My battle with anxiety was wrong

Well I hope every one is well, today I wanted to talk about a realisation I had, on my own journey I had many A-Ha moments and this one came after weeks of being at war with my thoughts and feelings. I knew the right path, but for some reason I always seemed to be tricked back into fight mode.

The A-Ha moment strangely came in the middle of the night, I woke up around 4am and felt the usual rush of thoughts and feelings, but this time I felt strangely calm too. I realised that although I had these thoughts and feelings I had not properly woke up and had not had time to question and fight them. Then it hit me real hard and I wrote this statement down and that was;

“Feeling a certain way does not make me struggle and suffer, it is not wanting to feel a certain way that does”.

That morning I woke and felt calmer, I still had these thoughts and feelings, but for once wasted no energy trying to make things right or question it, I just got on with what I was doing, the symptoms sort of separated from me instead of being ‘me’, like in the past.

I read somewhere once that if you want people’s acceptance you will be forever searching for it, you will never be satisfied and will waste so much energy trying to get it at a massive cost to you and your health and the ones who don’t look for it are the ones that waste no time searching, but ultimately get it.

This was the same with me, it was my constant search not to suffer this way that was draining me and causing me pain. Whilst I carried on looking for a cure I would never be satisfied. Not only that but I was telling myself I was broken, that I needed fixing, I did not I just needed to step out of my own way and let my mind and body do that.

When I wrote my book ‘At last a life’ I never used phrases like ‘Eliminate’ or ‘Battle’ I just tried to explain to people why they felt the way they did so that they had some peace and understanding, so that they could see the lie behind it, realise it is harmless, how a lot is self created and that there is no outside force doing this. I want people to let it go and get on with their life, there really is no battle to be had here. It pains me to see people say ‘I have been battling my anxiety for 6 years now and I will continue to do so’ this is the exact reason they are stuck in the loop, because they are battling it, they are trying to control or eliminate it. They will wake, feel the same way, battle, go to bed and the whole process starts again the day after, hoping this is finally the day they figure it out and it’s all behind them, I know as that was me also. It also pains me to read when people say ‘Last week was bad, but yesterday was good, but today not so good’ I feel like shouting ‘It does not matter, please don’t have a daily post mortem and track how you feel, getting giddy when you feel good and down when you feel bad’. Again they are stuck because they are constantly battling not to feel this way and the loop continues.

Again I was the same, I thought I should not feel this way and if I did it needed fixing, going from one thing to another, therapist after therapist, book after book, all because in my mind I had ‘Not’ to feel this way.

Whilst we are at war with ourselves we will always stay in the loop.

So again feeling this way does not bring continued suffering, that comes from not wanting to feel this way. That’s where all the worry comes from, the anxiety, the going over and over. The feelings themselves don’t bring all this on.

After 10 years of searching I never did find that miracle cure/book/therapist. What happened was that I still had these feelings, but my relationship with them changed, I stepped out of my own way and let my mind and body do the rest.

I hope that makes sense and helps in some way.


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620 Responses to “My battle with anxiety was wrong”

  1. Bryan Says:

    Brilliant as usual Paul. Thanks so much for continuing to enlighten.

    Quick question… Would you have called your experience one more of a physical or mental nature? In other words, did you ever have to welcome and float through sustained high end physical duress? To where it’s almost like pain management? Any thoughts on those cycles?

    Thanks again. Very grateful for your work.

  2. Nolan Says:

    Great post, Paul.

    Bryan, that first question of yours ‘Would you have called your experience one more of a physical or mental nature?’…. I can feel your struggling against it. I’ll answer it for me, but please, do your best to stop trying to figure it all out.

    Mine was both physical and mental.

    Mentally, you’re placing too much value on how you feel at any given moment. Just let it be and stop caring so much about it. Even if you find yourself in an obsessive mode and it’s like your focus can’t shift off of the topic, be cool with that too.
    Just don’t play its game.

    Stop trying to make sense of it all. There will come a time when it will make sense to you, when your mind and body are peaceful and clear.
    But you’re not there yet, big whoop. Peacefully accept all that comes your way.

  3. Bryan Says:


    Thanks so much for taking the time. The most difficult thing about my journey has been that I do great with acceptance 90% of the time. I’ll get better and better… and then I get crushed by a setback that’s intensity is just so far off the charts, I have a hard time understanding how it’s even possible. My condition behaves like a physical illness the way it comes and stays in these huge cycles. I’ll go from almost feeling like I can teach these methods, to having to endure such intense panic and physical duress, it’s hard to even explain. It’s just so bizarre, and I realize trying to figure it out is fruitless.

    I guess I’m still more trying to figure out how to accept at these high levels. This setback is just constant, high-end suffering so I’m trying to reinforce my acceptance tools so I can move through it. I always have in the past somehow. I just need to be able to do it again.

  4. Stacy Says:

    Hi there, I too suffer from physical symptoms. I get very sick to my stomach and can’t eat. In which makes me panic because I’m a very small women (105 pounds) how can one get past this physical symptom? Its hard to get past when I’m so weak and sick. Any advice would help


  5. Nolan Says:

    Rest assured…. what you just explained is EXACTLY what would happen to me. Still happens at times.

    You’re no different than me.

    Treat those hard, tough setbacks exactly the same with a “so flippin’ what” attitude.

    Remember, don’t make accepting it hard. Don’t turn it into something you need to figure out how to do. It’s just letting it be there for as long as it wants to stay.

    All of that fear, that doubt…. it comes on so thick when you’re in the throes of it. Nothing makes sense. It doesn’t make sense how you ever got to this point; it doesn’t make sense how it will ever end.

    But, then you’ll have moments where it’s lifted and things are a bit more clear to you. You feel free from it.

    Those moments will come…. but on their own accord. You don’t cajole them into coming. You’ve felt those moments, you know what I mean. Your mind feels light and clear. Life seems like something worth living again.

    They come on their own accord.

    So, don’t get in a bind of trying to crack the code of how to best accept all of this. It’s no puzzle nor code that needs cracking. It’s just saying to yourself, “well, this is how it is right now. So be it”.

    You don’t make storms pass more quickly by gritting your teeth and balling up your fists. You don’t need to find a way to make those clouds hurry up, move away, and allow the sun to shine through.

  6. Dustin Says:

    Nolan, what you just said makes so much sense to me right now. I am in the middle of a very intense setback and at times, I feel as though I will never make sense of this all.

    There are moments though, even in these times, where I find myself looking back over my period of suffering and truly see the progress that I have made. It is hard while in the middle of a setback to gain any perspective on how far you have actually come as they can feel like some of the worst times.

    One thing that drives me crazy but also motivates me and empowers me is the fact that there have been times in which I have unmasked anxiety and seen it for what it really is. For me that is one of the reasons setbacks are so difficult, but at the same time, that knowledge helps me through them.

    It’s always nice to get some perspective from somebody else who is going through, or has been through the same thing so thank you both.
    Good Luck with everything!!!!

  7. sam Says:

    hiii everybody..hope u all r doin great…i just got stuck on a problem…i m almost completely recovered now…but the problem is i have an important exam lined up about two weeks from now…and when my suffering and anxiety was at its peak…then i used to avoid studies since its really very difficult to study with all those feelings and chatterin goin on in un head.. i followed paul’s advice and am almost completely recovered and more confident now..but whenever i sit down to study i find myself ending up thinking what if i mess up…what if i can’t concentrate….i can carry off the rest of the day with such thoughts coz at that time no concentration is required..but i find the “acceptance” during studying pretty hard as it plays havoc with my concentration…and that is the only thing i know which is keeping me from getting fully recovered…any tips or suggestions on how to overcome this final hurdle guys??

  8. Nolan Says:

    Hi sam….
    the advice is just the same ol “let it be”.
    My anxieties, doubts, fears morphed and changed quite a bit during my trial.
    There were times I would think, “this fear/doubt is different than the original issue…. what should I do now?”

    But all that’s doing is throwing me back into obsessing and research mode.

    The answer is simple: just let those feelings and thoughts be there.
    There’s no chasing them away or finding a way to block them from ever possibly entering your mind.
    As a matter of fact, in trying to do that you’re giving those thoughts so much value and attention. What do you think will be the result from this?
    You’ll think even more about it.

    But, if you stop caring about them and just let them be then things will change for you. Maybe not straight away. But eventually.

    Just let them be there.
    Remember, acceptance isn’t some method you implement to alleviate various symptoms. It’s little more than letting it be there and not fretting over how to move past this as quickly as possible.

  9. Matt Says:


    This makes so much sense. Even thought I logically get what we’re trying to accomplish here (which is basically just do nothing and stop worrying), I feel that when I try, I still fight subconsciously. It’s so aggravating. I’ll get an intrusive thought, or an anxious symptom, and then I tell myself to allow it, and then I somehow get frustrated that it’s still there. I realize that it’s not just going to instantly fix me, and that I’ll have to feel anxiety for a while before it subsides (when I stop caring about anxiety).

    Did you basically “fake it ’til you make it”? I’m trying to practice acceptance, but I just can’t get my subconscious to take up the attitude sometimes. The fact that I’ve been having anxiety all the time means that it’s making me want it to go away even more, even though that’s clearly the opposite path that I want to take…I’m trying to just be, and I might even be getting better at it, but I don’t want to waste any more time. I want to be on the right track for once!

  10. Emma Says:

    Great post, Paul. I had anxiety for 2 years and was 90% recovered last fall, at the beginning of winter I relapsed hard with OCD thoughts and relationship anxiety and some sadness/depression, I thought I would never come out of it like before, it didn’t even feel the same as the first time. Using this approach I have been able to move forward with my big setback and make incredible progress.

    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 at times.

    Do any of you fear that these low/bleak moods mean you are depressed? I’m 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. I think to myself, how can people have depression and describe the same things I feel — must mean I am also depressed!

    Big hugs xx

  11. Bryan Says:

    Wow Nolan, that is a very good post.

    Thank you so much for that. I’m ingesting it. As you might guess… I know this logically. But, it can fade and be hard to locate that info in your mind when it’s overtaken.

  12. Nolan Says:

    My posts aren’t showing up.
    Anyone else having troubles with posts not showing up ?

  13. Anna Says:

    Hi Paul,

    Do you have any advice for someone who’s going through recovery, well almost recovered, and just has been dumped by the husband? I have a young child too. I don’t know really what to do? Has anybody around here went through such thing?
    Thank you.

  14. Dex Says:

    Hey guys! I’ve been lingering here on the blog since I had my first anxiety attack four months ago. This site and the book has been a HUGE tremendous help with my dealing anxiety. It had all started with health anxiety then morphed to sleep anxiety, then to disturbing thoughts, and now to relationship anxiety. Slowly and surely I am getting the hang of this and allowing the thoughts and feelings to be there but this relationship anxiety is the hardest yet. Anxiety is making fear the thought of losing my first love. I’m gonna be honest and say my partner has done things to make me doubt our relationship but anxiety has latched on and now the doubt is ten fold. Emma, you said you overcame relationship anxiety?

  15. Sheila Bergquist Says:

    I can relate to everything all of you said. I also have a hard time fully accepting and work on it so much that I think sometimes I am working TOO hard on it. Also, the feeling depressed, Emma. I’ve always thought that anxiety and depression kind of go hand in hand. If you’re depressed, you are probably anxious too and if anxious, you are going to feel depressed.
    I hope we all can find the peace we are so desperately seeking. Big hugs to all of you!

  16. Perdy Says:

    Nolan, you talk about both physical and mental, may I ask did your physical symptoms include dizziness?? Because for me that is the hardest thing to ignore/float through, I have suffered now for years with dizziness at some degree, have had all test imaginable, which in turn has increased my HA!!!! Im scared stiff of medication side effects and even a trip to the doctors has me in a flap, I get so frustrated with it all. I work in a school and now have 8 weeks off, I should be enjoying this time but even trips to the shops are a misery due to this constant feeling of being unbalanced. I read Paul’s book 18 months ago and felt immediate relief that I wasn’t on my own with this, and constantly carry on doing thing/going out etc, but it never seems to ease……
    Sorry for negative post, just so fed up sigh it all

  17. Susan Says:

    Great posts, Bryan I am exactly the same. Had a couple of brilliant anxiety free weeks then the last three days…..bam……right back in it again. I know when this happens I spiral myself down again with ‘oh no, I feel like this again, how do I get out of it.’ It seems to go in this cycle just as you say Bryan. I guess we hope when we are having good periods that it is gone for good and then feel deflated by its intensity when it comes back. I seem to have to get to the bottom of a setback to give in to it and therefore accept again. It is so hard but I am trying, as Paul and Nolan said, not to do that this time …. try to believe that it is ok to feel like this and carry on calmly regardless instead of battling on.
    Will we really get to a point where these setbacks don’t even occur anymore?

  18. Nolan Says:

    Hi Perdy,

    Ever since my bout started I’ve been dizzy. Even right now my head feels a bit spacey/dizzy. If I were to stand up and stretch I’d have the feeling that I could tip over.

    This bothered me immensely at first… now, I just really don’t care all that much about it.
    I have had moments where all symptoms are completely gone. And I feel like my old self again. Those moments are coming more and more frequently.

    I’m a bit primed right now for some anxiety/doubt/fears/hypersensitive feelings…. so even you mentioning the dizziness has me paying some extra attention to it myself.
    But guess what? I’m fine with it. It’s going to pass and it will pass on its own accord.

    So Perdy, just let it be what it is. Try not to add much extra thought and concern to it. I just take an “oh well” attitude towards it and move on with my day regardless.

    And as I said, I have more and more moments of pure freedom from this burden. Where my mind and body are just at peace.
    I’ll let those times come when they’re good and ready…. and I’ll just make a habit of being at peace with the lack of peace in my life when anxiety is making the go a bit rough.

    God bless.

  19. Perdy Says:

    Thank you so much for replying Nolan, it means so much, dizziness doesn’t seem to crop up on here that often as a physical symptom. I will take your advice and carry on and try to take an “oh well” attitude. I hope to God that one day this will pass and I can once again look forward to and enjoy things like I used too.
    Thanks again and I hope your recovery continues, so good to hear your positive attitude :-)

  20. Emma Says:

    Dex, yes I did overcome it. It was the first symptom in my big setback in January and was tormented by the doubt and the absence of feelings for my partner. I always had an urge to end the relationship bc I felt that it was the only way I would feel better. Spent many nights crying and simply couldn’t be convinced that this was anxiety and not a true indication that I had “fallen out of love.” But with time and patience it started to fade away and all my feelings came back. I had to “fake it until I made it” — I just went through the motions, even if I couldn’t feel anything and was doubtful, I pretended and then suddenly I noticed I didn’t have to “fake it” that my feelings were resurfacing, little by little. Now I’m very in love and although sometimes anxiety wants to creep in and say “not you’re not!” the thought doesn’t create an anxious reaction, it has lost its power!

    One thing that I will recommend that helped me tremendously with relationship anxiety aka relationship OCD (ROCD) is a booked called The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD by John Hershfield. He has an entire chapter dedicated to relationship ocd. The book also has chapters dedicated to harm/self-harm thoughts, hyperawareness, pedo/sexual orientation-based thoughts, religion-based thoughts, etc — all the intrusive thoughts that you can think of. He teaches how to apply mindfulness to this type of anxiety and I found it to be really effective. It’s a workbook so you can do self-therapy with the written exercises. I know it feels impossible sometimes, but take my advice and I promise you’ll overcome it! Xx

  21. Emma Says:

    PS!!! The only thing about that the book I mentioned that I do NOT necessarily agree with is that the author claims OCD must be managed and cannot truly be “cured.” I think that with anxiety/ocd/dep we are never really “cured” because we never sick to begin with. Anxiety is “treated” not “cured.” But I think it we have the ability to go far beyond merely “managing” it. Those who have recovered on the blog like Paul, Candie, Scarlet & so on demonstrate that we can arrive at a place where anxiety doesn’t have to be actively “managed.” That’s because we will still have anxiety to some degree — that’s our nature, but the difference is we will no longer have anxiety as a DISORDER.

    So to all, don’t be discouraged by those authors who frame the debate as though anxiety will be an active battle our whole lives!!!

  22. Nolan Says:

    This post is not meant to offend anyone.

    I’m Catholic. I don’t believe suffering is all for nothing. I think that there is some purpose in it. Or at the least, when I pray I’ll offer this suffering up for others that I know are also suffering.

    In prayer I’ll just say that this is what it is and that I’ll accept it and that maybe by the grace of God this suffering can be used for the purpose that someone else (whoever) might not have to suffer or have their sufferings lessened.

    Again, I’m not looking to anger anyone with this.
    But for me, when it gets really dark it at least gives me some comfort that God can use the suffering for another.

  23. Jake Says:

    That’s exactly how I feel. I feel like I’m not attracted to her and look at her totally different now I’m in this state. All I seem to do is want to run and be alone as I feel it’s less hassle!!

  24. Matt Says:

    I totally agree with what Emma said. I feel like western medicine/psychology has ended up “pathologizing” mental health way more than it needed to. Obviously, schizophrenia and true bipolar disorder are things that needed to be managed with medication, but anxiety “disorders” all seem to stem from the same place. I feel like we have classified different groups of anxiety symptoms as a disorder, when really the person is just stuck in the anxiety cycle.

    It seems to me that a lot of people have one form of anxiety, which then morphs into some other type of anxiety “disorder”. For me, it went from panic to GAD to OCD like symptoms. If there truly was a difference in disorders, I doubt that people would just “migrate” their symptoms.

    I also hate it when authors/people say that you have to “manage” OCD. That still scares me a little when I hear it, but if it’s just an anxiety disorder, why isnt’ any more treatable than the other types of anxiety?I really doubt that at age 27, my brain just magically changed and I became a different person.

    Lastly, I think what’s made a difference in my thinking about getting better is the fact that I’ve had three separate sources (someone I know who overcame anxiety, my therapist, and this website) who have all more or less given me the path to recovery, which is acceptance. The problem isn’t your thoughts or worries, the problem is the worry about the worry. Being in a “sensitzed’ state is simply just being overly stressed, which allows for more negative thoughts. The minute you start becoming afraid of those, you’ve entered the panic cycle. Retraining your brain by allowing them to be there is the only path to true recovery.

    Anyway, soapbox/rant over. I hope that someday I will get to where a lot of other people are on this blog (better/recovered) so that I can come back and encourage others. That has truly been one of the biggest helps to me! :)

  25. Matt Says:

    Oh, one last thing!


    For the John Hershfield book, is there a lot more to it than just letting the thoughts occur and not resisting them or worrying about them? I saw that book a few months ago, and have been interested. However, I’ve also read enough books now that I feel like I should just get on with my life and use mindfulness meditation when thoughts do arise and I find myself fighting them. I think I’m actually making progress today on some of my thoughts, but I’m never sure until time has passed by. Thanks again for all the advice/help you’ve given me!

  26. Chrissy Says:

    I think the biggest issue for me is to be present. Using Paul’s method I realized how much I am in “my head”. Monitoring my thoughts and feelings always aware of them

    I stopped googling books and symptoms about anxiety or every other mental illness I think I have

    I allowed thoughts and feelings to come however don’t pay them any attention. Let them come but don’t react. Only have a difficult time with the panic attacks and intrusive thoughts however I am working on them. I also realized its ok not to have a great day. It’s ok to be sad or low or anxious. It’s ok. Let it be. We are not perfect no one is. We all have emotions We can’t be happy every hour. Not every day is awful or anxiety ridden. Anxiety tricks us to thinking it is

    I suffered for 15 years after Paul’s book it’s the best felt in a long time.

  27. Riri Says:

    Hey all,
    I hope everyone is doing well. I have been doing great. It is true that it gets easier and easier. I find myself living my normal life whilst having all the strange thoughts. But I have no fear towards them. I just let them float by. Sometimes I wonder if I will be like this forever. But then again even if I was like this forever I feel I can manage and live happily with the thoughts there.
    I went to a follow up with my psychiatrist today. I told him all about the site and how I stopped taking medication. And don’t feel I need it. I felt really confident with myself. But his reaction was so bland. He had nothing to say to me. I was very disappointed by his reaction. As though he thought I can’t do this without medication. I feel as though he wanted me to stay on medication for his benefit. I may be wrong though.
    I explained to him how all these thoughts are created by our anxious state. We make ourselves suffer by thinking something is terribly wrong with us. When nothing is wrong with us. I used to get very discouraged when I used to hear that anxiety can’t be cured. But now I understand that they say it can’t be cured because it is not a issue or a problem in the first place.

  28. Riri Says:

    I feel I am almost there. All that has to go is the thinking about anxiety 24/7. I know it will soon fade also when I don’t pay too much attention to it. When I do forget about anxiety I feel great and back to my old self again.

  29. Pia Says:

    I learned last year to be real careful who you go to see for help. The 1st person I went to completely disregarded everything I said about my bad thoughts and feelings. She didn’t delve in like I thought she would. She simply said to imagine my thoughts floating down a river. Me and my mom left and said she was a whack job.

    The 2nd one I went to for about 2 months weekly. She delve into my childhood, kept talking about the origins of the name panic (Greek god, if I remember correctly) and she there was a part of me who was depressed. We’ll that sent me on a tailspin thinking I was unhappy when I knew I was just terrified. That’s where my fear if depression came from. I tried to change everything I did. I thought if was a nicer person, I’d be happier. So I stopped screaming in traffic, put my cart back at the grocery store, was extremely nice to everyone, made a gratitude journal, flash cards, too. I left there every week feeling horrible. I’d have bad dp sitting.

    Last guy was pretty nice, he was all for mindfullness but by that point I had already read everything and pretty much just wentvout telling him what I needed to do. He laughed and said I was like a medical student in how after reading about illnesses they had the symptoms.

    So, long story short, if you feel uncomfortable maybe rethink the person.

  30. Pia Says:

    Forgot to add: the 1st person “whack job” was right on the money!

  31. Charles Says:

    Bryan, in this very post, Paul said “I stepped out of my own way and let my mind and body do the rest.” I feel that’s the key. You still sound like you believe your had something to do with you getting better and better, but that’s not the case, your body is doing that. When you have that adrenaline rush of panic, your parasympathetic nervous system calms it down, it’s not your thinking or your attitude that diffuses the adrenaline, your body does that, all you have to do is to not add more adrenaline…

  32. Riri Says:

    I felt as though he didn’t know anything about anxiety. When I first went to him he pulled out a book to explain to me my symptoms that I already new about. Everyone I went to his office I felt as though I was left hanging by the time I left. He never really had an input on what I would say to him. He would just listen to me and then ask how I was feeling on the medication and if I needed to up my dose. It’s funny how they just automatically throw medication at you before any answers. I’m not saying that medication does not help It helped me calm down a little to find the real way to deal with anxiety. It was just a crutch. But then again that is what his job is all about.

  33. Bryan Says:


    I do believe that my actions allowed my body to heal and help me continue to improve over the last 24 months. I’m a big believer in acceptance based anxiety recovery. What you are saying is essentially the same thing I am saying. I am in 100% agreement that we step out of the body’s way and allow it to recover. What I don’t understand is why my body seems to run in cyclical patterns where every 4 to 5 months I get setbacks which essentially feel like I’m back at the beginning and set me in the loop to pursue the same pattern once again. I’m a big believer in attempting not to add second-tier and allowing feelings and thoughts to just be there. Again, my confusion is in why the cyclical patterns exist for me despite my behavior not changing. I go from confident and able to a completely sick and extremely challenged State out of nowhere. And then the cycle starts again. I apply the methods, I improved gradually, I feel I have my life back, then back to the beginning.

    I did have a nasty experience with benzodiazepine withdrawal a few years back. I sometimes wonder if that may be playing a role in my inability to get completely free. These drugs are known to do a bit of that. At the end of the day, all I can do is to continue on with the methods that have worked, despite them not setting me on a freeing clear path just yet.

  34. Emma Says:

    Matt, Yes I think that’s basically the extent of it (as far as the book goes). Just continue what you are doing as you seem to be going in the right direction. I still have thoughts as well, but I just resist the urge to get involved and trivialize every thought, give it no importance and it seems to pass relatively quickly. I didn’t do ERP on myself, but I think I did unconsciously, when I would be triggered by ropes and cords I stopped avoiding them, stopped putting knives away, stopped taking my laptop cord out of my room at night, etc. I didn’t necessarily expose myself but I stopped the avoidance behaviours and let myself feel uncomfortable around those things. I still get triggered a bit by hearing about suicide or hearing about depression bc I still get that “down” low mood, sad feeling though. That’s the one feeling that gets me worked up a bit but I’m trying to under react to it and see it as a part of recovery. xx

    Susan, I think you and Chrissy described a similar issue. I too wonder if setbacks will ever stop for good. I wonder if Candie, Scarlet or Paul have setbacks despite being recovered. But I think when we get further along recovery, setbacks are fewer and far between, until we reach a steady consistent baseline. Whenever I’m in a good stretch, I always anticipate crashing. Anxiety always seems to hit a few notches harder after a sustain period of good days/weeks. xx

  35. Bryan Says:


    I know exactly what you mean about that last bit. Paul has mentioned doing a post on setback/fear of setback. Hopefully he will some day.

    You sound like you’re doing great by the way.

  36. Matt Says:


    I’ve been doing my own ERP too then, since I’m not avoiding anything, including driving on a road trip. It’s hard sometimes, but I know it’s the right choice. Im glad to know that you’ve gotten a lot better, so I will too in time. The hardest thing about this is not being afraid of it. I keep getting new symptoms BC I’m afraid im going to get them. The key to getting better is to train yourself not to fear anxiety.

    This is the same with setbacks. The more setbacks you have, the less you’re going to fear them. Eventually, when you’ve lost that fear, you’ll stop having them BC you wont think about it. Setbacks are almost necessary part of recovery, but its ok. Just stick in the path and be kind to yourself with setbacks and realize that everytime you have one, its a time to practice not fearing them.

    Anyway, I think I’m going to try to stay away from posting for a week so I cam let my brain start digesting other topics other than anxiety. Hope everyone is doing well! And remember, we will all get better, just give it time and be positive!

  37. Amelie Says:

    Thank you so much for this. I read this at the perfect time, as I am in a “bad place”. I felt like I was doing so well for the last month and now this week I crashed and started questioning if I’m doing something wrong. This made me realize that I’m still subconsciously “trying” to get better and trying to rid myself of the intrusive thoughts and dp (that I’ve been suffering from for 5 years). Letting go is a long and hard process but I’m in it to win it and will persevere.

  38. Nolan Says:

    For all who have intense doubt this trial will ever end.

    I’ve had lengthy moments where all of this has lifted. Where I have felt pure peace. Where even the thought of the fear, doubt, pain that I suffered (physically and emotionally) didn’t bother me in the least.
    Where life was something I wanted to embrace and live again.

    At my worst I wanted to be gone from this world. I saw no end to this burden/torment. I felt and thought I was broken beyond repair. Every current thought and past memory stained so deeply with this anxiety and the fear, despair, and doubt that goes along with it.

    Things that used to bring me joy, during my dark days, only served to taunt me. Contorted reflections of the peaceful ones I used to experience.

    But here I am now. The darkness is nowhere near as dark anymore. The peaceful moments have been ones of true liberation from this.

    I never thought I would get to this point. I’m getting a bit choked up as I write this. It will happen for you too. Just be patient and quit the fight against how you may feel at any given moment.

    God bless.

  39. Bryan Says:

    $&@# yeah Nolan!!! That is freaking awesome.

    Keep it up and appreciate very much the support you have offered.

  40. Jackie Says:

    I am new to using your techniques and they are working really well so far. I do have setbacks but I’m able to get through it. My question is, can true recovery come if you still have high levels of stress like your children or job? I feel like I won’t recover because there will always be something there giving me anxiety. Please. Any advice will help. Thank you, Jackie

  41. Jake Says:

    Good man Nolan.. I HOPE I get to your stage soon.. The fact you suffered with relationship anxiety and beat it is great!!!

  42. Jake Says:

    Congrats Nolan!!! Hope I get to this stage one day the fact you best your relationship anxiety is something I really hope to do

  43. Nolan Says:

    Thanks guys.

    My anxiety covered alot of ground: sleep anxiety, relationship anxiety, health anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts, breathing anxiety (odd as that may sound). But, at the end of the day it’s all the same stuff.

  44. Rachel Says:

    Perdy I feel for you I have the exact same symptom and it is really hard to just let it be there when you can feel it all the time and feel you may fall over at any point it’s so hard to ignore it xx

  45. Sam Says:

    Alright everyone, was wondering whether you could give me a bit of advice on everything. I completely understand I must accept the anxiety but I find myself drifting off into thought about the most random things and exhausting my mind by finding myself doing this. I’ll then try to accept that. Before I know it I’m back thinking about absolute rubbish again. I have social anxiety and when I make an effort to socialise my brain goes made and ill end up thinking about this so strongly and will barely remember what I’ve done. Is this normal or anxiety. I keep thinking I might just be mentally wired up incorrectly or something?

  46. Jake Says:

    How do you know the difference between normal feelings & anxiety feelings??

  47. Perdy Says:

    Rachel, thank you – dizziness doesn’t seem to be mentioned that much on here but has always been one of my main symptoms, among many many more, I have convinced myself many a time that I have a major illness even though I have had MRI scans etc etc. I find for me the dizziness is far worse in supermarkets, shops and dimly lit places, do you find this?? I also get blurry vision which makes me even more anxious!!! (I am under the eye hosptal for possible gluocoma-just something else to sorry about ha b****y ha) it’s extremely hard to ignore feeling unbalanced isn’t it, how do you just ignore it??? It’s just awful. Thank you again, just knowing someone else has this makes me feel I’m not on my own x

  48. Dex Says:

    My bout with relationship anxiety is the intrusive thoughts about how I’m not good enough / is he gonna leave me / why isn’t he answering my texts/calls / second guessing everything I say to him. I know it sounds that I am insecure but this wasn’t a problem before I had my first anxiety episode. It seems like anxiety has latched on to my insecurity. Sometimes I feel like breaking up is the only way to shake it off but I know it’s not the solution. I hate how it’s affecting my relationship. I love him very much and I know he does too but I doubt things he say, analyze what he says, and it sucks! I try to treat this like every other bout of anxiety I had but I have to admit this one is the worst yet. I honestly thought that my sleep anxiety was the worst but this is by far the most difficult. Any help would greatly be apprecciated.

  49. rachh Says:

    Ocd thoughts are based on high moral and strong beliefs that’s all thats different. People with the thoughts have very highly strung morals about the way of life. That is how i was. This isn’t a good thing to be so judgemental however it is neither a really bad thing. That is why anxiety differs in so many people. I have completely dropped all of my beliefs which has been a dreadful journey! Thoughts about who I am where do i belong what is a self all going through my mind. However i do not get intrusive thoughts because I have dropped my morals completely. Very hard and sobering thing to do. Especially right now because I’m not recovered however i feel recovery will be more beneficial coming from the place im in now than the place i was in when my anxiety began.
    People can recover from ocd intrusive thoughts using the acceptance method definately! :) i cant prove it because I’m coming from a different angle now. I would read will beswicks book.. download his book he also sends some other things along with the ebook diagrams etc which are good to look at and work with. Good advice for intrusive thoughts sufferers.

    Trying to give the internet and soul searching and recovery searching a break for a while so i will check in now and again to see how everyone is doing. Xxx

  50. rachh Says:

    Des i had these thoughts they are complete anxiety dont make any drastic changes or any decisions while you are like this xx

  51. Jude Says:


    I just wanted to give my 2 cents on something you said a few posts ago.

    “The hardest thing about this is not being afraid of it. I keep getting new symptoms BC I’m afraid im going to get them. The key to getting better is to train yourself not to fear anxiety.”

    I feel you are being unrealistic here and putting way to much pressure on yourself. There is NO way anxiety will ever NOT make us feel ANXIOUS(afraid). That is it’s purpose and it is working as it should. We have just become afraid of feeling anxiety. It isn’t the thoughts or the symptoms so much as it is just the true feeling of anxiety that we fear.

    I think the true key to acceptance is to fully allow yourself/give permission to be AFRAID. Let yourself be afraid of each and every thought, each and every symptom, just let it be.

    I feel with your attitude, you are still trying to beat something, still trying to improve something and still judging yourself all along.

    Again, just my 2 cents. Hope this helps :)

  52. Nolan Says:

    Hi Perdy,

    Let me be very direct with you: From reading your posts it’s very clear that you are putting so much emphasis on this aspect of your anxiety: The dizziness.

    In reality it’s no different from any other aspect of anxiety that someone else has latched on to.
    This is part of the reason why Paul isn’t interested in breaking down all of the various ways anxiety can manifest itself.

    When I first started suffering with my sleep anxiety I would come here and think “hmmm…. why aren’t people mentioning sleep anxiety that much? I wonder if my sleep issues are all together different than the anxiety Paul is speaking of. Because he hardly talks about sleep anxiety”.

    See that quoted section? Replace all of my talk of sleep with your talk of dizziness.
    It’s all the same. It’s simply what we found ourselves to latch on to.

    I really would like you try to stop questioning it all. Those doubts are going to surface “maybe this is different. Why don’t people talk about dizziness issues as much as they talk about other issues?”
    I have been through all of that doubt too, Perdy.

    So just try it. Just be at peace with those dizzy feelings. Let it come and go on its own accord. If they’re there….let them be there. If they increase in some settings, be fine with that.

    You will notice it slowly becoming less and less of an issue for you. Even when you are dizzy. Then, you’ll have those breakthrough moments where there are no symptoms at all.

    And as I said, I have the dizziness too. For awhile it was constant 24 hours a day. Now, I don’t even notice it that much. And most of the times, it’s not even there any more for me.

    God bless

  53. Jake Says:

    Looking for some advice on relationship anxiety.
    At the minute I feel like it is easing off a small bit but I still have this constant worry- what if I just don’t love her enough- what is love- maybe it’s just the end. Is this a common thing with anxiety??

  54. Steff Says:

    Haven’t been on here in a long long time. Think I’m having a setback. I have had a urine infection this week, which has knocked me sideways, I have been feeling very nauseaus but put this down to the antibiotics I’m taking, got them changed. For a while I have had pain in my lower back and hip this has been ongoing so don’t think it’s linked to the UTI now I feel sick with worry that something isn’t right with me, or is the antibiotics making me feel sick? I feel really down, was supposed up go away this weekend with my family but think I’m going to cancel, feel anxious to how I will feel when away. This is hard

  55. Perdy Says:

    Thank you Nolan, you’re right I do focus on it too much, I’m going to take your advice. I agree with everything you’ve said, I know it makes sense. Thank you so much – I needed that x

  56. Karen Says:

    Nolan, how did you get over the sleep anxiety? I find it so hard to accept not being able to get to sleep or only getting a couple of hours a night. It makes me feel so horrendous the next day, then I worry about not being able to sleep the next night and will I be capable of looking after the kids etc.
    I have been back at work 4 weeks now. Did brilliantly to start with but now having a major setback (again!) And wondering if I can carry on. Not in a happy place.

  57. Steff Says:

    Decided I am going away, anxiety will have to come with me. I feel very fearful but what will be will be.

  58. Jackie Says:

    I am new to using your techniques and they are working really well so far. I do have setbacks but I’m able to get through it. My question is, can true recovery come if you still have high levels of stress like your children or job? I feel like I won’t recover because there will always be something there giving me anxiety. Please. Any advice will help. Thank you, Jackie

    Also I constantly have music and songs on loop in my head. Is this normal?

  59. Nolan Says:

    Hi Karen,

    When I lay down to go to sleep I just started getting ready to accept whatever came my way.

    Many times when I would lay down (and still sometimes now this happens too) I could feel my mind just going alert and paying attention to whether or not I’m sleeping.
    What I did was simply let my mind/body/brain do that. I no longer fought against anything that came my way as I was laying down.
    Same with scary thoughts of being broken and not being able to sleep the next night or the next night.
    I just told myself, “Whatever happens, happens” and took a “so what” attitude towards it all.

    DOn’t get too frustrated with the setbacks. More and more I’m of the opinion that they’re very necessary in the process of recovery.
    I can say that after almost ever big setback I would come away a little bit more healed than I was before.
    The pattern is kind of weird like that.

    Accept those setbacks as well, don’t fight with or despair from them. Just accept.

  60. Nolan Says:

    No problem at all Perdy.

    Dominic had a great post on here where he said “I turned the ‘what ifs’ into ‘so whats'”.
    I think that’s a great reminder to keep in your mind. When you find yourself freaking out, doubting, obsessing, whatever…. change those “What Ifs” to “So Whats” and move on with your life.

    And remember, we don’t accept these thoughts/feelings/symptoms in hope that they will leave immediately. It will take time. You’ll have some success and then rough moments will come. The doubt will come on thick…. but, it’s all part of the process. In all that happens, resist nothing.

    Perdy, if you can find a way to be at peace during this storm in your life…. well then you’ll be able to find peace in any struggles that come your way.

  61. rachh Says:

    Jake those questions you are having are not reality. They are anxious thoughts 100% anxious thoughts so every thought you have like that you can tick it off as an anxious thought :) x

  62. Jake Says:

    I really hope you are right it’s ripping me apart!!

  63. Emma Says:

    Does anyone ever feel like they can’t exactly pinpoint what they feel but that something feels “off.” I’m not being consumed by thoughts like before, or with sadness, low mood and “grey days” — I feel relatively well, better than I have in a few months…however, something still doesn’t feel quite “right.” Can’t put my finger on it.

    E xx

  64. Emma Says:


    I want to recommend a website for you. I don’t think I’m allow to put a link but it’s called conscious-transitions by Sheryl Paul (type in google). She is a therapist who also went through relationship anxiety, now she has a blog just like this one, her posts are all about relationship anxiety and the comments too. I even posted in there once in the thick of my relationship anxiety. You will be impressed by how well she approaches this form of anxiety. Read all of her blog posts — or as many as you can. I know they will help you.

  65. Lui Says:

    Hey Sam,

    are you interested in exchanging e-mails to talk about anxiety? I don’t know if that’s still allowed anymore, haven’t been here for a while.
    My kind of anxiety is social anxiety as well. So if you’re interested let me now!

  66. Jake Says:

    Thanks Emma I actually came across this last week and was even looking at buying the e courses but think I’ll try my own approach first. The website is very good and also shocking the amount of people that go through this.. I’m the one who is saying I’m broke now beyond repair but everyone does

  67. Jackie Says:

    Can anyone offer any advice? I’m starting to worry about my symptoms

  68. Rachel Says:

    Hi perdy yes everything you said I get to Asda dark rooms all of it and I really do my best to ignor it but it’s just so hard cos you can feel it all the time I try now to do what everybody tells me let it be there which I do but it hasn’t gone maybe in time it will just need to get it into my thick head it’s anxeity and nothing else I to have high pressure in my eyes so might need to go eye hospital omg what a pair lol take care just remember your not alone xx

  69. Rachel Says:

    Perdy I also get black speckles in front of my eyes just another symptom x

  70. Riri Says:

    Hey guys. Hope everyone is doing well. I have a question. I h, finally accepted my anxiety and have been doing great for the past couple of days. I feel I have many moments that I forget all about anxiety. I sometimes get the thoughts about being bipolar or adhd but they dont botber me anymore.
    I have one question though. Why do doctors make anxiety and ocd sound like two different mental illness.
    My anxiety all started because of what a doctor said to me. I was having physical symptoms but didnt really mind them because I never thought anxiety was such a big deal. I thought it was just stress related. But once the panic would hit for no reason I began to worry. I was afraid I had depression. Then when I went to ybe doctor he told me I had anxiety disorder. So that scared me. So I began reading about GAD,OCD, Panic disorders, hypochondira,etc… I was so scared of it all. I began thinking to myself what if I have this what if I had that. I began the cycle.
    First I went to a counselor which told me I had health anxiety. Mental healthy anxiety. She was spot on. When I went to a psychiatrist and explained myself, he tols me I had ocd. Pure O. So I kept going in circles. I had ocd becaise I feared ocd. I would read stories about peoples ocd and fear it. Omg what if I wash my hands none stop what if I turn the lights on and off etc etc. I finally overcame all of that.
    But one think that I cant get over is why is it they dont just cal ocd plain old anxiety. The word ocd makes it sound like this horrible mental illness. But in the end I am still the same person that is.just scared to menytal illness. So am I considered mentally ill becuase I have a fear of mental illness. It sounds ridiclous I know. It was just very hard for me to be labled as ocd. It.makes me feel like something is.wrong with me. But nothing is wrong wuth me. I am completly fine. I just had ti convince myself that. I hope.this post.makes sense. I just had to let my thoughts out on paper.
    What I am basically saying is I feel like docotrs make it worse for.patients. they could of just I had anxiety instead of telling me I had ocd. A.d making me think I was mentally ill. Anxiety is not a mental illness. It is sad that.

  71. Riri Says:

    Jackie this is all normal. I had random thoughts and songs stuck in my head constantly. They would drive me absolutely crazy. But dismiss them and they will fade away.
    I have two small children and of course you will have stress. But with mindfulness you learn to dismiss worrys and thoughts.

  72. Lauren Says:

    Hi all,

    I’m currently in hospital (anxiety/depression), however trying to practice ACCEPTANCE-Help! Little A-Ha moments are happening, however havn’t grasped the concept just yet. Can someone explain “fresh words” ;-p

    Many thanks,
    Lauren :-)

  73. Emma Says:

    Lauren, I’m curious as to why you were admitted to the hospital for anx/dep. Do you have a particularly severe case? x

    Riri, you bring up some great points. I think that what the majority of us have are “symptoms” of ocd like ocd thoughts — not true ocd. It’s hard to draw the line between what’s general anxiety and what’s ocd — but it sounds like a lot of us here suffer form ocd “symptoms” like intrusive thoughts, and not true ocd.

  74. Emma Says:

    Jackie, everything you describe is anxiety. As far as the external stressors, yes you can overcome anxiety despite the stress of regular life, however it would be wise to consider whether certain stressors lead to your anxiety to begin with. A lot of people, at the onset of their anxiety, were dealing w stressful life event — pressure at work, kids, loss of a loved one, break up, etc. I would try to minimize any unnecessary stress, but certainly don’t be anxious bc you’re stressed! A lot of that is “good” stress, it’s healthy stress. Look into mindfulness meditation, it will help you tremendously. 10-20 mins in the morning and night, very worth it to keep that internal balance and move through stress with ease. It’s no wonder the very first mindfulness therapy course was called the “stress reduction” therapy.

  75. Lauren Says:

    Hi Emma,
    It’s a Mental Health Clinic (in Australia).. I’m undergoing a course of ECT (for non-shifting depression), however i have been able to use Paul’s method in the past, few years on not grasping it as well…

  76. Karen Says:

    Emma you sound so strong, you are doing so well. I am getting there with acceptance of thoughts, its acceptance of feelings I struggle with. Do we treat this differently. How do you accept feeling low and bad. I acknowledge it, nod my head to it and try to carry on with it there. But its still there and I can’t like it or not let it bother me that I feel like that. Any help?

  77. Jackie Says:

    Thank you for helping. Do the songs ever go away? How do you know if you’re in recovery? Mostly I have good days but some days I wake up in a little of anxiety but I haven’t had a panic attack since I read the book about a month ago. I do try to meditate. It’s hard to find time. But overall I feel like I have more better days than bad but I still just find my self with obsessing thoughts and songs.

  78. Jude Says:


    Just allow them to be there, sing along if you must :)

  79. Nolan Says:

    Hi Lauren,

    In simple terms…. be at peace with whatever you’re going through at that moment.

    Sometimes peace simply means, stop the constant searching for an external cure to this. Being fine with the fact that you feel kind of crappy right now, but that’s okay…. in time it will get better. Your body knows how to heal itself with this issue.

    Resist nothing that your body is doing to yourself at any given moment.

  80. sam Says:

    hii everyone….just wanted to ask a question to those over here who are completely recovered or are almost completely recovered…how has life been post recovery?? do you guys feel more confident, do you guys take less stress?? do events which may usually cause anxiety in others do not effect you guys any more?? do you feel more confident in tackling situations you once feared even before anxiety set in??

  81. Maggie Says:


    Thank you for describing it so well!The avoidance behavior I mean.
    Me too guys, I have days where I think of anxiety as a joke and how can I let those thoughts control me. Some other days I am a total mess. I can not read, focus, and the word suicide, self harm sends me in a alert mode.
    Please share more positive stories.

  82. Lui Says:

    Hey guys,

    Just a month ago I was accepting more and was having so many moments of “wisdom” and truely felt better after months. I then fell in a deep, deep hole again after a frightening social event and was in my fragile, depression zone again. I am back on my feet now, ha take that anxiety, and working on accepting again.
    I just carry so much sadness in my body and can’t even put up a smile on my face. I feel nothing, I am numb and have no interest in the conversations around me, even if I am in accpeting mode. Some people notices my sad face and I feel like I should cover up my sadness…
    Should I let the sadness be around or not?

  83. Beth Says:

    Lui, I feel similar in that I often think I’m giving off a ‘sad face’ vibe and I criticize myself internally for not smiling and feel like I have to force a certain face so others don’t dislike me. However, when I look around, not everyone is smiling all the time. If they aren’t pressuring themselves to be ‘on’ and ‘smiling,’ why should we? I think it’s definitely annoying when people are like ‘are you okay?’ or express concern or question why you’re not smiling, but maybe they’re just being sensitive to your feelings and they mean no harm by it. It’s all in our interpretation… we think negatively and thus start to feel bad and question ourselves. I usually start to think ‘Crap I am sad. They notice I’m sad, so I must be sad. I shouldn’t have this stoic face.’ Then I feel like I need to smile from now on and feign being the opposite of sad, so I end up feeling this conflict within me which surfaces in feelings of anxiety, because I’m pretending to me all smiley and happy when I just don’t feel like smiling, and just want to sit with a normal face, that might appear as a scowl to some. It’s like, God forbid anyone else points out my expression. I can’t allow that to happen! So then you exert all this control over yourself. It’s any wonder we end up a knotted mess. Better to just be ourselves and let go of all of these expectations we’re putting upon ourselves. You don’t have to smile or fake being happy when you’re not. No one will crucify you for being sad.

  84. Jackie Says:

    How do you know when you are recovered or on the road to recovery?

  85. jake Says:

    Hi I’m seeking some much needed advice regarding relationship anxiety.

    I feel nothing towards my partner just feel extremely hollow with nothing inside. I look at her in such a different light these days it’s very worrying, worrying to the point I don’t think I will ever get it back. This cannot be normal surely you should feel something? How have I just got so cold towards her totally out of the blue. I even look at her as she is ugly etc when she is very beautiful but my mind has me looking at her so differently.
    I have seen old posts were people say just to keep powering through and eventually it will all come back, but is there a point it may have gone to far

  86. Will Says:

    Hi everyone, hope everybody’s doing ok.
    I don’t know if its the summer, staring at screens or stress in general, but I’ve been feeling really out of sorts lately. I have this constant groggy feeling with head pains and zaps, like electric shocks all over my head, and towards the end of the day I’m left feeling “frazzled”. my neck and left arm are always tensed up, leading to stiffness, pains and more headaches, its as if I can’t do anything to relax them.
    The thought occurred to me that maybe I’m feeling this way because ofmy recent counselling sessions. My counsellor revealed that my constant playing games and staring at screens, as well as impatient multitasking, are very likely the cause of my hypervigilance and anxiety. While I agree and have tried everything to slow down, I’m just so mentally hyperactive that it really is an effort to do only one thing at once. Now I haven’t been playing games very much lately, but what I have been doing is illustrating on my computer. But now this is affecting me, as if mind wears down so much quicker now that I’m aware of how I’m feeling, leading to the above symptoms. Does anybody else struggle with hyperactivity and a constant need for activity and stimulus? And do you also get these sorts of symptoms?

  87. Kyle Says:

    Hey guys,

    Been feeling a bit off lately but I think I have narrowed it down to the fact that I recently committed to a relationship with a girl and have since then had extreme relationship anxiety. I don’t want to seem like the crazy bf but I get so tense and nervous and scared whenever she goes out at night or goes and does anything and I am not there. I have never been like this before. My heart gets all tense and I keep waking up at night to see if she has texted me to let me know shes at home and safe and it seems like every morning I end up calling her to see how her night was and see what she was up to. I recently became sober and dont drink or do anything so I have a bit of a hard time relating to people who dont have anxiety and do drink and party? Is all this tension just anxiety and something I should just face/accept and see as anxiety and just let it be? I would really like it if someone would chime in on this if they have similar feelings about their partner?

    Second, does anyone on here have problems with jealousy and a feeling that they should be out doing a bunch of fun things but can’t? Everytime I see people having fun or see pictures of my friends out doing fun things and acting like I use too I tend to get so down and feel left out and so jealous that it feels like i am so mad and frustrated. I also see people out doing fun things so I try to compete and try to go out and do something better that i will think is fun but spend the whole time feeling like im just forcing myself to do it to be like other people. Its like i have a fear of missing out but im so jealous and envious at the same time! Anyone else get this feeling? do i just accept it and wait for time to pass and let the real me come out?

    Third, some of my friends have said that I am not like the same person I was. My best friend told me that he can tell that I am very insecure about myself? Has anyone else felt this way? I seem to be always second guess myself and I dont know what my feelings are or how i feel about certian situations. I am just having a very hard time accepting myself and finding what makes me happy! is this more anxiety too? I would really just like to be me and be happy with that and also be happy for other people doing what they like to do rather than tearing them down because im having no fun.

    Sorry for the long rant but if anyone could answer some of these it would give me some piece of mind. THANKS

  88. Maggie Says:

    @Jake, I felt the same way toward my husband of 13 years. Believe me it will go away. There is nothing wrong with you or with your partner or even your relationship. Sometimes I used to look at my husband as the trigger of all my anxiety and miseries. Until I reached the point that yes he stresses me sometimes but he is not my problem.
    It will get better with time and patience, believe me.

  89. Jake Says:

    How did you get rid of it Maggie.
    Are you now back to normal?

  90. Jake Says:

    P.s it makes me feel like shit

  91. Jake Says:

    Is it a case of just putting up with feeling shit until this somehow goes away?

  92. Emma Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I was doing so well up until now. I’m not doing well at all anymore. I apologize in advance for letting off…. My boyfriend of 3 years has decided he no longer wants to be with me. We’ve broken up 2 days ago for good,he says that at the age of 26 he now wants to ‘live his life’ and not be tied down. He says that I have some trust issues and that he is finding himself unhappy in this relationship. I am PROPERLY HEARTBROKEN… I cannot eat, sleep, think. He was the love of my life and my best and only friend. Together for 3 years, everyday, we shared a love like the one in the movies. I don’t know what to do :'( How will I ever recover from this. I’m not strong like my friends who have overcome break-ups, I dependent on him, he was my hero. He helped me through this anxiety, he would listen and hold me for hours and tell me it would all be okay and take away my pain. I am typing through my tears as I write this. The most precious part of my life is no longer here, and I feel completely shattered….

  93. Emma Says:

    I’m devastated, I’ve done everything I could to try to change his mind. I have been crying in my mothers arms and dreaming about him since it happened. I have never been heartbroken like this. I miss him deeply, I feel that my heart will always yearn for him. He was a great man, a good man. Now someone else will end up with him, someone that isn’t me :'( :'( :'(

  94. rachh Says:

    Jake you cant get rid of thoughts. That is what they are just thoughts:) the reason you take them as real is because you have anxiety and have believed your thoughts for most of your life so cant see why it wouldn’t be true. That is why you are doubting it. Anxiety does this it picks on things that you believe are most important And will give you enough doubts about it and anxious thoughts. Team that with an overactive nervous system and you are in a state about it. Thoughts are just imagination. Question your thoughts dont believe them.

  95. Nolan Says:

    Jake, here are the feelings I would experience with my girlfriend (who is now my wife)……..
    We would get together to do something and I would be at peace for alittle bit with her. Then this hollow feeling would start developing inside of me. I’d look at her and I’d almost get disgusted. I don’t even know why. It was just a strong feeling of repulsion. She would put her arm around me or hold my hand and immediately my skin would start crawling. I would feel the strong urge to run away from her or to push her away physically.

    Quick background on me: my mom was an alcoholic. My dad did the best he could to raise my sister and I when my mom was in the throes of a bad period of binge drinking.
    When she was sober she would feel terrible for what she put us through. She would hide in her bedroom for a couple of days…. embarrassed to look at us. I was just a kid so it was all pretty confusing to me.

