Anxiety Success Story

Firstly sorry for being so quiet recently, I am in the middle of writing my new book that will hopefully be ready in a few months, I am very excited about it and think that content will be extremely helpful.

Also I have been getting a lot of success stories recently from people who have recovered or have made huge strides. A lady was very keen to share her story with others and asked if I would please share it. It’s only a short story but hopefully it gives hope and comfort to others.

Hello Paul,

I just wanted to start out by saying that your book saved my life. I cannot thank you enough for all of the information. I suffered from anxiety and severe depression after the birth of my son on July 7,2014. I came home the following day with my baby and that night suffered from what I know now is a panic attack, and thus my anxiety began.I had every symptom in your book, and no answers. I had no idea what was going on. I thought I had a heart attack or something else horrible was happening to me. I ended up in the emergency room, and after 5 hours of strenuous tests I was told that I was ok, which left me bewildered. I went home and began thinking what could be wrong with me? What had happened to me? And it began happening again and again, because I kept fearing another episode. I thought for sure I had postpartum psychosis or some other type of postpartum problem.

I went to doctor after doctor, with no answers. They all just looked at me and wondered why I was so agitated. Kept trying to force pills that did not help. I was pushed from therapist to psychiatrist to finally a therapist that really helped in my recovery. I stayed away from my son and could not even be around him because I had such disturbing thoughts that I might hurt him or myself. I was back into them emergency room because I knew for sure something was terribly wrong. Barely missing being admitted into a ‘mental’ hospital I was sent home again to try and get better. I slowly began to slip into depression, stopped caring about what I looked like, stopped eating, stopped sleeping all because my brain would not stop searching for the answer to this new found problem.

I tried to explain what I was going through to my husband but he had no idea, nobody understood. I was alone trying to fight my way out of this hell. I figured I would end up in a mental hospital never to see my family again. But I began to research what this could be and stumbled upon your site online, and then your book. And in such a short time suffered from severe depersonalization. My anxiety was so bad I could not hardly read the book or talk, never mind holding a conversation. I started to read and finally I had found the answers to all the questions my mind was seeking. It all began to make sense. I just gave up the fight, it was very difficult to do but I did it. I had many, many bad days, thinking I will be stuck in this hell forever.

Then I began to have moments of quiet in my mind. The tools in your book started to help I was so relieved. Their were many days I wanted to give up, thinking I would never smile again, never be able to take care of my children or love my husband. I realized that the anxiety was their to help me, a friend that would force me to stop the worry and the stress. I had to read your book many times to let the information really sink in, but slowly, very slowly my mind began to reverse these habits I had started and though I don’t feel i’m 100% recovered, I know that full recovery is just around the corner. I can now do all of the things I could do before, including taking care of my son. I made myself smile on the days where it was impossible and never gave up. I realize now how important life really is, how important friends and family are.

Though I can say I hope I never reach that place again, I know that I can get through it and now because of it, I am a better person. I realize now how important your health is. You really just need to get on with your life and take the anxiety with you, and man is it the hardest thing to do, because all my anxiety wanted me to do was stay in bed. To others that are suffering with anxiety, you will get through it. And believe me I was one who thought “yeah right,” Im going to be like this forever, my life is over. But just let go of the fight, let your body heal itself and never give up. Their is so much to live for. Thank you so much Paul for all of the information your provide, I really thought I wouldn’t make it out of that hell and was ready to give up. But I did not and thank God everyday for that. I hope this helps provide hope to someone as all of their success stories did for me. I really cannot thank you enough.




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

New Anxietynomore App

For more help with anxiety visit

Follow me on Twitter @anxietynomoreuk or on Facebook

1,867 Responses to “Anxiety Success Story”

  1. Paul David Says:

    Paragraphs de-clumped :)


  2. Natalie Says:

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you so much for posting this, it really helps to hear other people’s success stories. I have also been helped so much by your advice and have come such a long way. I now hardly get physical symptoms and when I do, I don’t even care. I am struggling a bit now though with the way I am feeling. In the beginning I would have a lot of times where I felt DP and emotionally numb or down but would have moments where I would snap out of it and feel me and that would feel amazing and I would feel so alive. I have had times where I’ve felt this good for a few days even but then back to anxious. In January I had a bad setback which I have come out of so much quicker than before, and stronger. Now I have many times where I don’t even think about anxiety or how I’m feeling, which is great. Now though, I do not have those moments where I feel amazing and truly alive. Is this because there’s less of a contrast? I have quite a lot of thoughts about ‘what’s the point in everything” and “is life boring”, “what if I don’t want to be alive”. I am worried I’m becoming depressed but then also wonder is this just another symptom of anxiety and DP and if I pay them no attention they will also not bother me? I wonder if I thought my anxiety had gone as the physical symptoms had. Thank you so much for your help, this is the final bit I’m really struggling with.

  3. Jeff Says:

    Her success story is wonderful and a common theme among the nearly recovered.
    Almost fully recovered myself I’m struggling to finally pierce through to the other side. It’s there – I can see it. It’s like being just below the surface of the water looking up, seeing the surface – desperately wanting to break through and finally fully BREATH. But I must be patient.

    I’ve been down this road a few times in my life. Each episode was brought on by discrete life changing (traumatic) events or health issues….and took quite some time to recover from each one. And I certainly learned a few lessons along the way.
    But recover I did (fully). I know beyond a doubt that not only is recovery possible it’s probable – in fact consider it a given. Count on it. It WILL happen. And you’ll know it when it starts to happen…it sneaks up on you…. catches you be surprise….little bits at a time. But those little bits are beautiful.

  4. Doreen. Says:

    Thanks Paul

  5. Alex Says:

    Great recovery post! Can someone, anyone explain the link between anxiety and obsessive thoughts? Someone says that the theme of the obsessions doesn’t matter, but why does the thoughts feel so damn real.

  6. lainie waller Says:

    thank paul x

  7. Ross Murchie Says:

    Can someone enlighten me as to why I cant get anxiety of my mind im scrared of my mind & how I feel think no 1 really knows my partner tell me to pull myself together but I question if I can ever enjoy life again when im so scared of myself my thoughts are wicked at times I cant seem to live outside my head at all life just seems so scary I I cant recover what’s point when I cant forget any of it.

  8. Tom Marshall Says:

    Hi Paul,

    I just wanted to say from the bottom of my heart one massive thank you.

    I read your book across 2 evenings and I already feel like a completely different person, Now that I so have so much knowledge on the subject of why i felt like I know now I don’t have to fear it I just have to accept it and move on.

    I know i will have good days and bad days on my journey to full recovery but I’m completely ok with this! I’m letting my body and mind do its thing and getting on with life.

    I’ll be honest, I can’t remember the last time I read a book from start to finish but this one drew me In purely because of the perfect answers to everything.

    I never thought I could be so enlightened and Inspired by someones words, especially on the subject of anxiety and panic.

    Yes I may be anxious but I’ll just accept it, Yes D.P may come back but it can live along side me until it decides to go away and Yes anxious thoughts will pop into my head from time to time but i’ll give them their space, They hold no weight.

    I’m going to live my life regardless of how I feel.

    I can honestly say i agree with you Paul when you say ‘Its time to stop worrying and start living’

    Kind Regards,

    Tom Marshall.

  9. Rachh Says:

    I have to say I’ve found a lot of conflicting advice since trying to recover. I’m in a slump currently which has led me to googling and finding this paragraph which completely opposed mindfulness and ‘living in the present’. Which I have tried to understand the concept of for ages. I contacted will Berwick about the subject recently and can understand how the subject can really complicate recovery.
    Here is the paragraph…
    ‘Happy Memories – Finally, anxiety itself makes you focus too much on the present. One of the strategies to help reduce anxiety is goal setting, specifically because it gives you something to look forward to in the future. Staying active with enjoyable activities provides hope, and hope is important for committing to anxiety treatments’.
    This is my issue currently I’m trying to hard to figure out mindfulness, to be there for others, act normal, don’t say the wrong thing because I feel numb to social cues and empathy! And I’m riding my mind out even more.

  10. Sean Says:

    I’m only 6 weeks into recovering from anxiety from the last 7 years . I didn’t know what was wrong with me until I came across Paul’s stuff online , it has been a great help for me , the racing , scary thoughts and the worst for me , along with the physical symptoms like headache , dizzy , etc. I have read the book once it has been great for explaining different things we go through , actually I might read it again to try get more out of it , anyway it’s about being patient with recovery 7 years was a long time doing the wrong stuff , least I can undo all the anxiety (hopefully) by doing all the right things.

  11. Doreen. Says:

    Racch and others – I think the difficulty lies in the fact that you are trying to ‘do something’ in order to recover (mindfulness for instance) rather that taking Paul’s advice from his previous post which advocates doing ‘nothing’ in order to recover. Those who use mindfulness do so in order to enhance their day, not in order to get better from anxiety.

    Other people might go jogging or visit the cinema because that is what they like to do. Believe me, if they set out to see a film for instance with the motive that ‘doing this might make my anxiety better’ they will spend the whole time monitoring their anxiety. if they go with the view that ‘I may as well and if I enjoy the film that will be a bonus’ then they are approaching it from a very different perspective.

    The clue lies in your phrase Racch in which you say ‘I am trying hard’. Please stop trying hard and get on with accepting the presence of anxiety in your life rather than fighting against it.

  12. Rachel Says:

    Doreen please if you can answer my question can’t really explain it that well writing it down but please do your best if you understand it of course lol. Last weekend I was in London and I was 85% ok ish but now I am back I feel dizzy etc again even though I have been getting on with life so even if you are distracted by other things is anxeity still there is it always there or at some point will it go forever wether you distract yourself or just sit and do nothing cos I just want to be able to sit do nothing and not feel anything. Had my anxiety gone when I was away or was it still there but I was doing other things hope you understand it lol xx

  13. Nolan Says:

    Thanks Paul!
    Great story to share.

  14. Bryan Says:

    Great post, Paul!

    Doreen, excellent advice.

    Rachh, I agree with Doreen. I’m exhausted just reading your post. You are digging around the internet trying to figure out “how to think” which of course causes hyper-awareness and analysis of every single thought which of course is incredibly fatiguing to your already spent mind. It’s exactly the opposite of what your brain wants and needs right now.

    I think people make too big a deal of mindfulness. At its core, it is simply the ability to stay on task. If you are folding laundry, just fold laundry for a while. If you are pulling weeds in your yard, just pull weeds. You don’t have to solve the worlds problems while you pull the weeds. It’s simply a bit of mental discipline that you try to add to your day that reminds you you are in control of where your mind goes to some degree. Perhaps control isn’t the right word, but you can be aware and not buying into whatever nonsense it wants to get up to.

    Setting goals is fine. Set goals and enjoy it. Set the goal, forget about it and move forward with doing the dishes or watching the stupid comedy on TV.

    Doreen is right. You are trying to “solve” this by using thinking strategies as opposed to just letting it be there and refocusing on your tasks/moments.
    Paul teaches the latter and people recover that way.

    Btw, none of this is criticism. We all do or have done what you are doing. It’s part of the cycle.

  15. Daniel Says:

    There’s a lot of satisfaction to be had in crossing things off a list. Not a list of symptoms mind you, I don’t believe in the whole mindset of trying to beat and cure each individual symptom, as you are better off writing them off as a single thing that will collectively fade with time.
    No, I’m talking about a simple ‘to do’ list. It can include things that must be done, like housework, errands, homework or things for your job, it can include continuous projects like going for runs, or going to the gym. I sometimes make note of songs I want to listen to, or films I want to watch- because often a time comes when I don’t feel like doing anything and nothing comes to mind on how to pass some free time, so I refer to my list and see things I was planning to do before the mood took me and I do them anyway. I don’t always enjoy them as much I could have in the past, but I enjoy them as much as I can at the moment, and I know in the future I will appreciate having done them and will be able to retroactively really enjoy them.

  16. Nolan Says:

    Great advice, Doreen.
    I remember I used to go work myself to exhaustion at the gym when it first started. 25 minutes on the treadmill, 25 minutes on the elliptical machine, half an hour of playing basketball, lifting weights….. I was probably in the best shape of my life at that time :)
    but it just fed into my obsession with curing anxiety.

    Now, none of that working out is bad to do. But, I wasn’t working out to get healthy, I was working out to stop my mind from racing, to be able to sleep, to not be depressed. And it never helped me with those.

  17. Louise Says:

    Hi All

    I have been looking back at all old and new posts. This is a fantastic place for advice. I have wasted lots of money on linden method and other online anxiety programmes. Paul’s book is great am looking forward to new book being published. I am currently seeing a nlp/ hypnotherapist which is helping me with my anxious thinking and negative thoughts

  18. Alexandr Says:

    Hey guys so im at a point with whatever is going on with me that im not even sure its dp or dr, nothing really seems fake to me or dream like, which is what others describe as dpdr;I’m not anxious anymore after reading Paul’s book for some weeks. Thoughts seems less important for me, I feel fine. But im just really uncomfortable by what it feels like to be alive and i find it hard to understand anything and everything that has to do with life, i really dont know if this is dpdr but im really starting to think that either something else is wrong, or that im totally fine and now im just uncomfortable with what seeing, talking, thinking and pretty much everything else feels like, its just so weird and i cant really have hope for getting ” normal” because idk what that really feels like anymore and im really concerned that this is what normalcy is like.

    It’s like i’m somewhere in the middle or I don’t know. It’s like everything is gone, and even dreamlike state, unreality but only a strange feeling that keeps me unconfortable with existing, a odd feeling, a strange sensation that you don’t belong in this world, but I don’t suicidal thoughts, I’m afraid of death like hell…

    Sorry for posting here, I hope for someone to notice me.

  19. yolande Says:

    A trying day today. My fear is that i will not be able to find a new job while being stuck in this current job. I feel so agitated most of the time. With that comes the fear and the cycle starts all over again. I guess i am just scaring myself to death by my negative thinking………………

    I dont know what to do. correction. I know i have to let these feelings be and just carry on but it’s so v v hard sometimes.

    Any support or encouragment from anyone who has felt the same way and how do you carry on when you feel it’s so hard would be appreciated.

    Thank you

  20. Doreen. Says:

    Racch – I cannot answer the question as to whether your anxiety was still there when you were in London, but that is not the point. The point is that you are even asking the question, monitoring how you were ‘here’ and how you are ‘there’.
    Still trying to puzzle out whether you are doing the right or wrong thing. The only ‘wrong’ thing you are doing is dwelling on it so much. I got through my worst and out the other side by stopping dwelling on how anxious I had been in any given situation but instead giving myself a pat on the back by thinking that despite being anxious I had achieved something.
    Only when you let anxiety be your companion and accept its presence will it start to matter less.

  21. honey Says:

    When you’re fully recovered do you still have constant anxiety that you’ve just become used to? Or do you not even think about it anynoreunless something stressful occurs? Because for me I go everywhere and never avoid but I feel dreadful all the time and then I wonder is recoovery just acxeping that you wil feel this way forver and no longer being bothered by it or is it being symptom FREE? Because accpeing that this horrible feeling will be here forever is just completely depressing. It’s the reason my setback this time has gone on for months. I’m at my wits end. I’m fighting and doing everything I shouldn’t because I’ve accepted fully in the past and it hasn’t worked! It reduced the feelings but they never went away despite accepting pretty fully that they were there. It lost its power yes but it was still there making its usual threats. All I hear is people who have almost recovered and that’s just reinforcing it. People who have ‘recovered’ have just learned to put up with it forever? I’m so confused and feel this is such an obstacle because whenever I have a setback it comes back to this and I spend so much time during setbacks googling recovery to see what has helped people to reach full recovery and hardly anyone posts about full recovery. Sorry for such a negative post today. I feel in such despair right now

  22. Andy J Says:

    Ive got a quick question guys.

    Many people refer to anxiety/depression/OCD as something which is a chemical imbalance within the brain. Hence people being given medication to ‘right the imbalance’.

    Can this chemical imbalance be undone naturally by accepting anxiety? Will the brain and our systems correct themselves?

    In addition, more of the obsessive thoughts. Up until last year I never had any of the harm kind of thoughts I’ve been having. I can see that they are just that once the incident has happened, say I get the urge to hit my dog or whatever…. But how should I handle it when the anxiety initially strikes? Just label it automatically as an intrusive thought and just anxiety?

    Im really struggling to accept that all of these thoughts, feelings, urges, sensations etc are just down to my anxiety. It feels so real. Yes, I am anxious, but is it that I am anxious about whether these things are just anxiety or not?

    I hope that makes sense.

    Thanks again Paul for a great post.

  23. Daniel Says:

    Recovery means being free of all symptoms, but accepting means you will let it be there no matter what.
    All those who recover talk about a point they reach where they still have all their symptoms but are “no longer bothered by it.” It is a great period in which they can really enjoy their lives in the present and longer fear their symptoms or seek recovery, ironically once they achieve this happy, completely manageable state they find that there is a whole second level of recovery in which one is completely free of all symptoms and perceived limitations.
    Now you and I should not aspire for this second level, what Paul calls “complete freedom,” but rather the first level, the state of being fearless of fear. That is something that is within our control, we can aspire to create new habits and react to anxiousness a certain way but we cannot make our symptoms lessen or go away, they will do that on their own accord provided we stay out of their way.

