woke up crying and feeling heavy. So is because of anxiety? Should i be concerned and can it make the anxiety worst to have these dreams?

  25. Monica Says:

    Sorry for the typos im typing from my phone

  26. Matt Says:


    I’m looking forward to the intrusive thoughts post. If it’s about the type of intrusive thoughts I have, I’m hoping it will be immensely helpful. I think your methods of just accepting and relaxing into the moment have helped me this past week, as my anxiety has been significantly decreased. However, I get some “intrusive” thoughts that scare me, and those are hard to not react to. If I can just get past those, I can see recovery in the future! But it’s still a big hurdle for me.

  27. Rachh Says:

    Yehhh they are Monica I’ve been reading a piece today.. People get this when they first start meditation because an over active mind brings all sorts to the surface. I had this when my anxiety first started extremely vivid dreams and waking up in a shock. I didn’t know what was going on. I did medicate to allow myself some sleep but it’s avoiding again. So yell Monica another symptom of anxiety.

  28. Chrissy Says:

    I think you can have the thoughts and feelings. Just don’t react to them. Gain the”whatever attitude”. Not easy and difficult habit to break.

    For me Understanding why you’re mind and body work like this is the first step
    Then practicing Paul’s method of allowing the thoughts and feelings but not reacting to them. Understand why they are there (habit, too much adrenalin in our body, over stressed body and mind etc)

    For me the biggest hurdle is giving myself permission to feel better. I didn’t realize how low I thought of myself. I deserve to have “at last a life”. Yes I do and i will. I use Paul’s method on this also. The negative thoughts. Weird because I interfere when someone else talks negative about themselves or another person. Yet I have negative thoughts about myself. However with Paul’s method I allow them and don’t react. Patience is key here.

  29. Candie Says:

    Karen what I meant was that it sounds to me you are doing everything you should be hoping that the anxiety eventually leaves. As your questioning why it’s still around and that questioning is then telling your subcontious that it is to be feared. It’s like your doing the normal things but doing them to feel better. Another way to escape the anxiety. It’s so hard to explain but that’s what I think is going on anyway from what you described! Your right about that running inner commentary. Some people don’t even realise they are doing it but they listen to and believe that inner voice that comes from past experience. It will say allsorts to get you to avoid, tell you that you will never be better, that your not normal, your the worst case of anxiety, need a doctor etc. In the end I had to learn to hear it but not be influenced by it as wasnt the truth :) in fact we all have this voice about life in general, the same voice causes depression, stress etc. those free of suffering can see it for what it is and not listen

    Monica dreaming anything is normal, yea anxiety can make us have fearful dreams but so can stress, being sad etc and sometimes we just have them!

  30. Emma Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I’m new here and I hope this message gets to someone.

    I’ve been reading the blog for a few months now and Paul’s book has been a staple in my recovery. I’ve started suffering from anxiety 2.5 years ago. I experienced everything Paul talks about, intrusive thoughts, strong depersonalization, panic attacks, you name it. Since then, I have made great progress, with still a lot to overcome, mainly how not to panic whilst drinking alcohol and trying to push myself to go out for dinner with my boyfriend, even thought all I can think about as I’m getting ready is how bad I will feel when I’m in the restaurant, etc.

    Recently however, my anxiety manifests as a mini-depression. In other words, when my anxiety kicks in, instead of having that “impending doom” feeling, or obsessive thoughts, I get this HEAVY feeling of sadness, emptiness and despair. It almost brings me to the brink of tears — it feels like a gaping void in my chest.

    Just as Paul suggests, I try not to be impressed by this, not to give it power and to let it be. However, sometimes it gets overwhelming. Has anyone else experienced that inexplicable sadness and despair that I’m talking about? It’s quite possibly the worst symptom for me (worse than DP). Any advice would be infinitely appreciated.


  31. Johanna Says:

    Hey just wondering if anyone has advice on depressive thoughts mixed in with the anxiety. Do I need to just accept these too. I’ve been just letting my thoughts and feelings surface but find the negative thoughts quite challenging. Do I need to just accept they are part of this condition and leave them be knowing that they are not me? Are they caused by anxiety or depression? Does it matter. Should I be feeling worse and having more intrusive thoughts using Paul’s advice? Thanks so much for any advice :)

  32. Ken Says:

    Hey everyone, I know this is off subject but I’ve been having a hard time with worrying thoughts. I am sometimes convinced I will develop schizophrenia, I was having such a hard time with it after one of my first good days with recovery that it shot me down to feeling awful. I am working through it. But I wanted to know if any one else has this fear or something like it.

    And on another note, I have noticed a humming sound in my head. Like it’s in overdrive or something. Like a refrigerator humming feeling. Is this common or something I should be worried about? I’d like to note that I am in one of those weeks where my adrenaline is so active it made me throw up for a few days and I’m fatigued again. Just wondering if anyone can relate.

    Thanks much!

  33. AnnY Says:

    Hi everyone
    I think I get the concept if acceptance. I am able to talk myself down and get calm whenever I have an anxiety attack during the day. My problem is that I am often awakened by nocturnal panic attacks – I was ke up suddenly with heart pounding, hands numb, etc. I’ve been checked out medically and there’s nothing physically wrong. I have had a hard time finding information in nocturnal panic attacks. Is this common? If you’ve dealt with it how did you cope? It really sets me back when I get one if these. This us how my anxiety condition began . Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

  34. Bryan Says:



    100% part of the condition and yes 100% you need to devalue the temporary down or flat feelings and let them come and go. They are meaningless.

    Claire Weekes covers accepting depression or depletion as she calls it.
    It’s no different than fear thoughts.

  35. Bryan Says:


    You should not be “worried” about any of it. It’s all anxiety.

    Is it unpleasant? Sure. You don’t have to like it. It’s a bummer and sometimes we have to admit that.

    But “worry” implies that there is something dangerous happening that you need to stop. There isn’t. It’s basic anxiety. Read Paul’s book And read Claire Weekes.

    No one “develops” schizophrenia. It’s rare, genetic, easy to diagnose and usually very evident by young adulthood.

    You have anxiety and losing fear of it is job #1 for us.

  36. Ken Says:

    Thanks, I have read the book and have made so much progress. Then all of a sudden my head has been filled with scary what if thoughts. I’m pretty much over the schizophrenic one to be honest. Just posted that in case that thought comes in again. But now I am concerned with the humming in my head. And just curious if is a common symptom of anxiety.

    Maybe I should really stop giving a crap about it haha!

  37. Kat Says:

    Good reply on accepting the down feelings and thoughts as I had the same question! I struggle with alot of low self esteem thoughts now that I didnt have before and they can be frustrating. I am going to work to approach them like I have the other thoughts in the past and it totally worked. Just move on and realize its not based on fact/reality. Wishing everyone well :)

  38. Johanna Says:

    Hi Bryan,
    Thanks for your post. I thought they must be related as I think I actually get anxious about depressive thoughts and feelings rather than just depressed. It’s the same old scenario wanting them not to be there. I will just give them space and no respect. They actually seem a bit better when I face them. Like putting a spotlight on them and seeing they don’t really matter. Somehow trying to ignore them makes them worse but letting them be there and facing them helps. Does that make sense to anyone? Is that the right approach?

    Ken ringing in the ears is really common esp when you are really anxious. Plus most people have ringing in their ears but just don’t notice it because they are thinking of other things or busy with life. I have ringing in my ears but mostly I don’t think about it so don’t notice it. Sometimes when my anxiety is super intense like yours sounds mine would get really load. Just add it to the list of anxiety symptoms. What do others think?

  39. Johanna Says:

    Hey Kat and Emma,

    Sounds like we can all relate to the down feelings and thoughts. I think it is reassuring to see that it is obviously just another symptom of anxiety.

    Emma you will get through this. Keep reading Paul’s advice and talking to people here that way you won’t feel alone and will have encouragement to keep going forward even when you have setbacks.



  40. Bryan Says:


    Yes! 100% you should try to not care. And yes, extremely common symptom.
    Ear buzzing/ringing/humming is anxiety 101.


    I know exactly what you mean. There is a line between acceptance and trying to ignore. We want to accept… allow… Not care. Just know the symptoms are harmless and do your best to let them be there without tangling with them.
    I know how hard it is. I have good and bad days still.

  41. Lui Says:

    Hey guys!
    Haven’t been here for some weeks! I unfortunately really, really need some advice now! I could break out in tears again.

    I have strong social anxiety. So I was making first progress like three weeks ago. Stopped surpressing my feelings and tried to not please everybody. I finally had a shift in attitude and was convinced that it really doen not matter what anybody thinks of me, but it matters what I think of MYSELF! Something to be finally proud of.
    Plus that I changed my whole diet and started to jog.
    Then vacation ended and school started again. And my new 100% postive attitude dropped below 0% in just a day.
    I have to add that I am really popular in school and, I am not lying, that people constantly keep telling me how cool, funny charismatic I am and that I am the most popular girl in class and nobody is talking gossip about me. Sorry, this sounds arrogant as f*ck but this is daily feedback I get. They don’t know how much of an act I am putting up.
    And then it happend. My anxiety-me kicked in and the whole worry shit started from the beginning. This below is if Anxiety would be a person.

    Anxiety:Look how popular you are? Do you really wanna risk this?
    Me: Shut up! I want to be myself!
    Anxiety:See how they talk shit about the girl over there! Look she has no friends! Everybody hates her! What if this happens to you?
    Me:Uhm..I will find friends that fit to me and make me happy!
    Anxiety:Well you have tons of friends now, that love you!
    Me: Again, I am NOT happy, I am putting on an act in every situtation, I have constant derealisation, constant migrain aura, anxiety-depression and have suffered so much cause of anxiety! Leave me alone, I HATE YOU!
    Anxiety: Hey, I just want to protect you and most important, you NEED my protection.
    Me: No that’s not true!
    You:It’s your choice, you don’t have to listen to me!
    Me: I don’t want to, but you’re f*ucking convincing.
    You:Yes, that’s because I am right. See that weirdo over there? What if you will be as weird as him. Social isoltaion, do you know this word?

    What I need now are some reasons why I should not give up. Might sound stupid, but anxiety got me in its throes. Deep down I know that this is ridiculous and not even an option to think about staying with anxiety. Please, please give me reasons to finally break out of this ridicolous thinking pattern!

  42. DCYL Says:

    Hey All – in reading this post, looks like a lot of new folks. I’m sure other familiar names will pop up over time. As for me, my story is plastered somewhere in these posts from 2011 until now though I haven’t participated as much recently.

    I drop by because for a time from late 2013 until earlier this year, I felt like I was basically “recovered”. When my situation started in 2011, I had the physical symptoms (sweating / etc), racing mind, etc. For a few days, i stayed home thinking I was “sick” and thought this would blow over. When it didn’t, I started going down the path most everyone else here did as well.

    The good news is that while I was still feeling weird, I made myself go out but I did not begin to improve until I realized I could not fear all the feelings / symptoms. I just had to accept them and let them go away over time.

    So you CAN and will recover. However, I did have a minor setback (which is natural). I’ve had a lot of things going on lately. Some good and some not some good. All in all, stress must have built up and I felt like I was falling back a bit. The good news is I talked to my friend on Monday about my stress and it seemed to break my train of thought and set me back on the right path and I feel better the past few days.

    Remember that this process will take time. Go do your activities and get your mind off how you feel. Focus on life / friends and not on your anxiety. In time, you will not never realize that it’s disappeared and your life goes on like it always did. Personally, I exercised a lot and talked to friends. Use this blog for support but not as a crutch.

    GOod luck!

  43. Monica Says:

    Can getting constant headache mean your having to many though therefore not recovering? Lately i’ve been getting some really bad headaches idk why

  44. Johanna Says:

    Hi Bryan,

    I really appreciate the feedback. It helps. I think your right about trying not to get tangled in the symptoms. That’s exactly what I have a habit of doing. I think even facing them was me trying to roc and feel better. Yesterday I was going round in circles in my head trying to work out what I was doing wrong when I just decided I might as well try just living. So I went to the bathroom fixed my hair and began to focus on the world around me rather than the battle in my head. It helped. I still felt anxious and had a lot of negative and frightening thoughts but I just got on with living. I think the fact that they are just symptoms has begun to sink in. I know Paul says in order to get better you have to stop trying to get better. Maybe by living I can finally stop snatching at tools and techniques in my head. I’ve been a lot better today still surrounded by symptoms but less bothered by most of them. Do you think I might finally have the right approach? I’ve been struggling to get the approach right for so long. I think this might be it. Will keep you posted. What do you struggle with Bryan?

  45. Karen Says:

    Thanks Racch and Candie. I have bought Will Beswicks book and it certainly makes a lot of sense and furthers the acceptance approach. I shall keep trying to let go of my thoughts an worries and stop fighting in my mind.

    Lui, sorry you are struggling again. If you look at the commentary you wrote down, it looks like you are fighting and arguing with your thoughts when you really need to give them no respect. The books I have read say you need to let that initial thought go without re entering into it, trying to understnd it and argue with it. Then the whole cvonversation should not follow. I can tell you the theory despite struggling to do it myself. X

  46. Ryan C Says:

    Hey guys, I’m not over analyzing anything here, but I noticed a total shift in the last day or two, I’m no longer empty it’s like I have feelings again, but it’s like going from having no heart, to a heart that feels the depression and anxiety, I guess this is how I felt near the beginning before all my worrying and misunderstanding forced my body and mind to protect itself more and turn me into a walking shell? Has anyone else felt this process?

  47. Ryan C Says:

    Just to add, I did the feel the depression etc heavy before but not it’s like it’s ‘real’ not worse, but I can feel it, like feelings if that makes sense, also my mind has become very very clear, could this be the dp lifting and now my mind is clear and I’m left with the depression and anxiety which is now my final hurdle ?

  48. Karen Says:

    Racch and Candie can I ask, after reading the book mentioned above. It says on cutting off from the thought and feeling the spike you have to relax (ie accept it) . He is very specific in saying you should not force the tension release as this is fighting again ie. Telling yourself you must relax/ accept. You should do it almost subconciously. How can you do that? Also how does the constant checking and analysing of how you feel fit into this?
    Really grateful for your replies.

  49. Kirst Says:

    Hello everyone, sorry haven’t had time to read through everybody’s posts but I really just wanted a little advice and help on the way I am feeling ): I literally feel like I’m just a voice that’s trapped inside a body like no matter where I am I feel trapped and start panicking.. I just don’t know who I am anymore everything seems scary I look at other people and think what the hell are we? What are thoughts? How do I see? It’s unbearable.

  50. Bryan Says:

    I’ve seen some questions about really basic anxiety symptoms. (“Does anyone have this or that.”)

    I really think it imperative to understand basic anxiety traits before moving through recovery. I would recommend reading AnxietyCenter’s lost of symptoms. Google Jim Folk anxiety centre. They have a comprehensive list.
    They also teach a similar method to Paul.

    Paul’s book also covers the basics. My rule of thumb is… If I have to ask, it’s probably anxiety. If I’m worried about it… It’s probably anxiety.

    It’s really important to learn the basics so you are not caught up in the “is it anxiety” question. This allows you to move forwards and do the real work.

  51. Natalie Bailey Says:

    Hi guys has been a while since I was here namely because I have been doing ok and getting on withliving !!! Every now and then I return just for a refresher and to read the positive feed back so many people give x let me just say that its amazing how many people do recover from what is a very difficult phase in their lives x I am presently experiencing a set back after sometime of good living abd probably just seeking some reassurance :-) ithink change abd the fear of rejection is a big one for me as a new job in a not so friendly office seems to have set me off x whilst I know I have been here before I am struggling to acceot mainky because I feel guilty for my children that there mum is like this again and I do worry !! That word again lol that I will pass this on to them silly I know x does anyone have some reassuring words to ease my troubled mind x I just feel like a lost little gitl at the mo and dont want to go down the road of self pity as it is nconstructive x lets all realise tho this is such a common problem and really we should not be ashamed ..we are only human ay and prob more sensitive than others hence why we do worry x I only wish schools wkuld teach about

  52. Kate W Says:

    Im kind of at the same point you are. I no longer feel detached or un real everything around me feels normal except me lol.
    I feel like I’m going back to the beginning with some of my symptoms but I guess it’s just anxiety trying to pull us back in

  53. Ryan C Says:

    Exactly Kate! Exactly how I feel. This can only be a good thing because as Paul says it comes off in layers and I did always wonder if I would go back to the beginning and this makes total sense. And I suppose this is exactly how I would have felt at the beginning of my anxiety otherwise it would never have got a hold of me I’m the first place, everything feeling normal except myself, I think this is a difficult part as it then becomes easier than ever to try and do something about how you feel or question it, but all I do is simply say well I have came this far with the same acceptance process so the same process will take me out if this stage aswell. :)

  54. Kate W Says:

    My thinking too. Im having an absolutely stinking week lol it’s been the worse in a while but im just letting it be. I really do hate the not feeling like me still but Paul did say the strange feeling was one of the last to go. Reading through older blogs I came across a lady called T and she described exactly how I was feeling after coming through the worst of Dp and Helen and I believe Candy explained it was all totally normal so I’m taking it as a good sign even though I feel pretty awful lol

  55. Lui Says:

    Thanks Karen,

    I got reasonable again. The old attitude is not back though but I just continue on trying to master the acceptance approach with it or without it. That’s prority number one for me. It’s not easy at times to discover all the hidden avoidance techniques, which I have tons of and the feeling of inferiority and my people pleasing won’t stop over night but I will try my best.

  56. Bryan Says:


    Total acceptance is key. I’m also making great progress but gaining freedom means total acceptance.

    As someone told me recently… 95% is not good enough.

    That doesn’t mean we can’t feel bad. But it means not fighting or worrying where it will go. It means letting it pass through you

  57. Lui Says:

    Hi Bryan,

    yes, I will do this. I have a really clear day today and let all the feeling float through me. I am not faking any confidence anymore either. It feels weird but that’s the only way and I will get me out of this place but in my own time. For me it’s important to finally do the first step.
    Can I ask how much you already accept?

  58. Ken Says:

    Hey everyone, quick question. I am definitely stuck on obsessive thoughts of schizophrenia. I found if I let myself think these scary thoughts, I feel a lot better. If I let myself think obsessively about it instead of trying to be mindful, I feel better. Is this the right thing to be doing? Or am I just continuing a bad habit of obsessive thinking? Any opinions?

  59. Lui Says:

    Hey Ken,

    let all the obssesive thoughts in your head and accept them. But don’t argue with them or get involved with them. That’s really hard to do, I struggle with this myself but it is important to show them no respect. Feel the fear and have those scary thoughts in your head but don’t react to them.

  60. Lui Says:

    I think I really, really understand the whole acceptance approach and I just need to turn it into actual doing it. I do this from time to time and I feel proud then. But I just don’t know how I can possible explain the change I will make to my friends. I mean I will lay off my fake confidence and show my anxious self. All my friends and my family will be confused and I don’t know how to explain it to them. I love them a lot and don’t want to hurt them with my reserved behavior. That’s why I fall back in my anxiety habits a lot..

  61. Katie Says:

    Hi Paul and everyone,

    “Doing what you used to do before anxiety” is great advice…but what if you’re someone who has suffered from panic attacks from a young age and it’s all you know?
    Paul’s book has helped me alot, but as I try to ignore the avoidance-behaviour, I find it feels completely foreign. And yes I try to just allow these ‘foreign’ feelings to be there, but for me it is not returning to ‘pre-anxiety’ behaviour, it is learning new behaviour while trying to not-avoid situations. Any suggestions or guidance would be greatly appreciated :)

  62. Bryan Says:


    Hard to say but to answer your question… I think 90% of symptoms and days I accept and move on very well. It’s the high 10% I can still struggle with and mt mind goes to the “when will it go” question. A lot of my bad days come out of a sleep state so I cam find it hard to wake up completely mad panic can set in befor I know it. My job is to contain my thought process and move on, 100% of the time. 100% is the key.

    Somehow that even means accepting that we may momentarily be afraid or react wrong…but we can catch ourselves and let it pass.

  63. Ryan C Says:

    Throughout the recovery process, can someone please explain to me what good days are? It’s been talked about a lot in Paul’s book, but it’s never been explained? We all know what bad days are, for me, everyday in anxiety is a bad day, but what is a good day? A day when we feel no symptoms at all and feel we have recovered? Or is it a day where it’s not severe and we can cope? If a good day is feeling great and anxiety free then this can get me down as I still haven’t experienced one yet even though I continue to improve.

  64. Ken Says:

    Geez, now my head wants to go to the “how would a person with schizophrenia think?” And I can’t stop thinking like, “they would think everyone’s out to get them or poisoning their food.” My head does this but I don’t believe these thoughts. I know it’s just my anxious mind wanting me to be scared that I might have schizophrenia. Do I sound completely nuts? If it’s not one thing with anxiety, it’s another!

    So do I just let myself think this stuff? Or just say no to it and stop these thoughts as they come? It’s like I’m scared that these thoughts will effect me and I’ll believe them someday. Btw I am only 18 been struggling with anxiety for about 5 months now. Learning so much. I know once I don’t care about these thoughts anymore, I’ll start to worry about something else. Considering trying medication again if these thoughts persist on giving me adrenaline rushes and anxiety all the time.

    Please help or give some advice! :/ Thank you so much!

  65. Ryan C Says:

    Hey ken, at one point I was completely obsessed with the schizophrenia subject and also I couldn’t eat or drink anything that had been left for a while. Then I realised it was excess adrenaline on my tired mind. I then asked myself do I hear voices? No of course not. Has anyone touched this good or drink since I left it? No, of course not. Your fine. Let these thoughts be there, smile at them, see them for their anxious power and smile at them. If they come up again just say ah well that’s fine, in time, with practice they won’t even bother you mate :) your fine.

  66. Will Says:

    Hi Ken,

    I’m 22 and I’ve had anxiety for over ten years now… And believe me, I’ve magnified and obsessed over almost every possible negative thought I can think of. I still have a couple that bombard me now and again, and sometimes it IS hard to keep up the “let them be and they’ll lose their power over you” attitude — trust me, I’m still struggling with the concept myself, no matter how much I think I’ve mastered it.

    I too have had thoughts about going mad or developing schizophrenia, that have shocked me at the time, but I’ve moved on now. Honestly, the best approach is what Ryan said: to just let the thoughts rage and accept how you feel, but pay them no heed and get on with life. Nothing is going to happen to you, no matter how much you think something will. They are just thoughts — thoughts that your anxiety has attached itself to and magnified.

  67. Ken Says:

    Thank you both so much! It’s a very up and down affair everyday with these thoughts and moods that come with them. I really appreciate the insight! I did my best and laughed at my thoughts today, gotta keep it up. I don’t expect to always feel good, but it helps to hear from people who’ve experienced these fears and thoughts.

  68. Ken Says:

    Btw, I had a couple of good days in my recovery so far a couple weeks ago. I felt so good, I felt cured and invincible. I felt like i was over anxiety. I woke up happy and I was so confident! That lasted for about 4 days and then these thoughts crepped in. Gives me hope not to give up though!

    That’s what mine was like..the other kind of good days, I felt extremely apprehensive. Which was a few days ago… but that’s my personal experience

  69. Emma Says:

    Johanna (and anyone else),

    Thanks for your response. How are you handling the depression side of things? It’s so very difficult for me. I’ve experienced all of the symptoms that anxiety has reared at me, but the feelings of deep sadness, emptiness are by far the most terrifying for me — worse than dp. I describe the sadness and darkness as that feeling you get when family comes to visit for a week or two, then when they leave the house feels empty and it leaves a void in your heart. It almost feels like grief. But for no good reason, just spending time at home and all of a sudden, it creeps in…the beautiful day has no flavour anymore, my chest feels like a gaping hole — empty and I become overwhelmed, I mean truly overwhelmed with a CRUSHING sadness that leaves me crippled in my bed. When this low mood sets in, I can’t even see until next week, or the next day — its total and utter despair. I get this hollow feeling inside and think about how I literally cannot muster up the strength to do anything. I get hit with a wave of additional grief when I think about how only a few months ago I considered myself recovered, I had no doubts or fears, now I can’t even think about doing anything without this feeling of total dread — not fear, but dread of when this sinkhole of darkness will suck me in.

    I’ve been suffering for 2.5 years from anxiety and I actually considered myself 90% recovered — but the depression facet is quite recent and a symptom I never experienced before. All I can think about when it hits is that I should get back on SSRI’s because if this low got any lower, for any longer, then what if I have to commit the S-word. Panic inextricably ensues.

    Has anyone else felt this? is it depression — eek that word scares me. Any insight is infinitely appreciated.


  70. Will Says:

    Ken –

    I get those days too, the days where I’m at total ease and can regard the troubling thoughts with such little care — it really does feel as though I’ve miraculously recovered, which makes the inevitable rise in anxiety all the more frustrating. My anxiety has been fluctuating wildly over the past month due to personal circumstances and I’ve had blissful highs followed by shattering lows. But it’s all part of the process. The best you can do is just accept what happens, don’t become too disheartened by setbacks (even when you feel like you’re back to square one) and go with the flow. :)

  71. rachh Says:

    I dont want to drone on but im so fed up with this i feel so low:(

  72. Johanna Says:

    Hey Rachh,

    I know it’s exhausting and heart breaking at times but you will come through this. Have a look at your symptoms and work on learning that they are anxiety. Until we truly accept that our feelings and thoughts are just anxiety how can we accept them. When we have come to a place of knowing that they are anxiety we are able to get along with them in the background. After all we know what to do with anxiety, just let it be there but how can we do that if we haven’t accepted our symptoms as anxiety.

    I know it’s so hard I’ve had dark dark days myself but It makes us who we are. One day this experience will be seen as a gift.

    Best wishes x

  73. Ryan C Says:

    Hey guys can someone please answer my question as I have asked 3 times now without a reply. My point for asking is I have fully allowed for a long time now, I have made so much progress, I keep getting better and better, but as I said again I have no ‘good days’ I don’t understand what they are? And not having them makes me feel I am still nowhere near even The first good landmarks of recovery? My anxiety tends to just week by week slowly reduce, whilst always being there, I have extreme ups and downs some days are brutally hard, some not, regardless I am always aware of my symptoms. Is the good and bad day process the same for everyone? Is a good day anxiety free? And then it comes back? This doesn’t make sense to me as I didn’t have good and bad days falling into it’s trap, I just got worse and worse, so I expect just to get better and better with some ups and downs as I have? This good and bad day scenario makes no sense to me what so ever, is it possible my recovery will be different and I may just gradually phase out of this rather than have great days then be at rock bottom over and over. Can someone please let me know. Thanks and appreciated.

  74. Will Says:

    Ryan C –

    Well, I would personally describe a “good day” as a day where I seem suddenly, miraculously anxiety-free — or at least the anxiety is so low that the things that usually bother me are so easy to laugh at and dismiss. I’ve been having a precious few myself lately, but they don’t feel the same as days where I feel as though my anxiety is merely “weakened”. I suppose everybody is different, but for me it really is like I wake up one day and I’m just… fine. As if I’ve suddenly recovered and I feel so joyous and can look at my obsessive thoughts in this new light. Until the next day where I feel as though I’m letting them get the better of me again and it’s as if I’m simply back to square one. It’s totally sporadic, for me at least.

    It really is how we react to the re-emergence of anxiety that determines the severity of a “bad day”, and I’m still struggling with this to this day. But yeah, that’s what I’d describe a “good day” as. I honestly couldn’t tell you HOW or WHY we get them though as everybody’s different.

  75. Will Says:

    (Oops, remembered something else to add to the comment.)

    But I’m the same: I often feel as though the anxiety is always there lingering in the background. But “good days” are the only times where it feels as though it’s truly gone. I’m going to be start counselling soon (a bit later on in fact) and over the past few weeks I’ve been on and off about the whole thing in relation to my fluctuating anxiety — from “I feel so much better now, maybe I should cancel it?” to “Oh god I feel terrible, I can’t wait for counselling to start!”

    But as for the rock bottom thing, I think we all hit it at one point or another. It’s usually the result of a bad reaction to a setback, and over time we eventually get it into our head that it is merely anxiety flitting in and out — and if we don’t fall into the trap of thinking we’re back to square one, we see it for what it is and the symptoms will get better. If anything, “good days” help us to confirm that our troubles really are just anxiety-related and help us to realise this… it’s just how we handle setbacks that shows progress, I think.

  76. Bryan Says:


    It’s hard to say but what you describe sounds very normal. Once we have struggled for a long while our minds can take a really long time to lose the “is it still there” question. Keep working on not caring if symptoms are there. That is our key. Simply not caring and getting back to life.

  77. Mark R Says:

    Will Says:

    “I get those days too, the days where I’m at total ease and can regard the troubling thoughts with such little care — it really does feel as though I’ve miraculously recovered, which makes the inevitable rise in anxiety all the more frustrating”

    This me today Will. I’ve been a lot better recently with life stuff a lot more interesting than anxiety, even had some anxiety free hours. Today has been bloody horrible, woke at 5am with strong anxiety, drifted off back to sleep for an hour then woke feeling terrible. I echo what you say above where it makes the return of those feelings very frustrating.

    I’ve just had to accept today for what it is – crap. I know it will lift and I will be on my way again, I’m not unduly concerned.

  78. Mark R Says:

    As others stated I think the ‘good days’ term is subjective to each person. For me a good day is being able to do the things I want to do and being able to smile and be myself a little, just have a laugh along the way. Usually this is with anxiety hovering in the background. I am getting plenty of these at the moment.

    A very good day is where I have little or no symptoms, my mind is purely focused out of myself and I even make plans for the future etc. These are few and far between but I still get them. As Will stated you actually feel you have recovered on these days as you can’t imagine feeling bad again……..but then there is that inevitable shattering blow.

  79. Ryan C Says:

    Thanks for the great replya, I guess we are all different in our recovery and this to me makes total sense. After all we are all entirely different people and out body’s have different symptoms etc. Mine is constant, and then it lifts where I am given breathers but I still am not free from it, then I have some shocking days/times, but on the grand scale of things, I improve every week with total acceptance and going everywhere at will. Recovery to me is a marathon, I know I will get there in the end if I just stick to the process. And I definitely learned that it’s an absolute fact that the more anxiety we feel, the more we overcome and the less there is to come on the grand scheme of things. I don’t think I will get good days I think I will just very slowly phase out of this until it is gone.

  80. Karen Says:

    Racch I know. Take heart that others are the same. Its a piece of work this anxiety!

    Emma, I tend to go into a depression phase right after my anxiety has been really high. It is horrible but someone earlier told me its a good sign as it means your anxiety levels are coming down? I always feel that my body and mind has just been exhausted by the anxiety and it needs time and rest to pull back up again. You said the depression frightens you which suggests you are anxious about the depression, therefore try to just accept it!

    I seem to be able to accept most physical symptoms and scarey’ thoughts now and my anxiety is lifting slowly. I still obsessively worry and think over things. Especially checking in on my anxiety CONSTANTLY it is exhausting. I am struggling with what acceptance of this looks like …. does it mean let yourself worry but don’t be scared of the fact you are worrying or does it mean notice you are worrying then divert attention. I have read don’t get involved so does that mean think whatever but don’t question, or analyse the thoughts.

  81. Karen Says:

    I was just reading Pauls post about obsessive thoughts and it says he had to tell himself not to think negatively anymore and to stop the habit of going over things. Is this how everyone else got passed this aspect and self checking. Sorry to go on but this last symptom is frustating me a lot x

  82. Doreen. Says:

    Please folks – accept each day as it comes and don’t get caught up in wondering if tomorrow will be ok as today has been good etc. In my book good days are those when you don’t really care how you are as you are getting on with life regardless.

  83. Sam Says:

    I think this website undermines the importance of excersise, a good diet and theraphy when trying to overcome this illness. I understand that once you’ve been to theraphy, ate something healthy or just excersised not to expect to return to ‘normal’. But a combination of these things overtime will definitely help. Not just by helping you develop a healthy mind frame a perspective but giving you reassurance that it is in fact an illness which you are suffering with and not something heredity and incurable.

  84. Emma Says:

    Thanks Karen, I appreciate it.

    Yes, the depression brings on the “2nd fear” and makes me really anxious. Sometimes I can’t tell whether it’s anxiety or depression. I have been trying to use Paul’s approach and Claire Weekes approach and have been trying to coast through the depression, embracing it and continuing with my day. But it feels so heavy sometimes. It also is much worse when I’m in the premenstrual phase of my cycle.

    So would you consider depression an off-shoot of anxiety?

    Emma xoxo

  85. Emma Says:

    PS. would love to hear from anyone else who has or is suffering from depression/low moods.
    I was on sertraline 2 years ago. After a few months I felt much better and weaned off. I know anxiety recovery happens in layers and I have been through many of them, the unreality dp and dr, the health obsessions, the intrusive thoughts … just as I was convinced I had finally recovered, I fell into this pit of depression. It doesn’t feel quite like anything I used to experience. Just heaps of sadness and despair. Makes me truly think about returning on ssri’s…

    emma xoxo

  86. Kyara Says:


    I’m kind of in the same position. I don’t have the 2nd fear anymore though more of an annoyance for it all. I used to be scared of it though. You kind of have to take it one day at a time because your anxious mind will predict the worst and make things worse than they truly are. Allow the intrusive thoughts in and don’t feed them. They absolutely die down. The spikes of intrusive thoughts will eventually go and you’ll start feeling better. The main thing to remember is its not always bad. It eases. Everyday isn’t the same even though your mind wants to tell you it is. The more you let it be and not feed it the faster it will diminish. When you don’t fuel the fire it has no choice but to go out. You’ll tend to make yourself spike because you don’t like how you feel but practice letting it be and it will become more of a habit.

    I too was on Zoloft and I was beyond anxious so the side effects didn’t bother me. I tried starting again after applying Paul’s method and I couldn’t take the side effects. I never noticed side effects the first time except for my hair falling out.

  87. Emma Says:


    Thank you for your response. It’s so good to know I’m not just dipping into a depression and that this is all part of the process. I’ve overcome all the other symptoms that anxiety has reared at me, even depersonalization and I’ve been able to surmount these symptoms with great success — so hopefully the same will be said about depression. With these heavy blues, it’s more about intrusive feelings than intrusive thoughts, because I could be having no particular thoughts, but the feeling of sadness will be there. The feeling intrudes and the anxious and worried thoughts accompany it.

    The lows are hard to describe to ppl who don’t quite understand. But I always describe it as when you have family over for a few weeks and then when they leave, the house feels empty and it leaves a sadness in your heart. It’s that void feeling, that feeling of emptiness, like something is missing. Pushes me to the brink of tears and it gets all tangled up with the 2nd fear and produces this totally weird emotional sensation of being sad, scared and desperate.

    I’ve been using Paul/Claire Weekes approach and trying to reach utter acceptance about these dark feelings. It’s always a process when doing this. When I tried to accept my dp I can’t pinpoint the moment when it disappeared, it just slowly faded. It’s good to hear that the “2nd fear” has diminished for you, that must surely mean that with a little more time the depression-like symptom will fade completely for you. How long have you been dealing with it for? I’ve had it on and off since January with a significant spike the last few weeks. Does anything in particular trigger the sadness for you?

    I’m in therapy with a psychiatrist also, who focuses more on psychoanalysis and cbt — kind of diving into my youth and seeing where/why some of my childhood sadness has been displaced to my adult life. This helps also. She doesn’t think I need to get back on zoloft, I really don’t want to take it either. I have just been considering it though lately because I’ve been so terribly, terribly sad, low and empty. I read in comments from an older blog post that the depression layer is usually the last layer to go — it means that we are close to full recovery. I’m not entirely sure if that’s true, but I definitely hope so.

    Emma xoxo

  88. Antoinette Says:

    I am new to this site. I have had anxiety probably on and off all my life which is annoying to say the least. It sometimes gets the better of me like now. I would say I ve been free of it for 8 to 9 years so you can get better and stay better. It has been re triggered lately by an awful panic attack on a flight and I now feel back to square one, with one difference. The amazing help you can get from sites like this one which never existed when I last felt like this. Its so reassuring to find out others know this terrible disabling condition.
    Trying to stay positive but seem to be getting those round and round destructive thoughts that just take you lower and lower. Any tips for relapses ?? Thanks so much antoinette xx

  89. Kyara Says:

    I lethink the low and sad feeling be there and try to stay calm because my mind wants to dive into ‘you’re never going to get better, you’re going to feel the same way tomorrow, nothing will make this feeling go away’ etc. Makes it harder to deal with when you have thoughts like that but they are the residual intrusive thoughts. I feel like the feeling comes like an anxious spike would and if I focus on it I make it worse. If I leave it alone it goes. We’re not depressed were recovering. I’ve been dealing with it off and on since January as well but it’s been much more off than on. I’ll notice the emptiness for a day or so and my mind drifts to something else. I’ve gotten into the habit now of trying not to focus on how I feel since these are all exaggerated surface emotions. I’ll acknowledge that it’s there and try to stay calm about it. If that makes sense. I know it’s not good but I keep myself occupied and make sure I can’t sit home and dwell and feel sorry for myself. It passes and much quicker if you just leave it there. Hope you’re feeling a little better today

  90. Emma Says:

    Thanks Kyara, I will take all of your advice to heart. I have been allowing myself to cry when I get low and that also helps. Just trying not to fear the depression or catastrophize it. Thanks for your help.


  91. Karen Says:

    That’s a great post Kyara.

    Sam, I do agree those things are important too.

    Anybody got any advice on my question at obsessive thinking and worrying?

  92. Virginia Says:

    Emma I know how you feel. The emptiness is physical. I get terribly frustrated when this descends on me because my practical mind outlines everything I should be grateful for and that I have a great home, healthy kids, no money worries, blah blah blah so why am I sobbing into my muesli? I just ring my mum and eventually I see it for what it is – tired mind, tired body. Then I look back and wonder who was that blubbering mess this morning? Insert scream here ……………..

    Crying is cathartic – scientists have discovered tears shed during stress and grief are chokka block full of toxins whereas tears when cutting an onion contain only salt water! Action (not distraction) always works for me. Just do it. Soon you will forget yourself.

  93. Mark R Says:

    Agree with Doreen, try not to get too bogged down in whether its good or bad as then you fall into the trap of monitoring.

    Just try not to get too down about the bad, I know that’s very hard!

  94. Brett Says:

    On the subject of good/bad days I had a very good one yesterday. I still woke up feeling apprehensive but had a day off work to help out on my son’s school outing and what a great day it was too! I quickly forgot about the feelings of stress as I immersed myself in making sure the kids enjoyed themselves. The sun shone and the day was tiring (don’t know how teachers find the energy) but enjoyed a relaxing 40 winks on the sofa when I got home before mowing the grass! Similarly to other posts, anxious thoughts had melted away which helps to reinforce the belief that they are symptoms of anxiety and not the other way round. Today was not so good (doh!) as things that should not ordinarily stress me out at work are magnified but carry on as best I can. I know this because I don’t lie awake at night worrying about work the next day and therefore it must be the anxiety playing tricks. It isn’t easy but with every passing day, my resilience is slowly building and like so many others, don’t notice it until after a symptom has disappeared. Hang in there everyone and sooner or later, the sun will shine every day.

  95. ChrisH Says:

    Antoinette, you have not gone back to square one at all. I have had anxiety for a while now and I’m adopting the method Paul taught me in the book At Last A Life. You have come so far with whatever approach you took, and you still have that knowledge ! It didnt get deleted, its not in the recycle bin – you have been there – and you have got to where you wanted to be once, that means you can do it again ! Once you have had anxiety, always remember where you were, help yourself even when you are free of it again. You will remember it took guts and courage and patience, what worked for you – you are so not back to square one – with all that information/knowledge you are still right at the top of the board ! And its your turn to roll the dice……..

  96. ChrisH Says:

    Hi guys, I’m Chris, I’m 36 and I’m a stay at home dad – with tonnes and tonnes of time of my hands. I suffer with anxiety and my main symptom seems to be chest pain, I have been checked over by the Doctor who said I was fine. I walked nearly 2 miles everyday – the Doctor says “you couldnt walk 2 miles with a heart condition” – yet I’m convinced I’m going to have a heart attack. In my free minutes from the three kids I get scary/irrational thoughts all based around the pain I can feel – the nasty grim outcome I expect – I work myself up and up and up until WHAM……. On good days I’ll have a few beers on a night, then in the morning I’ll worry that I have done damage to my Liver. And on it goes – the anxiety cycle at its worst.
    I’m a few days in to my recovery thanks mainly to Pauls book. I welcome scary thoughts, I ask them if they would like a drink, then I ask them to drink up and move on. I’m doing it – on Monday I took my eldest son to Cubs AND I even picked him up – it would have been so easy to get out of it but that would have been avoidance. Tuesday I took my youngest to Mums and Tots, I gritted my teeth and I socialised and dealt with the temper tantrums but I did it. Today I took my youngest to the Park, we where there for 10 minutes before I suddenly thought – what the hell I am doing ? I have anxiety ! – I had completely forgot that I had anxiety when we set off – I hadnt rubbed cream into my chest for my pains, I hadnt put in the car Ibucalm, for my tense muscles – I had just gone cos it was a nice day !!! Once I remembered about the anxiety, I bet myself a pint of lager that I couldnt stay 10 more minutes, then another 10 minutes ! We stayed for an hour !!!!
    I really hope this is the start to my own personnel recovery, but tomorrow is tomorrow – and I will feel how I feel – FEEL THE FEELING AND DO IT ANYWAY !!!!!!

  97. Emma Says:

    Virginia, I feel your pain. I feel so melancholy all the time, I’ve lost interest in the things I used to love and enjoy. Everything feels like it requires so much effort. This worries me because I don’t want to descend into a full blown depression. Every day is a struggle at the moment.

  98. Emma Says:


    Take heart in the fact that you have been anxiety free for nearly a decade. That should serve as encouragement and as a testament to your recovery ahead. I too am suffering from a setback right now, dealing for the very first time with the depression side of this condition. I think the only thing we can do during a setback is to try to practice utter acceptance. It’s much easier said than done but mindfulness meditation/mindfulness therapy can greatly facilitate the practice of acceptance so I would look into that. For the intrusive thoughts, there is an absolutely amazing book called Brain Lock that deals with breaking the endless loop of obsessive rumination and intrusive thoughts. It’s worth a read. Tolerate your symptoms and let it be. I hope you feel better soon! xx

    Emma xo

  99. Emma Says:

    For anyone dealing with intrusive or obsessive thoughts — I highly recommend the book Brain Lock. It deals with breaking the endless loop of obsessive and intrusive rumination and teaches you to self-treat this symptom. I used to have the most disturbing and frightening obsessive thoughts, it was all I could think about all day every day, it caused me so much anxiety and it was absolutely mentally and emotionally exhausting, this book was my staple for obsessive/intrusive thoughts and I can happily say that I don’t suffer from them anymore. All I deal with now is feelings of depression — now if only I could find a book that dealt with that :( Hope Brain Lock helps someone! xx

    Emma xx

  100. rachh Says:

    I am dealing with depression. Im pretty much house bound at the moment. Suppose i have everything paul describes in the book social anxiety depression intrusive thoughts. I dont have the physical sensations my body just feels like a heap of jelly because i am so wired up it is knackered.