    At her worst she was drinking things like Listerine (mouthwash…. which I found between my mattress and box spring one day when I came home from middle school). She threw an ashtray at my dad’s head. Was clinincally dead a couple of times.

    I remember her being sent off to a rehab place for about 2 months.
    Might not seem long, but to a child (I was in middle school) 2 months away from your mom is a lifetime.

    She eventually did go dry, but, her drinking took here away from me pretty early (I was 24 when she died… she was 53).

    Now…. I’m not certain what role this played in helping me develop this issue. But I think it contributed somehow.

    But the main point is this: stop trying to feel a certain way.

    If you’re with your lady and these feelings start to come, allow them to come. Tell yourself, “perfectly fine to feel this way. I’m not going to fight it or run from it anymore. But, I also have obligations. I’m with a good lady. And, independent of what my feelings currently are I’m going to be there with her/for her.”

    Just let it all come. Resist nothing.

  96. Lui Says:

    Do you think social fears should be taken serious? I know that it’s just my mind making things up, but I can’t see it as a lie. I see it as ultimate truth that I’ll get judged really badly if I open up.

  97. Jackie Says:

    I really need some advice about anger and irritability. I feel so angry and hostile. Like I’m about to snap. I’m so scared I have small children and I just feel that one day they are going to anger my so much I’m just going to go off on them. I pride myself on being a good mother and this is really getting to me. Please hep with some advice. I don’t know what to do.

  98. Nolan Says:

    Hi Jackie,
    let those thoughts and feelings be there. Smirk at them. Don’t pay them so much respect.
    Just assure yourself that you’re not going to act on them, and that there’s nothing wrong with having those thoughts.

    If you go into, “Oh my God this is terrible!!!” mode…. all that’s going to do is reinforce your fight/flight response. So, don’t feed into it. Just let it be there, take a “oh well, whatever” attitude towards their presence and move on with your day.

  99. Maggie Says:

    @Jake, when you have non anxiety moments you will see that you still want to be with your partner. That’s how i Learned that anxiety was playing its tricks on me. It will go away believe me.

  100. Bryan Says:


    Sorry for what you are going through. I can only promise you from experience that this will work out for the best. Trust me, I’m 46… and believe me I have been devastated more than once because of a break-up. I know you can’t feel it now, but I promise you, this will make sense at some point down the road and you will move onto something that you are even happier to have found. It just works that way. You can’t see it now, and I know that. But this is how it goes.

    Work on taking care of yourself and keeping your acceptance up, anxiety low and be kind to you. It will get better.

  101. Jake Says:


    Thanks for your reply. I’ll explain where I am. I’m a lot similar to how you did feel. I feel nothing then when I feel this I keep thinking if you feel like this what’s the point. Stop pretending it’s all ok when really it isn’t. I start putting obstacles in my way like she is ugly, I’m not attracted to her.

    My background with my parents is very a like yours. But in my case my Dad was and alcoholic so know to an extent where you are coming from.

    I question everything right down to the point of my feelings for my kids etc.. When you were in your bad times did you feel your relationship was doomed?? How did you perk yourself up when it made you feel so bad? I question if I feel like this sure it’s the end it’s that simple.

    I need to start taking your advice just suck it up and allow anything to come and learn to accept it. It really makes me feel awful and my partner can see when I’m like this.

    Did your feeling for your partner come back gradually? You got married after this which I find amazing as that is the last thing I would want to do right this second

  102. Jake Says:

    Hi Rachh

    Yes I think I have been like this all my life but this is by far the worst. I’m going to try accept this garbage and live hopefully then I will give my brain a rest

  103. Jake Says:

    Hi Maggie
    I do get these moments but not many if them at present.. I hope every morning I wake that I have everything back but it probably doesn’t work like that.

  104. Karen Says:

    Jackie, I know exactly where you are coming from with the anger, irritability with the kids. I have always been such a patient person so I hate it. Try not to add any stories to it. Yes I got cross and that is it! Very, very difficult. With me I think the tiredness causes it as much as anxiey.

  105. Jackie Says:

    I just got so scared because I yelled at my kids and they didn’t deserve it and I felt like I couldn’t control it. It was like a rubber band that finally snapped. I’m so scared that will happen again. How do I control it?

  106. Emma Says:


    Thank you infinitely for your response. It hurts deeply in my heart. I have a collection of all the letters and cards he wrote me, and last night I read them all. Needless to say, I am ravaged by this. I don’t seem to want to accept, I keep hoping he will change his mind and come back to me. This hope is the only thing appeasing the pain.

    E :( x

  107. Nolan Says:

    Hi Jake,

    One thing I started to realize was this, ‘regardless of who I am with, I’ll eventually get to this place with them. I’ll eventually have these feelings all over again. It’s not because of the girl that I’m with…. it’s a problem with me’.

    At some level I knew this to be true. I knew that it wasn’t because of her.

    You asked,
    “How did you perk yourself up when it made you feel so bad?”

    I started thinking in terms of obligation. Prudence, a virtue, tells us that sometimes in life we have to follow the wise course. That we have to act in a certain way that may run contrary to our feelings/appetites/emotions.
    That, we shouldn’t always (if ever) allow ourselves to be guided by feelings/appetites/emotions. Sometimes those just fall out of wack; and when that happens we have to be prudential. We have to make decisions and act out on behaviors that are inline with the ‘wise course’.

    Now, I knew I wanted to be with someone. I had a strong intimation that these feelings I’m currently having towards my girlfriend are feelings that I would eventually develop towards any girl that I ended up with.

    So what did I do? I just told those hollow, distorted, disturbing thoughts and feelings that, “you can be there…. that’s fine. But you are no longer going to dictate my actions”.

    I stopped trying to force it with my girlfriend. When those feelings came and if I was holding her hand I just would tell myself, “too bad…. I’m not doing this for me; I’m doing this for her.”

    I allowed those feelings and thoughts to be there, but I didn’t pay them respect anymore.

    Sure, it’s not like I was having a grand ol’ time. But I came to the conclusion that there are certain things in life of greater value than my feelings/thoughts that seemed to ebb and flow.

    In time the intensity of those thoughts and feelings just started to wither away. They began to lose their sting.
    Then came moments where I was sooooooooooooooooo thankful that I didn’t make that decision to end the relationship with her.

    And now today, they rarely come up. And when they do (if they do) they are like faint cries in the background.

    God bless.

  108. Dustin Says:

    The past few weeks, I had been in a major setback. I got sucked back into battling my mind to feel normal again. Two days ago I had one of those Ah-ha moments as Paul calls them, and I am feeling much better. Often when I am feeling good, I seem to over analyze these times as well. Especially after an extremely rough setback, I seem to be full of doubt even on these good days, so it is very hard to see the progress that I am making even though I truly believe that it is there. The feelings of doubt, and the thoughts that accompany them are two of my major hang-ups right now. Does anybody else struggle with this and does anybody have any advice?

  109. Jake Says:

    Hi Nolan
    Firstly thanks for that you certainly talk a lot of sense on this matter. I’m slightly amazed how this has just ripped me apart. The emotionless, hollow, resentful (to a point) feeling towards her have me someway shocked really. It has totally baffled me that I am doing this for no reason, I also did something similar in a previous relationship 10 years ago basically just shut down and fled.
    From your post & other peoples (thank you for replies) I just have to live with these horrible feelings and just keep pushing along. When does this thing ever end???? Do you get the loving feelings back??? I want to be “normal” again! I have this voice telling me just face up to it that it has come to and end, which I’m going to allow to come in & ignore. When do you know if you should end it or is this anxiety playing up??
    I’m due to go on holidays in next few weeks which is really freaking me out. I FEAR I will totally shut down and be miserable on this break, it’s so annoying. All I feel I want to do is be on my own as it’s less grief but no doubt that can’t be the way to go ( I think)

  110. Jake Says:

    I feel like if I’m on my own or with someone else all my troubles would go away. This has to be anxiety telling me to go the easy path?

  111. Karen Says:

    It is Jake. My anxiety has gone through phases where if I had listened to it I would have left my husband. Another time I couldn’t feel anything for my children. At the moment it is focussed on work and I am trying to accept it and carry on going despite wanting to cry all the time. I have moments where I know it is not real. I will not give in to it. Struggling to accept not battle at the moment.

    Jackie you are frightened of it happening again, it is anxiety. Nothing happened. Accept even if it did happen again, nothing would happen. So the kids got shouted at, you got angry, you didn’t like that feeling, now you are scared. Its ok to be angry but for people like you and I who it is alien to, it feels frightening. BUT it is normal so just don’t react to the fear of it. I so understand where you are coming from with this. The fact you arescared of hurting the children shows you would not. X

  112. Jackie Says:

    Thank you Karen. I just want to be a better mother and wife and keep moving forward. I haven’t had a setback this bad since I started this whole process about a month ago. I just wish that this wasn’t who I am. I want to be anxiety free so bad. I guess I just don’t have the patience to wait and could that be causing my set backs?

  113. Nolan Says:

    Hi Jake,

    No problem at all. Don’t get too down on yourself. At least you’re concerned enough to actually want to address the issue. How many people would have just fled, not caring for the other person’s feelings at all.

    But you’re not doing that.

    Regarding the thoughts and feelings…. simply let them come and do whatever they want to. When they flare up just take a “oh well, whatever” attitude towards it.
    Start changing your attitude towards those thoughts and feelings. That’s the first step.

  114. Jake Says:

    Do you get the living feelings back Nolan??

  115. Nolan Says:

    They come back.

    But remember, don’t put more pressure on your relationship with your lady to be any different than others.

    What I mean is that, yes, there is an emotional aspect to any relationship. But for all relationships (friendships, romantic, parental…whatever) the emotional furvor usually comes down a bit over time.

    No relationship is immune to that. But, you maintain the relationship (whatever the nature of it) for reasons independent of how it makes you feel at any given moment.
    Say you don’t want to hang out with a friend of yours because you’d rather just be alone that day. Well, you don’t start fretting over the thought of “Hmmmm…. maybe we weren’t meant to be friends with each other”. No, you simply accept the fact that you’re not always going to have a strong emotional pull to want to do something with that friend.

    And sometimes you do things with that friend even if you really don’t want to be with them. They’re going through a hard moment, you’d rather be by yourself or with someone else…. but, you understand that your friendship isn’t just a reflection of your emotional whims to either be with them or not with them. No, via prudence to make the decision to act one way regardless of how you may actually feel towards that decision.

    Sometimes I wonder if people who had alcoholic parents put extra burden on their romantic relationships. If they expect more from those relationships (consciously or subconsciously)…. something to fill the void or remove the stains of the past. And when that strong emotional desire to be with that person falters…. they start questioning the entire thing.
    But that’s just not fair to the person we’re with. That’s almost an impossible burden for another to shoulder.
    It’s a standard we hold our romantic relationships to that we would never imagine holding another type of relationship to.

    Try to be at peace with the lack of peace, Jake.
    Let them come and go on their own accord. Because we both know, if they were as easy to chase off as a wayward dog in your yard…. we would already have won that battle.

    Here’s your chance Jake to find out what it means to be a noble man and a man of goodwill.
    To, momentarily, sacrifice your personal comfort for the greater good of someone else (your wife, your kids…whomever). To realize that sometimes we follow a course of action despite our feelings/thoughts.

    Jake, you’re a good man. You already have a great start because you actually give a damn. That’s the hardest part. You care enough to be concerned about it. Like I said, I think we both know enough people that ditch relationships with nary a concern for the people we leave behind.

    Rise above those feelings, Jake. Let them tell you whatever they want to tell you. Let them be there for as long as they want to be there. But in time they will diminish. In time their sting will be no more. In time that hollowness will be filled. You’ll see that it was never an issue with the lady in your life. And you’ll find that peace again.

  116. Jake Says:

    Thank you Nolan.

    I’m still at an early stage with this anxiety 6/7 weeks I’m resigned to the fact that I’m better off on my own but I’m slowly turning it I think. I still have this small part that says “I don’t care I just want out, I’m made to be on my own” that’s why I question love in relationships so much.
    I know there is no such thing as Hollywood love but I’d hate to be in a relationship just for the sake of it???
    I’ve never put so much thought into my relationship maybe that’s the reason I’m coming up with this stuff like lack of feelings, wanting to be on my own, no attraction etc..
    But you seemed to get all these loving feelings back and hoping I will in time but I’m convinced I’m wired wrong but need to let it run it’s course

  117. Damo Says:

    Hi everyone :-)

    first of all what a great post and blog. Seriously the advice and support on here is un matched, its realllly helping :-). Iv been struggling with what i think is really bad social anxiety. I get really anxious around people. People i know and should really get on with are the worst. Iv started having panic attacks around my girlfriends parents, like literally freaking out, pounding heart etc. I panic infront of work colleagues, managers etc, its sooooooo imbarrassing. Not just that, i torture myself worrying about facing these people, i feel like i put people on edge and as soon as that thought gets in my head, i cant get it out and start avoiding people and making the situation worse, its really getting me down. now for the positives woop woop. Im really taking on board all the advice here and startingggg to relax abit, iv refused tablets after being on anti DP’s for agesss (did nt do anythinggggggg) but iv found inderal helps with the physical symptoms, i suppose im posting this just to see if anyone has ever had the same and come out the other end, does it sound like social anxiety to you guys. Im trying so hard not to fight, to put a brave face on and crack on and i know ill get there, and everyone else here will do aswell, Paul is absolutely right with his was of doing things :-) good luck everyone

  118. Jake Says:

    Hi Karen
    I’m like that now want to leave my partner as I feel nothing and I even question my feeling towards my kids that’s what is very worrying!!! That’s not normal but this is where I find myself at present all I want to do is run and be on my own

  119. Fred Potter Says:

    I’ve just started reading Paul’s book. So far it seems like a re-hash of Clare Weekes. Understanding anxiety by talking about tired nerves or sensitisation is very out of date. What precisely are tired nerves? In understanding anxiety the following should be discussed: contents of the subconscious mind, neuropeptide Y, the amygdala, why alcohol works. I was not aware of a build up of stress before any of my episodes. Everything was going swimmingly then bang!

  120. Fred Potter Says:

    I should have said I’ve been a sufferer for 50 years. I will read the book and hope for the best. The do nothing approach, or try to make it worse, have become fashionable. I hope it’s not just a fashion

  121. Jackie Says:

    I have been having the worst time lately. Friday, Saturday and Sunday I was on edge and snapped at my kids as I have stated. Yesterday I was totally fine and felt good and calm. Then this morning I woke up in a panic from a dream and have been on edge ever since. When will this setback be over? How long does it usually last? I feel like crying, I am so emotional and I want to be myself again. I have been “in recovery” by first reading claire weekes book about a month ago. I thought it was supposed to get easier, it feels like I am back sliding. Someone please offer a little advice.
    Thank you!

  122. Bryan Says:


    What about taking a few weeks off of thinking about it? Clearly, there is no need to rush. Of course you know that these thoughts are nothing more than anxiety, but if you need to prove it to yourself what about taking some time and not entertaining these ideas when I come up? Because it’s very obvious that every time they do, you take them with the utmost seriousness. You talk about them here, you give them great consideration, and it is a constant struggle and a fight. Of course, this makes your mind more tired, more fatigued, and less likely to make any sort of real decision.

    So, it’s not about forcing yourself not to think about it. It’s about allowing it to be there and being in charge of what you decide to engage with. Those thoughts will come up, and you have the option. You can either fuss and fight and engage with those thoughts, or you can recognize them asked something you’re not interested in right now and gently focus your attention on something that matters. These intrusive thoughts only have meaning because we allow them to. I have been there, I know how this is.

    Every time you fuss and fight, every time you come here and profess how horrible it all is, you make the thoughts more important. You make it mean more than it really does. We keep these thoughts alive for ourselves. You have the option to take another course.

  123. Bryan Says:


    Claire Weeks talks extensively about setbacks and how they are a normal part of the process. Please reread her material and reference the chapter on setbacks, or if you were listening to the audio I believe it is towards the end of the program. It’s completely normal and expected to have setbacks.

  124. Jackie Says:

    Thank you for clearing that up. I forget to look back at what I have read. I will just keep pushing through and going on with normal life in float to the other side. I know this will let up soon and eventually I will be fully recovered! Thanks for everyones help!

  125. Bryan Says:

    You are 100% correct I just need to find that switch to knock it off. I’m going to try to allow them to come in and let them sit and do norhing

  126. Jake Says:

    You are 100% correct I just need to find that switch to knock it off. I’m going to try to allow them to come in and let them sit and do norhing.
    I’ve never had it like this so it’s very confusing but I need to beat it!!

  127. Emma Says:

    How long does this pain from heartbreak last? I have forgotten all my anxiety because this heartbreak is so overpowering. He wants to move on but I don’t want to let go. Feeling so very alone.

  128. Allie Says:

    When you have to make a decision when you have anxiety and all these thoughts are going through your head, and you’ve been obsessing about it for days, is it okay to just take a step back and leave it? Because I’m going through a moral issue that I really dont know what to do about and ive been thinking and obsessing about it for days and dont know what to do and im tired of it. I honestly cannot think clearly enough to make a rational decision. I just want my mind to become more clear before I make a decision, can I do this? I just wish I could have some moments of clarity. Im so tired of going over it.

    I’m also hung up on thoughts about “would I do x if I had anxiety”? “How would Allie act and do things if she was all better”? “Would non-anxious me do the same thing”? If you dont make a decision now you will never recover and it will haunt you forever” “moments of clarity will never come back because you cant decide”

    Sigh. Can anyone offer me some comfort? I’m in yet another setback. What do you guys do when you have to make big decisions?

  129. Allie Says:

    Why do I feel the need to have to figure everything out? Will all the answers become clear to me in time if I just let go?

  130. Abed Ah Says:

    I can say that my experience with anxiety is not as hard as other guys here maybe, it doesn’t keep me from socializing or meeting friends, I can do my duties almost as usual. At the same time I have this feeling of unease and uncomfort almost all the time. I question my self is it reality? everything seems strange around me, I feel guilty for many things and the big thing is the fear that something bad will happen. I’m trying to let it go and not to think about it but seem not to success.

    Can anyone help me??

  131. Matt Says:

    Hey everyone,

    So it’s been a week since I’ve been on here. Everything has just been getting better and better since accepting! Honestly, I felt normal today, even with work stress and school work and everything else! What’s kept me in the cycle of anxiety, I feel, is I’ve been concentrating too much on it. I was reading endlessly on it, thinking about it, doing everything I could to figure it out. I finally just forced myself to break the habit of reading on here, looking at anxiety things, etc. I’m still not recovered by any means, but I feel SO much better than I have in the last two months. I’m not going to fear a setback, but I also know that I still have work to do. Anyway, just wanted to give people who are in a dark place some light :). I honestly was losing hope, but this has reinvigorated me! It really does take time for you to forget all the bad habits, so don’t give up if after a week or two, this doesn’t work. Anyway, that’s all for now. Hang in there and keep accepting! :)

  132. Kelly Says:

    Hi, all! I’m new to the blog, and just purchased the book a couple of days ago. I have had physical symptoms of anxiety (dizziness, mainly) for about two years now. Every time I went to the doctor for dizziness, initially, I had fluid on my ears. I didn’t worry much about it from that point on. I was experiencing extreme stress with my job and basically hated it, but persevered. That same summer, I bought a house, and became overwhelmed with anxiety. Upon moving in, I experienced a panic attack (didn’t know at the time). The worst part of it was the unreal, dreamlike feeling that came with it. I never forgot it. I lived on the edge of anxiety that summer, avoiding that feeling at all costs. Soon after, my job became even more stressful to the point that the dizziness came back with a vengeance, and I went to an ENT doctor to have my ears checked again. The doctor found nothing wrong. While driving, I had another panic attack and had the weirdest thought, “Why are we human?” It sent me over the edge, anxiety wise. I keep having thoughts like this. “What if everything is a dream, it’s all in your imagination?” “Why are we here on Earth?” “life is so strange”, etc. I am a Christian and those thoughts scare me to death! Then I start to get the feelings of detachment, and actually feel like it is a dream! It’s so awful. My latest concern is that this is the beginning of psychosis and that I’m going to be schizophrenic. All because of that one thought, I feel like a different person. Anxiety (if indeed that’s what it is!) has made me feel like I’m an alien. I’m able to function with normal life, but barely. I’m so scared.

  133. Bryan Says:

    Nice work Mattt!

  134. tim Says:

    Allie, if the issue doesn’t have to be decided on right now, definately let it go for some time!
    And yes you are correct everything will clear up when stress levels go down which makes you feel more normal.
    What you need to figure out is that you can stop figuring things out, basicaly.

  135. Emma Says:

    Hoping someone can respond… I’m going through a very devastating break-up and it has heightened my anxiety. I am terrified the breakup will spiral into a suicidal depression. Of course I feel depressed, that’s natural after the end of a beautiful 3 year relationship. But I am paralyzed with fear that this grief will spiral into a suicidal, treatment-resistant depression because of my pre-existing issue with anxiety and mild depression caused by anxiety — worried that all this pain and grief from this excruciating break up will send me into a severe clinical depression. Can anyone offer some advice? Please :(

  136. Lauren Says:

    Thanks Matt, that’s encouraging! I’m in hospital atm, getting ECT, and when I go home I will be ‘accepting’ (like there’s no tomorrow!) It’s great to get the uplifting messages : )

  137. Josh Says:

    Dear All

    Does accepting anxeity mean that despite all the physical and mental crap that goes on, you continue your daily work – office , kids etc without paying any attention to it? Need an answer from the experts….

  138. Bryan Says:


    Absolutely not. Fear of that is completely normal for anxiety sufferers. Moreover, feeling sad after a breakup is normal and human. Let yourself feel sadness. Your body and mind will release that energy and allow you to move on. That’s what sadness is for! It’s so normal. Talk to those around you for support if you can. But you will be fine. Read my post from last week. You will be happy again. Patience.

  139. Lui Says:

    Thinking about going to a clinic for a few weeks. I can’t do this anymore. I do not dare to face my anxiety, I just can’t look through these terrifying thoughts. My anxiety makes me believe that suicide is better than facing.
    I isolated myself for the last few months andI can’t get out of this state. I wish I could but I can’t.

  140. Jake Says:

    I don’t know much about anxiety but from what the guys tell me on here you need to try allow all thoughts in and stay strong as they will go!!

  141. JJ Says:

    Hello Guy, I first had my anxiety attack about 4 years ago. I recently bought a house and lost my dog which hurt me greatly and everything kind of hit me at once. I’m also still single and often get depressed I will never find someone. I found this site and it helped out allot so I figure I’ll come back for advice. I thought I would never overcome my anxiety with the constant thoughts which sometimes were pretty disturbing or sometimes just ridiculous. I recently started to get these again and I’ve been getting bad headaches because I’ve been trying to fight these off which is making things worse. I feel like the more this happens the more I’m going to drive myself crazy and just ruin my whole life. I know I’ll feel better because it’s happened before but it just sucks going through this all over again. Anyone else feel this way?

  142. Lui Says:

    I know, I tried and tried but I can’t.

  143. Jake Says:

    And it will take time I guess!

  144. Bryan Says:


    Work with those around you and allow yourself some space to recover. Do what you need to do. You have made progress. You know you can do this.

  145. Emma Says:

    Lui, suicide is not an option. You aren’t going to do carry it out, anxiety terrifies us into thinking that we will but we will NOT. If you feel you need extra help, then by all means go to the clinic. There’s nothing wrong with that. Everyone needs a little boost sometimes. Are you in therapy? Are you on anti-depressants? Perhaps you should seek out some of these options right now to help you temporarily. There is help out there, you musn’t feel that you’re alone in this!

  146. Emma Says:

    Bryan, thank you. I appreciate your kind response. I was very close to recovery from anxiety and feeling so much progress and was suddenly hit with this bombshell of a break-up. He says he needs time and space to decide whether we should work things out or not, he feels there are trust issues that cause too much turbulence, I agree, but he did not have to end our relationship completely to address this. Trying keep my chin up. Xx

  147. Matt Says:


    How long did it take you to feel like you were close to recovery? Last week was really awesome for me, and even my intrusive thoughts weren’t bothering me almost at all. The last few days ive been irritated at everything for no reason, and haven’t felt like trying as much. My intrusive thoughts are bothering me a bit again. I know setbacks are part of this, and its been like a week or two for me, but it is a shock when things aren’t going as well as they were the last week.

  148. Lui Says:

    Thanks Bryan and Emma,

    no I am not meds or in theraphy. but i am searching for a therapist. it’s hard to find one that is not “booked out” already and i ran away from my last one cause i am highly afraid of intimicy and opening up. My family can’t help because they all suffer from social anxiety as well. way not as servere but i got the anxiety thinking pattern from them I guess.

  149. Gemma Says:

    Hi Guys,
    Not posted on here for a long long time as im pretty much fully recovered from my 3 year learning curve with health anxiety. But today I was told some news that I didn’t ever want to hear . My doc has referred me to a specialist for a breast lump. It’s so hard at the minute I’m trying not to worry but I feel like the past 3 years are coming back to haunt me as I’ve obsessed with my health for so long :( any 1 have any good advice on how I should approach this? Only good thing is I’m getting seen too very quickly, within the week so should have answers soon. Any advice would be greatfully appreciated. X

  150. Charles Says:

    Lui, people suicide because they are tired of fighting, it’s not because they are tired of suffering. You can always stop fighting.

    In my experience, part of recovering is forgetting, forgetting the feelings of anxiety and forgetting how to cope with it. This is why setbacks are hard because you struggle to remember what made you better in the first place. That struggle is counter productive because it makes you worry, and what is more frustrating is that even if you do remember the thought/attitude/activity that made you better, it doesn’t work anymore! Because it is no longer an “Ah-ha!” moment, it’s a labored thought.

    If I told you that there is a magical therapy that will guarantee to cure you from all anxiety, and I will give it to you tomorrow. I bet you will feel so relieved and hopeful that you will live an awesome day today! But why is that? I haven’t given you the magical therapy yet why are you anxiety free already? So knowing that there is a solution is just as good as knowing the solution itself? That shows us the what anxiety really is: our struggle to find a solution to our problems. Our actual problems: racing heart, intrusive thoughts, suicidal thoughts, mood swings…aren’t the anxiety, but our constant struggle to find a “cure” is.

    Sometimes we just have to accept certain things, like when my hand touches water it feels “wet” or when I go to that party I feel “anxious”, these things are the result of so many variables and they can not possibly be figured out. So next time I feel anxious, I will admit that I have no idea what that feeling is about, I have no idea what to do to stop it and I have no idea what will happen to me, and I will waste no time to figure these things out, there is a life to live.

  151. Riri Says:

    Hey everyone
    Hope everyone is doing good. I have been doing great. I could really say I am about 95% percent recovered. My symptoms never bother me anymore. And when I do feel anything from time to time I can totally dismiss it. The fear is no longer there. I still have weird thoughts from time to time but I can laugh them off. I feel I am no longer afraid of anything. I barely think about anxiety anymore. I would probably say I think about anxiety once or twice a day instead of all day 24/7. And even when I do I can brush it off easily
    But I still have o E more question. I don’t know why anxiety being labeled as a mental illness bothers me. It makes me feel like something is wrong with me. And then when they say you can not cure it. But how is that true?? I feel that all anxiety is fear and then you overcome fear. But then are you left with a mental illness forever.
    I feel I am recovered. Reel cover is not not having thoughts or symptoms. It is about having them and not caring and fearing them. They are part everyone. But the difference about is with anxiety is that we notice and fear them. So if everyone experiences anxiety sometime in life why are we left with a diagnosis that mmake us feel like something is wrong with us.
    I think tge diagnosis is just a word to describe the symptoms. Like depression. They also day it can’t be cured. But you see so many people battle and overcome depression. And I guess anxiety is the same. It can be overcome. It is not a ” real” mental illness. All you have is fear. I hope this all makes sense

  152. Lui Says:

    Thank you Charles! What an awesome post! I know that I was once at one point were I would risk facing and I felt so happy and relieved and for the first time I ever felt confident in my life.
    Weird that intrusive thoughts brought me back to sqaure one. That’s anxiety I guess. I am so scared what will happen to me when I let off my tense hold, get out of isolation and start living. Maybe I get bullied, or people will hate me etc.
    I know its just thoughts and adrenaline but it’s all real in my head and my family is reinforcing it.
    But I’ll carry on because I know that I can do this and when I am recovered there’s nothing that will ever stop me.

  153. Sally Says:

    Charles lovely post.And you are so right we have a life to live and I think we all have to live it as best we can.I always think to myself that although I hate the way I feel I only have to live with bad thoughts and feelings there are so many people trying to live with much worse a terminal illness for instance.May you all have the best weekend you can.

  154. rachh Says:

    Oh my effing god this post has really hit home today! What the actuall!!!!

  155. Will Says:

    I know this will probably apply to a lot of people, but does anyone else ever have those moment where, during a setback, you feel as though you’ve forgotten all you’ve learned and feel the need to thoroughly go over it all again and again hoping this time it’ll “stick”? For over a month I’ve been perfectly fine once again and could actually look back at my thoughts with little regard and dismiss them easily, but one little slip and I’ve been shook up again and feel back to square one. I know that back then I actually stopped searching and lived life and I was on the road to recovery, but now I feel as though I’m trying too hard to achieve that “ignore it and carry on” mindset, feeling let-down if I don’t reach that mindset like immediately. I know this isn’t the way to go about it and I’m just in a natural rut, but I really do feel as though I have to keep re-reading what I’ve learned to try and “make it sink in this time”.

    And Charles, great post! It’s so true about those “aha!” moments – in those moments we feel as though we’ve immediately found peace and have cured our anxiety, but when the high wears off we try looking for it again, usually the same thought in hopes of feeling the temporary relief again.

  156. Eileen Says:

    Back for a bit of reassurance! Anxiety comes and goes (mainly physical) whilst carrying out my normal daily activities. I started looking after my 1 year old grandaughter a few months ago, whilst my daughter went back to work for 3 days a week. Love having her as shes a joy to be with. Always have niggly tensions, but usually manage fine.

    Last week however the baby was quite poorly, and developed a nasty rash. Thought it was the symptoms if meningitus, which sent me into overdrive. Experienced every symotom of anxiety, but the nausea was the worst. This went on for several days, and I had to visit my doctor for something not anxiety related. He suggested I try a medication called mirtazapine 15mg. I only took half thar doseage, and felt very sleepy within half an hour. I slept through the night, and most of the morning. It is now nearly 5pm and I still feel very sleepy and muzzy headed. I have tried antidepressant before, but never had an effect on me like this drug!!!! Was going to look after my grandaughter tonight, but just feel rotten. Wondered if anyone had experienced this medication, or similar, and how long do these feelings last. Wont b taking a second one tonight!!, Thanks for listening.

  157. Jackie Says:

    For the past 3 days I have been feeling unusually sad, and extremely tired. I dont feel hopeless or want to lay in bed all day… just more of a blah feeling with some irritability. Is this depression sinking in? I really hope not but any advice on your experiences will help.


  158. Monica Rodriguez Says:

    Lately things have been getting better i still have set backs but i do have good days. I mostly struggle with being around people when there drinking and this is so weird for me because i was always liked going out and drinking its not the going part that i don’t like its the part where everyones drinking and possibly getting drunk i can’t be around it for some reason it really makes my anxiety worst. I use always drink on weekends but now i can’t even find my self around it i guess because my anxiety mostly started after i had a panic attack from smoking.. It was really crazy..i guess what im trying to say is it normal that i hate being around people that drink and cannot drink one sip at all whe i use to all the times.. & is my anxiety the same as everyone elses? Because i don’t think the root cause was stress i devoloped anxiety after i had that panic attack from smoking. So i feel like my anxiety is diffrent and probably wont go away.

  159. Bryan Says:


    Cycling into flat or less emotive/energetic stages is normal for anxiety and often is a sign of the body settling out. (A good sign potentially.)

    Accept the state like you would anxiety or panic and let the body do its work.
    Claire Weekes has a great section on depletion (which is what you likely have) in her Pass Through Panic audio.

  160. Bryan Says:


    Great post!

    Just wondering, with regards to high end extreme symptoms/panic….
    how would this look? I realize it’s still acceptance but at some points going on with “normal” life is put a bit on hold until we are physically capable.
    I’ve never quit living/working and yet sometimes I am overwhelmed by extreme symptoms during setback that limit what I can do. So, I can’t just run off to the pub. Yet, I have to get through the setback.

    Any advice for those times and what kind of internal dialogue one might employ healthily? In other words, 90% of the time I can do what you posted. But during peak setbacks, I’m in survival mode at times. Just curious if you have a take on those times.

    Thanks again. Great post and insight.

  161. Charles Says:

    Bryan, I literally have nothing to tell you :)

    My mentality is this: if I were to have a panic attack tomorrow, I literally don’t know what to do, there is no healthy mental dialogues that I can tell myself, and I have forgotten all the deep breathing exercises, I would have no way to cope at all. But I am OK with not knowing, I’ve tried to figure it out many many times, it never worked permanently, so either there is no answer or I am too dumb to figure it out, either way it’s beyond my abilities and I am not going to worry about it.

    I guess to answer your questions of what to do in high anxiety situations where you feel overwhelming physical symptoms, can you accept “I don’t know” as an answer?

  162. Allie Says:

    I honestly feel like dying. I had one of the worst nights of my life and I had to have my Dad and Mom sleep with me because I felt so deathly afraid. This is the worst setback I have ever had and I see no light at the end. None at all. How am I ever going to get on with my life with these de-mobilizing symptoms. I could barely get out of bed this morning and I have no emotions and have no idea how I’m possibly going to function at work tomorrow. I just want to scream and stay in my bed forever because the world has become such a scary place to me. I have no idea who this person is staring back at me in the mirror. I dont even remember how to act normal or what it even feels like, I am so far gone. HOW ON EARTH AM I JUST SUPPOSED TO SMILE AT THIS?! Im never going to be me or laugh again *cries forver*

  163. Kelly Says:

    Hey everyone! I’m feeling somewhat better, and last night I was almost “calm,” which very rarely happens, since I’ve been struggling with the sense of unreality and existential thoughts that fuel it. I have experienced low-level anxiousness for most of my life, but the past year has been dreadful with questioning literally everything I know. I do believe this “shift” has something to do with hormones. Ladies, have you ever tracked your symptoms? Mine get substantially worse starting about 2 weeks before my menstrual period. The remaining two weeks of the month, although I still have anxiety to a degree, I able to manage it and distract myself enough that it isn’t constantly on my mind. Either way, it is still anxiety and needs to be treated as so. I can literally feel a change in my anxiety level once my period starts. I’m thinking I may have some type of Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) because my moods shift quickly. My mom says she has noticed this for years, but never said anything. Mainly I get very sad and feel like a complete failure at everything. I don’t really get angry at all, but I do get irritated! Might want to look into it!

  164. Bryan Says:

    Thank you for the response Charles. Yes, I believe I know what you mean. Essentially you are okay with not having a plan, not having an answer. In essence, that is your plan. I do understand what you mean by that. I suppose therein lies an answer. You have made peace with this when things are at a high-end where in some way, whether it’s due to the intensity or just where I am in my recovery there are still times when I get into a fighting mode when things are peaking. I feel like I’m getting closer to that, and yet while I know there isn’t an answer so to speak, I do feel like there is a state of mind that I could achieve which would help during these times.

    I suppose you could liken it to a group of Buddhist monks. Each one in the group is going to take a different amount of time to reach a high level of enlightenment. I feel like with panic and anxiety, there is an emotional maturity that the disorder helps us to achieve. For some of us, the symptoms hit such a high pitch at times that we will need that level of maturity to get through them.
    In other words, doing nothing and not reacting is something that takes knowledge and practice in my opinion, despite it being something we don’t want to fuss over constantly. It sounds very much to me like you have reached at area and I will just need more time and patience to do so

  165. Bryan Says:


    Great job! Keep it up.

  166. Lui Says:

    Hey Bryan I like your post. I agree with your statement and it’s making me feel better about my slow acceptance progress! Thanks for that lol.

  167. Emma Says:

    It has been officially a week since my boyfriend left. The wound is fresh and there are days where I do nothing but watch television. I get a lot of anxiety because I fear that I will become depressed — this feeling, this grief seems like depression but I know it’s not. I am lucky to have my parents around and soon taking a trip to visit my grand-parents and aunts, uncles, cousins for 10 days. My anxiety spikes a lot though, I don’t know how to let go of the fear that I’m becoming clinically depressed due to lethargy, low mood, etc. What can I do to appease this constant anxiety and fear?

    E xx

  168. Emma Says:

    Matt, it took me 4 months after actually accepting to start feeling recovered — or close to recovery. June was a great month and I began to start feeling the progress and something just “clicked” with acceptance. I just allowed myself to feel any which way, without striving to feel any different than I did. But now that my 3-year relationship has ended I’m suffering a lot and anxiety is back. I get the intrusive thoughts about depression and self-harm. Very scary. Hard to accept when the grief of my break-up overpowers my conscience. xx

  169. Diane Says:

    Hi all, I am feeling a bit of my anxiety symptoms creeping back into my life. I have had anxiety GAD from being teenager, I have had periods when I am ok and other periods were I have feeling agoraphobic . My last difficult period was about 3 years ago and I was off work for over a month. That is when I discovered Pauls book, at last a book that comforted me and supported me in my recovery. This blog was a massive part on me getting back on track and I am extremely grateful. I am in the middle of buying and selling our house at the moment and I feel stress is taking over, and I am in my head and focusing on physical symptoms , and anxious thoughts, feeling a bit lost. I am trying just to carry on regardless of how I am feeling, but the anxious thoughts at time can be challenging with the what ifs … you get ill again, lose my mind, have problems with heart, faint, breathing…..Nothing changes the old fear raise there head. I am trying to stay rational and not feed the anxiety, not always easy as I am sure you will all agree:) Thanks for reading, supporting as I said earlier this blog and book has helped me so much, any words of wisdom always appreciated , thank you :)

  170. Gabby1 Says:

    Hiya.i have been reading this blog for ages but worried about writing on new to Paul’s method and I’m finding things very hard.
    I suffer with agroaphobia really hard to go out far by my self.
    I’m scared of the anxiety that I get the feeling like I can’t breath dizzy heavy feeling in head always got a sore belly ibs the list goes to you just accept the feeling and really scared of having a panic attack I have done everything to avoid having on for years.think that’s how I got the agroaphobia.i want to be able to take the kids out on my own with out my hubby.
    I get so fed up of fighting I have tryed loads of stuff the help but nothing has worked.
    I had a bed experience when having a panic attack a few years back and that memory has stayed with me since.
    What if I stop breathing the anxiety makes me think that.
    I feel so down about everything.i seen everybody out having fun and going place with there family and there is me sitting looking out the window wishing I had a life like I did hubby going everywhere for me coz I can’t myself
    Can anybody help get me on the road to recovery thanks

  171. Lui Says:

    So I am feeling much better. I was always waiting for the right feeling to come, and was hoping that I would lose my fear of anxiety.
    Well that’s not the case and I am so afraid of facing but seriously enough is enough and I just have to jump into the cold water of fear to see that anxiety can not harm me.
    I have it for such a long time now and I think it will be such a relieve to stop caring about anxiety. Then I can concentrate on other things angain and just live which I haven’t done for the past 16 years. It’s about time.

  172. Matt Says:

    Hi, I know there is another matt on here but i’ve been posting on here for 5 years or so. I used to have very bad DP. Now it hits me for about only a couple hours a day and I know what it is and learned not to care about the weird thoughts, etc. that float through my mind. It used to be 24/7 DP crazy, weird thoughts to where I thought I would have to be in an institution. But, after reading paul’s book and some other info I realized that my mind was just tired as hell.

    My point being is that I was DP free for 2 years it came back when I went through a divorce and I just learned not to care about it anymore. It got power over me if I concentrated on it and kept questioning myself but I got to the point now to where I just let it be. I surrendered to it, meaning Ijust let it do it’s course while I got on with daily life and eventually it got better. Hope that helped!

  173. Rick Says:


    I’m new on my journey to recovery and have found the information so helpful. Having realised that my constant battle to recover myself and find the ‘miracle cure’ had been keeping me in the cycle is one of the most important things I’ve learned I think, and to just let it be (although extremely difficult at the moment being so early in building this new habit)

    My peak of anxiety hit me recently and now I know what I know I’m trying to drag myself back to normal life to help me lead a more ‘outward life’. I have quite a high pressure job and am taking my time at the moment by starting to work from home to ease myself into things (as I know this will aid my recovery) but I’m at a standstill not knowing whether it’s too soon to submersed myself back into my job fully or whether this will have an adverse affect and stress me out more and not give my mind a chance to recover.

    Double edged sword really, by immersing myself fully into my job I feel will help me lead a normal life and stop the inward thinking but is doing this while I’m only just recently on the road to recovery going to put my body and mind under more stress and keep me there?

    I hope that makes sense, anyone who has been here or could provide some advice on this I would be so grateful.

    Thank you,

  174. Bryan Says:

    Great job Matt! Thank you for sharing.

  175. Nolan Says:

    Dominic (no ‘K’) said it the best….
    turn your “What Ifs” into “So What”.

    Stop caring so much. Like Paul said, allow your body or brain to feel or think whatever it wants to. Think of how liberating this is…. Nothing is off limits for your mind or body with respects to thoughts and feelings. Allow everything to come.

    Think of it like this…. it’s going to come regardless, right? When has freaking out, searching the net, frantically trying to stop it ever helped?

    So, open your arms up and embrace all it has to offer.

    I would have fears and doubts (doubts of ever recovering) so thick that I could feel it crushing me down. Any interest I had in life or things that used to provide enjoyment would be quickly snubbed out by this fear and doubt…. like trying to light a candle in a gale.

    It was only when, following Paul’s advice, I simply let everything come.
    I allowed myself to be scared, full of fear, full of doubt. I stopped running from those feelings. I stopped trying to rationalize them away (I mean, seriously…. has any of us ever successfully reasoned away these fears?).
    But what did I now do differently? Like Dominic said…. I turned those “what ifs” into “so whats”.

    I’m personally not a fan of mantras, breathing excercises or any concerted effort to ‘accept’. Again, like Paul said…. actively doing things to make this burden lift just doesn’t work. It simply reinforces that this issue is actually a pretty big deal.

    But that’s not to say that I never had to remind myself. Sometimes I’d tell myself, “It’s okay, Nolan…. it’s fine to feel this way”. Or… “So what? Let it be there. I’m still going to live my life the way I want to.”

    These are different than mantras. I’m not endlessly repeating it over and over. I’m not saying it to make those bad feelings and thoughts lift. I’m simply reminding myself that it’s okay. That, in anything that happens to my mind or body, it’s okay.

    But remember, you still need to get out there and live your life. It’s one thing to say “Okay, I’m going to be at peace with this burden”…. but to say that and to come back to this blog on a daily basis is simply doing it the wrong way. Come back if you really need to. But if you find it becoming more habitual…. then stop.
    Remember, this approach is completely liberating. No thought or feeling is off limits. You are now letting down your guard. Let it all wash over you. Be at peace with the lack of peace in your life…. then, in time, you will find true peace.

    God bless.

  176. Adam Says:

    Excellent post, Nolan. Thank you…

  177. TW Says:

    hi paul!

    i have read your book inside and out since nov 2012. it pretty much saved my life. i still have anxiety every day, but i don’t necessarily let it affect my life as it once did.

    my question is this- do you believe that anxiety is an imbalance in brain chemistry? i know in your book you briefly write about an “anxiety gene”, but this is not what i’m talking about.

    i truly want to know what YOU think, through your years of study and research, about low levels of GABA in the brain, as well as a deficiency in serotonin, and hormone imbalances as well (especially in women).

    do you think that notion can overshadow the way we react to our anxieties? brain chemistry is a funny thing.

    i really hope this can be something you address to your readers, as it is something we are all told is an “illness” by doctors and psychiatrists which is disheartening.

    but, like you say, all we can do is change how WE react to it.


  178. Jude Says:


    Now that’s what I call a post!

    Absolute truth.


  179. Kyle Says:


    I am right there with you. I had my first panic attack after smoking and it scared the hell out of me and then i noticed that drinking and partying all the time on the weekends made me feel awful and experience even more anxiety. Its really hard for me to be around people who drink because I feel so left out and I know that when I do drink I drink way to much so for right now I just dont do that. Drinking and partying was my only source of fun for so long but that only made things worse. I was using it more as asocial crutch and a way to fit in but now i am determined to find a way to have fun without all that stuff but its been really hard. Once i reach that point where i dont need it to have fun or fit in with people will i start to enjoy a drink every now and then. Do you feel the same left out feeling not being able to drink and then feel depressed? Thats whats been the hardest part for me. I just went to a music festival with me gf and i stayed sober the whole time except for a beer and the concert just didnt seem as fun as it use too when we use to go and party and drink all day. My gf on the other hand was drinking and had a great time. She gets really bummed when i dont drink with her because she wants me to have fun with her but i just wont let myself. When I am around her sober and i see her having so much fun drinking i get sorta sad but also mad at the same time. Its almost like I dont want her to drink and have fun because I am so jealous. Does that make any sense? I do know how it feels monica but I know that alcohol just isnt right for me while i am still so sensitized.

  180. Marek Says:

    Hi ,

    I haven’t added any comment yet, although I’ve been following this blog for half a year.

    First of all I must say that I totally relate to all of this. My problem started in the childhood (I am 28 now) when I got social anxiety and exploded 6 years ago after nervous breakdown with extreme anxiety, anxious and aggressive intrusive thoughts, During that 6 years, I’ve tried everything for cure from psychologists, hypnosis, meditations, eft, acupuncture, one brain, energy methods and various charlatans, psychiatric drugs etc. etc., spent more than 2 500 euros. Such a waste of time and money!

    I found this site 6 months ago also read the book and I am getting better very slowly.

    Still, I have some questions and would like to know how you dealt with it from your personal experience.

    The first thing, when I am talking to people I always have the feeling that I am like broken and weaker than anybody around me and even small child is emotionally tougher than me and can . It sounds funny (and sad), but when I was 12 years old I used to be much more emotionally stable with talking to people and facing the conflicts…. Did you experience similar feeling and have you fully overcome it ?

    Secondly, one of the most frustrating symptom of the anxiety is my terrible memory. Although I have an university degree I’ve always had serious trouble with remembering. From the school I remember almost nothing. Lots of times I feel like being a total idiot, cannot remember anything , I can read the paper with no idea what was it about or I just watch the movie and can’t say the plot. I need to learn and build my career but it seems to be impossible in this state…

    Lastly, I would like to ask about relation between anxiety and allergy reaction. I mean, I have very atypical sun allergy since the childhood. When I am exposed to the sun I feel little needles stabbing on my skin. But not only on the part of body it was exposed to the sun, but even on the parts that weren’t . Antihistamines, sun cream with high factor, beta carotene, nothing help. I avoid bathing pools, vacation near the sea has always been my nightmare. Interesting is that, I don’t need to be on the sun directly, I can just imagine the beach and I feel it… What do you thing , could there be a connection between anxiety and allergy reaction and by curing the anxiety can the allergy be helped too ?


  181. James Says:

    Hello Everyone, I had my first anxiety attack about 4 years ago. I didn’t know what hit me and it scared me like no other because my head was pounding, My mind was constantly over thinking, had disturbing thoughts and thought I would always think like this. I over came everything and everything was better for the most part aside from a few set back every once in awhile but it wasn’t nothing bad. Recently though about a few weeks ago I’m starting to get anxious and worrying again because it’s coming back bad. I try to brush it off but than I think of something and get depressed that I’m thinking like that again and think my whole life is gonna be like this and I’ll end up going crazy. I know I’m a good person it just upsets me that this is happening to me. I sometimes feel like I’m here but not really here if you get what I’m saying. Just looking for some help


  182. Bryan Says:


    God bless you too. Excellent post!

  183. Gerald Says:

    Hi all! I had a really bad anxiety attack after smoking some pot. I woke up the next day in a hazy dreamlike state. Something I later realized was DP/DR. It is now 7 weeks that I have been feeling this way. I have had numberous ups and downs. I have pressure in the back of my head as well as having 3 more panic attacks with heart racing / palpitations and tingling lips.

    The other anxiety symptoms do not bother me but the DP/DR is really scaring me. I am scared that I forgot who I am and that it changed me in someway. I have had issues with intimacy anxiety in my past and it seems like my mind is keeping me in this “safe” state of DP/DR. I would really appreciate some advice on this. Thank you!

  184. Paul David Says:

    Finally Nolan someone who truly gets it, my whole message summed up in one post. No offence to anyone, but when I read comments I wonder if they have actually read what I post.

  185. Nolan Says:

    Thank you for your book and blog, Paul.
    It helped me regain who I used to be before this all started.

  186. Jake Says:

    Does anyone search for feelings for their own kids? I know this sounds horrible but I feel like I have no feelings towards them.

  187. Paul David Says:

    I have placed your post on my Facebook page it was so good and it hit everything in so few words. You have fully got what I am trying to put across and with that attitude things will carry on improving.

  188. Jake Says:

    I’m struggling at the minute with feelings towards my kids. Is this anxiety or maybe just OVER analysing what me feelings should be. Feel hollow towards partner family & kids but maybe looking into it too much

  189. Nolan Says:

    Hi Jake,

    I don’t know anyone who would say that their anxiety didn’t have them over-analyze whatever their issue was.

    Also, you say that you’re struggling at the minute with feelings towards you kids…. my advice, don’t struggle. Let whatever those feelings are be there. We’ve all been there.

    I have a young son. I would look at him and my wife with no feelings at all. Just a hollow pit inside of me. Well, not really hollow…. it was stuffed nicely with fears and doubts about everything.

    Following Paul’s advice I eventually was able to say to myself, “so what… those feelings are going to be there regardless. I can’t chase them away. But, I know what I have to do. I have to be there for my wife and my child regardless of how I feel. Even if it feels like I’m dangling by the smallest of threads.”

    And that’s what I did.
    You have got to just let those feelings be there and take an “oh well” attitude towards them. Stop the struggling with making them leave, stop trying to make sense of them (what sense is there to even make?).

  190. Jake Says:

    No sense whatsoever… But you doubt them don’t you? You think surely I should have strong feelings towards my own kids and even partner. Nolan I thank you for you reply as you seem to have become so strong through all this and know this horrible thing that I have.
    I tend to maybe beat myself up when I can’t find these feelings for kids & partners but I must allow it just sit there and eventually in time it goes and feelings return??

  191. Jake Says:

    Typo- partner… Not partners

  192. Nolan Says:

    Hi Jake,

    You asked “But you doubt them don’t you”…. I assume you’re asking if I would doubt the content of those fears and thoughts.

    That somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that these thoughts, fears, doubts, symptoms were all irrational?

    Honestly, I did not have that thought in the back of my mind. I very much believed the content of those fears/thoughts/doubts. I would try making sense of it all. To find a reason in my mind that would just click and make all of that mess just evaporate. But that never happened.

    I would half heartedly follow Paul’s advice. I’d tell myself “I am going to accept all of this”…. but I still paid so much attention and respect to how I felt. I put so much effort into ‘making sense of it all’.

    I’d have some success, then I’d try to comfort myself with that success. But the doubts would still come (‘oh, what if that was just a fluke’. ‘that was such a painful time, there’s no way I’ll ever come back from that.’ ‘i still have this symptom and that symptom…. maybe I’m not better at all’) and it would all come collapsing back down on me.

    I would read some peoples’ stories on here and think “hmmm… that’s not exactly what I’m going through. Mine is a little different. Maybe this won’t work for me. My problem is so much more profound. It stained my life so much more deeply. Did Paul have all of my issues in mind when he wrote his book?!”.
    There are reasons why Paul doesn’t want to focus on isolated symptoms or thoughts or the various ways this anxiety can make itself manifest in your mind and body. 1) because it doesn’t really matter. The answer is the same for however it has manifested itself. 2) The object of your anxiety can expand, contract, envelope more things than just the initial insult. If I would have spent the time making sense of all of the different ways my anxiety morphed I never would have got better.

    I eventually got to the place where I just said “ENOUGH!”. No more fighting it, no more making sense of it, no more pity, no more begging God to lift it, no more running here and there in hopes of it shaking loose. No more.