    And don’t apologize for your post, “what is recovery?” is a common question and if you are doing as you say and going everywhere and doing everything, you are doing a good job, but you need to try and stop seeking relief from your symptoms and fearing anxiety.
    Don’t worry Honey, countless others have been where you are and recovered. It just takes time and it can test our faith, but we will all recover.

  24. honey Says:

    Daniel thankyou very much! I needed that!

    With regards to the chemical imbalance thing… I think the chemical imbalance comes after the psychological reasons that anxiety manifests. I never hear anyone say that medication cured them of anxiety only that psychological therapy, acceptance and mindfulness ie accepting everything as it is. So I would say that the chemical imbalance is not theissue here it’s the thinking issues which need addressing or on this case accepting ??

  25. Stephanie Says:

    Nolan, I’ll direct my question at you because I know you (unfortunately) have experience with sleeping issues. What attitude did you adopt towards sleep? Was it, “If I sleep good, great; if I don’t, oh well”? My sleeping issues come and go. They’ve recently popped up again. I don’t struggle with falling asleep; but I’ll jolt awake sometime in the night with that feeling you have when you wake up from a nightmare. Then I have trouble sleeping after that. I know my attitude has improved since I first started having trouble, probably because I understand what is happening now and I’ve experienced it before. But what I’m still struggling with is not reacting with frustration. I get mad because it’s happening again, or because the next morning I feel so crappy, or just a general woe-is-me attitude.

  26. Daniel Says:

    Sensitized nerves, chemical imbalances, stomach aches, headaches, depersonalization, panic attacks- all things physiological are all just the product of some bad habits we’ve formed, physical manifestations that scare us into creating worse habits. It’s by it’s very nature a completely reversible process that we can use to create good, beneficial habits that can improve our standard of living to an even greater degree than it was prior to anxiety.

  27. Nolan Says:

    Hi Stephanie, that’s exactly what I did.
    “Whatever I get, that’s what I get”.
    If I want to lay in bed with my eyes closed and just rest, or let my mind race as much as it wants to race…. then that’s what I’m going to do.

    If I feel like getting up, then I’ll do that.

    I don’t turn it into a big deal anymore.

    Feeling mad is okay, reacting on it gets you nowhere.
    I would have fits of intense rage or fits of intense fear. And I’d act on it: punching the bed or the wall or myself…. swearing…. ripping my crucifix off and throwing it. Or, with the fear, begging and pleading with God to change it all….
    It’s okay to let that anger or fear be there, heck it’s going to be there regardless, it’s the acting on it that makes it a monster. So, I just changed my attitude towards it.

    If my mind wants to race, then I’m going to kick back, close my eyes, and watch a movie about racing thoughts in my mind.

  28. Stephanie Says:

    Thanks, Nolan. I’d say my problem then is I’m acting on the frustration. After a bad night I’ll start complaining to my husband or I’ll lose my patience with my daughter – all because I feel sorry for myself. I know the right response is to just suck it up and move on, but gosh it’s hard when you’re tired and cranky. Then again, we don’t learn when things are easy and we feel great. Anyways, thanks for the response! Hope you’re sleeping well these days.

  29. Natalie Says:

    Hi, I wonder if anyone is able to offer some advice. I have been working on acceptance for a while and I now hardly get physical symptoms and when I do, I don’t even care. I am struggling a bit now though with the way I am feeling. In the beginning I would have a lot of times where I felt DP and emotionally numb or down but would have moments where I would snap out of it and feel me and that would feel amazing and I would feel so alive. I have had times where I’ve felt this good for a few days even but then back to anxious. In January I had a bad setback which I have come out of so much quicker than before, and stronger. Now I have many times where I don’t even think about anxiety or how I’m feeling, which is great. Now though, I do not have those moments where I feel amazing and truly alive. Is this because there’s less of a contrast? I have quite a lot of thoughts about ‘what’s the point in everything” and “is life boring?” I am worried I’m becoming depressed but then also wonder is this just another symptom of anxiety and DP and if I pay them no attention they will also not bother me? I wonder if I thought my anxiety had gone as the physical symptoms had. Thank you so much for your help, this is the final bit I’m really struggling with.

  30. Kelly Says:

    Hi everyone. I’m new to the site, but have really found the site and Paul’s book to be a lifesaver. I feel like I am close to recovery. I’ve been able to just let the obsessive thoughts float in and out and I’m not avoiding anymore. I’m having more good days than bad, so I see that as progress.

    I think that I’m probably still struggling because I have been worrying about myself so much over the last several months and it’s hard for me to let go of those worries since they have been part of me for so long. It’s taken up so much time in my life and distracted me from what I normally found pleasure in. It’s like it has become a habit for me to check on myself and almost expect for something to be wrong with me. How do I just let go of the worry that something is wrong and allow myself to enjoy things again?

  31. Ross Murchie Says:

    Some advice from anyone who can answer I have constant mind chatter about my mind never stops & im so attached to my thoughts constantly feel like im living in fear & have no concentration or motivation as I feeling so low I have been told by many doctors it, s anxiety but how can it make me feel so bad I also feel iv, e passed a point of never regaining any of my old self or happiness back I feel so weak I have constant battle in my head to even get through a day.

  32. Bryan Says:

    Great posts Daniel/Nolan.

  33. Kelly Says:

    Daniel – Great post. You mentioned to Honey that we need to stop trying to seek relief from our symptoms and stop fearing anxiety. I’m finding myself in a state right now where I’m feeling a lot better, but I keep checking myself (either mentally or by googling) to see if anything is wrong. I feel like this “letting go” is the last hurdle that I need to conquer. Any advice on letting go and how to stop checking in on myself?

  34. Abby Says:

    I’m a little confused about avoidance techniques. I understand that if I don’t go somewhere because I’m anxious that’s avoiding. But what about things like taking something to help me sleep, or doing breathing exercises to help me calm down, or sipping water when I’m nauseous. Are those avoidance techniques? Thank you.

  35. Nolan Says:

    Hi Ross,

    you said:
    “I feel so weak I have constant battle in my head to even get through a day.”

    Then stop the battle. Let the thoughts rage. Don’t need to argue with them. Don’t need to convince your mind otherwise.
    Just let the thoughts churn and churn and churn.
    Think of it like trying to read a book while music is playing…. sure, not ideal. But, don’t stress out over it. Accept that this just is what it is, and maybe in time it will get better…. but if not, then so be it.

    But trust me, Ross, it will get better.

  36. Adam Says:

    Great analogy Nolan. ” like trying to read a book while music is playing”. That pretty much sums up my anxious reality…

  37. Ross Murchie Says:

    It,s hard when my mind keeps checking in on how I feel think & analizes everything I do im so down & worn out & have alot of why cant I just forget this nonsense why am I suffering what’s really wrong & what’s the point I feel so scared of everything all the time I have conversations, words, sayings all play in my head & alot of doubt that I can continue to feel like this

  38. Ryan C Says:

    Hey guys. Rather than focus on the actual symptoms of anxiety which I beleive I have made peace with, I no longer delve into any of it, and just accept it I do have one question. When does it end? It seems to just be an endless journey that I only beleive will end because paul recovered. If he hadn’t, by now I would probably have given up and said this is just not going to happen. I know I am being impatient, but is recovery really that gradual? Paul makes a couple statements in his book about recovery such as he may have had a couple very bad days, and he had to get used to normality again as he had anxiety for so long, well so have I, 12 years nearly with anxiety and almost as many with depersonisation. Recovery has seemed so close, it was only a month ago I was sure I was only about a fortnight away and then I’m back to the old grind and I’ve not had a good day or positive insight for a month and it’s really crushing me. I’m still just following the programme, almost robotically, going here and there when I can, taking a days rest when I can. It would seem recovery can happen quite suddenly but he then makes it contradictory at times as it also seems so gradual. I know I shouldn’t care, but I am losing faith, I’ve been on this road a long time, and it starting to seem like a fairy tale. How can I be so close one day, and later so far away again in the depths of hell. This could actually go on like this forever? What is it that keeps you going when hopes are crushed over and over and it really could sensibly seem like it’s just not going to end?

  39. Andy J Says:

    Hi Ross,

    I know what you are going through as do most of the people on here. This anxiety stuff unfortunately isn’t easy, but you can recover. Look at the people who have been on here posting about their recoveries, even Paul himself.

    Try not to hang on to sayings or anything like that, they only act as a temporary form of reassurance. You need to accept that this is how you are for the moment and that it is all down to anxiety. It can be hard, heck I still question a lot of stuff, but you just need to get on with your day.

    You need to make your life more than anxiety. You may not have the motivation to do what you have done, but thats all down to being so focused on how your feeling. Take some one who was always thinking about going on holiday and wanting to lose some weight for when they went away. If they didnt have anxiety, there motivation would be to go to the gym, to eat healthy and to get in good shape. It might help them get through the day at work, when they were at the gym etc, always having that goal. Now if you throw anxiety in to the mix, especially when we are inward thinking, the attention directed at going on holiday will be absorbed by the anxious thoughts. Because the holidays thoughts gradually reduce, the motivation will also reduce, because the person is thinking so inwardly.

    You need to show your body and mind how to think again. Don’t let anxiety be the big monster. Remember anxious thoughts only gain importance with the respect you give them.

    I know how hard this is. I’m still having some really bad days where I just worry constantly and think ‘what is the point?’ and get really down in the dumps and have self pity, but im still here and still living my life as best I can. You cant out think this thing, you literally just have to let it do its thing and continue living.

    All the best,


  40. Sean Says:

    Hello everyone , I would like some advice , there is some great advice on this page it really is a great help to understand the different things that go on with anxiety , I am seeing improvements in my own self , it’s a slow process and I know that patience really is the key , but I have this one question is anyone can help, my anxiety really spikes after drinking alcohol , it’s like I am afraid to drink now at the moment , I just don’t need the hassle of multiplying all my systems by 100. But I no that the few drinks are not the problem it’s my reaction to it . Does anyone else feel like that after drinking alcohol , are you better off having a few as Paul says in his book he did once a week or whenever you feel like it , or are you better off staying off the alcohol altogether ?? Thoughts please .

  41. Kelly Says:

    Great post Andy. I know it was directed to Ross, but it really speaks to what I’m going through right now.

    I feel like I am so close to recovery, but I also find myself constantly thinking about myself and how I’m feeling. I’m also having a hard time making my life more than anxiety. I keep reading this blog as researching on the internet – it’s become a safety behavior. Over the last week, I became very concerned about my lack of motivation and I started to worry that it was because I was depressed (my therapist says that I am not). Now I’m thinking that my lack of motivation to do things is just because I am so caught up with the habit to worry about how I’m feeling and checking in on myself.

    I just want to be able to let go and live my life again without checking in on myself to see how I’m feeling or worrying that things may get bad again.

  42. Nolan Says:

    Great post, Andy!

    “You need to make your life more than anxiety.”

    Completely agree with this.

  43. Bryan Says:

    It’s so great to see the collective sentiment on this blog lean towards recovery and learning to move through this thing.

    I think one thing we have to remember is that recovery is a delayed cumulative reaction. Just like it took us time to sensitize, it takes much time to desensitize.
    And more importantly, our acceptance will often seem fruitless. We will accept and carry on but still feel awful some days. But, that cumulative recovery magic is still happening below the surface. It’s happening been when we feel like crap. So, we need to zoom WAY out when we talk about recovery times and judge on months not days. Better yet, try not to analyze at all… but we are only human.

    Keep floating and accepting even on crap days. Like Nolan says, there actually isn’t any other option. It’s going to be there when it wants. We have to commit to the notion of long term acceptance to see change. But it happens. I wish someone would have explained this concept to me years ago when I was at my worst. It’s a crucial piece of info IMO.

  44. Kelly Says:

    Sean – That is a tough question to answer. However, I feel like if you know that it is your reaction to drinking that is the problem and not the alcohol itself, then by not drinking you are just avoiding your anxiety when you really should be facing it. Just my two cents. :)

  45. Adam Says:

    Sean…please dont take this as negative criticism because I intend it only as something constructive, but the amount of analysis you have put into drinking or not can only be characterized as classic anxiety. To drink or not to drink…that is the question. But seriously, who cares? What I mean is….if you are anxious from drinking then by all means stop drinking.You aren’t hurting yourself by not drinking, while it appears that alcohol may increase your anxiety right now.So, dont drink now if it bothers you. And dont be upset by not drinking. But if you really want to have a drink then confront the “fear” and do it anyway. You are in control. Not the Anxiety. Again, its not the fact that you get increased anxiety from alcohol that is the problem…its how you react to it. If you get upset that you are having anxiety when drinking then you are giving it more importance than it deserves and you are creating ” a problem” for you to deal with later. Ultimately, if you can say “Anxiety, I am going to have a drink today because I want one and I dont care how you feel about it..” you will be on the right track. Those are my two cents…

  46. Kelly Says:

    Well said, Adam.

    Anyone have any advice on how to let go of my anxiety? I feel like I am so close to being over the wall to recovery, but I can’t stop googling about it, reading this blog’s comments, etc.

  47. Sean Says:

    Thanks lads I was thinking something along those lines myself , Thanks for the responses :)

  48. Sean Says:

    Thanks lads for the responses , will take it on board :)

  49. Louise Says:

    Hi everyone.
    I have had the intrusive thoughts drive me mad reading all these blogs have helped no end they are the worst symptom of my anxiety all the physical symptoms have gone are the thoughts the last to go

  50. Nolan Says:

    Hi Louise,

    It’s always that way: the one that you let bother you the most is the one that lingers the longest.

    Sleep disruption was my worst symptom…. but I had others along the way, new ones would make an appearance, the size and shape of them would change. But in due time they all whithered. Sleep was the one that lingered.
    I had intrusive thoughts, racing heart, constant focusing on my breathing and thinking that I would always have to consciouly breathe, depression, social anxiety, depersonalization, derealization, dizziness, exhaustion, burning eyes.

    But those didn’t bother me that much, at least not as much as the sleep issue, so…. they drifted off.

    So I knew, ‘just take the same attitude towards sleep, and if it lingers a bit…. so what? Big deal.”
    And in due time I started to have moments of completely normal/peaceful sleep and rest again.

  51. Louise Says:

    Thankyou Nolan
    This has helped. I had relationship anxiety which knocked me for since but I know I love my husband but it was a struggle to accept the thoughts. I saw your posts on it which again helped knowing it possible to move on. I have others now but know again it accepting them they annoy me but trying to just carry on with day. Again Thankyou Nolan it is nice to see people help others on blog who have got through this

  52. Krista Says:

    Hi everyone, Thank you Paul for your book. It has been my bible since receiving it in September. I decided to wean off of medication which caused me to go into a spiral of extreme anxiety like I have never experienced before. I could not eat, was physically sick to my stomach every day for 3 months, could not leave my home was a mess. I thank God for your book and website that I just happened to come across. It made me feel that I am not alone and also explained to me in a way that I could understand while my mind was in a state of confusion. I am not fully recovered and have my self pity parties every so often but from where I was 4 months ago it is much much better. The only thing I struggle with is the intrusive thoughts like Rochelle had. It is very hard to get past it. There are times that I do not have any but as soon as I have down time I know they are their in the back of my mind waiting. Its like when I used to to have a panic attack because of the fear of the panic attack. My mind is much clearer at most times so I know this is OCD/anxiety but I do not know how to completely move past it. I think it is the guilt and shame of having these thoughts that is holding me back. Any help/suggestions out there would be appreciated. P.S. I am looking forward to the new book! – Krista (from Canada)

  53. Nolan Says:

    No problem at all, Louise.

    here’s a funny little tale of the tricks it can all play:
    One day (after a long stretch of feeling pretty dang good and free from it all) I was in my kitchen, eating some pretzels.

    I was chewing on a few and went to swallow, but nothing happened. For some reason I just wasn’t able to make myself swallow the pretzels.
    Eventually I did now, it just took some gumption to build up.

    Then I started thinking, “hmmm… I read somewhere that inability to swallow at times can be a symptom of anxiety.”
    Then the panicked thought that, “maybe I’m still broken! Maybe my sleep is going to get bad again because I just realized that ‘yes, Nolan, you are indeed broken for good!'”
    Then I thought, “now everytime I swallow food it’s going to take me a long time to actually get it down…. and just knowing this is going to spike my anxiety again…. and that’s going to bring all of my sleep problems back!!”

    my mind was churning a mile a minute….
    My head started sweating, my stomach started churning, the despair was coming on as thick as it ever had. I was certain at that moment I was broken.

    I told myself, “whatever, I’ve been here before…. Let all of this junk come if it wishes too”..
    And I let it. I let those thoughts scream as loud as they wanted to. I let them be in my mind for as long as they needed, and I just didn’t take their heed.
    If the symptoms came back, so be it.