    I am getting some act therapy soon which im hoping will give me a bit of help. I have had periods of mindfulness in different situations and i have managed to really calm down but it is very shortlived.

    Does anyone suffer with dp and depression or am i getting a bit tangled up with all this? I feel pretty lifeless and my mind swirls allll day..!

  101. Emma Says:


    I’m dealing with depression too :( It’s so very frightening. I feel empty and sad, I cry very often. I’m in psychotherapy which helps. I’m done uni so I’m home alone every day and I always worry that I will get so low that I will commit suicide. I used to deal with very very bad dp and dr, I dealt with it for a few months and it has passed permanently. Now I have the depression. Acceptance is so difficult when my mind catastrophizes my condition, but I have faith that this will pass.

    Emma xo

  102. Karen Says:

    Racch and Emma it will pass. I was exactly the same a couple of weeks ago and it has left now. Still battling the anxiety though.

    Thanks for the book recommendation Emma. Glad someone responded to my question : -(

  103. Kyle Says:

    Hey guys! Its been a little over a month or two since I have been on here. It was very nice and refreshing to take a break from researching anxiety and just live along side it knowing that it was nothing but your bodies natural response to some sort of stress. I’m sleeping like a baby not and I have no real physical symptoms of anxiety like i use to but i do notice myself checking in still a lot and monitoring my thoughts and every little feeling that I have. I quit drinking all together and that has seemed to help a whole lot. While my intrusive thoughts and excessive worrying are almost completely gone. Does anyone here who is struggling or anyone who has recovered have real problems with being irritable? I use to be such a nice person without a care in the world but now I seem to get irritated over the tiniest things about people. Especially at work. its almost like I don’t want to be bothered at all by anyone but all i really want is to get along with everyone and just be happy. It’s only recently become an issue or maybe its been there all along and since I am not worrying about my other symptoms I am just picking up on it more. Any real sort of explanation on this would be very helpful. I really just want to be easy going and carefree around everyone but I just cant seem to shake this senseless irritation that really stresses me out.

  104. rachh Says:

    Yep kyle im vile. I have no parience with people because i think the way my cognition is working during anxiety is the way everyone thinks and its not because when you recover you see things from a different perspective.

    Mindfulness acceptance is the way forward.

  105. Kyle Says:

    Thanks Rachh. It was just one of those things that I feel so much better in every aspect of my life for the most part and now I’m noticing my thought process towards others is so mean and I am honestly not that way. But I guess since im acting this way im really second guessing myself and sometime thinking maybe this is just me but deep down i know its not. I just cant seem to shake it. However I am really good at faking ti tho and just being nice to people so hopefully my mind pick up on that

  106. Emma Says:

    Rachh, what has the depression been like for you? For me it has become quite difficult to shake the lethargy. Feeling confined to my couch all day with no desire to get out and do much. I still try to force myself but oh god is it ever hard. Also I tend to despair which sinks me further into the dark hole. My therapy session today brought me great relief though which is nice for a change.

    Karen, I hope you find some relief from the obsessive thoughts, I think they can tackled quite effectively in CBT as well. You can self-cbt by asking yourself “is this true?” and listing reasons why your distorted belief/thought is untrue and asking yourself “who would I be without this belief/thought.” My psychiatrist does this with me in therapy and it has been quite helpful to shift my thought process. What was depression like for you? Did you come out of it?

  107. Lorryt Says:

    Hi there,

    I find myself in an extremely emotional state, after a lot of coping with situations, etc. I made the decision to see my Gp and get signed off work. I dont feel myself visiting this site as much anymore , as i felt that i had all the tools to cope. But i need some support and advice today . In my anxious state , it always seems to be the thoughts that get to me and i grab hold and overanalyse. The what if’s have become overpowering, and my tired mind cant seem to let them flow. Emotionally i have many boxes open, and the slightest thing i react to, get tearful or overthink and find myself getting upset, i have got myself in a rut, and need to let it go.

  108. Lorryt Says:

    Hi emma,

    May have to find this Brain lock book, coz it feels like my head is in a vice and i really dont want to go back onto the sleeping tablets as they totaaly slow my brain down and leave me feeling so lethargic . I am sure that all this will pass in time, but its hard to truly believe this when you are stuck xx

  109. riri Says:

    Hey all
    Just needed some advice and some reassurance. I have been struggling with anxiety for the past 8 months, and have been slowly recovering. I had been doing great and felt as though everyday was getting better and better. My symptoms have faded away, and all is left is the racing mind and intrusive thoughts. I have been having a rough couple of weeks. First I started thinking maybe this isn’t anxiety but another mental illness. Then I became convinced I was bi polar. Now I think maybe I have ADHD. It’s all the go ogling I am doing. I need to stop. Also I have noticed that whatever I think about gets stuck in my head. For example I wanted to make a cake for my daughters birthday. That is all I was able to think about. Also I saw a dress. I wanted to buy. And also that is all I can think about. Is this normal. Does anxiety make you think of random things constantly. I don’t know if I’m making sense. I feel that if I get over this it would be easy. Does this sound like anxiety to anyone. Maybe it’s all the thoughts about having other mental issues that is confusing me. Any advise would be great.

  110. Bryan Says:


    I have absolutely had phases of irritability during recovery. Brush it off as the condition and not you. Underreact to the feelings and try to float back to a calm state. You always will.

  111. Karen Says:

    Kyle, me too. Definately the anxiety.

    Emma, my depression sounds similar to yours. Exhausted, catastrophising, pointless. It has passed and so will yours. Really pleased your therapy session went well. X

    Riri, definately anxiety, lots of us struggle with this. Constant, repetitive, obsessive thinking. Apparently its because our mind is tired. I have read lots of people saying that is the last symptom to fade.

  112. riri Says:

    It is so aannoying.i know that my thoughts aren’t as bad as others but, still it gets overwhelming at times. My mind is just always on the go. Random thoughts, weird and strange thoughts. But I feel the worst ones are the random thoughts. It’s a struggle to think about the dress I want to buy all day. Haha. I know it is ridiculous. And that is what makes me second guess if it is anxiety. I think maybe it some other type of mental illness because it is so bizarre. I guess I just have to let it be and in time it will pass

  113. riri Says:

    If anyone has gone through this I would like to hear. I feel I am the only one with these kind of thoughts. As though my mind has to always be thinking about something. Does not matter what it is. I feel that I am so hyper aware of every single thought I have.

  114. Emma Says:

    Karen: Thank you, it’s really encouraging to know that you experienced it too and that it passed. Please keep me updated on how you’re doing. How long have you been dealing with anxiety/depression for? For me, it started 2.5 years ago with intense depersonalization and derealization — I did not know what was happening and got on anti-depressants immediately. After a few months the feelings of unreality lifted and I weaned off the meds. After the layer of unreality peeled off, I was left with just a general anxiety, that would come and go. That lifted and I struggled with intrusive thoughts for some time. Now that has lifted and I started experiencing the depression which I’m beginning to believe is simply another layer and that it’s part of healing.

    Lorryt: yes I am all too familiar with the unease that can be caused by intrusive thoughts. I’m fortunate not to suffer from these anymore. They used to be so intense and would consume me day and night. Just accept these thoughts, let them happen in the background while you continue on with your day. Brain Lock should be quite helpful, you can even just look it up in google and read summaries about the method used to treat intrusive thoughts. Did you suffer depression at all? That’s my current symptom and hearing about other people’s struggle with depression helps me a lot.

    Kyara/Virginia: not sure if this message will get to you but just wondering how you are feeling lately with the low moods/depression. I’m starting to find some relief since my therapy session but it’s still very much there.

    Emma xo

  115. Emma Says:

    Riri, yes I have gone through the intrusive thoughts and the non-stop obsessions. Mine were causing me a lot of anxiety. It passed. I used to have obsessive HOCD thoughts, obsessive thoughts about my health, constant fear that I didn’t feel the same way about my boyfriend. It was awful. But it passed, it will for you too. I suggest you look up Brain Lock and read up on the method used to help with intrusive thoughts and practice that approach whenever you have intrusive or obsessive thoughts. If I get them now, I just mentally label them “anxiety” and move on. Even if I’m stuck on the thought I just accept the thought, I agree with it even and continue on. With practice, you’ll be able to dismiss these thoughts very easily!

    Emma xo

  116. rachh Says:

    Emma the depression to me feels like i have lost touch of reality very defensive. I have no feelings for anyone. Im fantastic at problem solving because my mind is a major problem solving machine right now.
    I pretty much stay in my room all day searching the net which i know is wrong.
    I also get dp which feels like a string of stranbe random philisophical/religious thoughts.
    I diagnosed myself with psychosis the other day but i think i was having a moment.
    I used to have bad physical symptoms like shakes, needing to use the loo badly, heaving, sickness but they have very much died down and my body is very stiff and im very tired all the time.
    I feel like i havent really slept when i wake up like i have just switched off but havent relaxed.
    All lots of signs my sympathetic neevous system is in full swing.

    Im having some therapy next week with someon i really connected with and he does a lot of mindfulness stuff. That is really my main thing.
    I had ocd when i was tounger eg anxiety and pulled through using pauls method but didnt know what it was at the time and have always had a little spark at the back of my mind wondering if it would come back. I am much worse this time round but i am thankful because i know the ins and outs of a bears arse about anxiety and all the other related mental illnesses these days and now know whats good and whats not good advice.

    I have had brief spells of mindfulness the lifted feeling distanced feeling you get during this persoective which has given me hope. I am very hopeful and optimistic that i will recover from this. It just feels very over powering and relentless when you feel the same numbness and heavy sad feeling day in day out.

    I read an article on tiny buddha which mentioned pauls site on it which is very reassuring if anyone cares to google it:)

  117. Lucy Says:

    Hi all,
    I used to be such a regular vistor but now go weeks without even thinking to check the blog… And I have noticed the pattern now that it is only when I feel badder than bad that I end up coming back. Maybe this is something I need to push through for recovery? Tonight I have had an awful panic attack, on a scale it’s been up there with my first ever one. Shaking all over, hot, fast heart etc and this has dipped then spiked for quite a while now, it’s still not over. I was drifting off to sleep and had a feeling a bit like when you’re drunk and the room is spinning.. This startled me away and set off the cycle, including the terrible obsessive/intrusive thoughts that had seemed a thing of the past! I still get them but generally over silly things now, it’s when they’re about myself or family that they upset me. I know I’m also tired which never helps, and I have laid here wishing it all away (wrong move) but it is so hard to let pass when it’s the middle of the night and you are alone! I just wanted to see a few friendly old names I guess to comfort and reassure me! :)

  118. Jan Marie Says:

    I really love your blog. My son suffers from severe ocd intrusive thoughts that plague him all day. The only breaks he gets is when he is asleep. We have tried so many meds, combinations of meds, exposure response therapy for the past 6 yrs. It is so difficult. He is finally allowing the thoughts to be there but it is so hard for him to deal with the high level of anxiety he still feels on a daily basis. He has sensorimotor ocd. I would love to see a post on intrusive thoughts and how to learn to accept dealing with a high level of anxiety on a daily basis.

  119. Shane Says:

    Hi Paul,
    I have never read or posted on a blog about anxiety until now, as I don’t want to get caught up in researching my condition all the time. I’ve read your book and I feel that the advice you give is great and on an intellectual level, I totally understand what you mean about accepting my anxiety and depersonalisation. The problem is I know you are right, but I don’t feel it. These feelings do bother me terribly and I’m not sure how to get to the point where I genuinely don’t care that they are there. I don’t let my anxiety stop me from living. I still work 5 days a week and I socialise and stay active, even though I don’t usually feel like it. I even went on an overseas holiday recently, which I really enjoyed despite feeling anxious and detached the whole time. I feel like I’m doing all the right things to aid my recovery and yet I don’t feel like I’m making much progress while the anxiety still bothers me so intensely. Basically, I am saying that I don’t know how to be okay with this.
    If anyone has any advice, I’d appreciate it.

  120. Charles Says:

    Hope this will help someone. Over the course of my anxiety, I have come to realize that a large part of acceptance is not to be too serious. This sounds like common sense, but really do ask yourself: am I being a little too serious about this whole anxiety thing right now?

    I am not saying an anxiety disorder is not serious, I am not saying recovery is not important, but is it possible to treat a serious matter with a playful manner and still get it done? I think the answer is definitely yes.

    I am not sure about other people, but I start to have anxious thoughts and feelings when I am taking something too seriously. I’ve been raised to believe that serious matters must be dealt with a serious attitude.

    When I am imagining the worst I am being too serious; when I think the stake is too high I am being too serious; if I think I must do something about it I am being too serious…Again, I am talking about my attitude, not the importance of the matter itself. For example, before I go to friend’s birthday party, I get anxious, I am afraid that I will have anxiety while others are enjoying themselves and that’s such a torture. How do I accept that anxiety? I won’t try to tell myself that I won’t have a panic attack, because that would be lying to myself; I won’t try to tell myself it’s OK to have anxiety because that kind of feels like lying too. What I will do is I will admit to myself that I am being too serious right now, and having a crappy time is indeed an outcome, a pretty bad outcome too, but I won’t take that possibility too seriously. What if the bad outcome happens? The answer is I don’t know, I don’t really want to think about it.

  121. Bryan Says:

    Thanks Charles!

  122. Lui Says:

    Had an exhausting weak. An exchange student stayed here for one week plus that I was doing activies and day trips with her every single day. Sounds like I was living my life, well I can live as much if I want, but if I don’t stop the fighting it’ll bring me nothing. I decided that I’ll now put myself first. It’s important to finally stop caring what the future will hold. We just have one life, and I am still young. I don’t want to waste my youth anymore. I am so tired, and everything is better than the way I am living my life now.

  123. D-Ren Says:

    riri, a bit about ADHD – I have been diagnosed with a slight ADHD when I was younger, and it isn’t bad at all.
    I’m mostly really “wild” person (mostly in ‘funny’ way), but I like this part of being me!!

    And remember, it’s just a thought :-)

    I’m going through a setback now. After 3 months with quite minimum anxiety, couple days ago it “came” back.
    So horrible, but I just have to go through it, I don’t think there are any shortcuts for this.


  124. Emma Says:

    Rachh, I think I know exactly which article you’re talking about. It is in fact very encouraging. Charles’s, that’s a great post and you’re right by taking ourselves less seriously we give the anxiety less power.

    How has everyone’s weekend been?

    Emma x

  125. Emma Says:

    On the topic of avoidance behaviours, I was wondering if anyone gets anxiety around their boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse/partner.

    For the last few months off and on, I tend to get a spike of anxiety before seeing or hanging out with my boyfriend of 3 years. It’s like I’m afraid I wont feel anything for him when I’m around him. For some reason when he comes over, the whole time I’m filled with anxiety because I feel as though my feelings aren’t there like they used to be. It’s like when I’m not feeling in-love my anxiety is through the roof because I can’t seem to summon my regular feelings. Other times I feel totally fine. Can anyone else relate to this?

  126. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi, Paul!

    I’ve done pretty well with powering through situations and doing them no matter how I feel. Last night I experienced a night terror where I thought there was a tarantula in my bed, and I ran through my apartment screaming. My husband chased after me, and I eventually fully woke up and was able to calm down. This scared me, as I was not in control of my actions. I googled the subject, and read that adults can exhibit violent behavior during these terrors. I am scared to death of hurting my husband. I can handle everything else about anxiety, but this concerns me because I don’t even remember getting out of bed. Any suggestions?

  127. Sam Says:

    Emma you’ll find to hard to have feels whilst your worrying in an anxious state. As the anxiety starts to clear you begin to remember and become shocked by the feelings you may have forgotten about or haven’t felt in a while. Your mind will try and convince you otherwise but just carry on with your day this will

  128. riri Says:

    When I am out and around friends I can easily dismiss the thoughts and even forget all about anxiety. By once I come home all the thoughts come back. Am I bipolar. Are my racing thoughts bipolar symptoms or adhd. What if I think I have anxiety and it’s something totally different. What if what I think is anxiety really not. My mind gets me so confused.i have no symptoms of bipolar or adhd. By I read somewhere that racing thoughts and ideas are symptoms of bi-polar and adhd. And that is what made them stick. But I also know that racing thoughts are a symptom of anxiety. And I have had every symptom of anxiety. So I know in my heart that it is. But mmy mind is trying to convince that it is something more serious. I have never had these thoughts before until I started researching about anxiety and then all these thoughts came. I have overcome so much so far, and feel that when I get over this my struggle will end. I am almost tthere.But even though the thoughts are there they don’t really bother me that much. And I know in time they will fade. Like every other scary thought I had. It truly is a process

  129. JadeH Says:

    Hi Riri
    I also have the ‘bipolar’ thought, I think it’s quite common. Just dismiss it as just anxiety playing tricks on you. I had a very bad spell about 5 months ago, but recently have really done well with just dismissing every random thought as garbage! Also I kept and still do tell myself that ok I dot feel amazing right now, but one day I will again, so just get on with my day. Slowly but surely I was going about my day with no problem. I have had a minor blip last couple of days with a load of stuff going on. We are moving counties and nervous about it all! So was bound to set me off at some point! But really, I now think so what it’s not forever, just got to live with it pay it minimal attention.

  130. Lui Says:

    So today I layed off my “fake behavior” and the people pleasing for a short time. I am really depressed and as soon as I was being myself all my friends made comment about it, if everything’s ok and if I am pissed or something. Well, I am in deep shit. I don’t know on how to tell my friends, why I am so different..

  131. Emma Says:

    Lui, if you don’t feel comfortable telling your friends that is your right and you don’t have to share that. Personally, I have told my closest friends and it has not changed our relationships whatsoever. Friends that are less close to me are not aware and that’s fine because I don’t have as much stake in those friendships anyway. But, it’s totally up to you and don’t let this be an added stress! You’re not that different from them, you would be surprised as to how many people deal with anxiety issues. When I told my friends, I discovered that a few of the suffered anxiety and depression too. I’m 22 and this age is quite vulnerable so I know a few people dealing with the same thing… but it always seems they are never quite as bad as I am :/

    Is anyone here getting on without medication? Those who are taking meds, did you find that they helped? I am considering talking to my dr. about taking a low dose of Zoloft — maybe 25mg (it worked for me the first time) just to give me a lift. The setback I’m experiencing recently is equally as difficult as when this all began 3 years ago. But, I’m also scared of taking tablets because of the side effects. I’m just itching for relief and to get my life back from the anxiety and the depression. I keep comparing how I am today (lethargic, lost interest in the things I love, home-bound) to only a few weeks ago before this setback hit me.

    Emma xo

  132. riri Says:

    Thanks JadeH,
    Your comment has comforted me. I guess I know that it is not bipolar but the anxiety plays it tricks. It’s keeps telling me yes but what If. I have to keep reminding myself that it will soon pass just like every other weird thought I have had. But once you give it a bit of attention it sticks.

  133. riri Says:

    Another question,
    Does anyone feel like they notice every single thought that runs through their mind. I feel I am so hyper aware of all my thoughts. All day.. And sometimes I question myself which are anxious thoughts and which are normal thoughts. It’s so weird. It’s as though you analyse every single thought you have.

  134. Lui Says:

    Thanks Emma, I needed that haha :) I’ll probabaly tell my closest friends too… I got confortable with this fake behavior sigh. Well anyway it has to be done. What are you anxious about?

  135. Chrissy Says:

    For those in recovery…. THis may sound odd…I will do my best to explain. How do you get to know your “new self?” Its almost like I forgot who I was without the panic and anxiety. THe “new self” feels good. Just unfamiliar? IF that makes sense. I guess I just wait it out?

  136. Emma Says:


    First, know that setbacks are part of healing and not to be discouraged. I recovered for a year and for the last few months I have been experiencing a setback. It’s natural and it’s part of healing. With anxiety, it’s almost like climbing up stairs, you take 2 steps forward then 1 step back, then 3 steps forward and 1 step back, then 2 steps forward and 1 back again — but you’re always reaching the top. I have read your story in older posts, you spoke a lot about your struggle with relationship anxiety. I was wondering if that passed for you. I too struggle a lot with feelings of numbness toward my loving boyfriend of 3 years. I know I love him but I get major anxiety around him because my feelings don’t surface. I know that this is all caused by anxiety, but I was wondering if it truly does go away and if I will ever feel the same way I used to. Please do tell me more about your recovery because it is so encouraging to hear that someone has reached the other side! xoxo

  137. Madalina Says:

    Hey people,
    this is the first time I have ever spoken about this on this website or any web I must admit. Ok so I would like some advice from people that are recovered or can just offer some help. I have suffered for about 5 months now, (not that long I know) to be honest I cant imagine how people put up with this for years but anyway thats not the point. I have read Pauls book, and it was extremely helpful but somehow I still managed to worry about my symptoms, I struggle with this one dilemma, its seems like every time Im in a car and look out the window I feel strange, like dreadful or just overwhelmed, its hard to explain this feeling, it happens sometimes when I am reading something and when I look up and realise where I am I freak out. I dont know how to explain this feeling but its annoying and I dont know how to go about it. Also sometimes trying to be really present almost freaks me out and I dont get why. ANY advice would be great,

  138. Anna Says:

    Hello everyone, I haven’t posted or been on here for over 8 months. I had been doing really really well, until this morning ughhh. Just to summarize this a bit, I have intrusive, bad, nasty thoughts. Had all the other physical symptoms and the sleepless nights as well but all that went away except the thoughts. I’ve been able to go on and ignore all the nonsense. But this morning I’m not having to good of a day. I was laying in bed and had the tv on, the news was on and after hearing part of a report of an individual shooting someone and his Psychiatrist saying that his anxiety disorder contributed to his behavior this threw me in a full blown panic attack and I’ve been super anxious since then. I know it may sound silly but it just made me feel sick to my stomach and I’m trembling. It scares me to death to just think that’s something that could happen to me, come through with one of my intrusive thoughts. I’m a single mother of two children that I love dearly and most my thoughts surround them most of the time. I’m in tears as I write this, I’m just very frustrated and so scarred, I’m so sorry I just haven’t been able to shake this off. Has anyone had this happen to them….please I just really really need to talk to someone, if there’s anyone that can offer some advice please thank you.

  139. Bryan Says:


    I’m still in recovery but your story is very common. It takes time to get used to living without the constant “companion” of anxiety. But, people always do. It’s a fleeting state.

  140. D-Ren Says:

    Madalina, sounds quite familiar 😀

    Nothing to ‘worry’ about, I still get it sometimes, but it doesn’t bother me that much anymore :)


  141. Antoinette Says:

    Hi everyone I decided today to take some of the advice found on this site – see below. I went out to drive on a fast dual carriageway which i have been avoiding for weeks. Anyway to cut a long story short the advice is great! I felt awful – panicky, wanted to get off the motorway – but just persevered with the feelings and got thru it. A little triumph! Feel a bit more positive now that this can be overcome again and wanted to let you all know. Antoinette.

    “You must just accept how you feel wherever you are and in whatever situation you find yourself; deal with yourself and not the place, if your feel apprehensive then that’s fine, don’t try and lead yourself by the hand or try and keep a grip of yourself, release this grip, nothing will happen. Sometimes a place may hold certain memories of failure, which makes us feel anxious, but this soon passes when we learn to accept how we feel and let go of that tension.”

  142. Bryan Says:


    Anxiety disorder is not associated with violence. I don’t know what this psychiatrists said, but in a news story details are often left out or not given at all. I suspect there was much more going on with this person than anxiety. Think about it… if you’re so afraid of hurting someone that a news report sends you into a panic, you’re obviously no danger. People with anxiety disorder worry BECAUSE they aren’t the type to hurt people, as a rule. I’d suspect that those who deal with the disorder are far less likely than the general public to hurt someone. Anxiety sufferers are generally intelligent, caring, conscious people.

    Your mind got tired… and played a trick on you. See it for the nonsense it is and don’t pay it the attention it wants. Stamp it with the anxiety label and go on with your day. As Paul teaches… the more credence you give the thought, the more fearful you become. Remove the importance, because it is truly nonsense. You know that. Let the thought come along with you if it wants, but don’t engage with it and just remember that it’s bull$###. It’ll fade away, like any other unimportant thought.

  143. Anna Says:

    Thank you so much Bryan! You make a lot of scence, I’ve read that intrusive thoughts are ego-dystonic. It’s like I know I wouldn’t hurt anyone but when this anxiety thing attacks and gets me off guard I start questioning myself I start doubting and start compairing myself with that’s exactly what happened to me this morning. I haven’t felt like this in a long time, I’ve been fantastic for over 8 months so I think that’s why this really shook me up. Thanks for your help again ????

  144. Madalina Says:

    THANK YOU D-Ren for that thats all I needed to hear lol…taking up photography no matter how I feel, thats the only way forward no looking back :)

  145. Dominic Says:

    Hi guys

    I pop in every now and again just to give people hope and reassurance that things will get better.
    I was in a very bad way with my anxiety. Sleep fears, depression, health anxiety, you name it my anxiety latched on to it. I saw therapists, read books, researched on the internet.
    I stopped seeing friends, ignored my wife and 2 year old son, basically stopped enjoying my life trying to fix myself. It was my mission and nothing else mattered.
    I would have good weeks where I felt better but still had that fear of anxiety in the back of my mind.
    Then I would hit a bad patch and wham back in the hole of searching and trying to fix myself.
    After reading Paul’s book. I threw it out. Along with every other book and deleted every link to every anxiety website. I stopped going on forums and blogs etc.
    This was so hard. The anxiety told me I was doing the wrong thing but deep down I knew it was the only way. I started to live my life again no matter how I felt. I went out with friends, got drunk, went on holiday and I felt great to overcome my fears. I started to become a dad and husband again.
    I would then have a setback and again be thrown into despair but I knew that after a little while I would get my confidence back and feel better again. With this it took away my fear of anxiety and I stopped avoiding anything that would trigger a setback. My mantra was ‘ so what’ instead of ‘ what if’.
    Slowly my setbacks faded away as did my fear of anxiety and all the silly little joys that come with it.
    I’m now living a normal life, no infact a better life because I’m now so much more intune with my feelings and realise that that is all they are. The silly thoughts and feelings that used to scare me now just make me smile.
    I’m so much stronger at going through this.
    All I’m saying is that it is really the only way. You re not going mad or any different it’s just thoughts and feelings that tell you so. Once you learn to let go and live your life then they will slowly fade away.
    I’m not saying life on the other side is a picnic. I have a 3 year old, a pregnant wife and in running my own business. I get stressed and I get down but I know that it’s just a feeling and it will pass.
    Good luck guys. Read Paul’s book and then take his advice instead of carrying on to find the answer. The answer is letting go and it’s your own strength and courage that will get you to the other side.


  146. tim Says:

    It’s not that you live your life and then train your body that al is well so that the anxiety goes away. You (and I) can try to live normally for a loong time and still be anxious. Because at a deeper level, you’re fearing the symptoms/thoughts/sensations and want them gone. If at a deeper, emotional, level you actually “get” that the sensations/thoughts etc. are not a threat, that you are not afraid of them even though they pop up all the time, then you have your hands free to live.

  147. Anna Says:

    Oops sorry for the misspelling and bad punctuation, lol. I’m on my phone. It would prob be a good idea to read it before I submit it :)

  148. Sara Says:

    Great Post Dominic.

    I agree with everything Dominic has said, stop questioning, let go and change the “what if’s” and “Why’s” to “SO WHAT”

    I havent been on here for a while, because once you start accepting you actually forget. But I dont forget how I managed to come so far which was down to Paul’s Book and this website. I’ve suffered for many years, not continually, I overcome set backs and last Christmas it hit me hard. When I then discovered Paul’s book it answered so many questions. I stopped goggling, stopped looking for further answers, not that I didnt want to but I know I needed to. This last setback was worse due to the fact it bought about horrible intrusive thoughts. Its only when I read the blog it masde me realise it was the anxiety and not me and to allow them to be there. Do I still get them? yes on occassion but I dont allow them to bother me, I know they are gradually going and I’m accepting of them, I wont allow them to frighten me.

    riri – I’ve had the exact same thoughts about bi-polar, infact any mental illness or feature I saw on telly about mental illness I would think “oh my god thats me, I’m going to be like that” It seems when thats all you can think about, you see it everywhere, telly magazines, social media. I’d look up symptoms and just make myself feel worse. But like yourself when I was busy and doing things I felt fine. This was the wake up call for me, because if you had bi-polar or any other mental illness you woulndt be able to turn it off and on. It is simply our scared anxious brain which is frigtening us assuming the worse.

    All anxiety sufferers need to stop questioning and just continue with your life without doubting or questioning. Once you do this your life will become so much clearer and happier. If you feel rubbish, feel rubbish without questioning it, everyone has bad days. Laugh at the thoughts, and say so what, only you have the power to change your life. So make it a good one and don’t let worrying anxious thoughts ruin your life. :)

  149. Bryan Says:

    Sarah, Dom, Tim…

    Fantastic! Thanks for sharing the knowledge.

  150. Lui Says:

    I feel like I will never be able to fully accept my social fears. I have no confidence and absolutely no self-esteem. I am on this blog for months now and I finally want to move on. My anxiety is getting worse, I am even afraid of my family now. Seriously, who gets anxious in front of their grandparents? I am so fed up.

  151. Nolan Says:

    “”My mantra was ‘ so what’ instead of ‘ what if’.””

    Wow…. Dominic…. your post just blew my mind.
    But that part I quoted is beautiful in its simplicity and truth.

  152. Emma Says:

    I hope this doesn’t sound weird but I just want to know if you ever get anxiety right before sex? I have a boyfriend of 3 years and for some reason, I’m always so anxious right before sex — it almost makes me not want to do it. Sometimes even just THINKING about having sex w my boyfriend gives me this feeling of un-ease that makes me not want to do it. It’s so weird, we’ve been together 3 years and I never had this problem until my anxiety got bad. Can anyone else relate :( ?

  153. Emma Says:

    Also, I should probably add that my libido is quite low which doesn’t help. But the feeling of dread regarding intimacy is beginning to worry me. We always had a healthy relationship in that front and now I avoid sex at all costs because for some reason, it gives me anxiety. I think some of the fear is rooted in the fact that since my libido is low, I always get worried about not being attracted to my boyfriend, so when sex happens and I’m not aroused I get a tonne of anxiety. In turn, whenever I anticipate sex my anxiety sky rockets. I really don’t want this to effect our relationship. Please help me :(

  154. Dominic Says:

    A lot of people are finding it hard to understand the letting go part. You don’t instantly feel better once you decide to let go. It is hard but you will realise that when you stop making it your main focus it starts to fade away. Others things start to become more important.
    You will have set backs and the first thing you will want to do is try and fix yourself. So when this happens just say ‘so what’ and after a few setbacks you realise that you have got through it and it’s not that bad. I would have weeks of feeling good and then I would have a bad night or have a panic attack and be thrown right back. After a while I got to the stage where I realised the bad night or the panic attack doesn’t actually bother me that much. And that’s when you start to come through it. It is hard but it does work.
    Someone once said to me that getting through this is like breaking out of a bad relationship.
    You feel like crap and nothing else matters but you make a clean cut and after a while you start to feel good. The person that was the center of your attention no longer matters and you don’t think about them anymore.
    Think about it. If you kept ringing and texting that person they would never be out of your life and you would never get over them.
    This is exactly the same. Make a clean break, stop trying to find the answer, take your thoughts and feelings with you and get back to loving life again.
    Remember, change the ‘what ifs’ to ‘so what’.
    It worked for me and I never thought I would get out of the hole I was in.


  155. Nolan Says:

    Hey Dominic,

    I had/have the sleep anxiety too.
    And you’re completely right. I think alot of people with the sleep anxiety think that it’s a worse or more impossible to come out of form of anxiety.
    But that’s simply not true.

    I had all of the fears during the day and during the night.
    And I eventually noticed that even with the fears I could still fall asleep. If the doubts and fears surfaced while I was going to bed I simply let them surface and take my mind where ever they wanted to pull it.
    But even with all of that I still would fall asleep.
    Was it the best sleep ever? nope. But I stopped caring about that too.

    Just like you all of the setbacks came. All of the doubts about acceptance too. “Acceptance works for other types of anxiety…. but not sleep anxiety.”

    I would wrestle with that thought, “But Nolan, you were able to sleep pretty much every night. You are clearly getting better.”

    But in doing that it was like I was just adding more fuel to fear’s fire.
    I stopped engaging with those thoughts, “so you’re there now, big whoop.”
    I let it be there and I still got on with my life.

    I’m in the process right now.

    I’ve had moments of 100% liberation from the thoughts, feelings, symptoms. I felt complete peace from all of it. It was fleeting, but it was still there and it was my sign that I’m on the right track.

  156. Dominic Says:


    My sleep anxiety was the worst part for me. I would go through periods of bad sleep where I was convinced I wasn’t going to sleep. My heart would beat fast, whole body would tense up and I would break out in a cold sweat. It was crushing me. I thought I was truly broken. It just takes time to get through it. Before I developed anxiety I still had bad sleep if I had to get up early or had an important day, it just never bothered me.
    I’m pretty much back to that stage now. But now even if I do start worrying about the next day I just say so what. It’s always enough to get me drifting off to sleep.
    Mist people have trouble sleeping but they don’t get the anxiety. So what’s the big deal. Your going to be tired the next day ‘ so what’.
    After a while you realise it’s really not that important how many hours you sleep. That’s when you realise you are coming out the other side.
    I remember having a bad night sleep and realising the next day that I hadn’t even thought about it that day. That feeling was amazing because I finally realised that I was finally there.


  157. Dominic Says:

    Sorry about my grammar. I’ve had a couple of beers tonight :)

  158. Riri Says:

    Great post Dominic,
    I began suffering from anxiety 8 months ago. I went to a psychiatrist that diagnosed me with pure o. At first I was terrified of the thought. I began having thoughts about being OCD and checking doors and turning on light switch’s and washing hands. After reading Paul’s blog I realized all pure o was anxiety, not some kind of mental illness. All the thoughts began to fade away and went away. I also had all the others symptoms of anxiety and them too have faded away. I was doing great for about 2 months and then one day I saw an article about bipolar. And that scared me. I began wondering of I was bipolar. I would watch myself to see if I was talking fast or moving slow. Then I thought I had ADHD. If I was distracted I would convince myself I had ADHD. It was ridiculous. Now those thoughts are fading away, and a new thought is what if this is not anxiety but another mental illness. At first I was 100% sure it was anxiety, but now I feel I have some doubt. It really scares me. I need to be here for my two daughters but am always caught up with what is going on in my head. Even though I have some doubt, I know deep down in my heart that this is anxiety playing it’s tricks…… Also this may sound weird and I’m not sure how to explain it. Since I read a out bipolar and ADHD having racing thoughts and ideas, every time I have any idea to do something, my mind automatically tells me is that a bipolar thought or anxiety thought. So now I have soo many random racing thoughts that sometimes don’t even make sense, because now I am already worried about my racing thoughts being anxiety or something else. I hope I make sense. Because it even confuses me. I consider myself a very creative person and love to create and shop and design. But now my brain wants to convince me that this is some other mental illness. I have many ideas and random thoughts. Does any one else have these kind of thoughts. I guess. I just need reassurance that this too is all part of anxiety

  159. Bryan Says:


    The medical community applies labels on sub-groups of anxiety because it allows them to be able to drug people.

    Read Claire Weekes. She spoke about racing thoughts decades ago. It’s 100% normal for anxiety. Some might say it IS the definition of anxiety. It’s probably in the top 3 symptoms that people complain about. (Intrusive thoughts, DP, physical symptoms… I’d suspect.)

    Nothing you are experiencing is weird or unique. It sucks, but it’s totally normal and expected for anxiety. We all express slightly differently, yet it’s under the same umbrella.

    Sounds like you already figured this out once and got better. If you had some kind of “brain problem”… would you be able to just decide to get better? Of course not.

    You will rid yourself of this again when you decide it is not important, again. I’ve been through it, too. Oddly… for me it’s the physical side of things I can’t quite shake. But, the thoughts I’ve managed to rid myself of mostly because it’s such a straight forward process: stop paying attention to them and they go away.

    Make them unimportant, or silly. They need your fear to live. Starve them. It’s up to you.

  160. Bryan Says:

    Nolan, nice post. Appreciate the positive input!

  161. Riri Says:

    Thanks Bryan,
    That is true I know that I got better, but I totally left the anxiety trick me again. What is hard about it is that you would be going on with your day as normal as possible like a normal person. But my mind is racing 100 miles a minute with different subjects and ideas. And worries and thoughts. Sometimes I don’t know which are my normal thoughts and which are gets frustrating. But still I know that when I don’t give any of my thoughts attention they fade away. Same with racing thoughts. When I don’t give me racing mind attention and just go on with my day, I find that it slows down and I find I can think clearer. I guess that it takes time to get used to.i just hate the feeling the thought ” this might not be anxiety but some other mental illness”. It makes me feel lost and hopeless. I guess this is what is meant by setback. Thank you to Paul and to everyone that is on this blog. It truly is a big help. Helping me know I am not the only one going through this makes it a tad bit bearable.

  162. Riri Says:

    What confuses me really is not the scary thoughts or the worrying thoughts. It’s the random thought that pop out of nowhere. I had to buy cloths for the summer and now that is all I can think about. Then I thought I wanted to bake a cake and that stuck all day. It seems that anything I think just sticks and goes around in my head. Everytime I have an idea I get worried that is bi-polar. So now I have so many ideas about random things. Shopping baking buying home decor. That is what is driving me crazy. I was always a creative person . Love to do DIY projects. But that is all I can think about. And that’s why I was scared that it’s bipolar… I didn’t have any of these thoughts before reading the whole bipolar thing. So I’m so confused. It sounds crazy. And ridiculous. So why am I stuck. Has anyone gone through this before. Having random outlandish thoughts.

  163. Riri Says:

    It is as though my mind needs to always be thinking about something or anything. Or planning something. Or going over something. Or worrying about something anything. It runs a million miles an hour. It reminds me of the weirdest things and gives the weirdest ideas. Lots of mind chatter. My imagination is always on the roll. Is that what racing thoughts are. I just keep going from one subject to another. And another and another. It does not take a break. Then songs get stuck in my head. Haha. It really is overwhelming. And it is my last symptoms. I just need to convince myself that I am OK and I’m not going mad. Sorry if I’m rambling on. I really don’t have anyone to talk to about this. I don’t really tell my family about my thoughts. They know I have anxiety but I have never told them what I was really thinking. I don’t want them to think I am going mad. If it was the other way around and one of my family members was going through this and I didn’t understand anxiety I would totally think they were losing it. My psychiatrist pretends to listen to me but gives me no advice what’s so ever. He just keeps telling me to up my dose. Which I don’t want to. I was on medication for a couple of months at the beginning of all this. Before I understood anxiety. But after understanding it all, I felt I don’t need medication for a wild imagination. So I weaned myself off of them. I felt he just wanted me to keep taking the pills for him to benefit.

  164. Lui Says:

    I have a question. So Paul states that we should not cover up how we’re feeling. Does that mean that I have to stop playing that everything is ok and just have to show my depressive side in front of other people?

  165. Karen Says:

    Dominic, so pleased to hear how well you are doing, it doesn’t seem that long since you were struggling with sleep anxiety. That’s so encouraging to hear.

    Emma, I have had anxiety feelings being around my close family. You have to just ignore them. Your anxiety is playing a trick on you and making you question, analyse and worry about how you feel because you “should” feel a certain way. It is normal to have trouble with feelings with anxiety. During my better weeks all feelings, love etc com back and it has helped me to see what a bluff the anxiety is. Rest assured normal feelings will return as the anxiety subsides and you accept rather than question them.

    Riri, racing thoughts are always my last symptom to leave. Its ok to have them, accept them, just don’t get involved with them by questioning and analysing them. Easy to say I know because it drives me demented. It is like wastching every thought.

    Bryan, its odd how we all struggle to accept different parts of the anxiety. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all team up. I will share my acceptance of physical symptoms and get help with someone elses acceptance of thoughts. Lol. I guess the anxiety focuses on the bit which is most likely to scare us.

  166. Rachel Says:

    I no this is a really stupid question but how do you know you have anxeity xx

  167. Bryan Says:

    Riri…. “Sticks” = anxiety. No matter what the thought is. It’s a fatigued mind.

  168. Emma Says:


    Thank you I really appreciate that you responded to my post. How have you been doing? Are you noticing some progress? During my recovery, it always seems that after one symptom subsides, I deal with a new one (mild depression currently). I suppose these are all the layers of healing!

    Emma xoxo

  169. Riri Says:

    Karen thank you
    That is exactly how I feel. As though I sit all day and watch my thoughts. So I notice I have many thoughts. It just bounces around from one subject to the other. It really does get overwhelming.
    Bryan- great example. I will remember that for sure. I guess everyone has there own unique anxiety but it is all under the same umbrella.

  170. Dominic Says:

    Hi Karen
    I think you have mixed me up with the other Dominick. His was spelt with a K. I’ve been anxiety free for about a year now. I never really posted about how bad my anxiety was because I pretty much cut clean from it all after reading Paul’s book.
    Riri I developed a health anxiety and was convinced that I was going to die from a terrible illness. This was after googling my symptoms. Just remember it’s just a silly thought you get when you are in an anxious state. When the anxiety fades you don’t have the thoughts.So how can they be real. I realised this and took them for what they were, a lie.
    Once I realised this it totally changed how seriously I took them. I started to laugh at them. At first this was wierd because I of the feelings that came with them. But after a while they just never came back because I wasn’t that bothered about them.
    Remember the more attention you give them the stronger they are.Just take how you feel as something temporary. Give it time and very little attention and you will soon be feeling better. When you hit a setback and they all come flooding back, just tell yourself you can get through this on your own and you will come out of this temporary setback even stronger. Soon you won’t care what thoughts you have or how you feel because you know it will pass.
    You will get there.


  171. Riri Says:

    Great post Dominic,
    My struggle basically is that I have so many random thoughts. It’s like a have a to do list in my head. Of things to do and things to buy and ideas. And then once I read that bipolar and adhd have these symptoms I started doubting it was anxiety. Does anyone else feel like there mind is always going with things to do and ideas. As if I can’t turn off my mind. I guess this is my last struggle.

  172. Dominic Says:

    Stop worrying about it Riri. Remember it is temporary. You re not stuck like that. The good periods that you have prove that. Just get on with your day no matter how much your mind races. Once your anxiety latches on to something it makes a big deal of it.
    Your mind will race, your heart will start to beat fast, you will feel tingles all over and wake up a 4.30 in the morning.So what? It’s not forever. I’m proof of that. Just accept everything you feel and just live your life. Soon the good times will get longer until one day you ll think ‘actually I feel great and even if I do get anxious again,I’m not really that bothered about it’.