    If I couldn’t sleep at night…. fine. So be it. If I would have a panic attack at the thought of being broken with respects to sleeping or my feelings towards loved ones…. cool by me, I still knew what I had to do towards my wife and son. If my anxiety locked in on my breathing…. good for it, now what’s on TV. If my anxiety had me riddled with doubt that this would ever go away…. so what, I’m still going out to eat with friends.

    And I did NONE of this stuff in hopes that it would make the anxiety go away or lessen. But, in time, it did start to lessen. Normal feelings did come back. Then setbacks came. They shook me deeply. But I reminded myself, “Nolan, who cares. So what. Let it come and come and come again.”

    It didn’t always make sense to me. Sometimes the hit would leave me in a daze, looking for something solid to anchor myself to. But even in that moment of despair I eventually reminded myself, “so…..what”.

    Jake, you asked “I must allow it just sit there and eventually in time it goes and feelings return??”

    I’ll answer this, but I really don’t want to. And I mean that in no way to offend you. I simply mean that I strongly think you’re still looking at this from the wrong end. But don’t worry, I’ve been there too :)
    My answer is: yes, in time your feelings will return. The old you is still there.

    But Jake, the thing that separates those who get better from those who vacillate between the various ways anxiety manifests itself is that those who got better truly stopped caring about how they felt. No feelings or thoughts or symptoms or doubts were off limits to their mind and body anymore. They let it come and stay as long as it wanted to (don’t worry, you’ll get better at this too).

    Say you’re going to go to a movie with your partner and kids. Then say you have that numb and anxious feelings (and all of the terrible thoughts that come with it) start building inside of you. What should you do? Let it build as much as it likes to and kick back and watch that movie. Don’t fight any of those feelings or thoughts…. and take a “so what” attitude towards them.

    And Jake, for your own peace of mind…. take a break from searching for answers. When your mind is clear (and that will happen on its own) things will make more sense to you naturally. But let that come on its own accord. As a matter of fact, trying to bring it about won’t work.

    It’s ultimately up to you, Jake.

    God bless.

  193. Doreen. Says:

    I sincerely hope that many other people who have posted on here have ‘finally got it’ like Nolan and are no longer posting because they have moved on in their lives.

  194. yolande Says:


    I am not sure if I am accepting rightly. when I wake up at 0530 I get churning stomach, fear etc. I let them be. but I have a habit of twisting my top into a knot when these feelings come. the act of twisting it and then playing with the knot has become a habit. I GUESS THIS IS NOT ACCEPTING??? it’s so confusing sometimes.

    Also for those who are working – how do you cope? I am jobless currently but looking for work and it’s scaring me shitless cos I AM SO AFRAID I wont be able to cope. IS IT AN IRRATIONAL THOUGHT?

    Please can someone help!!

  195. yolande Says:

    Also when I go for interviews, I am on high anxiety mode. but I still go and I cope as best as I can on the journey. I know if cannot let anxiety stop me from going. Once I am in the intvw I can perform. weird.

    however if it’s not for an intvw, sometimes I just don’t feel like going out. sometimes I make the effort to go out and walk around for 25mins.

    Doreen, if you could adivse re my above and current post iwud greatly appreciate it. sometimes I feel so lost

    is this right?

  196. Jake Says:


    Once again thank you. I have really going to go with your advice and take these thoughts with a “ah well so what” response.
    I know each case is different but it’s the same crap and really the same thing to cure it but can I ask you 2 things before I give this a right real go and stop pestering myself for answers

    1. When these thoughts came over you were you getting I’m not attracted to my partner she is ugly, you even start seeing her as fat even thou she isn’t and little things she does start annoying’s like your mind is totally tricking you and putting extra things in the way.This is hard to just totally ignore but I know from what you are saying it has to be done.
    2. When these feelings came over you how did you pretend to your partner everything was ok especially if you lived with her. Surely with these feelings they made you feel awful which has to show in you at times even thou you were just rolling with the thoughts. I sometimes struggle here as they make me feel like shit but I know I need to up my game!!

  197. Jake Says:

    Also how were you so confident everything would come back for you?

  198. Si Says:

    What a fantastic blog.

    I’ve had a ‘setback’ after a few years of relative stability but not full recovery. It has shaken me to my core and I’m in a place I never thought possible and have been for about a year which has left me completely devestated.

    I came across this fantastic book and site by searching again for answers. At times I feel truly awful, horrendous thoughts and sensations bombarding me every waking minute making my life hell and at times seem pointless, I focus on the fact that anxiety has ‘robbed’ me of so much in terms of my life and what I would have liked to do, relationships, travel, children etc

    How do I turn things round from here, I agree with everything in the book and the excellent post by Nolan but when I’m trying it implement it can feel like I’m talking back to the anxiety and trying to ‘rid’ myself of it as opposed to letting it ‘be’!!

    Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.

  199. rachh Says:

    Hi jake i had what u are describing very badly. It’s like your mind is telling you things but u cant help but believe it. It’s called relationship ocd. The only site ive found that talks about this is sheryl paul concious transitions. When i read it i thought what the hell is the woman going on about as it’s very yogic inner hold healing stuff but if you kind of take on board what she puts bar the natural wishy washy StuffIt is true how it is cured. It’s all a big lie.

  200. Jake Says:

    Hi Rachh
    I have seen her website but have not bought any of her packages but do sometimes consider it.
    You have this stupid this also looking at you partner and actually making them unattractive with things like she is fat has huge legs all crap like seriously why!!! You are over this rubbish I guess? I’m at the usual stage I will never get over it etc etc but need to change my train of thinking

  201. Nearly recovered Rach Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I would just like to say a big thank you to Nolan as he has helped me with my recovery and confirmed to me that what I have been doing (or not doing) is the right way. I have been through lots of the different manifestations of anxiety – the worst being sleep and have used Paul’s book, posts from people like Candie and Scarlet and Will Beswick’s book along with some of Richard Carlson’s writings. It sounds like a lot writing it down but they all have the same message. You cannot stop these thoughts and feelings from coming – they are scary and involuntary but you can stop them getting worse by taking a ‘whatever’ attitude. This acceptance comes in waves and layers and I have had to learn patience as my body has caught up with my mind. I realised I got the method if you can call it that but my body was still full of adrenalin and I had to allow time for that to recede.
    I feel my recovery has been like the ebb and flow of the tide (some call it layers). The bad feelings and fears would come – I would dig in (and in the early days, try to find a fix) and then they would go and I would feel immense clarity and believe I had cracked it. The tide would then come back and the doubts would resurface but this time (looking back) they would not be quite as severe or as long-lasting. Sometimes, I would have a horrible resurgence of symptoms and then have some wonderful worry free days.
    Recently I had been doing brilliantly but had another bad night and I came back to the blog and found Nolan’s post. This is all that I needed to reassure that what was happening was ok and would go again. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Now? I am going through a doubting day but I have a bad cold and am low with that. Although I am having a rush (wave) of negative thoughts and feelings which throw out doubts, I know I am ok and it will pass. It is unpleasant but it will pass.

    Please, please take on what Paul has said and dig in. You will not feel better immediately but you will feel better. I found that a huge turning point was when I read Candie talking about being the best mother she could be no matter how she felt. I did this too and started to feel better in waves straight away. I have the confidence to disregard the negative thoughts as I read up on what the mind is doing and this is a big need for those of us who suffer with anxiety as we are intelligent perfectionists. Will Beswick and Richard Carlson were brilliant for this.

    I am nearly there as there have been some very kind people who have posted about their experiences. The nature of anxiety gives us a need for reassurance and this is what this blog has given me.

    I really hope this helps someone else.


  202. Jackie Says:

    I’m having a small set back and it’s filled with negative thoughts that I might harm my children and I am overall annoyed with everyone and everything at this point. Is it typical to just be annoyed at everyone and want to be mean to people. This just happened two days ago after being in a really good state.

  203. Bryan Says:


    Yes. 100% normal. It’s like anxiety 101. Claire Weekes said she had “come to expect” to hear the things you just spoke of.


    I’m assuming you are a new Doreen, not the former mod. Yes, of course people move on with their lives. The only people who stick around here are either still working through the process to some degree or they are extremely altruistic and want to give back to the community to help them get better.

    And you can’t blame anyone. Anxiety takes so much out of us, when it’s gone people just want to resume living and forget about it. It’s perfectly natural.

  204. Jackie Says:

    Bryan. Just I just accept, face and float and wait for it to pass? I don’t want to be a mean negative nancy my whole life.

  205. Bryan Says:


    I’m still learning myself. I’ve made a lot of progress in life looks a lot better these days, but I still haven’t reached the point of totally letting go all the time either. Some days are just still very difficult, and I’m still in the process of building the emotional maturity to let it be there while I get on with my life.
    It can be hard when symptoms are raging and demanding your attention, some of us just take a bit longer than others to get there.

    Paul’s advice is right on point. There’s nothing I can say that would make any more sense than what he already does. But if you scroll up in this thread, no one makes some of the best posts I’ve seen around here. Read his words and try to take them to heart. He stresses that yes we face and except, but get on with our lives. I think he believes the waiting for it to pass part can be something we put too much emphasis on and hence keeps our attention stuck there.

    If you need to reread Paul’s book or posts around here, do it. I made a page of inspiring posts from people who have recovered to help me get my mind right during difficult phases. Whatever you need to do, the goal is to get back to life so this will not be the focus of our attention.

  206. Bryan Says:

    Whoops, dictation strikes again.

    That should read “Nolan” not no one.

  207. tim Says:

    Pointing out a good post from Bryan:

    Bryan Says:
    July 16th, 2014 at 6:01 pm

  208. Bryan Says:

    Thanks Tim. I’ve done well dealing with intrusive thoughts.
    Still a work in progress to apply that knowledge across the board to my own condition though.

  209. Lui Says:

    I think I made a little step forward!
    A few days ago, I said to myself that I will now try to accept, feel the fear and turn those what ifs into whatevers.
    So my experience now is so weird. My symptoms got stronger but not in a forcing kind of way, I feel much more feelings but on a bright scale. Anger, sadness, happiness, confusion etc. Then I feel that my mind is constantly reverting back to anxiety. I tries so hard to get there and I often have to remind myself not to fall for it.
    When facing I get symptoms so strong that I am getting dizzy, a feeling of intense dread, and thick derealization.
    The hardest thing for me is my racing mind I often take breaks from facing because I cant handle it all in such an early phase.
    Then I realized for me that there are to realities. The “anxiety world”, world of shadows, negative emotions,lies. A place that my mind made up for keeping me save and then there’s the normal world out there where disapointments take place but also happiness and joy. That’s just life.
    I am still deep in this first world and yes I need a lot of time to understand all the information given by Paul but I now think it’s ok. I have so many habits and fears that I just need longer and it’s wrong to despair over it.
    I am interested now if that’s the right way. I always thought acceptance hppens over night but here it’s not the case. So what do you think?

  210. tim Says:

    For me it’s a very long road. I’ve had social anxiety for a really long time, as wel as other “forms” of anxiety.
    Remember, facing is not listening in in apprehension. It’s more of an understanding of where the feelings come from, that it’s not a monster that you have to be so impressed with, this makes room for you to engage in putting your atention somewhere else.

  211. tim Says:

    In my experience, looking at the symptoms, trying not to be afraid of them, almost trying to conquer them, it just keeps it in place.
    If you can dismiss it as not being important and put your attention somewhere else they can diminish.

  212. Carmen Says:

    Hi everyone
    My main systoms were fidgety and a heavy feeling on the chest ,also bad stomach pain too .Of course I followed Paul’s advice but it was really hard when these feelings are so stong ,I also get other symtoms too but the ones above I found really hard to cope with.Does anyone else has the same symstoms?The stomach pain I found particularly hard to float pass as I know the extra acid would give me an ulcer.Anyone can advice on that ?

  213. Carmen Says:

    Paul in your book you mentioned that anxiety only tells you lies and they are only feelings that won’t hurt you .But I actually get lots of physical symstoms how do I ignore them when they are so real and intense and cause me actual pain?Do you think medication is the answer?I have read your books so many times trying to find an answer but mainly emotional symtoms were mentioned.Please advice.

  214. kat Says:

    Hello all,

    I haven’t posted on this site in a very long time, mainly because I was doing fairly well and wanted to lessen my dependency on the good people who post here. My main support two years ago was Helen, to whom I am absolutely grateful as she was gentle and encouraging with her advice when I was dealing with anxiety about my relationship. I am happy to say that I am still with my partner, and that I am very happy to be with him, having left behind a lot of the anxiety I was fixated on a few years ago.

    I am here tonight because earlier today, I took a bike ride with my daughter, and when we reached our destination, I had a massive panic attack which seemingly struck out of nowhere, rendering me incapable of speech and causing me to lose connection to everything. I wasn’t sure if I fainted, because I remained in a seated position throughout the experience, but it was frightening enough to her that she called my partner and he contacted an ambulance who rushed to my aid. I was so embarrassed by this, but knew it was the right thing to be checked out. I informed them that I have had panic disorder for approximately 14 years, but I have never before experienced a panic attack that has induced fainting. My daughter informed the EMTs that my eyes went black, that I was talking “jibberish”, and that I wasn’t responding to her, even when she pinched me and slapped me. This went on for about five minutes, she said, and that concerned me a lot because it meant that I really wasn’t with it. After a series of tests, and a trip to the ER, it was decided that I am in perfect health and that there is nothing conclusive to explain the episode. They are going with “acute” anxiety attack, because there is nothing else to explain what happened.

    The reason I am posting is not to frighten anyone else who may experienced panic or anxiety, as my number one fear used to be fainting when having an attack and I certainly didn’t want to hear that it could actually happen. From what I have read today, it is quite rare to experience this. What I am looking for is a bit of encouragement or support from those who may have gone through this. Will it happen again? Is it safe for me to ride my bike, etc.? Because this kind of event is unusual with panic, it has destroyed my belief that I would never go through it, and now I’m quite frightened. Can anyone advise as to what the best way is to deal with this? I do not take medication and do not consider that an option, and I cannot afford to see a CBT, so I am relying on the wisdom of those who have gone through this and have come out winning.

    Any advice is welcome.



  215. rachh Says:

    Hi kat.
    I dont know if i can reassure you but my story..
    My anxiety has pretty much been ocd thoughts depression and feelings of numbness for a while which feels awful however on Wednesday i had a big panic attack i went boiling hot and then felt completely weak cold and clammy i couldnt do anything to make it better. Which was the problem, whilst it was happening i was trying to make it go away rationalise my thoughts whilst i was having it. And this is it! You cant rationalise not be scared of it because its fear! Fear is scary if we could think it better be ok with it, it wouldn’t be there in the first place. If it happens again you know what it was. Read the section in the book which paul has wrote about them. Xxx

  216. rachh Says:

    I had it when I was 15 and sadly couldn’t cope with it and finished with my partner because i couldn’t be near him because of the thoughts that kept popping up. I couldnt control it and there was nothing on the internet in those days and i couldn’t very well go to the doctor or a teacher and say I’m having thoughts that my boyfriend is ugly. Unfortunately its our social culture which has got u like this.
    I am now with a guy who is amazing i really connected with him in a different level when we got together and when it started again last year i thought I’m not letting it beat me. Soo here i am today i dont get the thoughts cus i thought I’m not going to believe my judgements anymore and I’m still on my way to trying to find my way through the maze. I’m not guna lie its bloody tough this journey. It’s completely mental stuff not outside things.

    Hope this helps in some way. Like i said Helens posts on here were a god send. I dont know if u can find them looking through the past blogs?
    Also another thing to do would be to google rocd intrusive thoughts my partners ugly/physical appearance i bet that will throw up lots. I do try and aim not to google my days away but it gives you some peace of mind temporarily go ahead.
    Anxiety is a doubting disease and even though you can be reassured that the thoughts you are having are completely anxiety based your mind will always try and convince you things like what if I’m different what if their partner wasn’t ugly bla bla blaaaa or that the thoughts you are having are the truth and why should you deny yourself the truth. Nature of the beast. The mind can be powerful when listened to. Dont let it destroy you or your relationship. The first thing to do is not be beaten up or let the thoughts convince you.
    Another thing i used to get would be driving along seeing a guy and my mind would switch on and say look your noticing that guy you think he’s better looking you obviously dont fancy your boyfriend. Lol! When i look back i think Jesus what the hell! Doubts doubts doubts. I felt so ill with them i was scared where to look. However it is 100% emotional reaction to adrenaline in your body and a creative mind.

    Hope this helps. X

  217. Jackie Says:

    One big question I have is when will you know if you are cured? Instill have random bouts of crying when I feel like I’m better but I guess I’m not there yet!

  218. Tony Says:

    Dear all,
    First of all forgive my English and forgive for Being long. I have found this site about 4 years ago and I didn’t wright before because I wanted first to ensure that I am in rigth road and I have understand a what Paul says more than a month and I am about 2 months on road to recovery. On the first year I would say that I was feeling worse trying to do what Paul says, second third year sometimes I thought yes I gatch it this is it but fails the same again and feel worse and blame Paule cause I felt worse . After times I came back trying to understand .what I learned is that don’t do what Paul say in order to feel better probably you will feel worse. I am going to describe my story of anxiety. I am 34 years old and I have anxiety and depresion from the age of 12 , so about 22 years. I have been on Effexor antidepressanrs from the age of 22. For sure it helps and in many occasions is necessary. I am not going to describe all the terifying feeling and terrifying thoughts. I want share what I have learned to help others. First you must realize inside you subconscious what Paul says. Probably You uper mind will be confused if you try to understand. Second you have to feel bad and do completely the opposite in order to recover. You must have faith and believe in yourself. Your reaction is making you feel bad. Challenge your feelings and thoughts will help you see the truth, that there is no danger to run from it. Don’t try to make them gone. It need time to change yourself and anxiety is part of you and will be always with you to help you. Last I would like to thank Paul and Marias story that both have inspired so much. For first time in my life from as I remember myself am feeling so great for so long time. Of course I have my setbacks and I am in road and Learnt many things. I will try to right again after some months hope I have learn more.

  219. Bryan Says:

    Great stuff Rach. Great of you to stick around and give such good advice.

  220. kat Says:

    Thank you, Rachh,

    I’ve been dealing with this for so long that having anxious thoughts and feelings have just become part of my daily experience. Fainting, though, is different, and terrifying, because I am afraid to go to work tomorrow. I hate that I feel this way, because I feel weak as well as scared. I have a family and I need to be able to function outside the house. I am not having an easy time with not adding second fear to this situation. If I had gone to the hospital and they’d said I had a broken leg, or a blood clot, or something, I would have known what I was dealing with, how to treat it, and what to expect. With this, there is the problem of not knowing what will happen next, and no discernible way to ward it off. I know to try to let the anxious feelings happen and float along with them, but yesterday, I had no control and no ability to just float. I was truly at the mercy of this thing, and that really frightens me.

    Thank you for your comments, though. It always helps to know others are dealing with the same thing because it makes you feel less alone.

  221. Deborah Distanisloa Says:


    I’m no medical professional, but have fainted multiple times in my life. What you are describing is fainting or blacking out. It normally only occurs for a minute or so, then you wake up. I faint with blood tests and nose bleeds. You wake up feel normal again. My experience would be very vivid dreaming and arms flailing and mumbling. Doctors wouldn’t be able to know what caused it because you aren’t ill . It could be caused from low blood sugar, exertion or other things. I guarantee had you not mentioned your history of panic, they would have concluded it was caused by the things I mentioned above. I’ve had panic and real fainting and fear of fainting. The feelings are not the same.

  222. Pia Says:

    I’m no medical professional, but have fainted multiple times in my life. What you are describing is fainting or blacking out. It normally only occurs for a minute or so, then you wake up. I faint with blood tests and nose bleeds. You wake up feel normal again. My experience would be very vivid dreaming and arms flailing and mumbling. Doctors wouldn’t be able to know what caused it because you aren’t ill . It could be caused from low blood sugar, exertion or other things. I guarantee had you not mentioned your history of panic, they would have concluded it was caused by the things I mentioned above. I’ve had panic and real fainting and fear of fainting. The feelings are not the same.

  223. kat Says:

    Thanks, Pia. I was puzzled because I have been riding a bike for a little while now, mainly in an attempt to incorporate physical exercise into my regime, because aside from being good for me, I know it helps lessen anxiety. Imagine my disappointment that it may have actually caused this! Yes, I fainted or blacked out, and what bothers me is that I don’t remember very much. What if I’m driving the next time?

    Now, a day later, I am struggling with anxiety over going to work tomorrow, or going out, period. I worked hard to get over my mild agoraphobia years ago, and now I feel like I’m back at the beginning. I had read over the years that fainting is really rare, and I had relied on that. Now, I feel like all the beliefs I had about this, as well as what my recovery may look like, are dismantled. The hard part is going to be carrying on and trying not to fixate on this.

  224. rachh Says:

    Can anyone tell me:

    When going through recovery can you see how tired your mind is getting when you internalise. Ive had some better times today but my mind is so so tired now its as though my whole face is and body are shattered x

  225. James Says:

    Hello Everyone, I first had my anxiety attack 4 years ago where I had obsessive thoughts of hurting people and myself my mind would race constantly where I couldn’t think straight and would wake up allot during the night. It was horrible because I couldn’t understand what was happening to me. In time everything faded away and even though I would still get anxious it wasn’t bad and I felt practically normal again. About 2 weeks ago it hit me again out of no where and I’m battling all the symptoms again. I’m getting sad because I look back and wish I could be normal again and wish my mind would stop reminding me of all these awful feelings. I feel like giving up and get depressed that the rest of my life will be like this. I’m only 30 and it just upsets me because I walk around and I feel horrible over all of this. Just looking for some help and guidance

  226. Nolan Says:

    Hi James,
    In anything and everything that comes your way…. just allow it.
    You’ve said it yourself – you’re struggling against the way you’re feeling.
    That’s the problem.

    If your body, at some level not as easily changed as the flicking of a light switch, is making you feel one way (as opposed to a more desired way) then just flow with it and allow it.

    I don’t mean this as an insult because we’ve all been there…. but do you think in attempting to not allow it you’re going to have any success?? Meaning, do you think you can actually stave those feelings off by strugging against it? Of course not. They’ll come regardless and with the extra stress of going against exactly what you were fighting for.

    just let them come. Plain and simple. Let them come and don’t attach so much importance to it.

    The peace, freedom, joy will come on their own…. in time.
    You never force those things in your life. You just can’t.

    And when the opposite of those things are in your life the best thing you can do is be at peace with the lack of peace in your life.

  227. James Says:

    Thanks Nolan!

    Yea I know I can get over this because I’ve done it before but it’s just frustrating working so hard to get over it to just have it come crashing down and fighting through it again. I think I just get depressed when it happens because I know it’s just the anxiety and means nothing it just bothers me when it keeps popping up in my head. I really appreciate the response back…it means allot. My goal is to not come back on here forever (in a good way though!) because constantly coming back means I haven’t truly recovered.

  228. James Says:

    Thanks Nolan! It’s nice to come on here and have someone help you out with your problems. It’s not easy talking to other people about them because it seems like they won’t fully understand. But I know I can overcome this because I’ve done it before it just gets depressing knowing it’s back and I have to go through the headaches, sleepless nights and worrying again. It is true the more you ignore it the less it becomes a problem. I feel it lessening at times but still creeps up from time to time. My goal is to never come back on here, I mean this in a good way!, because that means I fully recovered and no longer need to seek advice. Thanks again!

  229. DCYL Says:

    Hi All,

    It’s been a couple of months since i popped in here! Great to see it’s still active and Paul is still posting. I like Paul’s post as it describes what I’ve gone through “off and on” the past 6 months or so. I don’t recap my whole story as it’s plastered over a lot of posts on this site from 2011 until now. Feel free to ask if you are curious. :)

    For a time midway through 2013, I felt like I had “recovered”. I was feeling great and things were doing well. Alas, I do have some personal family thing that I’ve been dealing with. So perhaps the stress got to me and I was sleeping late and perhaps not getting enough sleep overall.

    I think that got to me and I began to wonder if I was falling into my old “anxiety” habits. I’d break out in a sweat or have random thoughts floating. I began to analyze them again and that was a mistake.

    The good news is I eventually realized it and began to snap out of it. So in the past month or so, I’ve been better. Paul’s post illustrates that when we “recover”, it’s great, but we are going to NOT feel all that great sometime and that’s NORMAL. We just have to learn to “accept it” again.

    Hope everyone is doing well!

  230. Matt Says:

    Hey everyone,

    I’ve been doing my best to read positive things only lately, and I came across this article. I thought it was pretty profound that even on another website, there was someone who used Paul’s method to get better. I don’t know if I’m allowed to post the link, but you can look for it on by searching “anxiety” and looking for the article titled “Let it Be: Mindfulness to Overcome Anxiety and Depression”

  231. Matt Says:


    You’ve inspired me today, so I just want you to know that you’ve already helped someone :)

    I’ve been struggling with the intrusive harm thoughts. I’ve used Paul’s method over the last month, along with mindfulness (almost the same thing!), and I’ve definitely seen tangible results. I’m far from being “recovered”, but I do feel much better, and not drowning all day long.

    I think what you are describing sounds simply like a set back. Eventually, you will get to a point where you don’t fear going down the anxiety path again. It’s awesome that you’ve been able to be symptom free for a while. Just think of this as another practice and maybe the final obstacle in never having to worry about falling down again! When you get through this, you’re going to know not to be afraid of the odd cycle you might get into, and you will come out of it much quicker. You are just still fighting not falling back into the cycle currently. It sounds like you’re doing awesome already, and I’m hoping someday I can be in your shoes and have the problem you’re having right now!!! Hope that all makes sense…

  232. Richard Says:

    I’m curious about things that trigger anxiety. I’ve reached the point to where I can accept the anxiety and let it pass and the episodes get shorter and shorter and farther in between. Nothing has helped more than this book. But I often think, if I could get rid of the things that trigger the anxiety, I would be home free. Any thoughts anyone?

  233. Marek Says:

    Hi ,

    I haven’t added any comment yet, although I’ve been following this blog for half a year.

    First of all I must say that I totally relate to all of this. My problem started in the childhood (I am 28 now) when I got social anxiety and exploded 6 years ago after nervous breakdown with extreme anxiety, anxious and aggressive intrusive thoughts, During that 6 years, I’ve tried everything for cure from psychologists, hypnosis, meditations, eft, acupuncture, one brain, energy methods and various charlatans, psychiatric drugs etc. etc., spent more than 2 500 euros. Such a waste of time and money!

    I found this site 6 months ago also read the book and I am getting better very slowly.

    Still, I have some questions and would like to know how you dealt with it from your personal experience.

    The first thing, when I am talking to people I always have the feeling that I am like broken and weaker than anybody around me and even small child is emotionally tougher than me and can . It sounds funny (and sad), but when I was 12 years old I used to be much more emotionally stable with talking to people and facing the conflicts…. Did you experience similar feeling and have you fully overcome it ?

    Secondly, one of the most frustrating symptom of the anxiety is my terrible memory. Although I have an university degree I’ve always had serious trouble with remembering. From the school I remember almost nothing. Lots of times I feel like being a total idiot, cannot remember anything , I can read the paper with no idea what was it about or I just watch the movie and can’t say the plot. I need to learn and build my career but it seems to be impossible in this state…

    Lastly, I would like to ask about relation between anxiety and allergy reaction. I mean, I have very atypical sun allergy since the childhood. When I am exposed to the sun I feel little needles stabbing on my skin. But not only on the part of body it was exposed to the sun, but even on the parts that weren’t . Antihistamines, sun cream with high factor, beta carotene, nothing help. I avoid bathing pools, vacation near the sea has always been my nightmare. Interesting is that, I don’t need to be on the sun directly, I can just imagine the beach and I feel it… What do you thing , could there be a connection between anxiety and allergy reaction and by curing the anxiety can the allergy be helped too ?


  234. James Says:

    Hey Matt, I’m glad I was able to help in a way! There is light at the end of the tunnel for sure. Setbacks are rough and currently I’m in one and I’m trying to overcome these thoughts and everything. My hardest part is accepting the fact I have anxiety and everything that comes with it and trying to say “I know this is just anxiety just talking let it be and eventually it’ll go away”. I get bothered because before anxiety I wouldn’t have any of these thoughts and wouldn’t dwell on anything. Now that this hit me everything that scares me or bothers me my brain takes it and runs with it and I’m here battling on convincing myself it’s nothing. At times I feel like it’ll never go away and I’m going to drive myself crazy with the constant thinking but I feel like it’s just my anxiety and once it calms down everything will go away

  235. Matt Says:


    You basically just describe me to the “T”. Even though I know I have an anxiety problem, it’s hard to get the perspective sometimes. You’ve done it before, so you know how to get back to where you were! I don’t have that experience yet, but I’m hoping in time I can get back to feeling “normal” as well. I realized last night that even though I’m doing better, there are still areas in my life where I’m not fully accepting, especially when I get those intrusive thoughts. Anyway, thanks again for helping me. I’m going to try to stay away from this blog for another week or two, so maybe I’ll catch you then!

  236. Bryan Says:


    Have you been medically tested and told this sun allergy was real and not anxiety? No offense, just curious.

    Any time we can “think of something” and bring on symptoms, it sounds like anxiety to me.

  237. Jackie Says:

    I’m starting to freak out that I’m bipolar. My moods are so up and down within a month it’s rediculous. I’m depressed again have been for a few days and I’m fresking out wondering why.

  238. James Says:

    Hey Matt,

    I’m as well gonna stay away from here for awhile….figure it’ll be best to keep my mind off things and not remind myself constantly everyday of what I’ve been going through. Hope the best for everyone!

  239. Jackie Says:

    I have had the worst setback. I feel like I haven’t learned anything. For the past 4 days I’ve woken up completely depressed and crying. I’ve been so on edge that when my son was yelling at me I slapped him in the face (he’s only 4 and this has been my worst fear that would happen) I just dot know what to do anymore. I want to crawl in a hold and hide from everyone so I can’t hurt them. This is the worst feeling.

  240. Tony Says:

    Hi Jackie, an advice from me that have anxiety and depresion for more than 22 years and I am in road to recovery.
    Everybody do mistakes it is in our nature, What happened is in the past and cannot be changed. By giving to much attention to what happen YOU are making yourself feeling bad so you shouldn’t wonder why you are feeling bad, it depends on you how bad you will feel. You have to do completely the opposite of what make you feel bad in orde to start recover . You have ta have faith and believe it bacsuse this way will make you feel better, so what else you need this is what you are looking for? So just do it if you want to recover. Of course it need time to realize it inside you( your upper mind might get confused you, it is inside you that need to realize , so do it anyway cause this way will recover) and you have to feel very anxius some times, but if you are feeling anxius because you are feeling anxius then you are putting fire on fire. YOU MUST FEEL ANXIUS IT IS THERE TO PROTECT YOY. IT IS NOT NORMAL IF YOY challenge it and you will realize that’s ok to feel bad and will go if you don’t need it, so it’s normal to be there.

  241. Jackie Says:

    I just cant believe I let myself get that out of control and I cant help but to feel like a terrible mother. I think I am going to start on an anti depressant

  242. Tony Says:

    Hi Jackie, I have been on antidepressant for 12 years and ofcourse it will help you. Your doctor must find what suite to you so you must be patient if it does help imidiately. You have my best wishes and I am sure you will find the way to recover.

  243. Steve Says:

    I’m curious if you can use Pauls approach while you’re on medication. I have no choice but take medication or I would be locked inside my bedroom. The problem is, medication isn’t a cure for me. It helps with symptoms, but it doesn’t come even remotely close to removing my anxiety. I walk around with a constant headache, like a fish out of water gasping for air with a surreal dizziness in everything I do.

    I want to get better, of course, who wouldn’t. Do you guys think I need to ditch all medication and use Pauls approach or can I use medication to help me use Pauls approach? I just read his book last weekend. I really think it helps to understand why these things are happening to me.

    I can’t get over the worry of what Paul said in his book. I was never helped by medication so I quit taking them.

    I’ve been on a low dose of benzo and SSRI for nearly a year. They’ve helped, not even remotely cured…

  244. Emma Says:

    Hey everyone,

    Just want to say that my anxiety is simmering down quite a bit. I’ve been using Paul’s method, along with mindfulness and the “feel the fear & do it anyway” approach, and I’ve made tremendous progress. I’ve been going through a break-up for about 3 weeks and it’s been an emotional time, but trying to keep the anxiety low. I was afraid of falling into depression and it hasn’t yet happen. Thank you Bryan for your advice about this.

    I have a question & this will sound naive… ever since my break up, I’ve been hanging out with an old friend of mine (male) who is really sweet and kind and I’ve caught all these feelings for him. I feel like a school girl — I stay up late on the phone with him, my heart beats super fast when he texts me, think about him before going to bed and can’t fall asleep haha, get a ‘rush’ when I think of him — all mixed with anxiety. Are these normal?

    I keep thinking, “Emma, it’s much too soon to be catching feelings for another person — you can’t, this is becoming an emotional roller-coaster, it’s not healthy” and then I start getting anxiety. Basically, I’m having anxiety about this “rush” and “thrill” of this new person in my life. It’s a rush of all these new emotions, mixed with the pain of my break up and the fear that all these crazy emotions and my pacing heart for this new person are all detrimental to my spirit.

    I keep thinking maybe it’s a bout of hypomania from bipolar 2. Is this just anxiety? Can someone give me advice as to how to attend to this feeling? I would really appreciate it. I haven’t read anything else like this. Any advice is infinitely appreciated Xx

  245. Jackie Says:

    Emma I feel like i have bipolar 2 also. It consumes my thoughts. I wish I could help you. Have you been diagnosed with it?

  246. Kyle Says:


    To be completely honest I think what you are experiencing is normal butterflies and anxiety around a new crush. Since you are already sensitized and are on the look out for any anxiety, you start to confuse normal anxiety with abnormal anxiety. In fact you believe that normal anxiety is no anxiety at all. I have been doing the same thing with a girl i have been seeing. Whenever she texts me and I see its her my heart races and I get all tensed up and to think about it, I have always been like that with every girl but I never really thought much of it because I wasn’t on the look out for every emotion and feeling my body would feel. Let it pass and just flow over you and let the feeling be there. It just seems so intense because you are already sensitive. I just went through a break up too and for some reason I feel so relieved. It was causing me a lot of stress and worry and I feel like i was just in the relationship to please her and just have someone to talk to and not feel alone. But now I feel like I can just focus on me and my needs and just get better.

  247. Tony Says:

    Hi Emma, my advice would be to continue the road you have chosen and as you said you have made tremendous progress. I believe that when you are depressed and have anxiety for long time and then you start to recover you discover and see things like someone who has been to koma and suddenly he is alive he will start enjoying every moment and aproach life different than anyone else. So I believe it is normal and you should be happy the way you are feeling. So do it anyway

  248. Emma Says:

    Jackie, no I don’t have bipolar 2. I have even asked my psychiatrist who reassured me that based on her evaluation of me she does NOT believe I have bipolar. I don;t believe you have it either. t’s just an anxious fear — it can be all-consuming sometimes, I know. My fear of bipolar has diminished greatly, but it used to be all I would think about, analyzing every emotion, asking myself whether or not I felt euphoric, everything seemed to point toward bipolar. I believe it’s just anxiety!

    Kyle, thank you so much for your response and your advice. I can so relate to you regarding the break-up and the crush. I feel like it’s only the 3rd week and I should still be devastated, but I’m not anymore — I feel a little liberated. My new crush takes all the focus off of my ex and the pain, and it reminds me that he is not “everything” in my life and also that there are other men out there. So you think that my emotions are normal? I honestly think so too, but anxiety and my still sensitized state tells me otherwise. I remember in the past feeling the same way, but like you said, now with anxiety I am hyper aware of all my emotions and all the feelings that come and they feel too overwhelming. I’ll just accept them and allow them to be there and not give them any importance. That’s what I’ve been doing with everything else and it seems to be working. Thanks a million for your help :) xx

    Tony, thank your for your kind response. I think you’re right, these are all new feelings that haven’t come out in a long time and I shouldn’t fear them. I will continue to use Paul’s approach. Thank you Tony :) xx

  249. Gabby1 Says:

    Hiya.i have been reading this blog for ages but worried about writing on new to Paul’s method and I’m finding things very hard.
    I suffer with agroaphobia really hard to go out far by my self.
    I’m scared of the anxiety that I get the feeling like I can’t breath dizzy heavy feeling in head always got a sore belly ibs the list goes to you just accept the feeling and really scared of having a panic attack I have done everything to avoid having on for years.think that’s how I got the agroaphobia.i want to be able to take the kids out on my own with out my hubby.
    I get so fed up of fighting I have tryed loads of stuff the help but nothing has worked.
    I had a bed experience when having a panic attack a few years back and that memory has stayed with me since.
    What if I stop breathing the anxiety makes me think that.
    I feel so down about everything.i seen everybody out having fun and going place with there family and there is me sitting looking out the window wishing I had a life like I did hubby going everywhere for me coz I can’t myself
    Can anybody help get me on the road to recovery thanks.i wrote on here a few weeks back but don’t think anybody replied.thanks

  250. Jackie Says:

    I had a psychiatrist a year ago (after one meeting of 15 min) tell me to look into how I might have bipolar, because of my depression and ever since then I have been so distraught over it. My husband and my new therapist that I have been seeing doesnt think I have it, that it is just my anxiety and depression. I think about it an analyze my symptoms a lot too. Its a very scary thing I am trying to over come as well as this anxiety. I have had a huge setback where I wake and feel anxious and shaking most of the day. I am trying to just embrace it and know it will go away soon. By the end of each day I am often better but the mornings are the worst.

  251. Bryan Says:


    What you describe sounds 100% like anxiety. I have the exact same morning/night issues. I’ve gotten much better and am on the road to recovery since accepting my condition and using Paul’s (and Claire Weekes etc.) methods.

    I’m not all the way recovered but life is much better. I’ve tried to stop fighting and from your posts I can see that you are fighting with all of your energy.
    This is where the change needs to happen. Keep reading Paul’s articles. All of them. He begs us to stop fighting. Please read his work.

  252. Bryan Says:


    You wrote… “I get so fed up fighting.”

    You said you read Paul’s book. The entire book is about not fighting.

    It’s not enough for us to read his book. We have to truly implement what he says every day.

    You wrote “I’ve tried loads of stuff.”

    Paul urges us NOT to try loads of stuff, rather… to work on being ok with it all there and moving on with life.

    I suggest reading the book again with this in mind and truly commit to practicing what he teaches, not just reading.

  253. Adam Says:

    Bryan…thanks for the great responses to Jackie and Gabby. Your insight and advice is helpful and spot on-in my opinion. I too have read Paul’s book and attempted implementation of his method(s). And, like you, I am on my road to recovery but do not consider myself “recovered” completely as of yet. Everyday that I practice the method and continue to become more at peace with who I am and with my anxiety, I seem to make progress. I have had setbacks. And they do suck. But they are necessary on this road (recovery) that I am on and I seem to sense their devastation to be somewhat less or lessoning as I continue on the road. Maybe that is just a result of my becoming more at peace with my anxiety though? I’m not sure. But either way, Paul’s method is working and I am sticking to it.

  254. Nolan Says:

    Great point, Bryan.

    Just to offer some tough love…. I’m reading alot of posts from people who really aren’t following Paul’s lead.
    You focus on this symptom and then that symptom…. wondering when it’s all going to end. What you can do to speed up the process.

    I mean, it’s understandable that you feel this way…. but it comes to the point when you’re going to have to just accept that this is your life.
    Accept that you’re not going to chase this thing off by getting upset with it, running away from it, trying a bunch of other tricks to make it some how just end.

    So here’s one thing that is going to separate those who eventually get better from those who just don’t: those who eventually get better simply accept that this is who they are for now. They’re done fighting with it, trying to make sense of it. It’s just who they are for now, and, they eventually came to peace with that. Then, on its own accord, their old self (happy and hopeful for the future again) came back too.

  255. Jackie Says:

    I want so badly to let it go, my problem is I dont know how! Its like a natural response to keep fighting and keep it together. Especially for my family. How do I just let it go?! I really want to get better, I keep reading the material over and over but when i wake in the morning my body starts fighting again. This is becoming exhausting.

  256. Lui Says:

    Hey guys! :)

    I am interested how you are facing your fears? Especially in an high anxiety state. For me it’s the hardest thing. I usually read some encouraging stuff and feel ready to face and then in the situation I can’t open my mouth and the fear get’s even stronger when letting all the feelings float through me which makes it not easier to speak up…

  257. Nolan Says:

    Hi Jackie,

    Letting go means stopping the battle with it.
    Go about your day with all of that stuff in the background (and foreground).

    “i wake in the morning my body starts fighting again”….
    Then don’t fight with it. Just allow it to be there. You get a strong urge to start searching the net for more answers just tell yourself “no”. You’re not going to find answers that way. There’s nothing that could conceivably be said that will make this all vanish for you. If you hear something comforting it will linger for a bit….. but then the doubt will come in and snuff that faint hope like that.

    Stop caring so much that you feel this way or that way. When you get freaky/scary/doubtful thoughts just tell yourself “sooooo what”.

    This isn’t to make all of that stop in its tracks and leave you alone. It doesn’t work that way. This is just calming your body back down again by first being ‘okay,fine,at peace’ with however you feel at any given moment.
    That’s it.

    Don’t over think ‘letting it go’.

    When you say that phrase you’re probably thinking ‘letting it go’ means letting all of the fear/doubt/symptoms just float up in the air and to leave you alone. But that’s not what it is.
    It’s living your life with all of this stuff. To stop paying it so much respect to not fight any of it anymore.

    All of these questions about how to face the fears…. you’re already facing them. The only difference is that you’re facing them and trying to quickly change it or chase them off or falling into self-pity….or whatever. I don’t mean this as a slam. I did the same things. The difference came when I finally stopped fighting with them, with no expectation that it was going to ultimately change anything, lived my life with those thoughts/feelings/doubts.

    And that’s the big jump. To start living your life accepting that “hey, this is just the way it is.” and getting back on with your life again.

    There’s no advice to give on how to “face your fears” because you’re already doing that.

  258. tim Says:

    Putting it in practice can be so hard even if the willingnes is 110% there. I find myself fighting, analyzing and questioning all the time. It just happens automatically while I’m unconscious of it. Then I become aware that I’m doing it and it’s like I start fighting the fact that I’m fighting or analyzing about how to stop fighting. Like I know I’m fighting and I don’t want to but don’t know how to stop it (and then try to figure out how to stop it which is a form of fighting etc etc.).

  259. Tony Says:

    Hi all, as I have already described above I believe the fear iis a feeling that will will always be there to protect us. It cannot go and I believe it should not go. My everyday life I like the fear I am not afraid of the the fear because it gives me the opportunity to feel so greater and confidence by challenge it. It is like a battle you always win because there is no lion there to bite you as your fear tell you . I have made so much progress the last 2-3 months. Of course I have me setbacks and disbelieves because we are human not robots it need time to do it over and over again until it go deep inside and become an automation .But the knowledge is inside me and continue my road because i see the progress.

  260. Jude Says:


    Yet again fantastic post and one that simply every person here who is truly suffering, should read.

  261. Karen Says:

    Hi there, been off the blog for a couple of weeks, been doing well, pretty much anxiety free. I seem to be in a cycle … two good weeks then it hits again. Having a setback now. I wonder if I will ever get to a point where the setbacks don’t bother me and I won’t despair with them, that I am back to this AGAIN! I am accepting this is how it is but I hate this anxiety feeling and can’t help but want it to go away. I am getting on with life anyway. Any support, reassurance, that it will one day be gone. I have been suffering for a year but practising acceptance since April. I know there was a point where there were no good days and that I have come so far, but it is difficult to hold on to this in a setback. I know I should see this as an opportunity to practise acceptance.

  262. Tony Says:

    Hi Karen, as I have already describe. The bad feeling will come again and again it is normal is part of the precedure. It is there to protect you will always be there what maters is your reaction to this and little by little will realize inside you that you don’t need protection. Your reaction depends on you it is difficult to explain with words it depends on you, basically you have to do the opposite. I am telling you that in irder feel good you have to feel bad ofcourse you wont believe me only if you do it and feel it will believe . They are instincts and don’t understand the words , everyone here describe with their words but basically you have to feel the words . I know it hears crazy what I am telling but instincts don’t have logic so this is what I believe .

  263. Karen Says:

    I knowI need to accept this setback and the feeling bad, get on anyway and not panic about it. I can’t not care about it though and I can’t not want to feel it. Is it enough to be able to get on anyway and not panic about it and try not to question it? Knowing deep down that it will pass? Is that acceptance?

  264. Tony Says:

    Hi Karen I will speak how I see it. So when you feel bad you don’t have to do anything to fix it. Because the only way your instincts knows to fix it is by feeling bad. So by doing the opposite(living normal) you will realize inside you that the fear is not a threat to you. Al these I am telling you are theoretical what matter is to do it in practice. My advice will be To live your life normal ( fear must be there with you to protect you) because deep
    Inside you you know what you need to do to recover.

  265. Karen Says:

    Thanks Tony. I know I am letting a few bad days defeat me and so re-entering the cycle. I have just re read this section in the book. I shall continue practising acceptance. Let my brain keep thinking ‘I feel bad’ and just not react or ‘so what’ every time.Very quiet on here this weekend.

  266. diane Says:

    Hi all, l have been on the site over the last year’s, it has helped me a lot, along with Paul book. I have just moved home which has been stressful and My partner has ms and l am worried also about them, how they will cope in the new surrounding s etc as their balance is effected which effects their walking, l feel really overwhelmed at times and My anxiety is taking a bit of a hold, my home was my sanctuary familiar and safe and as l have moved, 3 days ago l can’t seem to relax and feel emotional, in my mind l am also worrying that my anxiety will take hold. I work and go back on Wednesday and l am worrying about my partner and how they will cope in the house themselves and l am worried overall about coping and nog letting anxiety take hold , any words of wisdom appreciated! Thanks diane

  267. Lorry Says:


    Just woke up after a very bad nights sleep and am feeling extremely anxious and caught up in my own head. Work has been very pressurised and that teamed with my teenAge daughter being shall we say extremely challenging is leaving me shaking and crying. I have to take a step back and stop putting pressure on myself to carry on and pull myself together. I need yet sgain time out to calm down. Stop worrying and getting over anxious to thd point of being sick. I have scared myself half to death over a lot of things in my head and can’t seem to break the cycle of habit. I once thought I had it all sorted and no more setbacks but stress is putting me on the back foot . Today I feel confused, anxious , stressed and adrenalin is running high.

  268. Tony Says:

    Hi Diane, all those worrying you have are normal, the important thing is that you give much attention to how you feel. Let the feelings be there they are not threat to you. I would like also to answer to many people that are asking what to do at the mornings the anxiety is to high. Now is morning and my anxiety is very high. I jest let be there to hit me, so this way I can act normal and live normal without any problem is just anxiety, some times my hand also shacking it is just shaking inothing more than that. It can do no harm to me. I just described you a real high anxiety event live how to handle it 😉

  269. kat Says:

    Hey all,

    I suppose I’m just seeking some supportive comments at the moment. I wrote last week about a strange fainting incident I suffered after riding a bike. At the time, I thought it was a massive panic attack, but I’ve been to a doctor since, and she didn’t seem convinced that this is what it was. I was partially relieved by this, because if I know I can faint because of panic, I would never want to leave the house again. They are still trying to figure out what happened, and I go for more tests tomorrow, but I have been an anxious mess since it happened, and it is quite distressing.

    I am, luckily, on vacation at the moment, but although I should be using this time as an opportunity to decompress, I am feeling just as anxious and miserable as when I have to work. Unfortunately, old habits are back, and I am analyzing every feeling, thinking that I am going to faint if I go outside of my comfort zone. I am feeling weak and stupid, because I KNOW what I should be doing, which is nothing, and the feelings will not abate. I know I am ruining things for my family who have been so excited about a week off together, but I cannot fake a good mood, only wanting to dissolve into self-pitying tears. Is this a setback? Is this physical? I have no idea.

    I suppose I’m just supremely deflated by this whole situation, and am wondering if I’ll ever know what it’s like to be “normal”.

  270. Tony Says:

    Dear cat, my advice will be pretty much the same. The more you let yourself feel the bad feelings the faster you will realize that you don’t need them anymore. The more you are trying to avoid them the more they will keep coming. So If you let yourself feel them a little by little they will stop coming because you faced the threat they are trying to protect you and so you will not need them and they will go normally . Now from the other hand if you try to avoid them you are telling yourself that indeed there is a danger you cannot face so you need them to protect you and they will keep coming. I don’t know if you understand what mean? We all have are good days, not so good days , out setbacks and whatever , the point is how you react to this in order to make your self have better quality of life.

  271. Lucy Says:

    Hi everyone, I just wondered if one of you would be kind enough to help me. Over the last few weeks my anxiety has been practically non existent which has been lovely, but on Friday one of my neighbours who suffers with alcoholism collapsed, he wasn’t found until the morning & now he’s in intensive care. I saw him that night, and even though he told me he was fine, you could see he wasn’t, he was shaking bad & sluring his words, my bf told me not to get in touch with his family as it’s not for us to get involved with. Now I’m blaming myself & have terrible anxiety over it. Should I treat this as just normal anxiety – or do I go to the doctors to get some help? Thank you in advance : )

  272. Lorry Says:

    Hi everyone,
    I learnt all the tools on how to just let yourself feel these horrendous feeelings and yet over the course of the past few years I have forgotten them, hence once again I am back to get more advice and refresh my memory. It took me a while to accept the physical symptoms, but I guess the thoughts side of things has never really been fully accepted for me. MAybe that’s what I need to do nothing with this time, just not dwell or feed these thoughts. I do get a little lost in my head with it all and find that I can’t concentrate on much. Guess I am trying too hard x

  273. Rachel Says:

    Why why why can I not stop thinking that their is something else wrong other than anxeity I can’t stop thinking that their is something wrong and it isn’t showing up in all the tests I have had and that is why it isn’t going I’m really doing my best to let it be there yet my symptom just isn’t going I think I have convinced myself that whatever it is is bypassing the test xx

  274. Kevin Says:

    Hi everyone, i recently purchased paul’s book after a couple weeks of following this blog and the website. Its slowly sinking in what i must do to overcome this. Which is to do nothing. I have so many thoughts running through my mind and it used to be so hard not to believe them. When this started about 2 and a half months ago, i was hit with dp so hard and out of the blue that i literally believed the thought that i was in a dream, even though i was not. Now, thoughts have less power over me and i try to let them in and pass but its very difficult. I know that i have to adopt the whatever attitude but i think itll take some time.
    One thought that has been on my mind is that even though my old self is there still, my old self is not that great. I dont remember ever being fully at peace with myself and i was never that confident. I have alwas been an introvert and always watched what i said and thought. Its a little unsettling to think this but im tryin to stay positive and have faith that its just another thought and that i can recover and even make my old self better.

    To Paul, thank you so much for your advice. I cant imagine going through 10 years of this i have the utmost respect for you and everyone else going through this for so long. I know recovery will come to me. Slowly your advice is sinking in and in time ill be the best me i can be.

  275. Karen Says:

    Lucy, this is not your fault, how could it be? Your neighbour has made choices and yes it is an illness but until he was willing to seek help there is nothing you could have done to prevent this. You have had a shock, it has set off your anxiety, but it will settle again as time passes from the event.

    Lorry I find thoughts tricky but just let them float out of your head, down a stream, that’s what I picture them doing. I spot I am having them, greet them ‘Ah hello anxiety thought’ then float them away. Somehow labelling the thoughts take their power away.

    Rachel, is there more than one Rachel on the blog or is this the Rachel I also message? Those are anxiety thoughts too as they are ‘what if’ thoughts. Treat them as above.

    I am so struggling with sleep. Every time I start to drift off I get this fear clench in my chest which wakes me up again. I am not scared of it, I know what it is but it annoys me because it stops me sleeping hence worse anxiety spiral. Nothing I can do about it and accepting it doesn’t help me get more sleep. Anybody else get this? If so, what do you do? I just know you are going to say ‘nothing’ and ‘accept it’ but grrrrrrr to it. If only my sleep would improve then so would my anxiety.