    Shortly after that little spike, I was back to normal, with little concern that it even happened.

  54. Louise Says:

    Pretzels yuk my son adores them
    And twiglets. I can get very down with the
    But carry on going to work and no one knows a thing so I have no choice but to carry on with things which is good in a way. Again thanks for the advice this is a positive place I like it lol

  55. Kelly Cains Says:


    You are not alone. At my worst, I suffered terrible intrusive thoughts where I was afraid that I was going to kill myself. I was completely afraid of these thoughts, even though I knew that this was something that I would never do. As hard as it was for me to listen to the advice, I just let the thoughts come and go without paying them any attention.

    I am finally over these thoughts – and to the point where I can talk about it without feeling afraid. Please know that these will pass and you aren’t alone.

    I really enjoy this support that I receive on here. I feel like I am so close to recovery but I am afraid to just live my life again since I have been worrying about myself for so long.

  56. Alex Says:

    Hi Nolan!
    What do you know about obsessive thoughts (pure O). Did you suffer from that?

  57. Louise Says:

    Hi Alex
    I have had intrusive thoughts bordering on obsessive which swing from subject to subject but don’t like the labels. I not sure but think acceptance is only way for them to lessen

  58. Kelly Says:

    Alex/Louise –

    Obsessive thoughts were by far the worst symptom for me. At my worst, I had terrible intrusive thoughts that I was going to hurt or kill myself. I was afraid to be alone even though I knew that suicide was never something that I would ever consider doing. I read something somewhere that people with intrusive obsessive thoughts would never act on them – they are ego-dystonic (completely against their nature). The problem is that the thoughts seem so real and so scary.

    Please know that you aren’t alone. As hard as it was for me to take the advice, I had to just let these thoughts come and just float away without paying them any attention at all. Pretty soon, the thoughts came less and less. Now, I may still have the random thought, but I have come to the place where I know that it is irrational for me and it doesn’t scare me anymore.

    I hope this helps.

  59. Alex Says:

    Thnx Kelly and Louise!

  60. Kelly Says:

    You’re welcome Alex!

    I’ve made a lot of progress over these last 8 months of dealing with anxiety. However, I can’t seem to get past this last hurdle. I think that I’m probably still struggling because I have been worrying about myself so much over the last several months and it’s hard for me to let go of those worries since they have been part of me for so long. It’s taken up so much time in my life and distracted me from what I normally found pleasure in. It’s like it has become a habit for me to check on myself and almost expect for something to be wrong with me. Any advice on how to just let go of the worry that something is wrong and allow myself to enjoy things again?

  61. Louise Says:

    Thankyou Kelly
    It’s good to see people who have got through these thoughts. I’m not there yet I have days where they truly get to me and the what ifs start but I’m getting there. I know there will be bad days I have have good day today I know they will not disappear overnight

  62. Louise Says:

    The self checking is just a habit we get into if we feel ok we just waiting for something to happen. Again I think it just carrying on and letting more time pass

    I’m not there yet but know I will come out of this a stronger person

  63. Kelly Says:

    Thanks Louise! I really like the support that I get from this group.

  64. Nolan Says:

    Hi Alex,

    Paul has said this before, as has Doreen…. and my experience perfectly reflects what both of them have said: don’t get too caught up in the particular symptoms; at the end of the day it’s all from the same source.

    I know that I had intrusive and obsessive thoughts.
    I know that they were higher (that they bothered me more) when my anxiety was high.
    I know that when I let them be there as long as they wanted, and moved on with my life that things got better…. in time.

    Let me offer an analogy:
    My neighbor has a dog that barks and howls like mad. A sharp, shrill bark that echoes throughout my house. I hated the sound of that dog barking. Initially it was an annoyance. But it was an annoyance that I never let pass. I intentionally focused on the dog barking, trying to figure out ways to get him to stop. I could have simply walked over to the neighbor’s house and said, “Hey, your dog barking is kind of annoying…. could you do anything about it?”…. or, I could have simply told myself, “Nolan, sometimes things don’t go your way…. ignore it and move on.”

    Now, either way is a healthy way to address the issue. Because both are a call to action and resolution to the issue.

    But I did neither. I brooded and brooded on the issue. Too afraid to simply, kindly ask my neighbors if they would mind teaching the dog to not bark so much or bring it in after awhile….. and too angry to not simply tell myself, “Nolan, just ignore it…. it won’t bark forever.”

    I marched up and down hallways in my house. Complained to my wife, to other neighbors, to friends. Ran sneaky little scenarios through in my head of paying someone to complain to my neighbor to make their dog stop barking.

    I was stuck in neutral with my foot firmly on the gas pedal. I was letting myself get worked up and worked up and worked up…. but allowing for no actual resolution to the issue. Cowardice and bitterness foiled my ability to move beyond the issue.

    I let this issue become an obsession for me. I fed the fire by both not being mature enough to address it in a kind way to my neighbor as well as not being patient enough to just ignore it and let it pass.

    And from this my anxious condition was born.
    Now, this tendency of mine was not unique to just dogs barking: neighbor kid’s playing basketball late at night, coworkers tapping on their desks or typing too loud (by my silly standards at the time), people talking on their cellphones on the bus.

    One thing started bleeding into other things and everything was now setting me off.
    But, this was still the stage where I had some control over it. I still could have been the mature adult and kindly asked others to be more considerate…. or, and probably better, simply told myself “hey Nolan, get over yourself…. just ignore it and be at peace with it”.

    But I did neither: I brooded and brooded and brooded.
    I kept my body, brain, and mind on high alert. Refusing to let it go.

    And what happened? It flipped some switch (not literal) in my brain/body. That highly intense, constant on-guard, hyper-attentive feeling I felt when that dog was barking, or when that neighbor kid was playing basketball, or when my coworker was chewing gum or tapping her pen stayed with me. Now it was no longer a matter of simply “not being in the situation” where the dog was barking or pen was tapping…. now that intensity followed me everywhere.

    It made my mind buzz with activity, it disrupted my sleep, it made me lose my appetite, it made my heart race constantly, it made me lose focus of the things I once loved and enjoyed.

    See, anxiety is not being broken…. it’s the perpetuation of a behavioral pattern that we set. We keep telling ourselves that “all is not well!” and eventually our brains catch the drift.

    The clever little thing about it is that what I should have done all along, back when I had some control over it (but which my own selfish stubborness befuddled), is exactly the way out of this rough patch.

    That gracious ‘being at peace with the lack of peace’ which would have helped me stop obsessing about a friggin’ dog barking is exactly what I ultimately needed to do to find my old self from the nightmare that was constant, unrelenting anxiety.

    If it’s there, let it be there. If it’s screaming at you, let it scream. Let it take up all the room it wants to take up. Let yourself feel the sensations and think the thoughts the anxiety is making bubble up in your mind. But now with a new attitude: “oh well, sometimes things don’t go my way… big deal”. Be at peace with the lack of peace, and Alex, then that peace will find you again…. and you’ll most certainly know when it’s there.
    But be patient in whatever comes your way.

  65. Kelly Says:

    Great post Nolan!

  66. Alex Says:

    Thnx Nolan!
    I have fighting this for 20 years now on and off, and until recently allways believed what ever my mind came up with. I was to embarraced to seek help, what remained was proving to my self about my obsession. Then i proved that it was a lie but as soon i got really stressed out the subject came back, now much Stronger. Thats why i allways thought that because coming back and haunt me then it must mean something. Just last year i found out that ocd existed and pure O. But now the more i have read about it even new obsessions arise.
    Thnx again bro!

  67. Kelly Says:

    Alex/Nolan/Louise (and others) –

    Since we’ve been supporting each other, I thought it might be nice to know a little bit about each other. I am a 35-yr old married mother of two little boys (6 and 4). I live in Charlotte, North Carolina in the US. I have always been an anxious person, but my anxiety took over last June after the death of a friend from college. It started with health anxiety and then spiraled into obsessive thoughts, fear, and heightened anxiety that was exacerbated by hormonal problems. I feel that I’m pretty close to recovery, but just need to get to living my life again (stop worrying about myself and that something might be wrong).

  68. Rachh Says:

    I know reassurance seeking defeats the object but I’m so thankful this blog and the uplift it gives me when I come back especially from you Nolan your posts are so helpful.

  69. Alex Says:

    Hi! 41 yr old. Married and me and my wife have 3 kids. Live in Sweden. As i remember first time was back when i was 19 and had my first panicattack. That was when this hell started. Then obsessive thoughts started and so on. Just recently found out about OCD.

  70. Nolan Says:

    Good idea, Kelly.
    37yr old fella. Married. Wife and I have 1 child (want more). Live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    Alcoholic mother (but still a very loving mother). Had first bout of depression my freshman year in high school.
    I wasn’t typically a depressed child. Actually, growing up I was usually pretty happy. But, by virtue of some rough situations and my inability to deal with those rough situations I had my first bout of depression in 1992.
    That lasted for a long time. Started to lift around the end of my junior year in high school.
    Came raging back, again a result of poorly handling rough situations, my freshman year in college (1996).
    First time I ever was on an SSRI (Prozac).
    Started to waiver again towards the end of my freshman year in college.
    Then around my junior year in college a p-doc put my on Paxil for anxiety and depression. Again, this too was rooted in poorly handling stressful situations.
    Took myself off of that (as I did Prozac).
    Around 2001 started to have my first struggles with relationship anxiety.
    Mom died in 2003, then in 2004-2005 things quieted down for me (became a Catholic).
    Then around 2008 that’s when I started having constant issues with refusing to be patient with what I considered to be inconsiderate actions from others (barking dogs, bouncing basketballs, stressful work situations…. many other things).
    February 13th, 2013 was my first bout of full blown, constant anxiety. Numerous meds were taken for a period of numerous months (ambien, ambien cr, lunesta, trazadone, Lexapro, Xanax, klonopin)
    Markedly different from the bouts of depression I felt earlier in life.

    Read Paul’s book around July 2013…. slow improvements from that point on.
    Ups and downs for many months.
    Then had some moments of peace and happiness that I can only say were probably last felt back when I was very young (prior to my first bout of depression in high school).

    Very rough outline…. some minor and major detail not included. But, this is a fair draft of the big points in my life with struggles of an emotional/mood kind.

  71. Louise Says:

    I am 35 I live in England I have only had anxiety for 18 months started off with bad dreams which turned into intrusive thoughts. 2

  72. Jaz Says:

    Hi everyone! Sean, I’m Jaz I’ve been with anxiety for almost 4 years and I feel pretty good the only symptoms I have are dizziness and bad thoughts but anyways I try to eat healthy and I workout almost 6 times a week sometimes twice a day. Anyways what I wanna say is that ever since I got my anxiety I stopped drinking hard liquor because the next day I would have really bad hangovers like my anxiety would be very very I mean very bad. So I stopped drinking for a couple months so then I started drinking again only like only one day out of the weekend. light beer or wine and keep it at 6 servings a night and would stay hydrated all night so the next day I would wake up fine and once the alcohol would leave my system I wouldn’t get anxiety. But I try not to drink every weekend. My point is you can drink alcohol but drink lots I mean lots of water too. By the way who suffers with dizziness? I do and I hate it! But I give it the I don’t care attitude.

  73. Sean Says:

    Thanks jay , I haven’t had a drink now in 6 weeks since I finally accepted i had anxiety after 7 years struggling with it , I have been reading these topics on this blog and have also read Paul’s book . So much of the stuff I can relate too . Staying off the booze hasn’t been a problem for me , but I will have a coupe of drinks again soon just to see will it be any different now that I no its just the anxiety that was the problem all along. I really dunno how I kept my job all these years I had some really bad days in there and just about manages to keep it together for so long . It has been easier so far this year in there . I also train 3-4 times a week running or walking or swimming . This helps also

  74. Doreen. Says:

    Some years back Paul introduced the idea of a ‘coffee lounge’ where people could chat about themselves outside of the topic of anxiety. It seemed to go quite well for a while and helped people get to know each other better. To access it, you click onto ‘blog’ on the home page and then scroll right down to the bottom blog which is entitled ‘coffee lounge’.

  75. Ross Murchie Says:

    Hi nolan it seems like I cant think of anything else but my anxiety how I feel constantly when my kids r screaming playing I feel agitated like I want to scream I feel scared of myself constantly I doubt everything I do I get easily offended I have like constant tightening in my head when trying to talk to people im checking in on my mind I have some horrid intrusive thoughts I question when im going to end up crazy I cant get it out my head I look at people & wonder how there happy & also at times wonder what they r thinking I fear suicide I worry I will not cope with life anymore & what im going to do as living like this is awfull I so want to be the happy go lucky I was before all this hit but fear I never will so what’s point.& will I ever forget the anxiety

  76. Doreen. Says:

    I will pop a post on there and see if anyone wants to join me. Click on ‘my blog’ and go right to the very bottom (December 2007)

  77. Colin Says:


    To follow the good idea of introductions: My name is Colin, I am married and have 3 children, aged 19, 18 and 14. I live in Exeter, UK and on and off have had bouts of anxiety/depression past 20 years. I should stress with extended periods (years) of being okay.

    Right now I would like to ask those who consider themselves recovered something about the (for me very important) post from Daniel a little while back, where he says:

    All those who recover talk about a point they reach where they still have all their symptoms but are “no longer bothered by it.” It is a great period in which they can really enjoy their lives in the present and no longer fear their symptoms or seek recovery, ironically once they achieve this happy, completely manageable state they find that there is a whole second level of recovery in which one is completely free of all symptoms and perceived limitations.
    Now you and I should not aspire for this second level, what Paul calls “complete freedom,” but rather the first level, the state of being fearless of fear. That is something that is within our control, we can aspire to create new habits and react to anxiousness a certain way but we cannot make our symptoms lessen or go away, they will do that on their own accord provided we stay out of their way.

    what I read here and in numerous other places (and Claire Weekes teachings) is this perfectly summarizes what we need to do (or more accurately not do). We should allow anxiety to be there, be comfortable with it and carry on with our day and tasks/life with our anxiety acknowledeged but not allowed to dominate our lives. I have been trying to do this and while I would only say I am a small bit along the way I do notice that I am getting much better at just leaving my anxiety to be there and living my life while it is there and doing this makes it all more manageable. I am convinced this is the way to find complete recovery.

    I have also read we should actively welcome our anxiety (e.g. choose to really experience it and actively move towards the “dreaded” feelings). Steven Hayes the founder of Acceptance & Commitmeny Therapy expounds this.

    This is where I would like some advice from people further along recovery than I am. I suffer from relationship anxiety (e.g. I get anxiety most when with my wife, I think because, as she is Swedish, she reminds me of the earlier situations where I had major panic attacks. Also because she has been with me all these years, it is easy for me to try and subconciously “blame” her for my anxiety.) I now wonder whether I should not see this situation as an opportunity. It is a chance to again and again feel the anxiety and learn to live with it. I have read a number of people recovered on this blog who say they viewed anxiety as a great teacher as it is only when you really have it that you have an opportunity to learn how to get to what Daniel calls the 1st level of recovery: Not being afraid of fear…or happy to have anxiety.

    So I guess my question is, should I/we actively look to (maybe even seek out) these opportunities to feel anxiety, stick with them and live normal life through them, as this is our best chance to learn to just let all the symptoms be there and learn to not be bothered by them ???

    Any comments really welcomed. I think this post of Daniel really hit home to me the key step to recovery.

  78. Anna Says:

    Hi quick question and a reply from anyone would be so so great. Should you treat depressive thoughts the same as anxious ones? I.e accept they are there but do nothing about them? Many thanks x

  79. Nolan Says:

    Great idea, Doreen.

    Wish there were a way that there could be a link to the side (close to the top of the blog) that brought you right to the coffee lounge.

    Oh well, not that big of a deal right now. Paul has bigger fish to fry.

  80. Kelly Says:

    Great question Colin.

    I, too, would like to hear from anyone that is recovered or has gone through recovery. I feel like I am really close, but I am having a hard time dropping my safety behaviors (like reading this blog, googling) and taking a step away from the subject of anxiety. It’s just so hard for me right now to carry on with my life even though I know that is the way back to “normal.”

  81. louise Says:

    Hi Kelly
    I think it sometimes good to try not to read and Google stuff I used to look on this blog all the time. I know what I have to do and that’s to accept and carry on with living. I find it hard though with getting new intrusive thoughts even had ones bout not loving husband drove me mad I get them now and again but know it crap or they would by bother me.

  82. joe Says:

    First of all I gotta thank Paul for all the blog and the book its really helping.
    I have come pretty far I’m not bewildered by my symptoms too much anymore my DP’s got better and I,m not really avoiding anything. I’ve had lots of setbacks where i thought nothing has changed but now Iv’e had enough to not take it so hard or seriously and i just come back to the blog re affirm the messages and get on with it.
    However what I’m still really struggling with is social anxiety and depression to do with it, they seem to feed into each other horribly and I’m not sure how to push further.