  173. Riri Says:

    Dominic thank you
    I guess you are right. There was a period of time when I got so tired of figuring out that I just let it be and told myself whatever happens happens. I remember that is how I calmed down and felt myself getting better

  174. Dominic Says:

    There really is nothing to figure out. If imagine most people on here are creative thinkers and it seems to be quite common that creative people suffer from anxiety and have that little voice going on all the time. Even now my mind still goes into loops about things when I’m driving or doing something boring. It passes and it doesn’t even bother me anymore. Before I would question it and try my hardest to think about something else which brought on more anxiety etc etc.
    Riri it is an achievement itself to wean yourself of medication. Some people never get that far. You ve made the first step. Well done!

  175. Riri Says:

    I think so too. I don’t believe that medication will cure you. It is simply a crutch until you figure things out. And I feel that I understand anxiety well enough now to do it on my own. It is hard but I know I am able to get past this. My mind screams at me all day that this is not anxiety. But I am not giving it any attention. I know that it will fade away soon like every other scary thought I have. I truly believe that people with anxiety are so strong. Because it is not like they are battling someone else. It is their own self that they need to battle.

  176. Dominic Says:

    We ve all got the strength inside us but the true strength is giving up the battle with ourselves and accepting that it is what it is.


  177. Riri Says:

    Dominic very well said. You don’t have to fight yourself. Just let it be. You don’t have to prove nothing to yourself. It’s all in accepting.

  178. Madalina Says:

    Dominic. A. true.inspiration

  179. Karen Says:

    Ah sorry Dominic, mixed you up. Great posts, really helpful, thanks.

    Emma, I have been doing much better the last couple of weeks thanks, even had some anxiety free days ….. massive progress as I hadn’t really had any of those in the nine months leading up to Easter. You are right, the anxiety does seem to peel off in layers. I still have the return to work mountain to climb at the end of the month, so am expecting some rough days and nights but we shall see. Hope your depression is lifting a bit again.

  180. Karen Says:

    Rachel ….. not sure what you meant by your question. Do you mean, how do you know for sure its anxiety and not something else? I guess if the doc has diagnosed it or if you google a list of anxiety symptoms and they match. Look at Bryan’s post above on May 8th for good websites with lists of symptoms. If you have been diagnosed then is that question itself just part of the anxiety.
    Hope that helps.

    Rachh, how are you doing?

  181. Vinny Says:

    Hi All,

    I have been following for a couple of weeks now. I am glad I found Paul’s site and his blog. It has helped reading everyone’s post and knowing you are not alone in dealing with anxiety. I have been dealing with anxiety and panic attacks on and off for the past 2 years. They mostly deal with my worry about my health. I am 41 and have had multiple physicals and everything has checked out. Having lost my father at 46, dying at the dinner table in front of me and my siblings, I am sure that is the cause of my worries.
    The last few months have been a bad sprout. I have been seeing a therapist for over a year and made progress. Then I had a relapse back in February. I have a very strong opinion on meds and over prescription of them..My doctor suggest zanax to deal with the attacks. After fighting myself with the decision I decided to try them, as needed only when I have an attack. They helped with the attacks but still feel uncomfortable taking them. When I have an attack I find myself fighting to take one and adding to the anxiety. I would prefer facing and accepting the anxiety and that is what I am working on currently.
    Its seems the lightheaded, dizzy and weak feelings are the ones that are hard to deal with, I try to just accept and move on what I am doing but it is hard when dealing with the dizziness. I guess it makes me think I am going to pass out and that adds stress cause I worry about doing just that, in front of my kids.
    I know I won’t pass out, cause after almost 2 years of this, I haven’t but my mind still worries on just that..
    Thanks for hearing me ramble..


  182. Riri Says:

    OK some advice,
    I have been suffering with anxiety for about 8 months and my most recent intrusive that is that I am bipolar. Last night I was sitting and this thought came in my mind. And now it is convincing me that I am bipolar. The thought is when I was younger I used to always think that my mind either slowed down or sped up. I know that sounds ridiculous. But in my mind that is how I felt. But my outside actions would stay the same. But when I wouldn’t give it any attention it would go away. I stopped having these thoughts. But now that the bipolar thought has come I am convinced that it is bipolar. But deep down inside I know that it was probably a intrusive thought but I had no clue what it was and what anxiety was back than. For a very very long time a stopped having this thought. Last year I had it once but didn’t give it attention and it also went away. Now it is haunting me that this has to do with bipolar. I am freaking out.

  183. Riri Says:

    OK so I read about it. Stupid Google. And it seems that when you are sleep deprived or under lots of stress this can happen. I don’t know why I automatically linked it bipolar. I am driving myself crazy. This is one of the hardest thoughts ever…. the thing is I don’t even have that thought anymore. But what I keep remembering is when I was younger and used to think like that. But when I ignored it it went away. Can anyone relate.

  184. rachh Says:

    Riri you have anxiety. Ive had these thoughts too.

    When you are well and start discovering how to deal with this then this thought wont even bother you because hey.. Its a thought. Part of the flighter side of this is that an anxious mind can convince you of anything. Thats why they call a stem of anxiety ocd.. Its obsessions a thought pops in and we obsess about it make links to everything present and future and bam there is a catastrophic thoughts. Ive had these thoughts and thought yehh but these people giving advice dont know me and how can i be 100% sure.
    It is anxiety :)

  185. rachh Says:

    Karen im still emotionally numb. Ive been to see a psychologist which is giving me a bit of breathing space and a non judgemental ear.

    Im practising mindfulness which at times where i take the pressure off myself and get into it is starting to release some anxious sensations which i feel better for but for the majority i dont feel v good at all and am barely functioning as a normal person would.

    I have hope though and these small periods of light as uncomfortable as they feel is keeping me going because i know i am under this myraid of thinking patterns i just need to let myself go.

    Hows everyone!?

  186. Riri Says:

    Rach thanks a bunch,
    Once I calmed down I kind of thought that. I realized that before I read about bipolar disorders it never came to mind. But I guess my anxiety is latching onto this and scaring me. I read that bipolar disorder you have many thoughts and ideas. So now every time I have an idea ” my mind says oh my god does that mean I’m bipolar” and it scares me. So now I have a mind filled with ideas because I have convinced myself I am bipolar. Anxiety truly is a nightmare. I’m good for a while then I fall back to bad habits and searching and googling and questioning. I should of learned by now. Because the more I search the worse I feel. I know for a fact that if I didn’t give this thought much attention when I first had it, it would of passed by now.

  187. Riri Says:

    My problem is that I am a stay a home mother of two beautiful girls. So once I’m done with all my house work and dressing the kids and what not.i have lots of time on my hands. My mind is on overdrive all day until my husband comes home. He sort of distracts me from all this chaos going on in my head… so until he cones home I am always thinking of ways to distract myself. That’d why I have ideas in my head. But now my mind is convinced that this is bipolar and this is bipolar thinking. It is horrible.

  188. rachh Says:

    I know the feeling ive been there:)
    That is naturally anxiety..
    Since ive had this complete breakdown ive diagnosed myself with delusions schizophrenia and all sorts when i purely have anxiety a tired mind and brain fog.. Ahhh its a fab thing!!! However on the plus side this will make me and everyone else better people!

  189. Karen Says:

    Racch sounds like you and I are going through a similar process. My psychologist is doing lots of mindfulness work with me too. It is definitely the way forward but it is a process and going to take time for it to help us fully I think. You are right though all those who have recovered say they are better for the experience. I know I am learning things that will help me deal with situations I struggled with even before this breakdown. We will all get there, it just takes time, acceptance and patience. Positive vibes to all. X

  190. Bryan Says:


    It is not bi-polar and by the way, some of the most prominent anxiety experts in the world believe that bipolar is nothing more than another expression of anxiety disorder. So, you should recognize that when you say you are fearful of having bipolar, first of all you don’t. Second of all even if you did, it would be treatable with the same methodology everyone is suggesting to you.

    You sound like you’re going in circles and I understand that. But, I really suggest going back through these blogs and reading Paul’s posts on the matter over and over until your brain excepts the idea that it is just anxiety. Your anxious mind is trying to convince you that you are different. But, you’re no different than anyone else on this board. There have been thousands of posts by people saying the exact same thing you are, believing that they are situation is special or different and it simply is not. And that is a good thing by the way. :)

    As complex as this may seem given the symptoms and the suffering we go through, this is all resolved by people who can make it very simple. “I have anxiety, I have thoughts that are produced by anxiety, if I can let them go and get back to life I will get better. ”

    I have a collection of success stories that I referenced when I’m feeling bad and everyone of them sounds the same. People all over the world, all walks of life, different languages, different environments, everyone gets better the same way.

    You are being bluffed and as long as you continue to believe the bluff and pay attention to the bluff you won’t be able to see through it. Let it be there, make it unimportant. Please, read Paul’s material and truly apply it, don’t just read it and then continue to make your symptoms important.

  191. Bryan Says:

    And of course, I should make the disclaimer I am not a mental health expert and when I say that you are not bipolar it is based on only my opinion. Your symptoms and the way you describe things are anxiety 101. The same stuff everyone here is dealing with.

  192. Monica Says:

    Hello everyone! So at some point i thought i was probably getting better, im starting to get more symptoms than before does this mean im getting worst instead of better?

  193. rachh Says:

    Love your comment bryan:) so trueee!!!!!

  194. Riri Says:

    Hey everyone,
    Sorry if I am such a nag. I sound like I am going crazy. Thank you all for the posts. I guess all I need is reassurance. And that is what keeps me in the cycle. I just need to trust myself. I have gone through so much and come out the other side. But this thought came with such impact. That I was truly convinced. Like Bryan said I need to through it under the ” anxiety” umbrella and move on. It hard but it is possible. And with time I will get better. I know I will. Because I was in this position and got through once before.

  195. Doreen. Says:

    Just popping in to say that although I am pretty sure that bi-polar is not linked with anxiety I can assure you all that it is not the illness you all dread if managed properly. It seems to have been set by some of you as the bench mark of the very worst thing in the world. And the symptoms are very different to those of anxiety. But the reality is that for some of you anxiety has become attached to the words, bi-polar (and that is all they are).
    However, I know of people with that diagnosis who lead happy fulfilling lives albeit with difficult blips from time to time.

  196. Dominic Says:

    You really need to take the advice people are giving you. The thoughts feel so because of the fear that comes with them. It is just a thought. Nothing more.
    It’s hard to understand but you need to let this thought be there and even laugh at it. Let that feeling of dread be there. Bask in it knowing that it can’t hurt you. It’s anxiety. Some days you will feel great and some days your world will feel upside down. Just go with it.
    I’ve truly recovered because I know the thoughts and symptoms can’t hurt me and are all false. Once you get to that stage they pretty much disappear. You stop fearing them and don’t even care if they come back.
    But like Bryan said, take our information and listen to what we say.
    I got a hell of a lot worse before I got better. Again it’s a set back and after every one you have it makes you so much stronger. They come and go and, I know that when you are in one it feels like you will never be better. It’s just part of the process of getting better.


  197. Lui Says:

    Hi! I have a little question and I hope someone could have a quick look at it :)
    So right now I am faking happiness and confidence. That is so exhausting. Paul says that we have to stop covering up to recover.
    Does this mean that I have to stop playing the fun confident and happy fake me and that I have to show my depression and week self-esteem in order to recover? Please, could sb give me some advice?

  198. Lisa E. Says:

    Hi everyone, I read this forum a lot about two and half years ago. It really helped me deal with a period of anxiety. It took time, but eventually through using the technique of allowing the anxious feelings to be there and not judging them, the anxiety went away. I don’t even think I noticed the day when it finally disappeared because I had stopped really noticing! For the past two years I have been almost totally free of the anxiety. Every once in a while I would have flashes of anxious feelings, but they faded very quickly because I just let them be there. So the good news is, I know that these things go away. The bad news is that I am having a new struggle with anxiety that began a few months ago when I have having some breathing issues, something temporary, but kind of like asthma, called reactive airways. The symptoms lasted a couple of months and seem to be gone now, but during that period while waiting for the right medicine that finally worked, I was anxious, at times in a normal way and at times in the way that we all struggle with. I’m now having stomach issues, and even though the rational part of me knows it is likely something simple that will go away or that my doctor can treat, today I had a really anxious morning like I used to have. It is terrifying to think of falling back into that anxious pattern. I am pretty good dealing with anxious feelings as they arise during the course of the day. Do any of you have any tips about what to do if you go to bed fine, sleep pretty well, but wake up feeling anxious as your very first thoughts of the day? I feel like I didn’t have much of a chance to use my techniques because I woke up fighting the feelings. And I know fighting isn’t the answer.

  199. tim Says:

    Whether you come across as fun or depressed is not important.
    It’s about how you relate to your own feelings. Wanting anxiety and depression to go away increases them. Owning them fully, letting it be there decreases it over time. It’s not about how you come across, it’s about not being depressed about depression / resisting depression so it gradually dissolves.

    You could look into mindfulness meditation to practice this. For a good article I found google this: psychology today mindfulness in a frantic world. It’s a gradual subtle thing that must grow but very liberating once it takes hold in you.

    That’s what I’ve got for you, I struggle with things like this myself as well.

  200. tim Says:

    Everytime you find yourself ruminating about “how should I act, should I act fun or show my depressed state”, catch yourself doing that, experience physically how it feels (not good) and then continue doing whatever with those feelings in you body. However much or little you feel doesn’t matter it’s al good. As if those feelings are a pair of glasses, ýou look through them at the world, you don’t focus on them and neither do you want them to go away.
    The solution lies not in the thinking mind. The thinking mind will pop up again and again to look for solutions, that’s ok, it’s habit. Let it go and trust. The uncomfortable feelings are ok to be there for the time being, it’s the wanting them to go that keeps the cycle in place.

  201. tim Says:

    You know how Paul on this site says this about thoughts on.
    “I allowed them to flow in and flow out and I didn’t react. When I did this, I noticed the scary thoughts seem to lose their scary edge. Stop fighting them, just say: come if you wish, I no longer care, you are not important.
    Don’t ever tell yourself that you must not think these thoughts. Let all thoughts come; do not run away from any of them; see them for what they are, just thoughts, exaggerated because of the way you feel. They can do you no harm and they mean nothing.”

    This is exactly what you practice in mindfulness meditation.

    So for example, when a thought comes “Ooh God, how should I behave, act funny or show my depressed self or.. etc. etc.” We normally assume we have to do something with this thought and continue on it’s spontaneous arising. But if you can learn to just observe the arising of such thought from like a different vantage point you can just see it arise do nothing with it and watch it pass away. It’s awesome and liberating, really.
    I’ve only really experienced this myself a couple of times myself. Like I said it’s very gradual.

  202. Karen Says:

    Tim, they are great posts. I so agree with you about the mindfulness, it is brilliant. However, as you say it takes time and practise. I seem to be able to do it with some elements but not others. More work required for me. I will look at that link.

  203. Lui Says:

    this is great inspiration though I will need some time to really understand these information. Thank you so much! :)I just started doing a little bit of Qigong and it’s amazing how clear I get while practicing.
    For me it’s really hard to just flow through the symptoms. During an anxiety attack I try to accept and float through it but I’m winding myself up and constantly question myself if I really am doing this right, if I am accepting and if I am reacting wrong. I usually don’t know what I am doing wrong. It’s hard to understand all of this for me.

  204. Lui Says:

    Oh and I will definitely look up the mindfulness meditation article!
    omg this whole recovery thing is so confusing I am not sure if I will ever look through all this.

  205. tim Says:

    My pleasure 😉

    Lui, it’s hard for all of us to flow through the symptoms, if it wasn’t we wouldn’t even be in this cycle, hah ;). I feel really inclined to tell you the severity of my situation but let’s not even go there!

    You’re last sentence is a nice example. You have a thought like “I don’t know if I ever will work it all out”. This creates stress hormones. Those create anxiety symptoms. You notice the symptoms and have fear and aversion to them. You think you have to do something to stop it or figure out how to. This creates stress hormones.. etc.

    Move to a physical experience of yourself in your surroundings and eventually it calms down a bit. The cure doesn’t come instantly. Flow with it.

    Everything is O.K! Now breathe in, breathe out and feel some relaxation in your body or imagine that you feel some relaxation in your body. You don’t have to think anymore. And if you do think (habit), It’s o.k. it already happened, just let it go, don’t go thinking about how to stop thinking.

    Have the courage to move with feelings without questioning it.

  206. Lui Says:

    Wow, this is what I needed right now! This makes actually so much sense Tim! You know, I read Paul’s book like 3 times and the blog like 7 times and I’m still worrying like crazy trying to figure everything out for 6 months now. I think it’s time to finally say:”F*ck it” and do it anyway, right?! :)

  207. Emma Says:

    Great posts Tim, I have been looking into mindfulness after my psych recommended it. Jon Kabat-Zin’s youtube videos about mindfulness are quite phenomenal.

    Karen, I just wanted to let you know that my depression (feelings of emptiness, sadness, grief and despair) is starting to lift. I’m still dealing with some of the vestiges of it but I’m doing much better than a few weeks ago when I was posting here completely petrified by why I was sinking into such a deep, dark state of despair and emptiness. I get a lot of anxiety at work still and sometimes still deal with those feelings of sadness and emptiness but it’s getting better.
    I’m still struggling to feel HAPPY and enthusiastic and OVERJOYED like I used to. But I will be patient.

    Question: What is the general consensus on the blog about taking 5HTP supplements?

  208. Kyle Says:

    Hey guys if anyone of you could shed light on this question I am about to ask I’d greatly appreciate it. Since my anxiety started and I found Pauls book I have gotten 100x better. I havent had a panic attack since September and all my physical symptoms, DP, and de-realization are completeley gone. I still suffer from intrusive thoughts from time to time but none of them are as bad as they once were. I asked a few weeks back if anyone felt as if they felt extremely irritable toward people and it was answered but I wanted to be more specific and ask again. This is a new symptom for me but I tend to have these awful mean and nasty thoughts towards people. I do get irritable like anyone else but sometimes if people bother me or annoy me I get these mean thoughts towards people. I was never a mean person before all this and it seems like my personality changes from time to time. I have really good moments at work and I am very compliant and then sometimes I get these vile thoughts and feeling in my head. Its very hard to explain but if anyone has noticed this or overcome this I’d really like to know I’m not alone and that its really just another symptom. Hope everyone is doing well. Im much better than I was before and it feels great but the fact these thoughts and feeling still reemerge is annoying to say the least.

  209. Karen Says:

    Hi Kyle, worry not, sounds like they are just intrusive thoughts again, which you are then worrying about having because you think you “shouldn’t” ….. therefore they are causing you anxiety. For me, my intrusive thoughts focus on one aspect, then I learn to deal with them so they change to a different focus. Sounds like yours have done the same so you just need to realise they are still just intrusive thoughts, give them the same treatment as the rest. My therapist said to me, annoying thoughts are good, you are not letting them frighten you.

    Tim, you make it sound so simple. Lol! Great explanation though.

    Emma, I am pleased your depression is lifting for you.

    Racch, Emma, if you want to be in touch outside the blog let me know. Not sure how we do this?

  210. Bryan Says:

    Thanks for the great input Tim, Dominic and Lisa. Much needed here and appreciated.

  211. Lucy Says:

    Emma – thanks :) I know you’re right! Anxiety feels like it has focused on literally EVERYTHING for me, my entire life. But as far as relationships, I guess it just doesn’t bother me as much because I KNOW it’s anxiety just running away with itself. I knew my boyfriend before I had any anxiety/panic and I just remember how much I never used to question my feelings about him then, so why should I now? I know he makes me happy, of course there are the usual relationship things, but most me letting an anxious thought make something out of nothing! I really do feel like I’m getting somewhere sometimes, but there are other times when it seems like I haven’t even had time to register it all before getting in a tizz! I am just living one day at a time right now, not working myself up with “I will always be like this.” Some good days are better than all bad days right?! I might have an awful panic attack in the middle of the night, and have a great day a couple of days later, remembering it always passes!

  212. Candie Says:

    Kyle anxiety is making you think it’s not acceptable to think nasty stuff but in reality we all do- we just don’t disclose the majority of it! I think angry thoughts, I think nasty thoughts if I see someone looking scruffy etc. because your anxiety has given you such a reaction you have trusted that reaction as valid and followed the belief that your wrong for thinking this way- which usually results in your mind spinning none stop with whatever has frightened you. We all think an array of thoughts every day. I will often see someone homeless and think sad thoughts, be angry at my kids and often think mad thoughts. Basically let the mind go where it wants, don’t judge yourself for any of it as your normal!

  213. Candie Says:

    Lisa if you have woken up like that then your dreams have probably triggered it and you don’t remember them. This is sooo normal, happens to me sometimes but I don’t start threating like the days of anxiety. You say your scared your going to he like you was before- this is you holding onto yourself again and causing you to feel like you do. Let go of holding onto yourself, understand you have had a tough few months so feeling a bit stressed which can cause the dreams and ultimately remember that you are willing to let this come back as that is true acceptance. Facing what you fear and letting go of all control to escape it. You can do this if you have been well for so long, it’s just a blip and we all have minor reminders but reinforce what you know and that habit is too broken :)

  214. Lui Says:

    Hi all! :)
    I’m sorry that I post so much recently…and yes I have a question on acceptance again…
    Due to explanations given here I realized that I have to stop reacting to my feelings/thought in order to recover. I did it this morning and just let the thoughts pass through and wow! That was the first time in years that I realized that anxiety has completly gotten control over everything I am doing and it truely was a big shining light of hope!
    In school I tried to do the same and stopped covering up. All my friends asked me what’s wrong and why I look so “pissed-off”, and why I seem to be so quiet and withdrawn and not so fun as I usually am. Well, that wasn’t too bad.
    The part I am struggling is when actually talking. in the past I tried to please everyone and just agreed or made jokes so people would like me. Now in recovery I have nothing left to say. I feel so depressed and I don’t even feel like talking, nor I am interested in any conversation topic. Plus that I am hyperaware of everything. And as soon as I am opening up my mouth I feel like I am hiding away from my feelings again or as if I am forcing myself to something that I don’t even want. Then the thoughts kick in. “This feels wrong, am I even accepting or am I hiding away? Am I pleasing again? Am I inviting the feelings? Am I holding a grip onto myself?”
    So I got really agressive after a while and got angry with myself. I started yelling at my worried friends an even broke out in tears of frustation.(Phenomenal, cause I am usually feeling nothing at all.) I thought that today could be the day on which I can finally accept and that finally everything will make sense and I can just go on with my day and let the symoptoms stay there.
    I seriously don’t know what to do in a conversation. Don’t get me wrong I read Paul’s post on social anxiety about 20x times over and over again. When reading it seems so easy and understandable but when putting it into action I just seem to fail every damn time…
    This is quiet a long post, I’d die for evry bit of advice…provided that anyone read ’til here 😉

  215. Mike G. Says:

    Hello everybody. I am a long time follower of Paul’s blog and this is my first time posting. I would like to know how anxiety has affected your career goals. For me it has been awful and I feel like my anxiety has held me back so much and kept me from achieving my career goals. Currently I am in a role that involves minimal face to face interaction as most of our work consists of helping our clients with payroll issues over the phone. This job is one i consider ‘safe’. What i meanby that is i really dont have to deal with people face to face and therefore my anxiety isnt as bad. I do struggle though when i have to get up and go to the cafeteria per say. I get awful anxiety and feel so off balanced and srong depersonalization tha seems to get worse as the day advances. I also feel like certain lighting and wide open space really bother me. I want to get into financial or accounting analysis but in these roles there are lots of meetings and face to face interactions. I am so disappointed and feel like i am nowhere near where i want to be in my life/career and its all because im so afraid of how this anxiety will affect me in a role where there is lots of face to face contact. The other day for example, i had training in person along with another coworker and after about an hour i just felt like running out, mostly inpart to depersonlization. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  216. Kyle Says:

    Candie and Karen

    Thank you so much for your responses. Its really tough getting over all this because it seems once you get over one symptom of anxiety so other one comes along to take its place. Back when my anxiety was at its worst the intrusive thoughts were mostly about harming myself and came after I would see a terrible tragedy on the TV and hear about how some of these people were seeing psychologist and committed such awful crimes. That no longer bothers me that much but if I ever hear about anything like that it triggers a small reaction and then it seems like im thinking about that and all the possibilities for the next few days until I forget about it. But now I just feel so mean at times and its for NO reason at all. It comes and goes but this feeling is just so strange I cant understand it. Someone could be doing absolutely nothing and I have have the worst thought about them. Its so weird. I know we have mean thoughts from time to time but why I just seem to think these unwarranted things at the most inappropriate times makes me feel like a monster. But then I forget about it haha

  217. Riri Says:

    Wow it is amazing what anxiety does with people. It tricks them to believe the worst. I feel I am almost at the end of my struggle. I no longer have any physical symptoms. But the thoughts what are worst for me. I was doing great for about 2 months and thought that I was over anxiety. I was no longer scared of it. Because I understood it. Then I come across a article about bipolar disorder. Then I began wondering what if I’m bipolar. I would watch myself all day and night to see if I was talking to fast or having a manic episode. I know ridiculous. I still have those thoughts now but I let them go. The only thought my mind seems to not be able to let go is what is this is not anxiety but something else..
    Also.. I feel I am living in my head all day. I am super aware of every thought I have. And then question myself if this is an anxious thought or normal thought. And my mind seems to think of random things out of the blue. So very outlandish. Then I think to myself oh my god is this really anxiety. I can’t seem to convince myself it is. Even though I know it is. The thoughts are killing me. my mind goes back to the past to remember if I ever had symptoms of bipolar. My mind keeps bouncing around from one hung to the next. And I sit and analyse my thoughts. This only happens s when I’m alone. When I am around people I can get distracted by them. A thought will come once in a while but a could dismiss it. I feel that if I could just convince myself this is all anxiety. I know I would be able to let it all go. As I did before… ugh my mind is a jumped up mess

  218. Lisa E. Says:

    Hi Candie, Thanks for that. Things are slowly getting back to normal after my little set back. I’m trying to own it and I am still working to quit asking why I had a setback and just accept it. I don’t need to keep thinking about it.
    I’m almost there! One thing that I’ve learned from anxiety is to be more compassionate to others. Just thinking of how many people struggle with anxiety without the right tools makes me sad.

  219. Charles Says:

    Lui, you are giving anxiety too much credit. Anxiety is a fear based response, it means that you are scared. It doesn’t mean you are hiding your emotions and it doesn’t mean you are being a people-pleaser. It is not an indication that you have a personality problem, it certainly doesn’t mean you should just let your emotions explode or be rude to your friends.

    I don’t mean to sound condescending, but from my point of view your problem is rather straight forward: you are treating your nervous feelings like danger, you feel unsafe therefore you feel anxious. All of the people that replied before me are essentially trying to tell you that you should let the feeling be there so you know it’s safe.

    Stop dwelling on your non-existent personality issues, you seem like a nice person, there is nothing wrong with trying to make people like you. We are all social beings, being able to make people like you is an awesome skill to have in life. I am not sure why you are blaming your superb social skills for your anxiety, Imagine back when we were all cave men, if you could make everyone in your tribe like you, you probably had the highest chance of survival.

    Don’t blame anything for anxiety, don’t try to find the cause for your anxiety, there is nothing to blame, if you start this blame game there is no end, you will always find new things to blame and you will feel you are going in circles. The matter of the fact is: you just feel unsafe at the moment, so look around, is there any danger? If there is no danger, then it’s a false alarm, probably just a habit, keep calm and carry on.

    If you really suspect you have a personality issue, ask around, ask your family and friends, other people are the best judges for that.

    good luck, you are doing just fine.

  220. Candie Says:

    Lisa remember each set back should be seen as time to practice what you know- never go Down the route of omg it’s back as you are setting your nerves off with that. Simply remember you have had a stressful time, it’s reminded you of past suffering but that suffering was only ever caused by your own fighting because you where less knowledgable and bewildered. You know too much now to get in that state again so let it flow over you and let it go and in no time at all you will forget it and be back to getting on with life. Everyone who has recovered may have these moments after stress- but when you know why it happens you can just get on with your day and let it go and not spiral to the previous depths of despair.

    Kyle yes it’s normal to think those thoughts as I said but because your so focused on not wanting to think them you are constantly thinking them. If I was to tell myself now not to think a thought, the act of trying is thinking it so the mind won’t let it go. You should wake up tomorrow and decide today I want to think these thoughts as they aren’t important, try to think them as much as you can as its fine to think absolutely anything it’s no reflection on your character in anyway! As the saying goes ‘what you resist will persist’. In the end I decided to go towards what I was resisting and that is where I found peace. Behind every intrusive thought there is an underlying fear that usually follows such as I must be crazy, a really horrible person etc to think this way.. But we can’t judge our imagination, if we do we become stuck in our heads.

  221. Emma Says:

    Yes I would love to be in touch with you and Rachh outside the blog. How do people typically exchange emails here? I may simply create another email address that I can post on here. Rachh would you like to be in touch as well?

    I may have spoken too soon about my depression lifting, I’m currently at work and the feeling of sadness has set in a bit I would give it a 6/10 (10 being the worst feeling of depression – experienced this level a few weeks ago). But this time, I will really make an effort not to add the 2nd fear as I’ve been doing before. I will allow myself to live with this feeling and that trying to make it “go away” and fearing it will not help me heal. What will help me heal is to allow myself to feel the sadness. It’s SO hard to do that though, anyone else who has experienced this sensation of sadness can understand – it’s not typical sadness where I want to cry, but it’s a heavy feeling of sadness where I can’t cry even if I try. Whenever I experience it I immediately add on the 2nd anxiety because I think “oh my goodness, I’m at work and I’m scared that I might spiral into darkness and completely panic” – it is truly fueled by my thoughts

    I know exactly what you mean about the anxiety having touched ALL facets of your life. It has done the same for me as well. I get the numbness too but just like you I pay it no mind and label as anxiety. Lately though, I oscillate between the relationship anxiety and then the feelings of sadness. It lifted for a few days but has returned a little bit again. A few weeks ago the depression was quite traumatic for me, I had no motivation, all I wanted to do was stay on the couch in a cocoon where I felt safe. I cried as though I was grieving a loss, it was truly atrocious. After my session with my therapist I started to feel a lot better. This morning it has slightly set in. Have you experienced it?

    Does anyone experience the sensation I’m describing? Has anyone overcome this completely? I have dealt with all the other symptoms of anxiety (DP, DR, health anxiety, etc) but this feeling is one of the harder ones to accept.

  222. platty Says:

    Hi all glad to see so many showing positive signs , I have been having really good couple of months getting on with life . only coming back here every couple of weeks just to see how people getting on . a lot of symptoms have left me , Intrusive thoughts starting to leave (which is my worst symptom ) now bam I am in a bit of a spiral downwards , My wonderful partner was away on a conference for a couple of days and I was home with the kids , I started having really bad intrusive thoughts of her leaving me or cheating , its sent me spinning, is this the anxiety tricking me again , Its making me paranoid when she on the phone or computer anybody else had these doubts

  223. Mark r Says:

    Hi all,

    Just thought I’d drop back.

    Have to say I had the best week in years the week before last, almost felt recovered at times. I think a lot of it was down to the great weather we had. Conversely, this was followed by a few weeks of feeling pretty ropey. I’ve tried not to get me down to much but it is very frustrating with the contrasting feelings. In the grand scheme of things I have definately made progress, at a snails pace at times but still progress.

    I still struggle daily with some symptoms, largely with dp and concentration. Its a strange little bugger dp, I would describe it as viewing the world through someone elses glasses with everything looking very odd. I’m at a level now which I can cope with. This appears to be the base level, this is mixed with times of utter crapness and elation where I am myself and have very few symptoms.

    I think recovery is a tipping point to some degree, the balance in how much time you invest in your life to how much you are concerned about how you feel. The more you do life stuff, the more important you make it which tips the scales in your favour away from the anxious loop. I know this isn’t easy and its very tempting to hide away when it gets bad but I never do.

    I’ve seen a few posts on here where they are fearing spiralling into depression. Having suffered from depression years back I can say if you can cope with anxiety at the peak of its powers you can cope with depression. Neither one is worse than the other.

    Hope everyone is going well.


  224. Danni c Says:

    Hi all my names danni im 22, ive just been reading through the blog and I can relate to Emma and Karen, I have had anxiety for about 2 years worrying about everything health concern I’ve thought I’ve had everything going to the doctors continuously about another symptom and having panic attacks over thinking that has seemed to subdue, the problem I’m having at the moment to be honest scaring me half to death, is all the negative thoughts of what the point in anything and if I do this in life why am I doing it, I won’t enjoy it anyway? Like confused and hopeless about life yet id never do anything stupid like sucide of anything be too scared but simply feel empty and lost Despite my anxiety I’ve always been a happy optisitmic girl and now I feel like I won’t enjoy things anymore or interested in anything and can’t laugh or smile anymore I hope it’s not depression I’ve never been depressed before this is all new to me, if someone could give me an in site to this or their experience/opinion anything would be great thank you danni xx

  225. Karen Says:

    Moderators, how do we go about getting in touch with other people from the blog, swopping emails? I know we used to have to contact Paul, but I think he stopped that?

    Mark, I agree with you, my best days also seem to coincide with sunny days.

  226. Doreen. Says:

    I am no longer a moderator but Paul did say some time back that he did not have the time to be swapping email addresses from one to another and although he had reservations about people putting their email addresses on the blog that was how it would have to happen. During my time as moderator it did become quite onerous as I seems to be spending a lot of time looking up and then swapping email addresses as at one point loads of people wanted to do it. Another way of being in touch (if you are a Facebook user) is to go on ANM Facebook page, leave a message on the latest thread and then let the people on here with whom you wish to be in touch,know that you have done it. Then they can look at the thread, click on your FB message and be in touch that way. Hope that makes sense.

  227. Candie Says:

    Emma when you are sensitised you experience every option magnified. Anger, sadness, stress, etc. understanding this was the key for me to float through it. Things really turned around for me when I decided its ok to feel like I want to cry, it’s ok to feel like I can’t, it’s ok even if I cry my eyes out. I would sit with the feelings I had with the knowledge that they are normal feelings magnified by my sensitised state and totally allow them to wash over me and pass. When you are sensitised you only need to think one sad thought or imagine yourself feeling sad and you feel the emotion. Don’t fear feeling depressed, everybody gets down- allow yourself to feel and it will subside once you are less impressed by it.

    Danni those are intrusive thoughts. They aren’t the real you hence why you are confused and scared. Instead of worrying what they mean, decide to invest no time in resolving them and allow them to float in and out with any emotion and let them go. It takes practice but many recovered went through similar myself included. It’s hard when you are sensitised as you have exagerated emotions that make it difficult to see that the contents of the mind aren’t reality. You have to get used to letting your mind waffle on and decide not to figure it out as investigating the thoughts of an anxious mind is futile!

    Honestly I worried about everything. Reality, harming people, negative thoughts, worrying about anxiety, mental illness, normal everyday worries magnified. Some I look back on now and I laugh my head off but at the time when I had that exaggerated response every thought felt like a threat. In the end I had to acknowledge the reason they seemed scary was my exaggerated fear response and that was beyond my control. What I could do was accept that response and decide to answer all thoughts with what will be will be. To truly live with uncertainty. To accept is to not fight. If out thoughts say we are crazy or depressed or some sort of monster just allow them to and don’t get involved. Everybody with anxiety knows who they are deep down, it’s the fact they are forcing their true self into battle with the fear thoughts to disapprove them that causes the damage. So today let your fear self ramble, if you don’t get involved it will eventually calm down :)

  228. Lisa E. Says:

    The comments about sunny weather rings true with me. I live in Arizona where it’s normally pretty sunny. There is a forest fire in Sedona, not too far from where I live and some days we are getting heavy smoke cover from it. Those days have contributed in some ways to my set back, hopefully a minor one.

    I used to get anxious about health issues, but I learned how not to follow those thoughts, but just to let them be there. I’m having a hard time doing that now because I’ve had a really stressful year so far, not an anxious year until now, just some pretty major stressors. So I’m in a pretty emotionally weakened state already. I’ve never really had stomach problems, even with anxiety that wasn’t how it affected me. I was worried about a nagging burning feeling in my stomach and I was aware that my anxiety about it was probably making it worse. My doctor thinks it’s a bad case of acid reflux and stress/anxiety may have brought it on or may be making it worse. So I’m in a cycle where I know I can’t be anxious, but my stomach bothers me, so I am, and that makes the stomach worse. When I’m anxious, I have a distrust for doctors, thinking that there must be something else, something worse, going on. The doctor says this could take awhile to resolve itself with the medication she gave me. And my anxiety tries to find a way to fix everything right now and spirals if it can’t. I know many of you will probably relate to these cycles!

    I am hanging in there and trying to recognize the anxious thoughts for what they are. I’m trying not to fall into the trap of fighting the thoughts. Finding ways to keep busy helps, but I am having a rough time with it.

  229. Riri Says:

    Hey everyone,
    Does anyone have any problems with concentration. I feel that I can’t concentrate very well since I am so in with what’s going on in my head. I can’t focus that great and when someone is talking to me I can’t focus that great because I my mind is going off telling me OMG you can’t focus what if you’re adhd. I know this is probably another symptom of anxiety and intrusive thoughts. Anxiety is such a bitch.

  230. Matt Says:

    Hey Candie,

    How do you let intrusive thoughts in and out without fighting them? I’ve been trying to just be okay with anything I feel, but I keep having to tell myself “its ok, don’t fight it”, which to me feels like fighting. Is there a good way to practice just allowing everything to be as it is?

    I too have problems with concentration when I’m anxious. I’m in grad school right now, and every test I take feels like I’m failing because I can’t read the questions…but somehow I continue to do well, so even though you feel like you can’t think, you can. It’s just more work in an anxious state.

    I live in Phoenix. How is the fire up north? I heard about it last week, but I didn’t know how bad it’s been up there :/ Hopefully they get it until control soon!

  231. Riri Says:

    I have been having I rough couple of days. My mind is on overdrive. It is throwing anything at me trying to scare me. I am trying so stay strong and go on with my day. Most of the thoughts I can dismiss, but usually the ones about bipolar shout the loudest. Today my mind is convincing me that because I love to joke around that that is bipolar and mania. I know it is ridiculous. But it hits hard. Then my mind wonders maybe well maybe.. It’s horrible. But the funny thing is that even though I have these thoughts of doubting. I still feel but ya I can cope. I can live with these thoughts. It has gotten a bit easier. But sometimes I feel I just need someone to tell me that all this weirdness and uncertainty and symptoms is for sure anxiety. And i know many of you have reassured me that this is anxiety. But as Paul said on his website i say ” but what if”.. sometimes I feel so lost. But still I am better then I was. Even though I have hard times but I know I can cope with it all. I wish I can just stop thinking about anxiety. Day and night. My mind relates it to everything and anything. But I have moments that I forget and boy do I love those moments. Because once I think about anxiety again the anxious imagination comes back. We can all recover. We just have to find the strength within us to just let go… I have this thought that what if I let go and then it turns to be some serious mental illness. Haha. Mind is very imaginative. But then again I know I am in control. Hope all of you are going well. We will get through this.

  232. Bryan Says:


    Again.. bipolar is thought by many experts to simply be another expression of anxiety disorder, or emotional disorders. It features swings from extreme mania to severe depression. The “weirdness” you describe is not bipolar. It’s anxiety, in my opinion.

    More importantly, the only reason the label “bipolar” even matters is doctors tend to medicate differently for that as opposed to “depression.” (etc.) So what if you’re bipolar? It’s treatable. What makes you think it’s any easier to recover from pure anxiety disorder than bipolar?

    You mentioned you have moments where you “forget” about it and it feels great.
    If your condition was some kind of organic, awful disease… could you just “forget about it” and feel better? Of course not.

    You have anxious thoughts and bipolar for you is the same as fear of eating for someone else. (Or like I said, fear of something even more ridiculous.) Our brains can latch onto the most idiotic notions. Trust me, I’ve been there. It’s nonsense.

    I am still in recovery, so I know how hard it is. But, you have to label these thoughts. You still think it’s dangerous to THINK a thought, and as long as you think that… you’ll have fear reactions every time. But once you can label it as just a thought that means nothing and is nothing… you’ll let it go and you won’t be able to frighten yourself even if you try.

  233. Bryan Says:

    Candie… great posts. Always love reading them. :)

  234. Riri Says:

    Bryan thank you..
    Believe me that I know it is ridiculous. And your post makes perfect sense. I just need to keep reminding myself and stop jumping to worst case scenario. It’s hard I know but I know I can do it. Since I have moments of normalcy I should know that this is all in my head. Because once I am busy with something interesting or out with friends these thoughts don’t even come to mind. And if they do I can dismiss very easily. But once I am home alone or bored, my mind goes haywire. I need to remind myself that what ever I think it doesn’t matter. I’m not going crazy. I can think whatever I want . Who ever said what normal thinking was anyways… the thing is I know all of this bbut my anxiety is trying it’s hardest to convince me.
    Thanks again Bryan. I know I sound like a broken record. Anxiety really is the hardest thing I have ever gone through in life. But I can honestly say that feel that it is getting easier. Because I now understand. It’s nice to know I am not the only one going through this. Hopefully I’m time we will all recover.

  235. Danni c Says:

    Thanks candie for the advice and it’s makes so much sense, I’ve got through anxiety before and it have gone for a while but then when I got problem with my ears it knocked my confidence and then I started to go think I had the worst amd worrying loads,I thought I’ve had brain tumours, ms, heart attack, heart disease, pneumonia, oh and thinking I’ve got mental illnesses too as well still have to convince myself I’m ok no matter how much I go to the doctors seems to be my favourite thing to do and I google and google and google all my symptoms and signs every single day and because I do night shifts where have to stay awake and do nothing except think and think and google everything on the iPad about anything health wise depression or anxiety think off and then torment my head all night.. Then I think the night shift is making me depressed?!, first time I’ve asked for help of the doctors because I need to get out what’s in my head, I’m not going on anti depressant but I am doing CBt therapy and also take Paul’s book In fully, just this new side of anxiety is one I’ve never experienced so it’s hard to understand it and accept it when it’s not explained fully.. I mean it’s surreal I do feel anything don’t laugh anymore or smile just numb and empty, it all started with a thought I’d put in to my head ” why are you doing any of this is life.. What’s the point.. You won’t enjoy it” but then I’d be worried if anything happened to me so I do value my life, but even clothe shopping usual makes me happy and watching funny films makes me laugh and singing make me feel my emotion but it doesn’t now, have I worn myself out emotionally and physically? I do get glimpse of myself back when I haven’t been conscious or aware of myself but it doesn’t last very long and I feel like I’m not connected no myself and watching on the outside? Weird sensation, where having conversation I’m aware of myself but not the conversation…. Will I ever get back my enjoyment and happiness and feeling back because I have read some horrible blogs and forums googling all the time and it sent me in a panic then that I might never be myself again, I’ve beaten anxiety before but it was easier to accept before but this stage is so hard I just need someone to say I’ve been through this before and it can be accepted and my old self will come back… Sorry long winded had to get it all out danni xxxx

  236. Danni c Says:

    Oh and this nervous belly is a new symptom I’ve never had but it’s really hard to have a appetite with it hardly eat anything just enough for my energy and it’s horrible as well and going to toilet load sorry for too much information guys lol x

  237. Emma Says:

    Danni, I can sooo relate to you. I’m also 22 and anxiety started 2 years ago too. It went away for a while and the last few months it has been back worse than ever and with a lot if depression. Just like you I don’t really enjoy the things I used to love like shopping and spending time w my girlfriends. I’m trying to learn acceptance but it’s very hard. I also worked night shifts, for 6 months, I had to quit because it was making my anxiety so horrible. I totally relate to you.