  276. Kyle Says:

    Hey guys,

    Just looking for a little reassurance on a couple questions I have. So i went through the real think depersonalization and derealization stage back in the fall and early winter and just accepted it and it went away. Now I am having some real good moments and periods were I almost think I am back to normal and then I start to question it and all my feelings and wonder if it just a calm before the storm sort of thing. My breathing gets a bit tight, i feel a bit, tired, and reality just seems a bit different and I am just slightly detached and in my head. I then start thinking if I am going crazy but there is a weird sense of calm that comes along with it. In the past i would have tensed up and freaked out a bit but it just doesnt seem to bother me. Its as if the physical anxiety is gone but they stuff in my head is still lingering and throwing me off a bit. I then try to look at people and observe them to make sure that I am not going to start seeing things but nothing ever happens and I forget about it. I use to think this was some other sort of mental illness but now these feelings come but my body isnt reacting like it use too. Has anyone else experienced any of this stuff who has recovered??

  277. Lucy Says:

    Thank you Karen, that helps a lot! Should I just treat how I’m feeling as anxiety & let it be – & the thoughts I’m having about it ( blaming myself ) as intrusive thoughts? I’ve always managed to find something to worry about before, but now I actually have something TO worry about it seems a lot worse x

  278. Lucy Says:

    Also Karen ( sorry just read the rest of your post ) when my anxiety is really bad, I’ll start dosing off & then get huge knot in my belly which will startle me & wake me up, it happens quite a few times in the night. It makes me a lot more tired the next day, but I get up at the same time, do my exact same routine, go to work & do my gym class. This keeps my mind away from me worrying about my sleep pattern & if it’ll happen again that night which in turn makes each night gradually get better. ( after about 2 nights ) the gym has been the best for my sleep! Hope this helps x

  279. Matt Says:


    Did it take you a while to get to the “so what” attitude consistently? I can sometimes get there, and in fact was making great strides for the past month, but I’m still having a hard time letting the outcomes go. I will eventually start thinking about how I feel, and how my feelings aren’t changing fast enough, or at all, and then I get frustrated. I had one of my best days last Thursday, and then at the end of the night I kind of got tired and started having anxious thoughts, and have been in a bit of a hole since. That last sentence, for example, is how I’m attached to caring about how I feel. It’s very hard to make that leap to just stop worrying about the outcome of your anxiety, even though logically I know it’s the only way. I also have the habit of checking in with myself, so even when I’m feeling good, I remind myself of the bad, and then eventually get back into anxious thinking. It’s so annoying!

  280. Karen Says:

    Anybody else ever feel like they really are not going to be able to get through another day like this? In a tough place right now and it doesn’t seem to be lifting like it usually would. Lots of very dark thoughts. My family have been putting up with this for a year now. I know I am feeling sorry fo myself but it is just too hard at the moment

  281. Marek Says:


    I’ve just got one curious question. Do you feel anxiety while sleeping and dreaming ? When I am dreaming I don’t even have an idea about anxiety.

    Do you experience the same ? Just wondering…

  282. Karen Says:

    Jackie, how are you doing? X

  283. Nolan Says:

    Hi Matt, I’m going to answer your question in a very general way.
    It’s inline with what Paul said about just making space for those negative thoughts/feelings/symptoms/doubts.

    I’ll use me as the example:

    Recently I had a very bad setback. I had a thought in my head that I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night and it bothered me greatly.
    Now, every night I get some sleep (at my worst I got minimal).
    Right as I was getting ready to go to sleep that thought surfaced again “what if the nap I took during the day will impact my sleep!?”.
    Prior to this I had taken many naps on weekends when my wife would put my son down for a nap and I would go to sleep just fine on those nights.

    But I found myself believing this thought. So, then I started to engage it… trying to reason with myself that it was a bogus thought. Trying to assure myself that I wasn’t headed back down into that hole. It was like struggling in quicksand…. the more I fought against it, the further I sunk down into the mire of it all.

    That was one of the more intense setbacks that I had in awhile. But, I’m actually very glad that it occurred now. Because, as with every setback I had, it shed some more light on the matter and I emerged from it a little bit stronger that I was before.

    The light it shed was the realization of what Paul said when he advised to “give the anxiety all the space it wants” (paraphrased), but to “not pay it so much respect”. In arguing with those thoughts, in trying to reason with those thoughts I was paying it respect.

    Now please don’t get confused on the point. Accepting it and not arguing with it is NOT a magic bullet. It was not going to slay those thoughts/doubts/feelings. Those would be there regardless. In not arguing with them, in not trying to rationalize the reflexive respect I was giving them all I am doing is being at peace with the fact that “this is how it is at this moment”….. I reminded myself to turn those “what ifs?!?!?!?” into, “so what”. And those thoughts/feelings/doubts passed on their own…. naturally.

    The setback was going to come regardless. I did NOTHING wrong to bring it about. Those sleep thoughts I mentioned above? I’ve had those in my mind before and they did not impact me in the least, and they had no impact on my sleep. What was different this time? The anxiety primed my brain and body to believe the content of those thoughts. And guess what? That is perfectly fine. Because that’s what anxiety does…. it not only generates the scary thoughts/doubts/symptoms…. it has you believing them. And that’s what shakes us to our core.

    We try to argue back “oooohhh no…. not again. Not me, not now, no Lord…. please…. not again. no no no no….Ohhhh this isn’t good. Okay Nolan, you’re okay. THere’s nothing wrong with you…. No! ignore that thought. There’s no merit to it.”….

    What…. A ….. Waste….Of….Time

    This is what lead me to sink back down, to think that I was headed in the wrong direction…. or even worse! that now the anxiety truly won. All of my gains were a bluff.

    I took a moment to gather myself again, dusted myself off…. reminded myself that “Nolan, this comes on its own accord and it will leave on its own accord as well. All I need to do is give it the space it needs”. Just as Paul said.

    When the setback came I was in a moment of utter despair. But now? I’m glad it came. As I said, with every setback I went through I gained a bit more true knowledge and arose a bit stronger than before.

    So remember: the negative stuff will come on its own. If you’re being at peace with how you are at any given moment, allowing any thought to enter your mind that wants to enter…. you’re doing the right thing. The negative stuff comes on its own accord.

    You don’t need to reason with it, fight against it, run from it; because just as it came on its own, it will leave on its own too.

    Everyone (with no qualification) that I’ve spoken to who has gone through anxiety says the same thing “the bad moment came, shook me deeply, but then…. it just left.”

    That’s why we give it space and little respect. Because it will leave, and it will do so on its own accord.

  284. Kyle Says:


    Really like your post. I have recently had a revelation of my own in regards to anxiety. For so long I was so distraught searching for answers to why I am so anxious and how to get ride of it quickly but none of those answer ever came and the constant searching and trying to figure things our just made it worse. It stripped me of all my confidence and made me feel so insecure. Everything became a challenge. Would I be able to do this…can i survive that…am i strong enough. I originally thought accepting “this” meant just sort of muddling through life and taking things really easy and shutting myself out from the world until this all blew over. That only lead to me feeling down for myself and feeling more worthless because I felt like I was just waiting in a hole hoping that this would somehow leave me. That’s when I realized that wasnt accepting that was just “putting up with and sulking”. Do you agree with this? Thats sort of when I said “F this!”, I am tired of feeling the way I feel and being so negative all the time. i gave myself a huge attitude adjustment and came up with this CAN DO attitude that will accept the anxiety for what it is and let all the negative/scary/doubtful thoughts come but still go out and do the things that need to be done no matter how I feel. Does this sound like acceptance to you? I sort of pump myself up and just tell myself I can do these things even though there is this little child called anxiety in me who says I shouldnt/cant and should just wait till this all passes before doing what i want. I am not trying to figure it all out now/trying to control everything/trying to make this go away. Now I am just DOING IT with all these thoughts and feeling present. I am so much more engaged with whats around me when I am just doing what needs to be done and the things that I figure the normal me would be doing. I have stopped searching for cures,mantras, or someone to rescue me. All I have done is developed a “so what” “can do” “kick some ass” attitude and let the feelings,thoughts, and doubts be there while i live my life. Is that acceptance?

  285. Kat Says:


    I’ve been reading over older blog posts and found that yours were incredibly astute and kept in line with everything Paul has been extending to his readers. I personally need this kind of talk, because setbacks (which I believe I am currently experiencing) are a special kind of horrific, in that a person believes they are near the end of the tunnel, only to suddenly feel as though they are at the start, once again.

    My goal in reading this blog and posting is to get this kind of support and to re-focus. Like many readers here, it’s difficult to find a kind and helpful approach with regard to our immediate circle. I am fortunate that I have a partner who seems to understand my situation, but a few years ago, my anxiety centered on our relationship, and I actually questioned loving him. Through the gentle guidance of Helen, I was able to eventually see my way out of that situation and have come to understand that it was just anxiety in a different form. I have experienced so many aspects of this disorder: relationship OCD, mild agoraphobia, depression, self-loathing, fear of heights, fear of driving, etc. The list goes on! I recognize that it’s all anxiety, now, and it’s odd to me how I will have thoughts like, “This is the worst symptom, yet!” or, “I would love to trade this symptom for another symptom”. How many sufferers can relate to that?

    I have been pushing myself to get out every day this week, just to keep from staying in and obsessing, and despite feeling fairly horrid at times, I am glad I have been so diligent. I am trying to shift my thinking, which is by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, and I am hopeful that I will see some measure of success, soon. I suppose you might say that I had a “crisis of faith” as a result of my fainting spell, which turned into rampant anxiety, because it shook all of the beliefs I had been holding so tightly on to. Now, though, I’m starting to think that the fainting was something else entirely, and that my anxiety was simply a reaction to it. I sincerely hope I’m right! I have come back to the site, after a good deal of time away, because I needed to get back on track.

    All this is to say thank you for your encouraging and positive posts. I tend to scan for these kinds of responses because I need the certainty of those who are recovered or on their way to a complete recovery. Keep your thoughts coming! Your posts are more than words, and I mean that. I hope that one day my reason for coming here is to offer encouragement to others, and to tell them that I know what I’m talking about, because I got to the end of the tunnel.

    Again, thank you.

  286. Matt Says:


    First of all, thanks for the time you took to write that post and answer my question thoroughly. I don’t feel like I can get this kind of support almost anywhere else.

    I think where I’m going wrong is that I’m getting tired of having anxiety all the time, and it’s more natural for me to question it than to just allow it to be there. When I just allow it, honestly my life is fine, and I have no problem even though it’s there. But I keep trying to fix it, which makes me think that my life is terrible because I can’t get rid of it, and then I get down, and then have horrible thoughts.

    Anyway, I know that I can get better, as I have made improvement the last month. The reason why I think I’m slumping this week too is that I’m tired, I’m in a week seminar class for school that’s including a lot of speaking in front of class, and I haven’t been able to work out.

    Thanks again for your great posts lately. It’s very helpful to know that people are getting better from this, and all in a similar fashion.

  287. Karen Says:

    Again, thanks Nolan, that is brilliant, just what I needed to hear.

  288. yolande Says:

    I am starting a new job – a step-down from my previous job cos I cant take the stress ANYmore on mon.

    I am then starting to feel anxious abt it……….. and have lots of ‘what ifs’ coming in fast and furious. I KNOW what these thoughts are and do and what I shd do but it so so hard.

    also my sleep hasn’t been good for a while. I am v tired but the moment I lie down I find myself focussing on myself and then I cant sleep all night and end up taking a sleepingpill. also does anyone get v tired eyes?? I have them for like 2 weeks and it’s so hard……….. I am guessing it’s cos I don’t have good quality sleep but just wondering if it’s a symptom of anxiety?

    does anyone have any good advice on the sleep issue?

  289. Tony Says:

    Hi Yolande, as personally I don’t have sleeping problem o cannot give any advice. I suppose you should accept the thoughts you have that you will not sleep. Today I believe I had the worst anxiety in the last 3 days that I had a setback. I am trying to fix the bad feelings and fear the bad feelings which is wrong. I cannot do something else but accept the situation and give little respect as Paul say. I am continuing my road and I know it will pass .

  290. Tony Says:

    Hi Yolande, as personally I don’t have sleeping problem o cannot give any advice. I suppose you should accept the thoughts you have that you will not sleep. Today I believe I had the worst anxiety in the last 3 days that I had a setback. I am trying to fix the bad feelings and fear the bad feelings which is wrong. I cannot do something else but accept the situation and give little respect as Paul say. I am continuing my road and I know it will pass .

  291. rachh Says:

    Hi guys I’m really starting to make progress with recovery now. What Nolan said is so very true once you start engaging with the thought you are stuck in it and it’s very difficult to get out of because once your in and know it you desperately want to get out and you cant. Ive had this realisation today. Was feeling better engaging with my family again and then my thoughts started swelling me again and now I’m struggling again. The best is when you know easily how to get back out of it again. Luckily because ive had it for so long now i dont get any bodily sensations and wierd tummy aches and what not. But the symptoms like funny tummy gagging going to the loo are all because of these thoughts that come setting off the hormones in your body. Its so so annoying. Thoughts are the issue with anxiety and getting trapped in them and trying to figure it all out is not the answer..
    Hope everyone is ok havent visited in a while. Staying away from the blog has helped take the knowledge from it and start engaging in life with the knowledge you have gained.

  292. Nolan Says:

    Yolande, sleep was my main issue.
    Or, sleep was the issue that pushed me over the edge.

    Paul mentioned this before in the past…. don’t separate out the symptoms and think that they need to be treated any differently.

    When you lay down to go to bed just accept what ever comes. If your mind wants to race or focus on whether or not you’re sleeping…. then just let it. Go for the ride with it. Offer it no resistance.

    No need to toss and turn. Just lay there and anything that comes your way – embrace it. It might not make a difference right away, but in time it will.

    Just remember, sleep is something that happens naturally, we don’t have to perform a task in order for us to sleep. All that we do is get in the way of sleep happening.
    So lie down, close your eyes, and peacefully accept anything that comes your way. If your mind starts to go hyper-vigilant then let it. It’s the struggle to make yourself do something that your body is currently resisting (for whatever reason) that is making it hard for you to slip into sleep.

    Trust me…. I’ve been through some very, very dark nights and days with sleep. Following Paul’s advice has helped bring me through it. I was on Xanax, Ambien, Ambien CR, Lunesta, Trazadone, Klonopin, OTC meds like Unisom, Lexapro…. eventually I said ENOUGH! Thankfully that shortly after that I found Paul’s book and slowly got back on track.
    You will too

  293. Nolan Says:

    Great advice, Rachh!

    Engaging with those thoughts gets us stuck.
    You might think, “But the thoughts are so strong. If I don’t argue against them what if my mind starts believing them!? Then I’ll fall back into the hole again.”

    You won’t. Just give them the space they want. Don’t play their games.
    As those negative thoughts came on their own accord, they will leave on their own accord as well.

  294. Karen Says:

    Ah Nolan, something you said has hit home. Saying ‘ so what’ to the thoughts doesn’t mean you don’t care about them ….. I was trying not to care that I was having these thoughts, not to mind them, not to be scared. That’s not the point is it. The point is have the thoughts but then dont re enter them by questioning or analysing them. Just let them be. Surely it would be impossible not to care about scary thoughts. Am I right? What about the very dark, depression thoughts, treat them the same?
    Sleep is my issue at the moment too and have got into a mini habit of taking a tablet. I shall try apply this knowledge to that too.

  295. yolande Says:

    Thank you Nolan. Thats what i hv been doing n sometimes it works.

    I get fear spasms in my belly when i m abt to fall asleep. Really sucks. I took the pill too but now m trying not to. Doing what Nolan suggested

  296. Nolan Says:

    Hi Karen,


    Those scary/doubtful thoughts came on their own…. let them leave on their own as well. As a matter of fact, that’s the only way they will leave.

    I would get those scary/doubtful thoughts. Sometimes I found myself being very impressed by them, other times I was able to just brush them off.
    The times I wasn’t able to just brush them off I did find myself believing the content of them “I’m never going to be myself again. The old me is lost forever. Anxiety has won, and I’ll never heal from this scar. This scar will always bring my thoughts back down again”.

    I noticed that arguing with them never made them leave. It just exhausted me more.
    I also noticed that whether I engaged them or not…. they still ultimately left on their own.

    If I didn’t engage those thoughts and just let them scream as loud as they wanted too I would still have the experience of being fearful however, I was just going to tell myself “so what” to all of the fears that it was putting before me. And I stopped trying to argue my way out of those crappy feelings. Because as stated, it never once worked that I was able to convince myself otherwise.

    Giving them the space they want, allowing yourself to feel whatever comes your way, and not engaging with those thoughts (taking a “big whoop” attitude towards them).

  297. Nolan Says:

    I have a friend who used to struggle mightily with health anxieties.
    So bad that he would have intense panic attacks thinking he would die. Somtimes he would faint from the intensity/fear/panic of it all.

    He never read Paul’s book or Claire Weekes’ book….. but independently came to the same conclusion.

    He told me that one day he was just tired of being a puppet to these thoughts and fears. He told me, “I was so sick of it happening. That if it wanted to kill me then fine, just kill me and get it over with!”

    The panic started building up and my friend was ready to let it kill him. As a matter of fact, he wanted it to. He was tired of living like this. He let down his guard and let it overtake him.
    But something was different this time, the panic passed faster than it ever did before. What did he do differently? It was his attitude towards it.

    It was hit or miss for awhile. He really didn’t understand what was going on. But over time he noticed that it was ultimately his attitude towards the health anxiety/panic attacks that was making the difference.

  298. Kyle Says:


    could you read my previous post and let me know if thats the form of acceptance you are talking about? I feel like i have made some real progress in separating myself from my symptoms using that method

  299. Nolan Says:

    Hi Kyle,

    That’s pretty much what I’ve been doing.
    But, I don’t do any of it to spite the anxiety. It’s not like “I’m going to live my life to show this anxiety that I’m not a chump!”.

    I’m not saying that’s a bad way to look at it. But all I know is that I wanted the peace of mind I used to have and I was tired of doing things to address this anxiety issue. If I wanted to go for a bike ride I didn’t think “this bike ride will do numbers on killing the anxiety”.

    I did it for independent reasons “I always used to like riding my bike…. so, I’m going regardless of how I feel. As a matter of fact, if it comes while I’m riding my bike, then that’s fine by me”.

    But I don’t want to split hairs. I don’t see anything wrong in what you’re doing. You’re living your life, you’re saying “so what” to those thoughts/doubts, and whatever comes your way (thought/doubt/symptom) you’re fine with it.

  300. Kyle Says:


    Yeah I am not doing all that in spite of anxiety. Its more of I am tired of fighting it and waiting for these feelings to pass so I am just out doing it. It’s more of I am tired of feeling the way I feel and sulking and feeling bad about it because I am not 100% yet so I shouldn’t wait to live my life until I feel better. I don’t think true acceptance is just letting it all wash over you while still hiding. I think true acceptance is developing the “so what” attitude and going out and getting done what needs to be done and living your life anyways.

  301. Karen Says:

    Kyle, that’s exactly what it is from what I have read. Doing everything you normally would despite the anxiety. Live life normally despite not feeling normal. Thats what Paul’s book says. I am doing this and had some anxiety free times since doing it. Though don’t get me wrong, I am still a massive work in progress. Another great lady, Nicola Wright, used Pauls method and said ‘ You have to put the cart before the horse’ ….. you have to do things before you feel better and well enough to do them, that way you will get better and feel you can do them. Google her too.

  302. Kyle Says:

    Thanks Karen!

    Yeah I just hate doubting myself and every situation all the time. Always asking myself if I am strong enough to do this or that or if it will make things worse if I try. I just hate not being my old self but I am starting to realize I probably will never be my old self but come out of this even a stronger and better person. Lastly, does anyone on here deal with immense amounts of guilt?? I use to be a pretty care free and reckless, which I think got me in most of the trouble i was in. Having said that I feel guilty if I drink and just have one beer because i know drinking and partying got me here. Or when I am stressed out I have a cigarette and then feel so guilty about that. I mostly just fear feeling guilty because i think it will lead to me being depressed so i just dont do the things i use to do. Can anyone shed some light on why the guilt is there? Is this another one of those “let it be and do it anyway” sort of things? I just feel like i fear having fun like i use to

  303. Jenny Lee Says:

    Guys I really need some guidance. I’ve been in a set back for 3 months since my Dad became v il and this has reached an extreme peak due to starting 2 new jobs..
    today in my new job I honestly thought my mind was just gonna give up it was racing and screaming and fighting so hard for me to run away! I didn’t, but..
    I am fighting and tensing against anxiety terribly.. but I can’t seem to stop myself from doing this. On one hand, acceptance feels like I should allow all of this, to be allowing myself to despair, feel terrified and and become desperate and want to cry and run away… but this is not accepting the anxiety is it? It is giving importance to the symptoms and thoughts?
    So confused. Been in recovery for two years after finding Paul site and book! But I still don’t get it. Feeling really lost.

  304. Karen Says:

    Yes you are accepting Jenny. Allow yourslf to feel despair, allow yourself to cry, allow yourself to feel terrified but just don’t worry or panic about any of these thoughts or feelings. Allow them, accept that you feel like that and let it be. Accepting does not mean you can’t feel them, if you try not to feel them they become more intense.

    Completely understand about the doubt Kyle!

  305. Jenny Lee Says:

    thank you for your really helpful reply. Maybe I am not doing so terrible with acceptance. But I shouldn’t need to analyse this. It’s just what it is. Wish acceptance would feel more natural! Very challenging when your mind feels like it’s racing and running at a million miles an hour… or alternatively the next day at 0.000001 miles an hour!
    Thank you Karen.

  306. Karen Says:

    No problem Jenny, I know all the theory, I completely get it. But like you I constantly question if I am doing it right and my brain is constantly on a loop about whether or not I am accepting or checking in on my anxiety. I just let it but try not to panic about it, hoping that is the right thing to do.

  307. rachh Says:

    It really is hard work recovery but at the same time light work. Nolan your post about showing abnxiety your a chump really cracked me up!

  308. Bryan Says:

    Really helpful posts Nolan. Love hoe you break it into detail and examples.

  309. Nolan Says:

    hi Kyle,

    I wasn’t trying to say that as an insult to what you’re doing.

    Most of my posts when I’m replying I’m speaking from the way I was when I was struggling with this. I would try to psyche myself up to fight this thing like, “I ain’t nobody’s fool!”. I eventually realized that this isn’t the way to go.

  310. Adam Says:

    Hello all…I wanted to add a positive post about my experience today with my anxiety. Just this morning, after several years of practicing Paul’s method, I made some real concrete progress in my recovery. Background: My anxiety manifests itself at my work, specifically revolving around public speaking/presenting. This was the result of having an anxiety attack/semi-panic attack several years ago where I listened to the anxiety and ran away from the speaking opportunity (my…what a wrong answer that was!). Ever since that day I have been dealing with anxiety in my life. In the past, before Paul’s book, it had migrated to other areas of my life in addition to the speaking. I questioned a lot about myself, had depressive thoughts, had(have) much intrusive thoughts and staggering “bolts” of adrenaline coursing through my veins among a myriad of other symptoms. Anyway, long story short, I have been practicing Paul’s method for about a year now and have made steady progress over that time. I am on my road to recovery and it has been exactly as described in Paul’s book: little baby steps of progress complete with many setbacks and good times too. I can honestly say, while I’m still not 100% recovered right now, I am much better off than I was a year ago. And I am fine with that (i.e. practicing patience). But the good news is that today, just a little over an hour ago, I did a presentation here at work for a group of about 12 people. And while this past week (I had known since Tuesday that I was to give the presentation) had been filled with much anticipatory anxiety, “what ifs”, acceptance and “floating”… I FACED MY FEAR AND IT MELTED RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY FACE! It was all a sham….a ruse. Exactly as Paul said in his book. Feel the fear and do it anyway, people. It really is true. Yes, it is awful sometimes living with that fear right beside you….but IT CANNOT MAKE YOU DO ANYTHING AND IT CANT STOP YOU! YOU are the captain of the ship. YOU are driving it. Anxiety CANNOT make you do anything….it can only scare you. However, YOU have the power to ignore it and do what you want anyway. YOU are bigger than your anxiety. This has never been more obvious to me than right now after what happened with me today.

    One other thing….all those “what ifs” truly DO NOT MATTER! Yes, they are annoying. But as Nolan has so eloquently stated on here previously, turn them into “so whats” and move on. Acknowledge the thought when it pops into your head… but don’t feel bad about having it and don’t engage with it. It WILL go away on its own. And what does it matter after all that you had the thought? It is nothing more than a thought. I have 1000’s everyday. So what. Next. That is the attitude I have adopted.

    Finally, I have a comment for any folks out there suffering from a similar situation as myself (i.e. work/public speaking related anxiety)…and it is this: just face the fear. You cant find out how you will do without facing it. You can play all the scenarios around in your head before hand..(what if I cant talk when I get out there…what if I slur my words or stutter…what if I seem really nervous)….and none of that matters at all. Not one iota. You cannot predict or control the future…so worrying CANNOT help you. It can and does only hurt you by making you doubt yourself. So, if you are in a situation like I was (i.e. where you find out you are going to be presenting at a future day/time), try to remember that worrying and anticipatory anxiety will only cause you harm. Prepare yourself as best you can and then change your focus. Do NOT dwell on worrying about the upcoming event (sometimes I know this is easier said than done…I am still working hard on this part) and then DO IT! Face the fear and walk right through it. IT WILL MELT and all those “what ifs” will not happen. That is only your anxiety trying to protect you from a fear that YOU gave it as real. Now, take back the fear and tell it you are not afraid. I know it can be done because I just did it a little more than an hour ago. I hope this post helps someone else….

  311. rachh Says:

    Kyle dont listen to guilt its a croc of sh*t mind bluff.. u do what u want when u feel. If it feels right to sit outside at night in the peace havin a fag or sittin with your mates havin a fag so be it. I wouldn’t use it as a coping mechanism tho. That’s the difference x

  312. Kyle Says:


    No offense taken! I just wanted to hear your opinion on my approach. Its more of a I know anxiety cant hurt me and all this fighting and worrying wont make it go away and ill never find some magic pill/saying/ or anything that will make it go away so i might as well live my life and do what i want when i want and just know that I can live along side all these what-iffs. I guess I just get a bit siked up when all of a sudden during the day I feel like my old happy self and im like “BOOM anxiety what you gunna do now”!

  313. Matt Says:

    Does anyone have any encouraging stories on harm intrusive thoughts? Today was the first day I had any success in actually feeling more at peace with those thoughts, even though I still try to fight them. I feel like I’m fighting the fighting sometimes, but other times I get it in my head that it’s okay.

    I feel like the success stories on these type of thoughts are a little sparse, and I my anxiety is just trying to tell me that they can’t be corrected, even though there’s not really a point in not trying. I think just having these day in day out is the thing that keeps me in the cycle and keeps me having anxiety a lot of days. Thanks!

  314. Trevor Says:

    I am 61 and retired. I have been suffering with anxiety for two years. My passion was playing golf 3/4 times a week and enjoying watching sport on TV.. I only play golf once a week now as it’s so uncomfortable on my body.I am playing so badly that I find it stressful as I am so competitive. Should I give golf a rest for say a month?

    I don’t really want to find other distractions to refresh my mind even though I have been swimming, cycling,walking,gardening and volunteer work.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  315. Tony Says:

    Hi all i was in a setback for about 3 days after a couple of weeks feeling ok . Now again my new good habits are taking place and continue my road. What I learn is that exposure exposure exposure is the best teacher that you will Learn you don’t have to fear the fear. Another thing I believe is that this works like a goal keeper lets say , so let’s say anxiety is the goal and you are the goalkeeper and ofcourse you don’t want the anxiety, so if you run away because you are afraid of the goal(anxiety,bad thoughts,etc….) the only thing that is happening is goal. So as goal keeper you have to do your job to sit there and block the ball that’s simple. The stronger the anxiety the more practice you need to became a good goal keeper to block the ball, exposure, doing those things you want to do is your training , so the more you are trained the better goalkeeper you will become, because in life will come events with anxiety to everybody happens , you need allesys to be trained and in good physical condition to block the ball ;). My parents also have anxiety so it’s some kind in my DNA, so in order for me to leave normal I need to keep myself allways trained even if I don’t have anxiety ( the football match has end lets say but I need training for the next match) so doing things I like to do and don’t listen to my fears is my best training to allways be prepared . This is what I believe

  316. rachh Says:

    Hi matt i had a disturbing thought the other day.. I had just woken up and ive got a dog. I walked into the bathroom to use the loo and as i take the dog for a walk every morning he follows me everywhere until we go so he followed me into the toilet and was sat looking at me. Well before I knew it a beastiality thought. I wont go into detail popped into my head and i was frozen with this stream of thoughts going round, completely debilitating i didnt know what the hell to do. Even though I’m doing really well with recovery now it took me all morning to convince myself that it was just a thought and that I wasn’t going mad.
    It just proves even 2 years down the line of knowing so much about my mind and the workings of it that they can still come and are still as convincing so anyone anytime anywhere can recover. When you’ve got the knowledge put it into practice thats it.

  317. Yolanda M. Says:

    Dear Paul,
    I understand that you’ll probably won’t answer my message. I had my first panic attack about a year and a half ago. I have 2 girls, they are 3 and 6 yrs old. our marrige had been struggling for quite sometime because, among other things, my husband was workaholic and I had to take care of my kids all by myself plus he always pressure me to keep things perfect at work. We own a company, I administrate it, so between the work, home and the kids, and without his help I was very unhappy. I actually was at the point where I was about to leave my husband and just take care of the girls for they are what I love the most. But one common day,I was simply taking a bath after a hard day at home, late at night and I felt this terrible feeling and thought that I could actually harm my girls that I freak out! That was the first episodes of a cascade that cane afterwards. Now I understand what happenned, but back them I try this first psycologist who was very young and wanted me to get hospitilized to start treatment. You can imagine how much worse i got!!! I was so freaking out!! I could not even drive by myself. I tried a different doctor, she was a lot better and I started to get better, but it hit me when this one told me “You will get better, but you’ll probably will have to deal with this for the rest of your life” And that was awful! I starte to look for info of people who was like me and came out the other door and is panic and anxiety free. I found a guy from Spain, he had a program in spanish and was incredibly helpful. But still, I needed something more. Then I found you, and your explanations are incredible, really helpful because now I know what not to do. However, what scared me the forst time is the only thought that I don’t seem to lose the fear of, of course is about my precious girls and what mother wouldn’t feel bad and sad for having such thoughts. I know they are the product of my anxiety but I don’t know how to stop fearing them. I wish I could have someone like you to support me through this, for I know I have be strong and patience for whatever time it might take for all this to go away. Sometimes is sooo good to actually hear someone or see someone like you to gain strength one need to go through this.
    I wish you could help.



  318. Will Says:

    Hi everyone, I’m currently in a rut involving health anxiety. I’ve always been a hypochondriac — some days I almost convince myself that I’m dying or have cancer or something, other days I’ll obsess over every little cramp, pain and spasm. I’ve been doing really well anxiety-wise, but that’s probably because I’ve instead decided to focus on physical symptoms of what might be caused by anxiety. Right now it’s a bizarre discomfort in my lower-left abdomen, almost as if the muscles there are sprained or bruised, or sometimes throbbing, or sometimes accompanied with a slight “bloated” feeling. For the past couple of weeks it’s been feeling as though my abdominal muscles are under constant strain, and I often find myself subconsciously tensing them, but there may be other reasons as to why they tense up though. But to be honest I think it may just have been a little bit of tension that I’ve zeroed in on and magnified tenfold — I can’t stop prodding and checking for anomalies and I reckon that’s just making the muscles feel more bruised.
    I’ve read up on Jim Folk’s site about anxiety symptoms that persistent muscle tension is a common symptom, but I just can’t relax about it. In my mind it’s either cancer or a hernia, and I just can’t convince myself otherwise. I’ve arranged a doctor’s appointment but it’s in over a month’s time and I can’t stand the wait — my parents are also dismissive over any of my health worries (can’t say I blame them after all this time really), which doesn’t really help my anxiety much. Does anyone else get similar symptoms as a result of anxiety? Or does anyone else struggle with health worries?

  319. Val Says:

    Does anyone know of a therapist in the USA who practices the philosophy of Paul’s book? My sister is willing to try but feels like she needs some hand holding along the way, someone to coach her and encourage her as she attempts to adopt this strategy. The therapists she has seen are completely oblivious to this type of approach. Any referrals to therapists knowledgeable of Paul’s approach would be greatly appreciated, specifically for Northern California area.

  320. eliza Says:

    Will, if you’re really that concerned about abdominal discomfort and what it might be you can always go to emergency to get it checked out, a month is a long wait for a doctors appointment anyway. Health anxiety can be a real bummer but any new symptoms should be checked out because until you do you’re going to be uptight and concentrate on them making them and your anxiety worse.

    That said, if all systems are working as normal, no other signs beyond muscle tension, that’s probably all it is.

  321. Will Says:

    Eliza — Thanks, I’ll have to get in touch again. I’ve already been to the doctors three times already this year about “health scares” (which have often miraculously disappeared upon a doctor’s visit), only for some new symptom to surface and make me want to get checked out again.

    Well there’s been the odd time I’ve felt a little queasy, but it always comes up as gas. And I’ve just come back from a two-week holiday last Sunday, so I’m currently in that one week of feeling out-of-sorts and getting readjusted to being back here. But no… other than what are unmistakably anxiety-caused symptoms, I think that’s it.

  322. Kevin Says:


    I used to be just like you. I obssessed over every physical symptom. I had a headache that didnt go away for two weeks and i thought it was a tumor. I felt slight discomfort in my abdomen and thought it was stomach cancer and appendicitis. Once i had a weird chest pain (which ended up being acid reflux) and i freaked out that something was wrong with my heart and had a huge panic attack. After multiple doctors appointments and reassurance that my health was perfect, i began to stop obsessing and realized that all these symptoms are from anxiety and anxiety only. Now i dont pay them any mind and they go away after a few minutes. Obsessing over them makes things worse

  323. Will Says:

    Kevin — Thanks for the reply. Yeah health anxiety really is a pain, especially being somebody who has more or less never had a serious physical abnormality — I never know what’s normal or not, and so I always jump to the conclusion that it’s not. Right now it literally feels like my lower abdominal muscles are strained or bloated, and as I said before I can’t stop checking for abnormalities that, to my knowledge, don’t exist. Which is probably making it feel worse.
    Lol I can relate. I’ve had (and still have) worries of heart attacks, strokes, appendicitis, brain tumours, certain cancers, etc. The majority of these, if they were real, I reckon wouldn’t give you the time to obsess over whether or not they’re happening.

  324. Allie Says:

    I have a question. How come when you have anxiety it is so difficult to make big decisions? Or even small ones sometimes? There is this one thing where I can’t decide what to do and it’s giving me anxiety over it. It’s been happening for months. What on earth should I do?

  325. Tony Says:

    Hi will, you have 2 choices here the one choice is to believe that you have all those illness and the other one that you don’t have these illness . Whatever choice you make you will find the truth anyway. So if you say to yourself that indeed you have all those illness what will happen. What will happen is that you will feel free from all these warring because you already have these illness and you don’t need the worry anymore( in reality you fear the worry and not the illness itself) , after these you will find this worry worthless because in reality you don’t fear this illness. From the other hand if you don’t believe them because you already know your self iatelling lies to you then that’s fine even better. So you need to make choice and believe it , by trying to find out if you are or not sick you will never learn the truth you will alway be slave of you fear mind.

  326. Tony Says:

    Hi Allie , whatever decision you make has nothing to do to how you feel . So it doesn’t matter whatever decision you make it’s not life threatening to you . So you just make one that’s all.

  327. Asia Says:

    First time poster here— I’ve had anxiety for a minute now, nothing that’s been officially diagnosed doctor. But I have a lot symptoms and my mother knows that I have a lot of fears. I’m hoping to see somebody and get some sort of talk therapy soon. I’ve always been a worrier even as a kid, granted I stressed over the silliest stuff back then. I’m at the point where I’m just so sick and tired of being scared all the time.
    I’m only 23 but feel lost and stuck in this never ending pit of fears. I can’t even remember the last time I had some real fun nor can I remember a day where I wasn’t stuck in head. Anyway, I’ve dealt with all different types of intrusive thoughts that had me questioning things about myself and made me feel like I was going crazy. But for the past couple of months or so I had gotten to point where I accepted them and for the most part they didn’t bother me anymore. But this past week my brain took on a new obsession. I’m used to worrying about my loved ones but these past couple of days I’ve been kind of obsessing over dying whether it be by illness or some accident.It’s so irritating because two weeks ago this was the furthest thing from my mind. And now I’m back worrying again and even getting freaked out over existence in general. It sucks so much. I don’t want to be stuck with these thoughts but I don’t know how to accept them either. They’re bothering me more than my old intrusive thoughts and I hated those. I feel like I’m in a terrible game of which scary thought would you rather have.
    Anyway the other night was kind of bad I think almost had my first panic attack, part of my scalp had being tingling for most part of the day and that just really freaked me out. I watch something on my computer and my heart started racing and I felt twitchy and all of sorts. I couldn’t concentrate on the show I was watching and I had the hardest time sitting still. I was afraid I was dying but a just dance session kind of put a stop to it.
    It was still kind of touch and go though. When I sat down I kept feeling like I was forgetting how to breathe but luckily that didn’t last long. I just don’t know what to do anymore my mother truly is the best. She’s so understanding and keeps encouraging me to live my life and make plans for the future. I confide in her for the most part, she’s only one beside my grandmother who really knows just how bad it is. I don’t really confide in anyone else not since my older sister made a comment about how she didn’t what I’d do if something happened to our mother. I think I was eighteen then and that was before I even had anxiety. I just really want to live instead of just existing. Fear is so exhausting.

  328. Susan Says:

    Can I ask about exhaustion. I am tired to the core, not got the energy to barely move, never mind function enough to look after the children. This in turn makes me feel like I seriously can’t cope. Is that normal for anxiety. Do I give in to the exhaustion and rest or just carry on. This follows many bad sleeps and very tiring summer holidays.

  329. Tony Says:

    Hi Susan I don’t know exactly what you are doing and you feel tired . What i suppose is because you do what you do with stress and you try to control everything. If is possible for you I would advice to accept that you can’t control everything and you can’t change everything. Do what you do without expectations because this way you will do it better and without getting tired so easy. AlsO It is ok to get some rest and relax at some point of time, also try to find some time to do things you like. Of course keep in mind that every change you make tou your life need time , maybe months , maybe years , the more you do it the more it becomes an automation . Also even those that Paul says don’t try to do them perfect , you will get tired. So continue your road , I wish good luck .

  330. Nearly recovered Rach Says:

    Would you mind reposting this as it took a long time to be checked and was lost in the traffic. I just hope it can help.

    I would just like to say a big thank you to Nolan as he has helped me with my recovery and confirmed to me that what I have been doing (or not doing) is the right way. I have been through lots of the different manifestations of anxiety – the worst being sleep and have used Paul’s book, posts from people like Candie and Scarlet and Will Beswick’s book along with some of Richard Carlson’s writings. It sounds like a lot writing it down but they all have the same message. You cannot stop these thoughts and feelings from coming – they are scary and involuntary but you can stop them getting worse by taking a ‘whatever’ attitude. This acceptance comes in waves and layers and I have had to learn patience as my body has caught up with my mind. I realised I got the method if you can call it that but my body was still full of adrenalin and I had to allow time for that to recede.
    I feel my recovery has been like the ebb and flow of the tide (some call it layers). The bad feelings and fears would come – I would dig in (and in the early days, try to find a fix) and then they would go and I would feel immense clarity and believe I had cracked it. The tide would then come back and the doubts would resurface but this time (looking back) they would not be quite as severe or as long-lasting. Sometimes, I would have a horrible resurgence of symptoms and then have some wonderful worry free days.
    Recently I had been doing brilliantly but had another bad night and I came back to the blog and found Nolan’s post. This is all that I needed to reassure that what was happening was ok and would go again. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Now? I am going through a doubting day but I have a bad cold and am low with that. Although I am having a rush (wave) of negative thoughts and feelings which throw out doubts, I know I am ok and it will pass. It is unpleasant but it will pass.

    Please, please take on what Paul has said and dig in. You will not feel better immediately but you will feel better. I found that a huge turning point was when I read Candie talking about being the best mother she could be no matter how she felt. I did this too and started to feel better in waves straight away. I have the confidence to disregard the negative thoughts as I read up on what the mind is doing and this is a big need for those of us who suffer with anxiety as we are intelligent perfectionists. Will Beswick and Richard Carlson were brilliant for this.

    I am nearly there as there have been some very kind people who have posted about their experiences. The nature of anxiety gives us a need for reassurance and this is what this blog has given me.

    I really hope this helps someone else.


  331. Matt Says:

    Hey Rach,

    That’s fantastic! I’ve seen some of your posts, and it’s really encouraging to see someone doing better, especially one of the people I have seen posting regularly since I’ve started this site.

    I’ve started to see ebb and flow of feelings, though my intrusive thoughts keep hamstringing me a bit. I have noticed more acceptance as of late, which is really encouraging.

    Did you have acceptance from the start of recovery, like Paul, or did you kind of learn it along the way? I feel like I’ve just been learning it along the way…

  332. Nearly recovered Rach Says:

    Thank you Matt,
    Different Rach I am afraid as this is my first post on here. My story is very similar to lots of people though and the journey is the same (if you follow Paul).

    I can’t quite believe I am at this stage given how bleak I felt only 8-9 months ago. I do know now that this is a lifelong journey (there are ups and downs in life that throw you curve balls) and that is why people say you start not to care if you have a setback or even if you recover completely. I’m not saying I like setbacks but they just don’t seem to matter any more. The horrible doubting thoughts are recognisable and scary if I engage with them (and sometimes I still do) but they come and go on their own.

    Nolan’s posts are spot on in how to accept. I feel that I have learnt to accept as time has moved on and that there are different levels of acceptance that see you through each stage. Every time I have an (to quote Paul) aha moment I reach a higher level of acceptance and understanding. That is why the topic of anxiety doesn’t affect me in a negative way any more. I have negative days and anxious days but they are just part of the normal run of life (I have to remind myself of this of course).

    I won’t be posting much on here as part of recovery is leaving the subject for a while but wanted to post part of my journey as this blog has helped me so much. The more success, stories that are on here, the more it can give others the boost needed to continue on that journey.

    Take care


  333. Sam Says:

    Hiya guys I have a big problem please read
    I’ve just got a part time job 15 hours a week alongside 3 A levels at college. But they are saying training will be 37.5 hours a week for 2 weeks just before I go back to college. I am worried that with the fatigue I get along with anxiety I won’t be able to cope with that much at this moment in time and don’t want to crash just before I go back to college..
    What should I do? Some say I should just bite the bullet, some say I should just say I have “other commitments” so can only do my contracted hours and some say I should just come clean about my ME and anxiety background saying I don’t want a relapse. Any help would be greatly appreciated cheers :) Sam

  334. Nearly recovered Rach Says:

    Hi Sam,

    Just ask yourself ‘what would I do if I didn’t have anxiety?’ You may feel rough but don’t let anxiety make your decisions for you.

    Easy to say I know.


  335. Karen Says:

    Hi Rach, it is the sleep anxiety that drags me into setback every time. I have learned acceptance of many anxiety symptoms but this one eludes me. I will have a couple of good weeks, something will disrupt my sleep for a night then that’s me in setback for a few weeks …… dragging on and on this time, trying to let time pass though. I really wish someone could magic wand this one. So glad you are doing so well. Very inspiring. X

  336. Nolan Says:

    Thank you so much, Rach. That’s incredibly thoughtful of you!!
    It was from the help of others that aided me in getting to this point too.
    Paul’s work and posts from Dominic.

    As Rach said…. those scary, doubtful thoughts will be there regardless. Those symptoms will linger for a bit regardless. So…. let them be there as long as they want to and move on with your life.

    Paul mentioned he has a phrase that he used to help center himself, to remind himself that this was okay. It wasn’t used as a mantra to drown out the scary, doubtful thoughts and symptoms…. or to chase them. Because I think all of us know, it doesn’t work that way. Like thinking if you blow as hard as you can at storm clouds you’ll aid in that storm passing over more quickly.

    I have a phrase too, a little thing I remind myself with when times got dark…”So what” (Thanks Dominic).

    Sleep was my biggest issue. Terrible fears and doubts over it. I couldn’t even nap during the day. I would close my eyes and my entire brain would go on high-alert, almost like it was anticipating and hunting for sleep (we all know no one sleeps that way). I lost over 40lbs in a 3 week period of time when it first started.
    I would go from moments of intense fear to intense rage (literally hitting myself out of frustration). I’d fall asleep for about 2 hours and then wake up in a pool of sweat. My life began to revolve around sleep.

    Just let it be whatever it is, Karen.
    If you struggle to fall asleep, to fall back to sleep, or if you wake up early and your mind feels like it’s on high alert…… So flippin’ What.
    If those thoughts start drowning out your mind during the day, let it…. but change the attitude to “so what”.

  337. Danni c Says:

    Hi Karen I had the sleep anxiety for about 2 months and I was not sleeping for like three days straight In a week it’s horrible you don’t realise how precious sleep is till you can’t sleep what I did was not put pressure on myself to sleep but we all know eventually you will sleep it will get worse before it gets better at first putting the pressure off and accepting you can’t sleep and not letting it get to you you will have sleepless nights and nights of only few hours and then eventually it will get better, I don’t have any problems sleeping now and it was the scariest and most horrible thing I cried, screamed and spoke about it and thought about it all the time, in the day I’d worry about if I’d sleep at night then be scared if I didn’t sleep, but one day I stopped caring and said to myself “if I sleep I sleep great if not then fine too I will eventually sleep so what” learn to relax in the day and first learn to relax before learning to sleep because they both come hand in hand, stop trying things to make you sleep you don’t have to sleep is natural and it’s nothing to stress over, if you want any more info can message you if you want x

  338. Danni c Says:

    I’m learning to accept all of anxiety symptoms and I had a lot over the last two years- sleep,dizziness, panic attacks, anxiety and mild depression
    depersonilation etc. but what I’m finding hard to accept is derealisation feeling everything’s a dream and nothings real, I’m accepting it as hard as i can but still find it really scary had it after my sleep anxiety and quitting my job and break up and moving country, I’ve had it for about a month and it’s constant, I’m trying to have hope and faith but it’s so difficult, is there anyone that’s been through this could enlighten me and how to cope and manage with it, I think I made it worse with the constant looking it up on the Internet and letting it scare me and fearing it but how do you not, I really need someone’s help please, I thought I was close to recovering but this has set me back, it’s just this derealisation once I get over this hurdle I know I’ll be on a road to recovery and fine, I’m living my life now regardless of the derealisation but it doesn’t seem to shift could anyone please reply to this need someone’s advice and guidance thank you x

  339. Danni c Says:

    Plus can’t talk to anyone about it because they will think I’m crazy, and Even Paul hasn’t had it so I am freaking out a bit x

  340. Nolan Says:

    Ha! Danni c, you and are almost the opposite in how we reacted to the symptoms.
    I had (still at times have) both of those symptoms: sleep fears/doubts and derealization.

    I over came the derealization so much quicker than I overcame the sleep issues.

    They both bothered me, but the sleep issues bothered me more profoundly.

    So this should be reassuring to you, me, or anyone.
    The symptom that lingers the longest for us is the one that we still cling to. It’s the one that we try to make the most sense of, right?
    “oh no, something must be really wrong with me because of this one lingering thing.”

    It’s still anxiety’s bluff. Just let it be, “so what”.

  341. Danni c Says:

    I laughed at that, we are going in different cycles i found sleep pretty easy to come out of even though at the time I really struggled but I’ve only got derealisation and I know I’m coming close to becoming a lot better, I sleep all night I laugh and cry now I have emotions and feelings which when you don’t for so long is amazing, I have questions and scary thoughts sometimes but I know it’s anxiety and it just nonsense like a bully the more you ignore and don’t engage eventually they will go away, I’ve come such a long way but this derealisation feel like a dream is still lingering even when im not questioning it and accept it and going out doing things no self pity, so it’s frustrating that it still here is there anything you did that eased it or ways you coped I know you have to wait till your body and mind balance but it’s been a month x

  342. Danni c Says:

    And one question did you find it scared you looking round your environment kind of thing?

  343. Emma Says:

    Hi everyone, I haven’t been on the blog for a while. I’ve been away on vacation with my family. My anxiety has gotten SO much better — I’m finally on the road to recovery again. I had anxiety 2 years ago and by last fall I was almost recovered (about 95%), but then in January experienced a major, major set back w relationship anxiety, feelings of sadness and just a general feeling of “greyness” all the time. I was SURE I would never recover again. My anxiety manifested a lot in self-harm thoughts because I was experiencing a lot of low moods/sadness, I was convinced I would off myself in a moment of weakness. I also had a great fear of depression itself, I was terrified my low moods, my sad feelings and flatness — I thought it all meant I was developing depression and that it would lead to even more severe depression and ultimately the “s-word.” If you read my old posts, there were times I STRONGLY contemplated anti-depressants because the “greyness” and feeling of emptiness scared the daylights out of me.

    I also had a general feeling of unease, I just never felt like myself, I would go for walks around my neighborhood and feel so “not myself,” I would cry because I felt flat all the time, lost interest in the things I loved, had this feeling like life had lost its purpose. It was really awful. I had similar symptoms as Matt, Jenny and Karen.
    I used to check the blog all day and spent loads of time reading through older posts and older comments for people who experienced similar symptoms. I must say, seeing that these people eventually felt better was very encouraging. The blog is wonderful for that.

    In the thick of suffering it’s so hard to imagine ever feeling better, I would project my thoughts to the future and could NOT fathom feeling anything other than anxious, flat, demotivated etc. My intrusive thoughts about life having no meaning, self-harm, etc were relentless. The hardest was when I would sink into the couch whimpering in total and utter anxious despair, it felt like the universe was caving in on itself.

    However, I’m so thankful and blessed to say I feel 85% better. This is what I did:
    First, I stopped fighting. I’ve been reading the blog since January and it took me a while to adopt this. It’s the hardest part about acceptance, what helped me was mindfulness mediation and mindfulness acceptance. I learned that I am NOT my thoughts or my feelings and they are not an indication of some type of truth.

    These are just secretions of the thinking mind. We are the awareness behind thoughts and behind my feelings. When you have an anxious thought, or feel an anxious feeling, recognize it, say “ok there’s that thought/feeling” and rest in your AWARENESS of it. That recognition is what mindfulness. Don’t favour one thought over another, give all thoughts as much importance as what you’re going to make for dinner 3 nights from now. BANALIZE EVERYTHING

    Here’s an example: “Robyn Williams just committed suicide, oh my goodness, I might do that too, my low moods/sad feelings might turn into depression and I might off myself” — this thought has an emotional charge, now I feel uneasy, another thought occurs, more bad feelings surface, so on & so forth. What do you do? You bring yourself back to the frame of the present moment and you don’t let yourself get carried downstream in the flow of your anxious thinking. You say hello to that thought, you recognize that the thought emerged and you let it disappear back into the water like bubbles rising in a pot. How do you let it disappear? By banalizing it, “hello thought… back to watching my show now” and you bring yourself back to the present moment WHILST feeling totally uncomfortable, scared, sad, whatever.
    You must be with your thoughts/feelings as they are and not try to strive to feel any other way. It’s very difficult but with practice it starts to click.

    When I would get caught up in my anxiety thoughts and feelings, I would bring myself back to the frame of the present moment by resting in awareness of sounds, of sights, of smells of conversations, shifting my focus. This can be practice REALLY effectively through mindfulness meditation.

    I still have a ways to go but I have cut through the most of my anxiety. I still have thoughts and feelings but the difference is that they no longer produce the anxious response, they may arise but the anxious response doesn’t. That’s recovery! I hope to continue to make progress, even if a setback occurs, I will remember that anxiety ALWAYS shifts. Just keep practicing acceptance until something shifts because it will.

    E xoxo

  344. Emma Says:

    Ps. I also had a lot of depersonalization as well, sometimes really strong, I’d look in the mirror and not recognize myself. Accept that too, embrace it even, treat anxiety as a needy friend that wants company, let it hang out with you for a while until it tires itself and decides to leave. I promise you that it will. xx

  345. Kevin Says:


    I just wanted to say that your post exactly reflects what I and im sure a lot of people here have/are feeling. I am starting to accept thoughts a lot more. Before, I would obsess over them all day and night. Now its gotten a lot better when I tell myself that it is just anxiety talking. Also, I had that thought about Robin Williams(very sad by the way) and you hit it right on the head on what to do when that thought came up. You seem to understand anxiety and Paul’s message greatly which is what I am slowly but surely doing. I know that you will be 100% recovered soon and not just 85%!