    It feels like I Have been depressed and anxious for so long my brain cant think in a social way, like i literally cant think of something to say so i’m just pretty much silent. I’m not avoiding i still try and be around people but i just cant think of any words and feel to self conscious to speak them well its really frustrating me and making me depressed, I don’t dwell on it anymore but i cant get past it.
    anyone else had this?
    or got any advice?

  83. James Says:

    Little advice if you could spare a moment.
    In day to day life I do what needs to be done and try and do things I enjoy, however whenever I do anything I am aware that I feel awful nor myself while I do it and am not enjoying it at all. Before, after and during any activity I say to myself ‘It may feel wrong/horrible/meaningless/empty/disgusting now, but when you’re better it will be amazing again.’ But is that acceptance? I mean it feels like with that phrasing/mindset/approach I am merely waiting for recovery.
    Is my approach wrong? How can I improve it?

  84. Nolan Says:

    Hi James,

    Good question.

    Let me first say this: you’re doing exactly what I did.
    I lived my life like I used to while still having the thoughts “I’m broken forever”, “I’m just putting on a show”, “the fear is still completely there”.

    Now, those thoughts were there to greater and lesser degrees at times.
    Meaning, they weren’t always there with full intensity. And every once in awhile they’d just be gone and I’d truly be enjoying myself (if only for a moment…. prior to “remembering” what was wrong with me).

    So, I don’t want to say that you’re doing anything wrong.

    I will say that you simply have to be patient. But, there is never a bad time to build or develop more patience. It’s the one currency that never depreciates.
    Patient people are a godsend. They show us other ways of reacting when we want to react in a negative, self-centered way. They’re the ones that all look up to.
    I’ve always been intrigued and amazed with patient people. And now, I’m slowly discovering that I can be that person too.
    As can you, James.

    But I will say this, start not concerning yourself with timetables of recovery. I used to do that so much. I remember I bought this huge block of soap bars (Irish Spring :) ) and I would tell myself, “When I’m close to done with this I’ll probably be almost completely recovered.
    Well, things didn’t play out that way and it only served to further frustrate me.

    Cliff Notes:
    – I think you’re handling this in a great way.
    – Always practice patience: it’s an invaluable commodity.
    – Start not concering yourself with timetables for recovery.

    Great job, James.!

  85. James Says:

    Thanks for the feedback Nolan, I think in addition to the usual doubt of ‘will i ever get better?’ there is that constant worry that ‘maybe I’m not doing this right.’ I’ll take the advice to heart.
    I think time pressure comes from the belief that recovery becomes less possible or less ‘worth it’ as time progresses, like we permanently lose more of ourselves as time passes, so it I understand why I’d probably be less patient today (exactly one year from when my anxiety started)

    Anyway, thanks again. Everyone keep up the good work.
    Remember when you ask questions take people’s replies as practical advice to apply to your lives rather than just something to make you feel better in that moment of desperation- otherwise it’s just like ‘googling.’

  86. Nolan Says:

    Again, wise words, James.
    Your tone has been significantly different. Don’t sell yourself short, you’re doing a great job.

    “Maybe I’m not doing this right”….
    James, I believed that for many months after following Paul’s lead. Also the thought, “maybe this isn’t even for what I have”. In time, I realized that was just more of the workings of anxiety in my mind.

  87. Andy J Says:

    Nolan and James, great to see conversations taking place which are beneficial to every one.

    Ive got a quick query. As well as thoughts, I seem to suffer from extreme urges to do things which are either morally wrong or illegal. The actual content of the thought never really crosses my mind, its more the ‘you could do it’, which then transforms in to ‘you want to do it’. Again I should know this is anxiety, but some times feelings just feel so… real.

    I was wondering if any one else had been through those kinds of thoughts, and as though you are ‘holding yourself back’ from potentially awful things. I know I should just view them the same as any other thought, but combined with the ‘is this all just anxiety’ question, can sometimes throw me over the edge.

    Thanks again every one.

  88. Kelly Says:

    James –
    I, too, have put a lot of pressure on myself in terms of the time it is taking to recover. I always have the thoughts about how long I have been dealing with it and how I feel that I should be better by now. I’ve come to realize that, while I’m not 100% yet, I have made a lot of progress from when this all started last summer. I think having this group on the blog really helps because I am able to see the progress and to see how close I am to recovery.

  89. Kelly Says:

    Andy – You are right. This is all your anxiety. When I was at my worst with the intrusive thoughts, I found a great website that talked about these thoughts and how you never have to fear acting on them. I bookmarked it so I could read it if I ever got scared again. I tried to paste the link in my last message, but it is waiting to be moderated. So, instead, I’m going to post the message here below.

    Courtesy of OCD Free
    “To overcome intrusive thoughts, it’s important to first realize you’re in complete control of yourself and it simply feels like you’re not when an intrusive thought has a strong grip on you. Intrusive thoughts are ego-dystonic. This means that they’re the very opposite of your character. You have these thoughts because you DON’T want them because they’re everything you’re against morally and as a results you’re perceiving them as threatening, so your brain flags them as important. You never have to fear acting on an intrusive thought. You’re terrified of these thoughts. They’re your worst fears which is why they’re so hard to ignore and you’re suffering as a result. You’re not just suddenly going to reverse your character and find it acceptable to act on them. You’re only suffering like this because you’re a good, kind, and moral person. Analyzing the thoughts is the problem. The more attention you pay to an intrusive, the more it sticks around because it’s being given importance that it doesn’t deserve to have. By accepting that you’ll have these thoughts and understanding that you’re the one in control you can get on with life while they’re in your head. In confidence they will fade out when you don’t respond to them and a a result showing your brain that they’re not a threat.”

    This information really helped me, so hopefully it helps you as well.

  90. Andy J Says:

    Hi Kelly,

    Thanks very much for that.

    It’s really difficult dealing with these thoughts. I’ve always thought of myself as a good person who would do anything for any one.

    The intrusive thoughts make me feel like I am or have become something else, which doesn’t even make sense. The correct way of viewing it would be that I am some one who has suffered with anxiety for a long time and I’ve been ground down and become sensitised to thoughts I would normally be able to dismiss. Because I’ve given them respect, they’ve grown.

    Thanks again

  91. Kelly Says:

    Andy –

    You are completely right. Because you’ve given them respect, they’ve grown and stuck around. I was in the same place not too long ago. My intrusive thoughts were worrying about suicide, even though I know that this is something that I would never do. It just scared me so much. Because I let the thought scare me, it stuck around. It was like a vicious circle. It wasn’t until I just let the thoughts come and go without paying them any attention, that I was able to move on. Now I may sometimes have the thought randomly out of habit, but it doesn’t scare me anymore because I know that it is irrational and not something that I would ever do.

    Best wishes. I promise you that it will get better. It did for me!

  92. Alex Says:

    One question! How big can the obsessive thought become? I mean when you obsess about something for example HOCD, how big can that obsession become? When you keep obsessing about something 24/7, how much can it manifest itself psychicly?

  93. Abby Says:

    Reposting… I’m a little confused about avoidance techniques. I understand that if I don’t go somewhere because I’m anxious that’s avoiding. But what about things like taking something to help me sleep, or doing breathing exercises to help me calm down, or sipping water when I’m nauseous. Are those avoidance techniques? Thank you.

  94. Dustin Says:

    I definitely like the idea getting to know more about the people behind these usernames. A little bit about me: I’m 22 years old, student at Michigan State University in my fifth year studying environmental science. (Nolan I hope you’re finding ways to stay warm in Wisconsin. This cold is ridiculous-8 below zero where I’m at right now). I’ve got a younger brother and two very supportive parents who have been so patient with me through this rough time in my life. Love the outdoors, sports (wrestled in high school) music, been playing guitar for about 10 years now and hope to move out west (California preferably-love the ocean) after my schooling. I’ve been pretty happy most of my life, and I consider myself an upbeat optimistic person.
    My anxiety started fall of my sophmore year of college. That summer (of freshman year) I had a really bad experience with marijuana. It was the second time I ever tried it, and I over did it (big time). Definitely one of the scariest experiences of my life. Anyone who ever has had this happens, knows how shitty it feels (basically I thought I was going to die for what felt like a thousand years). So I guess that kind of tweaked my nerves a bit. That fall, I started feeling myself become more and more inwardly focused, questioning if I was really happy, and tuning in to how I was feeling (especially the feelings that reminded me of my experience). I guess I reached the breaking point one day when I was sitting in class one day, and out of nowhere, I was hit with a panic attack. Never had one before. I thought I was going crazy, so I left the room, and started getting even more worked up about how I felt over the next few months. I went on prozac which made things worse, then tried lexapro, which also made things worse, and tried meditation and mindfulness which seemed to help in the short term, but probably fed into my fear of anxiety. I ended up taking a semester off of school, because I felt so terrible. During my junior year (so about 2 years ago) I came across Paul’s website. After that I spent so long trying to figure out what he meant in his message, working my mind so hard to “be ok” with this anxiety, I was missing the whole point. I think it kind of hit me around August last year that it is ok to feel horrible and scared, and it is ok not to feed into the fear of it all. So hear I am two years later after finding this website, and I feel like I am not stuck in the horrible cycle of trying to figure it all out anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I still feel awful a lot of the time, but its not as bad as where I once was.
    Sorry for such a long-winded post, but that’s my story. I look forward to learning more about everyone on here. :)

  95. Kevin Says:

    Hi Joe,

    Just as a reply to your problem…I too experience that. I am not over it, in fact I still feel it. I try not to avoid being in social situations but when I am in them i feel like I’ve lost my social skills. But i know however that they aren’t really gone. And if they are then ill develop new skills. Just keep at it.

  96. Doreen. Says:

    Dustin – Paul introduced the ‘coffee lounge’ for people to learn more about each other away from the topic of anxiety. You might like to go on there too. Scroll down to the very bottom on My Blog and you will find it.

  97. Kevin Says:

    Since everyone is doing it heres a little about me:

    I am a 20 year old student in New york city, originally from Hudson Valley, NY. Ive had anxiety for years. It was always social anxiety however which didn’t bother me too much. I always liked being by myself.
    Then, a year ago I had my first panic attack. It was after a night of hard drinking and i was very hungover the next day. Was sitting in class when I had a sharp pain in my chest which sent my mind running about what it was. Then I panicked and ran to the bathroom to calm myself down.
    Had multiple panic attacks after that and finally one threw me into the constant anxious state. I had severe DP, obsessive thoughts and health anxiety.
    I always thought I could handle the physical symptoms of anxiety but the mental symptoms was what was killing me. NOW, I’m pretty much over the mental symptoms but the physical symptoms are ruining me. My health anxiety is back tenfold. I haven’t given up and i know recovery is coming.

    Anyway, good luck to everyone and thank you all for sharing on this amazing blog

  98. pamela qadeer Says:

    Hi just a quick question for paul to ask why i cant post on your facebook page.

  99. Marc Says:

    Hi Guys

    After getting about half way through Paul’s book i thought it a good idea to get some things down on here and if that means i get some pointers or advice then great.

    I have had mild anxiety for approx 2 years but up until about 3 months ago it was easy to live with and i was only taking the lowest dose of Mirtazapine possible, 15mg a day.

    About 3 months ago i was at a work meeting with colleagues including managers and even their managers so it was a room full of ‘high up’ people (i work in a bank interviewing customers many times per day). i then had to present back the data from my table and although this had been fine in years gone by, i was suddenly aware of everyone staring at me as i was talking and had a panic attack such as hot face, struggling to get my words out and having to abruptly finish my piece.

    this then lead me to be anxious when reading anything out loud which is something i have to do multiple times per day with customers and even when reading to my sons before their bedtime.

    then about 6-8 weeks ago i had a panic attack in front of a couple in my office and although i dont think they noticed as they were leaving anyway, this made things worse and now i have the uncomfortable chest, breathlessness etc throughout my working day.

    Imagine a cup of water currently overflowing, it seems that trying to carry on as normal as Paul suggests just keeps making that cup overflow as i am coming up against the thing that effects me the most multiple times per day.

    I feel i am in a ‘catch 22’ situation that i agree and believe that i need to just carry on interviewing my customers but at the same time i wonder if having a little time off work would bring that ‘cup’ level down sufficiently that then any ‘spikes’ in anxiety wouldnt cause the ‘cup’ to overflow. However, would going back to work after a period of time off start things going again?

    Lastly, just to confirm i am taking the 15mg mirtazapine daily still, 40mg beta blocker (prophanol or something like that) split between 30mg morning and 10mg afternoon. and on top of those i am having chamomile and green tea to try to keep me calm naturally and some Kalms tablets that have things like hops etc in them.

    thanks, marc

  100. louise Says:

    Hi all

    I am getting there with letting thoughts go although the content bothers me a lot.I keep thinking how can I think such a thought. My question is is it memory that brings the thoughts back its like they coming back in order they first started so hopefully I am on right track

  101. Alex Says:

    Hi guys! How do you let the thoughts go! How can you ignore them. I understand it when it comes to some thoughts. But if you have hocd,pocd and suicidal thoughts ocd. How do you keep going without getting involved in them. It’s tough as hell. I understand that they are not me but you get scared as hell why you have them.

  102. Kelly Says:

    Louise – Yes, it is your memory of having these thoughts that keeps bringing them back. The more that you pay them no attention, the less frequently they will come.

    Alex – I know that it is very hard not to get involved with these thoughts. As I mentioned above, my worst thoughts were centered around my being obsessed with suicide – even though I know that I would never do that. It just scared me so much and by my rationalizing the thoughts, it just made everything worse. I think what helped me was reading the obsessive thinking part of Paul’s book. There is a paragraph in there where he says something like you should take the thought and ask yourself what’s the worse that could happen. Then ask yourself if it would really ever happen. He says that once you answer those questions, a part of you deep down will realize that the thought is irrational and just anxiety-based. It does take some time to let the thoughts go. I have only really gotten past this symptom over the last few weeks.

    Best to both of you!

  103. Alex Says:

    Hi Kelly!
    All of these obsessions aren’t me, i know that. I have never understood people who takes that step and commits suicide. I have never had that kind of thoughts before, i read about something about that and watched a tv show. And The what if thought popped up. I have 3kids, i would never do something like that, but when the damned thought comes you just get so damned scared. So hard to separate them from one self.

  104. Louise Says:

    Thanks Kelly.
    They make me feel crap but the thoughts are last symptom for me and the one that has lingered. I will suddenly remember a horrible thought it still comes with a sting but doesn’t linger as much as they did

  105. Kelly Says:

    Alex – I completely agree with you. I have 2 children as well and have always said that I could never do that to them. But I do agree with you that you just get so scared and I even started to wonder why I had the thought at all. Very hard to separate from yourself, but you can do it!

    Louise – The fact that the thoughts aren’t lingering as much as they did shows that you are making progress! It sounds like you are almost there.

    For me, I am struggling to let go of the anxiety worry and to move on with my life. I know that I should be focusing on outward things, but I can’t stop from reading the blog entries and comments. It makes me feel better to know that people have been where I’ve been, but it’s getting to the point of it being a safety behavior I think.

  106. Bryan Says:


    I’ve made great progress with my PD/AD/nervous illness. I’m living much more happily and normally now. But it still choppy at times. I find myself “needing” to reference support materials (the blog, Claire Weekes) at times still. Usually in the morning because things are much worse. By late morning I usually have no interest. Nolan had a great thought on the subject that as long as we don’t worry that we ARE referencing the materials, it’s not going to hinder us. I’ve found that to be true. I’ve gotten better and reference the materials less despite having referenced them daily. As we recover, we simply don’t have the interest or need to reference as much anymore. So perhaps it is just like anything else with this condition, if we just allow it to be there it won’t affect us. I understand what you’re saying, there has to be a limit and we need to make ourselves get away from it at times. But it sounds to me like you were doing great and if you continue to get back to normal living, the desire to read up on things will simply go away on its own. Again, I’m still working through all of this so that it’s just partially speculation on my part and also a little evidence I have seen as well. (And Nolan’s great advice.)

    Don’t beat yourself up. Sounds to me like you are almost there.

  107. Kelly Says:

    Thanks so much, Bryan. I am preparing to go on a cruise this Friday and will be gone for 8 days. I’ll be without internet access, so this will be a true test to show myself that I know what I need to do and don’t have to rely on these safety behaviors. I’m probably better off than I think that I am, but I just won’t let myself move on because I’m relying on this blog and its comments. Like you said, I need to not beat myself up. I’ve started trying to make a small list of things that I want to do each day – mostly because it will take my mind away from the topic of anxiety (even if only for a little while).

  108. natalie Says:

    Hi kelly, i would love to know how you get on when you go on your cruise, i would say im pretty much recovered and this is my last hurdle going on holiday, i think its the plain and just being out of my comfort zone for the first time.. i hope you have a lovely time .