    Candie, thank you so much for responding to me. Are you taking any medication to help your recovery? Do you consider yourself recovered? You sound like you have such a good handle on your anxiety. How Lon have you been dealing w it and when did you notice you were making the biggest strides? I’ve been dealing for 2 years and I was almost recovered then in January I experienced a huge setback (strong wave of depression/emptiness) that is still lingering — feels like im going backwards!!!

  238. Karen Says:

    Candie your posts always inspire me. How long did it take you to recover once you started accepting?

    Emma, Racch if you are on facebook have a look at Doreens comment above fo how we can get in touch. I will post Your names as a comment sl you will know its me. We should be able to become friends that way. Thanks Doreen.

  239. Karen Says:

    Emma its the anxiety no more page on facebook with the bird in the blue sky. I posted under Pauls most recent comment about a new book. Great news! Comment number 66.

  240. Bryan Says:

    Riri, you are doing great. Just trust what those who recovered are telling us.
    Keep moving forward. You are in no danger whatsoever.

  241. Lisa E. Says:

    Matt, the fire is much better. 75% contained the last I had heard. I’m in Flagstaff and we finally got some much needed rain. For about an hour so a day, usually in the evening, we get some smoke, but it blows over fairly quickly.

    Does anyone else notice that allergies set off anxiety? I know that’s happening for me.

  242. Emma Says:

    Thanks Karen :) I will check it the Facebook page and add you when I get home from my aunts. Hope everyone is having a nice weekend.


  243. Laurie Ellis Says:

    I haven’t posted on here for many years but wanted to share my story for a few of you in the grips of anxiety.

    I can say I am fully recovered from anxiety and have been for 2 years. That does not mean I am not an anxious person or that I do not live with anxiety every day however it does mean I am in total control of it and I am totally able to live a life along side to it opposed to battling and thrashing along beneath it.

    I have a typical tale of thinking I was fine and bang one day anxiety smashed it’s way into my life. I was a student partying too hard 5 years ago not lookin after myself when one day I woke up in the middle of the night a bit panicky. I left my friends and thought I must be coming down with a cold, head home and you will feel ok in the morning. Haha that didn’t happen. For six months I felt constantly panicked. I felt as though every second of my life was in the dentists waiting room. I was sweaty, shaky and pale. My thoughts raced and blurred against each other. I couldn’t face being alone yet offered such little company to anyone stuck with me. I couldn’t read books or concentrate on films. I couldn’t work out what had happened. I couldn’t even sleep alone. For three months I slept on an air bed in my mums room.

    I battled each day googling my symptoms convinced I was schizophrenic or bipolar. What had happened to me! Where had my confident soul gone? Where was the soul that had taken me to Ibiza alone to work a season and meet new people? Shopping my favourite hobby was too much, I laid crying in the changing rooms couldn’t face the tube. University had to be ignored for a year the commute alone was unbearable. It was taking me slowly like a snake with a mouse, gradually taking every breathe.

    Christmas that year was as bad as could be, parties had to be ignored, alcohol triggered a panic attack and being away from home made me tearful. I spend New Year’s Eve under a blanket crying, terrified of facing a year with my new personality.

    Then my googling led me here to this life saving website. After yet another unsuccessful trip to the GP, the first suggesting it was self inflicted and expected after a trip to IBiza and asking my parents if I was a drug addict, I stumbled upon At Last A life. The title is exactly true and apt At last A break through and eventually a life.

    It wasn’t over night and I had very little faith in the principle in the beginning but within a few weeks of following the simple steps light began to enter my days. I over heard my Mum on the phone say ” It’s been so nice I feel like she is coming back” and that’s exactly how it was. I was coming back to life a little at a time. I wasn’t crazy I had depersonalisation, I wasn’t having a heart attack it was merely adrenaline. Within three months I was able to believe that I was still there and I would be Ok. It was hard, I had to fake happiness and ignore the side effects. ” just let anxiety be there” became a mantra but eventually I started to forget it was there maybe not for the whole night just a bit. Things started to be enjoyable rather that an ordeal. The only perk of anxiety to suppressed appetite started to subside. I was back on the cake not terrified of the nausea. I felt like a whole person even if only for part of the occasion.

    I really can cope and have coped. I am so proud of myself for battling on with this condition, more proud than I have ever been. My strength has surprised me. I have learnt so much about myself and those around me. I am so thankful to those related to me. My favourite memory is of my 18 year brother allowing me to watch ” The Hangover” in his bed because he knew I hated being alone at night or my Grandad making me go out with him every day even if it was just for a walk around the park and buying me jellies because he knew most foods made me queasy. But the pride I have for myself is immense as this is a solitary internalised infliction that has to be battled by ones self and I fought it tooth and nail. To anyone who reads this or is even slightly interested in my boring tale of panic please please read this book and follow every bit of advice. My Gp let me down drastically, my university councillor made me feel like a total failure but this book and website honestly changed my life. It dragged me out of the dark and off my Mothers bedroom floor.

    Sorry for the ramble but I had to share this and thank Paul David. I also had to record this all as a salute to myself.

    Good Luck

  244. Emma Says:

    Karen/Danni/Rachh or anyone else,

    What do you do when you experience feeling “flat” ? I’m staying with my aunt for the weekend and I usually love being around my little cousins and being surrounded by family, but I can’t seem to enjoy anything. My mood is low and flat and it’s quite disheartening.

    I’m also experiencing so much self-doubt, questioning if I can finish my degree, if I will ever be capable of living a happy life — when I project my vision of the future it carries this feeling with it and everything I envision is tainted with doubt and fear.

    :( Emma

  245. rachh Says:

    Have the heart that one day this will make u into a strong and happy person. I woke up today and dont feel depressed just feel well.. Nothing. Those thoughts are future looking remember we want to be in the here and now.

  246. rachh Says:

    Ive liked karens post on fb

  247. Lisa E. Says:


    You’re right about being in the now. I woke up today trying to give myself the same advice. Anxiety either gives me a vague, often non specific worry about the future, or a fear that something I did in that past made me an anxious person. So I go back and forth between spiraling thoughts of What if? Or why? None of those put me in my present. My present is pretty good when I am able to be there.

  248. rachh Says:

    Yeh ive had the feelin of being ‘me’ and its like u dont have to justify yourself think or describe it just is and you just are. You cant describe and when i get these moments i wouldnt want to cus thats it lol. It frustrates me though because i dont know how i get these moments its as though i have a shield around me and nothing bothers me. Anyone who has recovered feel free to input as to whats goin on lol..

  249. Lui Says:

    I just wanted to say thank you! Your post is kind of an eye-opener for me. Today I floated and it felt great, even though my anxious feelings went nuts. I kind of dont care anymore how I am coming across, and guess what, nothing is happening to me.
    I think that’s the right path to go from now on.

  250. Candie Says:

    Danni I too went through all that and I’m fine now. Would imagine strange thoughts like what you said and they would make me feel like I couldn’t enjoy anything. Your trying to hold onto yourself too much. Your trying to enjoy things etc as that thought has scared you. Now and again we all have crappy thoughts like that but we dismiss them. We all feel numb, down, not able to enjoy something now and again. The anxiety sufferer will have this very normal experience and focus on it, google, want to escape it so much that eventually it’s all they think which in turn Is all they feel! Don’t see it as a big hurdle, your fear of experiencing the thoughts and lack of emotion is all that is making them stick. If you totally allow the thought and lack of emotion to be how you are, you will stop analysing and gradually come out of that state. Claire weekes made some audios on this. It’s a very natural state to be in after anxiety, shock, an illness etc so relax into it :)

  251. Karen Says:

    Emma and Danni,my therapist taught me a great tool which I will try share. It really helps me accept feelings by focussing in on them and exploring them. Its called focus shift, you may come up with a more detailed version oxfam you google it.

    Sit and breathe. Focus on what you are feeling and describe or name the feeling. Give the feeling a shape, imagine it as a picture in your head. What does the feeling look like? Open you eyes and refocus your attention on something you can see and describe it t yourself. Close your eyes and explore feelings as before, this time thinking about how that feeling might sound. Open your eyes and focus on sense of hearing. Close eyes and repeat feeling exercise. Open eyes and focus on touching an object and describing how it feels. Close eyes, repeat feeling exercise then return to focus on breathing.

    Word of warning, to start with I was using it to try get rid of feelings, it doesn’t really do that, just helps acceptance. Sometimes I have a different feeling when I refocus on it though. Really hope this helps you ad it makes sense.

  252. Emma Says:

    Karen, thank you for sharing that with us. It reminds me almost of mindfulness techniques which are supposed to be tremendous in developing the ability to accept sensations, especially mental sensations, thoughts anfeelings. Right now, I’m no longer dealing with physical symptoms, but only mental symptoms – anxiety, low moods, feeling flat, feeling sad and depersonalizing a little bit as well. I am trying to practice true acceptance however it can be difficult to not get discouraged by how bizzare I feel sometimes.

  253. Emma Says:

    Candie, how long did recovery take for you once you started practicing acceptance? I read back in your 2009 posts and it seemed you were recovered then as well but perhaps I simply wasn’t looking through enough posts. Just out of curiosity, did you recover with the help of medication? Do you consider yourself fully free from anxiety? And did you experience depression as well? Personally, my symtoms are mostly mental. I have some intrusive thoughts, but even when the thoughts are gone, I just have this feeling of flatness and unease.

    Sorry for asking you so many questions, it’s just really wonderful to be able to hear from someone who is no longer tormented by anxiety.


  254. Emma Says:

    Guys, tonight I don’t feel so well. My anxiety was high and the sensation of depersonalization was amplifying it. Thought after scary thought as much as I tried to float, the panic kept descending upon me. I felt like I was on the verge of a panic attack or meltdown. My thoughts kept going something like “you can’t keep living like this, what’s a life when you feel depressed and anxious all the time, you can’t keep living like this, you should get back on zoloft, how much longer will I be able to live this way, with high anxiety day in and day out until I “do something” about it.” I tried to pay these thoughts no mind but they were so emotionally-charged, I felt despair. The thoughts were relentless and they were pummeled at me like bullets from an automatic weapon. The feeling of despair, fear and pain that ensued was numbing. I’m suffering a lot, my mind keeps telling me I can’t “handle” all this suffering. Sorry again for posting :(

  255. Karen Says:

    Its ok Emma, those are normal anxious thoughts. We all have days, weeks like that and they are like torture. It will pass, keep faith. Try to give in to it. You can handle it, you are hamdling it. What you handled yesterday you can handle today. Just get through an hour at a time.

  256. Emma Says:

    Karen, such wise words — thank you. By the way, I sent you a PM over Facebook on the weekend.

  257. Candie Says:

    Hi Emma I spent a few years no really understanding acceptance and then once it really sank in it was pretty quick. I felt better within days then up and down but it wasnt that important anymore and then one day it clicked that I really had nothing to fear and I’ve been well since.

    You should google the Claire weekes Audios. They are online for free and there is about 6 of them that are very helpful. They explain why you react to the thoughts as you do etc. basically once your sensitised nerves are off on one you are suggestable to everything from the newspapers to your own thoughts as it all is followed by an emotional reaction which is beyond your control. Understanding that was paramount for me as I could never understand why I felt so strongly about every negative thought, scary thought, sad news, an argument with a friend. Basically everything was magnified and I felt for sure that it couldn’t be as simple as anxiety as my mind was racing with thoughts how id never get better, scary intrusive stuff, then strange things about how I think, why I think, who’s the real me.. Is even question if anxiety was my real personality or a disorder. Then next I would think I can’t stop thinking, if I don’t stop this worrying I’d go crazy. I was also very indecisive about everything, which terrified me as I felt like I was losing myself if I couldn’t even decide if I was real or not. Then there was the fear of depression, all the anxious feelings, panic attacks, insomnia, physical stuff to deal with. I had to learn that my sensitised state was going to react to every thought for a while, I had to be willing to let it if it did and not fight them in any way. Very difficult to explain but within time I had an attitude of indifference to my thoughts, feelings. Ooh it’s so difficult to explain but it’s like you created the anxiety monster and instead of listening to it you acknowledge it and don’t run from it but become an outsider. Basically when you accept it you are no longer caught up in it, you float alongside it rather then fighting or running.

  258. Adam Says:

    Candie….thanks for the great response. What you wrote all makes good sense and sounds oh too familiar. One question I have for you about your situation is that you mentioned that you really didnt understand acceptance. If you dont mind, can you explain more about what you mean by that? I know there are a bunch of people on this blog, including myself, who could benefit from a good explanation of what acceptance means exactly by one who has recovered such as yourself. How did you develop that attitude of indifference to your thoughts and feelings? Was it just a matter of time and continuing with it? Thanks Candie….

  259. Lui Says:

    Candie I checked out some of the Claire Weekes stuff and I think it’s great for people like me who don’t know what accepting means/what it is about! Thank you so much! What a great suggestion!

  260. Emma Says:


    Thank you for your wonderful post. I have saved it in my computer and will read it when I need a reminder. I have started acceptance 5 months ago but I can’t honestly say it has been consistent. I know it takes time, but sometimes I just itch for relief and lose patience. This only feeds the cycle of anxiety, depression and self-pitty. I have read some excerpts of Claire Weekes, I will get my hands on a copy and read it. I just feel stuck in this state of low grade depression, flat mood and anxiety – i keep thinking this is as good as it’s going to get for me and I won’t get past this stage. I know this is a false belief. Do you ever get depression and low mood after recovery? I just want to enjoy life again and feel happiness. I know this will take time.

    I believe some of you on the blog are much stronger than I, I seem to always be posting! Wish you all a great evening.


  261. rachh Says:

    Emma you arent less stronger than any of us. I am very low.. I dont work ive been off and on for the past 2 years and its got to the point now where i dont do anything or when i do im very opinionated and judgemental.

    The reason i tend not to post as much on the blog because i really want to make recovery happen.. I spend a lot of time researching mindfulness and different ways to train my mind to meditate as oppose to seeking reassurance so much on here. sometimes i get myself in a confused mess other times i cry so bad its as though i cant get my breath.. Other times i get frustrated and think i cant do this.

    These thoughts are all part and parcel of the sympathetic nervous system. Our mind is on overdrive. When this happens i notice on my body how all my arms start tingling my throat tightens or i clench my teeth. Thats how i can tell these signs are pure and simple anxiety. Its really hard to live like this because it wears us down so bad.

    I definately feel your pain and frustration. We are all in this together to find our peace of mind and when recovery happens i keep the faith that my life will change for the better.

    Feel free to add me on facebook i liked karens post on the anxiety no more facebook page. Thats to anyone on here its nice sometimes to keep in touch with people having similar problems.

    Ps i hope my post Makes sense im fallin asleep lack of concentration and using an iphone lol xx

  262. Madison Says:

    Hi everyone. This message is for Paul or anyone who has fully recovered. Let me first say that any help would be so appreciated. I read Paul’s book and I started to cry because everything he said is exactly how I feel. I finally had hope. But that being said while I feel like I am on the road to recovery I still need some help. So without giving my whole back story, I’ll just skip right to how I’m feeling. So before I started having anxiety a few months ago I was a happy go lucky girl who loved life and was so grateful. I went to church every week and lived life to the fullest. When anxiety hit I questioned everything and now I feel like I don’t believe in anything that I once did. I stopped caring about everyone and everything and I forget what it’s like to feel which is so scary. Let me give a couple examples. I teach and I used to believe in everything I taught and was so excited when kids got it. Now I am not even believing what I’m saying. How can I give students advice when I don’t even know what I believe? Another example, I would bawl my eyes out if a police officer pulled me over or if I was late for work. Now I say, who cares? This is SO not me and makes me sound terrible. All I want to do is feel again. Feel happy, embarrassed, excited, sad, guilty, sorry…etc.

    I have moments where I feel again and that gives me hope, but it’s so short lived that it’s hard to stay hopeful. I want to stop focusing on me and start focusing on everyone else. Has anyone had experience with questioning everything they always believed in and recovered? Any help is so appreciated. Thank you so much.

  263. Emma Says:

    Thanks Rachh, I will send you a fb message like I did Karen. Yes your posts makes total sense and you seem like you’re on the right track to achieving recovery. Keep going!

    Quick question, does anyone ever get anxious sleeps? For me it’s even more than that, I sometimes wake up screaming from my bad dreams I sometime wake up the house. Also, for the last few months if I fall asleep on the couch and someone wakes me up, I scream and flail my arms around a bit like lunatic. I’ve read that people with PTSD get this and that it can be caused by a trauma happening in your life. So now I’m a bit worried that I have undiagnosed and untreated trauma. I think it could be anxiety in my sleep, but I’m not sure. Does anyone have any ideas?


  264. rachh Says:

    Ive had it. I used to wake up in severe shock like my body had been electricuted. Nightmares n all sorts. God i sound like a right know it all like it wasnt that bad but at the time it was horrific.
    Its the effect of a sensitised nervous system and an over active mind. How long have u had anxiety? Your body eventually gets used to this and although i dont wake up feeling refreshed its a bit of a break?

    Do not search anxiety symptoms on googleeee!!!! Arghhh!!
    I read about this woman who had chronic fatigue syndrome and that she cured herself using mindfulness and meditation. I then searched what it was on google and i think something like netdoctor or the nhs website say it is a lifelong condition it can only be treated with medication and basicly she was screwed for the rest of her life!! I used to read stuff like this.. Ibe diagnosed myself with a personality disorder and all sorts but apparently westernised culture puts a label or a blame on anything.

    Take care although medication isnt great i used to take a benzo when i had bad sleeps for a couple of nights and then my body would settle into a better pattern.


  265. Riri Says:

    I think that me searching and googling anxiety is what made me fall deeper into the hole.Once I read about a symptom or thought I stuck forever. I would read about people anxiety and say what if II had this thought. And is would stick. Once I stopped searching for answers I felt I began recovering. I stopped worrying about my anxiety. Now even if I have a strange thought I can dismiss it because I know it is anxiety.
    My question goes out to those who have recovered. Will you eventually start forgetting about anxiety and symptoms. As of now I rarely have any physical symptoms. Even if I do it doesn’t even bother me. What my struggle is even though I don’t fear any of my thoughts. I know it is all nonsense and anxiety. But it seems like I think about anxiety all day everyday. My mind relates anxiety to everything. And I mean everything….
    What my question is will I ever get to a point where I won’t think about anxiety and how I feel all day. I miss thinking about other things in life. I am not waiting to get on with my life because I have already moved on with life with the anxiety by my side. But will I ever be the person I was. I miss my mind

  266. Lui Says:

    I think I had a little breakthrough! I always thought that in order to recover I have to react to all my feelings. So when I feel depressed I have to act depressed, when I feel shy I have to act shy. But now I realized that I actually have to accept the feelings but still speak up or tell my opinion. So when I feel some sort of panic coming up I should still speak slowly, loud and confident withought getting influenced by the way I feel. I think that makes sense right. Also my anxious thoughts seem to lessen.
    Guys does this sound right to you? I need some accurance about this but it feels right! :)

  267. Jenny Lee Says:

    Karen, Emma and Danni I really relate to your posts. I am 25 and had anxiety since 22. Last year I began to see recovery, but this year my Dad got seriously ill and I had a huge setback. It made me worry about health and illness, have paranoid thoughts about food and I have depression and low mood and just feel exhausted all the time.

    Like Danni, I have no appetite and lots of stomach problems and am losing weight rapidly. Every time I try to eat I get stomach cramps, feel dizzy and hot and have to rush to the loo. These physical symptoms are so difficult to accept and not let get to me. Has anyone recovered from similar problems?

  268. Jenny Lee Says:

    … I forgot to mention that i also am tired all the time and by the end of the day I’m so tired, my legs and back ache and my head throbs. Is this still normal anxiety?!

  269. Emma Says:

    Jenny, yes I’m going through the exact same thing. I’ve had anxiety for a few years was doing quite well and now am having a major setback. I’ve had all the symptoms you’re describing. Candie is a name you’ll see pop up who has recovered from similar symptoms. For me the depression is thick, thoughts relentless and anxiety is high – with this overall low mood and depersonalization. Hope you feel better, try to practice Paul’s teachings and read Claire Weeks. Let me know if you would want to get in touch outside of the blog as well.

    Karen, have you received my facebook message from last week by any chance, I hope I got the right Karen! Rachh, I haven’t gotten to check but I will send you one as well. I was reading back older posts from February 2014 and Karen I read one of your posts which describes perfectly how I’m feeling. You mentioned how you had felt so low sometimes that you at the time you felt you should be in the hospital – I feel that way too, I feel like I can’t get a grip lately. My thoughts are constantly about how I’m not going to get better and how I can’t keep going on like this. These thoughts scare me because I fear what would happen if I decided I could no longer live this way. The thoughts are always buzzing like you described in your post from February, coming from every direction. .At work I want to burst into tears and acceptance has been so difficult. I feel so down and strange and almost as though I’m losing my mind. Did this eventually pass for you Karen? I feel the exact same way . Do you remember when you wrote that post? Do you remember what you did to pass that stage, that’s exactly where I am at the moment – it’s so hard. I think my hormones influence this too as I am approaching my period. I feel hopeless and I keep despairing with these thoughts that it’s too much & won’t get better — despite my best efforts to accept it seems I can’t underreact the way that I want to and the way that I’ve done for the last 2 years.


  270. Jenny Lee Says:

    Yes I would love to get in touch direct. How do we do this? Confused!
    I have those exact thoughts you are describing – and everything appears sad and with a grey cloud surrounding it.. I struggle to stay positive during ththese times and feel a wound-like hole in my chest/stomach like a grief feeling. I also have had the ‘what if I have to top my self if it gets so bad’ thought – but this is not real.. because if we did want to, we wouldntbe so scared of it!
    Drift past the thoughts, getting on with your day. Remember that this is emotional depletion (love claire weekes!) which is completely temporary. There are so many beautiful happy moments every day just waiting for us to see them. And we will, with time and patience.

  271. Emma Says:


    Yes the wound-hole, grief and greyness you describe are exactly how I’ve been describing the way I feel – add some anxiety and panic to that and it gets overwhelming. What keeps me going is that I’ve overcome anxiety in the past, but this time around it’s not exactly the same as last — different symptoms and different emotional sensations altogether. The lingering depression is new to me as well.

    If you go to the facebook page for anxietynomore (the one with the eagle in flight) Karen commented Paul’s most recent post. Her comment is #66 and all it says is something like “for Emma & Rachh” … if you “like” it I can send you an inbox message and then you can “unlike it” if you wish. Just a heads up, my facebook name is a little different than the name I go by on here — just to preserve anonymity because Im aware of some people I know who have read Paul’s book and who could potentially be reading the blog. So if you like Karen’s comment, I’ll send you an inbox as soon as I’m home from work, and we can discuss directly at our leisure. Rachh if you see this I will inbox you soon too – haven’t logged on since the weekend.

  272. Jenny Lee Says:

    Thank you, i have liked the comment.
    i feel very different this time around as well. I didn’t have all the stomach problems and the depression didn’t linger for so long either. I don’t know why things change..but I suppose we don’t really need to figure it all out. Just go with it… much much easier said than done!

  273. Charles Says:

    Lui, that sounds great, I think you are on the right track.
    Lui, remember that emotions are straight forward, don’t make a big deal out of them, there is no deep meaning when you feel a certain way, it is not trying to tell you to behave a certain way.
    In terms of “accepting” and “what to do”, you should always do whatever you think is right regardless of how you feel. For a while I made the mistake of believing that my feelings were the most important, like my feelings had magical powers and it was trying to tell me that I am doing something wrong. It was like “if I do this thing or think this thought and it made me feel bad, then it must be a bad thing to do”. It was such non sense.

  274. rachh Says:

    I know its anxiety related but does anyone have a creeky tense body and the worst of it a stiff tongue. Its so friggin annoying any tips and trips to give my poor tongue a rest. It feels like an ironing board inside my mouth:( and my teeth clenching at night.

    I suppose the answer is accept the anxiety and the sumptoms willgo too.

  275. Lui Says:

    Thanks Charles!
    Finally there’s some hope again haha. For a glimpse of a moment I realized as well that my anxiety in unecessarry and how stupid my thoughts seem to be. That is a huge step forward for me.
    Now I have to practice acceptance and letting go which is really hard for me. Will take some time to apply the floating technique cause my mind is so overactive and in fixing mode. With every energy surge I get tense although I know better now and I tend to try to force things.
    Anyway in Germany we say “probieren geht über studieren” which basically means that trying something is better than overdoing something right away.
    Better small steps then falling.

  276. Jenny Lee Says:

    I believe grinding teeth, the tongue thing and general creeky body is just tension. I have all three which come and go. I used to add further tension and stress by worrying it might be a muscle disorder or my tongue swelling up too.. although I am practicing allowing these thoughts. The awkward thing is, you cannot force your tongue (or yourself!) To relax.. Just go with ithe and as stress and tension decreases, so will this symptom.

  277. rachh Says:

    Thanks jenny cant wait to have a bit if respite from this one. Im sure somethong else yucky will follow lol.

  278. Candie Says:

    Hi Emma everybody feels depressed and low sometimes. Those with anxiety are used to watching themselves, they start fearing feeling down so they can’t focus on anything else other then the negative state they are In. I felt like that a lot, a feeling of intense depression then the what it’s would start. What if I get suicidal, what if I never feel happy again etc. I was always avoiding negative feelings and I think we get into this habit as anxiety brings the habit of fearing we are losing control of ourselves. So ya know what I did, I allowed myself to feel down, I re-educated that scared part of myself to flow withy feelings rather then flee from them out of fear they would engulf me. When you learn to live alongside something you naturally let it go and move past the emotion. I felt anxiety taught me to always search for the highs in life and be on guard for the lows. You have to flow through whatever it is that scares you enough times to see that it always passes so that you can eventually lose fear of it coming and let it go. If you grasp too much for the highs in life you will always feel like life isn’t good enough. I honestly believe depression is recovered from exactly the same way as anxiety. Depression\anxiety are a fear of being consumed by the experience so doing everything you can to avoid having it. Those that experience emotions in a more regular manner do do because they aren’t trying to hold onto them self in any way

  279. Emma Says:

    Thank you infinitely Candie, you are a saint. I’m only 22 so I feel particularly vulnerable. You’re right, the reason I recovered the first time I went through this 2 years ago, was because eventually all the odd physical sensations and the fears no longer scared me. They were still there but I no longer feared them and they eventually vanished, I was also on Zoloft however. Now my symptoms are much more mental and emotional. I supposed once I habituate my mind no to fear these sensations this will all eventually fade. Although I must admit, sometimes it’s stronger than me, like you’ve said before I know how I should be reacting but I simply can’t. As you mentioned, the rooted fear is the one that it will never get better or that it will get even worse.

    With that being said, does anyone know the difference between suicidal ideation and just intrusive thoughts? The anxiety can really make me question my intentions. Lately it doesn’t even take the form of “what ifs” but vision of it and it really scares me. The worst thing is when I used to read on other forums and people would talk about how they were suicidal but all would describe similar symptoms to mine (despair etc). I know I could never do it because I don’t have the balls lol… but anxiety really makes me question my intentions and sometimes it even feels like there’s this “urge” to… it’s super awful.

  280. Candie Says:

    Emma it’s fear playing tricks on you. Stay away from forums on suicide. Don’t try to distinguish the difference between what is an anxiety thought and what is real, that is feeding the fear. We are never our thoughts, we are the awareness behind them. The fact your trying so hard to prove you aren’t suicidal proves it is anxiety, i could list lots of reasons I can tell you aren’t but that’s not going to help you! Letting the question go through practicing not answering the fear of suicide and living without an answer is they key to letting it go. Also not all thoughts start with what if, lots of mine seemed like did certain ideas, or where even words etc. you won’t crack this in one day but if I could do it after suffering nearly a decade it is doable for anybody. Don’t think I got all the answers to accept from the off either, I wasnt perfect and it happened in layers so don’t despair. You will be ok again and wonder what all the fuss was about one day, like you can’t indentify with the mindset yet you can remember it with no fear

  281. Matt Says:

    Emma, I have the exact same issue you do! I fear that my despair is going to cause me to be suicidal, and I get intrusive thoughts in certain situations (being around knifes, etc). It really scares me, and it’s hard for me to stop thinking about, and then I get down, etc. That “urge” is the part that always gets me, even though it’s not always there (usually it isn’t). It makes me question if I’m a good person, if I really do care about things, etc.

    I think Candie is right on. Practicing being ok without knowing is the only way to freedom from it. I still need to practice that as well. Its hard, but I’ve noticed feeling at least a little better since NOT searching Google to see if I’m ok, if I’m crazy, what it means that I don’t always feel emotion, etc. I’m trying to control how I feel, which takes energy away from actually feeling good (which is the reason why I don’t feel good!).

    Thanks for the explanation Candie! I’m glad I’m not the only one going through this. We will all come out the other side ok, we just have to keep trying!

  282. lyn Says:

    Hi – I wonder if anyone can relate to this. I have been doing so well just getting on with my life and feeling good. Two weeks ago I was watching a TV programme and there was a very violent scene. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I got this thought of what it would be like to do that to a very special person in my life and ever since that ridiculous thought I just can’t get it out of my mind and that one thought has led to others & every time I see this person it is there. I have had intrusive thoughts before but they went when I carried on regardless of them. Now I keep telling myself that anxiety couldn’t make me think such a thing and my mind is racing!

    I just wonder why, when I wasn’t even feeling anxious, this has happened?


  283. Emma Says:

    Candie, you’re an angel! What an incredibly well articulated comment. I always save your posts because they are always so helpful in advancing in this process of acceptance. Hearing that you’ve come out on the other side of this too gives me loads of courage. When I heal and am on the other side of this, I will help others just like you. Thank you <3

    Matt, I know exactly what you mean. Those thoughts combined with the depression/low mood are my achilles heel! Especially when I despair, lose patience and cannot cope because I fear that I will seek immediate "relief" by doing that. They truly scare the pooh out of me. I don't even feel comfortable saying the word "suicide" lol. You know, this makes me wonder whether the majority of people out there who write about having "thoughts of suicide" are actually simply experiencing intrusive thoughts but just don't know the difference –because unfortunately, not everyone is savvy about the tricks of anxiety/dep.

    Send you all my love xx

  284. Rachh Says:

    Emma I had these about a year ago too. I would get ideas about doing certain things and whether I would just go out one day and just spur of the moment just do it. They scared me so much I couldn’t walk my dogs near my house because I would look up at the branches and thoughts would come with such tremendous force. I had the same about smiling too for some strange reason. Wondering why people smiled were they genuinely happy and thoughts would plague me that I wouldn’t be able to see someone smile without thinking why are they smiling. It is anxiety defo and your suicide ones 100% the horrible thing is no one can quite convince your over active imagination.
    After really learning about anxiety I only get them on odd occasions and hate it because it’s a sign my over active imagination is off on one. I’m far from recovered i feel shit but I know how to now I know the path I need to take I just suppose I’m lazy and sometimes feel so tense I can’t even begin.
    I also want my recovery to be ingrained so that I don’t ever have this again. I want it to be a lifelong thing more of a self discovery.

    I promise you 1,0000,0,0,0,0,0000000,000 that the suicide thoughts are anxiety and not actually wanting.

    Just remember every single person in this world can recover. Will beswicks book is good for what you are describing.

  285. Riri Says:

    Hey everyone,
    So my bipolar thoughts have passed and also the ad had ones. But now I have another problem it seems that I analyse every single thought and ask myself is this a anxious thought or a normal thought .it is so annoying. Every single thought. I dismiss them all. But some tend to stick. For example: just thinking oh its a nice day today. And then immediately my mind questions if that is a normal thought or anxious thought. My mind is questioning and analyzing EVERY SINGLE THOUGHT. …
    Also I have the weirdest thoughts. I notice every single move and then that thought sticks. For example. My hand was itchy and I can hear my thought saying my hand is itchy. But then I’m like what if this thought sticks and sure enough it sticks. And other weird thought about thinking about random body parts. My hands my thighs. It is soo weird. Has anyone gone through this before.

  286. Rachh Says:

    I read somewhere that when under threat in caveman times ‘flighters’ who have these ocd thoughts would have the thought ‘danger’ or ‘run’ and they would come uncontrollably because if they just came with a chance of seeing them before they did in other words control them you would be dead meat. So basically they come with such emotional charge and so quick you cannot stop them.
    Because there isn’t an angry lion that we have just set our eyes upon modern day horrific things pop into our mind instead and because there is no threat anywhere it sh*ts us up because we can’t see why or where they have come from so see ourselves as possibly out of control and it ah signify some sort of truth.

    Balls it is just a bunch of thoughts charged with enough adrenaline to run away from an angry tiger/lion. I don’t know about anyone else but I can’t even run around the block without getting out of breath so I can imagine the amount of adrenaline our body would need to contemplate running from an angry animal like that quickly!!! No wonder the thoughts come so majorly and we have such a reaction.

    The same for depression the only difference is if we were in the situation we would play dead “freeze’.

  287. Candie Says:

    Glad you find my posts useful Emma

    Riri yes I had that! Honestly it’s just adrenaline making you very alert. If it can make you notice the tiniest speck of dust in your vision it can deffo make your thoughts stand out like a sore thumb. I would notice my own speech, movements and then panic I’d never be able to function without self awareness. Don’t despair though, let the self awareness be as it always passes. I have friends who have never had anxiety yet if they are exhausted they report similar feelings.. All normal regardless. Basically anything goes, regardless of if its anxiety.

  288. Emma Says:

    Thanks Rachh, you’re definitely right. It can be hard to convince myself otherwise but like Candie and Matt said, the trick isn’t about convincing but about being okay with the uncertainty of it all. I’ve started taking a low dose of 5-htp supplement — really didn’t want to go back on SSRI’s but have been having a very difficult time coping lately. Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend.

    Emma xo

  289. Rachh Says:

    Emma all I can say from where I am now and what I have come to realise anything you think is your mind anything in the outside world is what your mind has created. There is something other than your mind which is ‘you’. A very normal human being you in there. It is just covered up. It is not a doing thing an ignoring thing or something seen. It is acceptance which is so hard to explain and when us sufferers find so frustrating to find because we crave so much to feel differently. The route to the cure will be discovered it just takes a bit of time sometimes until we realise it’s there:) and can start to work on it.

  290. Matt Says:

    I came to a realization today that even when I think that I’m trying to accept, there are places where I’m still not accepting. The trigger right now that keeps me in a horrible state of mind for hours is being worried about depression. I’m trying to hard to control how I feel on a minute-to-minute basis, and if I don’t laugh like I think think I should, or if I feel down, etc, I start to get anxious and then come the intrusive thoughts and it goes down from there.

    I can see why recovery takes so much time. There are many ways that we aren’t accepting and okaying anxiety that we aren’t aware of. I’ve noticed that by being ok and desensitized to my physical symptom, they have decreased 80%. However, since I’m still scared of my emotions (because of intrusive thoughts, blah blah blah), they still continue to bother me.

    Thanks again Candie for being such a steady/positive voice. I feel like even when I have a super rough day (yesterday), I continue to make discoveries that will eventually aid me in recovery.

    And Emma, hang in there! YOU CAN DO IT!!! :) Just remember that any pain you go through now is actually aiding you in recovery. Plus, when you’re better, think about how the little stresses that bother most people will seem like cake to you :)

  291. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    Hope everyone is doing well.

    I don’t usually ask advice but after a horrible week at work I have decided enough is enough. I work so hard for employers who do nothing but treat the staff with contempt so i have decided I want to move on and get another a job. I know this will be for the best but just wary of changing jobs whilst not recovered, ie making big changes is not always the best thing to do.

    I changed jobs early in 2012 and suffered quite a bad breakdown with anxiety, although looking back I wasn’t looking after myself very well at the time.

    Anyone can chuck some advice my way please?


  292. Bryan Says:

    Hey Mark,

    I think you can surprise yourself with how well you could handle a work change. You have so many skills built up now. If you think the current gig is causing a flow of negative input, I agree with looking elsewhere. Acceptance is the majority of this but so is making good decisions right? Maybe Paul will him in but I don’t think acceptance means staying put and allowing ourselves abuse when we can make a wiser decision.

    Yes. There could be short term bumps but think of the longer term net gain!

    If you have an option, my advice is that you move on.

  293. Emma Says:

    Matt, thank you!

    YOU TOO you can do it! I have the same issue you describe keeping me in the loop, the worries about depression. The thing is, I actually do have low mood and flatness, as well as feeling down and feelings of sadness — I don’t know if I’m actually properly depressed but it does feel like depression and it always makes me worry. I get this feeling of overcast even when the sun is shining, you know? This has been going on for some time, at first it was scaring me very much. But, I’m becoming much better at accepting it now, like Candie has advised me to do in earlier posts. It’s tough, but I’m trying to float through it. Sometimes, I start to despair and I start to feel really awful. I know we can ALL get to the other side, sometimes it’s hard to keep faith, but I will keep floating on. I will posting on the blog until I recover and help the ones who are in my place someday! xo

  294. Dave Says:

    Hi everyone,
    First and formost I want to come here and thank Paul for making such a life saving book. I’ve suffered from anxiey for nearly 7 years and I can say everyday was an up hill battle. I fought and battled just like everyone else did. Did everything wrong mentally and pysically it was exhausting. But there is a way out and all you have to do is believe in all Paul is saying in his book. Once you see the big picture you’ll see anxiety is such an illusion we create. A misunderstanding. We form theres opinions that are not true. But we insist that what were doing is right but in reality it’s not and its causing us to fall in this vicious cycle. Or anxiety loop…….it starts with worries or we have a breakdown-then our body’s respond in a way to protect us- we then view these reactions to something we NEED to get rid of at all cost and the loop start all over again. But see guys if we really see what’s going on, you see that there’s nothing wrong here and our body is only protecting us from all this madness we created in our minds. God made our bodies this way so why are we trying to change what God gave us. God gave us all this gift how else are we going to protect us from ourselves, from our troubles and worries. A protecting mechanism like Paul saids. Just lay back and release all the worries you have again and let go. Feel the pressure lift up and out of our chest and let Gods peace fill you up. God bless

  295. Dave Says:

    No need to worry what doesn’t need worrying. Once you understand this you won’t have to worry again. Just let your symptoms run it’s course and don’t add a single worry again or else your back in the anxiety loop. Remember dont try to change what is completely normal. Everyone is the same with different symptoms but SAME outcome!

  296. Laurie Ellis Says:

    I haven’t posted on here for many years but wanted to share my story for a few of you in the grips of anxiety.

    I can say I am fully recovered from anxiety and have been for 2 years. That does not mean I am not an anxious person or that I do not live with anxiety every day however it does mean I am in total control of it and I am totally able to live a life along side to it opposed to battling and thrashing along beneath it.

    I have a typical tale of thinking I was fine and bang one day anxiety smashed it’s way into my life. I was a student partying too hard 5 years ago not lookin after myself when one day I woke up in the middle of the night a bit panicky. I left my friends and thought I must be coming down with a cold, head home and you will feel ok in the morning. Haha that didn’t happen. For six months I felt constantly panicked. I felt as though every second of my life was in the dentists waiting room. I was sweaty, shaky and pale. My thoughts raced and blurred against each other. I couldn’t face being alone yet offered such little company to anyone stuck with me. I couldn’t read books or concentrate on films. I couldn’t work out what had happened. I couldn’t even sleep alone. For three months I slept on an air bed in my mums room.

    I battled each day googling my symptoms convinced I was schizophrenic or bipolar. What had happened to me! Where had my confident soul gone? Where was the soul that had taken me to Ibiza alone to work a season and meet new people? Shopping my favourite hobby was too much, I laid crying in the changing rooms couldn’t face the tube. University had to be ignored for a year the commute alone was unbearable. It was taking me slowly like a snake with a mouse, gradually taking every breathe.

    Christmas that year was as bad as could be, parties had to be ignored, alcohol triggered a panic attack and being away from home made me tearful. I spend New Year’s Eve under a blanket crying, terrified of facing a year with my new personality.

    Then my googling led me here to this life saving website. After yet another unsuccessful trip to the GP, the first suggesting it was self inflicted and expected after a trip to IBiza and asking my parents if I was a drug addict, I stumbled upon At Last A life. The title is exactly true and apt At last A break through and eventually a life.

    It wasn’t over night and I had very little faith in the principle in the beginning but within a few weeks of following the simple steps light began to enter my days. I over heard my Mum on the phone say ” It’s been so nice I feel like she is coming back” and that’s exactly how it was. I was coming back to life a little at a time. I wasn’t crazy I had depersonalisation, I wasn’t having a heart attack it was merely adrenaline. Within three months I was able to believe that I was still there and I would be Ok. It was hard, I had to fake happiness and ignore the side effects. ” just let anxiety be there” became a mantra but eventually I started to forget it was there maybe not for the whole night just a bit. Things started to be enjoyable rather that an ordeal. The only perk of anxiety to suppressed appetite started to subside. I was back on the cake not terrified of the nausea. I felt like a whole person even if only for part of the occasion.

    I really can cope and have coped. I am so proud of myself for battling on with this condition, more proud than I have ever been. My strength has surprised me. I have learnt so much about myself and those around me. I am so thankful to those related to me. My favourite memory is of my 18 year brother allowing me to watch ” The Hangover” in his bed because he knew I hated being alone at night or my Grandad making me go out with him every day even if it was just for a walk around the park and buying me jellies because he knew most foods made me queasy. But the pride I have for myself is immense as this is a solitary internalised infliction that has to be battled by ones self and I fought it tooth and nail. To anyone who reads this or is even slightly interested in my boring tale of panic please please read this book and follow every bit of advice. My Gp let me down drastically, my university councillor made me feel like a total failure but this book and website honestly changed my life. It dragged me out of the dark and off my Mothers bedroom floor.

    Sorry for the ramble but I had to share this and thank Paul David. I also had to record this all as a salute to myself.

    Good Luck

  297. Bryan Says:

    Rich (mod)

    How are you doing?? Just thought of you. Been a while since we have heard. Hope no news is good news :)

  298. Emma Says:

    How was everyone’s weekend?