    Danni C,

    Derealization and depersonalization can be very scary at first. I know that when I first got it I googled all day on how to fix it, hoping that I wasnt going mad. Well after seeing the forums on dp (depersonalization) and anxiety and seeing how depressing it was, I stopped googling. I found out that it was just an overactive mind and its way of protecting you. I found a video on youtube where the guy explained the feeling and how it went away once he reminded himself that it was just his mind protecting itself from all the stress. It really is harmless, though can be disturbing. From my experience, I remember analyzing what the world looked like to me all the time and I kept thinking, “Why? Why me?” After a while I stopped feeling sorry for myself and realized that it was just anxiety and that my mind had to rest. As for everything feeling like a dream, I remember once I was watching a movie and I saw food on the movie and thought I could smell it. In my head I thought, “What thats impossible I cant smell that food its in a movie…Oh no I must be dreaming!” I panicked and could not sleep for hours. I woke up with the thought still in my head but eventually like all the other thoughts, it left. Now, I still have derealization but since I know what it is and why its here I am not afraid of it. It even goes away when Im focused on something or working. When it gets really bad and Im anxious, I just let it be. Trust me you will get used to it. Don’t let it scare you, there is nothing to be afraid of. Try to laugh at it. Your mind is like your mother sayin, “Oh no you look so tired heres a blanket and a cup of tea!” But you hate tea and dont want any of that. Lol I know thats a weird analogy but it made me laugh at it. You will learn not to give it a second thought. Dont worry :)

  346. Matt Says:

    Thanks for the post, Emma!

    I’ve been on a road trip and have been having intrusive thoughts a lot while driving. For example, every time I see the highway is higher than the land next to it, I start to think “what if I drove off of this, what if I lose it, or what if I just get sick of this anxiety and try to end it all”. Or I’ll see something that I could accidentally run into, and the same process happens, until I feel so confused about why I’m thinking this and wonder if this is really who I am. It’s super frustrating. It’s even more frustrating because I went into this road trip with such a good perspective, and I knew that these would happen.

    I think the reason why I’m feeling down/frustrated if because I keep having them, and they weren’t bothering me for a while, which I felt should mean that I would stop having them and would be able to focus on something else. However, I kept feeling deeply unsettled inside after each one, to the point where by the end of the day I just feel exhausted. I didn’t know if “accepting” meant just having them and allowing my mind to analyze or to try to force myself to do mindfulness and to get interested in other things, even if I didn’t necessarily feel like talking/paying attention to it.

    This has been by far the hardest challenge for me with anxiety. I know acceptance is the right way, but after a thought, it’s so darn hard to focus on something else. Even if I do, my mind keeps on trying to go right back to thinking about the thought I had.

    The other thing that I read that I can’t get over is that I’ve seen a few websites say that these thoughts don’t go away, but other people do say they go away. My negative side wants to tell me that this is what I’ll now always have to deal with (which I think is just anxiety talking).

    Anyway, all told, I think I’m making progress anyway, since initially I was very accepting of all these thoughts, and didn’t feel down at all after having them. Today has been rougher, mostly because they still haven’t lessened, even with increased acceptance (though I haven’t been trying to mindfully switch topics).

    I guess my next strategy is to practice more mindfulness and meditation and get myself to think about other topics after having one.

    Your words have been very encouraging in times where I feel super scared, Emma.Thanks so much!

  347. Karen Says:

    Danni, that would be great. Are you on Pauls facebook page. Can I find you there?

  348. Jackie Says:

    My anxiety is getting a lot better since being on zoloft. My husband and I have decided for a divorce and I find myself feeling panic every morning. I have been just accepting and moving past it and it does go away and the rest of my day is fine but I’m wondering when it will stop. It happens every single morning before I even get out of bed.

  349. Danni c Says:

    Thanks Kevin it has definitely been the scariest form of anxiety but I suppose worrying and stressing and a lot been going on in the last few months and sleep deprived I’m not surprised my mind and body needs a rest, just hard to accept it at first and as I’m out of work I keep googling and looking at different things, I’m going to let it be there and not search anymore just read Paul’s book, my horrible thoughts have gone as I didn’t engage in them and let them be there and they went in two/three days very quickly and I didn’t do anything but now I don’t think anything all day like my mind is blank but my body still feels nervous is that normal?, do you feel like you forgot what reality is like before derealisation?, and I still feel the what if I never get better because of this derealisation, it was after I was questioning life in my head and now its lime the world scares me but I will accept everything and let iit be there

  350. Danni c Says:

    No but my fb is danni carter can pm me on there :)

  351. Jake Says:

    Good stuff Emma.
    Do you find relationship anxiety hard to shake?? I’m at the so what stage but feel nothing as I’m only a couple of months into it. It’s horrible feeling like this but I know it’s part of the journey

  352. Bryan Says:


    Excellent post and congrats!

    One quick question for those who may be new to mindfulness…

    How would you say you differentiated this thought movement (from anxiety to present) from fighting?

    Some people may interpret what you described as fighting. (I know it’s not). But how would you explain the difference?

  353. Lui Says:

    Hi guys,

    I now start facing my fears again and I am on a point now where thoughts like : I lose all my friends if I start showin my real self turn into lots of whatevers. I don’t seem to care as much anymore and that’s quiet a relief. Also in the past I always argued with my anxious thoughts but now I know that anxiety ALWAYS wins this mental battle,so there is no reason to start the argument.
    Its still so hard for me to face and I find myself escaping from my current state constantly but at least I am trying now to feel everything and go with it!

  354. Asia Says:

    Newbie here, I posted for the first time a few days ago and I think it’s just now showing up. I’m having a lot of intrusive thoughts about dying and it’s been really hard to shake off and ignore. In some ways they seem worse than all other horrible intrusive thoughts I had.

  355. Dex Says:


    Don’t fight it, I’ve had them before. Just let them run its course and just realize it is just anxiety playing its tricks.

  356. Karen Says:

    Danni, there are a few of you. I think I have pm’d you but if not you may need to give me a bit more info? X

  357. Danni c Says:

    My profile pic is I’m in a black dress in bathroom and got longish brown hair hopefully can find me aha x haven’t got a pm yet the name quite common so may be a few I’d imagine x

  358. TWiggins Says:

    Hi all,

    I have alot of symptoms. My sleep hasn’t been the great but that symptom didn’t bother me all that much, well, it bothered me but not as much as the other symptoms.

    When I was reading about anxiety symptoms a few months back I came across an article that said something like people with sleep issues may have an area of their brain that was broken.

    At the time reading that didn’t bother me, I didn’t even give it a second though.
    But a few nights ago I woke up from sleep and that thought just popped into my head “what if you have a broken area of your brain and you can’t sleep anymore?” And it scared me like mad. I tried to tell myself, “it’s okay if you can’t get back to sleep, but it has nothing to do with a broken area of your brain.” Well, I wasn’t able to get back to sleep and now I think I have this new issue.

    But it’s worse then that. Because then I start thinking “Hmmmm, you know, even though sleep wasn’t really my big issue I still struggled to fall asleep like I used to”.

    I was doing so good and now it seems to be spiraling out of control with this new concern/fear.

    Is this just a set back? It seems so real though.

  359. Tony Says:

    Hi Nolan
    I have some curiosity about a thing . I would really appreciate if Nolan could answer as seems to be the more ecpirienced here .As I have described in my previous posts I am on recovery road about 3 months and going very well. Ofcourse I have my setbacks. I had anxiety from the age of 12 or 13 years old I don’t remember exactly. I didn’t have full anxiety and depresion but I had many symptoms(panick attacks, very very shy,etc…) . As I was getting older I developed more and more symptoms and I started antidepressant on the age of 22. I am 34 and still taking the pills , last 6 months I lowered the dose. So through all those years(22 years) I found that everything that I have been doing in my life was based on anxiety all my life . So here is the curiosity : the last 3 months I am feeling so great and so life changing that I don’t remember any time in my life beeing like this. I ask this because everyone says that they want to go to old good self , I don’t remember any old good self. It is just so funny I don’t really cares what will be the answer I am just curios where this journey will lead me.

  360. Diane Says:

    Hi all,I have been going through a stressful period a house move, my anxiety and self watching has come back a bit as a result, I am trying to just continue as normal and a crept the feelings. However the worst is the thought patterns I do to keep myself and other rs safe, I find they have escalated, I find my thought patterns are. Taking over a wee bit, does anyone else get these? And have any advice? I am so glad for this blog and Paul’s book, I am going to start to put the method of acceptance into practice,when I think logically I know I am being stupid, it just sometimes logic gets swept away in anxiety and I do these stupid patterns’ any advice appreciated’ thank you

  361. Kevin Says:

    Tony, i am actually in the same boat as you are. I dont remember any good ol self lol. So i would like to hear what Nolan or anyone else has to say about that as well.

  362. Kim Says:

    Emma & Matt,

    I want to thank you both on your recent posts. I have read Paul’s book and visit the blog occasionally as I find it inspiring. I too saw the news on Robyn Williams and feel as thought I’ve hit a wall. Actually everytime I see or hear the s-word it sends me into panic. I think I try to ignore it rather then accept it therefor continue to fear it. I find irrational disturbing thoughts my biggest challenge with anxiety. Both your posts made me feel like I’m not alone with these self-harm irrational thoughts. I tell myself it’s not me but still get sad. I tend to obsess over a thought for a few days before letting go. And like you Matt I’m going to practice mindfulness to change this pattern.


  363. Lui Says:

    Same goes for me Tony. Interested in that as well!

  364. Duncan Says:

    Hi All,

    I hope you are well! I have been a bit of a lurker here but wanted to tell my story as a) i hope my recovery to this point will give a little inspiration and b) I would love a little advice / encouragement in the latter stages of my recovery.

    In early March this year I had a nervous breakdown, I was a British expat living abroad in the US with a stressful job working long hours, no friends around me / social life, my long distance girlfriend broke up me, I turned 30 and then had some bad dental work done leaving me with severe pain and TMJ issues which a different dentist said my never resolve (luckily it did, though only after three months!)

    I tried to fight through it all for about 2.5 months, and saw a psychiatrist, talk therapist, gp, medication (this did not agree with me at all) hypnotherapist, paid for countless online methods and whatnot which brought little to zero in terms of relief.

    When it was at its worst, I had dry retching, constant fearful pit in stomach, lump in throat, trembling, tinnitus, sweating, insomnia including eight days no sleep, no appetite, no libido, chest pains, increased anxiety in panic attacks, no short term memory, inability to concentrate, racing fearful thoughts 24×7, accompanying depression, pins and needles, no energy, racing heartbeat, constant self monitoring and thick depersonalizion. In short it has been no picnic.

    Since I returned to the UK in Early June and took on a different approach, this has all receded greatly. I gave up the fight and got on with things. I have been much more social, read more, got out more to museums, started a French class, exercised etc…. I am now probably at 80%. all that remain are;

    – occasional lump in throat
    – a bit of depersonalization with memory struggles and concentration problems
    – self monitoring
    – scary thoughts ( though less often and less of an effect)
    – much milder depression at the situation

    My physical symptoms are almost non existent and when they come which is hardly ever, I let them be there. This has all come through acceptance, and by living as normal a life as possible. I go back to work shortly, and think this will help as I will be living normally again.

    Now, I know this comes off in layers, but I am an impatient guy and really want the last few things to bugger off and leave me be. The throat I know will go shortly, as will the thoughts if I let them float by and the depression will disappear as the anxiety does. I struggle with the depersonalization most and to accept this, as it is hard to accept not being myself and feeling detached from things. Can anyone, maybe even Paul, help me with a few pointers here. I feel like I am so close I can touch myself, I am just not there yet!

    Much love and encouragement to you all.


  365. Tony Says:

    Hi Diane, my advice would be pretty much the same as answered to anyone else. We cannot controll everything it is impossible we are humans . by trying to controll everything we develop a sick situation where our mind believes that the most impossible posiblility becames a reality . After this our minds try to protect us be putting fear so we can fight this threat. After this you start fearing the fear and go to a sick loop . I know I became tragic but I explain you where all these will lead you if you continue for long time. So keep your self and family safe for only realistic threats and not what your fear minds tells you . The fear in your mind it is not a threat, leave it there to it jobs in case you need it(if a a dog try to bite you, if someone try to punch you only then you will need it a bit). The risk you are putting in to your life by listening my advice is very very low against the benefits that will provide , which are good health , good quality of life, you will achieve your goal easier. So whatever we do in our life the risks will be always there we should compare the risks and the benefits if the benefits are more then we do it. If. A lion is infront of you then the risk is to high against the benefits if you stay there so you should not take the risk and you should run ….. Lol this is what I believe

  366. Diane Says:

    Tony thanks for your advice and support means a lot I shall take it and work with it , take care

  367. Karen Says:

    Ok Danni, I think I have messaged you. It may be under ‘Other’. X

  368. Will Says:

    Hi, just a quick update. In my last post I said that I was suffering a series of bizarre abdominal anomalies for a couple of months, and that I’d get it checked out to put my mind at rest. So I did, and the doctor told me there was absolutely nothing wrong with my abdomen — rather he said there were a few certain nerves that I kept trapping. So in essence I’m relieved that there’s nothing seriously wrong with me (and I’m sure he’d have said something if he thought the nerve-trapping was serious), and I need to stop obsessing over the symptoms now I know this, but it’s proving difficult. I guess I’m still trying to process the info and rewire my brain into leaving it alone… but yeah, I’m glad I went now.

  369. Riri Says:

    Hey everyone,
    Hope everyone is doing great. I have been doing amazing. I feel like I am back to my normal self and even stronger. Anxiety has helped me see the world in a different point of view. I now appreciate every moment of my day and appreciate life more now in general. I also feel that now that I have gone through anxiety and come out the other side, I am a much stronger patient person. I can handle things much better now and not much can really bother me. I feel great in general. I feel I have recovered. Just one thing that I feel a little bit stumped on. I truly feel that I have overcome anxiety and “Ocd”. I no longer have apnymore more symptoms and the crazy thoughts don’t bother me one bit. I can care less about them…Even healthy people have thoughts llie this sometimes.
    But what gets to me is why it is said anxiety and anxiety disorders canot be cured of overcome. When time and time again do many people have overcome anxiety. It is said that 1 out of 3 people suffer with anxiety or depression at least once in their life. But many many overcome it
    I guess that is what scares people with anxiety even more. I remember when my anxiety was my worst. It was really really bad. I had all the symptoms all at once. I remember going good to a psychiatrist and him telling it is not curable and I would have to live with it forever. Imagine what ran through my head. Living through hell all day everyday.
    But once a accepted have anxiety. They all went away. It has been 1 year since my severe anxiety. And now I don’t have any symptoms at all and even if I ever felt it ever again. I can care less
    I guess what I am trying to say ill bothers me that I be labeled with anxiety or Ocd my whole life when I don’t even struggle with any of it anymore . It just makes me feel like I really do have a mental illness. I used to struggle with anxiety. But I no longer do I don’t really consider it a part of my life anymore. Don’t get me wrong I sometimes get anxious in stressful situation. But just like any other person in this world would. Every one has anxiety. It is part of the body so why does it bother me so much when it is said that anxiety canot me cured. Look it me I feel cured or in my case recovered. I hate being labeled.
    I hope someone knows what I am talking about. I know this sounds a bit confusing. So I hope it makes sense to someone. And if anyone has gone through this any advice. Thank you all. This site has really helped me soo much. And to all out there still struggling push through you could do it. Trust in yourself. I never thought I would get better. And here I am better than I ever was. This site truly is a life saver.

  370. Karen Says:

    Riri, that is amazing. Well done you. So many people who have been on the blog as long as me seem to be recovering. It is inspiring. I guess I am also feeling frustrated that I seem to be finding it so hard and still in the depths of it. Why can’t I make it click, I know all the theory. I shall keep practising acceptance. Thanks to all who continue to support. X

  371. Bryan Says:

    Riri! Awesome.

    Paul – thanks for all you do. Keepit up please!

  372. George Says:

    Dear Paul and community,

    Just read your book. It gelled with how I respond in many cases to the vicious cycle. I am 49 and have suffered a cycle of chronic and acute anxiety/ obsessional thoughts since childhood therefore I have been in the cycle for at least 45 years. Perhaps I was born with it for some reason? Has anyone recovered using Paul’s approach who never did have an ‘Old self’ in the first place? Also my main symptom is a tingling, butterfly, panicky feeling in my brain. Is this just adrenalin too or some other imbalance in brain chemistry like seratonin? Final point is that if it is OCD or depression that is feeding my anxiety rather than the other way round, is this still the best approach to use (I have tried CBT but just made things worse. I have been on various anti-depressants for nearly 30 years too. Would love to be one of Paul’s success stories but anxious that I may be tackling the wrong issue by doing it – is your advice Paul equally the way you would tackle Obsessional thinking or depression? Thanks folks.

  373. rachh Says:

    The thing ive noticed through recovery is that i know myself better. When my nerves flare my thoughts are all over the place where as when I’m calm i can engage in whats going on around me. Funny how adrenaline affects you.

  374. Colin Says:

    Dear All

    This is my 1st post onto this blog. Been reading for a while. I have had anxiety on and off for ~ 7-8 years (perhaps longer). I have had maybe 3 major bouts in the past 5 years, and am in one now and have been ~5 months. I think I understand (and try to implement) acceptance of all the physical feelings, but struggle much more with negative thoughts.

    We now live in the UK and have done for 1 year after living in Sweden a long time. My other periods of anxiety have been associated with being in Sweden (or moving back to Sweden after a period in Canada) and I now seem to get panic feelings when I think of visiting Sweden (my wife is Swedish and I have just been there) and 2 of my 3 kids (17 & 19) live there. This latest bout of anxiety I think was triggered by my daughter deciding she wanted to do her last year of school in Sweden as she had diffculty fitting in here.

    I constantly think I will never be able to happily visit my kids, never be able to be happy with my wife and her family (because even hearing Swedish cab trgger panicky feelings). Also a bunch of other things I normally do easily in work (I am a research scientist) now seem to be just beyond me in that any responsibility seems to trigger anxiety. I do remember having this the last tim I had anxiety (~2009) and it did go away once I managed to get back into normal life. But with it all back again now I was just hoping some people here might be able to advise on my somewaht rambling questions. Basically I know it sounds like nonsense, but I just want to lover my wife and kids but seem blocked by the panicky feelings I get related to then being Swedish/in Sweden/speaking Swedish because my psych has associated all thing Sweden with me getting anxiety……any tips on how to go forwards would be greatly appreciated……I know deep down that acceptance is the key…but don’t seem to be able to apply it sufficiently well.

  375. sam Says:

    hii guys…i am posting after a while in this page…was doing good lately till i hit a major setback….i had a thought out of the blue suddenly that maybe what i am doing is not right,maybe i am doing it wrong,maybe i need to know something,maybe i need to do something extra…actually the thought started like this…i had 2 long term relationships turn sour …and after those brkups i got a bit panicky about new relationships..and that i think any normal person would…but suddenly a thought crossed my head that maybe if i don’t get into another relationship soon i’ll continue to suffer…i won’t break free…maybe i will again panic when a new relationship starts….and wham…all these thoughts sent me into a setback again….its been 3 days …i m feeling totally down nd out…physical symptoms are back in full force….and even though deep inside i know that what i thought was just anxious thinking and nothing else…its like my mind is always telling me no u got to investigate…there are further reasons…u dont know everything blah blah…and honestly speaking..i don’t wanna know everything ..coz as Paul said that we don’t need to know everything but watever it is just put it under the umbrella of anxiety and get on with ur day..thats what i m doing now…i m not tensed or fighting my symptoms..i m just getting along with my day as hard as it may be…but still i feel therez a part of my mind that’s yet confused and it just doesn’t wanna accept that nothing is wrong with me …its all plain anxious thinking….what should be my strategy now?? i am going along with my life without worrying or trying to change how i feel..i am also taking the confusion my mind is havin about my recovery along with me…am i going on the right path?? plzz can somebody throw some light on this…that if a part of my mind is confused than how can i recover ( i am not worrying bout the confusion..just taking it along wid me coz deep down inside i know that all this is crap and just anxious thinking but its like my mind just wont believe)

  376. honey Says:

    Hi everyone. Lots of different posters here these days. I haven’t been on here for a while. I never thought I’d say it but feel I am coming close to recovery from anxiety. I feel so much less afraid of panic like I used to. I still dislike it but understand that there’s no point running away from it in my head because it’s coming whether I like it or not if that’s whatit wants to do! So I’ve been living life and pretty much avoid nothing these days. I am still a worryer and feel that mindfulness and acceptance will be the only way forward. Easier said than done! So lately I’ve have life’s stressors going on and have been ruminating all the time. So naturally my body was going to react in some way to this. But this time instead of racing heart and panic I have had this very familiar sense of something I just cannot explain. It’s this feeling. I suppose maybe like this feeling of misery and dread. It’s a feeling I have had when I have been unwell with it and it just makes me dispair and cry and withdraw from life. This feeling came on in a flash and left and I just have occassional Waves of it over the last few days but it’s been enough to make me think about it and worry about it. Has anyone else had this? Is it depression or anxiety? It makes me feel disconnected from my children and my life which right now should be happy because I am pregnant again. I know it won’t last forever from experience so I guess I just need to let it pass?

  377. Karen Says:

    Sam I so understand where you are coming from ….. yesterday I tied myself in knots about what acceptance is. Do I allow self checking? Am I doing mindfulness right etc etc … all day. Then I stopped and realised that these in themselves are anxious thoughts! Let them be too and don’t investigate them either.

    Racch, so agree … have not had intrusive thoughts for ages. Today, after a very full on kid filled day I am shattered therefore adrenalin all over and they pop back again! At first I felt fear, oh no, not them again. Then I remembered what not to do!

  378. Tony Says:

    Hi Sam I have also all those thoughts that what I am doing is not right and how do I know it is right etc… Etc… What really disengage me from these thoughts and relax me is first i do accept them whatever they say I say ok I may be wrong. I don’t try to fight them, first I accept them and then I see the truth ( the truth I mean that they are not threat), then also I realize that this way I am getting better which is my goal. So what is right and what is not right it has nothing to do to how you feel. You have connect in your mind one thought with the bad feeling so whatever solution you find about that thought you will never be satisfied because of the bad feeling, unless you find a reall ion to fight lol , or tell yourself that the bad feeling is not a lion, so go there and see that indeed there is no lion . So in practice again acceptance that whatever you think or feel is not a threat and exposure to it anyway because it is not a threat and you will realize that can do nothing to you, will relax you. Continue your life no matter how you feel because in reality there is no problem , it is ok to be there the feeling and the bad thought.

  379. Kevin Says:

    Does anyone get thoughts and feelings like they have no idea who they are anymore and that life is kind of pointless? Obssessive negative thoughts isthe hardest to get past for me

  380. Sam Says:

    Kevin I get them thoughts all the time. I’ve tried a lot of things. I’ve looked at my values and tried to find my purpose in life but It always came down to the fact one day I would be dead and that everything in my existence was in a sense pointless. But I’ve come to realisation that I can live life miserably or happy. And know whilist having this anxiety issue I maybe slightly more miserable rather than happy but afterwards in the future when the day does come where this problem does come to an end this understanding will resonate with me more as I’ll be more in touch with my life and the world around me. And actually feel ‘happy’.The reason life seems bleak at times now is because we are to wrapped up in our problem which is only expected with the annoying nature of our current circumstances. I don’t want to seem like I’m preaching as you’ve probably thought along then lines before it’s just I always wanted to have a better answer to the problem but unfortunately do not think there’s logically one better than that.

  381. Kevin Says:

    Sam thanks so much for the reply. Its very reassurring that im not the only one that is going through the motions and that we both know that one day it will all make sense. Youre not preaching no worries in fact just hearing what ive been thinking from someone else makes me feel much better. Thanks again for the reassuring words :)

  382. yolande Says:

    Does anyone here get v tired eyes? Been having them 2 weeks and wondering if its anxiety.

    Thanks for any replies.

  383. D-Ren Says:

    Hello everyone. It’s been a while since I last posted here :)
    the setback I experienced few months back threw me quite badly, and been having really tough time ever since.

    There has been so much confusion ever since about everything.

    But I guess I am moving forward slowly :-)


  384. Lui Says:

    I wish I had a therapist, but there is no one around. And I wish I had somebody to talk to. I know that I am the one who can turn it all around today but it’s hard for me to carry all the thoughts, emotions, symptoms and worries on my back. My parents don’t understand, get angry and ashamed with the depressed me, and my friends are normal teenagers with normal teenager troubles. I don’t want them to be worried about me. I am just glad that I learned enough English to find this blog which is truely a life saver!
    I don’t allow myself to cry over it and I am accepting more and I have come so far! And once I have come through this I will help as many people I can!

  385. Kevin Says:

    Lui thats an awesome attitude. The support on this blog is very evident.
    I feel that im going through a major setback. I was actually doing fine before i read pauls book but now even with all the knowledge i question my thoughts and feelings so much again. I have gotten past many things like anxiety about physical symptoms and actually the physical anxiety as well. It doesnt bother me anymore. If i feel anxious i feel anxious and actually tell myself that i want more haha. The only thing that has brought me down is the thoughts about who i am and what im doing here. I had a scary thought that i was bipolar but i got over that. Now i cant seem to get past the thought that i have boderline personality disorder. I fit some of the symptoms such as feelings of emptiness and not knowing who i am. The thing is i know thats how i feel now but i felt like i have been like this my whole life to some extent. I never felt emotionally unstable and i have a great relationship with my family and my close ones but its a thought that i am constantly going over. Sometimes i accept that its anxiety and i feel fine for a few hours then it comes back hard. Anyways it feels good to talk on here. If anyone has any words to share it would be greatly appreciated. And honestly guys, i think we are getting stronger by the day just going through this, even tho it seems so bleak and hopeless sometimes. I know we will make it through just like so many others. I can feel it! Take care everyone

  386. Kevin Says:

    And yolande i get tired eyes al the time. At this point all physical symptoms i get i attribute to anxiety and i dont give it a second thought

  387. yolande Says:

    Thanks kevin! I feel so on edge n restless most days. I dont like my new job but hv no choice but to carry on as i need the money. Also i suppose resigning is an avoidance behaviour?

  388. Kevin Says:

    yeah yolande i wouldnt quit your job just because you dont like it and youre anxious. I would try seeing how you feel about the job after your anxiety doesnt bother you as much and then try making a decision.

  389. Daniel Says:

    I’d like to start by thanking you for giving me hope and I’ll understand if you don’t reply to this email, but there is something I feel you haven’t covered in detail in your work and I think it’s worth discussing.
    Your main advice is to carry on living during this times, and get back into the habit of experiencing things outside your own head. But what about creative pursuits, like music and writing? I used to enjoy writing screenplays in my spare time. But I physically cannot find the words or feelings at the moment, so it seems like I have to put that on hold. In Tarmo’s case he simply new when it was time to play music again, but will it not be difficult coming back to writing after ‘getting into the habit of avoiding it’ so to speak?

  390. Nolan Says:

    Hi D-Ren, you said:

    “”Hello everyone. It’s been a while since I last posted here
    the setback I experienced few months back threw me quite badly, and been having really tough time ever since.

    There has been so much confusion ever since about everything.

    But I guess I am moving forward slowly “”

    D-Ren, I have to ask…. are you trying to make sense of the confusion? Are you trying to reason your way to feeling better? Are you searching for more answers?

    If you are…. then don’t. Just stop. Don’t care if you’re slowly moving forward or quickly moving forward. However you are at that point is just how it is. Try not to ‘look beyond the storm to better days’…. that’s struggling with this. That’s in someway sending a message back to your body that this isn’t good and that hopefully and soon it all just lifts and goes away.

    We don’t accept this to speed up the process of recovery. We accept it because we’re done fighting with how we feel at any given moment.
    Any thought, feeling, doubt, or symptom can come.

    You don’t find peace by reasoning your way through how you feel, arguing with the negative/scary thoughts, or searching the net for some magical answer…. Peace finds you. Peace finds you when you stop the fighting and searching. It won’t come right away, but it will come.

  391. Tony Says:

    Hi George,
    I just read your post and would really like to answer because you are very close to my situation. Read my perevius post so I don’t need to repeat and you will find that me too have anxiety from the age of 12, so about 22 years. I take antidepressant for about 12 years. Of course don’t try to stop them without asking your doctor .Me also don’t have a good old self. I am in recovery road about 4 months now and doing very well. I also asked the same question as you in one previous post but probably no one can answer because no one here has recovered from a situation where ther is no good old self. What I believe is that I will always need to do the opposite of what my fear mind say , so this way i practice more and more and can live a normal life . I know it is difficult to accept that feeling bad or having bad thoughts is not a problem, but this is the true way. I wish you all the best.

  392. Matt Says:


    You’re definitely note alone! I mean, obviously Paul wouldn’t post about irrational scary thoughts or dedicate part of his site to it if no one had them! I wish he’d post a little bit more about them, because I don’t feel like he delved too much into how scary those thoughts can be, or what they can contain, but I’ve read enough on here to know that a decent amount of people on this site have them.

    I have a lot of faith and hope that I will be able to overcome them, as both Emma and Pia have had success in dealing with them. It’s still the biggest (and only?) problem for me at this point, as the rest of my anxiety scares me so much less, and really the only times I get bothered now are due to these self-harm or other-harm thoughts. I also know the reason why I haven’t overcome them yet is because I’m still fighting them because I still haven’t trusted them as just anxiety, even though when I don’t get worried, my thoughts don’t come!

    Anyway, hang in there! It does get better, it’s just a process that requires a LOT of patience!

  393. D-Ren Says:

    Thanks Nolan for the reply – well the confusion is maybe mostly because I am not sure if “I am trying to figure this out” or whether I am handling this right or not!

    I guess there is nothing wrong with being confused even about that particular thought – just as long I don’t panic about it.

    It just doesn’t make any sense! 😀


  394. Lui Says:

    The thing about my anxiety is that my attitude is changing every day. Right now it tells me that I shouldn’t face because I have everything I need, good friends etc., but tomorrow it could be an awesome whatever attitude. The worst part for me is that I can’t trust my mind, my thoughts etc.
    It doesn’t matter what I read or hear, I cant change my attitude for good and the scary thoughts are pretty bad either.
    From the bottom of my heart I wish to accept anxiety. I need to stop crying around I know. I’m actually pretty curious what I’m like when I am anxiety free, cause I have never ever been on the other side.
    I actually already overcame some pretty bad health anxiety and some bad OCD with the help of this blog. But social fears are the root of all this, so it’s the hardest one to face.

  395. tim Says:

    Guys, did you know that a big part of this is also relaxation, meditation, visualisation?
    It’s like you can gently, purposely persuade your nervous system to calm down. To shift from the sympathetic nervous system activation (fight/flight, anxiety, panic) to the parasymathetic nervous system activation (calm, well-being). It’s like a choice to calm down about everything, you have to teach your nervous system again and again because of habit you get caught in the fight/flight activation all the time.

    I willl give an example for LUI. If you type in google “fragrant heart social anxiety” you will get to a guided visualisation for social anxiety. In this exercise first you wil get into a state of relaxation, then she will ask you to imagine any social situation, then you will be asked to imagine that you are feeling calm in this situation. It a little strange, but I actually felt how it would feel to feel calm (I have had social anxiety for about 25 years) Through these kind of exercises you can actually teach your body/mind how to feel calm in acertainsituation. This wiil strengthen neurlogical pathways in the brain so that it will get easier in the future and in real life to. But you have to build it up.

    The above site has more visualisation and relaxation audio. (It is just some random helpful site I found two days ago).

  396. tim Says:

    There are some typing errors in my post because my keyboard doesn’t work very well.

  397. tim Says:

    Learning that when you are tense your breathing high in your chest and when you are calm you are breathing in your lower belly. Is also very impotant. You can practice this.Just sitting up straight, and slowly, gradually going from faster, high in the chest breathing to a little slower, lower in the belly breathing. Don’t force it, gradually.

  398. tim Says:

    Feeling that you are tensing muscles in your body when you are feeling tense and that you can actually release this muscle tension. Also very helpful and important (I found out).

    Something that I do (try it!, even if you think it’s stupid):
    Sit in a chair. Legs preferably in a 90 degree angle at the knees. Go over different body parts and release any tension/contraction you find. let the breath gradually go lower and slower. Imagine how it would feel if you would feel calm (this actually works). With every out breath imagine how it would feel to let go. With every out breath feel a little relaxation.

  399. Lui Says:

    Thanks for the advice Tim!! Screenshoted it!
    I’m already practicing mind fulness meditation, so that will be a great add! :)
    Maybe all this will change my attitude for good!

  400. Nolan Says:

    “Guys, did you know that a big part of this is also relaxation, meditation, visualisation?”

    Hi tim.
    Please don’t take this the wrong way….
    these things are all fine to do. But they’re not magical bullets to cure anxiety.

    As a matter of fact doing these things to alleviate anxiety go against the method advocated by Paul.
    And myself personally? They never helped with my anxiety. If anything, doing those things made me focus more on my anxiety.

    I just take exception with saying that proper breathing exercises, meditation, and guided visualization are a “big part” of find our way through anxiety/depression and all of the symptoms.

    I’m not trying to shunt conversation on the topic.
    But the aim of this blog and Paul’s work simply isn’t inline with the approach of “letting all of the thoughts, feelings, symptoms be there”.

  401. tim Says:

    I was dreading a bit a reply like yours might come. Maybe my first sentence was too generalising. But I really don’t think this goes against anything Paul teaches. Its just an addition. Claire weekes in her book: “practice somekind of relaxation or meditation method”. She also said you can “visualise any obstructive thoughts to float away out of your mind along a channel”.

    I never said that these were magic bullets to help cure anxiety. In fact in the end there is nothing to be cured we were all alright to begin with. We were just feeding our own anxiety.

    I think that ok, you have to accept the anxiety, you can’t get it away by fighting, so you have your hands free to do whatever you like, so why not practice some relaxation, visualisation etc. Your not trying to fight anxiety, your promoting calmness/a sense of wellbeing, that’s a very important distinction to make. Your leaving behind the worrying and put it towards more benificial things. You can direct the mind to wherever you choose.

    Acceptance/not fighting is the prerequisite and then what? Might as well relax.

    For me, it doesn’t make me focus on anxiety, it makes me focus on beneficial thoughts and feelings.

    Your not trying to fight the anxiety by relaxing, how can it be wrong to consciously relax, even people without anxiety practice little periods of relaxing and letting go. We never do that because we are always tense. I have to learn how to relax, personally. I always lived with tension. And you actually can practice it, I found out.

    My opinion, no offense taken, hope you don’t either, peace.

  402. tim Says:

    For me it comes down to this: We were always trying to get away our anxiety, thinking there was something very wrong with us, trying to find out how to get it away, worrying about it and everything, wanting it would go away etc.
    Now through a site/book like Paul’s, Claire Weeks book etc. we find out that actually all that fighting, worrying and wanting it to go away is what keeps the anxiety in place and what’s fueling it.
    So now what? Now we can stop fueling the anxiety but accept it. Now we can do the opposite, relax in the face of anxiety.
    Because we will find out that we don’t have to be afraid of the anxiety because it diminishes when we let it be and do nothiing with it.

  403. Doreen. Says:

    Actually Nolan, Paul put this on the Facebook page in June.

    “Does anyone here practice or follow mindfulness? If so do you find it helpful and it what way? I am a fan and it would be nice to start a discussion”

    I suggest there are over laps between mindfulness and what Tim is finding helpful

  404. Lui Says:

    I personally only use these methods to learn to float past all the feelings and thoughts. But never to get rid or fight anxiety.
    Like Tim I never lived without being tense. I have to learn it and his methods are useful for spotting tension and practicing relaxation/floating.
    These things only help when doing it with no intention. But yeah when doing it with intention its contra productive.

  405. Karen Says:

    So here is my dilemma. My mind wants to repetitively think about anxiety, check in on myself. Now Paul says we have to allow everything, not try stop it. If I spend my day trying not to think about anxiety surely that is fighting? Do I just let my mind think about it as much as it wants as long as I don’t let it bother me or freak out if I find it is there? one of Pauls posts he said about people ‘trying’ and that keeps the anxiety going and one of the examples was ‘trying not to think about anxiety’.
    I know I have asked this before but have not really got an answer. I would really appreciate an answer to this so I can stop ruminating on whether or not I am doing it right. Much like D-Ren said earlier

    I am learning mindfulness and it is definately acceptance and runs beautifully with Paul’s method. I also try to acknowledge repetitive thoughts, label them and move on …but they keep on repeating!

    I wish I had a personal trainer who had access to my thoughts who could keep me right. Lol

  406. Nolan Says:

    fair enough.

    Just being honest: I believe it runs contrary to the approach of “giving it all the space it wants and getting on with your life”.

    My views differ on the matter…but, I won’t argue to the contrary on this blog.

    Best of luck everybody with getting better! It will come, just be patient.
    Thanks to all of those that helped me along the way.

    Take care.

  407. Karen Says:

    Oh Nolan, I did not mean to offend you. I think we are all just trying to muddle our way through this and the confusion it sets up in our minds about whether or not we are doing it right sometimes leads us to question things. I suspect anything we do is ok as long as we are not using it as a tool to rid ourselves of the anxiety?
    We each have to find our path to recovery with this but at the end of the day, advice, from people like yourself who are further along the road, is a Godsend! Apologies if my post came across in a way it was not intended. It would be a great shame if you left the blog!

  408. Lui Says:

    I hope you dont leave the blog because of the discussion Nolan! Your advice is worth gold and is always giving me back my faith and hope and makes everything sound logical!
    Sorry if any of my staements offended you! I didn’t mean to!

  409. Nolan Says:

    No problem at all.

    Im still going to post here.
    I just mean I don’t want to introduce debate on this blog. I think that’s the last thing people need.

    I don’t have too much to add with mindfulness and ACT approaches. I think some elements are parallel. But, it’s just not what I advocate. But, if it does help people here and if others do want to use those methods I don’t want to be that dissenting voice.

    I didn’t have luck with the approach.

    Again, I mainly don’t want folk to get frustrated or confused with dissenting views on the topic.

  410. Adam Says:

    Nolan…I would also like to add that your advice of late, for me, has been spot on. Your explanation of acceptance with the “so what” attitude has helped me personally very much. I sincerely hope you plan to continue your postings. Also, I too, like you, am aware of mindfulness/ACT methods that are very similar to the method Paul and you describe. Honestly, I do think there is overlap there between them all. However, I also agree with you about the use of the breathing/body calming/meditation methods mentioned by Tim above. While they may work for some…and provide some benefit of a calm body and mind for the short term…they definitely don’t help me with acceptance of my anxiety or anxious state. In fact, they make it worse for me because I am fighting anxiety/trying to remove it with the calming techniques. By trying to calm I am telling my body & mind that this anxiety is bad and needs to be removed. For me, that isn’t acceptance. I have to accept how I feel…no matter what…and let it be there with me while I do whatever I am doing at that time. No matter what my mind is doing (i.e. usually spinning with intrusive thoughts!) or how my body feels (i.e. amped up). THAT is the only thing that has worked for me. As for mindfulness, I do think there is a lot of value and similarity with what I am doing with my version of Paul’s method. I have read several books on mindfulness and I can see the “let your thoughts be there but dont give them importance or react to them” part of Paul’s method coming straight from mindfulness. Honestly, there isn’t a lot of difference between them in my opinion. Acceptance….is the key.

  411. tim Says:

    I agree that debate is the last thing people/I need.

    In the end we are all talking about the same thing here whatever label you give it. The attitude with which you approach the anxiety. Being anxious about anxiety or being ok with anxiety. And also being ok with situations you get anxious about.

    And think about it, when you accept anxiety are you tensing up and fighting it or relaxing towards it? Never relax as a method to get anxiety away, relax ABOUT anxiety and situations. We’re al pointing to the same thing.

    For anyone interested I refer to the most excellent book “Buddha’s Brain” by neuropsychologist Rick Hanson. You’re brain has the capacity of “neuroplasticity” and we’re al using that knowingly or unknowingly on the path towards recovery and acceptance. I’ll leave it at that.

  412. tim Says:

    I understand suspicion of “techniques” that are supposed to help you with anxiety. I have been let down with that as much as everybody. I am not proposing any of this as some kind of technique to get anxiety away but as the actual accepting put in practice, the leting go of 2nd fear. The not being anxious about anxiety.

    I just wanted people to know because this is really helping me in recovery and if you think it goes against the acceptance method I will be so bold as to say you misinterpret what I’m saying (with a lot of respect and no ill feelings!).

  413. tim Says:

    Claire Weekes – Hope and help for your nerves. Chapter 20 – How to relax.
    “Lie comfortably in bed. Then, beginning with your feet and passing up through your legs, abdomen, chest, neck, head, arms and hands, imagine that each in turn is so heavy it feels as though it is sinking through the mattress. Be sure to…(etc.)”

    “By tensing your body, you made of it an instrument on which your fears can play a very painful tune”.

  414. tim Says:

    Claire Weekes – Peace from nervous suffering
    Chaper 11 –At the bus stop

    “I now suggest a special exercise in our program of recovery. I call it right reaction readiness.[..] By right reaction readiness I mean one has prepared oneself to meet stressful situations the right way so often that the right approach is established as a habit.[…] Those of you who still find achievement difficult do so because you remember so clearly your past failures and how you felt then.[..] Your reactions are automatically those of dislike, panic, withdrawal.[..] By righ reaction readiness I do not mean being tensely on guard, do not become caught in that net. I simply mean that one gradually establishes the habit of reacting the right way, both by mental preparation (the treatment I will now describe) and by actual performance.[..]By diligent practice we can lay down the necessary association pathways to bring us automatically the right reaction.[..]
    Sit in a comfortable chair and imagine you are in one of the situations you fear most.[..] Relax to the best of your ability, and then imagine yourself in this situation.[..]As the imaginary bus approaches, try to feel the same misgivings and fears you feel if you were really there. Try to make your reactions as real and severe as you can. As you experience them remain as relaxed as possible and think ”What would Dr. Weekes advise me to do now?” Try to remember advice and practice feeling yourself following it.[..] ..move forward with acceptance.[..]
    It is possible that the term “reacting freely” may help some of you more than the word “acceptance”. So, visualise the scene of boarding the bus, at the same time have the courage to try to feel yourself reacting freely.[..]..and as you feel fear, try to remember what I would advise you to do. Say it aloud and try to fee this right reaction. The key to this practice is to remain as relaxed as possible while you imagine each situation you fear. The more you practise[..]the more readily the right reaction will come when you find yourself actually in the situation.”

  415. Tony Says:

    Hi all, I just read this argument and I would like to write some comments. I don’t agree with Nolan that cbt or mindfullnes don’t help. I have tried them both but in my case made me feel worse because i was trying to feel good. As I have already write in my first post with Paul method also in the begging I was feeling worse. Because I was trying to feel good with Paul method without noticing. So whatever method you use if you do it with the fear mind it will make you feel my opinion both methods are very close to each other. And also I believe that anyone of us has his own method, of course are based on these methods but surely cannot be completely the same because we are all individual. Also I don’t like at all to see at Paul site Tim writing down a method of mindfullnes from another source. I come to paul site to read about his method and offer help to others through his method and what i have learned . If I want Claire method I would go and read it. You are free to do whatever you like tim but in my opinion it is completely out of the subject what you are doing.

  416. Lui Says:

    Could we please just stop the discussion. I am getting really confused…

  417. tim Says:

    Yes, but dear Tony you are already working with Claire Weekes’ “method”. Because Paul’s “method” is Claire’s “method”. Which is not a method at all it’s just a universal truth of not resisting anxiety so you take away it’s fuel. People have quoted her hundreds of times on this blog. If we can’t talk about claire weekes or mindfulness then we can’t talk about Paul either, you know why? It’s all the same principle. Just because you don’t know Claire weekes (and that’s ok) doesn’t mean it’s “completely out of the subject” of this blog.

    Now I’ll shut up because of course I don’t want to stir up arguments. On the contrary, I want us to calm down about anxiety. Lui, I’m sorry I didn’t mean for this to get into a misunderstanding at all.

    I’ll admit I can be a nag, please forgive me I truly only mean well (and I did nothing wrong ;p).

    Please carry on.

  418. rachh Says:

    Basicly lui anxiety is caused by our fixing/doing mind trying to do something about how we feel because we are telling it something is wrong. We are going into outside circumstances in fixing mode telling it something is wrong how do i do it right how do i be normal in social circumstances bla bla bla.
    Acceptance is part of ‘being mode’ once we are aware of this we need to practice ‘just being’ mode or as paul calls it ‘do nothing’.
    That is how we de stress turn it all off.

  419. Kevin Says:

    Rachh how are you doing? Are you recovered?

  420. Daniel Says:

    Not to be rude, but I am still curious if anyone can offer any possible insight to my question…

    I enjoy writing but I haven’t managed to do so for the last 6 months, when my anxiety started. I feel distant and detached from my characters and plots in a similar way that I feel distant from my family and friends.
    My question is, by not writing am I creating a problem for myself? Is this a case of avoidance, like the ‘going to the store’ example from Paul’s book?
    Or, hopefully, is this more like the emotional detachment that comes from this condition and when I’m feeling better my feelings for my writing/characters/plots will all come back along with my feelings for my loved ones?
    I could live without writing, but it brings me so much join and it is very important to me. I want it to be part of my life, but at the moment it feels like it can’t be. I just want it to be there when I finally get back.

  421. Bryan Says:


    Paul himself has actually mentioned mindfulness a couple of times. He talks about having an interest, and even mentioned it on his Facebook page recently. I don’t believe he feels it is totally off-limits.

    Of course, like Tim said… Paul’s method is nothing more than an updated version of Claire Weekes method. (Same with Jeff from PanicEnd.) Neither one of them would deny that. Weekes is the absolute godmother of all modern anxiety recovery methods, in my opinion. All acceptance-based methodology traces back to her. Yes, there were those before her who talked about it… but she honed it to a science to address p/a disorder.

    I’m not going to talk for Paul, but my guess is that he would be fine with CBT or mindfulness as long as it didn’t involve fighting. Mindfulness essentially teaches us not to fight, and to be where we are. So, I can’t see how that’s harmful. Yes, if you “use” it to “make yourself better” in some kind of a time-frame, it may not help.
    And it may not be for everyone.

    I’m just saying that mindfulness, CBT and Paul’s (Weekes’) method are not really mutually exclusive. They share many common, core principles.

  422. Kevin Says:

    Daniel, as paul said in his book, do things that you would normally do before anxiety even if it feels strange and uninteresting at first. Taking your mind of off yourself is the aim and eventually your interest in writing wi come back. Slowly, but it will come back

  423. Lui Says:

    No problem at all Tim lol. I even agree on the subject with you. It is just to much at once.
    .Hey raach, nice to see you on this blog again! I can proudly tell you that I understand and even practice the acceptance aproach! Well, lets say I am headin into the right direction lol.
    My main problem is that I can’t believe that nothing will happen to me when I let off. My mind tells me to stay like this and my thoughts are doing the rest. I have an extremely negative viewpoint on society.
    That’s why I think that I need a therapist or something. I need to change my thought pattern about people. I can’t even smile at people without getting the feeling that they hate and judge me. Anxiety is weird.

  424. Daniel Says:

    I suppose you’re right, worst case scenario I concentrate on other things and going back to writing will be the final thing I need to tackle before I can return to normality. Best case scenario, even without writing in my life for the time being it will be there waiting for me when I recover. We’ll see.
    I think the scariest part is the uncertainties, but you need to turn them into certainties. Like ‘I will get better eventually.’
    The hardest bit for me is trying to get my life normal again. Paul says do anything you want to do despite how you may be feeling, but I just don’t want to do anything. I do think it’ll become easier once this summer vacation ends and I stop having so so much free time…

  425. Nicole Says:

    Haven’t posted in a long time.

    Suffered anxiety about 3 years, mainly physical symptoms which I find harder to deal with than the scary thoughts.

    Got my life back together by doing everything I wanted to do job wise and socially despite feeling awful a lot of the time!

    Just wanted to say that what has helped me is imagining a line in my brain, above the line are my symptoms physical and mental, below the line is the questioning, the worrying about symptoms, the analysing etc etc. My objective of the day is to stay above the line, I can’t do anything about the symptoms they are just there but what I can control is my response, this takes lots and lots of practice but it can be achieved.

    It seems to tie in with various other methods including pauls, Claire weekes (not adding secondary fear) and will beswick (cut off point).

    Are my symptoms still there, yes many still are but do I worry about them, not so much, and I am noticing better and better days. You really do have to be committed and it’s hard to start with as your brain is so used to fighting everything but what has been wonderful for me is waking up and knowing that I don’t have to do a thing to get rid of it, I just don’t feed it.

    I hope this helps, I think it all boils down to the same thing but for me when I see myself going under the line I just stop, no special breathing, no mantras, no trying to focus on what I’m doing, just let the symptom be there without any “add ons”.

  426. Tony Says:

    Hi lui I am sorry if I made you feel confused I did not meant to. And Tim maybe I was wrong and misunderstood you too. What I know is that I have been for 22 years depressed and have anxiety and taking antidepressant Effexor for 12 years and now I have stop them and going very well(never try to stop them unless you know what you doing or ask your doctor ) .as mentioned I tried cbt and mindfullnes with opposite results because I did them wrong not because they don’t help. Now what inspired me more than anything to recover is Paul and his site . Maybe if I read Claire method I would have the same results I don’t know that . Also Whatever I write to this blog is my personal opinion and I don’t mean to offer anyone in any way. And I would never post to Paul site and copy paste another method not because he would be offended but just for respect for him and for the help he has provide . Again this is my personal opinion and don’t mean that what Tim posted is not helpful .You all have my best wishes for recovery .

  427. Daniel Says:

    The main thing that bothers me is that everything feels GROSS to me. Watching movies, talking to people, reading books. There’s just this feeling that everything is ruined. My family, my friends, my house, my clothes, my writing, my favorite TV shows… It’s definitely the worst part, because it puts the idea in my head that everything will be tainted forever, like even if I start feeling better I’ll still hate this house and these clothes, etc.

    I need to keep in mind that these are just feelings, and not facts. I need to remember that things will eventually go back to normal, but it’s hard to figure out what to do during these months while I recover. I know I should watch movies and read books and do whatever I used to do, but I just don’t WANT to do those things. I mean I understand forcing yourself to do something despite how you feel, but some things just straight-up don’t interest me anymore/at the moment. So what should I do about that? Keep forcing myself and see if I might start to like it again?

  428. rachh Says:

    That’s good lui.
    Hi Kevin-not recovered but i would say it is all losing its grip. I’m still having detachment issues but just gettin on with my day non the less and learning/understanding mindfulness is helping too.

    I’m feeling a bit detached right now and it always affects how i think its going to go when I’m around other people but i dont let it bother me because each person interprets the way you say things/what you mean through their own emotional goggles so it’s not something i can really control anyway.
    Some people love me when I’m anxious because i just talk shit with no emotion others probably think I’m an arrogant shit or dont care.

    Anxiety recovery is a personal experience what helps is learning that we can use our own minds tools for the job. That is why anxiety recovery is so amazing because without going through it we wouldn’t reveal what parts of the brain we can unleash which many other people bimble through life without ever knowing.

    I dont really come on so much anymore as i used to come on looking for help and ways to relieve my anxiety using others tips and tricks. I’m getting by now bit by bit treating each day as a different day a different learning curve. My moods are very up and down and my anxiety on and off but I’m learning from it all each time I’m practising ways to effectively deal with it.
    I do however like to come on to see people’s progress as this was a place i came in desperation and for that and some of the people who supported me i really hold it in my heart.