  109. Kelly Says:

    Thanks Natalie. I will definitely follow-up once I return from my trip. I also have a fear of flying, which is heightening my anxiety a little bit. I’m also a little anxious about being out of my comfort zone while on the trip. I am going to take Paul’s book with me, just in case I need some support. The good news is that I am going with my husband, my best friend, and her husband. All of them know what I’ve been going through this last year and I know that I will have the support if needed. I return late on March 7, so I’ll follow-up when I get home. Thanks for the support.

  110. natalie Says:

    That’s good kelly im sure you will have a great time, i did watch a video on youtube about fear of flying and it did help it explained everything witch put my mind at rest… the pilot said Turbulence is just an inconvenience for him it makes him spill his coffee haha, not a care in the world.

  111. Louise Says:

    Hi Kelly
    I too find the blog reassuring I tend to save and helpful replies on my phone to refer to. I re read Clare weekes and Paul’s book. Don’t think it does much harm. Enjoy your cruise

  112. Kelly Says:

    Thanks Louise!

  113. Sam Says:

    Hi guys, havent posted on here in ages. I’m 19 now, and have been keeping up with a part time job in an exchange booth as well as A levels at college and whilst with my gf, and thought I was coping really well. Then work wasn’t paying me right and was/is getting too intense and even got a slap on the wrist for making too many mistakes. As well as this my gf broke up with me a month ago and ive been trying to stay strong and in a way have. But long story short a girl who really liked me and wasn’t/isn’t really my type at all met up with me and for some reason was not herself and opened up completely about her own depression/anxiety and how she has struggled a lot in the past, after she felt a lot better (sorry for having to mention sensitive subjects!) one thing led to another and we were just about to have sex, and I just couldn’t do it, as she made me realise that I was nowhere near as far on the road to recovery as I thought I was, as after hearing her story I immediately starting getting feelings for her and feeling some dependency, which showed me my ex was a massive crutch for me, and that (being honest) me trying to get a girl in bed with me was just me putting a “front on” and trying to pretend everything Is fine and that I’m just like “normal” adolescents. So I broke down last night and had little to no sleep and felt completely lost again. I don’t really know what my question is but is trying to put on a front to others ever a good thing? Or “fake it till you make it” and also I don’t know whether I’m making certain decisions day by day because im trying to prove to myself how “strong” I am, or I’m making them to hide away from the bigger picture, or I’m doing it because that’s what I enjoy, I’m finding it very hard to distinguish which one it is. Hope this makes sense in some way as its very shortened version of a long story, but any help would be greatly appreciated during this setback :)

  114. Julie Says:

    Hi all,

    Great post, love her story.

    I am doing well, the last symptom I have bugging me which is holding me back in many ways is what I think is DP.

    It can hit randomly but sometimes if I have been at my laptop screen a long while (this is how I best describe the feeling) I feel detached from my surroundings, like I know i am there but everything feels floaty and as if i am not there, if that makes sense. Dream like state. Well that feeling hits most times when I try to go out alone to socialise, or out for a drive alone, to the shops alone…. with my husband I rarely get it. Is this DP?

    It first hit last August after a family member got intouch and she upset me, it caused me stress which led to me having a little set back in anxiety. A few days later I was in the car going to the supermarket with my children and it suddenly hit where I felt very unreal, dream like… I was driving over a bridge and panic hit because when I have the unreality feeling I don’t feel I am in control, so of course that triggers the old intrusives about the bridge or the ones about my children. It knows how to scare me this anxiety 😉

    Anyway, since that day I lost all confidence going out as the unreality feeling scared me so much during that attack at the supermarket. I am going out, I am pushing myself further alone every day. Today I drove further than usual, and over bridges and was fine and I was bloody proud of myself as they are something I always used to avoid since having the intrusives. It’s just in the school holidays last week I noticed I was afraid to drive too far from home incase it hit so I felt I let my children down a little, although they had a fab week and were happy I realised I am letting this unreality feeling scare me into doing the things i used to do when I got back on track and the agoraphobia wasn’t a big issue anymore.

    For me it’s the last thing I need to jump over. Everything else is all falling into place and i am really happy. This unreal feeling hits even at home recently, not just when i go out alone. I keep going, today it hit after a while at my laptop. I still went downstairs to do my workout and make lunch. I have just really let it set me back agoraphobia wise since it hit at the end of the summer last year. It triggered a nasty anxiety attack and since that day I lost all confidence in taking my children anywhere. I know they didn’t realise I had a panic attack I still since that day fear it happening again.

    Any advice appreciated. I don’t like to ask as I am doing well, but I am struggling a little with accepting this last hurdle.

    Thank You.


  115. Andy J Says:

    Hi All,

    Ive had a bit of a hard weekend and I was after some advice and help.

    As you may have learned through my previous posts, I suffer from intrusive thoughts. Now one particular intrusive thought seems to have a pretty strong hold on me at this moment in time. Its as if something inside of me is urging me to ‘do it’. As if there is a need ‘to get it over with’. The thing is, the thing in question is illegal and can not be done.

    How do I overcome this? I seem to be unable to ‘just let it be there’ and move on, because of the nature of the thought and the repercussions that would result from it. I know when people (including myself) have asked previously, that we should treat these thoughts the same as any other anxiety, but these thoughts and urges seem so strong. How can they merely be anxiety?

    Every time I feel like I hit rock bottom it gets worse. I know this post is full of self pity again, but its impossible living like this.

    All the best,


  116. Lucy Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    I was just reading your post where you talk about patience, and realised it is this last part of ‘letting time pass’ that I am finding so hard because I am not seeing any results, even when I feel I am ‘practicing’ correctly.

    I read ‘Nothing works…’ last week and got a great deal from it (thanks for mentioning it), it makes so much sense. I no longer google my symptoms anyway as I know what I am experiencing is anxiety, but I guess I have held on to ‘anxiety mementos’ for reassurance, eg. Paragraphs I’ve copied and pasted, and success stories etc to give me encouragement. I know I need to let these go but I am finding it hard – I managed it for three days before I cracked!

    Today has been like every day: I woke early with anxiety and dread. I went to work, taking my symptoms with me. I played ‘let’s pretend’ as well as I could. I let the unrelenting anxiety ‘just be there’. And then on the bus home I was hit with a wave of self pity that I should even have to be going through this, day after day with no break, that it took all my strength not to cry my eyes out on the bus. I’m just so fed up of feeling this way all the time.

    Sorry people, I don’t mean to be so miserable! I’m seeking reassurance that I’m not the only one who feels so awful all day every day, as right now I’m doubting my ability to recover, or that I’m even doing it the right way. I feel like I’ll never be myself again. And I know I shouldn’t be seeking reassurance! Arrggghh!

    Lucy (graphic designer from Edinburgh, Scotland)

  117. Rob Says:

    So I recently heard about a tragedy (suicide) that happened to one of my friends and I was in total shock the night I heard. Almost had a panic attack which made me worry like “Omg why now I’m getting better why this”

    We kind of drifted after my 2nd year at college and so weren’t that close but the news still shocked me and now I’m over the initial shock reaction but I need to get over this ASAP. I don’t need this kind of stuff interfering with my own recovery formula. Of course being over the initial shock is great and none of my other friends who heard had such a ridiculous reaction to this (and some of them were a lot closer/had hung out with him recently) but now I kind of get the thought that “Well can I be happy and just live my life and not care about this” and then feel a bit guilty for thinking this way. Like seriously all I want to care about is my own recovery and it sounds selfish so I feel guilty. I don’t need 1 more thing added to the checklist of things that are already there. I mean, I wasn’t really that close to this guy anyways (which is why the shock probably wore off quickly). I try to just pass it off as “Well I’m glad that wasn’t me and he must’ve been in a really really bad place for that”

    I have enough things going on with myself that this isn’t something I particularly want to care about and I would just like to let go of it asap. Of course I know these things go away with time but I don’t have the time for this (I don’t do mindfulness cause I don’t really believe in it). I only have time for my own recovery.

  118. Jack Says:

    Hey I have a question and I’m wondering if anyone has dealt with this before and If it has gone away. For the past 6 weeks I’ve been dealing with some generalized anxiety all based around getting chronic headaches. The initial panic attack spurred from feeling trapped in the headache like they will never go away. I’ve dealt with and gotten over anxiety many times in my life but this time is especially hard because the headache keeps bringing me back down every time I feel better. I think this episode with anxiety will really teach me more than ever before. I’m young so my goal is to control my health worries so I do not have to deal with anxiety for the rest of my life. I think this blog will be good for me. But my question is has anyone else ever suffered from chronic headaches and if so how they got over them.

  119. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Rob,

    You said, “I need to get over this ASAP”. Why? What’s wrong with being affected by the news of a suicide? I think that’s a completely normal reaction. You also said, “I only have time for my own recovery”. Maybe I’m misunderstanding your point, but that sounds like the opposite of making your life about more than anxiety. I remember early on with my anxiety I read a story in the newspaper about a suicide, and afterwards I wished I hadn’t read it because it bothered me. But that’s silly. I can’t create some kind of anxiety-free bubble so I can recover, and then I’ll face the real world. No, the right thing to do is feel everything and anything now and stop focusing so much on “recovery”. Sorry if this is coming across as harsh – truly, I’m trying to be encouraging :)

  120. Rachh Says:

    Lucy just want you to know (although I can’t make it better) I know exactly how u feel. It is relentless.

  121. Rob Says:


    No not harsh at all. It definitely is totally normal to be a bit shocked by news like that. Evenif I didn’t have anxiety I would be shocked by it. The difference is that anxiety probably makes me blow my reaction out of proportion. I’m guessing thats why I had such a physical stress reaction since I was already in an anxious mode. A bit different than a newspaper story or for example hearing about Robin Williams or something since in this case I directly knew this person although we kind of grew distant over the last year. Of course I can’t be in my own bubble and recover that sounds horrible. Being in a bubble of course would mean I miss out on the good stuff and the bad stuff. I kind of was in my own bubble last year but made no progress and lost contact with quite a few people including this guy.

    I think it just sort of set me off due to the crazy physical shock reaction I had. Either way today I am not as emotional about it as I was on day 1 and its been 2 days so most likely everything will dissolve away. I just wanted to get over it ASAP since I had been making good progress just living my life and it just seems like a bummer to hear this kind of news and worrying about whether it is going to “affect” my progress. Now the interesting thing is that after hearing about that and getting shocked by it, a lot of the rumination about the bad drug experience I had last year dissapeared and got replaced by this. Now its like I am actively trying to bring the thoughts about the drug back and when I want them they don’t come. Idk whats better to think about lol.

  122. D-Ren Says:

    Hi all, haven’t been here for a while, and prolly won’t be as I’m not that into the subject anymore, and I swear there is nothing “new” that I can learn here or anywhere else.. so I’m not looking for the “thing” you know?


    just thought of reminding that yes understanding is everything, but don’t forget some “basics”, i.e.

    -Eating properly (no need to be perfect here..)
    -Exercising and stretching (and walking daily or just hanging outside, and in my case, I love to go to the gym and lift heavy)
    -Resting much as you can
    -If you are having really stressful day, then remember to keep breaks of what ever you are doing and take a nap or chill (like just laying, even with racing mind or not..)
    -Having good posture.
    -Do the stuff you are “supposed to” do

    I am having slight setback now, and feeling panic / really “odd” at times – but it still doesn’t and shouldn’t prevent me of doing those very “basic” things.


  123. Kelly Says:

    Lucy – I am right there with you. I am constantly reading this blog (current and past) and I can’t seem to break free. It is definitely like carrying an anxiety memento. I just wish that I could let go of the topic of anxiety so I can move on. I think it’s the last thing for me.

    Rob – I completely understand how you feel. When I was having intrusive obsessive thoughts, they were about the fear that I would get so depressed that I would commit suicide. The story about Robin Williams really hit me hard. Even though I have moved on from the obsessive thoughts, stories like yours will still throw me since I’m not 100% recovered yet.

  124. Alex Says:

    Another problem is this! On a blog post Paul explains to someone about obsessive thoughts. Paul said something about when he had been for a run he didn’t have any obsessive thoughts afterwards for hours. That was how he found out that they were exsessive adrenaline. Ok. I went for a power walk for about one hour, and The thoughts were there all the time. Even after as i came home. They were there. So what do you think that i thought. Because the thoughts didn’t vanish then they must be real. Maybe i am giving them to much creditibility, i don’t know anymore. There are Times when i feel as myself, after a while i kind of recall the damn thoughts. Does anyone else feels this?

  125. Karen Says:

    Alex they didn’t vanish because you went for a walk with the aim of getting rid of them. You were therefore still telling you mind you didn’t like them so they were not going to disappear. Sadly it doesn’t work like that, believe me I have tried to. All you can do is get on with your life alongside them. When they appear don’t engage with them, just let them be there and carry on. ‘Hello anxiety thoughts’.

    Lucy, you are truly not the only one. Keep going. If you need to cry, do, its tough but we will all get there x

  126. Krista Says:

    Hi Everyone, I’ve only posted once on this blog but am happy to know I am not alone.
    Kelly – I find re reading blogs, Pauls book very re assuring. Since I suffer from Intrusive thoughts (part of OCD) the compulsion I do is search the internet. I can spend hours doing it because it temporarily makes me feel better. So I now only come onto Pauls site and try to limit my readings as it is just feeding my obsession. I need to learn to sit in the anxiety, let the intrusive thoughts be there and not do anything to try to make me feel better. It is so hard.
    One thing my psychiatrist said that was helpful was that Anxiety/OCD is like water. Imagine there is a dam trying to block the water from coming through. Anxiety/OCD (for me intrusive thoughts) will find any way to get through/past the dam. It will find a small crack, change in rain, waves crash over the dam. This helps me as my intrusive thoughts aren’t just thoughts, they are “ideas”, “words”, “images”…..
    I have always suffered from anxiety, panic attacks, some OCD since I was young. I used to remedy it by self medicating. I have been sober 3 1/2 years now and am just now at 37 years old trying to learn how to cope with this. Over the last 6 months has been the worse since I had a medication change and had to go through withdrawals which brought on the worst anxiety I have ever experienced. But with the help of AA, family, friends, a great psychiatrist and finding Pauls website/book and blog I am recovering. It is frustrating to have set backs as I did recently. But I recognize why I had it and am more prepared hopefully.
    Since everyone is introducing themselves, I am 37 yrs old, have 3 daughters ages 19, 11 and 8, a great supporting husband and I live in Ontario, Canada.

  127. Karen Says:

    I haven’t been here for a while. I have been doing better but hit a rough patch. My issue is that when I plan something in advance (pictures/nights away/nights out / anything out of my normal comfortable routine really) the anticipatory worry is so bad, it stops me sleeping and it makes me ill again. I tend to plan things on the day or day before now. Obviously I can’t live like that. Does anyone else have this? I challenge myself by making myself do it but it doesn’t get easier. How do you stop anticipatory worrying?

  128. Krista Says:

    One question I have for people that have recovered, especially from the intrusive thoughts/anxiety is how do you move past it? I feel like I am almost there but it is the worry of the anxiety coming back or intrusive thoughts coming back? I think it may be the shame and guilt from them that I am feeling that is hold me back. Anyone else feel like this?

  129. Krista Says:

    Karen, my psych told me that anticipatory anxiety is one of the last things to leave. I would wake every morning and right away worry about my day, was it going to come back, was I going to feel anxious. It would physically make me ill.
    I think you challenging yourself is exactly what you need to do. Walk through the fear, don’t avoid. I was told if there was something you didn’t want to do because of anxiety then you should make yourself do it for sure. I also think time heals. We need to learn to trust again and have faith everything will be OK. This too shall pass.

  130. Kelly Says:

    Thanks Krista. Although I do feel temporarily better by reading the blog and comments, I’m not learning anything new. I just keep re-reading the same stuff over – it has become my compulsion. I agree with you that it is so hard to just let it be.

    Krista – when you say that you were self-medicating, how bad was it (if you don’t mind me asking)? I like to have a glass of wine at night, but my anxiety voice has recently been making me question whether I am drinking too much. I’ve never been a big drinker and I really don’t think that one or two glasses is that much. It’s definitely not affecting my life or anything. Just curious for a perspective from someone that has been there.

  131. Lucy Says:

    Thank you Rach, Kelly and Karen – it is good to know I’m not alone. I have been trying really hard not to reach out for reassurance from family and friends, which is hard as I live on my own and some days it’s just too much. I know letting go of these crutches and the anxiety ‘momentos’ (reading about anxiety, this blog, googling success stories etc) is probably the last hurdle to moving forward. I actually decided last Thursday that I just wasn’t going to ‘check’ anymore, and left a note out to myself in the morning, ‘no checking!’ and managed really well for three days (woop woop!) – I did feel better for it, but then when symptoms came on stronger I cracked. And here I am…

  132. Krista Says:

    Hi Kelly, I was not a daily drinker but when I drank I drank for the effect and the numbness it gave me. I could have a glass of wine or two some days and leave it at that. Other times I didn’t know when to stop. I did not lose anything material or family etc… No one can tell you if you have a drinking problem. Usually if you are questioning it then it is something you should look at. I ended up realizing that drinking actually made my anxiety worse, it was a vicious cycle. Also since I started drinking at such a young age (13) I never learned how to grow emotionally and to live life on lifes terms. When I felt down I would take something to get me up and when I was too up I would take something to bring me back down. Everyone is different. I do thank God for having AA in my life, it has helped me immensely and saved my life. Someone told me this: You can get off the dump truck before going all the way to the dump.