    Mine was pretty rough. I was feeling low mood and of course panic ensued. I despaired a lot this weekend and envisioned my future dimmed by the darkness of depression. I would trade my depression and low mood/sadness for anxiety any day! I’m accepting the sensation, little by little, but it’s so hard when I start to convince myself that I’m going to be on of those people who is depressed forever, that I won’t be able to have children and take care of a family because I will be low and house-bound with no motivation. My friend was throwing her birthday party this weekend but I was in no shape to go out, I was in and out of mini panic attacks about being depressed all day. I wept a lot and was really in a hole. I prayed Right now, it has lifted a bit thank heavens. It’s always off and on, but I’m happy for this moment of relief, as fleeting as it may be.

  299. Yolande Says:

    Hi mark R,

    I am in the same boat as you are ! I quit my stressful job without even having a new job lined up cos i cant take the stress anymore. It’s waht caused my anxiety to return – i admit i worried too much and feared too much abt whether i cud do a tast and without even realising that i was hurting myself.

    when the anxiety symptoms came back, i was oh great. i did it again. now i am thinking of looking for a job that is less stressful but you have no idea how hard it is to look for such a job!

    i also worry like you if i can handle a new environment and job.

    i am thinking of taking a month or 2 to let my body and mind have some sort of rest while looking out for jobs at the same time.

    there comes a point in time when we shd continue to live and one way is to look for a new job and start over. change might be good.

    let me have your thoughts on what you think.

    Take care

  300. Emma Says:

    I think it could be a good thing for you to have some down time right now and to take your time with your job search. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself and especially, be gentle with yourself as Claire a Weekes says. I know sometimes it can seem a bit daunting to be home not working and not in a routine — I always fear that if I’m not in a proper weekly routine I will derail I to anxiety and depression, but the truth is you can create a routine even at home. Wake up, eat breakfast, go for a walk, read a book, etc. Although it’s important to continue on living a regular life with anxiety by our sides, it’s also important not to push ourselves too hard and to be gentle with ourselves. If your job is too stressful, a change of environment can help. Of course starting a new job can be stressful in itself but it may be a valuable and beneficial investment once you get over the initial humo. But like I said, be gentle with yourself and if you want to take some down time between jobs allow yourself to unwind and focus on your inner peace (read, write, meditate etc)!

    Emma xx

  301. Emma Says:

    I keep getting this feeling like everything has lost its meaning and purpose in life. School, plans, aspirations, like life is all a big nothing. This feeling really makes me feel uneasy. Can anyone relate? Brings me to the brink of tears…

  302. Candie Says:

    Those worrying about stressful jobs. I have two kids and at first they really madey anxiety worse, but then I realised I was always worrying if they was and that put a lot of stress on me. In the end I changed my attitude to stress and stopped caring how it impacted my anxiety and I felt able to cope :)

  303. Mark R Says:


    It’s not a stressful job as such, its just made very difficult by the attitudes of the people that run the place. Nothing I do (or anyone else for that matter) is ever good enough. I am an accountant and my files are marked on a percentage basis. My scores are regularly above 90% so I know I am putting the effort in.

    I would like a different environment to work in as it is very draining so that’s what I’m going to aim for.


    Futility is part and parcel of all this. You just have to keep plugging away and it gets easier, I promise. As you make progress you will care more about your life than anxiety.


  304. Matt Says:


    Totally normal. I feel like that sometimes too, and it drives me nuts. Anxiety takes a lot out of you, and you can feel some lack of emotion (see Paul’s list of anxiety symptoms). On top of that, it sounds like you may be anxious about that.

    I’m going through the same thing right now. I keep reminding myself that whatever I feel is ok. Nothing bad will happen because of feelings. Just keep plugging away, and one day this will all seem like a big joke :)

  305. Wendy Says:


    I haven’t been on the blog for a few months I think. After my anxiety seemed to get better last year it got worse and worse the last months. I felt so depressed and numb. At times I just wanted to cry out, but I could ‘t. I’ve read the whole blog and the book and I already gained so much knowledge about anxiety but I still struggle with my worst fear: the fear of my own existence. Sometimes I think like: wow, i’m made of blood and skin and live on this planet that is surrounded with darkness..that scares me to hell at times and really seems to be my last fear! Candie, you wrote that you also had these thoughts about your existence, so could you maybe give me some advice on how to deal with them? I could laugh away nearly all thoughts but these ones seem to be worse and I just can not accept them!thanks, Wendy:)

  306. Lui Says:

    Hey guys!
    I have had finally some progress the last week and I am VERY happy about it. I socialize more and people even noticed!
    My main problem is that I am taking my fear for real which is not good I know.
    As much as people write its just your nervous system playing tricks on you I still can’t believe it. I have no problem at all with the derealization and all the other physical symptoms but I am so deeply convinced that people will hate me and I’ll be an outsider when I let of the tense hold and let the feelings come that even the thought of not putting up an act brings intense panic and tons of adrenaline.
    I try not to be too hard on myself. I mean I have this thought pattern about social situtation since I am a little kid, and it’s hard to find the way out when being so deeply stuck in a habit for my whole life. I have never lived without anxiey.
    I look at myself and think about all the dreams I have and tell myself:fuck everything! if you want to achieve anything and be happy you have to face your fear! But then I withdraw form the feelings in the next social situation. It’s even so bad that I fear my own family.
    I am not depressed or anything I just thik it’s about time to face this fear and I have the hope that I can do it! :)
    I just had to write this down to make space for some positive feelings. Hope everyone is doing fine!

  307. Karen Says:

    Bleugh …. all gone a bit pear shaped and I don’t understand why. Sleep gone again and I have definitely slipped. I have been having some good days lately, which is progress.
    These recovery stories are brilliant but I can’t understand why it is not working for me. I take my anxiety everywhere, do everything and try to accept. However I don’t like it and would love it to go away. I just can’t imagine being ok with it here and ignoring it. I can’t seem to get a handle on observing all thoughts wihout getting involved. Some I can, others I just can’t. Any advice? Also I know I have asked before but didn’t get a reply …..What do I do with checking in on my anxiety? Do I just let myself do it or try to stop it? Help, I don’t want to fall into that hole again. Feeling frustrated and sad. X

  308. Lui Says:

    I dont want to spam but I just got diagnosed with Polyscytic ovary syndrome by my gynecologist. Means that I have too much hormones like testosteron in my body and now I have to take the pill the rest of my life to regulate this and that I have the chance to get babies.
    I am now wondering what this might mean for my axiety??? Is this the reason for it in the first place? Can I actually do something about anxiety with such a hormonal disorder? I mean anxiety is cuase by an imabalance of hormones…Oh man that’s raelly confusing.

  309. Lui Says:

    My anxiety is kicking in ugh. I was doing so good this last week…

  310. lynda devon Says:

    hello moderator – honestly I am not stalking you! I am wondering why my posts are not being put on here. I have posted in the past without any problem. I know you finally put the first one on dated 6 June but yesterday I posted another comment but realised it wasn’t the one I really wanted so I sent a 2nd one asking for it to be put on instead. I dont understand why people who appear on here everyday and who posted long after I did are appearing and i’m not? My first post is so high up that no-one is going to read it now. If you can’t sort this out for me I won’t bother sending anything else.


  311. Emma Says:

    Karen, I’m so sorry to hear you’re not feeling well. I read your message on facebook before I left the house and now cannot get on facebook to respond as they block it on the computers at my work. You sound just like me, sleep gone and always getting involved with the thoughts and feelings that come to me, especially at work. I was thinking the same thing the other day, I try not to give the thoughts/feelings importance or power but they feel sooo important and soo powerful. I keep seeming to ask myself “if thoughts and feelings aren’t important and I shouldn’t give them power, then why should ‘happy’ and ‘good’ feelings matter…why should anything matter!” and I put myself in a crap hole. I find it really hard to “float” through the thoughts and feelings too, and would also love some insight from anyone. Karen, do you still experience sadness and low mood? I struggle with it immensely, I have low motivation, low mood, feel very sad and am not excited about life or anything – I guess depression is the word but I hate to use it. And this is all sprinkled, of course, with the anxious feelings – but the down feelings are stronger.

  312. Emma Says:

    Lui, I definitely believe that hormones play a huge role in anxiety. For me, the first half of my cycle is quite alright anxiety and depression-wise, but right after I ovulate I go down down down until the end of my period. It starts with feeling very sad, feeling like I always want to cry, feeling empty and down and then anxiety sets in as well. It’s very difficult, especially because I have a long luteal phase so it feels like it lasts forever. I get a bit of relief after my period ends (sorry boys) , but still have the underlying anxiety regardless of the time of month.

  313. Lui Says:

    Hey Emma thanks for responding! :)
    I think so too. Maybe the pill will help a little with regulating the hormonal stuff and even with anxiety! Well I got called and they have to take my blood again and check it because something seems to be not quiet alright but I am actually pretty calm about it!

  314. Chrissy Says:

    Been using Paul’s method for a bit now. It works and only method that worked for me. I am still a work in progress. However got a question for the seasoned veterans here :-). My anxiety and panic have lessened. I have handled the disturbing thoughts better. Floating and allowing them without beating my self up, or over analyzing. Really not giving them the attention they crave. Which is difficult as its a habit however pratice and time and patience is key. However I am at a stage where I feel a bit flat. Depressed almost like ok so imam not full of anxiety all the time so how do I think? How do I feel? Perhaps this is because I suffered for ten years? I am applying Paul’s method to this feeling. Just curious If anyone else has been at this stage. Also want to thank Paul for his book. Life saver. And everyone keep at it. Relax, float, it’s just thoughts and feelings not going to harm you. Pay them no mind stop being so serious

  315. Emma Says:


    I too am at this stage – sort of. The flatness for me is accompanied by feelings of sadness too and dips into “lows” (low moods). It’s tricky because underneath all the anxiety when it lifts, there’s this layer of depression-like feelings (flatness, sadness, feeling really low and down). Did you experience the depression side of things? For me it’s like a “greyness” – Scarlett in older posts called it “grey days” when you just feel low, flat or down – feeling like the skies were overcast when the sun is shinning. I get this ALL the time and like I said, I often dip into lower moods, feeling really down and sad for no reason and with little desire to get out and do much. Hoping this will pass for me, as well as for you, you sound like you have a great handle on it already though. In older posts (November 2008) Scarlet mentioned it was the last symptom to go for her. Wish you the best xx

  316. Bryan Says:


    What you describe is a totally normal phase of recovery. Claire Weekes refers to it as “depletion,” sometimes inaccurately referred to as depression.
    Totally expected and common.

  317. Madison Says:

    Hi everyone.

    So I am new to this forum and posted this message earlier but it did not get moderated until today.

    This message is for Paul or anyone who has fully recovered. Let me first say that any help would be so appreciated. I read Paul’s book and I started to cry because everything he said is exactly how I feel. I finally had hope. But that being said while I feel like I am on the road to recovery I still need some help. So without giving my whole back story, I’ll just skip right to how I’m feeling. So before I started having anxiety a few months ago I was a happy go lucky girl who loved life and was so grateful. I went to church every week and lived life to the fullest. When anxiety hit I questioned everything and now I feel like my mind keeps telling me that I don’t believe in anything that I once did. I stopped caring about everyone and everything and I forget what it’s like to feel which is so scary. Let me give a couple examples. I teach and I used to believe in everything I taught and was so excited when kids got it. Now I am not even believing what I’m saying. How can I give students advice when I don’t even know what I believe? Another example, I would bawl my eyes out if a police officer pulled me over or if I was late for work. Now I say, who cares? I still go to work but I’m not even productive. I feel like I don’t have a purpose to my day, I just go through the motions. This is SO not me and makes me sound terrible. All I want to do is feel again. Feel happy, embarrassed, excited, sad, guilty, sorry…etc. I feel like the real me is inside screaming, YES YOU DO BELIEVE, THIS WORLD HAS GREAT THINGS TO OFFER. And then the doubt creeps in and takes over. It is so frustrating and brings me to tears. I hate that I can’t look at someone and not feel anything. I hate that I can’t see the world as a beautiful place.

    I have moments where I feel and believe again and that gives me hope and relief, but it’s so short lived that it’s hard to stay hopeful. I want to stop focusing on me and start focusing on everyone else. Has anyone had experience with questioning everything they always believed in and recovered? Any help is so appreciated. Thank you so much.

  318. Karen Says:

    Setbacks. Everytime I really feel I am making good progress, I seem to end up back at square one. So frustrating both for me and my family. Do you ever stop having setbacks? Any advice on them?

  319. Helen Says:

    Hi Madison,

    What is happening to you now, will go, I promise. Your brain is so tired at the moment and simply can’t cope with high/low emotions. At the moment, you are just existing but you are doing the right thing, you are still living, you are going to work and you are engaging in the outside world. A lot of people, when they feel like you do, decide to withdraw from the world in the belief that waiting to get better before engaging in the world again is the right thing to do.
    Carry on going about your life and don’t ask questions about what is happening, all you need to know is that it will go. The glimpses of recovery and relief that you are currently getting will gradually get longer and longer and the world will become colourful again. Don’t be impatient, have trust in yourself, keep doing what you need to do each day, go to work, see friends, make dinner; whatever but do not let how you are feeling stop you.
    When you have recovered, you will see even more beauty in things that you didn’t see before, you will learn so much about yourself and everything around you.
    I went through the exact same thing as you and never thought I could recover but I did and i wouldn’t change what happened to me for anything.

    All the best

  320. Chrissy Says:

    Thanks bryan. I needed reassurance

    Hi Madison. Agree with helen. World seems different to you now because you are locked into your mind, focusing inward and anxiety gives you negative thoughts that you latch onto and question over And over again. Living in your head. Then you get stuck on how you feel or a thought. Then fight it and wish it away. If this sounds familiar then use Paul’s advice. It works. I’ve been were you are. Not a good place but don’t get can recover

  321. Riri Says:

    Hey everyone,
    I know I might sound like a broken record but I am in need of some advice. I had been struggling with the thoughts of being bipolar and they had eased for a while. I was doing fine until last night. I was watching TV and suddenly I got this fleeting feeling. It felt like a feeling of exitment and nervouseness at the same time. It was fleeting. And then I began wondering what this feeling was and my mind keeps telling me it bipolar. I dismissed it but it hit hard.
    So at night I was sleeping, and then I heard something like a knock on the door. I thought maybe it was my daughter. When I woke up I asked my daughter if she knocked on the door and she said no. Now I am convinced I am heading things. But I also woke up and it was raining. So I am wondering if it was the rain making noises or me imagining things. I swear I feel. Am going crazy.
    Also lately I have been having this feeling that I can’t describe it is so weird. I don’t know how to explain the feeling but I feel something is not right. Then my mind goes off trying to figure out what the feeling is.
    Then all day today ANY thought I have my mind tells e why did you think that. Is this a normal tohoight. I am scared I am slowly being crazy.
    My mind has been throwing weird crazy thoughts at me all day. Then I wonder if its normal. I’m going in circles. I feel so lost.

  322. Lisa E. Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I am getting over my setback. Fortunately, I’m pretty resilient as are the rest of you. I’ve been struggling with insomnia a few times this month and that’s new with me. I know it’s pointless to figure out what causes what, but I didn’t sleep at all last night, except for maybe an hour and I got anxious about that fact. I was over-breathing and my thoughts were out of control at a certain point, but that was after trying to sleep for several hours in a pretty non-anxious way. I even took a benzo, which I never do, to see if maybe it would help me sleep. Although it did calm me a bit and helped me to get my breathing back on track eventually, it didn’t really help me sleep, it just made me extra sleepy. Looking back, I did several things that probably contributed to the insomnia including having a pretty strenuous day physically with a long, hot hike. Then I at a pretty big meal late. On top of that I am staying away from home all this week at a work trip at a hotel, so I’m away from what is normal for me when it comes to sleeping. I know these things can make sleep tricky. Half of me thinks that the insomnia had little to do with anxiety; it was just my reaction to it that was the anxiety. It followed about 6 days of successful acceptance/ignoring of brief anxious feelings. Is insomnia something that the rest of you struggle with? One thing that I’ve always really enjoyed is sleeping and struggling with it is new for me.

  323. Lucy Says:

    Hey Emma, you sound so similar to me! I definitely am not what I would class as recovered, there are still bad days in with the good, but let me just say this won’t last forever. Anxiety runs with the fear that you give it, my mistake was adding so much unnecessary anxiety to the anxiety I was already experiencing, didn’t help at all. I would say there is no “wrong” way to react to anxiety because it’s all natural, but there are definitely ways to face it and then slowly strip away the fear of it all. Name any thought, I have had it, from the completely silly to completely horrific, it would be easier for me to list physical symptoms I HAVEN’T experienced rather than have. But I work part time, I am a mother and I am in a relationship where I actually see a future. This is so much more than I thought possible in the darkest days where everything seemed like nothing! I still don’t always fully get acceptance, and I still let the fear get to me first sometimes more than it should. I am only 24 and although anxiety can affect people of any age from any walk of life, I felt extra pressure being young to be out there enjoying life like other people my age. It’s entirely possible to :) I have had many setbacks, a few weeks ago probably one of the worst panic attacks since all this started for me. Takes a while to come back down from one but so what? I definitely didn’t like it but I’m still here and okay! It’s all about attitude, but the attitude takes practice. No one recovers over night. You are definitely no weaker than anybody else, I know it makes you feel like nothing but really we are all a lot stronger than we give ourselves credit for!

  324. Bryan Says:


    Check out Paul’s anxiety site for a section on setbacks. He covers them there.

    He has also talked about doing a “fear of setback” article and many of us are hoping he will at some point soon.

  325. Candie Says:

    Madison anxiety does that. It makes you question everything that means so much to you. I would question if I loved someone, liked my home, my life, if I cared etc. it’s just nonsense and an over tired mind it’s not real if it was you would just go with it and quit your job etc, let it all seem not important. That’s what I did, as I knew deep down the real me was the part of me wanting to feel so much but the real me was also trying to force these feelings as it was scared of been stuck in my numb depleted state. If you let go of how you feel you will gradually become you again, I did and so many other

  326. Karen Says:

    Thanks Bryan, I will look forward to his fear of setback post. I have come out of them before and will again, but its hard not to feel defeated when the intrusive thoughts begin again after being gone. Candie I dream of the day I finally am able to do acceptance like you. Its awesome x

  327. Jenny Lee Says:

    Thank you for your fantastic comment that was to Emma but also spoke to me so much. And this is really what I needed.

    I wonder if anyone could shed some light. I’m having a problem with negativity. Everything feels negative – my moods, feelings and thoughts are all v negative. I learned from previous CBT that negative thoughts can create negative feelings… so therefore my natural instinct is to replace these thoughts with positive ones, or try to react positively to the thoughts. But this also feels like I am fighting a feeling. It has become quite a habit to get into an automatic argument with my negative thoughts. i.e.
    ‘I’m getting worse!’
    – ‘no it’s fine, stop worrying’
    ‘but I never used to be scared of eating this particular food’
    – ‘but it’s just anxiety’
    ‘but i’ll never recover if I’m scared of everything’ – etc etc
    I am so confused! Probably reading into it far too much. But could anyone show me where I’m going wrong. I feel so stuck!

  328. Jenny Lee Says:

    Sorry I meant Lucy, not Madison! Goodness I’m such a wally!

  329. Kat Says:

    I have a question for you as a lot of what you have written about has also happened to me. I was well on my way to recovery last summer and suddenly I got hit with anxiety again so hard. This time it wasn’t the normal fears of hurting oneself/others or going crazy, etc. But worries about who I am, what I want out of life, if nursing is the right major etc. it sounds silly but these worries became just as debilitating as my old ones. I became so indecisive because I feel like I can’t tell what’s my true feelings and what’s anxiety. It hit me so hard because I didn’t know how to deal with these new worries, because they feel so real. I think about the future and I wonder how ill ever know who I truly am and why I can’t follow my heart like everyone says to do. If you have any insight as to what may help I would appreciate it. I still carry on with my life, travel, work, hang out with friends but inside I feel like I’m lost. It’s not all bad, and I still have fun but it is still very hard to deal with and the past few months I have felt myself getting into negative thinking and always looking at others with jealousy. This isn’t who I want to be and I know it will not serve me in life to think this way. Any advice, or even words of encouragement would be appreciated. Thanks :) wishing everyone the best always.

  330. Sam Says:

    Lucy I’m 21 and can completely relate to feeling like you have to be enjoying life. I feel like anxiety is holding me back to because I’m scared to do things but I’m not mentally capable of doing them whilist anxious. I’m constantly in my head even when I try to get on with life I’ll find myself ruminating about everything. After doing that like 29 times I get frustrated and that makes it worse. For example, I’ll be out with my mates. I try and get on with the night and I spend most the time trying to fix it. I stop carry on then find my self trying to change myself into a confident person who has no ‘social anxiety’. I have social anxiety yet people tell me they don’t even notice. I want to do a ski season at the end of this year yet I haven’t got the mental concentration needed to host a chalet. And the last thing if wamt is to crumble under the pressure. I’m at a stage now where I’ve sort so much time worrying that I believe I’ve messed up my brain chemistry to the point of no return. It doesn’t feel as simple as just getting on with your day as I feel like that ismt mentally possible. If any of can you anything I may be overlooking if much appreciate their insight. I suppose if I do crumble under the pressure and can say I done it.

  331. Riri Says:

    Hey all
    I can say today that I am experiencing a setback. I just can’t shake the thought of this not being anxiety off. My mind is trying to convince me that this is some other mental illness. I feel this has been the hardest thought yet. I love to decorate and be crafty so now every time I have a creative thought my mind tells me I’m bipolar. I do whatever I want anyways but sometimes I feel so confused and lost. Does anyone know what I’m talking about. It would help to know I’m not the only one.
    Also ever time I have any thought I sit and analyse it to death. Is this an anxious thought. Is this a normal thought. Is this a bipolar thought. Is it normal to think this way. My mind just goes on and on. Rambling and questioning and worrying. I know I have gotten better. I can actually live my life whilst all these thoughts. But they are seriously weighing me down. Any advice. Sorry in advance if I sound like a broken record. I just have no one else to vent out to.

  332. Madison Says:

    Helen, Chrissy, and Candie,

    Thank you so much for your help. I trust that I will have a full recovery and it’s through your personal recoveries and inspiring words that makes me feel hopeful.

    Thank God there are people like you to help.

  333. Emma Says:

    Hi Riri,

    I have the bipolar thoughts as well. I had a major freak out a few weeks ago because I was convinced I was bipolar. I went from feeling very low to wanting to go clothes shopping, wanting to do myself up all pretty and felt generally very happy — I immediately started thinking I was bipolar. It can be very hard for me to shake this thought. I even go as far as to trace back times that I may have been “manic” or “hypomanic” and become convinced this is all bipolar disorder and not anxiety, especially because I also experience “lows” with depression. Trust me, you’re not bipolar, if you were bipolar someone around you would have noticed. There are also very strong feelings of anger and rage that can be associated with bipolarity. But what you have to do is ACCEPT the possibility that you are bipolar. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but your obsessive thought will not dismiss you until you say “fine, if I’m bipolar then I will deal with that and it will be okay.” It’s the uncertainty about your mental state that’s keeping you in the loop — accept the fact that you could be bipolar. The acceptance isn’t toward the thoughts coming at you but instead, cultivate acceptance in the fact that you could be bipolar — be OKAY with it. That’s how I overcame these thoughts. Hope you feel better xx

  334. Riri Says:

    Thank you. You described how I feel so well. My mind keeps looking back to times looking for signs of mania or depression. Also when I have creative thoughts I ask myself is this mania. I sometimes ask myself do I feel euphoric. It is ridiculous. I guess I just need to accept. I was doing great and my thoughts were almost gone. Then a couple of nights ago I got fleeting sensation of excitement mixed with anxiety. My mind automatically started questioning this feeling and tried to convince me it was mania. I know that sounds crazy. But I guess that is how anxiety works… and since that night my mind has been attacking me with bipolar thoughts. Even when I laugh and joke my mind is telling is this a manic episode. Wow its driving me crazy. It’s as though I am waiting to hear voices and things and hallucinate. I feel I am slowly loosing my mind. Today I had the thought OK I know for sure I have anxiety but what if I also have bipolar. Could I handle both. I swear it’s torture. But when I am busy with something important I can dismiss and forget all these thoughts. It is just when I am alone.
    I get so frustrated that I feel irritable. And the cycle goes on. From one symptom to another. The thing is in the back of my head I know that even when I got depressed, it was never that low. Ya sure I would feel down but not to the point I hated life or wanted out. Just blue.
    Thanks so much for the support Emma. :)

  335. Riri Says:

    I also have this new weird sensation. I have no clue how to describe it. It is as weird feeling and then I get startled when I feel it. Then mind starts going off. What is that feeling it is so weird. Maybe this isn’t anxiety. Ah I feel so lost.
    I can definitely say that I have a fear of mental illness. Everyone I hear something about mental illness of any mind goes off telling me what if that’s me. And my body gets all tense.

  336. Lucy Says:

    Riri/Emma, that thought process is completely normal. I obsessed over schizophreia for so long, analysed every thought, noises, everything! Silly things like when you rub your eyes for so long you see colours on the inside of your eyelids… I used to question if that was some kind of hallucination! If I was, then how would I ever be able to live life, what if I was a risk to myself or anyone else? It goes on and on. Every thought feeds a new one when it scares the heck out of you. Doesn’t matter what mental illness you’re focused on the thoughts all need to be treated the same way. So what if you go crazy, so what if you are bipolar etc, hard as it sounds you need to become comfortable in a sense with that thought for it to shut up. When it doesn’t bother you as much it can’t get the same reaction anymore. I still get these thoughts sometimes but I know now obsessing doesn’t change them. Just let them hang around and see what happens… Nothing. I think you described it really well Emma :)

    Sam, the sentence “I spend most of the time trying to fix it” says a lot! You don’t need to try and fix it, there is nothing that needs fixing, anxiety is a completely normal emotion just let it be there. I completely understand getting caught up in your own head, then not feeling like you are even in the moment at all because you are just so wrapped up in your own thoughts, but if that’s how you are for now then that’s how you are. Don’t obsess over it. Every human has that “inner voice” that just sometimes ends up like a running commentary of situations and how they are going and how it would be better if this, or that. If you want to do a ski season then do a ski season! If there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s that giving into this and missing out on things you want because of anxiety, definitely won’t improve it. Yes it may be a little harder for you, but the thought after of “I didn’t do it because I was anxious” will only fuel similar future situations.

  337. Karen Says:

    I really need help. I just can’t go back to work …. I have been off for nearly a year and every time I try go back I spiral down … can’t eat, sleep, stuck in my head, constant intrusive thoughts, and don’t want to be here. I have tried to push through it many times but end up so I can’t hardly function. I am worried sick about money if I can’t get back. Work caused this so I know that’s why. Problem is I suspect I would feel like this about all jobs. I am not lazy, I want to be able to do this but can’t switch my brain to positive mode. Maybe my brain is telling me its time to move on from this job and I would accept that if I didn’t think I would be the same about any work. Help please. I have worked through so much but this stops me every time. I am a fighter and I am a determined person but this has got me. I really don’t think I can do it anymore. Please reply someone.

  338. Karen Says:

    Does everyone else manage to work. I really wish when this started, I had carried on working. What a mess.

  339. Charlotte Says:

    Hi Karen

    Yes I have been through the same as you, I came back to work and am still here! I think we have had a few posts before ? I have a young family and a stressful job and have had anxiety on and off for a few years and had a really bad time last year and took 6 weeks off.

    Would u like me to email u ? Have u liked any of the fb posts so I can find you ?

  340. Chrissy Says:

    Jumping from one symptom to the next one thought to the next is normal anxiety. Regardless of what your thought or feeling is its all to be treated the same WITH ACCEPTANCE. Lucy hit it on the head.

    Accept the thoughts and feelings regardless of what they are. You will not get rid of them however they will have less and less of a grip on you. Your body will learn that your no longer scared or anxious or depressed by the thought. Let your body do its job. Believe in yourself.

  341. Lisa E. Says:

    Hi Karen,

    Hang in there. You and I are having some similar thoughts related to work. Work has contributed to my recent setback. I had lots and lots of work stress for about three months. It’s hard to ever call stress healthy, but for three months it was mostly stress without anxiety, which I consider the healthier kind. My work environment, especially at the level just above me can sometimes be hostile, irrational, and downright mean. I supervise people who I try my best to shield from that. But because I struggled with anxiety before, I would find myself occasionally worrying that it would change to anxiety. I was pretty good with just letting those thoughts be there. But things reached a tipping point where my eating patterns changed and I was probably drinking a little too much (two beers a night, so not really to excess). But that coupled with some messed up sleep, too much thinking about work when I wasn’t working, etc. allowed anxiety to squeeze it’s way back in. It’s pattern is strange this time and it’s coupled with a couple real (but minor) health issues that my mind is obsessing over. I am finding healthier ways to handle work. I’m fortunate enough to have a job where I soon have a six week break. Even though I have been successful with handling work without totally freaking out in the past few weeks, my mind is already thinking of how things will all start up again after the break. The thought that I am trying to ignore and just be there are things like what if I can’t go back to work, what if I can’t earn money. These thoughts are really silly. I could find another job if I really wanted to. But I actually like my job! There are good things about it. It pays pretty well. I get to help a population of people who I really care about. The job gives me a lot of independent time where I can follow my own schedule – a good situation for someone who sometimes has anxiety.

    So Karen, we are both fighters. We can know that and we can fight the real battles when we need too. It’s the anxiety that we can’t fight. I know those things can be hard to separate.

  342. Lisa Says:

    Hi im wondering if anybody could help me with some advice, i managed to get past what ifs etc and was doing so well no brain chatter etc and mind felt clear but few days later all of sudden everything i look at or do it repeats to me like chair, tv and walking, eating etc etc EVERY single thing its really irritaring and i dont know what to do i think its now a habit

    Thank you lisa x

  343. Emma Says:

    Karen, it will be okay. You must be gentle with yourself, you’re putting so much pressure on yourself about getting back to work, what you should or shouldn’t be doing, etc. Claire Weekes says that you need to slow down your pace when you’re going through anxiety. I know the blog encourages us to go about our lives, but we absolutely musn’t confuse this with overdoing ourselves and putting unhealthy pressure on ourselves. If you’re not ready to go back to work then respect how you feel. Acceptance isn’t about NOT CARING how you feel but about RESPECTING how you are feel, acknowledge your emotions and respect the fact that you’re not quite ready to get back to work. Don’t take this as a sign of defeat, Karen. You are on your way to recovery and it will take time and baby steps. Can you go back to work part-time instead of full-time? I think this could be very beneficial for you as it will allow you to work a bit but also not be under the pressure of full-time work. Have faith, you will come out on the other side of this. You’re just experiencing a little setback and latching onto these thoughts about work. You have gotten so far and you will continue to recover – this is all part of healing. Keep faith! Xx

  344. Chrissy Says:

    Great post Emma!!

  345. Matt Says:

    Hey everyone,

    I’ve been having some depression the last two weeks, and was wondering if this has happened to any of you, especially those that recovered. I get thoughts of “what’s the point”, “you can’t fight this”, and “you’ll never get better”. I hate them! But I’ve been feeling so down the last few weeks. I think it has to do in part because I’m out of school for summer, and haven’t had as much to do.

    I’m assuming I treat these thoughts the same as all other thoughts. This is just new for me, and I was feeling bad for not being motivated at all. I feel like I SHOULD be wanting 100% to get better, but it feels like I am just giving up, which I hate. I’m still doing what I need to do, but I wish my motivation was higher :/

  346. Karen Says:

    Hi Charlotte, I have commented under the photo that starts with “and that’s the tragic thing …” if you want to find me on facebook.
    Thank everyone. I guess I often confuse pushing myself through the fear with pushing myself too hard. Great words Emma. X

  347. Candie Says:

    Hi kat I had all those thoughts too. The truth is that the rest of the world might not always be dead certain about their decisions, your perceiving it wrong as I did but the rest of the world are often uncertain about relationships, career choices, where to live, etc. they accept that they are unsure and move forward with what they decide and so be it. We all take risks and sometimes make good choices, other times bad ones. However you live and learn and that’s all you can do in life. I used to be so sad that I couldn’t be so sure and carefree but life is full of choice points which you shouldn’t feel bad about not knowing all the answers. Give yourself a break, I don’t have anxiety now but I can still be indecisive, still worry if I’m making the right choices but I don’t give myself anxiety and grief for being that way. :)

  348. Emma Says:

    Hey friends,

    My feelings of depression and low mood are starting to a small bit lift. But, I find that whenever I’m out in public, like say I go shopping for groceries with my mom I always have this feeling of unease that makes me feel like I want to run back home. No matter what, every time I’m out I just have this feeling of unease and anxiety — it’s also accompanied by a lot of yawning lol… I really want to get over this, I know it’s anxiety but it’s relentless. I want to be able to go out and see friends without feeling counting the minutes until I can run back home and without yawning uncontrollably lol! I don’t know if you know what I mean but it’s just this feeling of dread whenever I’m out and about. Would love to get passed it because it makes it difficult to enjoy the moment.

    Matt, I also deal with the feelings/thoughts you express. Especially when I have nothing going on during the day, or when I’m home alone bored all day, my thoughts get away from me and I start to depress a bit. Would love to hear more about this part from those who have recovered. In the mean time, you can probably go back to older blog posts and read some encouraging stuff from the ex-posters!


  349. Karen Says:

    Hi Emma, I used to be like that going out but now I am able to go out with no more anxiery than I have at home. In fact it has reversed and I am better out because I am busy. The more you do it, the more your brain learns there is nothing to fear. Please don’t give in to this one as I suspect that would make the problem worse. Maybe you are fighting too hard to feel normal and enjoy yourself while you are out? Accept you are not going to feel good and go anyway. ‘Float’ as Claire Weekes says. Eventually you will enjoy it. For now accept you are going out anyway and that is azchievement enough in itself. X x

  350. Riri Says:

    Hey all
    I’m doing pretty good today. Just letting thoughts float by. I have a lot of random thoughts that stick but that’s fine. I don’t mind them being there.
    One question though. Does anyone find that your mind is always thinking of random things. I am always thinking about things to do and buy. This usually happens to me when I am alone and bored and have nothing interesting to do. My mind wanders from one thing to another. And then I question if this is anxiety.
    My daughter both had immunizations yesterday and had fevers all might. So no sleep for me. So I woke up this morning with a pounding headache. It doesn’t really help all the crazy thoughts but whatever
    Hope everyone is doing well. Take care xx

  351. Riri Says:

    I also had those feelings of unease when I went out. But I would not let that hold me back. Even though I felt like crap and so uncomfortable I still went out with friends and lived normally. Trust me it gets easier. I used to worry before I went out about how I would feel. But I would do it anyway.
    Now all those feelings are gone, and if they do come back I can easily dismiss them. Just keep doing what you are doing and don’t let anxiety stand in the way. Good luck.

  352. Riri Says:

    Does anyone think they heard something and then freak out because they think they are hallucinating or hearing things.

  353. Charlotte Says:

    Emma – how r u now ? I sent you a fb message with my email

  354. Charlotte Says:

    Sorry meant Karen !!

  355. Kat Says:

    Thanks so much for the response! What you say makes complete sense. I am young and many people my age don’t have all the answers but they don’t react so strongly and obsess on these thoughts/feelings. I’ve been feeling good lately but still have some panic attacks here and there and feelings of anxiety..but I am learning to change my reaction to that and not analyze past choices or feel bad about them. Because you’re right, we can only make choices and move on with life and not out pressure on ourselves to alway make the right choice. It’s always comforting to hear about people like you who went through such a similar experience and are now living a much calmer life. Thanks again for the positive words :)

  356. Riri Says:

    OK I spoke too soon. Today has been one of the worst with the thoughts. I thought I was doing so well. But my thoughts are getting to me.
    First my mind is trying to convince me this is some other mental illness because I have many thoughts. I constantly have thoughts about things I need to do clean buy make achieve. So my mind is convinced this is not anxiety.
    Secondly I was bathing my kids and I thought I heard something, so my kind automatically went in overdrive about hallucination and hearing things.
    Then I took a nap with my daughters, woke up to mind mind telling me I’m becoming stupid and slowly going crazy…
    My mind is so focused on me. I question Every thought. EVERY sensation in my body. I question every feeling. I keep going in circles. I feel I am going back words. I am so frustrated. And helpless. This is the worst part anxiety in my opinion. The thoughts. They make you question things that would have never passed you mind when you are “healthy”. I’m so exhausted.
    My husband today was telling what an improvement he has seen in me since when I first started suffering anxiety . He is happy I am better. I just smiled and said me too

  357. Matt Says:


    I have had the same thing happen to me. I felt like I was making a little progress, then WHAM. I feel like I can’t shut off my mind and I keep thinking and thinking and thinking about my anxiety. I keep telling myself to just be okay with whatever feeling I have, but I feel like it’s not sinking in deep down. I’m still worried about my intrusive thoughts and wanting them to go away. I’m still tired of having anxious feelings, and keep wanting them to leave. When I can actually feel, for a brief second, that I’m ok with them being there, I get relief. But then my mind starts up again. And my wife also said she had seen improvement that past few weeks, which I agree with, but right now it doesn’t feel like it!

  358. Karen Says:

    Riri, I know. The thing about the thoughts is that you can seem so ok on the outside. Nobody really knows how you can feel like you are being tortured internally.

    So I think I have figured outwhat is going on with me …. Work made me Ill so now my mind freaks out when returning to work comes up and my anxiety goes through the roof …. whirling thoughts, can’t sleep, feel like I can’t cope with anything cant, eat, etc etc. The last couple of times I tried to go back I forced myself on and it failed. I would get home and constntly checking if it was making me ill etc. So guess what it did. I know I am doing this to myself. I have to go back for money. I think that this time maybe I go back accepting and expecting it will make me ill and keep going no matter? Its so hard though when all I want to do is cry and I am facing a class! Problem is I think I would be like this no matter what the work was. Any ideas or support on this please?

  359. Candie Says:

    Karen your habit is to look for anxiety when your at work as u say it made you ill. If you go back and be ok with the feelings returning, remember your not in danger then your body will catch up and stop bringing anxiety eventually. It’s fear of fear, as with panic attacks and agoraphobia. People avoid places or situations they feel anxious and they feel like their world is getting smaller. I promise if you goto work and feel the fear anyway, it will gradually taper off until you stop focusing on if it comes or not and you will back to functioning normally.

  360. Karen Says:

    Candie, so when I went back last time and I became I’ll again but carried on going in, why didn’t the anxiety go down. I am beginning to suspect it was because

  361. Karen Says:

    Oops …..
    Because I was fighting the feelings whilst still carrying on and looking for them, instead of floating, so I hadn’t really accepted them at all? Does that make sense? So all I need to do is accept that it may make me feel crap, can’t sleep etc but that’s ok. Am I right? I think I get it now. Its just doing it. Lol.

  362. Riri Says:

    Your comment is so on point
    I may look recovered on the outside, but no one really knows the daily struggle that I have with my thoughts. But I will say, I know I am much much better then when I first started. When thus all started I couldn’t even function. I was paralyzed with fear. I would go to sleep early just to get away from life.
    Now I am living life normally and enjoying life. The thoughts come along with me everywhere I go. They will not stop me.
    But sometimes I get so overwhelmed by my thoughts. I get so exhausted of all the awareness on me. I notice every single move . Every single sensation in my body. But what’s worse is when my mind Goes off and starts telling me this is not normal and what if this is something other than anxiety. Another mental illness.
    Or when my mind questions every single thought I have and try to convince me the way I think is not normal.

  363. Karen Says:

    So Riri, I guess if we accept we have the anxiety, our constant checking and attention on ourselves won’t matter, because we won’t care if its there, we can let itramble on as much as it likes. Riri, you need to get a book that was recommended by Candie and Racch called the mind works by Will Beswick. It explains how its ok to think anything as long as you then don’t question, analyse or worry about having that thought. Its a really interesting book. It works on the same principle as Pauls.

  364. Lucy Says:

    Candie, or anyone who’s been there, I just wondered if you could advise on panic attacks. I know from previous posts you have had them, I am generally okay with the anxiety now and definitely live alongside it.. But it’s the sheer panic that throws me. I don’t know how to get past the “fear of the fear” when it seems so intense. I have them less these days but they’re still the bit I struggle against the most. I don’t know why I can’t just let myself go and feel it all, rather than fight and make the whole thing 10 x worse!

  365. Charles Says:

    I echo Candie’s point 100%, remember that you are not in danger and your body will catch up. What is it that we are all struggling with? Real danger? Or just a feeling? When you try to mitigate danger, you will come up with a plan and take action; when you try to mitigate fear you just avoid the thing/place altogether. Don’t try to avoid fear, it doesn’t work, because we humans are capable of imagining, a simple example is that we get scared when we watch horror films.
    Maybe it will help if you think of your anxiety as a horror film that you have to watch. It will be scary but absolutely no real harm will come to you. And if you watch the film over and over again you will gradually lose you fear for it.

  366. Emma Says:

    I can’t seem to get these ideas about bipolar disorder out of my head. Just like Riri I’ve become convinced that I could have bipolar disorder. The reason is that after starting my 5htp supplements my depression has lifted, my mood is elevated and I feel much better. However I have been irritable the last 2 days and threw a few irrational tantrums at my boyfriend as we’ve been in a dispute the last few days. I know that rage/anger or irritable mood is a big symptom of bipolar disorder. My libido has also come back which also makes me believe I’m hypomanic. I keep analyzing asking myself whether or not I feel euphoric, and I have a lot of energy as well. I can’t even enjoy the fact that my anxiety and depression have lifted because I keep worrying that I’m in hypomania (mild mania that doesn’t lead to psychosis and doesn’t necessarily impair or affect your life). I read accounts of people who experience hypomania and I could associate some of the symptoms like elevated mood, irritability, skin crawling feeling or the feeling of having too much caffeine (could be anxiety giving adrenaline) so I don’t know :( I’m really worried and I’ve become completely convinced.

  367. Emma Says:

    I thought I had gotten passed this fear, but since my depression has lifted and I’m no longer living under the dark cloud, I keep feeling like this could be hypomania. I don’t have symptoms like insomnia, feelings of superiority/grandiosity, spending money, etc.

    But what worries me is that fact that ever since my low mood has lifted, my libido is back, I’ve been more irritable and also when my boyfriend and I were in that argument I mentioned, I was super angry in the car with him and driving like a bit of a maniac. This all leads me to believe I’m in a hypomanic state. Ahhh I feel so convinced….

  368. Karen Says:

    Lucy, sit and face the panic attack head on, let it come, allow it, you know you are in no danger, it just feels bad. f you sit there long enough you will see that the panic level reduces on its own. Once you have done this your confidence will increase.