  429. Nathan Says:

    Hey folks, I was wondering if you could give me a little advice.
    I’ve been struggling with anxiety for 7 months, 5 days ago I found Paul’s site and I read his book the following day.
    So I’ve been trying to figure out how to approach my anxiety. How do I really feel my feelings and also approach them with a ‘whatever’ attitude?
    I know it’s most important to not be afraid of the feelings, and to not dread them or view them as a bad thing.
    I just get jumbled on what to do and when to do it. I mean the feelings are pretty constant, so what do I do? Just get on with my day and say ‘whatever’ to them? Or do I face them and make sure I experience every bit of it?
    I just get confused.
    I know it takes some people months to even figure out what we need to do to get started but I’m just confused.

  430. Bryan Says:


    Absolutely terrific! Love to hear success stories even if they are a work in progress. Thank you for taking the time.

    Can you explain one thing… when you are “above the line”… What does that look like? I can visualize below by your description, but can you explain above a bit?

  431. Nolan Says:

    Nicole, that is a great post.
    I completely agree with it all.

    I would like reinforce what Nicole is saying about the symptoms lingering while the fear of them evaporates.
    This was my experience as well.

    The symptoms held on a bit longer while the fear of them started to subside.
    My big symptoms were sleep issues and being able to relax (or not being able to relax) as well as depression (mind you, there were many other ones as well).
    The fear regarding these symptoms was enormous. The fear of these consumed my thoughts. I wasn’t able to focus on anything else.

    During the process there were times when the symptoms would lift as well as the fear…. but then it would all come crashing back down (perfectly normal). Other times the symptoms would lift but the fear of them would remain.
    But the symptoms would come back.

    Towards the end the fear was minimal. Consistently minimal. I could do other things with ease. Self-pity would usually be stronger during these parts (this is usually more a conscious decision…. to feel bad for yourself) for me. Doubt would still linger (doubt that the symptoms would ever be truly gone)… and the doubt would linger because the symptoms were still there (in varying degrees). But I truly believe this is all part of the healing process. But again, the fear was not there, or not nearly as loud. I felt more numb to the fear.

    I guess I’m saying all of this to say, go easy on yourself. The bulk of the schedule with respects to healing is not in your immediate control. It will come, but it will come on its own accord.
    Try to view this in a positive light…. because I think that’s how it should be viewed. What it means is that let any feeling or thought just come your way. But don’t care so much. This might sound confusing “how do I not care so much?”…. well…. some of it is in your actual behaviors (which in the end will either reinforce or undermine the reflexive/immediate nature of the thoughts).
    What are you going to do? Search the net for the right phrasing of magical words? Self-pity your way out of it? Fall deep into contemplative thought as to how to find your way out these feelings?…..

    Or, are you going to say, “meh, whatever” and watch that movie you usually liked. Go for a walk. Read a book. Or whatever.

  432. Kevin Says:


    Its funny, when i first starting reading pauls words and advice i had no idea how i could attain the “whatever” attitude that you and paul keep talking about.

    I had a pretty bad setback a couple weeks back where i just started questioning everything and making myself depressed. After hearing about certain things on the news i thought that i was gonna turn out that way or that i was gonna end up being diagnosed with a serious mental illness. Then i re read pauls words and yours nolan and it is starting to really sink in. Im getting tired of brooding around worrying about whats wrong with me. The whatever attitude is kicking in slowly. Im gonna try to check out the blog less just so i can start really living my life. Thanks for the awesome advice and good luck to everyone.

  433. honey Says:

    On the subject of mindfulness… I have actually ordered a book about cognitive based mindfulness. Both methods encourage acceptance and I was hoping it would help me to accept the rumination. This is the hardest part to not get caught up in. Whether it’s rumination about something that may or may not happen or rumination about never getting better it is an absolute predescessor for any setback I encounter. When I’m my most well it’s because I’ve not managed to find something too worrysome to worry about but when I’m my least well it’s always following some really excessive bout of worry usually lasting months and building up. I’ve recently seen this for what it is which is a break through I just wish I could shut my brain up!! I know Paul talks about this point a lot but what should I actually do about rumination? Ignore it? It’s very hard to ignore it’s very hard to accept and not get involved… Any tips?

  434. Daniel Says:

    This might seems silly to you guys, but I am still quite curious about how some things work. I’ve suffered from anxiety for roughly 7 months now, I found Paul’s website 6 days ago and read his book the following day.
    I understand what you need to do is eliminate the fear and dread of the bad feelings, but I don’t understand what it means when Paul says you need to feel them? Does he mean that you shouldn’t push them away but also recognize them for what they are, a by product of anxiety, and not take them seriously. I guess it’ll take some months to work that bit out, it is the most important part after all…

    Something I could use advice for, my best friend is my brother and roommate and he’s a really good guy. We don’t talk so much anymore, which of course is a little uncomfortable, but I am certain that our friendship will ever get to a point in which he will not forgive me for acting this way, and what damage that has been caused will be repaired.
    But, much like everyone else I feel emotionally distant from him at best (like he’s a stranger and not the guy a grew up with) and at times I just can’t stand him, like every word he says and everything he does. So what should I do? Should I force myself to hang out with him so I ‘get back into the habit of being his friend’ or should I give us both some space and then start hanging out with again when I start to feel better.

  435. Daniel Says:

    This might seems silly to you guys, but I am still quite curious about how some things work. I’ve suffered from anxiety for roughly 7 months now, I found Paul’s website 6 days ago and read his book the following day.
    I understand what you need to do is eliminate the fear and dread of the bad feelings, but I don’t understand what it means when Paul says you need to feel them? Does he mean that you shouldn’t push them away but also recognize them for what they are, a by product of anxiety, and not take them seriously. I guess it’ll take some months to work that bit out, it is the most important part after all…

    Something I could use advice for, my best friend is my brother and roommate and he’s a really good guy. We don’t talk so much anymore, which of course is a little uncomfortable, but I am certain that our friendship will ever get to a point in which he will not forgive me for acting this way, and what damage that has been caused will be repaired.
    But, much like everyone else I feel emotionally distant from him at best (like he’s a stranger and not the guy a grew up with) and at times I just can’t stand him, like every word he says and everything he does. So what should I do? Should I force myself to hang out with him so I ‘get back into the habit of being his friend’ or should I give us both some space and then start hanging out with again when I start to feel better.

  436. Sam Says:

    Daniel, I recommend reading the happiness trap. It gives a very good explaination of acceptance. And explains the reasons why we stay in this unhelpful fight. For example. We are lead to believe we should have control over our thoughts and feelings. And if we can’t do this we feel weak and inferior or jealous of everyone else who appears normal. This makes you face the fact the everything single thing you do to rid yourself of your thoughts and feelings is pointless . Definitely worth reading as well as nothing works. Weebly

  437. Nicole Says:


    I am finding ‘above the line’ really hard to define so I will give you some examples.

    I wake up most mornings with a racing heart, in the past I would start the day by taking my pulse, trying to slow it down, wondering if this is me forever. Above the line means waking up with a racing heart and that is it. No wondering if this means the day will be bad, will I feel faint later etc etc. It is just like saying I have a racing heart, full stop.

    I went to a party last night and as I got ready I felt dizzy and full of adrenalin. Instead of grabbing some wine, feeling like I was never going to enjoy going out again I just got ready calmly and added nothing. I felt dizzy and fed up, full stop. No wondering how I was going to be at the party, nothing.

    My mum came round today, I adore my mum and love seeing her but sometimes I feel uncomfortable with her as I feel she can see straight through me and is looking for signs of my anxiety and I make silly excuses for her not to come round,not any more. She told me she was popping in and I said fine and I thought no more about it till she arrived and even feeling uncomfortable while she was here was fine as I didn’t challenge the feelings at all.

    I hope this makes sense, it’s just a case of knowing and recognizing when you are adding to the feelings you already have and stopping. I don’t pretend I like the feelings, I don’t, I sometimes actually loathe them and I don’t think I will ever be one of those people who feel glad that they have been through this, but I can live like this and that will do for now.

    Claire weekes said that without adding second fear to anxiety symptoms recovery is inevitable but it takes time and for once I am not scared of giving it time.


    Your posts on here have really really helped me, thank you.

    I feel like I am rambling but I am finding it hard to put it all into words!

  438. Nolan Says:

    Hi honey,

    I believe Paul’s advice on rumination would simply be stop caring so much that youre doing it.

    Thats different than ignoring. Because I think many people conceive ignoring as pushing it out of your mind. But how likely is that going to happen, right?

    But, letting it be there and telling yourself, “so what, so my mind is running over the same set of thoughts over and over…big whoop” is something you can do.

    I would get breathing anxiety (among other things) where my brain seemed to be forcing me to have to focus on breathing consciously. It bothered me greatly. Eventually I just got tired of trying to ignore it and told myself “if my body wants me to focus on consciously breathing then so be it”….I didn’t fight the urge anymore but I changed my attitude towards it. That’s what made the difference.

    Can’t really provide you advice on mindfullness. If that’s the route you’re going to go, all the best.

    I’m not trying to brush off that part of the question. I just have different feelings on the matter.

    There was a comment from Paul a few years back on mindfulness. He it is:

    “On mindfullness, It’s up to the person if they wish to go down this route, some say it has helped them and that’s fine, we are all different. I personally tried something similar many years ago and all this focus on your breath and watch your actions made me feel worse, I wanted to get off me, not watch and observe my every action. But that was just me, some say it has helped them, that is just my personal expereince.”

  439. Nolan Says:

    Nicole knocks it out of the park again.

    Great advice!!!

    I get goosebumps reading her posts because it’s so similar to what I started to do as well.

    This is just gold from Nicole:

    “I wake up most mornings with a racing heart, in the past I would start the day by taking my pulse, trying to slow it down, wondering if this is me forever. Above the line means waking up with a racing heart and that is it. No wondering if this means the day will be bad, will I feel faint later etc etc. It is just like saying I have a racing heart, full stop.”

  440. rachh Says:

    When you out a acceptance into practice It’s as though you take over you have to keep going and then anxiety gets left behind and doesn’t keep nipping at your ankles anymore. It does take will though.

  441. Daniel Says:

    Call me an idiot if you want, but I still don’t get it.
    Am I supposed to do somethings I don’t want to and physically cannot do until they feel like they used to?
    I cannot write if I am unhappy and more importantly as jumbled as I am. I could try, but at the moment I can’t remember character’s names or personalities or why I even was writing in the first place, so at the moment it serves no purpose. How am I supposed to figure out what is best for fictional people in fictional scenarios when I’m as confused as I am? It’s like asking a heroine junkie to raise a child.
    I understand what you’re saying, I should not wait until I’m feeling better. If you want to enjoy writing and remember how, you need to write or else you’re avoiding it. But that turns the whole thing into a chore rather than a hobby. It was something I used to do when I felt like it, and I do not feel like it anymore.
    So tell me straight out should I force myself to write? Or should I concentrate on other things for the time being? Or should I just give up writing because nobody, not even Paul, seems to have once mentioned regaining an old interest only creating new ones?
    Just a simple answer please.

  442. Daniel Says:

    [Continuation of above]
    Sorry to ramble and sorry to complain, but I feel a lot of my concerns and questions remain unanswered.

    Before anxiety had become a problem I would not write every day. I’d probably think about my writing several times a day, but I wouldn’t write.
    Some days I would try to write and find myself blocked, I never got frustrated with a block I simply went and did something else or work on a different scene. Is that avoidance? If I had sat and struggled and tried to write on a day I couldn’t I would only do more harm.
    So this period of anxiety is like a big block for my writing. BUT by avoiding even thinking about my characters/plots/etc. am I avoiding it to the point that I am starting to view it as something ‘dangerous’ that I should avoid?

  443. Bryan Says:

    Brilliant Nicole and Nolan. Thank you!!

  444. Tony Says:

    Hi Daniel, your first coment “call me an idiot by I still don’t get it” . The procedure to recovery it cannot be geted and that’s it you finish it is not working like that. It is a continue procedure which may take years. For me it took years to understand and to respond correctly. I am still having setbacks and disbelieves and all these and still learning. If remember correctly about 4 months ago when I start to see the real progress, what gave a big boost was that I started doing the opposite of what my fear mind was telling me to do. Then it goes in layers as I was continue the road I saw that I was able to do anything I like and continue my life dispite anxiety, then I realized that I was not afraid of it anymore and could act normally . Regarding the confusion you have in your mind I am not going to explain every thoughts you have because it anxiety result. So the thoughts you have are connected with the bad feelings so you will never be satisfied whatever answer I give you, another bad thought will arise . To all these thoughts you should know that THEY ARE NOT THREAT TO YOU it’s ok to be there and feel al the bad feelings. Don’t try to avoid them in order to feel good or try to find an answer for every thought with the fear mind because your thought are not lions cannot be fiighten with fear. To conclude in practice my advise would be: Continue your life normal whatever it comes and let your thoughts be there, feel your feelings and in time slowly you will find your own way. I wish you all the best.

  445. Daniel Says:

    Thanks Tony,
    That’s helpful advice. The only problem is sometimes you’re feeling so anxious you can’t even recognize what you’re doing and how you’re making things worse for yourself.
    You’re a good guy. I know it’s always easier to be objective and help others than it is to help yourself, but I’m sure if you follow that advice you gave me you’ll definitely be better in no time.

    I’m still looking for a little advice with my posts from the 24th.

  446. Daniel Says:

    Sorry for all the rambling and raging. I find anger is becoming a major symptom for me.
    I haven’t be very supportive to other people on the site and have been wasting a lot of other peoples time by simply complaining.
    I’m just really confused these days, and I’m afraid of turning into a bad person.

    One concern I’ve had is I’m afraid if I embrace these feelings then I’ll get into the habit of feeling them. I tell myself ‘You had ‘been in the habit’ of feeling good when this started” so it’s not permanent.

  447. Kat Says:

    Hi all,

    I don’t know that I am expecting anything from post, but I just needed to get some of my feelings out instead of keeping them in.

    I wrote a few weeks ago about having a fainting episode, and how I’d thought it was a panic attack. I just wanted to reassure anyone who may be worried about fainting from panic that it turns out that it wasn’t a panic attack that did it: it was anemia. I would never have known I have this issue if I hadn’t fainted, as a lot of the symptoms mimic anxiety disorder and I had a habit of pushing aside those symptoms as “just anxiety” over and over again.

    Even though I have a proper diagnosis, I am currently struggling with anxiety/depressive thoughts again. I would say I’m in a setback, except I’m not certain I have ever really progressed with my recovery. I suspect that I have a tendency to “put up with”, rather than accept, and I have been doing my best to practice accepting, but am feeling very frustrated at the moment.

    I have been a follower of Paul’s site/blog for at least 4 years, off and on, but I have been following it more frequently these past few weeks because I am trying to find reassuring posts with which to use against my anxiety habit. My anxiety has run the gamut, from relationship anxiety, disturbing thoughts (fear of developing suicidal tendencies is a big one for me at the moment), health anxiety, agoraphobia, etc. It is draining, as I’m sure you all know. Now, I have had moments of clarity over the past 14 years in which I feel more calm and sure, but when I sink again, I feel like I’m sinking to a new depth, and that terrifies me. Obviously, aside from anxious symptoms, depressive thinking moves in, because of the fatigue associated with the anxiety. What twisted sisters depression and anxiety are!

    I suppose I am simply looking for encouragement, particularly from those who have recovered. It’s one thing to find kindred spirits in suffering, but it’s another to find them in those who have made it through and believe you can as well. Some days, it’s hard to believe that recovery is possible for myself, which is why I try to find similarities between my story and those of others who have bested this problem.

    What I need is to learn how to let the down moods, disturbing thoughts and burst of anxiety have their way without being impressed by them. I have not yet had that “click” for me, and I keep waiting, but so far it hasn’t happened. The frustrating thing is knowing that success lies within myself, and that it’s me who is keeping it at bay. I just wish I could finally understand what Candie, Paul, Helen and other recovered people are saying. I want to get on with my life and stop obsessing over how I feel!

    Thank you for reading. It helps to let some of it out and I hope one day I can come to this site with the purpose of helping rather than needing help.


  448. Daniel Says:

    I am familiar with the feeling that you’re falling to new depths. In truth you aren’t, it’s anxiety trying to stay relevant. Once you get use to a certain negative feeling anxiety needs to change things up to feel just as raw as it was at the beginning. Actually I shouldn’t say it’s anxiety trying to stay relevant, anxiety is your friend, this is the ‘disturbing thoughts’ and self-awareness that makes thing feel repeatedly fresh. And I do understand the longer it is that you feel this way the farther away the good times seem, but just remember how this whole thing started. For me personally it started during one of the best periods of my life, I really had everything together emotionally and was finally realizing some things I had been dreaming of for years…. and then it hit me.
    Within a week I was asking myself ‘How did I go from feeling like THAT to feeling like THIS?’ The reverse is also true. And I’m not saying you’ll get better in a week, I’m just saying what Paul says, and”How you feel today is not a reflection of how you’ll feel in the future.” You’ll work your way back to being a happy person and then you’ll surpass that happiness because you’ll have rid yourself of anxiety.

    That ‘click’ is the key, where we manage to separate our thoughts/feelings from who we are. I don’t think you should expect a moment where you actually notice the click, for example I had a big success a couple of days ago when I let some disturbing thoughts into my head scoffed at them and let them go. The click isn’t a moment it’s more of a period of trial and error and growth. It felt like such a huge victory and I know if I continue doing this I’ll start having more and more victories.

    I know it’s not the success story you wanted and I’m not one of those ‘enlightened’ individuals who has all the answers. But I just wanted to offer what little advice that I could at the moment.
    I’m sure Paul, Candie, Helen, Scarlet or one of many many others who have been through this have more insightful things to say, but I felt after all the help I’ve been asking for today I should at least attempt to ease somebody else’s worry.

    Take care of yourself,

  449. Doreen. Says:

    However Nolan, if you read Pauls’ post dated 27th June on the facebook page you will see he has a very different take on mindfulness now.

  450. Kat Says:

    Thanks, Daniel.

    I am totally confused by this whole mess. Just now, I’ve returned from a walk to the grocery store, and along the way I thought I was going to burst into tears. I walk this same path at least three times a week! It was on overwhelming, depressive feeling, and when I go to the store, I had to ask my daughter not to speak to me because I was sure I was going to erupt into panicky tears. Then, to top it off, I got outside, realized I’d forgotten something, and the hubby went in to get it, not knowing why I had asked him to. A former co-worker happened to come by, and stopped for a chat, and I was so worried about offending her with my lack of enthusiasm in the conversation. I marched straight home afterward, fell onto the couch and had to stop myself from crying in front of my family who probably think I’ve lost my mind.

    Logically, I know I haven’t, but I’m so upset about how I feel at the moment! I would love to cry just to release some of this horrible tension. I haven’t felt like this in years, and I’m so angry at myself for allowing it to happen. People count on me, and I need to find a way to accept what is happening so that the symptoms lesson, but right now I feel like I will never know what that’s like.

    Sorry to post something so negative. I am genuinely glad for those of you who have figured it out and are on the way to recovery. I just want to be able to say I’m one of you.

  451. Nolan Says:

    Granted Doreen…
    but Paul said that with respects to what he actually did during his recovery.
    If he’s since changed his mind then okay…. but that quote says what he actually did.

    Aren’t those two different things?

    That quote says he even tried something very similar to the approaches of mindfulness and it didn’t work for him.

    And that was my experience as well.
    Sure, maybe there’s some ways that the two overlap.

    But mindfulness wants you to “non-judgementally” engage with your thoughts and feelings. What Paul did was giving them space and not caring about them…. to not give them extra attention (judgementally or otherwise).

  452. Steve Says:

    Paul – If I’m hearing you right you are saying to accept your anxiety and quit trying to fix it. But isn’t reading your book and blog trying to fix it and make it go away?


  453. Lui Says:

    So to the subject of mindfulness again. I used my superb facebook stalking skills and found Paul’s mindfullness post. There was one guy asking paul if he could practice mindfulness next to his book and paul answered something like: try it, you might get sth out of it ornot.”
    some people may help and some not. i still think it’s great for learning floating. butas long as we practice paul advice we all have the chance to recover. sry for my English I’m tired and my keyboard is not functioning quiet right

  454. Nolan Says:

    I apologize.

    I said I wouldn’t argue the topic and I did.

    I guess it’s a knee jerk reaction because so many things I lump under the category of “things I did that didn’t work”. Things that just increased the frustration for me. Breathing exercises, progressive relaxation, supplements, herbs, work out routines…. and through it all the fear and doubt lingered.

    I don’t doubt for a second that many of those things might be great at dealing and limited stress in a person’s life.

    But anxiety is a different beast than stress.

    With stress I could eventually come down, calm my racing heart, and eventually have a clear mind.

    Anxiety was different entirely.

  455. Tracy Says:

    Can someone please reply and help me? New here.

    I started practicing Pauls technique in Nov. 2012. I’d like to say that since may 2013 until now, I have been recovered in the sense that things did not throw me, I no longer had panic attacks, etc. but now, I’ve finally weened off Prozac (id been given it October 2012 & didn’t really think it helped anyway. I felt that Paul’s method is what “cured” me) and suddenly I’m crying a lot, really anxious in this new school semester, romantically anxious about a guy I just met (like literally crying scared he won’t like or accept me like this) and overall I have fears about never being able to travel the world like many of my friends are. I KNOW deep inside those are silly thoughts. But my concern is WHY after over a YEAR of feeling great (of course some bad days) is my anxiety coming back very vigorously?! What does Paul mean by RECOVERY? So am I not recovered? Will I always have these crushing setbacks years apart? I’m fearful as I right this because it pisses me off!

    I don’t know if this has to do Prozac and getting off of it, but either way, I don’t want medicine. I want to do it the way Paul taught.

    Please help me see through this.


  456. D-Ren Says:

    Lui where are ya from?

  457. TW Says:

    Can someone please reply and help me? New here.

    I started practicing Pauls technique in Nov. 2012. I’d like to say that since may 2013 until now, I have been recovered in the sense that things did not throw me, I no longer had panic attacks, etc. but now, I’ve finally weened off Prozac (id been given it October 2012 & didn’t really think it helped anyway. I felt that Paul’s method is what “cured” me) and suddenly I’m crying a lot, really anxious in this new school semester, romantically anxious about a guy I just met (like literally crying scared he won’t like or accept me like this) and overall I have fears about never being able to travel the world like many of my friends are. I KNOW deep inside those are silly thoughts. But my concern is WHY after over a YEAR of feeling great (of course some bad days) is my anxiety coming back very vigorously?! What does Paul mean by RECOVERY? So am I not recovered? Will I always have these crushing setbacks years apart? I’m fearful as I right this because it pisses me off!

    I don’t know if this has to do Prozac and getting off of it, but either way, I don’t want medicine. I want to do it the way Paul taught.

    Please help me see through this.

  458. Lui Says:

    Hey D-Ren,
    I’m from Germany. Hbu?

  459. Chrissy Says:

    Posted on the wrong page…. Been using Pauls method and has helped a great deal with anxiety thoughts and feelings. However, the depressive thoughts and feelings remain and are more difficult to observe and not react. Do I use pauls method for the depressive thoughts/feelings also?

    to all the newbies His method works. Ive been a suffer of my mind and thoughts for 15 years. Its not an easy method and one you are not used to. There is no quick fix (believe me I have tried them all) Don’t react to the thoughts/feelings. Allow them, let them come full steam ahead and go about your daily life. Believe me you will not act out your thoughts nor will they make you crazy. It may seem false some days other days easier. No you’re not the only one, no you are experiencing different or worse symptoms than the rest of us. Its all anxiety some have different thoughts or moods or feelings.. ANxiety is smart like that it will give you what you fear most. However, you are smarter. Let anxiety have its say and DONT react to it. Its just thoughts and feelings. Complete nonsense. Just anxiety talking not YOU. Let it talk and not react, laugh at it, say hello to it and move on

  460. Tracy Says:


    How long have you been following Paul’s methods?

    I have been for almost 2 years (time FLIES) and I’m having a setback dyer a year of feeling great.

  461. D-Ren Says:

    Lui, Finland 😛

  462. Karen Says:

    Honey, I have been trying to get an answer to the rumination question, for me its worry about the others or focussed on my anxiety. For others it focuses on past events. This is the theory I have gathered, which may be right or wrong, others can add what they think.

    1. If you are ruminating and it is not bothering you emotionalky or you are not reacting to it. Fine, ruminate away.

    2. In the search bar at the top search Pauls site for ‘how to calm an avtive mind’. He actually says he stopped himself ruminating ????? I think he means much like number 3 below???

    3. Treat the rumination thoughts like intrusive thoughts. Notice you are doing them, label them ‘oh those are my ruminating thoughts again’ …. then redirect your attention to your breath, senses or something you are doing.

    4. Repetitive thoughts ….. I sit down on purposre, literally open up my mind and say go on then repeat all you like. I eventually find my mind gets bored of them and naturally moves on to something else. The thought loses its impact.

    Just my thoughts on some things I am trying, hope it helps. As Racch says, these things take practice and will to keep doing it every time you notice it.
    Whilst we have to do ‘nothing’ to recover, that nothing does seem to involve effort to stop yourself doing something. Ie. Reacting.

  463. Karen Says:

    About the future, not ‘others’

  464. Karen Says:

    So sorry about my spelling. This key pad is awful. I will start checking!q

  465. Lui Says:

    Haha nice D-Ren! Always thought I was the only one from a non Englsh speaking country! Not true at all I guess!

  466. Rachel Says:

    How do I get ride of anxeity when I really don’t believe it is can’t even move my head from side to side without going dizzy really had enough xx

  467. Kat Says:

    Hello all,

    For me, this setback (I will call it a setback, even though I never really felt recovered, but I was managing fairly well) is really horrible for me. It’s like I’ve forgotten everything I’ve learned from this site and elsewhere, and have sunk right back into the pit. I am awash with feelings of high anxiety, depression, despair, self-doubt etc. and it is affecting every aspect of my life. I actually told my boss what is going on because I didn’t want her to think I wasn’t on top of my job like I usually am, and she was actually quite sympathetic. After a particularly difficult weekend and return to work (I didn’t know if I could last the day; I haven’t been like this in years!), I decided to see my doctor.

    My doctor explained that thoughts will affect body chemistry, and vice versa, so naturally it stands to reason that if you change your thoughts, or rather how you respond to them, that your body chemistry will level out. I don’t know why this is bothering so much! She didn’t try to push medication on me, although I did accept a prescription for a mild sedative to help me calm enough to regroup and try practice again, but I still felt strangely defective and defeated when I left her office. At the moment, I feel like I will never know what it’s like to be happy again, which logically makes no sense, but it feels so incredibly real.

    I am so sensitized right now that I can barely stand to look at the news, and any sad story hits me right in the gut, making me worry that I’ll sink into a deep depression and never get out. I have read others’ comments, and I know what I’m typing is not original, but when it’s you, doesn’t it feel like you’re the only one?

    I’m trying to accept this turn of events with a positive attitude, but so far it isn’t working. I will try to float through this, but I have to tell you, all I want to do is cry. Is it wrong to cry?

    Sorry for the negative post. I am feeling fairly crestfallen and hopeless at the moment and I felt it was better to unload here than on my family who would only worry. Any positive suggestions are most welcome.

  468. Riri Says:

    Hey eveyone,
    Hope everyone is going great. I have been doing fantastic. This past week has been a little weird though. I wouldn’t call it a setback. Let me explain:
    Last month was a but of a stressor for me. I was having some marriage problems. This whole month I didn’t really have anxiety or depression. I had a lot of deep thinking about my situation. But no real symptoms.
    After solving our problems and getting on with life, I have noticed all week that u gave random dull aches all over my body. Especially in my hands and legs. Not really pain but achy. I know that anxiety could be the culprit. After being stressed and angry for a while and the tension builds up. But I can’t help but think maybe it is something else. More serious. I remember when I first started suffering with anxiety almost 1 year ago I got all tests done. Nothing was wrong. I was fine. I keep thinking what if I have fibro myalgia or cancer. It’s not debilitating anxiety but something that is bothering me. I also have more headaches. Any advice. .

  469. Karen Says:

    Riri, Is this a symptom you had before with anxiety? If not, I would be tempted to get it checked before you label it as anxiety.

  470. tim Says:

    Hey Lui, I’m your neighbour, from the Netherlands.

  471. Lui Says:

    Dag tim! :)
    Even a neighbor is on this blog wow! Btw, I love the Netherlands!

  472. Lorry Says:

    Hi kat,

    I understand how you feel my lovely
    , I too am in the same boat. Believe me it will pass with time and patience and acceptance. Yes as I am typing this I having to believe it too. As tough as things seem right now I found myself looking back at how I had coped previously with this and actually gave myself a pat on the back as I have coped far better. Look at it as a chance to practice your learnings. Don’t feel defeated by the gp thing, they are there to assist you. I too am on meds , but it won’t be forever x just a blip on the radar as they say, stay strong and things will change x

  473. Kat Says:

    Thanks, Lorry.

    I so appreciate your response. It’s hard, feeling the need to reach out to others who are suffering and then coming at them with a post that is long and probably mirrors what they’re feeling. These past few days have been so difficult for me! I thought I had been doing so well, and then I fell into the trap again. I suppose the most difficult aspect is questioning everything I’ve learned on this site. I’ve been ‘what iff’ing’ relentlessly, and this morning, I thought I would go crazy when I got to work. How was I going to make it through the day? But, I did, and it was very, very hard, but I did it. Your response was very encouraging, and I thank you. When I’m in the throes of it, I can’t think straight and need someone else to say “Hey, I get it! I’ve been there, and I am certain that this approach works!”. Without this site, I don’t know where I’d be. This time around, though, I’ve been reading the words, and finding that they don’t connect with me. Such a simple set of instructions, and yet, when I try to understand them, I fail miserably. Why can’t I accept it and say “so what?”. It’s all so very hard.

    I am hoping I will get it at some point. I know I’m impatient and I’m thinking too much, but unfortunately, as an anxious person, this is just who I am. I am still hoping to change that!

    Thank you again. It helps so much to receive acknowledgement to a post. I am going to try to take your attitude on this and pat myself on the back for the progress I made before, and try to find my way back to it.

  474. Riri Says:

    Come to think of it Kat when I first started suffering with anxiety this was the first symptom. But when my anxiety got really bad and I had multiple symptoms at once I didn’t really pay too much attention to this symptom in particular.
    Does anyone else feel that once you are in a stressful situation you handle it very well. You don’t have any anxiety or depression. It is after all the stress is done and you move on is when everything hits.
    Last month when I was under a lot of stress I handled it great. No anxiety no nothing. Now after I solved everything and no more stress the anxiety and depression hit. I have been feeling it for a couple of days. Stomach aches, body aches headaches, difficulty breathing; fatigue. It is not as severe as it was but it is there. I go on with my day midst having all these sym and I know it may be anxiety but then I have the anxious thoughts of what if it is something else. I feel my anxiety is trying to pull me back into the cycle but I won’t let it. It is just I have been feeling blahhh for last couple of days

  475. Jake Says:

    Hope everyone is doing ok.

    Regarding relationship anxiety does it make you question if you ever loved your partner? I think in bad days I’m ripping everything apart and over analysing every single thing

  476. Kat Says:

    Thanks, Riri.

    Unfortunately, for me, this seems to be more than feeling ‘blah’. I have had the ‘blah’ days, too, and while they are really unpleasant, whatever is happening to me at the moment is beyond horrid. I have been reading whatever I can to help me develop skills in accepting and allowing feelings to happen, and yesterday they alleviated somewhat, but today was beyond awful. And, to top it off, it’s my birthday, which is really inconvenient because everyone is full of birthday cheer, and they’ve been noticing I’m not myself and are making comments, which only makes me feel worse!

    Work was absolutely difficult, and a few times, I got ready to leave because I didn’t think I could carry on. I stuck it out, though, thinking with acceptance and letting myself feel the anxiety and sadness, the feelings would eventually lessen. For a brief moment, they did, but then it all came back. Now, to be fair, this isn’t new to me. I went through this years ago, but I thought I’d bested the worst of it, only having to deal with garden-variety symptoms which, while unpleasant, were tolerable. I literally feel like a cat trying to claw its way out of a hole, and it’s terrifying. My boss even offered to give me the day off tomorrow, and I don’t know what to do, because I feel like I’m giving in if I accept the offer, but I’m so upset at the moment that I wonder if I can ever return to work and carry on like I used to.

    I know this post is negative, and I’m probably doing all sorts of things wrong, but this is truly how I’m feeling at the moment. I keep practicing, but instead of weakening, the anxiety symptoms appear to be gaining momentum. Has anyone else experienced this? What am I doing wrong?

  477. Kat Says:

    And, to add on another question from my post above, is it okay to cry? I only ask because it feels like giving in, but at the moment, I feel like it is the only thing I can do. I don’t cry easily, but right now, it seems to be very easy to do.

    I feel that I should apologize to everyone here on the board who are probably feeling inundated with so many repetitive messages. I have put up a brave front all day at work, and am just now allowing myself to “fall apart”. Also, for those who have recovered, is it okay to tide over high anxiety with prescribed meds? I have been practicing over the past few weeks letting the anxiety come and go, but as I previously stated, it has been becoming stronger, and I can’t settle down enough to stop fighting. I have been putting off taking the medication my doctor prescribed, because it feels like a step backward, giving in to defeat. Is this irrational?

  478. Lui Says:

    Hey guys,

    this is a question about all the scary thoughts. I can not think logical at this moment so I need to ask this. Are all those thoughts lies? Or is a truth attached to them? I know it’s adrenaline manifesting itself in scary thoughts but that doesn’t make them less scary.
    I’m realy afraid that I might hurt or upset people with what I am saying, so I always put on a friendly mask and start the people pleasing. I always feel like shit when I do this. I always try to make them feel good so that they won’t get angry, sad or upset. Then I wonder if people really are that judgemental like I imagine them to be?
    This is really important for me to know.

  479. Nolan Says:

    Hi Lui,

    In short: stop caring.

    You ask, “Are all those thoughts lies? Or is a truth attached to them?”.

    Stop caring. Seriously.

    Anyone in the throes of intense anxiety are going to have the same questions.
    I would have them related to sleep:

    “I’m having intense doubts as to whether I’ll be able to sleep tonight (or ever again). Are these thoughts real? I’m told to remind myself they’re irrational. However, there are times that I wasn’t able to sleep. So the thoughts/fears can’t be completely irrational. So maybe I am broken. But, I can think of times I was able to fall asleep perfectly fine and peacefully. But maybe that was a fluke. What if my body just forgot that it was broken at that point and now it’s remembering that it is indeed broken and that with this new knowledge I’ll fall further into the pit of despair and hopelessness than I have ever fell before. But this is even worse! Because this time there will be no hope!!”

    Lui, stop caring.
    You say that you’re not able to be logical (rational) at this moment. That’s perfectly normal when the anxiety is ramped up to an extreme. It happened to me all the time.
    You’ll come out of this cycle. But you won’t come out because this one time you stumbled upon just the right amount of wisdom and knowledge to forever chase away the bad, scary, doubtful, broke thoughts.

    The peace will come on its own accord. And things will make a bit more sense to you then. And better yet, you’ll naturally not even care one way or the other. You know why? Because at that point your mind will be free and clear. It will have peace again.

    Again, you can’t force your mind to be peaceful. It’s not peaceful right now….. so what? So just live with it, give it all the room it wants, don’t go out of your way to engage with those thoughts or to make sense of them because what sense is there to even make?? It’s all your attitude towards the symptoms, thoughts, doubts.
    And change that attitude to “So flippin’ what”.

    Do whatever you want to do. If you want to people please, do it. If you want to not people please…. do that.
    But regarding your internal state of mind…. stop caring.

  480. Nolan Says:

    Making room for the scary thoughts, crappy feelings doesn’t mean you’ll immediately start feeling better.
    It just means you’re changing your attitude towards them. You’re done with habitually engaging with them, you’re done with trying to make sense of them.

    I’ve mentioned this before: I didn’t have mantras that I would repeat over and over. But, when the intensity was high and the thoughts were bombarding my mind with the force of freight trains I at times reminded myself, “so what. It is what it is. Let it be there.”

  481. Jake Says:

    That is a super post. I could use exactly this with my issues.
    You are a nice man helping everyone out as best you can

  482. Jenny Lee Says:

    I feel like you a lot. I feel I am in a setback, although I was never fully recovered, just coping better and able to do much more. I have been practicing Paul’s advice for around 2 years or so. Now it’s slapped me in the face and I feel like I’m back to square 1 with the questioning, ruminating and even fighting away thoughts and feelings, trying to make sense of it all. I’m in the cycle again unfortunately and I am struggling to allow everything with acceptance because I am so scared of the thoughts and symptoms. There are many stories of people who have a ‘back to square one’ type of setback and then come out of it a few weeks later.

    I too have the delayed stress response in several ways. Like a post-traumatic stress. I coped with my Dad’s serious illness during his hospital stay but then when he returned home I went into a severely anxious state. Also, I’ve coped with 2 new jobs throughout the week, but come to Friday I totally crash out in exhaustion, back ache, slow confused thinking, nausea and migraine. It’s like my body says ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. This is hard to accept because Paul’s method would be to say ‘So what!’ and carry on, go to work etc, but I somehow feel that my body is trying to tell me to rest and slow down and I don’t think that someone without anxiety would go to work if they felt this physically unwell. Difficult one. Am thinking to cut down my days to 3 or 4 instead of 5.. not exactly normal for a 25 year old though! So health anxiety has resurfaced a bit urgh.

  483. Nolan Says:

    Hi Jenny Lee,

    You said:

    “”I feel like you a lot. I feel I am in a setback, although I was never fully recovered, just coping better and able to do much more. I have been practicing Paul’s advice for around 2 years or so. Now it’s slapped me in the face and I feel like I’m back to square 1 with the questioning””

    I used to do alot of ‘recovery tracking’ myself. “I’m 80% better now. But that’s only a 5% increase from last week…. but two weeks ago I felt like I was at about 90%…. so maybe I’m not getting any better.”

    My advice would be stop thinking of it as a process to getting better. That will come, but it comes on its own accord.
    I hit a point where I just got so sick of this recovery tracking. Then something Paul said made sense. I’m paraphrasing this, but it’s essentially, “However I am at any given point is perfectly fine”. I stopped tracking how I was doing. And however I was doing at any given point in time was ‘simply the way things are’.

    So I’d say, “let go of tracking. do what you used to do and just be”.

    We rarely hear people who don’t suffer from anxiety or depression saying things like, “well, I’m only 5% away from being perfectly happy and normal. But just last week I was only 2% away from it…. wonder what’s going on with me??”.

    They don’t do this because they’re simply in the moment.

    You said, “I have been practicing Paul’s advice for around 2 years”.
    I could be wrong, but I think Paul would say “you’re not practicing anything. You’re just being you now and you’re letting all of those thoughts, symptoms simply be there.”

    What I mean is that try not to view this like a workout or method to get something out of your life. This isn’t like jogging to lose a couple of extra pounds of weight. What you’re doing now is just stopping the fight with how you feel at any given moment. Any way you may happen to feel is perfectly fine. Adopting the attitude of “so what, it is what it is”.

    I think it would be hard for anyone to move past it when they’re putting effort into tracking their recovery or when they’re viewing what they’re doing now as a method to kick anxiety/depression out of their life.

    Or more simply stated: ‘however you are right now is okay.’

    Happy and peaceful people aren’t that way because they chased down, tackled, and conquered happiness and peace.

    No, they’re just the people that don’t put pressure on themselves to feel one way or the other…. when things get dark they accept it for what it is and move on with their lives.

    You also said,

    “There are many stories of people who have a ‘back to square one’ type of setback and then come out of it a few weeks later.”

    I don’t know anyone who hasn’t gone through very rough setbacks. Setbacks that have them doubting everything. But even with those, you’re talking in this manner of a timetable and schedule with how you hope for it to quickly dissipate.

    Just allow it. Put no constraints on how quickly it should leave. because the facts are it’s going to leave when it does independent of how much we shove it.

  484. Nolan Says:

    Two people are put into prison for the same amount of time.
    One guy is in his cell crying in self-pity one moment, banging on the cell walls the next moment, running through scenarios in his mind of how he can get out but always running into dead ends.

    The other guy sits on his bed, takes out a book, and starts to read alittle before lights out.

    Be the other guy.

  485. Jenny Lee Says:

    Thanks so much Nolan. Your advice is extremely helpful. The time you spend helping others on here I think God will bless you for. I certainly am putting far too much pressure on recovery and particularly SPEED of recovery.

    I think what you are saying is that although it is only natural to want to feel more well, I cannot speed up my mind and body’s recovery any faster than it needs. And that by willing it to go away, and quicker, this is actually stressing my mind out further. If I just step out of it’s way and allow recovery to come to me, it will do so, but only when it is ready. I have got to just accept that this is not nice, but this is the way it is for the time being and so I might as well just let go and let it be.

    Do you ever have those days where you just feel so completely exhausted and run down that it would not be OK to go to work? I work in the medical field, so if I’m not working to a certain quality, it can impact on other’s health. This is a pressure that is difficult to accept/ release!

  486. Nolan Says:

    Exactly, Jenny Lee.
    What you said in those two first paragraphs nailed.

    I really don’t like telling people what to expect with recovery. Because I think it gets them too hopeful to the point of over anticipating getting better. And then, when things don’t perfectly conform to that ‘getting better/feeling normal’ model they start re-questioning everything.

    I eventually got to this point where I was so annoyed with my habitual tendency to track my recovery. I did it in almost everything.
    This is going to sound so silly, but I bought this big package of bars of soap (I think there were like 15 in there) and I thought to myself, “By the time I’m done with the last bar of soap I bet I’ll be almost recovered”.”

    “”Do you ever have those days where you just feel so completely exhausted and run down that it would not be OK to go to work? I work in the medical field, so if I’m not working to a certain quality, it can impact on other’s health. This is a pressure that is difficult to accept/ release!””

    Yes. My sleep was impacted so severely that I would regularly only get about 1-3 hours of sleep a night.
    At one point I left work for about 2 months.
    Even when I came back the problems still lingered.

    There was a period for months on end, with no relent, where I was exhausted all day. I was dizzy, exhausted, unable to rest, eyes stinging and unable to focus on things, muscles aching, mind running a million miles a second in a million different directions.

    Eventually I told myself, “I don’t care anymore. I’m sick and tired of caring how I feel”. So I just let it all be there.
    I’d be sitting at my desk trying to do a calculation; my eyes would sting, my hands were unsteady, and then the fears of noticing I was this way and when it would end would surface…. but I’d tell myself “oh so what” and I’d get on with my work.

    I did what I could do and that was the end of it.

    “I think God will bless you”
    That’s incredibly thoughtful of you to say, Jenny Lee.
    I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers.

  487. Nolan Says:

    Great to hear, Jake.

    However you are at any given moment is simply what it is.

    Peace will come, but it comes on its own accord.
    You might not be able to actively find it, but the good news is that it knows where you are.

  488. Kat Says:

    Thank you for the response, Jenny Lee.

    Yesterday was just so difficult for me, and I think I was more upset that I was supposed to be happy because it was a birthday, not just an average day. Anxiety doesn’t care what day it is, is what I’ve learned. While I feel better today, I know that I am doing a lot of things wrong, and that concerns me. I am now off work for the weekend, but I am already anticipating what returning to work will look like, and the thought of those dreaded symptoms is really frightening me, which means I haven’t learned to say “so what?” I actually like my job, and yesterday, I was in a full tailspin about not being able to work because of this. What if they let me go? What if I have no source of income? A lot of what ifs. Another factor that really fed my panic was that co-workers were noticing, and looked concerned, which made me feel even worse!

    Whenever I read others’posts stating that they “just let it be there”, I feel maddened by what I perceive as my inability to do just that, and the cycle continues. I have a feeling I am more of a “put-upper” than anything, and for the past several years, I’ve done a good job of that. This setback has been surprising for me because of how violent and non-discriminatory it feels. Also, it seemed to come on slowly, and I practiced over and over again how to let it happen, but instead of weakening, it got stronger, and this has really been disheartening. I came home last night and cried my eyes out, which I seldom do.

    I guess I just need to believe.

  489. Jake Says:

    Hi Nolan

    Did you apply this with your relationship anxiety?
    Also when do you ever listen to your thoughts?? I know I don’t now as they are off wack

  490. nolan Says:

    Hi Jake,

    It’s the same for whatever symptom.

  491. Kevin Says:


    First off thank you for being such a supportive voice on the blog. Everyone seems to gain from your advice. I personally find that keeping yourself busy is key. And not with the intention of distracting from anxiety but just keeping your mind busy on other things will take attention away from your own problems naturally. I was in a bad setback until i re read pauls words as well as yours, nolan, and picked myself up and realized that its ok to feel anything. Now, im at a new college now and life seems better once i took my attention elsewhere. I felt down today but i didnt worry too much because it wasnt the first time that i felt that way and came over it. I know life will be worthwhile again for all of us. I know it. Im also learning to be more thankful. It makes life seems simplier and more enjoyable.

  492. Jake Says:

    Thanks Nolan
    But when do you actually listen to your thoughts. I know you don’t now as they are totally ramped up with anxiety. I’m still at the whatever stage it’s hard but I’ll get there.

  493. Lui Says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you so much Nolan! This helps me so much!
    I think I got it. Turn all the thoughts into whatevers because I’ll never be able to argue my way out of it. Not caring=peacful mind.
    Nolan, how did you etablished the whatever attitude? Where you just fed up with everything or did your attitude changed one day? How did you bring up the courage to let go!

  494. Matt Says:

    Hey all my good people!

    So I wanted to just post/run something by anyone who has something similar. I’m finding that I’m inching towards acceptance of most of my anxious thoughts and symptoms everyday. I’ve found that it’s much easier to focus on the present, even when I’m feeling extremely anxious and uncomfortable, which is exactly what I need to be doing.

    However, I’m still hamstrung on intrusive thoughts, and it’s making me feel quite down today. My intrusive thoughts started out as just a few of knives, but it’s morphed into driving, heights, hitting, and other things. It’s freaking me out a bit to have it morphing into so many areas of my life, even it’s not 100 percent constant. It makes me get frustrated, and even when I’m not feeling particularly anxious, I still can’t enjoy it because I know I’ll still have to deal with that.

    Does anyone else have experience with a bunch of intrusive thoughts, and not just one specific theme? (although all my are still harm, I guess). Also, has anyone had success in getting through this?

    I know that I’m not accepting these, which is where I’m going wrong, but it’s been very hard to find acceptance and not get frustrated/down, esp when I’ve made progress in other areas of my anxiety. Then, the only thing I can find on the internet is about OCD, which makes me feel quite depressed, bc it’s all negative stuff.

    On a side note, I did have some success with it when I took a road trip recently. I drove even though I kept having what if thoughts about driving off the side of the road, etc, and after 5 days, I noticed that I started to not be afraid of them, and I was better able to actually focus on things around me, and I enjoyed driving more. So I know that I can eventually reduce them, but this is just such a new anxiety symptom for me, and I feel very lost/scared/down about it.

    Any input from someone would be awesome!

  495. Kevin Says:

    Hey matt,

    Instrusive and depressing thoughts are my worst symptom. I can handle feeling anxious physically but its the thoughts that get me. I used to have thoughts like “im dreaming, this isnt real”, and “what if i become so depressed that i wanna commit suicide”. They were intense and scary. Now, i still get those thoughts but they have lost so much of their power over me. Everyday when i drive to work i think something like “what if i get the urge to drive on the other side of the road” but they dont bother me much because i know they arent real. Im realizing that all these thoughts and feelings are not me. I struggled hard with thoughts about having bipolar, borderline personality, or some other illness. Now they have lost so much of their power. Seriously dont buy into them its nonsense. I once had a thought (kind of embarassing) that since i got rejected by a girl i was gonna turn into that guy in california who went on a murder spree because girls didnt like him. The next week i was like “what the hell was i thinking”. So realy try to pay them no attention. Itll be hard at first but ive been at it for 3 months now and ive had setbacks, but its so much better

  496. Kevin Says:

    Didnt realize how disturbing that last thought sounds lol…but i just wanna show how much nonsense those thoughts are

  497. Matt Says:


    Thanks! That perfectly describes me too. It makes me feel insane to have so many of them sometimes. They have been bothering me less lately, but I’m getting impatient bc they still keep coming. I want them to just go away, which means I’m not accepting, and then it makes me feel anxious and down. I’m just hoping that someday these crazy thoughts will go away, and I won’t have so many triggers!

  498. Lisa E. Says:

    Hi Kevin and Matt,

    The intrusive thoughts are the hardest part. I only get those very rarely now, but I remember when I thought they would never stop. The key for me was realizing it wasn’t really about conquering any individual intrusive thought. Anxiety will just create more once you get over one. It’s sneaky that way. I know that when you are in a very anxious state, it seems like it’s impossible to get out. And for short periods of time, it probably is. Many of us who have anxiety are hyper-responsive and hyper-vigilant about the slightest change in how we feel. A little physical thing and we freak out. One wild thought and we chase it as far as we can.

    I really appreciated Paul’s most recent post. As someone who is mostly recovered, the idea of just letting a few moments of feeling weird happen and not reacting has helped a lot. Getting out of the pattern of wondering, why am I feeling this way, helps to create new patterns of not doing that. When I get brief flashes, I tell myself not to react, not to experience the feelings (or thoughts, the trickier part) as abnormal. Surprisingly, as I keep busy, they just aren’t there soon after. I’ve come to think of them just as part of who I am right now. The problem was that at one point, I reacted to them. I know that sounds horribly simply yet impassively difficult if you are in a really anxious place. But with practice, it really does get better.

  499. Matt Says:

    Lisa E,

    As always, you’re posts are so welcomed here! Thank you for that! I didn’t realize that you had this issue as well. I logically know that if you just vanquish one thought, another will come, so you must treat the root of the problem (the worry about worry), rather than the symptoms (the content of the thought). The fact that you’ve basically been able to overcome this gives me the fortitude I need to treat this the same way I’ve been treating everything else. I’ve read numerous people know who have actually set aside worry period to worry the worst things they can, which they said helped them accept the thoughts as just anxiety, which meant they could focus on the rest of their life, even if they kept having the thoughts.

    Also, I think it’s normal for most people to have some type of weird thought at some point, so you may just be “normal” now. But the fact that you’re doing so well makes me really happy! I was just getting down that I was having so many random intrusive thoughts, and it made me feel like maybe I was worse than other people (even though that sounds really self-centered!) Thanks again for the post!

  500. Daniel Says:

    Hey folks, I could use a little advice here.
    Similar to Riri’s marriage problems, some external issues have shown up in my life recently and since I’be been concentrating on that fr the past couple days I haven’t been feeling the usual symptoms of D.P or disturbing thoughts. And to be honest, that is freaking me out. Before I could feel bad and say’this is happening because of anxiety’ but, lately I just feel a little depressed and just un-content with my life. It makes me feel like my problem isn’t anxiety, but I’m just a miserable person. And I kind of miss D.P (I still have it at the moment, but not nearly to the usual degree) and I kind of wish I did, it was sort of a constant reminder that I wasn’t recovered yet and it was okay to feel bad and it also protecting me from feeling too many sad emotions.
    I don’t know if I should continue with my day hoping the symptoms come back or be glad they’re on hold (or possibly gone for good.) It’s weird I know, but it’s like a need reassurance that I am still going through this.
    I know this isn’t like a major recovery, I only read Paul’s book a week and a half ago, it’s just my mind has been on other equally unhappy things.
    It’s weird that the usual symptoms, after I had figured out what they were and what caused them, actually came as a comfort.
    That being said I obviously want to recover, I don’t enjoy the symptoms, but it’s nice to know why you feel bad and be able to relate to Paul’s book and all you others who are facing this problem.
    I’m a firm believer of Paul’s policy of “put all bad feelings and symptoms under the umbrella of anxiety,” but these past couple days I’ve had doubts (doubts that honestly are probably caused by anxiety.)
    I guess this is all a “What if?” Like I’m asking myself “What if I don’t have D.P and disturbing thoughts anymore and that means I don’t have anxiety and that means the book doesn’t apply to me and I’ll never get better!” I suppose that’s what it probably is. Just curious if anyone has experienced these sort of thoughts. Then again everybody gets their own unique insecurities and fears out of this, this could just be the form they’re taking for me.

  501. Jackie Says:

    I haven’t been on here in a while. I’m going through a marital separation right now and while it actually took a load of stress off in the beginning, now I’m starting to not be able to sleep. I clench my jaw constantly. I’m stressed about finances and the house hold and doing it all on my own with two kids. How can one recover in such a state? In was doing so well and I want to continue down the right path. Please help.