  133. Rich Says:

    Hi Everyone, I’ve not commented on the blog for a while as I’ve been fairly well recently. Over the last couple of weeks I have felt anxiety a little more than I have been, and my fear of it re-emerging once more.

    I would notice myself ‘notice’ anxiety or ‘think’ about anxiety, then I would feel anxiety as a result – all self inflicted.

    I would then try to deal with this, and carry on regardless, but when you’re stomach is churning and mind is racing, it’s just a matter of trying to carry on while it settles down to normal again, and hope your mind learns that it was wrong to raise those panic levels over nothing.

    I’m in that phase right now. I’m off out tonight, and have anticipatory anxiety about it. Adrenaline is present, and I notice I can’t concentrate and am worried I’ll feel ill, lose appetite etc – all the usual stuff.

    But, I’m still going and I will try to enjoy it and relax into it. I haven’t had too many setbacks of late, so this is a little bit annoying, but here’s hoping, like everything else, I learn from it and benefit from it long-term.

    Anxiety catches me out when you’ve not had it ‘grip you’ for a while. When this has happened in the past, it dies down and I am fine – and even have this taking less and less time to subside too.

    Antipatory anxiety – my ingrained habit – is difficult to stop reacting to I am finding. I guess that it just takes a while to undo something that’s been ingrained into my thought process for so long.

    Good luck to you all,

    Rich :)

  134. Karen Says:

    I hate anticipatory anxiety, it spoils what you have planned cos you are so worn out by the time it gets to it.Good to hear you are doing well Rich

  135. Kelly Says:

    Krista – Thanks for clarifying. Honestly, I wouldn’t say that I’m questioning it because I feel like it is my anxiety trying to find something to worry about since I’m so close to recovery. I definitely don’t use it as an escape or anything like that. I can also go without and be fine and never drink more than 1 or 2 glasses at any time.

    Welcome back Rich. Sounds like you have a great attitude and approach. I hope to get to that same place soon.

  136. Sarah Says:

    Hi everyone. Just looking for a little reassurance and encouraging words really. I am in my third day of my first setback. I read pauls book 7 weeks ago now and have been doing really well. I dont let my panic attacks bother me anymore but i took my blood pressure on sunday because i felt a bit strange and it was a little high nothing to worry about but worry i did and i repeatedly took my blood pressure and got so stressed that it shot and everytime the reading got higher. Now its all i can think of and my face is constantly red which fills me with dread of having a stroke. Any words of encouragement to get me back on track would really be appreciated. Thanks so much, sarah

  137. Dustin Says:

    Why do you think that you shouldn’t notice or “react” when your anxiety hits you? I was the same way. I would get a wave of anxiety, or an anxious thought would cross my mind and I would think to myself “Oh no I reacted to it”. then my thoughts would spiral from there-this was due to me thinking that it was bad to react or that my thought process was broken or needed fixing. It didn’t. I spent a lot of time trying to be okay with my anxiety. If that doesn’t make sense, here’s another way to put it. I wouldn’t let my mind go haywire. I felt I had to have control. It sounds to me like you’re telling yourself that what is happening is bad. Don’t tell yourself “oh I just have to wait it out, and it will settle on its own. Don’t look for that relieving thought or phrase. It isn’t comfortable, but imagine how much freer (not sure if that’s a word) you’ll feel when those scary feelings and the reaction to the reaction (to the reaction to the reaction etc…) are not off limits.
    Hopefully my ramblings made sense, and hope everyone is hanging in there.

  138. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Rob,

    You said, “I just wanted to get over it ASAP since I had been making good progress just living my life”. I’ve had this exact thought. A few weeks ago something unexpected and stressful happened at work. I remember thinking, “No this can’t happen, it’s going to interfere with my recovery, and I’ve been doing so good too.” But really that’s just nonsense. Life is all about ups and downs, good and bad. And I think the more we learn to face and handle the downs/bad in an appropriate manner, the better off we’ll be. Take care!

  139. Adam Says:

    Stephanie….very good post. The point is exactly that: we cant control life and should never try. Therein lies the creation of and propagation of anxiety. Acceptance is key and that includes all of the nasty, unhappy, sad, and otherwise unpleasant happenings in life. Life is not happy or sad but both. It is all things. Unfortunately. including such ugly, sad things as suicide. We cant have pure, unadulterated joy without abject sadness. Life is all of it. As for how we react to it…it is ok to be saddened by tragedy. Especially a tragedy such as that of the suicide of a young person. Sadness is a part of our existence as humans… and we need to feel it when presented with it. Same as anxiety. So, Rob, I would say this: take the time to feel sad at the loss of the person you knew. You may feel as though you don’t want to and that it will derail your recovery. But that is only another expression of anxiety. We don’t get better from not feeling. We recover when we feel all life has to offer…the good and the bad…and we keep going. We are all things…anxiety included.

  140. Rich Says:

    Hi Everyone, Thanks for your replies! Last night was ‘ok’ but it wasn’t perfect due to physical symptoms (was very hot, loss of appetite, stomach ache etc etc whatever), but just sat through it and enjoyed it as best I could. Didn’t get too hung up on the symptoms being there and getting in the way, but was annoyed it had still ruined what was a special occasion for me. Everyone else seemed to enjoy it though, so I took that back as a positive.

    Felt tired due to the anxiety being present beforehand, and I know this will fuel anticipatory anxiety for the next time I do something similar, but just need to keep it in perspective and just chalk it up to ‘one of those things’ rather than get hung up on it and make it more than what it really was.

  141. Julie Says:

    That’s it Rich. I go out for meals now and I feel all the anticipatory anxiety beforehand. I feel anxious, hot… whilst there but I don’t dwell on it afterwards I just live in hope that the more I do these things the easier it gets.

    Good attitude to just treat it as one of those things and move on. See the positive, you went, you didn’t avoid it.


  142. Kelly Says:

    Hi Sarah –

    I haven’t completely recovered yet, but I went through something similar earlier in my progress. For me, it wasn’t checking my blood pressure it was checking my heart rate. I get heart palpitations and worry if my heart is beating too fast or too slow. What I finally realized is that doctors told me that I am in good health and that my heart rate will naturally change throughout the day and day-to-day. This is the same as with blood pressure. What you need to do is just let it go and stop checking. By checking, you are just fueling the anxiety.

  143. Jack Says:

    Anyone on here ever get headaches for long periods of time?

  144. Sarah Says:

    Hi Kelly. Thanks so much for your reply it meant a lot to hear from someone that put themselves through similiar torture. I havent taken my blood pressure since sunday but am still fretting about it but not so much anymore. I can feel myself thinking of it a little less by the hour. I know that if i keep following the good advice i will get there eventually, no matter how hard that is to believe sometimes. Thanks again for the reply and my best wishes to you on your road to recovery. Sarah

  145. Kelly Says:

    Sarah – It sounds like you are doing just what you need to be doing. It will get easier as time passes. I never thought that I would get over the compulsion of checking my pulse, but it’s barely even a thought for me anymore. Best wishes to you!

  146. Jeff Says:

    Yes – frequent headaches are yet another symptom of anxiety that I’ve experienced. Right at the temples. Joy.

    I am almost fully recovered now, and marvel at how many different symptoms I’ve experienced over these many months. Every week it seemed I was experiencing yet another new & exciting symptom. Weird aches and pains, heart palps, brain zaps (especially fun), shaking hands… name it.
    I can’t say how many times I have stepped outside myself and asked WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME! But I knew what was wrong.

    Some on this blog are experiencing anticipatory anxiety. I still get a little of that. But as the anxiety fades, then the symptoms fade, then the fear fades, and then finally the anticipatory anxiety. At least that’s been my experience.

  147. Kelly Says:

    Jeff – I, too, am close to recovery. Did you (or do you still) find that you check in on yourself or feel like you are constantly watching yourself? I think that this is the last part of my recovery. I am having a hard time letting go of the subject of anxiety and letting go of the habit of worrying about myself.

  148. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Kelly, I know you directed your question at Jeff, but I have the self-checking too. Paul talks about that in one of his posts, I think. We’ve created a habit of self-checking, so it’s only natural that it will linger even when we’re not feeling anxiety necessarily. Don’t try to let go; continue to live your life and it will go away on its own. It’s just another symptom of anxiety, and like all symptoms, we can’t make it go away.

  149. Jeff Says:

    Kelly – for the time being I think it’s almost impossible to not think about how we’re feeling. We’ve been at it so long (like Stephanie said above) that it’s a real hard habit to break.

    I think it’s the need to constantly measure our progress and reassure ourselves that we are indeed recovering….even though it becomes self evident.

    What helps me is engaging with others, or doing some activity. When I do that thoughts/fears, and lately any feelings of anxiety are gone.

  150. Kelly Says:

    Thank you to Jeff and Stephanie! I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one with this last step to recovery. Getting myself busy does help. At first it was very hard to get involved with other things, but I find that it has gotten easier as the days go by. I guess that’s what everyone has meant when you they say that recovery comes back layer by layer.

    I just want to say how grateful I am to have this community.

  151. lainie waller Says:

    Lucy is it the lucy i know. wol xxxxxxxxxxx

  152. Rob Says:

    @Stephanie and Adam

    Thanks–nice posts. I suppose this type of sadness is still within the normal realm of sadness after such a tragic and surprising event. I need to accept that I can’t just go to some secluded magic paradise where I don’t hear about tragedies like that and part of recovery includes enduring life events like that.

  153. Jack Says:

    Thanks Jeff i’m just going to accept the headache for now. As was said in the book worrying does nothing to change the outcome it only makes you worse. Slowly but surely I’ll reverse my bad habits and thoughts. For now all I can do is have faith in myself and my body and keep on living my life.

  154. mark r Says:

    Hi all,

    I’ve not posted for a while so just thought I’d give an update really as to where I am.

    Although I’ve been doing well over the last few months with a new job, new car and prgressing well in my recovery, I’m still not really where I want to be. I’ve had this bout now for almost three years, which is the longest one I’ve had, my prior ones have usually resulted in complete recovery within about two and a half. I am past the worst of it, and for the most part the remaining symptoms are lack of energy, constant dp, stomach issues and chattering mind. I still have bad days, in fact this week has been pretty crap where anxiety has been at the front of my mind.

    I have helped myself as much as I can and function highly in my life. I have a full time job, healthy diet, regular exercise, lots of hobbies etc. I still feel a little in limbo though where I am waiting to recover but not quite there. From my own point of view what hinders me are the following:

    – The nagging worry that I will never have a normal life
    – Not acceptjng the lingering dp, ie looking for when it is there or not
    – Being elated when I am feeling good, but getting downtrodden when symptoms return.

    If anyone can give me an outside perspective for me and maybe a few pointers I would be grateful.

  155. Zee Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I have been suffering from anxiety for about 18months now, it has been on and off. A few days ago i had trouble sleeping, and as a result it has caused me to obsess and worry about not being able to sleep! Its has been 3 to 4 days now where I’ve had sleepless nights due to disturbing thoughts right before I’m about to rest.. I feel tired and exhausted, all i want is to be able to do is have a goodnights rest.

    If anyone can give me advice as to what i should do that would be great!

  156. Kelly Says:

    Zee – I had a hard time sleeping two nights ago. Then, when I went to bed last night, I was worried that I would have a hard time sleeping again. But, I remember the advice that I had read on this blog. I just took the attitude, if I sleep, I sleep and if I don’t, I don’t. When you stop worrying about it, you’ll find that your mind just falls asleep faster.

  157. Kelly Says:

    Mark –
    I’m not sure that I can really give you too much perspective, but I wanted to let you know that I am in a similar spot to you. I don’t really deal with DP, but I also have anxiety at the front of my mind. I also have the same nagging worry about whether I will ever have a normal life and get the same feelings about good and bad days. I know this post doesn’t really give you much in the way of advice, but hopefully it helps to know that someone is feeling just like you.

  158. Nolan Says:

    sorry about that test post.
    My posts weren’t going through at first.

    Hi Mark,

    you said, “I’m still not really where I want to be.”….
    I think that’s part of the problem. You seem to have too high expectations of where you should be with being the old you.

    All I can say is this: the moments when I said to myself, “Nolan, this is just how it is. If it’s like this for the rest of your life…. then so be it, but you’ve got to move back on with your life and away from the pity.”…. it’s when i came at it with that attitude, and truly meant it, is when I started to really find more and more of the old me, and the insight that comes with a calm and peaceful mind and body just started to stick.

    I know what it’s like wanting this to end as soon as possible.
    That feeling of being broken, full of despair, full of doubt…. who wants to live with that? no one.

    It’s the hardest thing I ever had to do: to tell myself that ‘maybe this won’t ever end’…. but I found something more fundamental than that acknowledgement, “I want to have a life bigger than anxiety. A life less about me and more about other things again.”

    And that was something I could still do. Doesn’t mean it was fun all of the time, nor does it mean that the fear and despair (and symptoms) weren’t still lingering, but I could still live my life bigger than it had been.

  159. Vicky Says:

    Hi All,
    I have had anxiety/depression for 30+ years. After suffering with it for 7+ years I went on medication. I was told never to take medication as it was a sign of weakness but I could find no relief. I have been on medication since then. My main symptoms turned from anxiety to depression. I have beat myself up for so many years for having this horrible condition and not being able to beat it. I do not open up to many as I dont want others to think of me the way I already think of myself. I feel sad and angry that I have missed out on so much of the normal things in life. In the past few months the side effects seemed worse than the benefits so I have weened myself off medication except a quarter of a pill. My doctor said if I go off the medication there is an 80% chance the depression will come back. My anxiety is very high with negative thoughts and fears. I feel aggitated by alot of things and find myself snapping at my family which I am not proud of. My sadness and anxiety are right on the surface, it is hard not to cry. I know self pity is wrong and I am sorry for carrying on. I just finished Pauls book and am trying to believe this may be me and that I can recover.

  160. Kelly Says:

    Nolan –

    You seem to really have a great attitude and approach. Any advice on taking that last step away from the topic of anxiety and towards living life again?

  161. Nolan Says:

    Hi Kelly,

    First off: thanks for the kind words.

    Regarding taking a step away from the topic my only advice would be ‘be patient and accepting if you find yourself thinking about the topic and wanting to come back to the blog here.’

    I think the biggest thing is just letting yourself feel whatever it wants to feel or think whatever it wants to think…. and not putting too much extra importance on it.

    Like: if you’re walking around and you notice that your mind is playing the same part of a song over and over…. let it play, but don’t care as much. If it’s there, it’s there…. when it’s gone, cool.

    Trying to force that song (or whatever it is) from your mind is only going to stress you out more. So, take the attitude of “alright, so my mind wants to play this annoying little part over and over…. so be it.” And move on with your day.

    So with thinking about or reading on the topic of anxiety:
    I think it’s a great thing to just move beyond it entirely; to focus on other things.
    But, if a person isn’t willing to do that (for whatever reason), then fine…. just don’t then put extra special importance on it.

    I think of it this way: Prior to any issue with anxiety I could have read all about anxiety and never been bothered by it in the least. It would have all been theory and a vague concept of something unpleasant. But, I could still read all about it and not be effected by it.

    So, the simple reading of it, talking about it, is not what ultimately brought this one. Because, there would have been a point in your life when you could have read about it, talked about, thought about it while it having no power over you at all. A mere, passing interest in the topic.

    Do what you feel like doing, whatever it is.
    If you make that decision to move beyond the blog and the topic entirely and then say one day you accidently stumble on the topic of anxiety don’t put too much importance on it, even if it starts working your anxiety back up. Let it. Let it do what it wants, just minimze your added concern about it. Just remember that the word “anxiety” and reading about the symptoms is not what brought you to this state.

  162. Kelly Says:

    Thanks so much. Again, great advice.

  163. Zee Says:

    Kelly – thank you for your advice and encouraging words. It really has helped me to worry less before sleeping. The disturbing thoughts still come right before I’m about to rest and everything is quiet, but i guess i just have to let it be there and not care :)

  164. Nolan Says:

    Zee, sleeping was my biggest issue.

    And now it’s as good as it’s ever been.
    You’ll get there too.

  165. Melissa Hansen Says:

    This is something I feel like I need to share. You don’t have to label everything
    I’ve come to realize that this world tends to label everything. If you have trouble sleeping its insomnia or if you did this you’ve got this condition. I think this causes people to worry about it even more. I’ve gotten more of an open mind about labels. We all have issues and we all have problems. I always worried about have anxiety. I asked myself when it would ever go away. This made it worse. I shouldn’t have put a label on it. Its just simply something I’m going through. Its life. I always told myself I had to find some way to get rid of my anxiety. Its not anxiety, its just a part of life. If you look at it like that, it will be much easier for you. People look for explanations of things because they’re afraid. They fear of not knowing what it is when they should just accept it as something that just happens. I’m growing up and that’s what I fear the most. Sure it caused me to worry and have crazy thoughts. I had a crisis. But I’m learning to accept it as just a problem. Not a mental health condition.