    Emma, I am guessing your libido has returned because your mood has lifted. That’s a positive sign. Irritability is also a common symptom of anxiety. You have got angry and worried about what that means …. it just means you are a normal human with normal emotions. it sounds to me like your thought of being bipolar is just another type of intrusive thought. Let it float away without reacting to it. Also, stop googling, we are in such a suggestive state with anxiety, it doesnt help. X

  369. Karen Says:

    Rich, are you still on here and moderating? I too was wondering how you were doing?

  370. Candie Says:

    Karen yes that is right. You need to face what you are scared of so you can let it go, your scared of anxiety so it always shows up as your looking for it. Go to work, let the feelings arise, let your mind chatter- but remember it is all false fear as there is no danger so if your body wants to act like its in danger so be it. Claire weekes once wrote that a person must recover I’m the environment and life they would normally lead. You can’t avoid as life only becomes more narrow. If you decide to goto work, decide anxiety is welcome and float- you will start to see it for what it is. Anxiety is your own self created monster- it’s not a real monster :)

  371. Riri Says:

    Emma ,
    That is exactly how I had been feeling. You need to just let it go. I also had all those symptoms. But my irritability was not so bad. I would feel annoyed. But not angry. And I don’t have feeling of grandosity. And with spending I know what I can spend and what I can not.
    The thing is I don’t feel like I had ever had low low depression. Sometimes I felt a bit down but nothing so bad.
    Emma you need to let them go.
    And stop go ogling. That is what was keeping me in the worry cycle. All my thoughts are from what I read of the Internet
    It got to a point that I I began worrying about every single emotion I had.

  372. Emma Says:

    Riri, Karen,

    You ladies are right. I have got to stop googling about hypomania. No matter what I read, I will find a way of associating everything to my current state. Riri, unfortunately, I did experience depression — not severe but definitely some heavy feelings of sadness, grief, “whats the point” feelings and low moods. These are always exacerbated by my anxiety because I start to fear the low moods. The fact that I do have the lows reinforces my fear of bipolar. I think to myself I was depressed last week, now I feel wonderful….I must be bipolar — then I associate and analyze all my emotions. When I was angry at my boyfriend, I almost had a panic attack I was so scared I was manic at that moment. Whenever I become angry I have this fear of going mad, so on top of feeling angry I also start feeling anxious which is a strange sensation and makes me feel like I actually really AM going mad/manic!

    In addition, my mom always says that when I’m low or going through a tough time with anxiety, that I “soften up” … that I become very nice, kind and gentle because I’m so vulnerable. She says that as soon as I go back to normal that I can be a bit of a b-word. This had me so worried because I know that people with bipolar are said to be “completely different people” when they are hypomanic.

    I emailed my psychiatrist and told her the exact same thing I told you guys. She’ll write back with her educated response and let me know what she thinks. I will let you guys know what she says. I feel so convinced of bipolar, I’m afraid of all my emotions, especially anger. This sound like intrusive thinking but my ocd mind says no-no-no!

    E xxxx

  373. rachh Says:

    Had a panic attack last night which was horrible. I lay back and rode it out the breathing difficulty and the shoots of heat going through my limbs:(. Got through it but it has left a nasty taste in my mouth. I also had this feeling last night that my body was heavy like it was weighed down. Not a tired feeling like someone was lay on top of it. I had a nap yesterday too and was dreaming and tried to wake up at one point but it was as though i couldnt. Anyone had these problems?

  374. Kelly Says:

    Hi, are there any sufferers on here who find it hard to pin point exactly what triggers their anxiety from time to time? I have mild set backs and my anxious thoughts are always the same but the trigger isn’t. I find that I get a bit lost and I can’t always see the trigger. It’s as though it’s staring me in the face and I push it aside trying to find it, if that makes sense.

  375. Kate W Says:

    Hey everyone
    I haven’t been on for quite a while. I’ve been suffering with anxiety and constant Dp for almost 9 months and most of my symptoms have now disappeared. I rarely get any physical symptoms im left with mental ones. Like a feeling of confusion almost and something feeling not quite right almost not quite awake constantly. Does anyone else get this? It doesn’t scare me but does annoy me as I feel like if this would go I’d be able to go on and fully recover as this feeling brings on the silly thoughts like I’ll never be able to let this go etc. Im having much better days but have yave a day l

  376. Kate W Says:

    Oops I submitted before I finished lol I meant im having much better days but am yet to have a day symptom free and wondered if that’s normal this far into recovery x

  377. Karen Says:

    Thanks Candie for your help. I am re reading Wills book and have today had brief moments of true acceptance. Really quite liberating. Hoping it continues.

  378. Emma Says:

    Rachh, I can’t say that I’ve had that particular symptom but I guarantee it’ just an off-shoot of anxiety. Keep on floating. Anything in particular set off your panic attack? You can message me on facebook as well xx

    Kelly, yes I completely relate to that. I can go a few days feeling well and then the same “type” of anxiety comes flooding back with the same anxious thoughts. I feel that I cycle between one set of anxious thoughts to another. I haven’t recovered from my setback but I suffered anxiety 2 years ago and did recover with a few month of medication and therapy. Hope you are feeling better xx

    Kate, I’m happy to hear most of your symptoms are gone. Usually, the last symptoms to go are always the lingering ones. For me it’s mainly feelings of sadness and low moods. I’ve gone through constant dp, constant panic, health anxiety so on & so forth and now my anxiety is mainly rooted in thoughts about depression, etc. Have you read Will Beswick? I think you could benefit from his teachings. xx

  379. Kate W Says:

    I have Emma I love Wills book. I really feel like I’m truly accepting I just wish I could have a day symptom free to truly believe it can go totally :-(

  380. Riri Says:

    Hi Kate,
    I am in the same boat as you. I have been suffering anxiety for the past 9 months also. My physical symptoms have slowly disappeared. All is left is the mental symptoms. I guess those take the most time to let go.
    I feel as though my attention is always on myself. All day I am analysing the way I feel and questioning every emotion, thought or feeling I have. I have moments where I am distracted by friends or a good time and not thinking about anxiety is amazing. I feel like my old self. But then the thoughts come back. I know in time moments of normalcy will get longer but it takes time.
    I have gotten to the point where my mind is worried of EVERYTHING. But I can dismiss it because I know this is all anxiety.

  381. Madison Says:

    Candie and Helen,

    I’m going to warn you now…this is going to be riddled with questions so I apologize in advance. What does it feel like to go through recovery? Do you just stop questioning and worrying and feel back to normal? Does it just “click?” I feel like that’s what it will be like but it’s hard to be sure…

    Do you see people the way you saw them before you had anxiety? Can you feel love for the people in your life that you do love? I feel like I hold on so tightly to myself that when I have those moments of relief (and they feel so good) that my mind then tells me that I need to maintain that control and I enter back into anxiety/depression/lost feeling. And that lasts for the majority of my day. I feel like I am resisting everything but I’m unsure of how to break myself of that.

    I am just so looking forward to the day when I can just feel back to normal, I bet it feels like nothing other.

  382. Riri Says:

    One question though,
    Not sure if anyone has gone through this before, but of you have I would be great fun for some advice.
    Any thought I have I analyse and ask myself is this an anxious though or a normal thought. It gets so Confusing because it is as though I don’t know what to think anymore. My mind automatically questions every thought I have. I ask myself is this how normal people think.
    For example I am cleaning my house. I start thinking about things I need to do around my house. I make a list in my head. But then my mind starts asking is it normal to think this way. Then I get so confused.
    Also I get lots of random thoughts. For example I think about my body parts for some reason. Then I ask again what the heck is this normal. I guess that is what is stumping me.
    Even for eemotions. It is though I am afraid to feel anything because my mind starts finding mental illnesses to link it to. But I know that is anxiety playing it’s tricks. Everyone has emotions. Happiness anger sadness irritability boredom anxiousness., but they don’t sit and analyse there feelings and terrify themselves.
    I was always happy about having a great imagination. But when anxiety hits it can be your worst enemy because it comes up with the weirdest most bizarre thoughts that make you think that there is something wrong with you mentally

  383. Riri Says:

    I know I have so many questions. But I need the reassurance to get over this. I feel I am so hyper aware of sounds. If I hear something I get startled and my heart starts to beat. Then I wonder if I actually heard it or if I’m hearing things. Then it goes back to being bipolar and hallucinating. The littlest noise can freak me out. I remind myself of movies where they are in scary places and there is always someone really scared saying doling you hear that?? What was that and being startled by everything.” That is exactly how I feel. Am I losing it or has anyone gone through this before.

  384. Kyara Says:

    Madison and Riri,

    Acceptance is allowing whatever your mind throws at you and continuing to live as as you did before. Allow it to question, wonder, worry, be sad, be upset whatever it maybe without judgement. Understand what you’re going through. Understand that somewhere in the past you didn’t handle stress very well and now your mind is trying to balance back out. It feels awful. Like our body is in a war with its self. But the results are outstanding. Don’t worry about recovery or what its like. That’s seeking reassurance. Just kown that when your time is right it will come to you. When you’ve completely let go and allowed it all your mind will return to its normal state. No you probably won’t be the same person you were before. You’ll be stronger and wiser. You’ll see life in a completely different way. I am not recovered yet and I’ve been going through this for 10 months. I no longer care about recovery and I’m no longer scared. I know one day I will be free of this self inflicted problem. I am equipped with knowledge about myself I never had before. I have deeper connections with those that I love. I am a different person and I don’t mind it.

    Remember it’s ok to feel however you feel. There is no harm. It feels bad because we don’t want to let go. We don’t want it to ruin our happiness. These emotions cannot and will not last forever. They all have a ‘life span’ and it sorts it’s self out without our help. Stay strong. You can recover and it won’t always feel bad.

  385. Josh Says:

    Hi, just wanted to stress the importance of every morning while we are going through this. Whatever state that you wake up with, have an attitude to list down all the activities that you want to complete through the day. The activties could be something within your comfort zone or out of it. Just try to have this routine. It gives a tremendous discipline to the otherwise chaotic day and gives a great sense of accomplishment at the end…

  386. Riri Says:

    Hey guys I really need some advice,
    For a while I had been having scary thoughts about being bipolar. Since I read something about bipolar patients hearing voices and things that freaked me out. So now if I hear a small noise and don’t know what it is I get so scared I’m tearing things. I start questioning if I actually heard that or am I hearing things. I get so terrified. Because sometimes I’m not sure if I heard it. Usually I ask anyone around me if they heard that and they say yes we did which calms me down. But like rings and knocks and little random sounds freak me out. Because my mind goes off saying I heard things. I feel like I’m losing it.
    I know deep down in my heart that this is all anxiety playing tricks on my mind. And because I am already Scared and anxious my ocd is trying to make me doubt mmyself. This is torture. Anyone know what I’m talking about

  387. Riri Says:

    I am so hyper aware of hearing and noises. Every little noise freak me out and I ask myself if I’m hearing things.any advice anyone?? Is this part of anxiety.

  388. Jenny Lee Says:

    Great post Josh. I’m really struggling with coping at work at the moment. It’s so busy I don’t get a break to even pop to the loo for hours and I am always working well into my lunch boss has been unhelpful and refuses to reduce the workload. I feel like it is heightening my already bad anxiety because I’m so stressed. Don’t know what to do! Any ideas anyone?

    Riri, you just have a heightened awareness in general wit anxiety. I jump out of my skin if someone touches my arm or makes a sudden noise. It’s just because we are in a constant mild fight/flight state that it is so exaggerated. However, because you are anxious, your brain tries to make sense of it so throws scary thoughts of bipolar into the mix. Remember it’s just a thought and not genuine.

  389. Emma Says:

    Does anyone else find that their anxiety is worse when they are home alone all day without much to do? John what you said is helpful for me, I stay at home and I dread the day because I know I’m alone with my thoughts and I tend to ruminate. Especially if I’ve done all the housework and the chores and have nothing to do. I get very anxious in the morning at the thought of having to spend another day by myself!

  390. Emma Says:

    oops *Josh not John

  391. Doreen. Says:

    Riri – a number of people have now replied to you saying just the same thing – you have anxiety and are not bi-polar. Yet you keep asking for reassurance by stating different ‘symptoms’ each time and asking again for advice. You are going to get the same answer so now it is time to believe what others are saying. It’s hell, I know but the only way forward is to live with the thoughts and feelings in the way that is so well explained by Kyara further up. The content of your fears is not relevant so pay it no attention.

  392. Riri Says:

    I guess so Doreen,
    I am just going to go from one symptom to another. It really is hell. The weirdest thoughts ever. Thinking about my hands legs stomach thighs. But I guess it is all the same. And also I have noticed that when I give it attention and obsess older it it sticks. So let it float easier said then done really. You feel crazy. Questioning and doubting everything. But I need to let it go. I keep asking for reassurance for the same thing. I’m running in circles. Thanks Doreen for the eye opener. Even though they are different thoughts, they all stem from an anxious mind.

  393. Matt Says:


    I feel like we’re on the same wavelength right now, haha! That’s definitely me too. I ruminate all day (I’m off for summer right now). I was having a horrible week or two (where I felt like I ruminated 24/7 the whole time), and then I went to Vegas and worked 10 hours yesterday, and found it was much easier to forget about thinking about how I feel. Doing stuff helped a lot. I’m off today, and I notice that I’m fearing the thought pattern that I had (so basically fearing fear, which is totally opposite of acceptance).

    On a side note, my therapist basically said the same thing to me today as what we talk about on this site, and exactly what Paul did to get better. Not being anxious about the anxiety, feelings, and symptoms you have is the way to feeling better. It’s just really hard. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t have anxiety issues!

  394. Matt Says:

    On another note, I’m hoping Paul can make a post about intrusive thoughts sometime soon. :)

  395. Emma Says:

    Matt, yes we seem to be going through the same phases. Are you still having a rough time with motivation? I have a hard time feeling motivated when I’m home doing nothing. Before anx/dep if I was alone all day I would always find joy in little things like, re-organizing my closet, going shopping, trying new recipes. Now when I’m alone I have little motivation — just feel the gravitational pull to stay on the sofa and “figure out” my anxious thoughts and feelings. I know that is the total opposite but it’s almost like an instinct. I also go through phases of feeling low and blue. I have a major fear of developing severe depression so whenever it’s been hard to accept because I keep thinking “Oh no, I always feel sad and I’ve lost interest and motivation in the things I love — that’s a sign of depression, I must be severely depressed.” Reading a book on mindfulness and hoping it will facilitate this process of acceptance. Ahhh xx

  396. Marie Says:

    I hate the way i feel im so tired of it and its so hard to except! Everyday my body feels heavy and i get big headaches. I feel like im dieing more and more everyday. I have my days where i feel like im progressing but theres more bad days then good days a d the bad days are really bad. I don’t really have intrest in talking to friends at all anymore. I sometimes even wonder how i became friends with them.. I just feel like im starting to get worst again.. This is really hard i don’t want to have to suffer for years i don’t think i can do it.. I have suciadal thoughts at times because of how hard this experience has been for me :/

  397. Matt Says:

    Hey Emma,

    I was/am feeling that same exact way about little things. I didn’t feel like this at all until I was done with school in May. Sitting around the house has seemed to make my ruminating about anxiety worse, and yeah, I do have low motivation a lot of the time. I’ve made a list of tasks to do this week, and when I actually get engaged, it does help. What really helped was taking a trip and then also working.

    My anxiety was actually almost nonexistent at work yesterday, which was a first for me. It made me feel like exposure was working for me. I often think that it doesn’t work well, because I’m still always feeling anxious in situations that I expose myself to over and over. So anyway, I really feel that getting yourself to do stuff, even if you don’t feel like it, or it isn’t doesn’t feel as rewarding, is still important. I’ve thought about volunteering during my summer, esp since I’m only a fill in for work right now.

  398. Matt Says:

    Oh yeah, one more question for you Emma!

    I was looking through older comments on this post, and I saw that you dealt with HOCD and overcame it. That seems to be my biggest issue currently, and I was kind of wanting your input.

    I get intrusive thoughts from my triggers (like being in the kitchen). I always get tricked into thinking that I have to control myself or I’ll act on them. It’s very frustrating. Even though I know it’s my anxiety that’s causing the issue, not the actual thoughts, it’s hard for me to actually accept that, which is what keeps perpetuating the cycle.

    How long did it take you to use the methods from Brain Lock to overcome your intrusive thoughts? And how bad was yours? I feel like the harder I’m trying, the worse it’s getting. I keep getting more and more triggers, and it’s what’s making me feel worse than I ever have. It’s super frustrating, and probably one of the things that makes me scared to be alone the most. :/

  399. Susan Says:

    Hi there,
    I was reading Will’s book and have a question about primary and secondary thoughts for anybody who has recovered. This aspect is really confusing me.
    When I am checking on my anxiety constantly (which I can’t seem to stop doing) my therapist says that each time I find myself doing this I need to stop myself and be mindful. One of Paul’s blog posts says that he also stopped himself doing this and ruminating on past events.
    So, do I need to stop myself doing this? Is the anxiety checking thought a primary or secondary thought. So do I think it then stop myself thinking it OR do I think it then let it flow and re calm myself?
    Grateful for any advice on this. Thanks.

  400. Riri Says:

    Last night I had a bout of insomnia. Ah the life of an anxiety sufferer
    Does anyone find that they fidget a lot. I notice that I shake my leg a lot. Even when I am in bed. I doesn’t really bother me that much. I guess all that nervous energy needs to go somewhere.
    Even though I have anxiety and the symptoms. I kind of don’t mind them that much. I know exactly what they are. So they can be there for as long as possible. I will go on living my life.
    The thoughts are what trick me sometimes though.
    Hope everyone is doing well. Take care.xx

  401. Emma Says:

    Matt, yes I had really really bad self-harm thoughts and s-word thoughts. My trigger was feeling low, down or depressed…as soon as I started feeling down, sad, blue, flat and low mood, my mind would cling to these ideas I wanted to die. It was so bad, because I was doubting that it was anxiety and really believed that a part of me wanted to die. I made the mistakes of reading other depressed peoples forums and how they didn’t want to live and planned out their s-word and then I would have intrusive thoughts of carrying out the act. Wherever I went I would be thinking about it, Id get triggered by holding cords, ropes, by driving, seeing bridges or cliffs. I would even get this false urge to carry it out. It would paralyze me with fear. Back in comments from the post of Feb 2008 and a commenter named Eva spoke of the exact same thing that her mind kept telling her she didn’t want to live, she wanted to die, she was unhappy with living and that these thoughts were constantly pummeled by her ocd. I realized I was going through the exact same thing and started treating it as anxiety, bc at first I really believed I was suicidal (bc my brain kept telling me that I was!! But I didn’t want to be!) but I would doubt even whether I wanted to be suicidal or not, which was even more scary. I started to realize after reading her posts from 08 that this had to be ocd thoughts, even though I felt real. I just allowed the thoughts and when they came through I didn’t place judgment I just said “there’s that thought!” and let it be there whilst feeling ucomfortable. It’s wayyyyy better now, but I still have it lingering a little. I know that when my anxiety lessens the thoughts will too. They are just rooted in uncertainty, this uncertainty about whether or not I wanted to be alive, the uncertainty about whether or not I had the true desire to do it, the doubt that would arise when I would tell myself I did want to live. Such an endless cycle, but the scariest part of OCD is the doubt about all your thoughts and how the ocd can be so convincing, that’s why the called it the doubting disease! Just let it go, let the thoughts be there, I still get anxiety from it but it’s getting better, it’s not constantly on my mind like before. Just resist the urge to “figure out” if you want to or not, just let the thoughts come through non judgementally. Keep doing that as you’ll become less obsessed with them. My main fear right now is that I will spiral into a really severe depression, I know paul talked about this before, but for some reason the prospect of my depression getting worse is scary. Even though I have mostly anxiety and maybe some mild depression, and that it’s my anxiety that fuels the depression feelings. Hope you feel better Xxx

  402. rachh Says:

    I had these intrusive thoughts. I’m not filled up with them anymore i feel more wired stressed and depressed than anything now and I can tell you being depressed is nothing like my intrusive thoughts told me. Its completely different. I was absolutly scared to death of being depressed however i have found more amazing places from being herrendously upset than i ever did when i had intrusive thought mode.

  403. rachh Says:

    PS sometimes i think we go through these hard times for a reason. There’s a lot more to you than what you think and what you think you think.

  404. Matt Says:

    Emma, thanks for the reply! I’m constantly afraid I’m going to hurt myself or something else. Like somehow I’ll just lose control, or do something. So then like if I’m in the kitchen or driving I go into this mode where I feel like I’m trying to restrain myself, even though I know it’s silly. It’s probably been the worst symptom for me, because it’s the thing that will keep my mind going for hours or days. And I have specific triggers, which if I ignore them, I don’t get the thoughts. But i feel like it’s spreading more, and I don’t want it to! :/. But I’m on day 5 of actually feeling like a normal human being, which is a huge shift from the last two weeks, so there is always a light at the end of the tunnel I suppose.

    And yeah, it’s the doubt that’s the problem. But I read something that just says the content of your thoughts is irrelevant, it’s the anxiety that is the problem. So yeah, I will just relabel it as anxiety and move on.

  405. Monica Says:

    I hate the way i feel im so tired of it and its so hard to except! Everyday my body feels heavy and i get big headaches. I feel like im dieing more and more everyday. I have my days where i feel like im progressing but theres more bad days then good days a d the bad days are really bad. I don’t really have intrest in talking to friends at all anymore. I sometimes even wonder how i became friends with them.. I just feel like im starting to get worst again.. This is really hard i don’t want to have to suffer for years i don’t think i can do it.. I have suciadal thoughts at times because of how hard this experience has been for me :/

  406. Madison Says:

    Thank you Kyara. That is a big help. I know one day I will grasp what acceptance is and things will fall into place. What a lesson this is about life though…I have already learned so much.

  407. Madison Says:

    Also, I’m finding a lot of solace in music. A song I want to pass along that has been helping me is Christina Perri’s song “I Believe”

  408. Kyara Says:


    Acceptance is accepting that right now your state of mind is anxious and you will react to thoughts in a way that is out of your control. It’s like a built in fear system. Some of us fear feeling sad because we relate it to depression or some of us fear hearing things because we relate that to losing our minds. The only thing you can control is your reaction to your minds response if that makes sense. You have to be stronger than that fear and know that all of this is an off shoot of a tired anxious mind. You are not depressed you’re sad and since you’re so aware it’s to an exaggerated extent. Us who are anxious and fear depression feel a need to convince ourselves that were not depressed. A true depressed person doesn’t do that. Accept the awareness because it’s only your body’s way of protecting yourself. Attitude has alot to do with it as well. Anxiety is not a bad thing we just label it as such. If you can look at it as positive you will lose your fear. Don’t wake up everyday with recovery as a goal. Make living your goal. Living as if it wasn’t there. Lose recovery as an expectation because you’ll be on the lookout for recovery everyday when there is nothing to recover from. Anxiety is a normal emotion. We have a fear of anxiety. We will eventually lose that fear and be so in the moment that we don’t care about anxiety in the background or recovering. That’s when ‘recovery’ comes to you. Bad days are to be expected done dwell on them. Allow it to be bad and keep on moving. Don’t grab your phone or get on the computer to search for answers to what’s going on because there’s only one thing going on, your body is finding it’s balance again. On those bad days try practicing being mindful or yoga. Go for a walk or a massage. Everyday I take fish oil, dissolvable b12 and magnesium. If I’m having a tough day I do some yoga and still go about my business as I should. Eventually your mind starts opening back up and your muscle memory kicks in. You begin to lose fears and you begin to care less and less about anxiety and it becomes a pain.

    I hope in some way this helps. I wish you nothing but strength from here!

  409. rachh Says:

    Madison it’s not the sadness you need to get rid of. You don’t need to be happy either. You need to make a shift in your mind. I’m getting some guidance for mine now. Sometimes going to see someone who can show you what your doing helps. I spent too long searching in my mind for something. Different ways of thinking appearing but not knowing what to follow is difficult.

  410. Emma Says:

    Great posts Kyara and Rachh, really helpful to read even if not directed to me in particular.

  411. Chrissy Says:

    Great post Kyara

    Think we need some positive post here those close or in recovery

    I am in recovery. Same days feels like I am there some days anxiety hits hard and feels like I am back to square one. It’s a journey a process. Then I will read Paul’s book or come on here for reinforcement and I am back on path.

    Realizing that my fear …fear of anxiety fear and of depression is what I worked on first. I was scared. I allowed the thought and/or feeling almost took a step back. Said to myself “ok I know this feeling or thought”. Had it for years. Almost like I said “hello” to the thought or feeling. Sometimes I was able to do this other times I wasn’t. This have me a a space before the fear kicked in. Fear of the thought or feeling. Instead of my usual habit of “OH NO! Not again”!!!

    In doing this I realized there is nothing to be scared of. Nothing happens. They are thoughts and feelings. Everyone has them. We are just over stimulated over tired and habit makes us freak out. Makes us scared. Makes us think something is going to happen and the thoughts and feelings shouldn’t be there. It’s your mind playing tricks. It’s used to thinking something is very wrong. When actually there is nothing wrong. You have a weird odd disturbing feeling and thought. Let it be It doesn’t make you crazy or weird or sad or a failure. It’s a thought or feeling your very tired mind and habit misinterpreted

  412. Riri Says:

    Hey all,
    How is everyone doing?? I’m have been doing a bit better.But my intrusive thoughts are getting worse. I was having intrusive thoughts about bipolar.but now my mind questions EVERYTHING.
    It question my thoughts and feelings. If this thought or emotion is normal.
    It questions my every move. Everything I say. I have always been someone that enjoys joking around and being silly and laughing. Now if I do that my mind asks why I am so weird and if I am normal.
    I have so many intrusive thought lbs about anything and EVERYTHING. I wonder if I will ever recover? I know deep down this is anxiety but my mind keeps saying maybe not

  413. Yolande Says:

    Hi Riri,

    It’s anxiety, def. I have these too – i am off work in 11 days and cant wait to use that time to let my nerves heal before i go back to work. Stresss and worrying about performing on the job caused anxiety to return. so it’s been tough but it’s not so bad as per the 1st time cos now i know what the trigger points are. altho damn it’s not easy at all.

    i also hv intrusive tots mainly ‘what if i cant perform in a job anymore’, what if i cant find a job etc etc

    we are supp to let these tots be and carry on but it takes a lot of practice to do that

    Hang in there.

  414. Riri Says:

    Thanks Yolanda,
    I really appreciate your post. I just feel I am going backwards. I used to fear being OCD because I thought it was some mental illness. I was terrified. Once i came onto this blog I had realized that OCD is anxiety I began brushing it off because I honestly didn’t care any more. It didn’t scare me. Yes I was OCD. So what all it is is anxiety. And I forgot about it..
    But today I was reading something on the anxiety no more Facebook page. And one women said her psychologist told her OCD was not anxiety. And that sent me into a panic. Again my mind going in circles saying I have some mental illness and I will never recover.
    Even though I know this is ridiculous. I know this is anxiety. But now that thought is stuck in my head.i feel so stuck. I promised myself today that I will no longer Google. That is what got me here in the first place. I began having anxiety after reading about anxiety disorders and mental illness. I know it is the best thing for me. Because every time I feel I am getting better I read something new on Google and it gets stuck.

  415. Riri Says:

    But to be honest I am still way better than I was. I wasn’t able to function in the beginning. Now I can live life and enjoy my children and family. Even though my mind is always going off 24/7. I asked myself if I would be able to live this way forever. And I realized I can live with it. It’s not soo bad. It is hard by no means. But I doesn’t get in the way of me living. It gets me a little down sometimes because I feel different. But then I remind myself this is only temporary. The worry and nagging is still there but the fear is gone. And once the fear is gone it gets easier. It’s still a challenge but it is easier.
    All of you are probably really annoyed by my post being the same over and over again. So I apologize. Haha.

  416. Matt Says:

    Hey everyone,

    Not sure if anyone will be helped by this, but for the first time, I woke up this morning, got my normal dread feeling, and then just dismissed it as anxiety and stopped worrying about it/letting it control me, just like Paul said (it was true acceptance!). It was a really cool feeling! I still have bouts of anxiety throughout the day, but being positive and trying to not worry about the worry may be finally sticking!

    Anyway, there was one thing I wanted to run by anyone that can help, since this seems to be a great forum for talking to positive/helpful people, and I don’t feel like I can talk to family members about this….

    Basically, I’ve had anxiety for over 1.5 years. It started as being fearful of panic attacks, and then morphed into test anxiety mixed with some performance anxiety. The last few months, it’s been my intrusive thoughts. I’ve never had them before in my life (well, not anxiety from them, though I’m sure I’ve had weird thoughts like most normal people). However, it’s been really getting me down/freaking me out, because I have specific triggers now, and it seems like I keep getting more and more. I’m worried I’m going to lose control and harm someone with a knife or like drive off the side of the road because I’m sick of it all, or something, even though I don’t want to! So every time I’m in a kitchen or a car, I instantly have worry and sometimes intrusive thoughts. It really freaks me out.

    I’ve tried googling, and the only thing I end up finding is OCD, and then most sites talk about how it can’t be cured, but may be able to be treated via ERP. It makes me feel so down, like I’ll never recover, and that I’ve contracted something that will seriously hamper my life. I know this is unrealistic thinking, but does anyone have advice, help, hope for me? I feel like if I could just stop being anxious about my thoughts, that it would fade away, and total recovery for me could start. However, I feel kind of alone, and I feel like it’s the one thing that I can’t fix/beat.

    So yeah, sorry for the long post. It’s the one thing that I really haven’t figured out how to deal with, and it’s driving me nuts!

  417. Matt Says:

    And I just reread Emma’s post and realized that the answer was right there. Soooo….I guess nvm, and thanks Emma for such a great and encouraging post!

  418. Jo Says:

    I have some strong avoidance problems, particularly in relation to jobs. I did actually want a job once and I worked really hard on my skills so that I could increase my chances of getting the one I wanted. Then I had a bad experience – I didn’t settle in, enjoy the work or get on with the people. My family were angry with me for finding it difficult to settle in and I tried my hardest to stick it out for a good while, but in the end I was so unhappy I was dreading going in. I put it down to one bad experience and later I got another job, only it didn’t last for very long. On the first day I felt like I had back on that original job and I think I had a panic attack as I broke down outside. I now associate the workplace with those negative feelings and I can’t even think about jobs without breaking down. Its been hard because many people assume you’re out of work because you’re lazy or whatever, but it’s actually because I struggle with anxiety. It’s not that I don’t want to contribute – in fact I feel pretty worthless some days because of it.

    People suggest gradual exposure therapy to overcome it, but you have to be fully committed to start a new job and if it doesn’t work out you’ll walk away even worse than you were to begin with. The problem is that it’s a cycle and I’m more likely to stuff up because I can’t think clearly in that anxious state. Most places understandably don’t make allowances for people like me even though we may have skills to offer, because they don’t want to have to hand hold or put the time into it. In the end they just want to make money and have good productivity. I’m currently trying to find another solution, like if there’s some way to make money off my own back, but even that involves things that can trigger my anxiety.

    I also avoid things like checking my email/messages. I think this started when I was receiving txts from someone like every few minutes. If I didn’t respond quickly enough they’d send another with a question mark in it and this would go on and on. My phone going off constantly drove me crazy, especially due to the fact that I sometimes need a moment to switch off and be by myself. I don’t check my messages in case somebody wants something and it’ll interrupt what I’m doing, but at the same time I get more anxious the longer I leave it in case they get angry with me for not being able to respond to them instantly. Does that make sense? I force myself to check now, but at the same time I need to learn how to leave things outstanding for a while without getting anxious. I can’t be on beck and call all the time.

    I think I also assume the worse when I see the ‘new message’ text pop up, like ‘oh no, somebody is having a go at me about something’ and then I’ll open it up and it’ll actually be a really nice comment. I use to be a lot more comfortable on the net (like I’d talk to people through online games), but then I met somebody else with anxiety issues as well and they kept telling me to get rid of people in case they were dangerous, so I ended up sounding kind of rude trying to explain to people that they couldn’t hang out with us. I thought we’d be able to help each other through our understanding of anxiety issues, but I think you can rub off on each other in bad ways too.

    Wow, I wrote too much. I’ll shut up now :P.

  419. Emma Says:


    I think I understand your struggle. Lately I’ve been analyzing EVERYTHING, all my thoughts feelings and behaviours — always thinking I’m crazy. For example, I had an argument w my bf couple days ago and acted really immature and childish (it was my fault), after the fight I was so anxious because I felt I was acting crazy. I’m constantly afraid that certain feelings or behaviours of mine are “crazy” and can’t tell whether it’s just normal behaviour or “crazy” behaviour. This feeds into my fear of bipolar, and just fear of being an overall lunatic lol. I experience depersonalization as well, so when I start getting dp I feel even more crazy because I don’t feel like my “true” self, if you understand that sensation. It really sucks because I’m constantly afraid of my own behaviour and always scared that the way I feel or act isn’t “normal.” For instance my boyfriend and I have been going through a bit of a rough time and I’ve been getting upset with him and tried to break it off — even though I didn’t want to break up, but just wanted to test his reaction and see if he how long he would fight for me. Like pushing him away to see if he would come back. I had reason to bc he hurt me but when I think back to it I thing omg, what a crazy thing to do, breaking up with him over something silly just to see if he would fight for you. Then I started worrying that it was “crazy” behaviour, not normal, etc. If I’m upset or weepy, or annoyed or even in a good mood, I constantly worry about whether it’s normal or a sign that I’m “crazy” or have some kind of personality disorder or something. I never had this worry before, I know exactly where you’re coming from :(

    Has anyone else experienced this?

  420. Emma Says:

    PS. It sounds so silly as I write but the fear feels real. I was on the phone with my boyfriend last night, talking about how I wanted to break up and pushing him away — I didn’t TRULY want to break up with him, but I want to see if he would step up and change, go out of his way to stay with me, yada yada. He was very sad and he didn’t want it to be over, but I still pushed him away and away, and I was very emotional about it.

    Afterward I kept thinking “Oh lord no… I’m being crazy. Am I losing touch with reality? Do I have a personality disorder? Why am I being so immature, why am I acting like this? Starting drama over nothing?! Now I’ve made him sad, but I still keep pushing him away. Why am I doing this? Is there something wrong with me?”

    So yes, I understand how you feel, it’s so unsettling because you always feel like something is wrong with all your behaviours and emotions. It’s a strange, obscure facet of anxiety that doesn’t feel like anxiety bc you just feel like something is wrong with you mentally or behaviourally.

    Would love to hear from anyone who can relate to this feeling.

  421. Bryan Says:


    Please scroll up and see my post from May 31 to you. I promise, nothing has changed in the past couple of weeks. You have to be the one to decide to start the process of letting this go. As long as you keep imagining your anxiety is something other then it is, you were going to continue to give yourself more stress chemicals and keep the thoughts alive.

    The very fact that you are creating scary scenarios for simple anxiety is the very reason it won’t go away. I know how hard it is to take that first step, but it pays huge dividends when you do. If you need to see a therapist to help convince yourself that this is only anxiety, then I recommend you do so. Otherwise, it is time to stop worrying about the ridiculous things Your tired mind cooks up.

  422. Emma Says:

    I suppose in the beginning of my journey with anxiety there was a major fear of GOING crazy/delusional … but this is now coming back as fear of actually BEING crazy/delusional. Sorry for the triple posts xx

  423. Chrissy Says:

    Just needed to vent as actually no one I talk to about the disturbing thoughts. I’ve been seeing a therapist that teaches mindfulness and meditation. Things have going well. I explained my anxiety has decreased and i am able to handle my thoughts better. Thanks to pauls book I decided to open up a bit more and tell him about the intrusive thoughts that remain. Disappointly he treated them as a problem and not just “a thought my mind latched on to because of anxiety”. I had to teach him and explain that the less attention I have it the less I feared it. That I wouldn’t act on them That I wouldn’t be so terrified of that thought if I was”
    Just disappointing that he DIdnt get it almost like it was a problem. Made me sad

  424. Riri Says:

    The thing with me is I doubt some of my symptoms,
    The worst one is when I notice ever move I make and then. I have this worried feeling linked with it.
    Every thought I have is in a worried way. Sometimes even thinking of drinking water or going to the restroom is in a worried way.
    It’s so weird that I feel crazy. But I know it is anxiety. I guess I accept 50/50. Because sometimes I am fine with it and times I obsess about it.

  425. Matt Says:

    Emma/anyone else,

    So I’ve had a really good week with most of my other anxiety, but I’m still having trouble solving this intrusive thought thing. They happen every day bc of my triggers, which then makes me analyze and stress about them. I then try to read official websites about intrusive thoughts/OCD, and it all is so negative! Like OCD must be managed, there is no cure. It’s terrifying! I keep feeling like my life is ruined and I won’t get over this. How is it for you now, Emma? Do you get intrusive thoughts with triggers a lot? I feel frustrated because when I make headway on one thing, it seems like something else is giving me anxiety. I keep trying to remember what Paul says, which is to give the thoughts their space, because they won’t be around when you recover. But when I read other websites, it seems like it’s saying that it will never go away.

    This just started for me a few months ago, so I don’t feel like it’s something that’s like structurally wrong with my brain, and therefore just a pattern I can fix, but I keep stressing about it, and nothing i can read will help me otherwise. Does this all make sense? :/

  426. Riri Says:

    Just like what Matt said,
    Why do they say that anxiety/ OCD Cannot be cured. But then how do so many people recover.
    I don’t believe that it cannot be cured. Because how is it that I feel better now then before after I understood anxiety a little better.

  427. Matt Says:


    I’m thinking why they say it can’t be cured is that even people without abnormal anxiety have “disturbing” thoughts. So in that respect, you’re not going to get rid of crazy thoughts. However, I would think that being “cured” would be not being afraid of them, in which case they wouldn’t stick, in which case you would have them a LOT less frequently (back to that of a “normal” person).

    Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s what I would think would be correct? However, I feel like I can’t find good advice one way or another, but my therapist is treating it like she treats my normal anxiety, which is with acceptance. That leads me to believe that she doesn’t think this issue is any different than anything else, which is along the same lines as what we practice on this site.

  428. Lisa E. Says:

    I hope this post is helpful to someone. I see a lot of posts about the “cure” or “being recovered” etc. However much we aim for acceptance, our real aim is usually for the anxiety to end. It’s a crazy puzzle where you have to figure out (or stop trying to figure out) how to accept something that you don’t want to be there in the first place. For about two years I thought I was recovered. I thought this because I had a bought of serious anxiety that slowly subsided after work on my part to do the things that this blog, my psychologist, and books suggested. It took time, but it worked. I learned to feel anxious and not respond. Responding caused things to spin out and I allowed my thoughts to obsess over what was wrong with me. I learned to step back and observe that my mind/body was looking for things to be anxious about and I simply noticed instead of responding. The more I did this, the easier it got. The brief flashes of anxiety started to occur less frequently, and I could quickly notice and before I knew it, it was gone.

    But I think I fell into a trap of thinking I was cured. I had a little bit of a setback brought on by some real stress and a couple scary but not very serious health issues. The anxiety is now subsiding, and I’m doing the noticing again, and it is working most of time. The point I want to make is that being cured isn’t really a goal. I’m not sure if I can ever get rid of the strange feelings I get sometimes, but as long as I don’t follow the thoughts, I’m fine. The real measure isn’t so much whether the triggers stop, but it’s whether they interfere with our lives. By thinking I was cured, I think I helped the anxiety to come back. Saying “I’m cured”, at least for me, is a form of denial. Like saying, I’m not that person anymore. I think it’s ok to be someone who copes with anxiety, as long as that coping is positive. I’m sure I will have big stressors again in my life and I might slip down the anxious path again. I’m going to try not to! But I really think that acceptance is accepting fully that we have anxiety, even during the good times to keep our coping skills active and strong.

  429. Riri Says:

    I honestly think that recovery is still having the thoughts and feelings but not caring about them. Having no more fear anymore. Because I am most certain that when I was ” healthy” I had weird strange crazy thought. But never analyzed my thoughts and feared and judged and tried to fix. Everyone has weird crazy thought. And everyone thinks differently. But anxiety is when you react to your thoughts and fear them. I’m getting better at this process. But it certainly is a process

  430. Madison Says:


    Thank you so much for your advice. I’ve reread it many times and I couldn’t agree with you more. I will say yesterday I finally understood and felt acceptance and for a short period of time I actually took the fear out the anxiety and it felt great! I finally said “wow I really have nothing to be scared of.” But then the anxiety came back and I’m trying to keep a positive attitude but it’s a challenge. It’s so frustrating to feel like you got it and then it goes so quick. I keep perservering but sometimes when I feel loopy and see the world in a weird way it’s hard to feel like I’ll be bsck to normal.

  431. Riri Says:

    This is going to be a long post so sorry in advance,
    This is my story. Last year I had so many stressor from moving, having baby, two of my brothers weddings, father in law passing away,having guests from another country, and then moving again. On top of that taking care of two small children. I broke. I didn’t know what was happening to me. First I began having chest pain, and shortness of breath. Went to the doctor and he told me it was anxiety. Prescribed me some Ativan and sent me on my way. When he told me it was anxiety I brushed it off knowing all the stress I had. The symptoms went away. A couple of months later I began having heart palpitations and feeling really tired. I would always tell my husband I felt something was wrong with me but I couldn’t pin point it. Then things began getting worse. I began waking up in panic. Having shortness of breathe all day and lump in stomach. I began Googling and came up with cancer and other diseases. I became very worried. But living a busy life made me forget about it.
    A couple of weeks later my daughter became sick and would not sleep at night. So sleep deprived my symptoms got worse. Heart beating all day, shaking, poor appreciate, tired, restlessness, could calm down. I began to worry what was going on with me. Googling again I thought I had thyroid problems. Got checked out and came out clear. I was so unsure what was wrong with me. Then I missed my monthly period and I was terrified I was pregnant. After getting pregnancy test saying negative I thought I would feel better. But I didn’t I began felling worse. That’s when depression set in.
    So I went to the doctors office once more. He told me you might have a anxiety disorder. I had no clue what that was. He told me I would have to go to therapy and take antidepressants for the rest of my life. That terrified me.
    I went home and began Googling anxiety disorders. And that is what started my cycle. I feared I was GAD. Then I feared I would become OCD. I would read people’s fears and obsessions and think OMG what if I become like that.
    Months past with me fighting and hiding. I was afraid to be alone. It was horrible. After reading Paul’s blog. I set out to try his method. And it worked. I began laughing it off. I realized I would not become like everyone I read about. And I got over being OCD. So what if I was OCD.
    Then when I thought I was recovering great. I was on pintrest and came upon something about bipolar and hypo mania. And the cycle began. I began kconvincing myself I was bipolar. I would watch myself all day to see if I was talking to fast or too slow. I would ask myself if a felt euphoric. I would analyse my thoughts and ask myself if I am having grandious ideas. Also I would fear being irritable. Etc.etc. it was a nightmare. I am finally coming out of that one letting the thoughts come and go.
    Now my most recent fear is what if this is not anxiety. At first I was positive this was anxiety. Now I doubt myself. My mind analyses every thought feeling sensation and move. Asking me if I’m normal. I was myself if it is normal to think this way about every single thoughts. Even random thoughts.
    I question if I every emotion. Why am I happy why am irritable why am I angry. I worry about them I feel crazy honestly. I’m so tired. I live in fear in my own body. My mind things nothing I do or feel or think is normal. Then I worry if I will ever get better.
    The thing is even though all of this uncertainty and doubt I still live life normally. Because deep down I know it is anxiety. And know I shouldn’t let it get the best of me. It is really hard. But I know that I will soon get through this too.
    Sorry for the long post. I guess I just needed to pour my heart out. I guess this is more for me to vent. I feel so confused and alone.