  502. Kevin Says:


    To be honest im somewhat like you. Its like i was always thinking about my own problem and therefore had something to think to worry/think about and keep my mind occupied. It became a habit to just think about myself and how i felt. Obviously i dont like the symptoms but its all i know and when they dissapear for a while and you realize it, it makes you feel empty kind of. At least it made me feel empty. But thats normal i realized but it is such a huge part of you right now that the minute its gone for a sec it feels like something is missing. Its like we are addicted to worry/introspection.
    Ive personally come to learn that i have always had high expections of myself but always fall short because of my insecurities and that makes me feel even worse. I was always looking for something to make me happy and thats why i felt empty and depressed. This turned into a rant lol but basically im sayin that feeling good but then feeling like you should be suffering is normal and in time while go away

  503. Daniel Says:

    I agree with everything you say Kevin, although I wouldn’t describe it as “feeling good,” more so, feeling kind of miserable but not feeling the usual identifiable symptoms.
    Paul says when you’re recovered you’ll know. And I know that this state I’m currently in far from where I’ll be one day when I recover. I feel a sort of third state, which is neither my pre-anxiety or post-anxiety state, it’s just an unhappy state. I feel like I can’t make any progress while I’m not feeling the usual symptoms and feelings and giving them their space or managing to live my life despite them.
    I feel a little stuck with this state and I don’t really know how to handle it. I guess I’ll have to wait and see. Things may seem clearer tomorrow or in a couple of days or some time in the future.

  504. Jake Says:

    Hi Jackie
    Did you break up from relationship anxiety?? You just have to try stay positive somehow but it will heal in time. Things tend to look after themselves after a while so keep your head up

  505. Lisa E. Says:

    Hi Jackie,

    One thing that I have learned is that there is a big difference between real stress (work, relationship, death in the family problems, etc) and anxiety. The real stress has a reason, the anxiety often doesn’t have a real cause, although it can seem pretty real and even if the cause is something real our response is exaggerated. When I had some major life stress last year, I got pretty worried that my anxiety would come back. While you have to take care of yourself and treat yourself well, the real stress is a natural process that you are going through. It will take time. The key is to remember all of your anxiety coping skills and that you know how to handle it. Just because you feel stress doesn’t mean you are anxious. I remember going through my stressful period and worrying that all of my real worry was going to put me down and anxious path again. For brief periods it did because I was worried about it. But for me, the worst part of anxiety was always the fact that it was wasted time (time when I could have been enjoying myself). Getting finances in order, healing from a relationship that ended, starting over, etc… all of that is tough, but it isn’t wasted time. If you can try to see the difference between the stress and the anxiety, it can help.

  506. Kat Says:

    Hi everyone,

    As previously posted, last week was beyond rough for me. After many years of moving forward from my troubles with anxiety, in that I managed to get myself out of agoraphobic behaviours, I found myself flailing again. Obviously, this has been very difficult, and instead of coming to this blog occasionally to reinforce Paul’s advice and teachings, I started to haunt it regularly, finding it to provide the only sense of relief. Thank you to everyone who replied to my posts; when you’re flailing, it is so important to feel like you’ve been heard. I am always filled with gratitude whenever someone expresses encouragement, which I’m sure many of us will find is lacking in our real lives.

    Now, I know that it’s a mistake to constantly be gauging our daily reactions to anxious feelings, but for me it has become very difficult not to do. Yesterday, I wanted to cry with gratitude because I felt somewhat peaceful, but you know why? Because I didn’t have to go to work and my family gave me space to rest and just be myself. Now, today, there is so much tension in me, particularly in my throat and chest, and I know it is anticipatory anxiety because I have to return to work on Tuesday. I have been practicing accepting for most of the day, even venturing out to go shopping (with the hubby, of course; alone would be overwhelming, but then again, it always has been), but am not finding that the anxiety is letting up. I am just seeking advice/encouraging thoughts on how to best approach my return to work. I am so worried about having a panicky morning, which may well lead into another hellish week for me, and I am exhausted just thinking about it.

    I hope you all are feeling better and are progressing in your respective journeys. I swear, I don’t know how I’d cope if the information and positive thoughts on this blog weren’t accessible.

    Good vibes to all.

  507. Jackie Says:

    Jake – no it wasn’t because of relationship anxiety. I’m not even sure what that is. And Lisa, I really don’t know the difference between stress and anxiety. I didn’t know there was a difference.

  508. Kat Says:

    Further to my post above, does anyone else have a problem with relentless yawning following an anxiety attack? It is quite hard to hide, and I’m very self-conscious of it when I’m at work.

  509. Jake Says:


    I suffer with relationship anxiety. People often say go with your gut feeling in my case if that is the case I would end my relationship. I feel I just wired wrong it’s starting to affect my whole mood with work, my partner etc as I feel quite down over it. If I end my relationship it might turn out to be the biggest mistake of my life.
    Do I ignore my gut feeling? And just keep trucking on until my mind heals? I’m starting to think maybe I don’t have anxiety and it’s just my relationship!!!

  510. Jenny Lee Says:

    Thank you so much for your reply and for your prayers. All your advice makes so much sense. I’m so thankful to have someone on the blog to offer such sound, helpful advice. Sometimes I think recovery from anxiety can enhance some pretty incredible kindness and giving qualities in a person, just like it did for Paul who has given so much.

    When DP lifts, it is classic that you feel ‘flat’ and ’emotionally depleted’ as Claire Weekes put it. This is because emotions have been protected by your mind for a long time and then to start feeling them feels extreme, strange, horrible even. I got this bad a while ago, and then started worrying about it so DP came back! Then lifted again etc. This is most definitely a symptom of anxiety, too. The key is.. Accept everything! However you feel right now is OK. You don’t need to work anything out, you don’t need to change anything. Just let yourself feel the sadness, the flatness. You can certainly make progress if you apply Paul’s advice to your sad feelings in the same way that you did to DP. It’s not true depression, it’s more depletion. However, Claire Weeke’s patients with actual depression actually recovered in the same way: acceptance, floating, letting time pass – so this may reassure you that the advice works for both types anyway!

    I really feel for you. I have work anxiety a lot too. I work Tuesday to Friday (or Sat some weeks) and the physical symptoms I get make working feel impossible sometimes. I also yawn after a lot of anxiety – I believe this is your bodies way of releasing, similar to sighing, but it also may be due to the fact that anxiety drains us of energy and makes us feel tired, exhausted even! But the extra stress we put on ourselves is what is keeping it going… saying I have to feel better to be able to work effectively, I cannot cope with these symptoms for the whole 9 hours at work, what if colleagues notice, what if I get a bad stomach, what if I have to leave cos I feel so bad, what if this is something other than anxiety, what if, what if! I think to move forward we must first of all, just do it! However we feel, just go into work anyway and see what happens. And secondly, with practice and time, learn to work with the feelings being there, knowing that anxiety is not truly harmful, it just makes us feel bad. Thirdly, and after much time I can imagine – complete and utter acceptance of all the symptoms, regardless of how bad they make us feel.

    Hope everyone has a blessed and ‘accepting’ day.

  511. Kate W Says:

    I literally could have wrote your post myself…I worried that as my Dp has pretty much lifted and I don’t have any real symptoms of anxiety left I was recovered…so why don’t I feel recovered and of course that sent me back into the loop. It’s just residual symptoms that will take longer to shift…I can’t explain how I feel at the minute…confusion pure tiredness flat etc I just feel slightly weird my head doesn’t feel quite right and not quite in the moment I know I’m not fully recovered it’s all down to time :-)

  512. Kat Says:

    Thanks, Jenny Lee.

    Years ago, when this first became an issue for me, I worked at a job where I could hide a bit and stay away from people. Now, I teach, so it’s hard to pretend I’m feeling sharp and rosy when on the inside I feel like I’m falling apart. I did my best last week, and I forced myself to stick with it, but this morning I woke full of adrenaline, realizing that tomorrow I have to get back into the job. I have been practicing acceptance this morning, but I won’t lie, I’m full of fear about what tomorrow will look like.

    What I’ve realized about this setback? I have developed obsessions over the years: relationship, going out, health etc., but this time, my anxiety is the obsession. I’m going to do my best to follow your advice, though, and just do it. I used to love my job, and being there used to be almost calming for me, so I’m hoping that feeling will return.

    I am absolutely exhausted with “what if?”

  513. Daniel Says:

    Thank you Jenny Lee and thank you Kate W
    Hearing other people stories is like 50% of the comfort that has come from discovering Paul’s website/book/blog. There is nothing more assuring than that.
    It’s true, attributing everything to the anxiety takes a load off your mind. Last week I was explaining that mentality to some close friend at a birthday party, but sometimes I forget to practice what I preach! I suppose that’s one of the hardest parts, even after you have all the knowledge and assurance you’ll need to recover when anxiety hits you you’ll forget that. After a while I hope to be able to retain the information I need when I need it most. That’s a skill I need to slowly build and it’ll eventually be a big part of getting better.
    In summary: Anxiety will cause you to doubt your own ability to get better and doubt the effectiveness of Paul’s strategies, simply because that’s what anxiety does. After a while, you’ll get to a point where you can see that the only reason you feel/think that way is because of the anxiety itself and you can really start taking major steps in recovery without even trying.
    I’m feeling pretty positive determined (the good kind) right now, and although I know I could feel awful tomorrow, or even later tonight I’ll remember this instant. I still remember a moment last Tuesday in which I had so much clarity and positivity on my situation and although these feelings are fleeting they are very real, unlike the feelings, thoughts and fears that buzz around my head all day.
    Thanks everyone! Don’t lose hope, and if you do remember you’ll get it back in due time!

  514. Lisa E. Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    I was reading something you posted a few weeks ago and I saw that you mentioned a kind of breathing anxiety. Did that have any actual physical basis, like a health issue, or was it completely from anxiety? I’m curious because I have bad allergies during certain times of the year and this causes some breathing symptoms that I take medication for during flare-ups. Even though my shortness of breath is pretty mild compared to other people, I find that I get really anxious about it. And if I’m already in an anxious cycle (thankfully that’s pretty rare from me), it just becomes part of my anxiety. Then anxiety makes it worse, etc. I’m always checking to make sure my breathing is ok and concentrating on it too much.

    For me, I continue to treat anxiety with acceptance, but I’m also having to work on simply accepting an annoying health problem that I really wish wasn’t there in a similar way to anxiety. My only setbacks in the past few years have happened around times when my health condition flares up. I can look back and identify the ways that my over-active brain made things worse.

  515. Riri Says:

    Does anyone ever feel uncomfortable in their own body. As though I just want to crawl out of my skin. This usually happens to me when I am overwhelmed or irritated.

  516. Nolan Says:

    Hi Lisa,

    My breathing anxiety was me thinking/believing that I would have to consciously breathe. And that I would always have to pay attention to my breathing. Meaning, I would have to willfully breathe and that my body would never be able to do it “on its own” so to speak.

    I just mention the breathing anxiety to show that one’s fears and doubts and symptoms might change a bit from time to time. You might keep the same core and then these new ones pop up.

    But the advice is always the same: its your attitude towards them that makes the difference.

    Changing your attitude towards them doesn’t mean they will immediately evaporate. It just means you’re done fighting with all of this. You’re going to let whatever wants to be there all the space and time it wants.

    My main thing was sleep.

    So I’ll use that as an example:

    I’d get the thought/’wave of fear and doubt’ that I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night, or that I lost my ability to peacefully fall asleep, that I was broken beyond repair.
    What I used to do when this nightmare started was jump on line and search and search and search…. try this, try that. Talk to almost everyone I’d come in contact with “have you ever struggled with sleep?”….
    It consumed everything I did.

    I started following Paul’s advice and I tried to get back on with my life not caring how I felt, if those fears came, if I was able to sleep or not/or how much I got….
    It was a bumpy ride for awhile. This is very easy to do…. but it’s confusing at the same time, “how do I just let it be there? How do I not get afraid?”

    I started to learn that it’s not about “not being afraid”. That happens beyond your immediate control. It’s more, “being ok with the fact that I’m full of fears and doubts right now”.

    I had to remind myself at times, “Nolan, it’s okay to feel this way. Big whoop. Just let it be there.”

    There was a point when I would lurk this forum even after following Paul’s advice. At one point I had to pull myself away. I wasn’t accepting this/letting it be there if I was scouring the content of this blog to find someone “just like me” who “had all of my problems and overcame them all”.

    I’m not different than any of you. Many times I thought, “Paul’s advice is for someone else…. not me. He didn’t mention sleep enough in his book or on this blog for it to pertain to me”.
    But, that’s just chasing after the symptom. I would still get that doubt, but I’d tell myself, “whether that doubt I have is true or not…. I want to get my life back”
    So, with all of those fears and doubts brewing there…. I still moved on. Thinking that none of this would even help me, I still moved on and let it all be there.

    Setbacks came…. and so did moments of clarity and peace.
    Setbacks came again…. and so did the peace and normality.

  517. Lisa E. Says:

    Thanks for that Nolan,

    I have had two really good years with long stretches with no symptoms, so I know that Paul’s system works and I have a psychologist who has a very compatible approach to Paul’s. Personally, I have a strong aversion to meds. I know they work for some folks.

    I know what you mean about thinking that you have to consciously breathe. Biologically you absolutely don’t; that’s why you live through your sleep! This past time, I thought that my “conscious breathing” was just anxiety and I made the mistake of ignoring it, and then my allergy breathing symptoms got worse. So basically, I’m having a hard time figuring out when it’s my allergies or when it’s anxiety and that’s really frustrating. This past weekend I traveled a lot with the car windows down – a perfect recipe for having a reaction to all the ragweed where I live. Yet when I got shortness of breath I started obsessing over it and thinking of all the other horrible health conditions it might be other than allergies. It’s like when anxiety takes over, logic goes out the window. I’m recovered enough to recognize this for what it is, to distance myself from it, and hopefully to learn from my patterns.

    One thing that has worked for me recently is just focusing on the fact that not once has my anxiety ever led me down the correct path. And not once have any of my anxiety scenarios ever played out in reality. So when I feel myself fearing a situation, I tell myself to think of all the other times I’ve feared the same situation for no reason. It’s simply a thinking pattern, that thankfully can be replaced by new patterns as anxiety subsides.

    If I keep busy, I barely have symptoms of anxiety at all. Weirdly, it’s weekends or vacations when things act up.

  518. Jake Says:

    Could someone help me out with my comment above please

  519. Nolan Says:

    Hi Jake,

    I don’t mean this to be rude, but you’ve asked the same question quite a few times and have been answered by many people on here.
    One answer that I gave you on that topic was back on:
    July 15th, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    I understand that you’re frustrated and confused. But there’s got to be that jump off point where you just take the advice and run with it.

    Try to make it less about you and more about her. Don’t do things for her to try to jump start your feelings for her…. do things for her because you want her to be happy. It’s an obligation you have towards your wife. Now, you can break that obligation…. no one can strong arm you into staying with her if you really don’t want to.
    Unless she’s cheating on you, violent with you…. or whatever. But, that doesn’t sound to be the case. It just sounds like your feelings to her are completely flat. Yes, I’ve been there. Yes, it does pass.

  520. Jake Says:

    Thanks Nolan you are correct.. Feelings are flat and you are right I have asked this before.
    Need to just implement the advice. Ignore my feelings even if it’s my gut feeling and keep practicing

  521. Jackie Says:

    Jake, Every marriage and relationship has feelings of dull moments and feeling flat. You have to do what Nolan suggested and bring the spark back into your marriage. Do things for her to make her happy and in turn she will try to make you happy as well. Its a cycle of give and take, and most people do not know that you have to give in order to receive.

    I have a question for you… I haven’t had a panic attack in a while. I feel my body beginning to get anxious and I just shrug it off like no big deal. I feel like I am finally on the right road to recovery. I pay my anxiety no mind. However, I am stressed out a lot… Am I still recovering even though I experience high amounts of stress? Also, what are some ways I can effectively reduce my stress? It makes me irritable most of the time. Can you be recovered and still experience stress?

    Thanks in advance!

  522. Nolan Says:

    No problem at all, Jake.

    Don’t get too hard on yourself.
    A long while back on this forum I used to create fake user names asking the same questions about my anxiety issues because I wanted people to start addressing it in particular.

    So hey, I’ve been pretty desperate in my past on this whole thing.

    Be patient with yourself, give yourself time, don’t force yourself to feel a certain way, but make it less about you.

    I would have times when I couldn’t even stand my wife’s (girlfriend at the time) hand on my shoulder. It would literally make my skin crawl. I wanted to shove her away.
    Or, if we were going to be on a long trip together I’d be freaking out trying to find ways to back out of it.

    Now this is a great girl. She’s the most patient, understanding, selfless person I know. I should be thankful that I got to have a person like her in my life.
    One day I was exceptionally rude to her. And she started crying. She looked so heartbroken.
    This girl is perpetually positive, always puts others before her own needs.

    I eventually told myself, “tough f’n luck, Nolan…. this isn’t about you anymore. You’re going to make this girl happy regardless of how you feel.”

    So, I stopped making it about what I wanted. Because, truth be told, I had no flippin’ clue what I even wanted. I was a confused, lost, pathetic, husk of a man.

    So, I started being more about her and less about me. I didn’t do things with her to gain something for me anymore. I wanted her to be happy and my interests were going in the backseat.

    Then, I would start to have feelings for her again. But they would pass…. it would frustrate me, but I went back to what I was doing. I wanted her to be happy, didn’t care if I was happy or not.
    Then the feelings came again. And I’d have these moments where I would think, “Oh my God! I can’t believe I was so close to ending it with her. What the hell was wrong with me?!?!”

    This is a cycle I would go through many times. but it got easier.

    My advice here is simple: make it less about you, more about the ones in your life.
    The crappy feelings, thoughts arise,…. let them be there as long as they want to. I’d tell them, “oh, it’s you again…. time for you to get used to the way things are now.”

    For your own sake, Jake…. take some time off from this place. From all of the searching.
    I won’t look down on you at all if you come back soon. I’ve been there.

  523. Nolan Says:

    Hi Jackie,

    you asked:

    “I have a question for you… I haven’t had a panic attack in a while. I feel my body beginning to get anxious and I just shrug it off like no big deal. I feel like I am finally on the right road to recovery. I pay my anxiety no mind. However, I am stressed out a lot… Am I still recovering even though I experience high amounts of stress? Also, what are some ways I can effectively reduce my stress? It makes me irritable most of the time. Can you be recovered and still experience stress?”

    That’s an incredible question.
    This is something I struggled with alot too when I was getting better.
    I know that it was my poor handling of stressors that initially brought this whole nightmare on.
    Prior to my anxiety/depression (and all of the symptoms) was my poorly handling stress. Very poorly handling stress.
    Everything was setting me off. Neighbor kid playing basketball late into the evening. Other neighbor’s dog barking. People at work talking too loud….everything.

    I’d see other people handle this stuff more graciously. But I would do whatever I could do to change it. But there’s only so much you can change. Somethings eventually going to get to you.

    With the stressors I started to change my attitude. heck, I wanted to be like the guy at work who never gets upset. He gets loaded with work and it doesn’t piss him off.
    I would get loaded with work and I’d bug out, “This isn’t fair!”

    Those things that were the stressors I handled poorly…. I made it my goal to be at peace with them too.
    It took time…. but it came.

    Now, stress by itself won’t through you out of wack. It’s the reaction to that stress.
    Even if it’s annoying you.
    I’d still get annoyed but I’d tell myself, “nope, Nolan… you’re not going to pace around the house trying to find a way to get that dog to stop barking. Just let it alone.”
    Or, “Stop finding ways to seek pity for all of the work you think is unfairly put on your shoulders. Just do what you can do and be done with it.”

    It’s the reaction to the stress that builds it up or takes the wind out of it.
    If you feel yourself getting annoyed, perfectly fine and normal…. just don’t pour more fuel on the fire by letting those feelings and thoughts start dictating actions.

  524. Bryan Says:

    Awesome, Nolan!

  525. Lui Says:

    Could I ask what it is like to be anxiety free? How does it feel and what is it like? I’m really interested in that. I’ve lived with high anxiety my whole life and I can’t imagine a life without it. Is it worth the effort of facing? Stupid question maybe? I don”t know…it’s like my whole past is based on anxiety, my perfectionism, my success, every thing. And I’m asking myself: who am I even without this?

  526. Kat Says:


    I can absolutely relate to your comments regarding stress. I don’t think I’ve ever been particularly good at handling stress, either. Brought up in a stressful home (my mother was highly combative and violent at times), I suppose I didn’t learn the coping skills necessary to deal with stress. I am not blaming her entirely, but I definitely feel that the way I handle stress/anxiety/panic has to do with the fact that I learned how to be a nervous person.

    I’m not at the “so what?” stage, yet. Also, I know that second-fear absolutely lives in me, but I won’t stop trying. What gets me believing are the posts by you and other people who are recovered/nearly recovered. I’m grateful for that.

  527. Jake Says:


    1 more thing before I give this a proper go and ban myself from this site. All during my relationship I have got small bouts of this all the way through but it always went away on its own accord. This time round it is hanging around it is questioning every little thing which is normal in this case.
    My partner is a super woman but I just constantly put a wedge between us and convince myself I’m not attracted to her and it will never work. I have always thought I was going crazy until I found this site but even still it’s hard to grasp but I want to save it I really do ( I think) I hope I am not wasting her time and not just being a coward

  528. Lui Says:

    Sorry to post again but just in this moment I have a moment of clearity and such a strong flood of feelings that tell me that it’s time to wake up, to finally face! I was looking at a picture from two years ago and suddenly I was swept away buy my mind telling me to face and to see the big picture of this anxiety.
    I’m so locked up in my mind that I am almost blind. I just realized this and it’s a horrible thought that lived my life in a trance and just now, just now the curtain lifts a bit. I am a slave to anxiety and I just realized this after all this time. I was not in control, but I always thought I was. Right now I think what the fuck am I doing here? Isolating myself, breaking up all the contact to my friends!
    This is so horrible!
    The horrible thing for me is that tomorrow, when I wake up, I am in this trance again and I will totally believe my mind that I am safe in my comfortable anxiety zone I life in. I will search the web for exits and solutions but my dull mind will tell me all the lies again and I will believe them.
    Basically all my posts from the past are written not by my true self but by my “anxiety self”.
    I don’t want to lose this moment. I see the truth right now! I finally want to face and don’t be the coward I am. Gosh, why is this so hard for me? I feel like I am in the “matrix” and I can chose between the red, or the blue pill. Either stay in my anxiety world and exclude all the dangers of the world or break out of “the matrix” and face all the dangers I imagine. I just realized that outside of my anxiety world there is something far bigger for me than I can imagine. And it’s not bad but good.
    It’s time for me. Since two years it’s time for me to say “screw it” and face my fears.

  529. Daniel Says:

    Nice one Lui!
    I know the feeling, last week I went to bed with so much clarity and I knew when I woke up it would be gone. So I remembered what Paul said, that all your progress is always there buried under symptoms.I still think about that moment of clarity nowadays and it gives me hope that I could ever think/feel that way. I don’t actually remember my reasoning or my exact thought process when I had that clarity, I just remembered it made a lot of sense to me. I had one moment of clarity two weeks before that one, and another one a week later and I add each one as a notch to my belt of recovery. And lucky you wrote down what you were thinking when you had your moment. You might not recognize your thoughts when you re-read them, but know that when you wrote them you were seeing more clearly and thinking more realistically than you are when you scrutinize them.

  530. Marie Says:

    I’m in a bit of an odd place with my anxiety right now. My fiancé has pointed out to me that I’ve been kicking the heck out of my worries and truly slaying at life this past couple months since I crawled out of my depression, and he even said he views me as a truly confident person. I suppose that on some level, he’s right about the fact that I believe in myself more. I believe I could accomplish all those artistic projects I have and take the risks I need to take to manage to have the career I’m dreaming of. See the thing is, and that’s the part I really don’t understand at the moment – I may know I have the answers within myself to manage to succeed. I still hit a wall whenever I realize I may have some opportunities and that some doors are opening.

    So I started making up some theories about exactly why I don’t simply say ”I’m talented, I should simply carry on and quit overthinking every detail so much”. Perhaps my hesitation to take on new projects comes from mental exhaustion. I’m told I’m a good writer. I have two really solid tv show scripts in mind that I need to put down on paper and work through so I can break the stories into drafts for episode scripts. But whenever I sit down to write, I feel my mind go blank. Everything about my head and body send me the message that I need to learn to simply sit with myself and relax and then the ideas will come. Instead, I get stiff, and I start pondering on how torn up I’ve been all day over this lingering impression that I’m always gonna be so busy trying to dissect my feelings about who I am, how I mishandle my relationships with people close to me, and how so bloody heavy my conscience feels when it’s been three years I’ve been slowly recovering from this depression I’ve had after my previous breakup in which I was constantly told I was a bad person (selfish, controlling), etc. I feel I’m the kind of being that’s slowly falling apart when there’s solid proof coming from people that care about me and have seen me kick some past problems that keep saying: look at yourself. You need to cut the crap and realize you have come a long way and you’re stronger than ever.

    I still feel like breaking down and crying, and I keep anticipating the worst will happen around every corner, that I’ll end up realizing things will take a bad turn whenever I allow myself to believe that perhaps it will all be okay. It’s like I’m afraid of getting my hopes up and simply accepting life is better now and can only improve. It’s hard to breathe when all you can do is cling to negativity. This has been draining out all my energy and it feels I’m refusing to live life in the present tense as much as I should. I don’t manage to ”be in the moment” and I’m afraid I’ll lose my head over this at one point. I wish I could simply say ”today I’m gonna turn my attention away from my thoughts and look at my life and see that I deserve what I have and won’t end up back to square one feeling like an evil person.” Then maybe, just maybe, I’d get to live my relationship with the love of my life and not constantly be idle, and I would peacefully and joyfully work on my projects without feeling afraid of even my own creative ideas and the prospect of working on them.

    I don’t know if I’m making sense. It’s almost 3 AM and I’m still dodging sleep because I hate the idea of laying down for an hour doing nothing but gazing at the ceiling and thinking about this. It’s the first time I’m posting here but this blog has been relaxing to read whenever I feel like I’m gonna lose it. Thought it might be constructive to give the posting a shot and see if others here have been dealing with similar issues as mine.

    Thank you to everyone here for doing such helpful posts.

  531. Daniel Says:

    Regarding your earlier comment, I too am going through a bit of an identity crisis because of this anxiety. I had let anxiety really control my life for 6 years without even realizing that it was there, and yet eventually it went away simply by relaxing and building confidence. It was pretty weird. That’s when I really found myself, and what I like about myself and what I enjoy. But unfortunately I hadn’t really dealt with the anxiety I just was having a good year, when it came back it I had something good to compare it to and so it hit me harder and made me aware that this was not the real me. So that good year in some ways made this more difficult, but it also made me realize that I can feel great and really enjoy life. So I really look forward to really dealing with anxiety this time around so that it’ll stay gone and I can feel the way I felt for that great year for the rest of my life. Nowadays I feel lost, but I remember how easily I found myself when I didn’t let anxiety rule my life. It’s a great feeling, one that I will feel again one day (although this time it should be better since I won’t have the occasional anxious episode) and you will also feel that way one day, you’ll find yourself and, like me, discover that you actually like yourself.

  532. Einaras Says:

    Omg I love you guys! All of you

  533. Lisa E. Says:

    Those moments of clarity are really important! Here is one I had awhile back, that I have managed to hang on to. When we are anxious, we spend way too much time thinking. It’s a simple as that. We try to attach meaning to everything. Not everything has meaning. Certainly not every physical twinge we feel or stray thought that enters our heads. Anxiety is a losing battle because we never will find that hidden meaning that we are sure that is out there someone.

    The solution…keeping busy with real things. Work, family, art, jigsaw puzzles (if that’s your thing), etc. Being mostly recovered with occasional and brief setbacks, I find that my anxiety sneaks in when I’m not busy. So when it does, I try my best to get busy. I have this habit of immediately going for a walk when I feel anxious. That’s a much better habit than sitting around and thinking about it. The anxiety passes and I got some exercise. It’s a win-win!

    I know that folks are at different stage of recovery from anxiety and it took some work to get to where I am. But I’d suggest trying to find a new habit, something that you do each time it acts up. Maybe call a close friend or relative to discuss something other than anxiety. Or listen to music that you like. Or wrestle on the floor with the dog. A new habit gives you something else to do instead of thinking.

    Just writing this post made some mild anxiety I was feeling disappear!

  534. Tony Says:

    Dear all, I hope you all doing well. I haven’t been writing to this post for a couple of weeks as I needed a break . I am on recovery road for about 4 months and doing very well . The progress is tremendous I have done and I am very proud of myself . The most important thing I have achieved is that I am 100% pure me in all situations in my life. I am able to handle and speak infront of 50 people without any problem , I could not imagine this even in my dreams. Even when I had no anxiety( supposed to not have) I was not able to do that. One more thing I learn during this period is that : ” only through darkness you will find the light” . Any way the main reason I post today is because I need some advice and reassurance from people with more expirience than me. I still have very high adrenalin and even some times I feel I have a lion infront of me if some people stress me so much . Ok I handle it but some time I am afraid of beeing my self cause I think I am in great danger from that people that put me in stress ( my boss) . I feel the anger he feels cause I was not able to do something as he wanted me to do . I know it is his problem and I should not care so much for his anger and stress. I was able to handle it after an hour cause I achieved what I supposed to achieve , but for first time I was disappointed with me cause I let my feeling dominate me. I could just explain him to stop Beeing so ungry and stressed with me cause I am Not able to work like this, but instead of doing the normal thing I was very stressed and high anxiety. Any advice apricated. Another thing I need some advice is that I feel like I am not scared of my feelings any more , I can call any one any time speak with anyone any time, I don’t have the need to cry, etc… I find my self beeing so tough and cruel with me and my emotions , is this normal, is this part of the procedure? I believe it is part of the procedure but just curiosity if someone with more ecpirience than me could answer. Keep in mind that I am a very severe anxiety and depresion case :) ( I have been suffering from the age of 12 years old, so about 22 years and I have been on antidepressant for 12 years and I believe that my recovery period will be very long also :) ) Thank you very much for reading my post. I wish all the best to you all

  535. Tony Says:

    Anther one thing I forgot to write. I am a little bit scared some times of my new self( ok maybe it is wrong the word new-self it is better I think fearless acting) :) , I even question and try to listen to my self when i speak with some one ( ok I don’t do this all the times but yes some times ) cause I want to know how they hear my new self it is very strange :). Any comments on this Also apricated

  536. Lui Says:

    Hey you guys,
    nice posts Daniel and Lisa!
    the moment is gone but sure brought some motiviation which I need! I grab on to these few moments and continue my path. :)

  537. Matt Says:

    Question for anyone further along,

    So what I thought was me accepting for the past month has really been me doing stuff to get rid of anxiety. I’ve been doing exactly what Paul said he used to do, which was going into situations saying “it is what it is” but really meaning “it is what it is, but please let it be okay”. I notice that I have an innate yearning to try to make every situation go okay. Today, I was able to just accept being a nervous person, and I had an anxiety free day, but I noticed that I kept having to remind myself not to judge or try to change anything, since it’s such a habit.

    My question is, how do I just accept and not judge and focus on other things in life? Do I just let my mind think anxiously or try to control without being upset that I’m doing that? This is weird to say, but I can tell that acceptance works for me, but I just can’t get myself to actually be okay with how I feel, and I don’t know how to be okay with it, even though I want to be. Is there anything that has helped anyone get to the point of full acceptance? Or is it just when you reach a breaking point and you finally don’t care about how much worse it could get? Thanks!

  538. eliza Says:

    ‘Sometimes think we’re just totally selfish, all wrapped up in ourselves, we’re trapped into internal thought, it’s all about us. Maybe we need to start looking around and taking on the idea of what we can do for our immediate family to shift focus and realize what our moods and actions or lack of actions is doing to them. This in turn could be key to our own recovery from anxiety and all it’s nasty symptoms.

  539. Lisa E. Says:

    Hi Matt,

    The accepting thing takes time and practice. I wish there were a magic formula where anxiety would have and off/on switch that we could activate by accepting our condition. But in my experience, it’s a process. We get better at it with time. You’ve had glimpses of what accepting can do, so you are making progress. You should start to notice that those glimpses become more frequent. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll have a completely anxiety free day tomorrow. I know that when you have those brief glimpses of peace, and then later feel anxious, that feels like a huge setback. But it really isn’t, it’s the habits that our minds are used to doing what our minds do. If you are accepting to get rid of the anxiety, then you aren’t accepting fully. That’s a bind that is hard to deal with. But that being said, don’t think that if you just could manage to accept fully for a minute that it would go away forever. And don’t be hard on yourself. If you have an anxious period, be ok with that and don’t think that that experience means that you’ll be anxious the next day. Practice your skills daily and and I think you’ll start to see what works and what doesn’t. It can take a long time to stop doing the things that don’t work.

  540. Emma Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I’ve been doing well for some time now, acceptance became second nature and my anxiety has diminished SO much. Nearly all my symptoms are gone or fading. I find myself only writing on here to give tips on how I’m recovering… or if I feel reaaaally bad, and unfortunately, over the last few days I’ve been experiencing a bit of a setback and I could really use a bit of reassurance.

    It’s mainly with regard to those depressive/low feelings.…over the last few days I’ve been feeling very depleted, bleak and blue/down. I’ve also been very fatigued and lethargic/lack of motivation. Anxiety says “oh no” you’re entering depression! 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’ve dealt with these feelings before and they were the scariest for me…right now it feels like a kind of autumn back-to-school depression feeling… I am trying to be with these feelings as they are, but it seems I’ve almost forgotten how to tolerate them. They came back with a bit of a punch and put the fear of depression back into me :(

  541. Lisa E. Says:


    It sounds like anxiety is just being sneaky and trying to find a way in. I had a lot of stress (work, family, etc) in the spring and anxiety tried to get me in its clutches again after a long symptom free period. So I can relate. Anxiety really is fear of fear. We worry about how worried we are. I’m not a medical professional but I doubt that a sign of actual major depression is a fear of depression! That’s anxiety. Being sad, feeling blah etc can be part of normal life. It sounds like you have reasons to feel how you are feeling, so I’d say to just let them be. Obviously if you have history of actual depression, you should pursue getting help for that. I don’t have the history, but I had the same fears last spring and now I know I wasn’t experiencing depression, I was having a tough time in my life, that’s it.

  542. Matt Says:

    Thanks for the input Lisa E.,

    I think what I’m getting at is that when I fully do accept, I get those glimpses of how recovery works, because my days are very much anxiety free, or at least very limited anxiety. However, I notice that my habit whenever anxiety arises is to fight and get frustrated by it, rather than to just allow it to be there. So what I don’t get, is do I just keep telling myself to accept it and try to focus on something else until it becomes a natural habit?

    Paul states that one day he just started accepting, and then over time his symptoms diminished. I’m experiencing something slightly different, which is that when I do accept, my anxiety symptoms really do diminish fast, but I don’t always have acceptance. This is the confusing trick for me, as I don’t get how to get myself to fully accept without trying, which is what we’re not supposed to do! So, is it okay to tell myself to stop worrying about how I feel several times a day (sometimes it does get my focus off how I feel, so I do accept sometimes)? Or if not, how do I gain an acceptance attitude? Is acceptance a practice, or something you innately gain which is constant throughout recovery? My acceptance waxes and wanes, which again seems different than what Paul describes, but I could be way off base…


  543. Matt Says:


    I’m really glad to hear that you’re doing so well. You’ve been gone for a while! As for those feelings, it seems to me that you are actually experiencing something very much normal. Even when I wasn’t anxious, I could have down days like that occasionally, and especially when dealing with a breakup!

    So, the advice I have coming from someone who is still in a bit of an anxiety rut, is that you sound normal, and definitely just accepting the feelings as just something that you have right now is the right choice! They will definitely go in time, especially with the more distance you get in your old relationship. I think that’s the normal healing process for most people coming out of longer term relationships!

  544. sam Says:

    i am almost recovered now….but having some doubts ..i want to ask this question to anybody over here who has recovered or are almost recovered…how do you handle the stresses of everyday life, work etc…i mean once when we recover from anxiety do we become as healthy as any other normal person and manage stress as any other normal person would…i have gone through few stressful situations in the recent past even whilst was having anxiety and have managed them…like i always did when i did not have anxiety issues…but am gonna join a new job soon…its a bit of a stressful job so a bit nervous and tensed bout it…i just wanna ask that once we recover are we as efficient as any other normal person and can handle stresses and worries normally like any other person would…i mean i was a bit of a stressed out person before my anxiety struck but nonetheless i managed them quite efficiently …so need a bit of a help in this regard

  545. Lisa E. Says:


    I think that it be a different process depending on the person. When you mention focusing on something else until accepting becomes a habit, that’s what I did. It wasn’t like an on/off switch. Just by reading your posts, it’s obvious that you are on the right path. Several months ago, you weren’t having those anxiety free periods. There can be so many factors that cause anxiety (genetics, trauma, brain chemicals, learned behaviors, etc.) But I think that for most people, the best cure or coping mechanism is the same; it’s Paul’s solution. But I think that depending on what causes anxiety, the time frame for being symptom-free might vary a lot. Some people have been anxious their whole lives; with others like me it seems like it just happened after a period of stress in my early 30’s. Paul’s is a one size fits all solution, but I think the journey will be unique to each person.


    I could have written your post and I probably did a few months back! I too fear new stress. But having recovered from anxiety like you have, means that you have resilience. Try not worry about what might happen, just be prepared to respond to situations in the moment as they arise. You can’t possibly predict what will happen with your new job. The anxious part of our brains wants to do that. But what our brains come up with will never be accurate because our brains don’t have all of the variables and can’t compute all of them. Stress about a new job is normal, so you should just keep doing what you’ve been doing.

  546. Jacqui Says:


    you have both helped me so much I am really grateful.

    I’d been dealing with stress for nearly three years for a variety of reasons (birth, death, work, money, losing our home…the list goes on). I was working myself into the ground while being a full time mum, and looking back I guess I pushed myself too hard. My anxiety was then brought on by watching a couple of horror films with my partner (on a subject I usually hate watching anyway) and then one night I woke in a panic, the hot flushes washing over me etc, and was scared sh**less because I had no idea what was happening to me. Over the following weeks I hated being alone, had all sorts of chaotic thoughts (most related to the films but some not, regarding my partner, daughter etc), had horrific dp (I know what it is now but didn’t then) where I couldn’t see properly, felt panicky again etc. I ultimately felt like I was going mad. After weeks of feeling like this I did what I never do…I googled my symptoms (I was getting lots of physical symptoms too, like sickness, loss of appetite, bowel issues, headaches, loss of sleep etc). I got results pointing to anxiety but nothing actually explaining what I was going through. I considered going to my GP but was afraid of being considered completely mental or given drugs, which I didn’t want (I hate taking meds without a real cause, plus knowing what they would give me I was worried of becoming a zombie, especially with my daughter around). So I stuck it out, not enjoying anything, becoming more exhausted etc.
    Then another google search brought me to this blog, and on reading your post on obsessive and scary thoughts I immediately felt a load lift. Finally I understood what was happening to me and why I felt the way I did. It all made sense. I still had the thoughts but the physical symptoms seemed to lift pretty quickly which was a relief. Naturally the whole accepting issue didn’t come easily, because I was really still scared of the thoughts that were coming (oddly I found it easier to accept the thoughts I had about my daughter etc, but not the ones resulting from the horror films). Time has passed and I’ve tried (which I know is wrong) to over come them. Then something happened… I read Nolan’s post about no longer caring about these thoughts, and over the last few weeks I have felt better, mainly because I am just so tired and fed up with feeling crap. I actually don’t care now…I can’t be bothered to worry anymore. Yes the thoughts are still hovering but I am taking a more so what attitude. I’ve had a couple of really good days, and find myself wanting to do things again, not just doing them because I think I have to. I’m nowhere near the end yet and I’m in no rush to be as I know this will take time. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. My main issue (other than the thoughts which try to morph into worries about our new home – again thanks to the stupid films) is the loss of interest in my partner. Its not relationship anxiety as such (I don’t find myself wanting to leave him or anything) but I cant seem to relax around him as much and getting intimate has proved an issue. I go through the motions but my mind races all the more (again that is all thanks to scenes in these stupid films) and it’s that issue I find the hardest to deal with. I’m lucky that my partner is very understanding and supportive, but I feel like I’m letting him down (I’ve not told him this aspect of my symptoms). I have bad days with my daughter (she should be starting nursery soon and is at that ‘in need of the stimulation stage’ so is a bit of a handful at present) and find it hard to mentally focus beyond the noise and commotion and demands. Noise is a difficult factor for me too.
    But over all I’m sure im on the road to the start of recovery. I really have had enough of dealing with this crap and just cant be ar*ed to give it the attention anymore! I know from Nolan’s posts that relationship issues rectify themselves in time and I have to have faith in this.

    I thank you both again for the help you have given on here. I know I am lucky to be one of those who has not suffered for too long (just several months) and am grateful I found this blog so early on. I don’t pop in everyday as I know it doesn’t help, but felt I had to finally write something to say thank you for doing this blog, and allowing people to be open and honest with their issues.
    God bless.

  547. Matt Says:

    Thanks Lisa,

    I’m definitely a “fixer”, and I want to get this perfect and right, because I want to get better! I think I’m just trying too hard, so I guess cultivating and acceptance attitude for me will just take reinforcement, practice, and time. I’m just getting super frustrated that I can’t accept sometimes, and then I get so down on myself for not being able to do it, and then I worry about feeling down for it, haha! Sometimes I think it’s comical how my brain works!

  548. Kat Says:

    Hello everyone,

    Though the past few weeks have been exceptional in terms of my anxiety and its intensity, I have been practicing as much as possible, and have had a few moments of calm, for which I am absolutely grateful. Logically, I know that I have a long way to go, a knowledge which at times feels very heavy and slightly unbearable. Like many of you, I just want to live my life to its fullest, and am very impatient about how long it’s going to take to get there. My faith is constantly being tested, because I will have a small success, and then feel myself sink back into the anxiety/depression and this is very frustrating.

    Here’s a question I have asked before and have not yet received an answer to: is it okay to cry? I ask this, because today I went out to a bookstore, found a book I wanted to read, and then I felt like a curtain of depression started to descend over me. I thought “this is part of the process; let it happen, it will pass”. But, it stayed with me, and when I got home, I went directly for a nap. I wanted to cry, but wondered if this is the equivalent of despair. Does it hurt your progress to let yourself cry, or is it a release?

    I truly hope someone can shed some light on this. I feel like I’m walking around on the verge of a crying jag a lot of the time, which I recognize is anxiety, and I am afraid I’m going to burst into tears in public, at work, or in front of my family.

    Peaceful thoughts to all of you.

  549. Kevin Says:

    Kat. Cry to release dont cry in despair. Crying helps sometimes. I havent done any recently but when i was at my worst it helped and actually made me feel relieved

  550. rachh Says:

    Kat all i can say is there is no point being impatient about getting better.. Impatience is only another symptom of your nerves, when you start recovering the journey is hard but amazing.

  551. rachh Says:

    Ps i started back at work for the first time properly after 2 years and i burst out crying. As long as colleagues are supportive you will be fine.

  552. Ryan Says:

    Hi guys, just could use a little advice/support. I been dealing with anxiety for about 3 years now, and have never been able to fully recover. I have had very good periods and extremely terrible periods with everything in between. Going through an exceptionally hard time now, as it is following the best ive felt in a long time. I back to all the horrible thought patterns and actions that i always go to when it gets tough..the questioning, the crying, the constant negative thoughts..ect..and this is why i havent been able to fully recover. I always fail at acceptance when it gets really hard..i do well when its milder, but the really trying times i always fight it, hate it, cry constantly, and gets very very depressed…anyone else have any thoughts how i can push through these times to be able to fully recover? And maybe on how to stop the urge to cry all the time? I try to allow all the negative thoughts to pass through and not be bothered by them, but i am always overwhelemd and buy in to them..its like i have a negative thought every 2 seconds! Thanks for any replies!

  553. Lisa E. Says:

    Kat, a long time ago I was going to my psychologist, someone who is totally on board with Paul’s method of acceptance. I remember I went to her one week and I felt really worn out, anxious, and I felt like I was going to burst into tears for no reason. When I told her that for the last day I felt like crying, she said “what would be so bad about that.” Oddly, I didn’t actually cry, but I thought her question was a really good one. Crying can happen for all kinds of reasons. I find that sometimes I feel like crying when my allergies are acting up, probably swelling near my eyes. If I’m anxious, I attribute it to anxiety. Crying is a normal human response, so I wouldn’t worry about it one way or the other.

  554. Kat Says:

    Thanks Kevin, rachh and Lisa.

    I have never been much of a crier, but when anxiety has shown itself over the years, the lump in the throat and the urge to cry definitely have been one of the most prevalent symptoms. Maybe I should cry more, and let the tension flow.

    And, rachh, you’re absolutely right. I am impatient, and am having a very hard time with acceptance. I have been practicing this weekend, but all I feel right now is apprehensive and angry, and I don’t feel hopeful at all. As I’ve said before, I’ve had good periods in the past 14 years, since my initial panic attack, but I realize now that I have never been recovering in the right way, which is difficult. I sincerely want to get past this, but can admit that maybe I am not giving it the space it needs. Waking up with a body full of adrenaline doesn’t help! I will feel good for a moment, and then, when the symptoms flood back in, I feel utterly defeated.

    I’m just hoping it all “clicks” at some point, like it has for so many others. I used to think I was a unique case, but from all the posts I’ve read on this blog, it’s clear that I’m not. I’m just slow when it comes to “getting it”.

    Thank you for the supportive comments. I truly appreciate them :)

  555. Daniel Says:

    Lot of good stuff going on here lately. A lot of positivity, progress and support!

    Here’s an issue I’m tying to tackle or more so I’m trying to figure out exactly how to approach recovery. You’ve probably heard it before.

    Is it a matter of putting yourself into situations that used to feel normal, like socializing, watching films, going for a run, etc. And become re-accustomed with each individual thing, building up good habits and re-establishing your feelings with them? Let’s say I stopped working on model ships for the time (not really my hobby), do I need to ‘recover’ my feelings for model ship building by building model ships?


    Is it a matter of living life and slowly but surely all things will feel normal. Like generally get better and with time I’ll see things without my ‘anxiety goggles’ on and experience them as I normally would have? I think in many ways this is the case because I feel equally uncomfortable trying new things and doing old things at the moment, while when I felt good both came naturally (although old things were always more comfortable, understandably so.)
    However it is important to know what is simply being put on hold because there is nothing I can do about it and what is becoming problem-causing avoidant behavior.

    So which is? Do I just live generally and do some of my hobbies and maybe return to the more personal/harder stuff when I am recovered or just feel more ready? Or do I have to go through each task until they each feel normal individually?

  556. Colin Says:

    Dear All

    I posted this in mid-August but it took a while to get through moderation. I try again now and hope I am able to get a few responses.

    This is my 1st post onto this blog. Been reading for a while. I have had anxiety on and off for ~ 7-8 years (perhaps longer). I have had maybe 3 major bouts in the past 5 years, and am in one now and have been ~5 months. I think I understand (and try to implement) acceptance of all the physical feelings, but struggle much more with negative thoughts.

    We now live in the UK and have done for 1 year after living in Sweden a long time. My other periods of anxiety have been associated with being in Sweden (or moving back to Sweden after a period in Canada) and I now seem to get panic feelings when I think of visiting Sweden (my wife is Swedish and I have just been there) and 2 of my 3 kids (17 & 19) live there. This latest bout of anxiety I think was triggered by my daughter deciding she wanted to do her last year of school in Sweden as she had diffculty fitting in here.

    I constantly think I will never be able to happily visit my kids, never be able to be happy with my wife and her family (because even hearing Swedish can trgger panicky feelings). When I feel anxiety I also feel that perhaps I should leave my wife, then my anxiety goes pretty sky high. I think this is just an example of anixety trying to suggest an avoidant easy route to “get-rid” of the anxiety and even if I followed its advice I would likely still be anxious even if I did this. Kind of like relationship anxiety, but triggered by my psychological association of Sweden with panic/anxiety and my wife being Swedish…Anxiety is a great manipulator.

    Also a bunch of other things I normally do easily in work now seem to be just beyond me in that any responsibility seems to trigger anxiety. I do remember having both these problems the last time I had anxiety (~2009) and it did go away once I managed to get back into normal life. But with it all back again now I was just hoping some people here might be able to advise on my somewhat rambling questions. Basically I know it sounds like nonsense, but I just want to love my wife and kids but seem blocked by the panicky feelings I get related to them being Swedish/in Sweden/speaking Swedish because my psych has associated all thing Sweden with me getting anxiety……any tips on how to go forwards would be greatly appreciated……I know deep down that acceptance is the key…but don’t seem to be able to apply it sufficiently well.

    Many Thanks in advance

  557. Tony Says:

    Hi all, I was in a very good road fo 4 months and tried and stop completely my antidepressant even if I was at very very low dosage(I was always telling never to stop antidepressant without asking doctor and I did this mistake for myself) it hit me very very hard, it was very difficult to eat,sleep ,panick attacks All day, electrical puls all body. So I started again and feel better. Even From this ecpirience I Learn something new for myself. I need to change my life in many aspects because now With antidepressant I don’t feel many feelings that hearts me and need to be cured . I need to understand more my anxiety and cure my self by listening my body and the needs it has, but I have to do it with antidepressant together cause my body and mind couldnot work without them.
    I wish all the best to you all
    Regards Tony

  558. Lui Says:

    Hey guys,

    I have decided to take a longer break from the blog because it has become too much of an habit for me. The time has finally come where I finally WANT to face and have to face.
    Tomorrow is the first day of school with new classes and of course loads of new people.
    I am really, really scared. But I learned that the whatever attitude is the most important thing. It will take time to not care at all what people think but seriously I’m so excited.
    I am always imagining how it may feel to be confident and anxiety free.
    I’m scared because I really am a crazy person and even with my servere social anxiety I am not normal at all. Without anxiety I will be very…special lol.
    I wonder what I will be like after this journey.
    Have a nice journey yourself and never give up!

  559. Kyle Says:

    Hey guys,

    Havent been on in a while as I have been taking a break. I had been doing very well until recently when I have experienced a bit of a set back. I was wondering if you guys could help me out a bit. I use to suffer from severe panic attacks and I havent had a single panic attack in over a year. I also use to suffer from severe DP and DR and all those symptoms have subsided too. I also suffered from intrusive harmful thoughts and thoughts that i could be suffering from other mental illnesses as well but all those have subsided, until now. I was always worried I was going to slip into some sort of bad “S” word depression because I am not exactly who I once was or enjoy the things i use to do. They seem to come in waves. My question is does anyone who is suffering from anxiety find themselves experiencing any mood swings where they feel relatively fine one second and then feel overly emotional and feel like they could cry for no reason the next? It seems as my anxiety has subsided I am much more in touch with the state of my mood rather than constantly worrying all the time. Is this normal? I have also started to sleep and think much better than I use too. My memory is coming back and for the most part I have a pretty clear unclouded mind but i still find it racing from time to time. I am just trying to make sure all this is normal. Also, does anyone feel their anxiety increase when they feel sick? Im having an awful time trying to figure out if if I feel sick because of my anxiety or if I just feel sick? I know its a stupid question but I am just freaking out a little bit here. Lastly if anyone else suffers from intrusive thoughts or fears of suicide could you please reach out to me? I am not sad and dont think im depressed but for some reason i cant get that thought out of my head

  560. DCYL Says:


    Your question could apply to a lot of people so let me give you my take. There really is no one right way to do things. You have to do what you are comfortable with. Remember that your anxiety is magnifying feelings and so the uncomfortableness is feeling worse that it usually might.

    Just remember Paul’s book and writing suggest that just “live life as normal” and anxiety will eventually go away. I agree with this approach though it is NOT EASY. I personally started exercising frequently to burn off the adrenaline and it got me more focused.