  166. Zee Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    That is great to hear! It gives me hope when i read things like that.

    If you don’t mind me asking, did you ever take medication in order to help you sleep?

    I am taking on the “whatever attitude”, however it is hard to let it be and continue with your day when the next day you feel frustrated and tired knowing you have had little or no sleep.

  167. Nolan Says:

    I took so many different meds.
    Ambien , ambien cr, lunesta, Xanax, trazadone, klonopin, and thats not mentioning all of the other things I tried… Like unisom, melatonin.

    And still more than even that.

    At best, I would get 3 very crappy hours of sleep with ambien.

    I eventually took myself off of everything.

  168. zee Says:

    Nolan, sorry to keep bothering you

    would you recommended taking meds ? And how were you able to tackle the issue of not being able to sleep when you took yourself off of everything?
    its hard not to worry when thoughts seem to be louder right before you sleep.

  169. Nolan Says:

    Hi Zee,

    First, you’re no bother to me at all. Ask anything you’d like to.

    Second, if you feel the need to take something…. then do it.
    I completely understand. I’m not saying it’s wrong to take something.

    My point was only that my anxiety was so intense, that even taking the strongest stuff there was afforded me very little sleep. When I woke up I’d be so out of it. I could still feel that stuff in my system. That, compounded with the anxiety and depression was very, very rough for me.

    Now, that’s not to say my reaction is what every other person’s reaction is going to be.

    I do know this though: Once I started following Paul’s advice and let the full intensity of the fears hit me, but just not react to them, that every night I was still able to get some, non-medicated sleep.
    If my mind wanted to race, I’d let it race…. I just stopped struggling with it.
    I let the tidal wave of anxiety, fear, doubt, despair wash over me…. and simply had the attitude of “oh well…. whatever sleep I get, is what I get”.

    The fears and thoughts and despair haunted me during the day…. 24/7. No relent.

    I don’t say this to scare you…. I say this simply that ‘as bad as it can get, I was there’. Suicidal, terrified, no hope…. and my wife and I had a son that was just 6 months old at the time. I was certain beyond a doubt that I was broken beyond repair.

    And I was wrong. I wasn’t broken. Neither are you.

    To recap:
    do what you need to do. If you have meds and you want to take them, by all means. Don’t beat yourself up if you do decide to take them. Just be at ease with the decision.
    When you lay down at night take the attitude of “whatever sleep I get, is what I get…. big whoop”.
    If your mind wants to race, let it race. If waves of panic come over you, allow yourself to feel it. But simply with the attitude of “it’s okay, sure, it’s not fun… but it’s okay”
    That attitude will make all of the difference, Zee.
    Maybe not immediately, but it will take root.

  170. Zee Says:

    Nolan, thank you so much!

    you have brought me great relief knowing that someone has gone through with it and come out the otherside. Once again, THANK YOU for sharing your experiences and for the advice you have offered.

  171. mark r Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    Thanks for your reply. I think I painted my situation in too much of a negative way yesterday. Although I’ve had a tough week, I’m past the bad part to be honest. Despite still affected by anxiety, I’m pretty upbeat most of the time.

    My normal days still have the grey fug of dp though, a feeling of not being right. I wake most days feeling like I have a hangover. You are right in not caring, it’s not ideal but its certainly livable. If I remember back to how I recovered before, I got past it by not caring and stopping looking. I had forgotten all about it and thought ‘wow, I’ve been feeling pretty good for a while now’.

    I kind of knew what I needed to do, but sometimes we all need a kick up the arse.


  172. Alex Says:

    Again great post Nolan! I find the accepting part the hardest to put in practice. Accepting thoughts for thoughts only. My problem has been believing them all the time, since i found out that ocd existed and pure O.

  173. Doreen. Says:

    I am not sure labelling, for instance ocd and pure O (whatever that means) is really helpful and seems to have added to your wows Alex. Anxiety is what it is and doesn’t need sub dividing into different categories as again, that gives it attention that it doesn’t deserve.
    Regarding using medication to help with sleep. Many years ago I was prescribed one of the old antidepressants which is also given for pain relief. It did have the benefit of helping me sleep as I was churning each night in the way some of you have described. I very quickly stopped using it as natural sleep seemed restored. I have over the years used it on occasions when I have been through another rough patch. So my experience is that I have never become dependent upon medication to help me sleep but have it in reserve (with the knowledge of my GP) knowing that it will help should I really be struggling.
    So if you do use medication to help with aspects of anxiety don’t let that become another focus of the anxiety. See it as a crutch to lean on for a while as you get stronger not as a cure in itself.
    I have a friend who is going through a very bad time and her ‘answer’ is for her doctor to try drug after drug to make her feel better. I ache watching this as for me and many other like Nolan, we feel that is not the answer. I tried to get her to read Paul’s book but she insists that she has a chemical imbalance so chemicals are the cure. But you have to be ready to approach this differently and she is not there yet.

  174. Alex Says:

    Doreen, it means pure obsessional. Chatter in the mind only. No compulsions, only argyuing with my self in the mind. Didn’t know that existed. Have had this on and off for 20 years without knowing it was anxiety. And yes, also severe panicattacks. Never understood what was wrong with me. Claire Weekes says that it doesn’t matter how long we have been suffering, but we ALL can get well again. I am a strong believer. Wer’e gonna get well.

  175. Ross Murchie Says:

    Hi all what’s best advice to help myself with the constant monitoring how I feel think I keep getting am I crazy & will I become suicidal due to anxiety I also feel so low like I cant recover I feel like I telling myself I cant go on when I know I can as never worried about anything before anxiety hit I miss the person I was I get bad moods easily I also get alot of past events conversation play in my head I cant seem to get out of the cycle at all I feel like all I do is go over&over & question my love for my family.

  176. Andy J Says:

    Hi Guys,

    At a risk of sounding repetitive, I’m having a hard time.

    As has been mentioned on here quite a lot, anxiety can morph in to different things. I’ve probably said before, but mine has gone from intense Health Anxiety to GAD and now presenting itself as OCD. (Alex, I think what i’m experiencing is also what you refer to as ‘Pure O’ – obsessions without visual compulsions).

    I think one of my key questions is; ‘can anxiety change who you are?, and what you stand for?’. I know Paul has mentioned before that ‘the real you is waiting to recover’, but for me it sometimes feels like the fears I now have, are who I truly am. Which of course is pretty awful when its distressing topics. I try and console myself with the fact that if I was truly that person, I wouldn’t be beating myself up about it.

    Ive probably been through this for a short time in comparison to others, but looking back at how my life has been for the last few years, its hard not to feel down. The social events Ive attended but not enjoyed, the things I haven’t been involved in fully, the plans I could have been making and fulfilling, all taken away by this dreaded anxiety. I still go to everything; work, nights out, etc, but always afraid and anxious in the build up to. Then when I’m there the inward thinking and worrying continues. Then the self loathing. I think the main ‘downer’ is knowing there is nothing you can do about it. No way of making you feel better, just a grin and bare it attitude.

    This sounds like a rant and bags of self pity; I think it probably is. It probably isn’t going to help any one, but it might be reassuring to some that you aren’t going through this alone.

    All the best,


  177. Nolan Says:

    Hi Alex,

    I would trust what Doreen is saying when she said, “I am not sure labelling, for instance ocd and pure O (whatever that means) is really helpful and seems to have added to your wows Alex.”

    Doreen was saying this when I first started coming to the blog. Paul mentions it in his book too…. I doubted it initially, but, in the end I realized they were right.

    The point is to not break down the anxiety further by focusing on symptoms that are unique to you.
    My biggest symptoms from anxiety (the ones that bothered me the most) were sleep disruptions and an inability to calm myself down. Now, I could have heard some unique term like, “Oh, you don’t have just anxiety…. you have Pure Sleep Fear”. And I would have believed it.
    It was people like Doreen and Paul that were saying, “no, it’s just anxiety clinging to what bothers you the most…. so, treat it the same way”.

    Time and time again folk will come here focusing on their unique symptoms, all with anxiety forming the bedrock of it, and we all think that there’s something that makes ours unique. Sometimes, people in the profession will come up with new terms to describe it…. but, all they’re doing is describing the individual symptoms or the ways that anxiety made itself manifest in one person’s life.
    I was told I had misophonia… but, I treated that exactly the same way I treated anxiety and it cleared up the same way.

    It’s completely understandable to focus on our unique symptoms. And, we’re not given much help when people in the profession start labeling the symptoms, treating those as unique, while not knowing or acknowledging that anxiety is the spring from which that symptom came. It confuses us and makes us think that we’re dealing with a brand new beast.

  178. Alex Says:

    So Nolan! You mean that whatever thought, feeling or emotion it is all anxiety. Accept Everything and live with it?

  179. Nolan Says:

    Hi Alex,

    Exactly. I don’t fault you at all for thinking that you’ve got something maybe alittle different, maybe alittle more intense…. because I was there.
    I’ve told this story before: but when I first started coming here I would post under numerous different user names simply to get others focusing on what my issue was: an inability to peacefully fall asleep or even rest.

    I read Paul’s book and immediately had a feeling that he was right on the money. But then that insidious doubt crept in: “Paul didn’t mention sleeping all that much…. and for me sleeping issues are paramount to my problem. What if this approach doesn’t even work for me?!?!”

    In his book Paul says to not worry about teasing out all of the ways anxiety manifests itself in your life. Thankfully Doreen was here when I first started coming and she hammered the point home for me telling me not to get hung up on the particularities of my issue and “treat it all the same”…. which I eventually did. And, it made all the difference in the world.

    So fear not, I was exactly where you are: certain that mine was more intense, stronger, a bit different, and in need of something more.
    I was wrong…. and that’s a good thing.

  180. Kyle Says:

    Hey guys!

    Just thought I would check in and see how everyone has been doing and give a little update! I have been doin pretty good lately! I come on here and read the blog about 3 times a week now instead of 3 times a day haha. Work has been going well but is very intense! Lots of pressure at work but I enjoy it and I am meeting some really cool new people! I don’t have any physical symptoms any more and can pretty much go about my day feeling pretty well but have rough patches every now and then! As for sleep I am sleeping like a rock most nights as I don’t remember waking up at all or tossing and turning. However, my mind still races sometimes when my head hits the pillow and I get in this weird state where im half way between falling asleep and dreaming and it concerns me a little bit because it jolts me awake. Does anyone else have this? Its almost as if if I am dreaming while I am awake but my thoughts are just so random and almost come without me trying to think them and its like they have a mind of their own. Does anyone else deal with this? Nolan? Otherwise, I don’t react to any intrusive thought even though I still get them but its 200% better than it was and they don’t scare me at all. I have no DP/DR but still get those weird vision tricks every now and then. All in all im doin pretty darn good. I have a question for Nolan however, as you were recovering or near the end did random moods ever overcome you just because because you had the slightest thought of anxiety? I can have periods of just forgetting it and doing well and then its like my mind starts wondering where is the anxiety and depression and it brings me down a bit and it scares me a bit because I start thinking “oh no I cant be feeling this okay with things, there must be a mistake/something bad is going to happen”? But that goes away too. I have come a really long way but feel like there is some room for improvement.

  181. Kelly Says:

    I’m getting ready to head to the airport for my vacation and I’ve started getting very nervous. I’ve had a fear of flying since well before my anxiety period started, but now I’m starting to worry about “what ifs.” Like, what if I fall apart on vacation and start crying again? This is happening even though I have had a really good month and am close to recovery.

    I’m trying to remind myself that these what ifs are just my anxiety and that I need to just let them be. Here’s to a great vacation!

  182. Julie Says:

    HI Nolan,

    Great posts, as always. Cheeky request but could you scroll up to see my post from 23rd? I haven’t had any replies but would love your take on it. If you don’t mind.

    Thank you.


  183. Nolan Says:

    Hi Julie,

    If I’m understanding correctly (and please correct me if I’m not) this detached feeling first came on after a stressful bought with a family member.
    You were flooded with stress and then felt this spacey, detached feeling.
    And that feeling scared you.

    Now, not so much related to this bout of anxiety…. but earlier in my life I can think of times when I was scared or really stressful where I had this spacey/detached feeling. Almost like my head was lifting off of my shoulders and twisting to one side (hard to explain) and I felt kind of woozy.

    Now, if I let that feeling bother me and I focused on it alot…. I wouldn’t need the situational stress to cause that feeling to come on. The mere fear of it alone might be enough to conjure it up. If it’s a reaction to stress, and the fear of it causes stress…. then it could stand to reason that the fear alone is stressful enough to make you feel that way.

    Please do what you feel you need to do. If you think it’s more serious than that, then please go get checked out.

    But that being said: I think if you treat it the same way “meh, here we go again…. I’m feeling strong detached feeling. Not fun, but oh well…. it will pass when it passes” that you’ll start putting less importance on it and in time you’ll be beyond it.

  184. Nolan Says:

    bought = bout

  185. Nolan Says:

    Hi Kyle,

    regarding the sleep issue: I had them all.
    i had what you’re describing.
    I also had the constant being bounced out of sleep as soon as I started dozing off. Like, preventing me even getting to the level where you’re at with the dreams.

    I simply got to the point where enough was enough: I was done making any more issue with anything regarding my sleep. If I sleeped well, ‘great’. If I sleeped bad, ‘don’t care’. If my mind raced, ‘so what’.

    And I eventually got to a point I was certain I would never get to again.
    It’s hard to convey the intensity of the doubt and despair I had during my dark days…at those times I knew more than I knew anything else that I was broken and there was no way back.
    And thankfully I was wrong. I was not irreparably broken.

    Regarding your second question:
    Yes. It was at times like walking on egg shells…. and that the slightest crack would bring it all back on again.
    But it reminded me of something Paul said (paraphrased) “let your mind and body go where ever they want to go” and to allow yourself to feel all of it…. anxious or otherwise.
    That attitude was hallmark for me. If i saw the word “anxiety” or “insomnia” somewhere I welcomed the scary, reflexive feelings that went along with it. In time, it completely took the wind out of the sails of anxiety.

  186. Julie Says:

    Thank you Nolan.

    More serious, in what way did you mean? a physical illness?

    My agoraphobia and social anxiety came about after a very stressful time with family. I have since battled with socialising alone and going far alone. I do go out but feel that unreality feeling when I do, like light headed and spaced out feeling. I have had it throughout the anxiety the last 2 years and i feel it’s the thing holding me back completely moving forward.

    Thank you.


  187. Nolan Says:

    Hi Julie,

    Please forgive me, but can you explain what you mean by this?

    “More serious, in what way did you mean? a physical illness?”

    I don’t know if I’m following what your question is. Are you asking about my earlier feelings of the detached, spacey, unreality feeling I mentioned?


  188. Andy J Says:

    Hi Nolan.

    I know you’re probably really busy, but I was wondering if you could help me out.

    My anxiety has shifted from GAD to OCD (I know labels don’t matter). But to me it has changed from a huge fear to feeling like an urge to act on thoughts. This has scared me witless and I’m petrified.

    The thoughts I’ve had have never bothered me until July last year and they are now all I can think about. It feels like I need to keep a grip of them to prevent any harm happening.

    Once again, you’re an inspiration along with Paul and others on here. If I’m ever fortunate enough to get through this Id gladly come on here as a way of helping others.

    All the best

  189. Nolan Says:

    Hi Andy,

    My advice would simply let them be there and don’t feel the need to keep a grip on them.
    I don’t like talking about this…. but I had alot of thoughts of hurting my son when the anxiety was on heavy. He was 6 months old and I’d have thoughts of dropping a dumbbell on his head. And many other things.

    It was pure torment. I wanted to beat myself up for those thought, to put it mildly.

    The importance you put on those thoughts, regardless of how much they’re screaming at you to take action, is what will either strengthen them or diminish them.

    Let the thought run wild, and if you find yourself automatically focusing on them…. focus on them wild mild amusement, like you’re watching a corny movie.

    The intensity of my negative thoughts weren’t something I could just ignore. And distraction only seemed to 1) exhaust me, and 2) strengthen the thoughts and doubts.
    Since I couldn’t ignore them there was one thing I could do: watch them and not care as much that they are there.

  190. Catherine Says:

    Andy with OCD the thoughts are caused by anxiety. The urge feeling is the adrenaline associated with them rather than actually go to act on them

    With OCD there is never any chance of your thoughts happening as they are irrational, intrusive, unwanted.

    Ocd is a doubting disease so you doubt your thoughts sometimes, question do you want to do them but the answer is always always no.