  432. rachh Says:

    What paul is trying to say and what ive got recently is that..
    Whilst we all treat anxiety that it is something to get rid of it will stick around.. Because we will go to things eg cbt.. With the aim of getting rid of it. Therefore how can u partake in the cbt and be open honest for a councillor to get in your mind when all your doing is going there for them to take it away. Because whilst you are there all your aim will be is to do things to take it away and not be engaging in any type of conversation or being open for someone to get in there and help you change it.
    That is what NOT accepting is.
    Reading mindfulness texts spending hours trying to find things to get rid of it will not help you because we are treating the things that will help us the wrong way! Whilst we are still trying to get something or someone to take it away our mind wont let go to allow someone else in because we are in the defensive.
    I’ve only recently found this out myself.
    Acceptance is not something you do. Arghhhhh i can feel the pain of so many people as I’m typing this because i know the questions that will be going round in my mind.

  433. Pia Says:


    Let me assure you the thoughts fade!!!! I had them all. Look back at some of my posts. Do I still think crazy thoughts? Yes! Do they scare me? Yes. Do I dwell? Sometimes, yes! But they always move on. You’ll always be scared of them because they are scary! They are scary to everyone, but others don’t dwell and question them. I’m so much better now!!! I still get nervous and scared but just wait it out because it always passes and I feel normal again within the same day.

    There’s nothing to cure. You bring this on and you can stop it. Just wait the thoughts out and they will come less frequently.

  434. rachh Says:

    Gosh anxiety is such a personal journey.

  435. Emma Says:

    Matt, yes I’m still working through the intrusive thoughts. Still have the s-word thought, not nearly as bad and crippling as before but when it comes through I so badly get the urge to mentally “figure it out.” For example I was reading some literature on Buddhist practices and it was mentioned that in Buddhism there is a huge focus on relieving and finding inner freedom from “dukkha” — inner suffering, anxiety and so on, and that meditation is used as a vehicle to surmount this “prison” as they called it. As I was reading this I thought ” if the human condition is such a prison why shouldn’t I just end it now then. All my anxiety problems would disappear if I ended it.l I immediately was like “F…..why did I have to think that thought…noooot againnnn” as my gutt sank. My mind was picturing it being all over and me getting final relief from being “asleep” forever. Then I questioned whether this was what I wanted or not — was scared that a part of me did want that. Sound familiar??! So in short, YES I still have the thoughts, sometimes I give into them and react but other times I’m able to let them flow by before diving into them and getting involved. Today I got involved, but I’m practicing letting them be and soon I will be less and less involved w them. It doesn’t happen over night and it takes practice so don’t be discouraged when you start to worry or get involved w the intrusive thoughts. The discipline of psychology is still scratching the surface about anxiety, depression and OCD. OCD can be overcome, the power of neuroplastity through meditation and the creation of new behavioural pathways w mindfulness therapy has been proven by scientific research. So just keep practicing. A book I highly highly recommend is The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD by John Hershfield. I downloaded the ebook and it’s been so good for helping my intrusive thoughts. He has entire chapters dedicated to self-harm/harm ocd, relationship ocd, homosexual ocd, etc. it’s a workbook as well so it’s like mini-therapy as you complete it. I hope it helps you! Xx

  436. Matt Says:

    Pia, when you say thoughts fade, do you mean that every time I go by something that triggers me now, I won’t always have that thought? I really wouldn’t mind having this a couple of times a week, but having multiple things that reminds me of it everyday drives me nuts! I’m just tired of significant chunks of my day being dedicated to thinking about this. :)

  437. Emma Says:

    Riri, hang in there, you’re strong! Your fears are similar to mine. My psych told me that I tend to cope by questioning my own sanity, and if you read my last post to you you’ll understand how. You will recover, and you’re not alone we are all in this together xx

  438. Emma Says:

    Matt, yes the triggers don’t trigger you anymore. Exposure Response Prevention therapy is efficient for this. But essentially, when you recover the triggers won’t trigger you, I used to get intrusive thoughts about “what if I’m actually gay” and I don’t get triggered at all anymore by previous triggers, so I think it will work the same w the my current intrusive thoughts about insanity and self-harm, as well as yours.

  439. Pia Says:

    Yes Matt, you’ll walk by a knife and not be phased. You’ll drive on highways and not think twice. Now, you will “remind yourself” sometimes and “test” yourself with the thought. But they do fade. And you will realize that you haven’t thought about it for awhile. I hated when people said it to me, but have patience and let time pass.

  440. Pia Says:

    Emma- I also would transform anything I heard or read into sonething bad. Like thinking to myself, wow if all this is so hard then whats the point, etc. then I’d get flooded with panic. I would say in my head, that I knew I was gonna flip the good to bad then did it. We are all the same, same thoughts, feelings, thought patterns. I thought it was all just me but the more I read on here, the more I saw my exact thoughts from others and how common they are. If incessant so scary, you’d really have to laugh. If our thoughts came true, then no one would be around to post on this site!

  441. Emma Says:

    Pia, thank you, that’s truly wonderful insight. I’m pleased to hear that you’re feeling better and making progress. As many have mentioned before, it’s not the content of the thought that matters — although it feels urgent, alarming and real every time — it’s the anxiety beneath the thoughts. Anxiety finds a way of manifesting and it does so by intruding our thoughts. But by simply being AWARE that the nature of our thoughts are anxiety, we’re already making progress. Many people who have offed themselves I imagine did so because because they did not have the proper support and resources about anx/dep/ocd. If I didn’t know that my thoughts were NOT an indication of some type of truth, I would not be doing so well.

  442. Matt Says:


    Thank you so much for the help! You don’t know how much your last post to me means! I’ve just been looking for some hope, and everything on the web was making me lose it instead. I’ve seen progress with my anxiety this week finally, so I’m confident that I can apply the same technique. I think that reading about anxiety all the time also helps. I was doing fairly well this week until I looked up OCD. Thanks again everyone!

  443. Pia Says:

    Anytime Emma and Matt! What I’ve realized is that if I’m not worried about one thing, I’ll be worried about another. I’m going to worry regardless probably forever. I’ve always been a worrier, but it never bothered me because i wasn’t worried about my worrying or scared of what all my worrying was gonna do to me. I used to read stuff and it would scare me so bad but I just kept googling. I still do sometimes but know going in what’s more than likely to happen.

    My job site of 17 years closed a few months ago and ideas out of work for 2 months. My anxiety was allover the place. I was so scared I wouldn’t be able to do another job. I won’t have safe people with me etc. we’ll I got a great job! Which requires me to take a train- triggering bad thoughts. I work in a high rise building now- trigger thoughts. I have to concentrate and was worried I wouldn’t becablecyo focus but guess what I focus great and keep getting commented on my quick learning and attention to detail! I get nervous and just sit through it knowing I’ve been through this enough to know nothings gonna happen.

    Right now my finger is twitching, and I have a burning in my chest. Yeah I’m gonna worry, but I’m trying not to imagine what that worrying is gonna dobro me. You see, it’s just gonna jump from one thought to another until we just let it go.

  444. Matt Says:

    FWIW, my wife has aches and pains all the time. What I would freak out about never bothers her. It’s totally normal what we feel, we just have to realize that :)

  445. Jake Says:

    Hi all,
    I have recently been getting crazy thoughts out of nowhere. Mainly I question my relationship every second of the day, do I love her, is the spark gone, is this the end. It is even got that bad that I even question if I even love my own kids, I’m starting to think maybe I’m not cut out for this life.
    Before I had these thoughts I was happy & content with my life but now these thoughts are making me to want to run and be alone. I have read Paul’s book and a lot of it makes sense.

    Anyone have any advice on this matter

  446. Jake Says:

    Hi All

    I’m seeking some advice if possible. I’ve recently start getting strange thoughts normally to do with my relationship. I constantly question it do I love her anymore, has the spark gone, is this the end, have I just changed. It is getting to the stage as I am now questioning if I even love my kids or family members. Before I start getting these feelings I was happy & content so am now frustrated as to why I’m feeling like this

  447. RachelT Says:

    Hi all. Not posted on here for a while. This site has helped me so much it’s beyond explanation. I have been on a journey from sudden onset panic attacks, agoraphobia, constant acute anxiety and all related symptoms including derealisation. Constant repetitive thoughts about other mental illness, will I ever get better. Think I had it all. However please let me tell you, some oft symptoms and thoughts and fears came from what I read, maybe not at the time I read them but later for sure. I would think “oh that’s awful I don’t think or have that” boom I did. Guess what I’m trying to say is be careful to define what’s reassuring and what isn’t. Also wanted to say that it’s my belief that Paul wants us to share how his message helps us to inspire and give hope. I did what Paul suggests and continued and continued and eventually you start to turn corners.

    On a personal note I want to share something that won’t apply to all but may help somebody on here. I have an under active thyroid. My blood work was normal when my symptoms appeared so therefore classed as not the cause. I now know that very quickly after onset my blood work changed as I was medically induced hyperthyroid (which I’d never heard of) for a year before it was picked up. I still now have an anxiety disorder but it’s trigger was medically induced. Please get a thorough health examination if you have an issue which can trigger anxiety and pursue beyond initial investigation if you “feel” it’s not right. I’ve lost 18 mths of my life and will continue with my journey through anxiety because of this under management. Love to all and you will get better, just believe and take Paul’s advice to the letter. Go and “do” instead of thinking. Xxx

  448. Bryan Says:


    I remember your posts, it’s so awesome to see that you are doing better. You are 100% right, it makes a huge difference when people come back and share positive experiences or give advice. The only reason I ever check this blog anymore is to find posts like the one you just did. Or to see if Paul has written anything new of course. I do try to help other people out, as I have made good progress myself though I am not out of the woods by any stretch.

    In any case, thank you for sharing your wisdom you have gained and I hope you continue to do so. It’s the most important part of this blog in my opinion.

  449. RachelT Says:

    Hi Bryan,

    Thanks for your comment and I remember you too. Very pleased your getting beyond some of it too! It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever known but I totally got one day that I was fighting against myself. I found if I just shifted my mind from that thought or feeling that had just sent a huge electric shock through my body, even if it was for just 5 mins at a time, that that could be enough to allow the vortex to stop spinnin slightly. Just little breaks and practice practice. Exposure and pushing through over and over for anything you avoid too, absolutely. In my view acceptance doesn’t equal liking something or not caring it’s there at first, it’s about truly believing nothing bad is going to happen if you let go and move with it alongside you. There truly is no worse than you’ve experienced already.just rehashed fear you’ve already felt and thoughts just reinvented to maintain the shock level, that’s all Xx

  450. Emma Says:

    Just wondering if anyone has had dreams about their anx/dep. I’ve had dreams in which a spiritual healer would try to free me from depression and anxiety. Perhaps the topic is on my mind too much.

  451. Lisa E. Says:

    Hi Rachel,

    Thyroid problems can really contribute to anxiety. As can anxiety about having thyroid problems. Around the time three years ago when I first started having a little anxiety, my thyroid was checked and I was diagnosed with mild hypothyroidism. I started taking medication for it. Then my anxiety got worse and my doctor feared that I might have pushed myself over to hyperthyroidism, even though the blood tests didn’t really show that. So I stopped taking the drugs. For the past three years my tests have all come back normal. My doctor says that for many people the thyroid kind of has a mind of its own. I have found good behavioral ways of dealing with anxiety symptoms most of the time, but I do wonder how much hormonal kinds of things might be contributing to things.

  452. Jake Says:

    Hi All,
    I’m seeking some advice on my issues. I have read Paul’s book and think my issues are coming from anxiety but I’m not sure. I have recently begin to constantly question my 8 year relationship. I get these thoughts constantly do I love her, is the relationship over, am I cut out for this, is it time to end it. I have even started to question my feelings for my 2 kids 3 & 1 month. I’m starting to think I’m better off on my own as I won’t feel like this. Before I was feeling like this I was very happy and content.
    Can anyone give me advice

  453. RachelT Says:

    Hi Lisa

    I’ve read that if you have borderline thyroid issues diet can help a lot. As for all with anxiety, you have to look after your body and mind. I have no doubt that hormones have an impact. If your body is already out of balance any slight disturbance is heightened I think. X


    Def your mind downloading stuff you worry about. I’ve had dreams that have ruined my day! Haha x

  454. Jenny Lee Says:

    Hey everyone, How is your morning’s going?

    I’m in a bit of a pickle – with work/stress. I am so stressed in my job, I see up to 15 patients on my own with no help or support. I am struggling to cope. I dread going in to this job because it is just such a struggle to get through the day. I know that I add extra stress to this with my anxiety. But I feel like this job is holding me back because how can I heal whilst I am so stressed every week? I am just avoiding or is this realistic? I have two other jobs which I find stressful, but more manageable.

    Also – sorry to bring so much negativity, but I am really stuck in a rut here.. I just cannot seem to grasp the acceptance thing with obsessive/negative thoughts. If I try to just let go and let them come, I can’t seem to stop myself from getting involved/reacting to the thoughts/trying to replace them with positive. The thoughts then spiral, spiral, spiral until I am a confused depersonalised mess and I just want to sit in the corner and hide! I am getting so down, I’ve watched others gradually get better on here, but I just can’t seem to grasp it. I know what I need to do, but I just can’t seem to do it cos I’m so tired and stressed.
    Please someone give me some help or guidance I feel so lost :(

  455. Lisa E. Says:

    Jenny, I know what you are experiencing. In my experience it isn’t like a switch that you can just turn off. It’s more of a process of letting it be there. Not even trying to replace the thoughts. One thing that I learned to do was to step back and notice. I would say to myself “I notice that my mind wants to obsess over something. It does that”. The more that I did that, I would start getting anxious periods that either didn’t last as long or that happened less frequently. I also tried not to let my actions reflect the anxiety. There was nothing I could do about what my mind was doing. But for example, I wouldn’t go google symptoms or run and hide somewhere. Acting on the anxiety only makes it worse. The fact that you are working, even in a bad situation, means that you must have some of these skills already. It just takes time. Try to notice and appreciate small victories, like a quiet morning, and realize that your healthier brain let that happen. One thing I still struggle with it that if I have a setback, even for a small period of time, I really get down on myself.

  456. Jenny Lee Says:

    Lisa E,
    Thank you for your really supportive and kind message. It really helped me to see things from a external point of view. How far into recovery do you feel you are? Are your setbacks getting more manageable? I was about 60% on the pathway to recovery, albeit extremely slowly (like 18 months!) before I had a HUGE setback about 3 months ago when my father became seriously ill, and have been slowly digging myself into a deeper hole.

    I suppose if I really look at myself, I can see small improvements, like my health anxiety has gone down a lot, and panic attacks a lot less. But somehow anxiety has a clever way of morphing into some other lovely symptom!

    Wishing you and everyone a really blessed day.


  457. Lisa E. Says:

    Hi Jenny,

    Yes anxiety is so sneaky! When we conquer it one way, it finds another way. I went about two years feeling mostly recovered (after about 2 years of mild anxiety and 6 months of very strong anxiety). It probably took me about a year before I even realized the progress that I was making. You sometimes can’t see it from in your own head. I had a setback two months ago, which really scared me because I thought I had the techniques down and then I felt like I was back to square one and that nothing would ever work, I would always be anxious etc. This was brought on by some health issues, serious work stress, and not taking good care of myself. In fact the work stress likely brought on the health issues. I was pretty proud of myself that I wasn’t getting too anxious about the health things and that I was coping with a pretty stressful work environment. But eventually it just got to be too much and the anxiety came back. I don’t take meds for my anxiety, although I have considered it. Last time, I found a good psychologist. I went to her until the anxiety subsided. I started going back to her recently and I’ve found it to be very helpful. In fact, she’s really helped me to see the progress I’ve made. She is pretty unworried about my anxiety, which sounds funny, but she understands that I’ve had stress recently, and she makes my current setback seem almost normal and not something that I should obsess over.

    On good days, which are common, I would say I’m about 90% recovered. I would be fine if I’m always at 90%. I think the extra 10% is just how I’m wired. It’s all about how I respond to that. For me I really think that anxiety starts with a physical sensation (caused by cortisol, adrenaline, etc) that my mind responds to in an anxious way. So the physical sensation is 10% (I don’t know if it is possible to get rid of that), but if I just accept the sensation, it passes.

    Someone recently recommended a book to me that I have found to be helpful. It’s called My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel. It is sort of a history of theories about anxiety written by a man who has really awful anxiety. It probably isn’t a book that everyone would enjoy, but I like the intellectual history. It is really pretty funny in parts as the author reveals some pretty embarrassing aspects of his anxiety that folks who suffer with anxiety can relate to. For example, while researching phobias he came across a phobia about the fear of passing out while having blood drawn. This was something that he had done a lot through his whole life. Just reading about it caused him to develop the new phobia. I’m not finished with the book yet, but reading it makes me feel less alone in my anxiety.

  458. Emma Says:

    Does any one else deal with feelings of sadness for no reason, feeling very low, depression-like feelings? I seem to be the only one struggling with that. It’s really taking a toll :(

  459. Jenny Lee Says:

    Lisa E,
    Thank you that’s so helpful. I am inspired by your ‘can-do’ attitude and realistic views on anxiety. I suppose stressful situations may in future (after recovery) cause us to experience some anxious symptoms, but our reaction to these dictates whether they cause a problem or not. I am beginning to understand this, but I wish my brain would then allow me to utilise this knowledge! I suppose learning takes time. This setback feels like I am learning from the beginning again.

    That book sounds interesting, is it positive? As in, does he recover?! I found a v funny book called The Battersea Road to Enlightenment, about a woman who is seeking enlightenment in life (she doesn’t have anxiety), but she tries all these funny methods and her journey is quite amusing. It’s more a story of learning to love yourself for who you are.

    Emma, please don’t think you are alone in your suffering with low moods and depression/depletion. I too suffer with this, and although for some days the cloud slightly lifts, it returns and hits me in the face all too soon. Today I felt extremely down, teary and hopeless and v low motivation, I added plenty of unhelpful oh no’s and what if’s. But tomorrow is a new day and we can aim for allowing these feelings to stay for as long as my mind feels necessary. We don’t have to like the feelings, but know that they are there for a reason and that depression ALWAYS lifts, when our tired, emotional, fatigued mind replenishes itself. As you said, we are in it together.

  460. Allie Says:

    Sometimes I feel that because I have had anxiety ever since I was younger and its all I have ever known and remembered, that recovery seems impossible, or that its going to take the rest of my life to change. This discourages me. My whole life I have always worried.

  461. Sally Says:

    Emma I can get sad and tearful over nothing believe me you are not alone

  462. Lisa E. Says:


    Although I haven’t finished the book, it’s pretty clear that the author lives a pretty full life, but with some recurring anxiety and phobias. For example, he has a fear of vomiting and he worries about it every day. Then he writes that he is embarrassed to admit that it has been over 30 years since he last vomited, but he probably spends 30 minutes or more daily having spiraling thoughts about it. He knows it doesn’t make sense. His anxiety is actually pretty extreme and he has a long family history of serious mental health issues going back generations, so his genetics aren’t too favorable. But over all the book is positive and the author seems to gain a lot of insight from understanding the biologic processes behind what is happening. It’s just the body/mind doing things that might be good if he were being chased by a bear (adrenaline, etc) but happening out of context. And there are happy bits in the book.

  463. Matt Says:

    Does anyone feel like they don’t give themselves credit, even when they’re improving? I had a really improved week last week, and thought I was doing well. However, even though I had a good week anxiety wise, I had a horrible intrusive thought on Sunday evening (worse than normal), and i feel like I’ve been spiraling down again this week from that. I’m questioning if I’ll deal with intrusive thoughts forever again. I’m going to be firm with myself because there is no point in worrying, even though these intrusive thoughts are the hardest thing for me right now.

    I know the road to recovery isn’t a linear one, I just hate that I question things so easily, even when I was/am actually doing better.

  464. Lisa E. Says:

    Hi Matt,

    Yes, I feel like that. In fact, I think it is a weird part of the recovery process for lots of people. So the good news is, things are working some of the time. It’s just when things aren’t working we feel helpless and like things will always be that way. I can go a month without anxiety and then beat myself up because I have one anxious morning thinking that I’m a failure at accepting anxiety. Then that can make me spiral into another anxious day, etc. The key is just to recognize that you’re being hard on yourself, but that’s the anxious part of you.

  465. Matt Says:


    Thank you. The more I’ve been through this, the more I’ve realized that basically I should just chalk everything up to anxiety. The only thing I’m still having a hard time getting through is my intrusive thoughts, but that’s partly because my exposure to them is limited (just because of circumstance), so I’m always surprised by them. You’re right about not letting it get to you. That’s what I was doing my best at today, just accepting that it’s not all going to be smooth sailing. Even though I’m not as good as last week, I’m still better than a few weeks ago. I’m not allowing myself to engage in a mental battle all day long. Thanks again!

  466. Ronnie Says:

    Hi There,

    Wondering if anyone can relate. If had this dreaded condition for about 15 years now. In all that time I’ve never once felt like the person I was previous to its onslaught. There have been times when its been less severe but mainly my life since it struck has been punctuated by a pervasive joylessness which has robbed me of the vibrancy contained within our experience of living. My first episode was after having dabbled in soft drugs such as hash. Ever since the first electrifying episode I have been at its mercy. No thought or feeling can be remedied by any kind of technique. It’s power consumes me. Having read Paul’s book I see a lot of my own experiences contained within its pages. My own struggle now centres around being awake and trying to live. My feelings are as stated in the book to a degree but differ at the same time. Mine is not necessarily a fear of places although I do find myself avoiding places based on how I feel. I can also relate to the DP which has plagued me since first having the condition. My biggest problem is my emotional response to simple things. That feeling if utter fear when the anxiety comes upon me. There is no sanctuary for me and it can last for days, even longer. I am caught in the will it ever get better mindset certainly. My feelings and thoughts concerned with my worth as a person my inadequacies my status with others. Will they like me, am I interesting enough. This is all especially difficult when I’ve dated in the past. I completely obsess about what they think, if they like me alongside a whole host of other nonsenses. My reactions are not my own and the bury me in a sea of upset!! This gas no doubt been asked many times but is this also just anxiety? I find the idea of just resting with these feelings no matter what incredibly difficult as they rob me of all optimism, confidence and happiness. The intense hurt and fear which surrounds them is devastating. I can’t even remember the last time I simply enjoyed a sunny day. Can anyone relate. Many thanks. Ronnie.

  467. sam Says:

    hi guys… i hope u all are doin great…i would like to thank paul for the service he has done to millions of sufferers like me…and is still doing..trying to show them that there is light ahead…i followed his techniques and i can gladly say that i am nearly recovered now…but i have been stuck on a problem for the past few days…when recovery was happening but the mind was still anxious and sufferings were still raw…i got a sore eye and felt dizzy for a few days….this hampered my studies and as i have an important exam lined up i kind of felt scared that maybe this was something else…and whoommmm…….my attention got fixed on my eyes and ever since then i have not been able to stop thinking bout my eyes and how they feel…its not that i am trying to stop thinking coz i know now that trying to stop something forcefully only reenforces the feelings…i had funny weird feelings in my eyes ,which have now gone…but my perception seems to be stuck on me and all i can think about are my eyes…i would just like to ask that has anybody over here faced such a condition where they were hyper aware or their attention was fixed over certain body parts or functions??? i know that i will recover in due time but the feelings are damn frustrating :(

  468. Nolan Says:

    Hi Sam,

    Hyper attentive to some issue?

    That’s pretty much anxiety, right?

    Anyone suffering from anxiety is going to have some things that they are hyper attentive to.

    For me it is falling asleep and relaxing. My mind locks in on them and won’t budge.
    Like you said, any fighting against it just reinforces it. So…. let it happen and have a “so what” attitude towards it.

    I know it’s “damn frustrating”. But, peacefully move on with your day and life.
    Embrace that this is you for awhile. Don’t let yourself run away with frustration or anger. Recenter yourself at times and just say, “this is what it is”. And allow it to be there.

    God be with you.

  469. Nolan Says:

    And yes, Sam….
    the fears, doubts, attentions will find new things to fix themselves on.
    Just let that happen too. I mean, what are your other options?

    My fears, doubts, hyper attentions shift their focus so much it can be hard to keep up. So you know what? I don’t keep up. I don’t have any need to stay abreast with any of it because what happens is what happens.
    I’m going to live my life regardless.

    I have had moments of 100% pure freedom from all of this. Those moments are fleeting… but oh well. They show me that I am not broken. That the old me is still there.

    He’ll come back when he’s good and ready.

  470. Nolan Says:

    One more thing. I wanted to address this part specifically:

    “i would just like to ask that has anybody over here faced such a condition where they were hyper aware or their attention was fixed over certain body parts or functions??? i know that i will recover in due time but the feelings are damn frustrating”

    Sam, if you removed all talk about your eyes and mentioned sleep/relaxing this would describe my situation 100% accurately.

    You are not alone.
    You will come out of this.
    You will, at some point, have true freedom and peace from this.
    Just let it be whatever it is.

  471. Nolan Says:

    Hi Ronnie,

    First off – you’re a beautiful writer. Wow.
    You have a gift there.

    You write with much passion and detail that I can feel exactly what you are saying simply by reading it.

    I can tell that you are the type that is usually pretty good at explaining your thoughts and feelings to other people.

    You are able to do that because you have such a great and fine focus on yourself. You can preceive the nuances to your feelings and moods in better ways than most can.

    I’m the same way. Probably not as well written as you are…. but reading what you wrote, I can connect with you because you sound like me.

    Here’s the tough love part…. you and I, we both have to be more at peace with how we are and how we feel. We don’t have to over analyze all of our thoughts and feelings. We just have to let them be.
    From reading your post you sound so attuned to your thoughts, feelings, sensations… all of your mental states of perception and thought.

    You have a beautiful gift, Ronnie. Use that gift to start focusing on things other than how you currently feel and think.

    You speak of joy and happiness and wonder where to find these.
    My advice, you don’t make either of those the goal of your search. Those are the after effects of having peace in your life.
    You have peace in your life by being fine with however you feel.

    Happiness and joy will come. But don’t make them your target. Let them come naturally, however long that may take. In the meantime though, accept it all. Start being at peace with however you feel…. then true peace will find you. Then joy and happiness will be dispositions of your character; not external substances that you need to find and harness in.

  472. Jenny Lee Says:

    Lovely post Nolan, really inspiring words.

  473. Emma Says:

    Jenny, thanks for your kind words in regard to feeling down and depleted. Are you feeling any better? Still struggling with the grey cloud a bit and having little motivation. Are you feeling better since your last post?

    E xo

  474. Riri Says:

    Hey everyone,
    Hope everyone is doing well. I have one question for you all. Hope someone can answer this one for me.
    Lately I have been getting a little irritable. I feel like I have no patience. I get annoyed by silly things. I feel I am so uptight and I can’t let kids be kids. I don’t yell at my kids or anything like that but I feel I can’t let kids be kids. For example: my daughter bouncing her balloon annoys me. And then my mind goes off OMG why are you getting annoyed. Maybe this is not anxiety but something else.
    I fund that I analyse every emotion I have and fear it not being anxiety but something else. Even if I feel happy or excited I get worried what if this is mania. It is so ridiculous.
    Also….does anyone feel they feel ever body sensation. Like itching scratching. I then when I notice this movement I can’t stop thinking of it so I scratch more. I also think about random body parts.
    I know for sure that u can get through all of this. I just want to know that everything I am going through really is anxiety and not some other mental illness.i feel so forgiven in my own body.i love in fear of every move every thought.
    But I feel that once I know this is all just anxiety I can just dismiss it all and not live on fear.
    I know this sounds crazy but that is how I feel. I feel like I am the only person in the world going through this.

  475. Rebecca Says:

    Hi all well it’s been a year since I first found this site, I’m so glad I did I’ve took all your advice on board and I think the best advice was I needed to do nothing. Because all I was doing was trying to work everything out I felt like I had to do something to make me better all I was doing was going in circles making may self worse. I’d analyse everthing from a thought to a sensation it was so overwhelming as I’m mum of 3 I felt a failure to them. It’s so so hard to put into words what physical and mental symptoms I’ve been through. I’m now at a place where I’m at piece with my anxiety I never push it a way I allow it to be with me I don’t get involved with it I just go with the flow. I’ve still got along way to go but I’m fine with that because I no how far I’ve come. I would advise anyone just let go stop fighting, be patient and have faith. I no how hard it is believe me take one day at a time and don’t be so hard on yourselfs. Xxx

  476. Will Says:

    Hi, has anybody else ever felt so mentally hyperactive that they HAVE to constantly be doing something, maybe even multiple things at once? Or that your mind can’t rest and be silent, that you always have something playing in your head?

    I’ve been like this for a very long time now without even realising it. I went to see a counsellor a few weeks ago about my anxiety in general, and he picked up on how I don’t complete my sentences before starting another. He also noted how I’m always fidgeting and can’t sit still. And as an experiment he asked me to sit as perfectly still in this silent room for as long as I could, no fidgeting, nothing. I barely reached the 30 second mark before the silence felt deafening and I felt my face and fingers dying to twitch. He said it was because I wasn’t used to the peace.

    I consider myself an avid gamer, and over the years I’ve been playing games almost constantly, as it has always been my favourite pasttime. But that’s not enough; I feel as though I have to overload my senses by having a video/DVD playing on the computer right next to me for background noise. For all this time I never considered it a problem — I just assumed that I wasn’t taking it all in, that I felt relaxed while playing certain games — but my counsellor begs to differ. He says that my hypervigilance is due to my brainwave frequencies, which as humans we aren’t designed to handle CONSTANTLY, and as such I’m putting myself at risk of a breakdown or stroke.

    This made me realise and put things into perspective (while simultaneously scaring the pants off me) and I’ve vowed to try and slow things down from now on — to do only one thing at a time, to make sure I take breaks, and to grow more “aware” of my surroundings (referring to the fact that I’m always walking around with an iPod). But only now being aware of my habits it’s really become a challenge for me, somebody who feels the need for constant input of any kind. Doing virtually nothing is unbearable to me, not to mention the fact that I can’t seem to get my mind to shut up; it’s constantly looping songs, games, videos, etc. and I can’t “clear” my thoughts. Even when I DO manage to clear my head, I find myself yearning for more electronic input to “occupy” my mind. I’ve also recently been having odd pressures and spasms around my head, but I think that’s just due to the tension of the whole situation. (Although the supposed threat of a stroke may be on my mind — ironic that I’m stressing about trying not to be stressed.)

    But yeah… is there anybody else who is, or has been, in this situation? I guess I’m just not used to peace and quiet since I’ve always had an impatient and hyperactive mind, and that it will just take time to reprogram my brain. I’ve dug out my old relaxation tape and I do the muscular relaxation exercise on it every night before bed, so I guess I’m de-stressing and relaxing in a way and I can actually clear my mind well enough while doing it. But it really is a struggle for me to slow down and relax, as well as shut my mind the hell up sometimes. (It’s taken some concentration for me to not be doing something else at the same time as typing this!)

  477. Will Says:

    Forgot to add:

    When I AM relaxed and doing nothing, I either find myself focusing on my heart which begins acting erratically, or I’ll get a stabbing cramp/pain in my chest (I always get muscular spasms on the left side of my chest, making me think I’m having a heart attack) which jolts me out of my relaxed state. Or I’ll feel so relaxed that I feel “floaty” and I’ll again jolt myself out of it.

  478. Nolan Says:

    that’s pretty much what happens with me too when I relax.
    Or, when I’m going to sleep my attention on myself shoots through the roof.

    I simply let it happen. Nothing more than that needs to be done.
    And it’s slowly getting better.

    Don’t feel like you’re alone.
    So, when you go to relax and these automatic ‘things’ start happening with you just let’em come and offer no resistance.
    Don’t treat it like something that needs to be quickly overcome.

    Find peace with the fact that that’s just what’s happening with you. I think in due time you’ll notice that it’s getting easier.

  479. sam Says:

    thnx for the reply Nolan…feeling much better today..the “what if” attitude really of now i dont have any other problem…life is pretty much normal…but deep inside i am prepared to face anxiety if it rears its ugly head again..and to be true..this hyperawareness of vision for me isn’t even an issue…its merely an irritation…i know what i went through and how i have come out…these days are nothing like what used to be even six months back…and i am thankful to paul and all u lovely people out here for showing me the light of the day… i have recovered 90%…the rest 10% i feel isnt in my hands…its in time’s hands..with time i’ll go to 100%..and i know everybody over here who is suffering or partially recovered will too….and wish you a speedy recovery Nolan…God bless :)

  480. D-Ren Says:

    Hi everyone, haven’t posted for a while

    So things aren’t going too easy with me now, as the confusion at times is so high and mind racing

    It’s funny that when I’m going to sleep – I feel calm, but in the morning, I might wake up an hour or more, feeling anxious before my alarm clock starts to shout 😀

    But I still have times where I am able to flow freely, without holding any thoughts, but when I get confused “in a certain way”, I tend to get quite overwhelmed, and can’t concentrate too good, as I feel like I have to do something :(

    Anyways, keeping my head up!!


  481. Jake Says:

    Can someone look at my previous posting and give me some advice.

  482. Bill Says:

    Haven’t been here for a long while,any advice as i am really struggling.As soon as i am on my feet i get a strong tension headache in the back of my neck/head,i get really strong feelings of passing out and light headedness which i guess are a result of the tension build up.I am finding it hard to function and go out for the fear of passing out,when i do i feel terrible and just want to get home.Everything i do is the opposite of what Pauls book says.How do i accept these vile sensations and turn my life around,comments would be most appreciated,thanks,Bill.

  483. Emma Says:

    I’ve had this feeling too, questioning my relationship and doubting my love for my significant other. This is very common with anxiety and others from te blog have dealt with this. It’s particularly alarming because the lack of feeling seems so real. It’s a form of intrusive thinking, if you leave and be “on your own” it will not fix te problem, your anxiety will find someone thing else to cling into a and doubt — trust me. Just power through it, resist the urge to try to “figure it all out” when the thoughts or feelings arise. Just go through the motions and this will pass, it did for me. But please be patient. The book “The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD” by John Hershfield. There is an entire chapter dedicated to relationship OCD — or relationship anxiety. It helped me a lot. Just persevere through these feelings and they will pass.

  484. Nolan Says:

    I’ve been there too.
    Terrible dry/numb feelings towards my girlfriend. She was/is an amazing lady and I just couldn’t muster any feelings towards her. When she would put her arm around me I could feel my skin crawl. It’s like I wanted no physical contact from her.

    But then I would think, “if it would be any other girl…. would I eventually get this way again?”
    And the answer I came to, in my head, was always “yes”.

    I was able to realize that the problem wasn’t with her it was with me.

    So, I stopped arguing with those thoughts, I stopped engaging in them. If I felt uncomfortable then so be it. But I knew that it was nothing wrong with her. I knew these thoughts were just figments.

    That was back in 1999. Now it’s 2014 and I’m married to her and have a son with her.
    Those feelings hardly ever rear their head again. And the few times that they do, I just accept them for what they are – bluffs.

  485. Cassie Says:

    I’m not talking about a relationship problem but avoiding crossing a street at a flashing walk light. I’ve had this problem before panic.To this day I still cross at a corner without a light because I’ve almost got hit by cars even bikes (at the lights, right turns- I’m from the states). Since panic set in, the thought of crossing the street at a light fills me with anxiety. I may have a job downtown(3 traffic lights to cross)! I just want to work again after four years of non-paid time off-I used all of my retirement money But I figure that is a small thing after what I have accomplished.So move on and not care and kick the bike out of the way.

  486. Cassie Says:

    Another thing,does anybody have anything to say about Eckhart Tolle? Do you all think this guy has DP?

  487. Yolande Says:

    Hello all,

    Been having fear spasms – nothing that lasted too long and awful low moods but def not fun. Fitful sleeping woke up at 2am and couldnt get back to sleep etc. Re avoidance behaviours, I am def doing this. I gave up jobs cos i was afraid i couldnt handle it in my current state, declined interviews for the very same reasons.

    it’s so hard sometimes. I feel so tired and down. I have quit my job without one lined up so i can take some time to recuperate but sometimes this scares me …….. thoughts about the future and all the ‘what ifs’ comes in. What if i cant find a job, cant perform etc etc

    I KNOW these are all anxiety’s tricks. but it’s very diff to pull myself out of it. sometimes i can, other times I cant. I came out of anxiety before 4 years ago so i know i can do it. I just get to frustrated with myself somestime. as here i am doing it to myself again, worrying too much abt things until anxiety hit.

    I hate myself sometimes. Why did I not learn from previous experience? i have always been an anxious person. i worry a lot abt stuff that sometimes are totally uncalled for.

    Would appreciate any advice from anyone.

  488. Bryan Says:


    Have you read Paul’s book?

  489. Kyle Says:

    Hey guys,

    Haven’t really posted much lately since I have been feeling a bit better. All my depersonalization and derealization are gone along with the head aches/blurred vision/ and panic attacks thank goodness. However I still tend to worry a lot about things. My anxiety first came on after I graduated from college and started partying on the weekends and not looking after myself. I got into using alcohol to cope with work stressors and used some party drugs with friends when we went out about 2-3 times a week. Once the anxiety got so bad I went cold turkey and stopped drinking and using drugs and was scared out of my mind that I would never be the same again so I went to the doctor and he told me I had anxiety and from there the worrying about my worrying started. Has anyone else gone through a similiar situation? So now after being sober for a while and still seeing all my friends go out and do the same things I use to be doing I get extremely stressed out and jealous because they can go out and do all these things and still lead a normal life. i feel so much resentment towards them and feel bad for myself because i cant be out having fun with them the way I use too. For a while I was so anti-drinking and anti-drug and i still kinda am. it had put a great division between me and people. I wish I could just accept all this and be okay with being me and let everyone do what they want but i feel so left out. Can anyone tell me if they experienced this?? So fast forward and I am in a relationship with a girl who just became of legal age to drink and it worries me sick. She has told me she isnt partying so much because she respects me and my attempt to be sober. I really wish we could just party and have fun together but now when she goes out to the bars it really stresses me out and I dont want to be the controlling/ “anti-fun” boy friend. She also goes to raves whch we use to go to together and takes party drugs every now and then but she has cut way back and only does them once in a while with friends. It makes me feel so left out and envious that people can be out having fun doing what i use to do and still be okay with themselves when I am just fighting this demon inside. i really dont know what to do and I want to do is be okay with myself and drink a little bit here and there and not feel like i have to be out partying till the sun comes up with my friends and be the person i use to be. It has put a real strain on our relationship and i told her i dont think i can handle it and she says that one weekend of her partying should not allow me to judge her. The amount of relationship anxiety this all gives me is through the roof because I just want to have fun and be me and I feel like I cant and its scary. i know this isnt a relationship blog but it has me so stressed and anxious i cant figure it out. Can anyone help?

  490. Doreen. Says:

    Riri – you aren’t the first and you won’t be the last person to come on here seeking reassurance over and over again. However, there is nothing more anyone can say as no one is going to tell you anything other than that you have anxiety. You say
    “But I feel that once I know this is all just anxiety I can just dismiss it all and not live on fear”. The only way you can know this is to believe what you are being told. And you are certainly not the only person to have gone through this. Why do you think this blog exists?

  491. Riri Says:

    Hey guys how is everyone doing.
    I look back at all my posts and laugh because because I had a problem with accepting all of this. Anxiety really does know how to trick you.
    A couple of days ago my mind was going off looking back at things in my past that would indicate I had some mental illness. But I just let it flow and said whatever I still need to live. And that is just what I did. And guess what they began sticking less and they didn’t bother me anymore.
    So I have come to a conclusion that if you don’t obsess and question your thoughts they will fade…
    I feel like I have taken a step forward. Every once in a while a discover my strength more and more and feel u get closer to recover.
    I have also realized that when people ” recover”. They don’t actually “recover”. Because there was nothing wrong with them on the first place. It was just the reaction. We gave all these thoughts and feelings that made them stick around.
    So I guess recovery is when you feel anxiety orly have weird thoughts and not obsess and question them. Everyone has these thoughts and feelings but once you fear and obsess them, that is when you start having problems.
    Because I know for sure most of the thoughts I have I had when I was ” healthy”. I just never gave them a second thought and analyzed them.
    Brian- to be honest with you I had not read the book until the weekend. But I think even the blog gave me most of the info to understand anxiety.

    One more question- everyone is probably like REALLY RI RI. Haha. I was just wondering sometimes I get random thoughts about random people and random places or situation or things. They just pop into my head out of the blue. Then I begin wondering why I thought this thought. And then my starts saying OMG is this part of anxiety.
    So I guess what my question is is this part of anxiety?? Has anyone ever experienced this?? And should I just let it float without questioning because all it is is anxiety. I will give you examples: thoughts of people I haven’t seen in years pop up randomly. Or images of the mall. Or garbage can. Very very that is what flusters me. How outlandish. And advise???

  492. Matt Says:


    So thanks to Emma, Pia, Lisa, and some other commenters, I’ve been able to make a full commitment to acceptance. I feel like I’ve finally accepted that everything I have is just anxiety, including my intrusive thoughts. So thanks to everyone for helping to get me to that point!

    My next question is, even when you accept, can you still feel anxious for hours on end? Or down? I’m assuming the question is yes. I noticed today that even though I either felt down or anxious most of the day, I did not allow myself to start worrying about my future or my anxiety. It didn’t necessarily make me feel any better in the current moment, but it also meant that my anxiety didn’t escalate either.

    This is only the first few days of me not really caring about getting rid of my anxiety, so I’m assuming that it won’t just go away, but does that mean I’m on the right track if I still have some decent anxiety throughout the day, even though I’m not really caring about it? Thanks! :)

  493. Emma Says:

    Hi, hope everyone is doing well. Just had a question for anyone who can answer.The other night I was watching TV and there was an interview about an athlete who has depression and he described feeling like he hated himself, felt like a failure and that he wanted to end it despite the grief it would bring to his family because he felt in the end they would be better off without the burden of him and his depression issues and had a belt tied in his closet to off himself. This really, really got to me.