    But you make a good point. Sometimes we do things that us comfortable that we never leave the comfort zone. To beat anxiety, we need to step out of the comfort zone eventually. So if progressively building if your choice, then go for it. I was probably the same way. :)

  561. Nikos Says:

    Hi Kyle,

    This my first post and just want to give you some reassurance. Just to confirm that I had every single symptom of those you mentioned and I am on the road to recovery, even though I go through the usual setbacks. The fear you mention and cannot get it out of your head is very very common to people with anxiety. You need to understand that it is just a fear, a thought nothing important. Let it be and live your life along with it. I would think of it 24/7 for several weeks trying to persuade myself that I would never do it. Unfortunately I was doing what Paul advised againt, I was giviing too much respect to a thought and the thought became stronger. Once I understood that a thought is just a thought, a sensation is just a sensation, a feeling is just a feeling. I just let it be, smiled on it, ignored it and eventually my mind was bored of it and the thought subsided as every other anxious thought I had.

    I would also like to add my two cents on another issue that I found to be very important for recovery. Please do not ask reassurance for every single symptom; just accept that it is anxiety and let it be. When you get reassurance, you anxiety subsides a bit, but then it morphs into another problem. How many people have their anxiety changing from health anxiety to fear of mental illness, sleep anxiety, harmful thoughts and the list goes on?…This is because you are trying to treat every single symptom. Obviously this does not work; as Paul say “anxiety has to be there in order to recover”.

    Finally, two things that helped me a lot so far are exercise and mindfulness meditation. Both are free and in my opinion more effective than any medication.

    Never give up.


  562. Josh Says:

    Hi All

    I have almost recovered and want to share one insight- The actual time for which anxiety strikes us is only for 20-30 minutes or may be an hour. Everything else is brought on by us by continuosly thinking about it. So far as managing that 20-30 of actual time is concerned, we can float, accept, face and believe me nothing happens even then. What happens after that is completely in our hands which we can avoid by carrying on with our normal life and not dwell on it. For initial stages practising the second point of avoiding brought up thoughts is simple and acheivable right now.

  563. Sara Says:

    Hi there,

    I regularly read this blog but have never posted before. Thank you to everyone who posts on here, there is comfort in knowing I’m not alone. I have just one question that I was hoping someone could shed some light in for me…is there anyone who on occasion feels a little numb towards their loved ones? This is something that is bothering me at the moment, I then feel my stomach turn when I realise that I don’t feel a rush of love etc when I look at my son/husband and then I enter the whole ‘I don’t love them enough’. Any help/insight would be appreciated.

  564. Lisa E. Says:


    Thanks for that. It is an excellent point and something that rings true with me. I’m mostly recovered too and what you mention can help folks who are having a setback to have a short setback instead of returning to the old patterns. I had a stressful situation today and felt anxious for about 15 minutes. It went away as I distracted myself with other things. Later I caught my mind as it wanted to question why I felt that way and if it would happen again. That’s the thinking pattern that is the anxiety trap. Your post helped to remind me not to do that.

  565. Doreen. Says:

    Colin – this is by means an attempt to trivialise your anxiety but in truth the fact that the word ‘Sweden’ is your trigger is not what matters. It could be anything – news on the TV, queuing in a shop, waking up early. It is the fact that we attach anxiety to something, anything which is the issue. You have really answered it yourself when you say ‘because my psych has associated all thing Sweden with me getting anxiety……”
    Just try to stop fighting the anxiety and live along side it, don’t rationalise it and I can promise you it will fade with time.

  566. Daniel Says:

    It’s not so much those ’20-30′ minutes of panic that get me, it’ this constant inability to feel happy or even remember things I enjoy. It feels like I never existed or lived. The memory loss is awful and so it this constant state of repulsion that I’m in. Everything in my life disgusts me. It’s all very upsetting. I suppose that’s the first feelings that creep up on us and make us worry in the first place. I’ve gotten to a point in which I recognize the disturbing thoughts, physical symptoms and occasional panic attack as just symptoms. But this feeling still gets me. It’s not going out that I fear or talking to people that I’m scared of, it’s simply the lack of control I have over my mind and my constant inability to be happy. When I go out I don’t fear being in danger, or doing something stupid or having a panic attack, I just am miserable that I can’t respond to situations as ME, but rather this sad uninterested person who doesn’t have my memories or life experiences. Once again, when I start getting scared that I can’t enjoy things I decrease the fear by telling myself it’s just anxiety, but it still doesn’t change the fact that I’ve had less than an hour within the past four and a half months where I actually was happy and had my brain functioning properly. I keep telling myself that these feelings are just the anxiety, but still, I just want my memories back.
    On the bright side, that hour I mentioned was on Tuesday and although I have fallen into a bit of a decline since then it shows that since finding the book a few weeks ago I’ve made some progress. But you guys know how it is, you kind of ignore the achievements you’ve made and as well as the actual facts when you are feeling down.

  567. Jacqui Says:

    Since realising that I’m too tired to bother caring anymore I’ve been much better. Of course the thoughts are still there and some times they bother me a bit, but I know that this method doesn’t happen over night and I’m learning to ignore it for the most part. Stress can still be a trigger, and I get really irritable sometimes, but my main issues now are feeling rather down, even without the thoughts, like I cant be bothered with anything and yet feeling like I want to do something rather than sit around (confusing to say the least!) The other issue relates to enjoying my relationship with my partner. I’ve not had relationship anxiety (more like I cant get intimate because of intrusive scary thoughts) but at the same time I cant find the enthusiasm I used to have. Is this down feeling normal as you start to come out the other side? I try my best to stay active throughout the day, though my daughter is not yet at preschool so I’m at home a bit more than I would like. When I’m out and about I feel a lot better and only remember my anxiety when I remind myself of it (which is annoying and a habit I know I have to break!) so would really like to know if this doom and gloom feeling is normal and part of the process?

  568. Colin Says:


    Thanks for the response. You have not trivialize anything, to other people all our individual reasons for anxiety probably look pretty trivial! In fact it is not just the word “Sweden” but others “words/thoughts” also. Nevertheless, you are quite right that it is the attaching “anxiety” to these thoughts/words that is the basic problem.

    My question (no doubt answered many times already here) is how does one just live alongside anxiety? I think I am doing this, in trying to just get on with life as normally as possible. Clearly I am not succedding yet…or would not be writing on this blog! I think I may be failing in the aspect where you say “don’t rationalise it”. Do you mean stop trying to find a cause/reason for the anxiety, just accept I have it, get on with life and forget trying to find a reason for it and also forget trying to reduce/get rid of it?

    I guess you are and deep-down I know this is what I need to do. In fcat 2 times before I only noticed I no longer had bad anxiety when I realised I had stopped thinking about it! Doing this live-and-accept attitude consistently for as long as is needed…which is as long as a (long and unknown) piece of string is what is challenging.

    But agree that the solution is staring us in the face.


  569. Matt Says:

    Did anyone have their mental symptoms abate before their physical ones? Kind of a random question, but I just read a post from someone who said that her mental symptoms were the first to go. It kind of makes sense to me, as your body is trained to be anxious in situations, but if there are no thoughts to perpetuate them, they eventually die out.

  570. Lynn Says:

    I know this is random, sorry, but maybe someone has advice. I have been getting excess mucus in the back of my throat (I don’t think it’s allergy related) and of course googled what it could be caused by, am scared by what I read, and now obsessively pay attention to my throat and the mucous, which is getting worse. Can I be making it worse just with my anxiety?

  571. Kevin Says:

    Lynn, i used tohave crazy health anxiety about stuff like that. Still do but i know how to handle it. Your focusing on the excess mucous problem is not geting worse cause of your anxiety. Its not the same as focusing on your mind. Thinking about the mucous isnt gonna make it worse. Chances are youre just developing a sinus infection or just some excess fleghm. Your anxiety has nothing to do with it. Just do what you would normally to take care pf yourself when youre sick

  572. Nolan Says:

    Hi Matt,

    Yeah…. that’s what happened with me. The fear, doubt (the mental manifestations of my anxiety) withered before the physical ones.

    Now, I’d have times were all were gone. These breaks in the storm where both my mind and body were at complete peace. These moments were transitory…. but they did happen. During my dark days of anxiety there was no break at all. So, I took this as a sign that things were heading (slowly) in the right direction.

    My worst symptom was the impact it all had on my sleep. I had many other symptoms, but the impact on the sleep is what help (to some extent) perpetuate it.
    My fear of not being able to fall asleep or fall back to sleep after waking started to subside first. Now, I was pretty much always able to get some sleep (at my worse days… probably no more than 1 or 2 hours of crappy sleep).

    Towards the end I would still struggle at times to fall to sleep (or back to sleep) sometimes I’d even feel my mind going on a hyper vigilant state…. but it stopped scaring me like it used to. The doubt of ever sleeping again vanished. Even with the physical symptoms remaining a little bit the mental reflection on those symptoms (fear, doubt, whatever) were withering away.

  573. Matt Says:

    Thanks Nolan,

    I still haven’t gotten that feeling yet, but my fears are all over the place, and not just mainly tied to one thing in particular. I’ll get anxious about some weird thoughts, or I’ll be anxious that I have to take a test, or I’ll get anxious that I have to public speak, or I’ll be anxious about another scary thought, or I’ll be anxious/down bc I feel like I’m never getting out of this.

    I’m finding it hard to get acceptance for every facet of my anxiety. I’ve managed to accept all the physical symptoms, but the scary/random/irrational thoughts are the hardest, since they always seem to be new or different. Like yesterday, out of nowhere, I get the thought that maybe my friends don’t actually like me. Like, what the heck? Of course I know I’m anxious, but this seems to be happening a lot to me. I’ll get rid of one fear, and another pops up. It’s draining, and again it’s quite hard to accept the new symptoms without thinking and analyzing the hell out of it at first.

    How did you stop thinking about the issue of anxiety? I’ve noticed that obviously my biggest issue isn’t my actual anxiety, but it’s the thinking about it. Like, I’ll get a strange thought, and then I’ll spend the next little while thinking about it, and how I’m never getting out of this. Or, I’ll check in with myself when I’m feeling good, which leads me to think about anxiety…I think you get the point. So, do I try to with my mind off of the topic of anxiety, or let it do it? This is where it gets murky for me with Paul’s method…Thanks!

  574. Daniel Says:

    My main symptom I struggle with is this hateful/disgusted feeling towards everything. I heard one guy, who was 90% better in his own words, say that his ‘irritability’ was still going strong. For me, this is the worst feeling. Everything just fills me with distaste, music, films, people, food. I hate it. And it’s had to do the ‘living besides it thing’ when you just hate everything you do and everywhere you go.
    I went to buy some new headphones today and I froze because every pair made me feel uncomfortable, as they reminded me of the headphones I used to where when I was younger and going through some tough times and I kind of got taken back to those dark times. In the end I didn’t buy any headphones, which I guess is a bit of a ‘victory’ for anxiety but I’m trying to not beat myself up about it too much, even if it was a bit of a failure on my part.
    I don’t know how to go out and live my life when I feel grossed out and angered by everything. If I went out to the cinema and felt scared then fine, if I felt sad fine, I’d know I was doing something fun but my anxiety was just bugging me along side it, but it get’s confusing when you’re sitting there and you hate the movie, and you you hate the food, and you hate the people around you and you hate yourself.
    I guess I’m still figuring things out, my anxiety takes a unique form (as it does with all of us) but I’m sure the general path to recovery applies to me just the same.
    If anyone has any advice I’d appreciate it, if not no hard feelings, I’ll figure it out eventually.

  575. Lisa E. Says:


    One thing you said in your post, sounds exactly like something that I used to say. I could have written your post a couple of years ago. I have had and sometimes do get the mucus in the throat thing. I wonder why you don’t think it’s related to allergies. In my case, it was, but it was the only symptom. I don’t get the traditional symptoms. But I used to say “it can’t be allergies” even though doctors said it was. I always thought it must be something more serious. I did the same googling that you are doing. The chances that it means anything serious are very very small. That being said, allergies are a pain and I’ve had complications from mine, but it’s manageable. I think your obsessing over trying to figure it out is anxiety. It was for me and I know how hard it can be to break out of that cycle. When you worry about it, try to step back and notice that you are worrying about it. Say to yourself, “Oh, I’m worrying about that again”. Noticing it and acknowledging it takes away from its power.

  576. Tiffany Says:

    First and foremost, until now, I have never publicly admitted, let alone discussed my experience with anxiety and depression. But I have also never so resonated with anything in my life. I cannot express how much Paul’s book has meant me. I call it my life coach. Put simply, it really has been an answer to prayer. I am not 100% recovered and I have not mastered the techniques that its pages endorse but I have been able to experience moments and days that have allowed me to say I know what it feels like to be normal again for the first time since this all began. I have only been able to experience these moments because of the content of Paul’s book. Reading the book felt like reading my own thoughts, emotions, and feelings that before now, I felt no one could understand let alone had experience with. Now I no longer feel singular in what I experience on a daily basis. Mind you, this hasn’t cured me but it has helped me feel less alone and more understood. I am neither crazy nor irreparable and I have been able to experience glimpses of my old self again. My life has been forever changed and I cannot thank Paul enough. With that said, I am still facing a daily conundrum. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read about my most intimate experiences.

    I have spent the past two years letting D.P. affect my life, namely work and school. Now that I am ready to just live life despite the sensations of unreality and debilitating brain fog, I want to be at my fullest potential (my ultimate goal) because I know I am capable of it. I know this frustration reflects impatience but I have lost so many years to D.P./anxiety/depression that I deserve to be able to access the potential that is buried somewhere within my war-torn, exhausted mind. Also, how do I explain the inconsistencies in my ability to think and produce to my bosses? In addition, the depression that my anxiety has led to makes it difficult to distinguish myself from my symptoms. I am supposed to just live as normally as possible but how do I fill my time? How do I decide what to do if I have difficulty experiencing enjoyment without feeling the dread that overshadows anything and everything? (I resonate most with Tarmo and Richard from Paul’s book) While I have a full-time job and exercise daily, one of my symptoms makes it difficult to do everything that I used to love. About a year ago, my eyes started to develop severe and debilitating sensitivity to light and glare, to the point that up until a few months ago, I could not focus on or absorb any information but the flashes of electric light that have become a constant filter over my vision. Reading, looking at any type of screen, and being exposed to any type of artificial light triggers an electric show and prevents me from experiencing anything other than fear. Any type of light is too much, even when I close my eyes. This prevents me from thinking straight and collecting my thoughts. How do I continue my recovery when I can’t remember enough to remind myself to? I have never been able to accurately express what I experience and as much research as I have done, I cannot find a name for it. The best way to describe it is that I see blue semi-transparent horizontal lines in front of everything. According to my ophthalmologist, there is nothing physically wrong with my eyes. I have even had an MRI and other tests, which all came back normal. Thus, I have accepted that it is another symptom of my anxiety. But how do I function with this symptom? How do I live normally? I have been wanting to do some of the things that I used to enjoy in “my life before” but I’m afraid that the way I am feeling will taint how I see these things and will take away their meaning and the positive associations I have with them. Lastly, how do I cope with flashbacks? Whenever my brain fog recedes slightly, I immediately start experiencing flashbacks of my worst moments imbued with the terror that I felt during those periods in my recent past. This happens despite my fervent desire to use this new space in my mind for other things in the present like work, school, and my relationships but the thoughts are so automatic that they come up involuntarily.

  577. SarahS Says:

    Nolan your posts are so good. I know you don’t want thanks but you’ve got a wonderful knack of being able to explain so very well and this will be helping soo many people. So it’s a thank you anyway, for your time, effort, empathy and great way with words.

    I would also suggest that people read the happiness trap, you can download the first chapter for free on the Internet. You don’t have to obviously i just found it really helpful.

  578. Colin Says:


    To some of the more experienced/improved members here, I would be very appreciative to get some advice on how to “accept” the fact I always look for a “cause” of my anxiety and that it seems to latch onto (I believe the cause is) things very dear to me and if I just get rid of them then I will be okay. As an example, my wife, when anxious I only see the negatives in her and think if I leave then everything will be fine again, or work, if I decide not to run that big project, then everything will be okay, etc etc.

    I know within myself this is just anxiety and if I get rid of one supposed cause another will just come along to takes its place, until I accept anxiety itself. I have had some success in the past in coming out of a period (The Claire Weekes /Paul way that time..face, accept, float & let time pass) and am trying again this time. Accepting the physical symptoms and just carrying on I am not bad at, it is the constant churn of negative thoughts and trying to find reasons for feeling like this that I have truble accepting. Doreen says don’t try to rationilze anxiety (which I guess means just let it be there and don’t search for reasons…and it will disappear on its own). I can understand this on an intellectual level but fail to implement on a practical level….any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  579. Daniel Says:

    Not quite the amazing advice you’re looking for but I think you shouldn’t look for a cause at the moment or ever.
    Paul’s explanation in the book/website/app is pretty much the general thing you need to know, you’ve been stressed about some things (some things you hadn’t even realized, like me) in some cases (like mine) you’ve always had an anxiety issue but after years of worry it got to be too much. I think when you’re feeling more normal and thinking more clearly things will make more sense in that regard. I was certain my anxiety just started on March 1st out of nowhere, but after a month of following Paul’s advice I started to remember that it had started WAY earlier and this ‘breakdown’ had been a long time coming. For some reason that clarity and objectivity towards my situation made me feel a lot better, as I progress more the more it is clear to me where my anxiety comes from and what were the stressors on my life.
    So don’t worry about things not making sense, that is a big part of anxiety (in my experience anyway) and just trust that as you get better things will make more sense, you’ll lose your ‘anxiety goggles’ and will be able to look back at things with understanding, objectivity and clarity.

  580. Lynn Says:

    Kevin ans Lisa E., thanks so much for your response. Kevin, would you share how you got a handle on your health anxiety? That is my issue! Thanks!
    Lisa, I’m hoping it’s just allergies, but I also have a few of other symptoms indicating it might be something I saw when googling. I started allergy medicine yesterday. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond. Thanks!

  581. Kevin Says:


    Of course. First off, my health anxiety BAD. I took some sinus medication a few months ago and then took tylenol without realizing. I seriously freaked out and thought i was going to overdose on acetiphenomen or whatever it was. I ha a panick attack. Then, a few weeks later i had acid reflux from beer and fast food and thought i had a heart problem. Had a panic attack.
    So after my breakdown all this went tenfold. After using pauls advice, i just applied it to everything. I still googled things about my health but it was to find out how to treat whatever i had. It wasnt obsessive. I started to realize, after multiple checkups and physicals, ekgs etc… That im perfectly healthy and ot was all in my health. I challenged my thoughts. I didnt do anything and said that if something serious happened then it wasnt just my anxiety. But nothin happened. Ever. So after sometime i just started to pay no attention to my health anxiety thoughts. Now sometimes it still gets to me but it doesnt stay like it used to. Hope this helps!

  582. Lynn Says:

    Thank you for your response. It’s funny you mentioned heartburn because I’m anxious about it because I read how hard it is to control if you have it, how bad the medicine is for you if you take long term, and how damaging heartburn can be to your body. And I have some symptoms of it. I will probably go for a check up. I wish I didn’t get obsessive thoughts about it. Researching it on the internet definitely made my constant thinking about it and concern about it worse!

  583. Charles Says:

    Colin, I can relate to what you are asking, about always trying to look for a cause for your anxiety.
    Anxiety is like a forest fire, once it gains momentum the only thing you could do is to let it burn out. Is it harmful to analyze the cause of the fire? Not really, but it won’t help to put the fire out either, and it is very hard to find the cause while the fire is burning. So let it go, wait it out, and analyze if you really feel like it afterwards.

  584. Kevin Says:

    Try to stay away from google, it turned me into a serious hypochondriac! Keeping away will be the best choice

  585. Lynn Says:

    Yes, I agree. I will try to make myself stay away from googling health issues!
    Also, above, I meant reflux not heartburn, but they might be the same thing.
    Thanks again!

  586. Lucy Says:

    Hey all, been quite a while since I have posted. I don’t know if this is to reassure others or myself, ha, but here I am anyway. Have had a pretty stressful time lately, I have been made redundant in the last month and moving house within the next so I suppose it is pretty understandable that I have felt quite high… Ok, really high anxiety lately. There have been some really intense panic attacks and hard as it is to accept, I think this is a setback. There have been moments where I have felt back at rock bottom completely, and so lost in all of this. I know I cannot fight my way back out of it so the best thing to do is just live it anyway. After almost 2 years I would have thought I’d realise by now that nothing bad ever happens because of anxiety, but nope I do still doubt myself sometimes. It feels really rubbish but I know at some point I’ll come back out of this, despite the panic attacks I have had a couple of moments of calm too. They seem few and far between right now, but I know that won’t always be the way. It will all come back to me, it will come back to all of us for that matter we just need to let go and live regardless!

  587. Chrissy Says:

    Haven’t been on In awhile. Glad to see Nolan posting. Nolan you got me through a few setbacks just reading your posts. Keep posting positive reinforcing posts as I helped me tremendously.

    To all stop questioning if you’re doing this right. Or you’re different or your thoughts are different. We all have feelings and thoughts that make us uncomfortable. They are all under the umbrella of anxiety and no yours aren’t worse, believe me I suffered for 15 years. Point is this happens slowly. You don’t wake up one day and are anxiety/depression free. See nothing is wrong with us we just have anxiety that we react to. I still have anxious feeling and thoughts however I don’t react to them. I allow them in say hello tell them to have their space and continue on with my life. At first it was forcing and white knuckled and other times easy. Now they come less and less.

    Just keep on trying. If I a sufferer for 15 years can recover yes you can too. Just allow the thoughts and feelings. Yes it’s scary just give them space. They will not hurt you and you will not act on them. They are unpleasant however you are stronger. Anxiety just gives you the misperception you aren’t strong e ought and anxiety is all you are. Feel and listen to that thought. Don’t give it any attention and move on with your day. They are just thoughts and feelings that truly don’t deserve the attention you’re giving them

    Good luck everyone keep on applying this method and be patient

  588. Lisa E. Says:

    Kevin and Lynn,

    You are right. Google is the enemy. One thing to think about. If you actually read comments on things you read that you find via google, you aren’t really getting the full story. Think about it, who would take the time to post on a board about allergies, heartburn/reflux, etc. People with the very very rare awful cases. Folks who have typical symptoms and typical results don’t post because they take medicine and the symptoms go away and they deal with symptoms as they occur. So you only get the worst case scenario.

    Stress (like what happens when we feel anxious) increases stomach acid which can cause or worsen reflux. In my case, I get seasonal shortness of breath with allergies. Being anxious about it makes the breathing symptoms worse. If I’m not anxious about it, I barely notice. So it’s important to learn to have an ignore it or “who cares” attitude about some physical symptoms, especially the ones that trigger the anxiety. I am convinced that my anxiety began because I was having weird symptoms (all allergy related after I moved to a new location) that I couldn’t figure out. Because I couldn’t figure it out, my thoughts got out of control. Then they started obsessing over other kinds of things. My brain got used to that pattern. That was years ago, but I’m still occasionally dealing with anxiety over it. I’m mostly recovered from it, but every once in awhile it sneaks up on my. Anxiety isn’t the huge burden it once was. There is hope once you stop caring as much!

  589. Kat Says:

    Hello everyone,

    A special hello to Chrissy. As someone who has been dealing with anxiety/panic for 14 years, it is very nice to see someone speak so confidently about recovering who dealt with it for longer. Sometimes, I think I’ll never know what it’s like to get through this and see it from the other side.

    I have been dealing with a fairly intense setback recently, and this past week I saw a little improvement, which was encouraging. That said, I came to the weekend, and yesterday, as I was sitting in my living room, I noticed that I was feeling kind of “flat”. True to form, I started to worry that this could be the start of a depressive period (even typing that, I know it sounds silly, but it felt very real at the time), and by nightfall, I was in anxiety mode once more. Anxiety woke me up this morning, and has been with me since, and I feel horrible.

    I just wanted to be relaxed this weekend, after a fairly stressful week, and now I feel like I don’t how to relax at all. I hate how redundant my questions are, but I feel cornered. I have been so fatigued in dealing with and trying to face my anxiety head on, that by the time I have a moment to relax, the floodgates reopen and I feel back at square one.

    Now, the added pressure is this: I have a child who is constantly checking in with me and asking why I’m not cheerful or looking happy. How do we deal with our children when they don’t understand what we’re up against? The pressure to try to get well quickly is really affecting me, and I know it.

    I know we are supposed to be patient in our recovery, but I suppose I need a little advice on how to let it happen. Again, I apologize for likely repeating myself, but I welcome your thoughts and suggestions.

  590. Lisa E. Says:

    Hi Kat,

    I have more thoughts than suggestions. When I’m anxious, I am more anxious during the weekends and vacations, etc. I think that what happens is that we push away the anxiety all week and keep ourselves together and are really un-relaxed all the time. We look forward to the weekend as a time to relax, but we can’t turn the anxiety off, so we can’t relax. My doctor told me that this is pretty common with folks with anxiety. Her suggestion to me, which has worked some of the time, is to come up with a list of things that distract you. Make it a list of 10 things like reading a book, playing with your kid, watching something on tv, going for a walk. When you get that weekend anxiety try cycling through those things until you find something that distracts you long enough for the anxiety to go away. Keeping busy, like you probably are during the week helps. I know that doesn’t really help with the ultimate goal, which is to relax, but often the things that distract us actually are relaxing.

  591. Chrissy Says:

    No no don’t distract. Feel. Allow the thoughts and feelings I promise you the more you allow them and feel the more you will learn not to react to them. The less attention you give them Eventually they lessen. In duration and intensity.

    Kat don’t put so much pressure on recovery. One day at a time. Just get an attitude so what I feel like crap. So what I feel anxious and umcomfortable in my one body (hey people pay big money to feel like that lol) so what I have depressive thoughts and think my life sucks. That’s all anxiety talking and doesn’t know the real deal. . Very convincing but a misperception.

    The kids thing I get. My son did the same. Just said mommy is a little sad right now. However I am working on it and it has nothing to do with you. Then played with him even though I felt like crap.

    It’s just thoughts and feelings. Stop reacting to them even if its a 100 times a day. Anxiety/depressive thoughts are strong and smart. They like sticking around. Like a habit. However they are just that thoughts

  592. Matt Says:

    Thanks for the posts Chrissy. It’s very hard and takes time to get the perspective that your thoughts aren’t you. At least for me, it’s been difficult…because every time I accept one, another one takes it’s place (bc anxiety likes to keep you anxious!). It’s nice to someone who has suffered 15 years recover! Thanks to talking with Lisa E., I had a great day of acceptance on Fri/Sat. I felt anxious and had no care that I felt that way. For whatever reason, today has been much worse, and I’ve felt anxious literally all day, and didn’t have the same patience/acceptance, but actually getting the accepting attitude Friday made me feel a lot better, even though my anxiety didn’t get better!

  593. Steff Says:

    Haven’t been on here in ages, have been doing really well, back again though as having a little blip. My friends wedding is coming up which is a 2hr drive away & we’re staying in a hotel, have been looking forward to it. But another friend has asked for a lift to the wedding and I’m incredibly anxious about it. This happened before with other friends before and I had the worst time of my life full on melt down infront of them, terrified this is going to happen again. Say if I panic what will they think, oh no it’s going to ruin the whole weekend and il be worrying the whole time about getting home. Grrrr damn you anxiety xx

  594. SarahS Says:

    Brill posts chrissy and totally get where you’re coming from kat. I think weekends can be tough and I think it’s a mixture of doing, keeping busy but feeling too, really feel, not just a bit a whole lot. Cheerful folk can be helpful to be around too they lift your spirits!

    I understand the children thing I felt like that too the guilt was awful. I’d reassure them by saying well I’m ok, not 100% but nothing to worry about and just carry on playing with them.
    Remember anxiety always feels like it’s here forever, it makes us take things seriously. It’s not here forever it’s just temporary so laugh lots anyway it really won’t like that.
    And feel….. X

  595. Kat Says:

    Thank you for the responses. I think I speak for everyone that receiving a response to a post, particularly one written at a peak time in terms of anxiety, is a very welcome thing.

    Chrissy, I’m doing what I can to develop a “so what?” attitude, but I’ll be honest that I’m far from gifted in this area. My immediate reaction is to recoil, which is a pattern I’ve developed over the past 14 years, and as much as I know it’s wrong, I do it, involuntarily. I have had moments of peace in the past, and felt I had the tools to deal with panic/anxiety should it become a problem again, but now I’ve been brought up to speed: I have a lot of learning left to do.

    Sometimes, the anxiety is so strong, my thoughts so muddled, that I stop believing I can ever get past it. It’s extremely hard to re-focus when those thoughts come, and I start thinking that maybe I don’t have the strength to deal with this like others do. I know, defeatist thinking, but I suppose this is because being anxious is exhausting and interferes with logic. I guess I’m a fighter by nature, and this is what is causing the anxiety to fight back. My main issue is acceptance and not reacting to the symptoms. This has been the biggest problem for me, and I keep waiting for it all to sink in.

    Again, thank you for the responses, everyone. It’s hard, trying to wait this out, but I know you’ve all been here before and that you understand what it feels like. Patience is key, and I need to find a way to be more understanding about this situation.

    Good thoughts to all of you!

  596. Matt Says:


    I think what you said mirrors my issues too. I get the idea, and I’ve been trying to be accepting, but then I’ll feel horrible or down and just want to give up. And then of course I’ll those defeatist thoughts.

    After reading many posts, I’ve come to the realization that a majority of people who have recovered from anxiety have went through the same thing. Getting the accepting attitude takes time. For whatever reason, I was able to accept on Friday, but it’s taken time and reminding to do. And it’s totally natural for your mind to try to fight the symptoms. I notice if I try to switch focus, my mind wants to just stay on the anxiety. I think there’s a point when you’ve had anxiety for a while, that you know it’s just anxiety. At that point, I think it’s okay to start switching your focus to something else, but just expect that at first your mind won’t want you to switch. It’s just a habit we have to break.

    Since yesterday morning, I’ve been anxious nonstop, with literally no break, except maybe for a bit at dinner last night. I’ve never felt quite like this before (moderate anxiety 24/7 with a racing mind, and easy to get an anxious wave), but I’m also very much accepting of it, and know that it will pass at some point. I think that for me, when anxiety challenges me, it’s much easier to try to do the right thing (accept), but when it’s only intermittent, I find myself falling into bad patterns. It’s weird! My goal is to accept that my mind isn’t going to like change, and it’s going to try to scare me, but that’s okay. It’d be okay if I felt like this the rest of my life.

  597. Kyle Says:

    Hey guys,

    Just wanted to tell you guys of something I have recently found to be extremely relaxing and helpful when I am feeling anxious. I have recently started doing hot yoga and its been great. Its a very good workout, as well as a chance to meditate and just see your thoughts as thoughts and nothing else. Be cautious though, I was extrememly nervous because it so hot and had anxiety that i was going to pass out but I didnt and I felt better than I had in months right after.

  598. Colin Says:

    Thanks Daniel and Charles for your responses.

    I may be asking the same question again, but I recall seeing a number of posts here related to “relationship anxiety”. This seems to be partly my problem….I have fairly constant thoughts that it is my relationship/wife that is the cause/trigger of my anxiety and during a period of anxiety I am more anxious when I sit and talk with her, although this sounds like a self-fulfilling prophecy! I know that in the extended periods (sometimes years) when I don’t have anxiety this is much less of a problem (almost non-existent), so it is likely a symptom rather than a cause of anxiety. Deep down, I think that I want this to be the case and would like to just be able to feel that I still have a normal relationship with her. This period of anxiety (first major one/setback since ~2009) I think was really started off when my daughter (17 years old) decided she wanted to do her last year of school back in Sweden, where we use to live before returning to the UK last year.

    I am just asking if others have had the same experience of projecting their assumed cause of anxiety onto the nearest person in their lives. To some extent I can see this might be a symptom of anxiety…..we feel bad, try to find a cause and latch onto the nearest and most often available person around. That said I would be pleased to hear from others if they have had similar experiences and if they have any good advice. I am trying to follow the primary advice here which I understand as: just accept the feeling bad, just accept the thoughts on triggers for my anxiety and let them come, try not to get too engaged by these thoughts (this is not easy) and just keep living life as normally as possible, with all the symptoms raging and be patient. Hard work though.

    Many Thanks

  599. Kat Says:

    Thanks, Matt.

    Yes, I’ve been reading a lot of other people’s posts and it appears as though there are a lot of commonalities. I just wish I could adapt more quickly, as I’m sure everyone in the same situation wishes, too.

    I have a question for everyone regarding medication. I went to my doctor a couple weeks ago because my anxiety had intensified to the point that it was almost unmanageable for me. Now, I’ve been dealing with it on a daily level for 14 years, but probably had always been an anxious person to varying degrees before it seemed to take my life over. I told my doctor that this is the worst it’s been in ages, and she prescribed me a low dose anti-anxiety tablet, to be taken only when I really need it.

    Now, as a devout follower of Claire Weekes and Paul’s methods, I have been trying to do this with medication; however, there have been times when it has simply been too hard for me to deal with, and I’ve taken half a tablet. I have no interest in using it as a crutch, but today, for instance, I was so anxious and low feeling at work that I felt I had no choice, so I took half a tablet. I felt tired, but the anxiety was muted somewhat, and I managed to carry on my day.

    The problem is that I feel like I’m failing. I have had relapses or setbacks before, but I’ve always rallied, and though I’ve had questions, I haven’t ever felt defeated. For some reason, this time, with all of the support and knowledge I have, feel like I’m back to the beginning, and I’ll never get out. Whenever I need to take a tablet, I feel weak and sure I’ll never recover, and that makes me so sad.

    Have any of you had to rely on tablets to get through those times when floating and accepting just isn’t working? Is it possible that one can work their way up to proper floating and accepting, but taking the odd tablet is okay as long as it not used every day?

    I’m just confused, and probably mentally tired from dealing with this. It’s such an up-and-down problem for me, with one day feeling okay, and then, like today, I wake up full of raging adrenalin and nothing I do seems to quiet it. It’s tough to feel like I’m the right path when this happens.

    I welcome any thoughts or insights.

  600. Charles Says:

    Colin, the cause of anxiety is that your nerves are hyper active, what’s making your nerve hyper active is not that important at this point, what’s important is you let it settle down. I don’t think what you are doing right now is letting your nerve settle, you are doing the opposite, you are trying to figure this whole thing out, you are trying to solve this big mystery. Like I said, there is nothing wrong with trying to solve it, but can you wait until your nerve settles down before you do that?

    Accepting is not thinking “anxiety is a scary enemy, anxiety will rip the fun out of my life, but in order to get over it, I need to face it with courage” that’s still very much tensing against it. Next time you feel anxiety, just for 30 seconds, stop what you are doing and really feel it, is it in your chest? in your stomach? does it go away by itself? how long does it take to go away? Don’t think like “anxiety is here, I am going to let it rage inside of me”, it doesn’t rage, just truly accept it for what it is for 60 seconds. You will definitely tense or be scared of it because that’s your habit for now, but give yourself 30 seconds, tell yourself not to tense against it or try to figure it out just for a short 30 seconds, tell yourself even if something bad will happen eventually, 30 seconds won’t hurt. Try and see if that helps.

  601. Daniel Says:

    Hey, I have a question for some of the recovered/improved members.
    I personally have developed some serious memory problems, both short term and long term. I don’t have too much of a problem with the short term, sometimes I lose my keys, sometimes I forget my email password, not much of a big deal.
    But I hate the long term stuff, I don’t remember anything from before I fell into this thing. At the same time vivid memories of worse times keep coming out of nowhere, things I hadn’t thought about in years. So now things that happened 7 years ago are more prominent in my life than things that happened 7 months ago, so it feel like I’m stuck in the past.
    My question is, has this happened to anyone else? And if so, did your memories come back or did you just have to make some new ones?
    I understand everything can be attributed to anxiety but Paul’s methods are always future based, he talks about moving forward without looking back and finding new hobbies and interests. But what about my old hobbies and interests? What about my old memories? Can I recover that, or do I need to start anew?
    Normally I like to end my posts, even the ones that are asking for help, with something positive and hopeful, but I can’t really think of one for this post…
    Well, maybe, I guess, if all these bad memories and feelings from 7 years ago can come back than all those good feelings and memories that disappeared when this started can as well… But there’s always this concern when a positive thought is only a ‘what if?’

    Thank you for any replies.

  602. Yolande Says:

    Hi all,

    Been feeling yucky this past week – mainly lots of fearful thoughts and feelings about not being able to get out of a job that i dont like and finding a new one. worried that i wont be able to perform etc etc.

    I panicked and worried my family – until i realised that it’s all lies. i just have to let them be but i can tell you, it’s darn difficult to do! But i will continue to try as i want to recover. i want to get my confidence back.

    my sleep is still not so good, i keep waking up at 5am. my eyes too are tired all the time. i dont see anyone with tired eyes mentioned here so i am wondering if it’s only me and/or if it’s at all related to anxiety?

    Anyone who would like to comment?


  603. Daniel Says:

    Here you go Yolande, straght from Paul’s book:

    “Distorted vision or eye floaters

    A lot of people complain about this and it was one of the more
    bewildering symptoms that I suffered from also. Everything
    appears to be covered in faint dots or objects look blurred and
    you feel as if you can’t quite focus on them properly.
    The reason for this is that our eyes contain muscles and when
    we are anxious, these muscles tighten which affects our vision
    and causes the symptoms described above. People with
    depersonalisation also comment that their vision can appear
    flat and lifeless and in many cases blurry or distorted. This is
    merely a symptom of the condition and does pass in time.”

    Personally my vision get’s so bad I can’t read sometimes, so don’t worry, it’s all just anxiety. Plus your sleep problems definitely attribute to it.

  604. Nick Says:

    Hi Guys,

    So i’ve been suffering from what i believe to be anxiety for 3/4 years now and occasionally come on here when i’m feeling really bad. The main issues I face are catastrophizing and intrusive thought and that i feel resigned to the fact I will never be free of this.

    The thing is its easy to say on paper ‘let the anxiety come, welcome it etc etc’ but the thing is my catastrophizing plays into fears I already have and I find it difficult to separate a realistic fear from a false one.

    Like the other day I was chatting to my ex who I am friends with now and when we were young, over 13 years ago now, we split up as I was very confused and anxious about the relationship and she slept with my best friend she claimed as revenge for me breaking her heart. I got very down after this and smoked a lot of weed and believe this is when my anxiety started. Anyway i got over it though as back then I didn’t know it was anx, was completely Anx free until a major panic attack 3/4 years ago sent me spiralling.

    Now I was speaking to her and she said a few years back she met up with my best mate again etc. Anyway it triggered a deep feeling of anxiety in me and reminded me of when I used to live in fear of how they betrayed my trust and I was racked with paranoia and fear about them meeting up and sleeping together.

    So the past 2 days I have been filled with crazy anxiety and memories of how I believed they tried to destroy me when I was really down after the break up etc etc. Anyway this thinking then plays into the fact i haven’t had a long term girlfriend since, mainly out of fear if i’m being honest. Like how i’m scared it could happen again and how I couldn’t mentally handle another break up and i’m too anx riddled to handle another person etc etc. Also things like ‘how will i never be able to be happy in myself and bring someone else happiness etc’ and i spiral into feeling trapped in a never ending predicament. Like I feel like I can never solve this.

    This is probably completely irrational I know, but the fear and anger is so strong and seemingly appears out of nowhere. And I can’t tell whether these fears are worth paying attention to as they seem very important. This fear I have of relationships and such manifests itself in my actions and ends up with me shying away from risk taking. Ironically i’m super social and am always out meeting people just never put myself out there.

    Its not just this though, like i will sometimes completely over exaggerate about the smallest things and take stuff very personally when i feel i’m under threat or people are taking the piss. Also I seem plagued by intrusive thoughts, like ‘i will be like this forever, what if i killed myself etc etc’. As Paul describes, some days i feel ok but then other days i feel very anx riddled and there seems to be no pattern.

    The thing is like today I tried to let the anxiety come but the content of the thoughts seems like they need addressing as they make me not only feel extremely anxious but also angry and trapped. Especially when they are about something I clearly need to address, namely old fears but ones that are so pivotal to my future and can have real consequences especially when other people will be involved.

    I also tried to ‘give up on a cure’ and do some meditation daily but just feel like i’m making no progress. Just wish I could be carefree and embrace the uncertainty of life.

    Can anyone give any ideas how I can deal with thoughts like the ones I described which are based around an exaggeration of real fears I already have. How can I start to believe that an anx free future is possible and i don’t have to let these fears overwhelm me to the point where my life is almost standing still?

    Any help greatly appreciated….

  605. Yolande Says:

    Thank you Daniel!

  606. Michi Says:

    Hey Everyone!
    I feel this blog is a godsend and I am so happy to have found it. I want to tell my story, maybe someone can relate and your encouragement would be very appreciated.

    Im 30 and have always been a worrier, I’m usually thinking the worst will happen, unable to lose control (or give in) and trying to avoid all uncertainty. After moving to a different country 4 years ago, I started developing what my dr diagnosed as “IBS attacks” they’d come when I was stressed out, last for 8-12 hrs of crippling intestinal pain and then disappear. This would happen maybe once a month sometimes months would go by without one. After multiple tests, everything looked fine so he suggested anxiety medications or to try CBT to help manage with the stress and symptoms. I thought to myself “anxiety meds, therapy? surely Im not that bad” so I did nothing and try to manage my diet instead, and not worry over them, specially since they only came every once in a while. I’ve also been somewhat of a hypochondriac, where any different feeling or sensation from my body would send me in a tailspin thinking It was the worst possible outcome. These worries would usually last a day or two, followed by an IBS attack and then I’d be perfect as if nothing ever happened.

    Exactly five weeks ago, it seems that my anxiety came full force, after a bad case of dizziness, foggy head, headache and some depersonalization. For three days I spent every waking min of my day researching symptoms, making drs appts going absolutely crazy over how I was feeling. I dreaded the thought of having to feel like that forever, went to the urgent care, ER and my dr all in one week, tests showed everything looked fine. My dr said it’s anxiety and gave me a low dose xanax prescription. Of course, I told myself it can’t be and I refuse to take medication. Then the second week, the depersonalization symptom seemed to ease a bit, and with my head a bit clearer I noticed something which might sound crazy to others, but I realized that the fact that I had not had my IBS attack proved that all the symptoms I was having were in fact anxiety, they had just taken a different form. And that right there made me accept that it was in fact anxiety and not some real disease. This left me completely shocked, and as I came to that realization I had my first panic attack. My mind went from worrying about physical symptoms (which bear in mind I was still having) to worrying over having anxiety and having to deal with that. That night I woke up several times with a racing heart and just so out of it with worry. The next day, I was miserable I was so afraid of having anxiety thinking that I would have to live like this forever, how would I do it, I’d rather not, what if I’m depressed, I am hopeless, lonely etc. I became obsessed with trying to fix my anxiety and symptoms, I started actively acknowledging that my symptoms were from anxiety and that made them not so scary and I didn’t dread them anymore, I bought relaxing teas and sip several cups during the day, I tried listening to guided meditation and deep breathing just to keep the anxiety at bay, any thought of anxiety was pushed away in the hopes I wouldnt feel it but my mind was still obsessed and fearful of the anxiety and depression itself. Fearing I would have the depersonalization come back, fearing another panic attack, fearing that I’d always struggle. that I would lose my mind. I’d wake up every day and check myself to what Im feeling and how and why (I still do) but It was until I read this website that I realize that, the obsession and fear of the anxiety are what contributes the most. The physical symptoms although scary are not the worst part, is the mental struggle and the negative thoughts which is the hardest part for me. These last 3-4 days, I’ve been more clear on my thinking, Im still getting bouts of intrusive thoughts throughout the day which hopefully I will begin to accept and let them go without fighting them. If I let my mind worry and continually check itself for how i am feeling I do get a bit of depersonalization from time to time but I realize that it’s because I get so focused on what I think I’m feeling that my mind overexerts itself. I need to not engage. My husband tries to be so supportive but sometimes I feel so alone, I work from home, my family is across the country and I dont have a lot of friends. However, with this anxiety I have forced myself to be more social these past few weeks, I realized now that this was just another method to try to “fix” my anxiety but now I see it as, okay I can stay at home and let my thoughts overtake me, or I can try to live my life, symptoms, intrusive thoughts and all and just accept it. I’m choosing the latter, and I pray that I have the patience to allow myself to accept and recover.

  607. Lucy Says:

    Nick, you sound so much like me. Almost 2 years in and i still sometimes question whether or not I truly have the right approach because sometimes i still feel as awful as I did in the beginning. I too have suffered from anxiety for a lot of my life (can only see this looking back) and it only really became a problem when it started dominating most aspects of my life daily. Your post sounds like you are “trying” too much, this is the part I find hardest because it is our natural reaction just to recoil from it or fight it off so we don’t feel that way. But does it ever work? Nope. All the while that we are anticipating anxiety to go, checking in to see if we feel any better or worse, we are giving it importance. Intrusive thoughts are super difficult and I totally understand they feel as though they are real but that’s all they are, thoughts. They are a vicious circle and the more we engage, the more we fuel them. I catastrophise a lot, also, and I believe Rach is really helpful on explaining how we are not our thoughts. Sorry I can’t offer better advice but hang on in there, you aren’t alone and better times are ahead for all of us it’s just riding this crap out :)

  608. Brooklyn Says:

    I just want to thank you so much for your blog! I’ve been desperately searching the internet for possible solutions, even the tiniest possibilities that I could find the cure for my anxiety. Within minutes of coming across your blog the “bad feelings” just floated away. They started to come back while I was reading and I didn’t entertain the thoughts because I focused on the reading. What really hit home was the note you wrote about the feelings not causing the pain but the fear of the feeling. I think that is exactly my problem and I cannot thank you enough. I have a very good feeling about this and I want to thank you for giving me my happy, bubbly, exciting life back. I will continue to come back to your blog when I am in need of a reminder because you truly saved me mentally. I hope your life is immensely blessed. Thank you for helping us all.

  609. Dustin Says:

    you’ve truly been a great help and inspiration to me on this blog. I know I haven’t posted but once on here, but one thing that kind of trips me up (rattles me more than anything) is I’ll have moments where a thought crosses my mind and my anxiety spikes up, and then I’ll become worried that I’m going to fall back into the cycle of fighting it. My mind tries to trick me into thinking that I’ve been doing something wrong, that I’m not on the right path. Its almost like a hyper awareness of how my mind is responding to my thoughts. I’ve been just allowing myself to worry about it and remind myself “so what if my mind starts questioning”, and it fades away. Is this something that you (or anybody else on here) has struggled with (really the fear that I’m going to fall back into the cycle of fighting or that I am doing something wrong?)

  610. Nolan Says:

    Hi Dustin,

    I hope you get a chance to come back and see this response….
    but yes, everything you described is exactly what I went through.
    It’s all part of the process. Let it do whatever it wants to do and just have the attitude of “so what, oh well” towards it.

    Sometimes it can get really loud and it will really shake you…. and you’ll start doubting the whole thing – but, those moments will pass too and you’ll feel peace again.

    Let it rise and pass on its own accord.

  611. Lauren Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    Could you answer two questions I have relating to anxiety/depression?
    1) I believe I have symptoms of depression where anxiety (thoughts that come in and out of my head) is constantly happening. They’re brooding thoughts (repeats of conversations I’ve had and things I’ve read, scenarios- usually conversations- that i make up that would occur in the future. I’ve spent today trying to let them be, however have ended up with a headache trying to do this. My thought is, i have been suppressing a lot and getting on with the day, however not being “in touch”, being aware/welcoming what Im thinking/feeling. I have been acting in this way/ autopilot for a while, however this year anxiety/depression/low self-esteem has been increasingly worse (where i was admitted into hospital).
    My question is, to feel “lighter” (with less mind chatter), does accepting take a lot of effort (physically and mentally)?

    2) Do you take a deeper breath when you’re welcoming and telling your mind to accept the thoughts and feelings?

    Hoping you can make sense of these questions. My doubts and a lot of my thinking is related to the blog and questioning if I am doing it properly.

    I used Paul’s method in 2011 and felt so much better/more confident. Since spiralling again in late 2011 (after stopping medication), I haven’t considered my mental health until things came up last year (affecting work etc.) My head seems more muddled/less resilient than in past ( trying to grasp concept but being confused/lost even more).

    Thankyou Nolan. I’m sure I will eventually get there.


  612. lainie waller Says:

    nolan thank you for your posts there awsome and very welcome x

  613. Dustin Says:

    Thank you for the response Nolan. Your posts are always so reassuring even when the doubt in my mind is intense at times and it is hard to believe that normal feelings can even come back. But I guess that’s all part of the process so thanks again!

  614. lainie waller Says:

    hi guys , feels ike my anxiety as gone down to loe levels and my appatite as come back a bit as well. But i have no joy and no interst in anything . I am avoiding again. I have an hair app friday and realy dont want to go. Any advice xxxxxx

  615. huda Says:

    I will be reading this letter over and over on every stressful situation and during those awful setbacks .

    Dear me remember the following :

    Remember, that you went through hell and back , and if you could do it then you can and will do it now.

    Remember, that once you start the recovery journey , recovery is inevitable.

    Remember ,your thought and emotions are not you, they are merley the result of your oversentisized nerves. You have complete power over your thoughts, you can choose to not get involved and simply let them pass.

    And regarding your emotions , just know that they are normal following stressful periods and just let time deal with them. Any emotion you are feelling at any time is normal. Dont be afraid of your emotions and just give them time.

    Remember, recovery lies in the places and experiences we fear the most. Dont avoid any stressful situation , its through these places and situations that you make the most progress.

    Remember, to let feeling of panic wash all over you, dont run away . Stand still and loosen your body and just let it pass through you.

    Remember what you learned can never be lost

    Remember , face, accept , float .

    Be certain that you will read this letter one more time once you are recoverd and have a big smile on your face.i guys , just wanted to share this letter i wrote to myself.
    hope it helps

  616. Nolan Says:


  617. Sasha Says:

    Is just a little discouraging people to look at the length of tha blog. And yes he/she is right. It’s not going away. Either we change what is troubling us deep down or we just live with it and cope however we do. Things like jobs and family are hard to change. My job is giving me great anxiety atm but can’t leave just yet ???? can’t sleep, eat and drink too much, I’m a mess, lost my zest for life just want to stare at tv blankly forever. But the beat goes on. Dudum… And in 5hrs I will be back there for the same torture. Xx living with it, still not great.

  618. Lui Says:


    I haven’t been on here for some time. My social fears did not lessen or anything but that’s alright, they are deepy rooted and it takes time.
    The worst part is still my thinking habits. My mind tells me it’s the worst thing I could do, to go out there and accept. My heart on the other side tells me the truth.
    I decided to go out more no mater if I am accpeting or not and it has given me another perspective. I will now start working at BurgerKing, it’s a little student job. Might me a big mistake to start a job in such an evironment when swept with anxious thoughts about social situation but I want to get out of this and think it’s actually great practice no matter what the outcome might look like.
    I just get mad at myself a lot. I am in a social situation and want to accept my feelings but then the thoughts come and they look so convincing and all my courage just leaves. The thoughts are really the worst part. I can’t tell if they are true or not. At the moment I believe every single one of them. I just know that I don’t want to put up with anxiety anymore. :)

  619. Nicola Says:


    I don’t want to downplay the severity of anxiety but I have learned to accept it and it doesn’t bother me a jot. But…

    I have the occasional panic attacks and am normally excellent at just letting the feelings be, but last night they got way out of control. I have never been so terrified, it got to the point where I was trying to vomit. Only then did my terror start to lessen. I know they are just feelings but last night it just took me over.

    I guess I wanted to know if anyone else has experienced this sort of thing, panic attack after panic attack after panic attack and if they have been that severe. I’m thinking about getting Valium and in five years I’ve never resorted to that.

    I was doing really well for a week having re-read Pauls book, normal anxiety is not an issue but the panics are debilitating.

    Does anyone else feel this way? Thank you for reading x

  620. Nicola Says:

    Hi Kat,

    I think I’m in the same place you are at the moment.

    I’ve had anxiety badly for 5 years but this time I feel like I just can’t accept it as I normally do. The panic attacks are just too much and the fear sweeps me away.

    I’ve now asked for benzo’s as I’m scared. I’ve been ill for a month so I don’t have the strength to even get my head in the right place to accept my fear.
    I had lots of panic attacks last night with new symptoms and all new levels of scary!

    Today I have asked for some counselling as I just can’t carry on like this, I’m losing the will to live.

    I hope you feel better xx

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