    I began thinking about whether or not I feel like a failure, whether or not I hate myself, whether or not I feel like my family would be better off without my anxiety/depression issues. I started to feel immediately guilty because my family has helped so much and maybe they would in fact be better off. I do experience depression with my anxiety but not a self-loathing type of depression, just a sadness and a certain “greyness” and low mood. But now, ever since I saw the guest speak on that tv show, I feel like now I’m starting to also hate myself, feel like a failure, etc. It’s as though his symptoms were contagious and I “caught” them. Now I’m afraid my mostly mild depression symptoms will become very severe like his and lead to the inevitable… is this anxiety or were these feelings inside me all along and just surfacing now? Very unsettling this particular topic…


  494. Emma Says:

    Ps. Just want to give an example to illustrate: I usually text or call my boyfriend, my mother or my father when I feel down or anxious and they always makes me feel better. But since watching this show, I fear that I’m burdening them with my phone calls about anxiety/depression. The act of verbalizing my inner state and my thoughts to my family used to help me air out a lot of the anxiety/depression and would somehow shrink its power. But now since watching this programme I think that perhaps I talk about it too much, that I’m burdening them with all this anxiety/depression talk. Or, I analyze how I feel about my appearance, if I don’t feel particularly pretty some days I attribute it to self-loathing “I don’t look good today…do I hate myself?” … “He’s doing so well at his job I envy him…I better perform as well as him…wait, do I feel like a failure? — oh no, I feel like a failure!”

  495. Emma Says:

    Matt, I feel like I’m in the exact same stage as you. The last few days I’m starting to embrace acceptance — I oscillate between feeling down & anxious throughout the day, but I resist the urge to worry or mentally figure it out and just float. I don’t feel any better or have immediate relief in doing so, but like you said it doesn’t escalate. Other than the confusion I’ve had about the content of my last post, that’s where I’ve been so far. I think it will take a lot of perseverance and patience in this direction and recovery will come. Somedays will be tougher than others and I know I will not always be able to resist the urge of getting involved in the thoughts, but here’s to practicing x

  496. Jake Says:

    Hi Emma thanks for the response.
    I sometimes think maybe this isn’t anxiety and maybe it’s my gut telling me it’s time to give it up. I am a very negative thinker so not really sure what way to go with this. I will get that book you mentioned.

  497. Jake Says:

    Hi Nolan

    Do you still get these feelings towards your partner from time to time? I think I would be the same with another girl after time but still have that voice telling me to leave!! It seems you have/had the exact same things going on as me. I sometimes think I need out of the relationship, it’s reached the end or maybe I’m just not attracted to her anymore all these feelings just suddenly creeped up on me.
    How to you tell the difference with anxiety & true feelings

  498. Sinead Says:

    Hope everyone is doing well!
    Havent posted in a year or so as Im over the moon to say Im living happily with anxiety now and got over a really bad patch of 3 years ago.Just wanted to say this website is great and really helped me make sense of things for the first time especially the constant negative anxious thoughts-i constantly had ill never be normal again/youll never be happy again/youll never think normally again running through my head 24/7-for anyone who experiences things like this just know that it takes time but once you just come to accept these thoughts plus just get on with living your life-your brain can only cope with so much and the rubbish negative thoughts slowly get replaced with “whatll i have for dinner tonight” and other boring day to day stuff-you do regain free thought patterns again!i still get irrational thoughts-everyone does but because i stopped putting importance on a thought they tend to be fleeting and ill have forgotten i had the thought within a few minutes.anyonewith anxiety will know every so often theres a really juicy anxious thought that will try to latch on and get me ruminating over-and it still irritates me slightly when that happen!but when you remind yourself its anxiety and just think well im just gonna have to kuve with this thought alongside my life for the next few days-literally i wake up in the morning and have forgotten about it.acceptance isnt easy but it does come with time and patience and this is just me saying have faith-even if it feels like it never will-it gets better ever so slowly first and theres lots of setbacks but it will come.and use this website as its excellent for support-but know that theres a time that will come that you need to go it alone-because sometimes being constantly on this is just another way of ruminating anx can be halting acceptance.
    I came on here because i wanted advice with an annoying little bit of anxiety that ive been having recently despite being 100% alright these days-
    its really irritating when im driving and see a speed camera i become convinced ive got caught speeding and will lose my license-yesterday i drove past 5 so you can imagine how that bit of anxiety is now embedding itself firmly in ny mind.i guess i wanted reassurance and people to say -you probably havent been caught speeding,this is all just your anxiety-but i guess i kind of know that myself!and thats the thing with anxiety and getting over it-you dont learn to worry less-you cant stop the thoughts-but what you can do is recognise it and put less importance on it and get on with your life-so thats what ill do,itll probably pop into my head a few more times in the next few days weeks and yeh i will still worry about it to a certain extent but living my life is much more important and i wont let anxiety stop driving and theres literally nothing i can do if that is the case so whats the point wasting days fretting over it-plus i know its just my anxiety catastrophising things-i am literally the slowest driver in the world!-and if im wrong and i have somehow slipped over the limit then done now -oh well!

    sorry for the essay just wanted to say well done everyone and keep going-youll get there in the end!you can live side by side with anxiety as my driving stresses show 😉 im still 100% happy and living a full life despite my odd wee blip-usually to do with driving!

  499. Lisa E. Says:

    Matt, Emma and others. You are both right about floating through the feelings. The victory isn’t that they go away instantly. That’s the long term victory. While in a period of anxiety, the victory is in not chasing the anxious thoughts and letting them take over. Let them be crazy, annoying, irrational, etc. Try to just notice and not engage. I sometimes even mentally talk back to it. It’s ok to say something like “you are focusing on your anxious stomach symptoms right now. You do that. You’ve gotten through this before, etc. ” Don’t fight it, but acknowledge it.

    I know we all probably differ in the form the anxiety takes, but whatever loops our anxiety does, it will do. Little things can disrupt those loops. A quick walk, TV, a book, etc. while some people feel that things like meditating or relaxation techniques work, those only work for me when I am not anxious. When I am, finding a project to complete is the kind of distraction I need.

  500. Lucy Says:

    Kyle I relate so much so I just wanted to say… I know exactly how you feel. I have always been an overthinker/worrier, I wouldn’t say I was self-medicating or anything but I would smoke in the evenings to just forget about stuff and have a peaceful nights sleep without my mind going over and over silly things. Eventually this back fired on me, I experienced a panic attack one evening and have never smoked since! I then started obsessing over it and links between that and mental illness.. I have consumed alcohol since but never been drunk. I guess I would put that down to feeling like I lose my sense of control and we all know how important that is to an anxiety sufferer! Lol. Anyways my boyfriend still regularly smokes, it is not so much about what you CAN’T do, as accepting that it just doesn’t work for you anymore. I respect he still wants to, he respects that I don’t. I feel your frustration, and I do believe certain things we shouldn’t allow anxiety to stop. That said, sometimes it’s leading you to make better life style choices for yourself, it’s just about learning maybe to not go overboard anymore. Pre-anxiety I knew I was in a bit of a rut and was looking for a sign to change how I was living. Okay maybe a panic attack wasn’t ideal but it made me sit up and look at what I was doing.

    Riri – my mind often gets completely random thoughts about completely random situations/people. I read something once that freaked me out for ages, that it was another symptom of another illness however everyone’s mind does this! All minds get bored and wander where they want, all minds have “what ifs” or live over past events. The difference is we obsess about the thoughts or why we had them, whereas someone without anxiety may think about it for a while then just dismiss it. I too have struggled to accept this can all just be anxiety at times, but the more we do that the more we’re involving ourselves. Let me tell you now that not once in 18 months have any of my intrusive thoughts, or obsessional ones, lead to anything that I had worried about. I’m still here. I haven’t lost my mind. The physical symptoms haven’t landed me in hospital. Those last few sentences are all I need to know now to know recovery is there. By the way I think your definition of recovery but not actually “recovering” because there is nothing to recover from is spot on. Good luck! :)

  501. Kyle Says:


    Thank you so much for my response. Yeah I went cold turkey on everything and for some reason I have this frustration that i cant do all those things anymore and just be the fun and crazy person i use to be. I hold so much animosity towards people who still do those things now and judge them and i hate it because it makes me feel so left out. Like going to big concerts I constantly feel left out because everyone is having fun and partying and I feel so restrained. Like this weekend my GF went to a 3 day music festival this weekend and I was so anxious because i knew she was out having fun and doing the things we use to do together. IDK why but I just cant get over it. Its like I have this huge fear of missing out on all the fun that i shut people out and judge them and I try to shrug it off like i dont care. i know its silly thinking but it completely made me a different person.

  502. Jake Says:


    Does anyone ever feel like their feelings have just been taken away from your body. Feeling towards partner, kids, family. I feel very hollow which worry a me greatly.

  503. Lucy Says:

    Kyle, I do feel the same sometimes, I wish I could just do the things I used to without a second thought … But I have to accept, that’s just not the way it is for me right now. Maybe in time that will change but for now I’m just realising I don’t need all those things to have fun, or to make me, “me” if that makes sense. You can still go out and join in!

    Jake – yes, all the time. I know that’s a very common symptom lots of people experience, I still have those days but they DO come back. It’s just another thing to accept, it doesn’t mean you don’t care, you just become so wrapped up in yourself with the anxiety. You just have to continue doing the things you would do anyway and eventually you get lost in the moment and those feelings come back when you least expect it.

  504. Jake Says:

    Hi Lucy
    Thanks for the reply, in a strange way it has given me some relief. I am so frightened at the moment regarding my lack of feelings towards my partner & kids, how is that normal?? I want to adore them all but just feel so empty with no interest in them and I feel I need to force things.
    I really hope I get these feeling back because feeling empty like this is horrible. I am trying to stop thinking negativiately but finding this hard. I seem to have this constant wave regarding my feeling toward my partner.

  505. Emma Says:

    Thank you Lisa, great advice.

    I have been feeling much better lately. It’s like night and day, I’ve just been living alongside feeling anxious and feeling down and I feel 80% better than I did the last few months, or two weeks ago even. I hope this progress continues. I know that setbacks will be inevitable so I do anticipate them. I do still struggle with low moods/feeling sad and down for no reason, and some anxious thoughts, but it’s much less severe and less pronounced than before. I’m trying to practice mindfulness techniques by recognizing these feelings and thoughts as fleeting events and observing them instead of getting involved in them. Hope I’m not jinxing myself! Xx E

  506. Lucy Says:

    Jake if you read back posts on here you would really see you’re not alone. If you really felt “nothing” you wouldn’t feel horrible about feeling nothing. Anxiety is great at it’s tricks! I know it makes you question so much. Maybe don’t force, just accept and still carry on whatever you’re doing with your wife and kids. It takes a while for it to all come back but just be patient with yourself.

  507. Matt Says:


    You literally just wrote what I was going to write today. I’ve finally been able to give up the fight and have been able to let my feelings just be there (for the most part) over the last few days. Friday I felt down and bad all day, even though I was accepting. However, Saturday was nothing short of amazing. I was literally 90% of my old self, and even my intrusive thoughts I”ve been talking about have weakened. I’d still have them, but then could brush them off and forget about them for a while. Sunday wasn’t quite as good, but still around 85%, and I noticed that my mind wasn’t wondering back to anxiety. I also wasn’t trying to keep it away either.

    Today isn’t nearly as good, but it’s given me a lot of hope. I think it’s because I’ve felt so good, and then I was trying to hold onto it. Also, I’m not accepting as well today, which is why I think I’m feeling worse. It’s all down to the fact that even though my anxiety has been down, I’ve felt really tired and irritable for no reason, have had no feelings for the people close to me, and have had some scary/intrusive thoughts. The scary thoughts are weird now, because I’m not having as much anxiety with them, so it is just strange… :/

    I know that this is all just anxiety, I’ve seen success, and I need to keep up the acceptance practice. Being away from typing on this every day has helped as well, since I’m not feeding my brain with thinking about anxiety. However, I needed a refresher on the fact that people with anxiety will feel tired, irritable, and emotionless sometimes…

  508. Emma Says:


    I can always seem to relate to you. Just keep accepting all the new or old sensations. It’s the layers of anxiety shedding. I’m not 100% either and sometimes I can’t even really pinpoint exactly what it is that isn’t quite right still but I just don’t feel 100%. But, I know it will come with time. I also feel like being away from the blog is me helping too. I used to check it all the time and would spend hours reading older posts and comments for hope. I feel like I’m starting to focus on “living” again. I still feel flat, low or anxious but getting through it. Continue to live alongside it even if today hasn’t been a great day. Soon the good days will last longer and the low days will be fewer and far between, but it will take more time. Hang in there :) xx

  509. Matt Says:


    Thanks, you too! I need to get up on that horse again, just needed a reminder to stop feeling bad for myself and to allow myself to feel irritated without letting it get in the way of my day. The new stuff just keeps trying to throw me for a loop, but I’ll keep rolling with the punches :)


    Thanks for the post above! I agree that a victory is not fighting the anxiety, even though it’s there. It’s just hard sometimes, but now that I’ve seen it’s possible, I have a lot more hope! Now I need to accept setbacks, which is a great problem to have! :)

  510. Matt Says:


    Also wanted to say that I know what you mean by not being able to pinpoint what’s not quite right. I used to always be able to associate a situation or thought with a feeling, but sometimes it just feels so diffuse I don’t even know where it’s coming from. I now just let it be there, rather than trying to figure out, which I think is the correct approach. It’s just a weird thing for sure!

  511. Jake Says:

    Hi Lucy
    Thanks for your advice on my issues. I still question that I’m the only one to feel like this and maybe it’s not even anxiety but I’m sure that anxiety working it’s magic on me!!!! I need to start just accepting that I’m like this now and just hope I turn the corner. It’s not nice feeling so empty towards my partner and constantly questioning everything..

  512. colmc Says:

    hi guys havent posted in years ,but have had a set back and came on here hoping there hsas been a new amazing cure lol,i wake up at 4 in the morning and toss and turn untill eventually vomet but as the day goes on it seems to ease,does anyone else find the morning toughest .

  513. Bryan Says:


    Mornings are definitely the hardest for many of us. I don’t know what percentage but I would guess a high percentage.

    In fact, I can say that my condition essentially feels kept alive purely by what happens in my sleep. It’s always out of sleep that my condition comes on, daily. And it eases as the day goes on.

    So, I’ve been in recovery for a couple of years, making progress… but my body is still not desensitized enough to go through normal sleep patterns yet, so I’m just being patient the best I can.

    It would be interesting to see Paul do a blog on this subject at some point. As there’s a specific kind of acceptance that comes with waking up with this thing raging, as opposed to the kind where someone is afraid to drive… or has random or situational panic in the day.

  514. Jake Says:

    I’m sorry for constantly posting on this blog but find I am really struggling at present. My lack of feelings towards my partner/family feel so real. I just feel maybe it’s the end of the road for us. I was even in tears today thinking about this!! I just see no way out of my current predicament but maybe ending the relationship could be a start. These feeling has just came over me the last month and I feel I’m constantly getting hit by this relentless wave.. Do I love her, am I attracted to her, is this just the end.. Over & over again. Before this came over me I was very happy in the relationship I just don’t know what has happened

  515. tim Says:

    You have to see the lack of feeling as a symptom of anxiety. Just as any other symptom. Each time the wave of thinking about this topic comes over you try not to react to it and don’t fight it. Doing nothing with it, letting it pass and not going back in to it to figure something out. Give it less importance. Move away from it, gradually letting it go, not because you fear it or resist it but because it’s not important.
    You are bewildered by a symptom. Trust that under the surface layer of anxiety you stil feel the same for your family, I’m sure!

  516. Emma Says:

    Jake, I’ve been there. You have to treat this as anxiety — just as Tim said. On the homepage of the Anxiety No More website, lack of feelings/emotions were listed by Paul as symptoms of anxiety. I had this too, if you scroll up and read some of my older posts you’ll find it somewhere. It felt so real for me too, I was convinced I had fallen out of love. I guarantee that this will pass — just go through the motions. It doesn’t come back all at once but little by little the feelings start to come back, I would be upset because I wasn’t feeling entirely the way I used to feel before but slowly and surely it passed. Have you looked into The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD by John Hershfield? He describes Relationship OCD (or relationship anxiety) exactly as we experience it and provides very helpful ways to overcome this. But the main point is to resist the urge to figure it all out, just go through the motions, allow yourself to feel the doubt, or not feel at all! This will pass!


  517. Matt Says:


    How have you been doing this week? Hopefully still doing better!

  518. Emma Says:

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for asking, by some kind of miracle I’ve actually been pretty well. I have moments of feeling low and moments of anxious rumination, but they don’t consume me like before. I feel almost…dare I say….normal?!

    As you know, I was having a lot of trouble feeling motivated and I was always feeling flat or down or grey/sad, that has seemed to shift which I’m thankful for. But, I still feel vulnerable, like if anxiety or depression decided to up their ammo I would be in that miserable place. I’m just trying to live day by day but I must admit, the prospect of having a bad setback is kind of terrifying, because once you feel consistently good for a while you almost forget how bad that place was, and you also forget acceptance. So you trip and fall into that well of low mood and anxiety, it’s truly horrifying. Just don’t know how to be okay with that, it’s always so traumatic! How are you feeling? Hope you’re doing great xx

  519. Emma Says:

    Actually, I have a really important question that I hope someone can answer:

    Ever since my big setback, I’ve been experiencing a new symptom and I don’t know how to deal with it. I have been told that I scream in my sleep — more specifically, almost every night I holler for my dad and never remember doing so, he tells me the next day. Also, I tend to wake up totally scared, as though some type of demon were in my bedroom, when this happens I just go sleep with my sister in her bed. However, the other night I went to sleep in her bed and in the middle of the night I woke up having forgot that I was in her bed, felt a body next to me and began screaming and and whacking her with my arms!!!

    In addition, if I fall asleep on the sofa and someone tries to wake me up, I scream and flail my arms absolutely startled, until I fully awake and realize what’s happening. Online it says these could all be symptoms of PTSD. I don’t know if anyone has experienced this, at first I was just having anxious and shallow sleeps, waking up at 2-3am every night on the dot. I still wake up at night but now apparently I holler for my dad, or make whimpering sounds and “scared” noises. And now my poor sis has even taken a slight beating from my frantic, panicked awakenings.

    Can anyone relate to this? I’m 23 yo and feel like a 4 year-old describing this… it kind of worries me :(

  520. Matt Says:


    Thats super awesome to hear! I’m glad that you’ve made some progress! Also, I know it’s hard, but don’t fear the setback because it’s a win-win either way. Either you don’t have a setback, and keep feeling better, or you do, but then teach yourself to overcome it (which leads to ultimate freedom, since you no longer fear a setback, which means you’d be free of the anxiety cycle!). You also now know that it’s possible to feel normal, so that’s also awesome!

    I’m doing so-so after doing awesome this past weekend. I did what you just described and basically felt so awesome, I allowed myself to forget acceptance. I then started fearing my anxiety, which ended me right back to feeling terrible throughout the day. Today was fairly rough because I went back to my old job (since I’m off from school for the summer), which I hadn’t worked in like 6 months. I felt anxious, and kept getting scary thoughts in my subconscious about doing something inappropriate. I was doing decent at letting those go, but then I just starting thinking about how I’m always stressed out, etc, and how I never feel like I can get a break. It was kind of just stupid thinking, but I let myself do it, and it made me feel miserable. Working out tonight helped, though :)

    Lastly, I feel like I’ve distilled Paul’s message into something that makes sense to me. Basically, I need to stop thinking about my anxiety 24/7. I need to focus on things OUTSIDE of my head, and stop worrying about what my anxiety might do (being inside my head). Does this sound right? I think what stopped me from feeling good this week is that I accidentally read how bad stress is for you, and then I started trying to get rid of it as fast as I could. Yikes! Bad Matt! :)

  521. Jake Says:

    Thanks Tom & Emma.

    I’m at the stage now that I think I have broke my partners spirit and she is looking to end it which I can’t blame her with the rubbish I’m dishing up. Emma I have ordered that book so hoping to get it this week. I think I am in a bit of a self destruct mode and can only see my relationship ending

  522. timbo Says:

    Jake…. i had similar thoughts about my partner. I realized it was anxiety causing these feelings, not my true feelings. Anxiety will latch on to things that cause a reaction, and thoughts of loved ones always will. Try and differentiate between your true inner feelings, and feelings and thoughts caused by this anxiety, then let the anxiety feelings be there without reacting and you will find a bit of peace. Its tough i know, but please hold on.

  523. tim Says:

    Jake – What about trying to explain to her that you were/are confused about something that can be considered a symptom of anxiety. That it can really be bewildering and that you weren’t aware. Maybe reading a few of the messages on this page about this topic together. So you both can understand and give it no further importance. The whole problem will gradually dissapear as your anxiety lessens.

    Emma – About that OCD workbook..
    I’ve been having a symptom for a few decades and am wondering if the book says anything about this. I have this thing where I’m talking to people in my thoughts. Like imaginary conversations. Then I realize I’m doing it and recoil from it, 5 seconds later I can be wrapped up in a conversation again.. I’ve always been scared of this and have seen it as some kind of evidence that I’m crazy. I can relate to so many symptoms people write about but I never see anyone else describing this habit.

  524. tim Says:

    Oh yeah, I just wanted to say I wish you all the best with this Jake and try to give your mind and yourself a rest and your partner a hug.

  525. Jake Says:

    Cheers for that! Did you go through the same thing??

  526. tim Says:

    No mate, haven’t had a relationship in ages! Think you can guess why :/

  527. tim Says:

    It begins wit an a and ends with a y.

  528. Jake Says:

    I fear relationships amazed it has lasted this long with the way I am. It’s unreal these feelings hard to accept anxiety causes this much pain for us both!!!

  529. Jake Says:

    Hi Timbo
    I hope to pull through but my mind is constantly at me to a point I get headaches. Did you come through the other side when you had this?

  530. Lisa E. Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I had an anxiety victory today, a small one, but one worth celebrating. I have had very little anxiety for the past two weeks. I was starting to hope that my setback is over. I’ve been good at not letting my thoughts follow the anxiety. My mind has been very un-anxious. But I know that part of me still fears the anxiety. Lately, little flashes happen, sometimes just once a day and I float right on through. Today I made it through several social actives with a few minor flashes that went away as soon as I distracted myself. I decided to walk home when I was done. It was a pretty long walk and boom, I started feeling funny. Definitely physical sensations, not thoughts. My mind wanted to follow. It would have been so easy to be frightened and my mind would have taken off. There was some fear and I think that make it linger for awhile. But it’s over.

  531. Riri Says:

    Hey all
    Glad to here people are progressing. I have been doing pretty well myself. My fear of mental illness is slowly fading away. I still get the thought but they don’t bother me too much anymore.
    I have been doing pretty good lately. But yesterday I had a weird dream about my sisters ex fiance. I dreamt I had a fight with him and his family. When I woke up I remembered my dream. And now that is all I can think about. Him and his family. It is stuck in my head. I get so frustrated. Because I feel I am not normal. Anxiety really is a bitch
    I find a lot of random thoughts get stuck. For example I saw a big crow in the Walmart parking lot. I thought to myself what is a crow doing in the parking lot. It was huge. Then my MI D automatically says oh no this thought is going to stick and it does. I think about for a couple of hours. I now know how to let the thought float by, but it really annoys me. IIs like my head is a broken record.
    I catch myself sometimes thinking about the weirdest things. Then I question my thought. The mental anxiety is my last hurdle. But it seems to be the hardest. I have an anxious crazy mind all day. Then I wonder if I will be like this forever. I have weird thoughts about everything.

  532. timbo Says:

    Jake –
    yes I have come through the other side now. and im not going to pretend like it was easy, it wasn’t. many times I was with my partner and felt horrible, horrible thoughts etc, but I really tried to realize whether I truly felt llike this, or if it was my anxiety. once I realized it was anxiety causing this, I was able to put up with the feelings (wasn’t easy) and they gradually passed. this was well over a year ago, and the feelings sometimes still come up, but that’s just the process of anxiety, and I deal with it and it goes away. it wont disappear overnight, you need to live alongside your anxiety for a while, understanding this is key. like the other Tim said, speak to your partner, maybe show her some of these articles etc, I tried to inform my partner as best I could, she gradually understand what was going on, and became very supportive and understanding

  533. Emma Says:

    Matt – thanks, you are definitely right about not thinking about anxiety 24/7. Sometimes I have to actively stop myself from going on the blog because although I love to see how others are doing it keeps my mind on the topic. Today was so-so anxiety-wise, kind of feeling flat but trying to pay it no mind. I do still have mild intrusive thoughts about whether or not I have clinical depression which bring my mood down a notch but trying to float on.

    Tim – that symptom sounds like it’s just internal dialogue fuelled by anxiety. The OCD workbook doesn’t mention anything about that as far as I know, but I’ve read other posters describe that as well in the comments of older blog posts. If I can locate one of the posts I will copy/paste it here for you — definitely not an indication that you’re crazy!

    Lisa – Congratulations! Pleased to hear you have been able to practice acceptance during those glimpses of physical anxiety. Have your mental symptoms subsided? You sound like you’re doing very well xx

  534. Matt Says:


    That’s so awesome! I’m glad you are doing better! You are an inspiration to me as well. The hardest part of this whole anxiety thing is that it is hard to find hope through the internet, and my therapist is good, but doesn’t explain that all the symptoms I have are anxiety, etc.


    My dream is to one day come back to this blog and be able to post as success stories, so that others can have hope as well! I’m sorry you’re not doing as well, but you’ve already seen success! Even when we’re healthy, we have “down” days. We just notice them more when we have so much anxiety.


    I feel the same way. My anxious physical symptoms don’t bother me, but the crazy anxious thinking all day/everyday does. I’m turning over a new leave and being stern with myself. No more sitting there wondering and feeling bad for myself. I’m going to live my life the best I can with how I feel. It’s still hard, and I still get scared, and I still try to rush my feelings away, but I’m trying to shift focus. It’ll take practice, but so did the anxious thinking that we did to get into this state :)

  535. Jake Says:

    Hi Timbo
    Would it be possible for me to contact you directly or I could even leave my email. The fact you have pulled through this is giving me some hope as at the minute I have very little.

  536. Riri Says:

    The thing for me is I don’t fear any of my thoughts. It is just the constant questioning of ” why did I think that” for totally random thoughts. Or ” OMG this thought is going to stick and then it does. I just want to live life and think freely without my mind attacking every thought and i questioning and analysing.
    I definitely understand now that I have health anxiety. More of mental health. First I feared depression which led to anxiety. Then I feared anxiety. Then I read about all types of anxiety disorders and feared having GAD or OCD. I would read about people’s anxious thoughts and obsessions and they would stick for me for a while. Once I got over that I started believing I was eeither had ADHD or bipolar. I would sit and analyse my thoughts to see if they matched and of those traits. Now I am slowly coming out of that. I don’t fear anxiety anymore. But now I have a problem with thoughts. Random thoughts I think stick. I guess it is because I have a tired mind. I just get frustrated and wonder if I will be like this forever. I don’t consider myself a severe case. And I thank God for that. But I’m so tired with all the questioning and confusion.

  537. Riri Says:

    Also just a quick question. This may sound really weird. But I need to know this is also anxiety based. When I first started having anxiety I was afraid of my thought. Once I thought ” what if I get scared to take out the garbage. So every time I would take out the garbage I would be nervous. This passed after a while but then I was so hyper aware of the garbage can. Because it brought back memories. So every time I would come into the parking lot I would automatically think of the garbage can. Now not as much. Maybe once or twice a month. At first I used to get mad at myself why am I thinking of a garbage can. I am totally crazy. But once I realized it was anxiety I began dismissing it and it faded. I know this sounds crazyyyy.
    Same thing with certain words. For example: once a was reading something and then the word food porn was read. My mind automatically said what if that word sticks and it did for a couple of days. It has passed and I never think of it, but if I ever see the word again I am hyper aware of it because it reminds me of the memory when it stuck. I know very weird.
    I guess this all stems from me fearing going crazy. So when I have weird strange thought ( which I considered those to be) they startled me because they were so weird I thought I was nuts. Then the cycle of weird crazy thoughts start since I feared it. It is not as bad lately but I still have them from time to time.

  538. Emma Says:

    Riri – it’s definitely anxiety and you seem to be coping by questioning your own sanity, but you certainly aren’t crazy. What I am starting to learn is that whatever anxiety tells me or makes me fear, never ends up happening. For the thoughts that stick, practice mindfulness — it’s very effective in helping with thoughts. Go on Youtube and search Jon Kabat-Zinn Mindscape Meditation. It’s a 20-min meditation that teaches you to observe thoughts and let them go, instead of getting involved with them. Very effective. I would try to do this meditation morning and night and you will see that during the day, you can use this tool when you have sticking thoughts. xx

  539. Riri Says:

    Great to know Emma,
    It gets overwhelming really. Mind goes from one thing to another. Today is something new. Today my mind keeps thinking about random body parts. And I don’t know why that is bothering me. I know when I was “healthy” I probably had these thoughts but never analyzed them and wondered what they were. I probably didn’t even notice them and gave them a second thought. I guess that I listed what is bothering. My mind holds o. To every single thought and blows it up into something eexaggerated. As though there is a !!!! Next to every thought haha

  540. rachh Says:

    Jake my anxiety stemmed from the same thoughts and feelings about my partner too. I’m not over anxiety but i dont have these thoughts anymore because i realise that a lot of our thoughts are mindless babble.

    Is anyone suffering from emotional numbness/disassociation?

    Its very hard to connect with other people when I’m like this.. I can talk but i have no idea if I’m being rude/nice/pleasant.. Not that I’m analysing this but really suffering from it right now. Ive waved goodbye to any intellect or meaning because I’m just nothing..

    Could do with a bit of encouragement

    Thanks guys, hope everyone’s doing ok? Haven’t checked in for a while xxx

  541. Riri Says:

    My mind keeps trying to convince me that something is wrong with me and I have some mental issues. It keeps telling me that I will be like this forever and will never get better.
    I honestly don’t believe any of these thoughts. I know I have anxiety and these are all anxious thoughts. I know I can overcome it all. I just need to find my strength to let go of not all and stop trying to figure it out. There is nothing wrong with me. What am I trying to fix

  542. Emma Says:

    Kyara, Lucy, wondering how you are doing ? xx

  543. Jake Says:

    Morning Rachh
    How did you get over this dreaded thing? They feel so real they really do!!(

  544. rachh Says:

    I dont have them anymore because i pushed the thoughts away. Which is the wrong thing to do. They are just passing thoughts. They are not to be taken seriously. Read will beswicks book. His site is do you panic and you can download his ebook. I wish i had known about it before but it’s very good for people who panic.

  545. Riri Says:

    Do any of you feel so irritated in there own body. As if you just want to crawl out of your skin. And you feel so uncomfortable. I get irritated by my hair sometimes. Is this normal anxiety. It is just a fleeting feeling. And doesn’t last long. My mind keeps linking it to bipolar. Haha

  546. Matt Says:


    I’ve been feeling irritated a lot lately, and for no good reason. Everything and everyone has been irritating me, it’s super annoying. It’s not alllll the time, but it happens a lot.

    I’m hoping for an answer for my questions from someone who has gotten through this using Paul’s method. My issue is, I’m on day 2 of not trying to care about my anxiety. I do allright for most of the day, but there are times that I have an intrusive thought or something that really gets my mind stirring.

    So, I guess my question is, what do I do if I’m accepting, but my mind still won’t stop thinking about anxiety? I’m not necessarily trying to fix it, but it’s still on the topic. I’m not sure if I just allow that to happen and not worry about it, or I I try to change my thoughts from anxiety to the outside world. I’m not sure how best to accept that, and that makes me feel bad a lot of the time.

  547. timbo Says:

    Jake –
    You will be fine. Dont worry too much or think too deep about it. Read pauls book and apply theprinciples to the thoughts. Its just anxiety which has found a thought/feeling to cling to. Realize its anxiety playing tricks and making you question and think so deep. I suggest really undertanding pauls methods, and let it take time. Dont expect changes straight away. Be patient and strong

  548. Emma Says:

    I hope everyone is getting on well. I have been able to accept and cut through the most of my anxiety. Living alongside the thoughts and taking the invaluable advice given here.

    The only thing I still have a hard time mastering is the feelings of sadness and low mood. There are periods where I feel great only to be followed by periods of feeling just plain sad and blue. When it happens I’m consumed with a bleak perspective of life, seeing a world where you work, pay bills, a loss of meaning & purpose in things. This feeling has been off and on since January but I feel as though if I could just get passed this stage I would be in a really great place. I’ve taken a depression screening test which says it’s a mild form, but it feels more than mild to me.

    Does anyone else fear that their low moods mean they are depressed? I am influenced by some of the things I remember having read online when I used to google. Ppl describing their depression sounding similar to what I experience: sadness, feeling down or ‘homesick’, etc. which makes me feel like it’s here to stay.

  549. Matt Says:

    Hey Emma,

    How long did it take you to overcome your OCD thoughts? Also, did you just practice mindfulness when having a thought occur? I’m trying to do that like my therapist said, but so far don’t feel like I’m making progress. My therapist also said she doesn’t think I have OCD bc I have no compulsions. Either way, I’m hoping at some point I can make progress on these thoughts. Grrr!

  550. Stacy Says:

    Hello, I’m new to the comment section but have been reading Paul book, I’m read

    it now for the second time. I completly understand what he is saying but following through is so much harder. But biggest issue is anxiety itself. When I get a bout of it I can not eat nothing, in which case makes me sick which makes the anxiety worse. I only weigh 105 (no eating disorder) just naturally small. So in this thought I get very worried about weight and getting sick. I know as soon as I feel better I can eat. Does anyone else have this problem with eating a sickness.


  551. Jake Says:

    As you know I’m struggling with relationship anxiety. Is it normal to start thinking crazy things like she is ugly, fat, etc then you come to think that I’m not attracted to her. This seems to be my latest thing to focus on

  552. Emma Says:

    Hi Matt,

    I still deal with OCD thoughts, and yes I practice mindfulness when they arise. My primary thing is what I mentioned in my recent post. But, OCD thoughts can certainly be addressed effectively with mindfulness.I do still get them, they are harder to detect these days, sometimes they arise as just “feelings” or ocd worries about the future. But irregardless, if you continue to practice acceptance, let the thoughts float around, under react to them, you will notice progress. unfortunately, there’s never any instant gratification with anxiety recovery, it always takes so long to feel like were getting somewhere, but you’re on the path nonetheless :)

  553. Matt Says:


    Thank you. I drove 6 hours yesterday, and I kept getting intrusive thoughts. At first, I tried to label them but didn’t shift focus, which meant that they would just come back. Then I started feeling like I was failing, and tried to rush them out. When that doesn’t work, I start feeling really down and hopeless, and that’s all my mind sticks on. It’s really hard to master not caring, but I know that I need to stop worrying about it.

    I just was reading online how mindfulness was beneficial, but that ERP was the gold standard. I was wondering if you did exercises like imaginal exposure, etc, or if you just did mindfulness. I’m going to start a schedule.of mindfulness meditation as well as force myself to focus on the moment as best I can when I have an intrusive thought. I’m also going to try to let my uncertainty about the thought be there.

    You really have given me hope about these stupid thoughts. It’s so hard for me to just let them be there BC they are so anxiety provoking sometimes, but I do notice that when I don’t worry about them, they do leave. Thanks again!

  554. rachh Says:

    Jake they are just thoughts. So so so anxiety!!! Not truth:) gosh i know exactly what you are going through. It is 100009009,9999000000% anxiety! When you have these thoughts feel how you’re body is feeling nerves!! Read back posts from helen i cant remember what month they are she had it too.

  555. Jake Says:

    Why do I still sometimes feel that this isn’t anxiety that’s it’s just my relationship and maybe time together out. I sometimes feel like I have never loved anyone before partner, kids, family. This has to be anxiety playing tricks on me??

  556. Matt Says:


    It’s just anxiety. I get the same thing regarding my thoughts. I start to wonder what my true intentions are, if I really am my thoughts, if acceptance will really work for me. It’s anxiety, it really is. It’s hard to distance yourself from it, especially in the beginning. Anxiety will try to do anything to keep you in the loop. If you stop worrying about the actual thoughts, then it will try to make you worry about something else. Just see it all as noise, and eventually you’ll forget about it!

  557. Jake Says:

    Hi Matt
    This is the first time I’ve been hit so hard with this relationship anxiety. Looking back on it I’ve always had it but it would go as soon as it came so I never did anything for it. This time it is with me around 6 weeks and doesn’t want to shift all be it I’m feeding it my constantly thinking about it and constantly thinking about ending my relationship and looking into things far too much like feelings for my kids etc.. I need to get my mind re tuned in or I’ll do something stupid like run which would turn out to be wrong no doubt

  558. Jake Says:

    Just a quick one ( sorry about all the posts) I’ve also been seeing a counsellor on my issue and he suggested maybe I take a break in my relationship. If I go down this path there’s no way back

  559. Matt Says:

    Hi Jake. This is the first time I have posted as feel I’m in a much much better place I was a year ago. I too had all these thoughts/feelings you are talking about. I know how hard it is for everybody on here to tell you it’s 100% anxiety but still you doubt. I actually did run away from my relationship, many many times because I thought it would make it all go away!but guess what,it didn’t!my partner was very support throughout all of it, she didn’t realise how bad it was until the 15th time I broke it off and realised it was most defiantly not normal behaviour!anyways a year down the line I’m marry this girl.yeah I’m not recovered,I still get those days but what can I do. I carry on regardless. I could actually write a book on the last 12 months of my life and I’d never believe it!hang in there dude

  560. Matt Says:

    …I don’t regret a thing going through all of this, I know what people talk about now on here about feeling like a new person and certainly for the better. I wouldn’t say that I was nasty or anything like that before all is this, if anything a bit too soft. It’s made me so much more stronger and realised it’s ok to be however I feel.

  561. Jake Says:

    Reading you reply is reassuring. I constantly doubt I have anxiety and just put it down to the fact that I want to run away and end everything. This constant feeling feels so real and hard to ignore but I need to. Before I was like this I was happy in it but now it’s just a constant do you love her did you ever love her…. It’s very annoying and puts me in bad humor and come across as been unhappy!! You don’t love her just end it gets constantly played in my mind.
    Where you like this also? Did you question all this?? It’s sounds like you are happy you stuck it out now and have a better relationship & personality from it.
    My partner is supportive but doesn’t know the level I’m at. Feeling just seem so real thinking I’ll be happier on my own less pain but as you said it’s not like this

  562. Jake Says:

    Sometimes think maybe I wouldn’t be like this if I was on my own or with another girl but that has to be crap??

  563. Jake Says:

    It’s haunting me brings me close to tears!!! But just need to suck it up

  564. Matt Says:

    Jake how you are at the minute was me a year ago, it’s like me writing it! I don’t think anybody will truly know or understand unless they have been through or going through it. I was at a point where I just accepted being sad, down, lost, quite etc. I hated it but I didn’t try to be any different. I tried everything in the book but guess what I didn’t work! If you truly didnt want to be in the relationship you wouldn’t really care. The fact your anxious about it all shows you care very deeply and want to be in this relationship. Trust me, this was me a year ago asking the same questions wanting the same answers. This will be you aswell at some point replying to someone needing advice!

  565. Matt Says:

    It’s so frustrating constantly looking at her thinking I don’t want to be here I just want out.. My feelings feel so so real it’s hard just to accept it as anxiety. I think maybe it’s the end it’s as simple as that and stop pretending it’s anxiety. I don’t think I will ever get feelings back towards her

  566. Jake Says:

    It’s so frustrating not knowing how I feel. Constantly looking at her thinking I want to leave, I’m not attracted to you and it’s the end!!my feelings feel so real that it’s hard to accept its anxiety and not just using it as an excuse. I don’t think I will ever get back my feelings towards her I look at her so differently now

  567. rachh Says:

    Jake it is horrible because you are believing your thoughts

  568. Chrissy Says:

    Been at this for a bit and see great improvement however quick question do you treat depressive feelings and thoughts the same? Just nonsense noise not to pay attention to? It seems I am having a difficult time with the depressive thoughts and feelings, Probably because they scare me the most?

  569. Emma Says:

    Chrissy, my biggest struggle was also with the depressive thoughts and feelings. They also scared me the most as well. If you go back to Paul’s last blog post and read my comments, they are all about the depressive symptoms and how I had a hard time coping. I started making a lot of progress when I just accepted them. I made room for them as terribly alarming as they were, I tried not to be impressed by them and gave them no power.

    I’ve been doing well for some time now, acceptance became second nature and my anxiety diminished so much. However, over the last few days I’ve been experiencing a setback with regard to exactly that: depressive/low feelings…just feeling very depleted, bleak and blue/down. Also very fatigued and lethargic/lack of motivation. I’ve been going through a great deal of emotional stress lately because my boyfriend and split up over the summer and it’s still back & forth and messy. I really think that may have something to do with it. I am trying to be with these feelings as they are, but it seems I’ve almost forgotten how to accept them. They came back with a bit of a punch and put the fear of depression back into me :(

  570. Pat Knowles Says:

    Does GAD become worse during a physical illness such as a viral chest infection?
    I have had periods of GAD since childhood (undiagnosed until few years ago). I also have several physical illnesses including chronic lymphositic leukaemia, atrial fibrillation and arthritis, plus years-long fear of insanity, is this common. I would appreciate replies.

  571. Pat Knowles Says:

    hAVE HAD PERIODS OF gad SINCE CHILDHOOD. undiagnosed until few years ago. Sevderal physical disorders – leukemia, arthritis, atrial fibrillation. GAD far worse than these, though. Know have to accept GAD and not avoid it bot living alone now makes this frightening disorxcer hard not to dread. Also have years long fear of insanity, though doctors etc. say this is symptom of GAD. Is this fear common? Appreciate any replies help. Feel very isolated with few friends. None of whom have been touched by GAD etc.

  572. Lawenda Says:

    Hi Paul, I agree with you that this is the best way to overcome the anxiety, however, when you say that when the temptation came to hide or to use an avoidance behaviour, you never did. Is it really possible to just one day stop using avoidance behaviours? Isn’t it rather a gradual process? Thanks

  573. Aid Says:

    Hi there,
    Thank you for this post. I am actually commenting here as I am always reading posts on anxety and depression but I am always too anxious to actually put my thoughts down and comment truthfully. Well here we go haha. I am at uni and I guess i’m just sick of it. Sick of going into uni, feeling scared, avoiding situations and people, not answering the phone. Now i have just read your post and it a makes sense. To just ignore these feelings and irrational thoughts and sort of see them as ‘lie’ and push past using our rational thinking and actually attend things. Depression, however, makes it difficult a times, but i guess there are just no excuses?

  574. Olivia Says:

    Thank you so much for this. I have been living with crippling anxiety for a long time now even though I’m only twenty, and this compulsive and pervasive avoidance has really screwed me over, it makes everything seem hopeless. BUT this post helped and I feel ready to finally make a running leap up and away from this hell that anxiety is. So much support for everyone else here, may we all experience progress and warmth in our lives!

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