    Let them be there, give them no meaning or trying to work out why and carry on with your day. Just rememeber like any anxiety symptom you can’t help the thoughts being there but you can believe and trust that no matter how real they feel or the urge (adrenaline) that comes with them they are never “real” never a wanting, just anxiety throwing them out

  191. Andy J Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    Thanks so much for your reply.

    My thoughts are pretty horrific, stuff that has manifested from an off the cuff thiught and now developed a life of its own. I think the respect I’ve given it and the urge to not think it has made it stronger. Whenever I think I should really dislike it, I can’t figure out why I dont. Does that make any sense to you? I read something once about these kind of thiughts and it was ‘if you search for something you will find what you fear.’

    Having had generalised amxiety for a long time, I think this has contributed towards the intrusives being worse. Do you beli me that anxiety can make you feel things that aren’t there? Both urges and what you like/dislike?
    For example, you wouldn’t go through life without feeling like hurting some one and then all of a sudden feel that you could? It would all have been generated by your anxiety? It’s this logic that keeps me thinking I’m either mad or a really bad person. I feel so ashamed of how I am and the thoughts im having.

  192. Nolan Says:

    It’s all the tricks that anxiety can play on us.

    It’s like when my issue shifted to breathing for a bit.
    I had the thought, “what if I had to consciously breathe all of the time…. and it would never happen automatically again??!”

    And that thought terrified me. Then for a long stretch of time it was like I was convinced I needed to always actively remember to breathe.

    Thankfully I had the insight to just treat it like everything else: “So I think I need to intentionally breathe all of the time… so what? Then I’ll just actively breathe for as long as my brain is telling me to.”

    And I gave it no more special attention.
    That’s not to say it immediately stopped bothering me. It still did.
    The only difference is that I didn’t fight to change it, to ignore it. I let it be the way it wanted to be and moved on with my day.

    Again, and I fall back on what Doreen has said before, treat it all the same. It’s our attitude towards it that makes the difference.

  193. Andy J Says:

    Thanks Nolan.

    I think that putting it all under the umbrella of anxiety is the best way of dealing with this. I’m falling in to the trap of putting others symptoms against my own and realising mine havent been mentioned on here or elsewhere and automatically assuming that this isn’t anxiety. That then leads on to ‘maybes it isn’t anxiety then’, which freaks me out even more.

  194. Nolan Says:

    Great mindset, Andy!
    That’s exactly how Doreen has worded it over the years “put it under the umbrella of ‘anxiety'”.
    I was like you, I doubted it.
    But, when I did ultimately decide to stay that course things started to get much, much better.

  195. Zee Says:

    Hi everyone,

    just like to introduce myself, i am 19 years of age currently studying health science and working part time. My recent posts have been in regards to having trouble sleeping and disturbing thoughts. I can definitely relate to both Kyle and Nolan as i am currently facing the exact same issues when trying to sleep.

    Im currently feelling depressed as all i want is my life to be back to normal. Before all this i enjoyed playing basketbal, going to the gym, attending social events with friends and so much more… I also like this girl but im affraid of losing her due to my current state :(

    Being 19, Watching my friends live their lives carefree is crippling me. Im having trouble doing all the things i just mentioned above as i have neither the motivation nor energy due to lack of sleep.. I dont want to give these things up… but its hard to continue. suicide has also come accross my mind but i know it is not me and that i could never go through with it.

    however i would like to say that despite feeling hopless and lost… there are times during the day where i feel happy and carefree even with the negative thats going through my mind.. i guess this is what has been encouraging me to go on.

    sorry for listing all my problems, im just in need of reassurance and advice.
    – should i take a break from work and study? (would this be running away)
    – how do i stay positive and have a ‘whatever attitude’ when the things i love to do and the people i care about the most are affected.

  196. Nolan Says:


    I’d just like you to know that everything you typed could have been typed by me when I was in my dark days with this.
    So rest assured that you aren’t broken.
    The old you is still there. Want to help come even more out of his shell? Go back to living your life like you used to.
    Let all of the fears, doubts, symptoms linger as long as they want to… All you need to do is to not be as impressed by them and not let them dictate how you’re going to live your life.
    I was physically exhausted most of the time when I started following this advice, and that’s okay. It just is what it is.

    Let it be there, live your life, and be patient with yourself.

    This attitude of accepting the bad when it’s in my life has made huge changes in my life. Even aside from the anxiety.

  197. Nolan Says:

    More to your questions:

    If you feel the need to take time off, then do it. Just don’t beat yourself up if you make that decision.
    I took extended time away from work… Did it help me? I don’t know to be honest. But I do know that either way I could still have followed Pauls advice whether I’d be at work or at home.

    You don’t have to stay positive in the sense that you have to lie to yourself that you’re feeling great when you’re actually feeling like crud. Something as simple as just “being okay” with the fact that you feel like trash will take you far. The point is: those feelings will lift when they’re ready to go. You’re just done adding extra stress and fear to what’s already there.
    Let them be there, just have a different attitude towards it, “okay, this sucks…but it is what it is for the time being”… And let your life be larger than anxiety again.

  198. Julie Says:

    Hi Nolan

    I just meant your comment …Please do what you feel you need to do. If you think it’s more serious than that, then please go get checked out.

    Your reply was helpful and I need to start not letting it stop me do things by myself. I am but not as quick as I’d like I guess. Im not concerned it’s anything more serious, I just wondered if anyone else suffered the unreality and light headedness with anxiety and how they coped with it.

    Thank you for your help.


  199. Zee Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    with regards to the fear and doubts how and what do you mean by “not being impressed by them”.

  200. Horton Says:

    Been doing a pretty bad job at accepting these past couple of days, but (I think/I thought) I’ve been doing pretty well.
    i just never believe that it’s actually gonna ever cure me, I seem to be losing more and more of my identity, personality and memories as this progresses.
    Questions for Nolan,
    You say it was 6/7 months into your acceptance that you started getting proper breaks from your anxiety.
    1. Prior to those long breaks did you get small ones? Because It has been well Over a year since i even had a break from this. i was hoping they’d become mre frequent and show me that this is working, but i’m going on faith
    2. you often mention how even when you were trying to accept towards the beggining you used to log on the blog and break your habit of accepting by asking questions under another username. so generally speaking: how deep or how long into your ‘acceptance/recovery’ did you stop googling, looking for answers or fighting it? i mean i still do after 6 months of trying, maybe i’m a slow learner, just curious.

  201. Nolan Says:

    Hi Zee,

    “not being impressed by them” in the sense of having a different attitude when they’re there.

    So, when you’re flooded with a fearful thought, opposed to chasing it around in your mind, or trying to make sense of it, or trying to convince your mind otherwise…. just let that negative/fearful thought be there and don’t care as much that it’s there.

  202. Ross Says:

    Hi Nolan iv,e suffered anxiety for a long time now It,s 24/7 the thoughts are with me I seem to have constant awareness of my mind my biggest fears are being locked up & going crazy I can’t seem to get these off my mind I don’t have any concentration for feeling the constant tightness in my head I don’t like looking in mirror as doesn’t feel like me when I hear sucicide or mental illness i get like a panic sensation go through me. I really want my life back as I have 2 kids,wife but I feel like I’m the one who won’t recover as been like this so long I also when talking to people im not engaging in conversation as I’m I feel like I’m watching my mind I have a constant scared feeling I also play with the back of my head a lot due to all this sometimes I feel like I’m telling myself I can’t do it & can’t cope also I read a lot on internet about anxiety&mental illnesses I came across this site a few months ago & see some very positive posts&story,s & hope it can be me one day but my doubts fears are very strong at moment the other thing I have is like I monitor everything I do sorry for long post any advice would be great many thanks Ross

  203. Peter Says:

    Hey guys,
    I have been suffering for many years, since I was 11 or 12 years old. I am now almost 22. I have OCD, and I think obsessing about the anxiety is a big problem. I had been trying to find the way out for many years and now realize that was my problem.
    I read Paul’s book and understand it, but now I’m wondering what acceptance really means. Should I stop going back to Paul’s book and reading it? Should I stop going to forums and things? I am supposed to stop trying to get out of it, right? Well does reading the book and going to forums and stuff represent trying to get out of it? I am afraid that if I keep rereading Paul’s book I will never get out of it. Like I feel like I need to move on. So I open a document and write “Don’t read the book, go to forums, etc., for at least two months”. But then I worry that doing THAT will keep me from recovery because then I worry that me staying away from reading the book again and again and going to forums represents me trying to do something about it.
    Please help, I’m losing my mind in this OCD spiral.
    Should I just not read the book again and again and stay off forums for a while? I just want to get better. I know acceptance is the right path, but I’m so terrified I will not implement it correctly and waste months and months.
    Acceptance means not trying to figure it out, not trying to get out of it, not caring if it is there or not. Well if I feel super anxious and then go to the book, isn’t that trying to figure it out? That’s not acceptance! I already know the book says to do nothing about it, there’s no need to keep going back to it, right?

    I’m just so scared I won’t accept it right and I’ll be stuck like this forever. I need to get better so I can finish university and have a life.

  204. Joachim Says:

    Joachim Says:
    February 25th, 2015 at 4:52 pm
    This is my first post and just wanted to calm a lot of fears we all seem to have. Anxiety will not make you crazy it’s only defense mechanism to protect you. Our flight or fight response has simply been activated and we need to coax ourselves back to normal to reset the switch. You need to continue your normal life as though you DID NOT HAVE ANXIETY. Face everything and just do things slowly so your mind adjusts to feeling safe again. Doing all of life’s routine things slowly calms the mind and shows there is no danger in anything your doing or experiencing. Allow the strange feelings thoughts and numbness just be there and focus on the current task at hand as best you can. Anxiety is fueled by adrenaline and cannot constantly affect you. It’s your thought process that makes you believe your anxiety will get worse if you face it. It will never get worse than adrenaline fueled panic attack which always calms down! Please do not allow ANY feelings or thoughts stop you from doing ANYTHING. We have to act normal to feel normal and our thought process changes as the chemicals in our brain settle. Believe me I have had 4 episodes of Temporary anxiety and it was the continued normal living while being anxious that settled my nerves and all of my symptoms faded completely. The brain needs good stimuli and positive feedback that allows it to anchor itself to the outside world. Your mind is very flexible and craves new experiences to stimulate it. Stop googling anxiety all the info in Paul’s book is spot on. I am 100% recovered because I consistently did what he and Dr. Claire Weekes teach. 100% acceptance that this is ALWAYS transient in nature and will leave you completely once it is not needed to ‘protect’ you. Honestly your so protected during anxiety you cannot get ANY worse. You have been through the worst it can muster and all it will do is repeat the cycle. No cliff to fall off or hole to fall endlessly in I promise you. You simple have to face everything and continue moving forward to the other side of it. That’s where recovery lies on the other side of the fear of anxiety. It is the biggest trick ever and has tricked you into believing it has some power over you. It does not and can never hurt you in any way. You are the strongest people in the world and have the rare opportunity to face true fear knowing it cannot hurt you. Please see this as a gift of self confidence knowing you can do anything as long as you face your fears and continue living. You will recover 100% just like I have if you do these simple step Face Accept ask for more and let time pass! I promise Paul’s method works 100% I wish all the best of luck and keep moving forward it will get better.

  205. Jaz Says:

    Lovely post Joachim it really helps a whole lot to know that you went through this and are fully recovered. I’m almost there but my constant thought of dying or collapsing is still there. Oh and my dizziness. Did you ever had dizziness? But I have I faith in God that I will recover by just living my life. And excepting a 100%. Thank you.

  206. Lucy Says:

    Hi Elaine/Wol, yes it is me, unfortunately! xx

  207. Lucy Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    I was wondering if you could help me with something I am just not getting. I don’t understand how to get to the point of the symptoms ‘not mattering’. How can they not matter when they feel so awful? My symptoms are excruciating, I cannot stop being aware of them as they are so strong :( I am pretty much just going about my day as normally as possible, still seeing friends, exercising, doing my best to socialise. I have been suffering this time round for eight months with no reprieve. I feel like I must be doing something wrong or there’s something I’m just not getting.

    Thanks Nolan,

  208. Lucy Says:

    Also, I was wondering how many people have quit drinking during their recovery? I have a glass or two of wine in the evening with my meal and it helps me relax. But I don’t know if this is ‘avoiding’ and may hinder my recovery.


  209. Julie Says:

    Great post Joachim, and so very right, that is exactly what we have to do to recover.

    I have been carrying on with life and things have settled alot. My anxiety was based around my intrusive thoughts and fear they meant I was a terrible person. I have overcome alot but what’s now troubling me is depersonalisation. Every day feeling dream like, like i am not in the room, floating almost. It seems to be a pretty new symptom which is strange so long into recovery. I keep going out, keep living but I admit this feeling knocks my confidence alot and triggers me to feel anxious and unsafe. I never really had DP before, just occasionally but it would last an hour max. Hopefully in time this will settle but I know I have to continue living with it for it to diminish.


  210. Jack Says:

    I have a question about my thoughts. I feel like I am just fixated on the topic of anxiety I cannot think of anything else. How should I go at this, should I just let myself think whatever or should I try to think of other things?

  211. Nolan Says:

    Hi Lucy,

    It’s the attitude towards them.
    Think of two different people who both have a flu:

    One guy has it, feels it, and moves on with his day. You only know he has the flu because you can hear it in his voice. But aside from that, he makes no special mention of it and requests no special treatment while it lasts.

    The other guys has it, feels it, and doesn’t stop talking about it. Woe is he. He puts on a big production to let everyone know that he’s struggling with a flu. Refuses to focus on anything else until he is free from this.

    Not the best analogy; just trying to show that it’s our attitude towards it.

    You also asked:
    “I don’t understand how to get to the point of the symptoms ‘not mattering’. How can they not matter when they feel so awful?”

    Well, it not mattering is all relative. Like, if you cancel things you were going to do because of the anxiety, and you decide to stay home instead and ‘play it safe’…. well, that would be one way that a person might let anxiety matter too much to them.

    But, none of this means that the feelings and the intensity of it are just going to vanish as soon as you decided to just live your life. They’ll still be there. But, like that cold…. if the attitude towards it (or the mental dialog is) “OMG! I need this to end now! My life is so ruined! How can I even function!?”…. well, I don’t think many would view that as an accepting attitude. Not that you’re doing that, just again I’m structuring it to show the differences in our physical and mental responses to it.

  212. Nolan Says:

    Hi Ross,

    What you’re saying right now…. could probably be said by the vast majority of us at one point or another. I say this to let you know that though it’s really bad right now, it will get better.

    Let the intensity of the thoughts, feelings, symptoms all be there. Don’t trying to make sense of it; sense will come…. once your mind is more calm. I doubted this too at first. I thought I needed to work my way through it. But I’ve said this before: when you’re in the thick of it things just don’t make sense.
    But, I started noticing when my mind would eventually calm down that things just kind of clicked. Those moments would pass and I’d be back in the storm, but I treated those storms/setbacks the same way – allowing them to be there, to scream, to shout as long as they wanted…. just no longer being as impressed by them.

    How do you not be as impressed by them? Stop taking their heed when their screaming in your mind.

  213. Lucy Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    Many thanks for kindly responding. I do understand what you mean with regard to my attitude towards my symptoms. I have been managing to do it on most days, just on some days when things are so severe I do find myself in a bit of a pity party – I live by myself and work for myself, and sometimes I just want someone to know how much I’m suffering. It’s a very lonely business. So I guess when you say ‘requests no special treatment’ that means seeking reassurance or sympathy…

    Thanks for your thoughts on ‘not mattering’. I think I have been trying to make myself not mind my symptoms, which seems impossible given how horrible they are. I have never understood this part. Claire Weekes makes a big thing out of getting to the stage where your symptoms don’t matter, as does Paul. I get the part about carrying on with your life as normally as possible, but none if it is enjoyable, and for the most part the symptoms really do matter! Aargh.

    Thanks again,

  214. Ross Says:

    Thanks Nolan even the very nasty intrusive thoughts & fear of everyday stuff & constant feeling of going mad just ignore & need to talk of how I feel.??

  215. Kevin Says:

    Hi zee,

    I felt compelled to reply to you because i was and still sometimes am in the same boat as you. Im 20 and this started a year ago when i was 19. I thought i was going to kill myself. I felt like i didnt know who my family was anymore. I felt like i was going through actual depression as i would feel so low and down some days. Every time i saw a news story about a death by suicide, i would be convinced that i would die that way too. It was hell.

    Just know that it gets so much better. I havent had thoughts like that for months and even when i do, i just let them be and they go away on their own. Theres a lot to be learned from anxiety and i wish i could tell you everything in one post but it would be impossible. Thats why paul wrote the book. Everyone on this blog is amazing and so helpful so you will get all the support you need here. But just remember you arent alone and that it will get better

  216. joe Says:

    Hi guys
    I had probably my best day of acceptance today like I felt really shit and I just let it happen just putting one foot in front of the other, I had so many worries and I just let them play out and just stayed in the present moment in the morning I was on the bus to uni and I had like this weird wave of tiredness wash over m,e so bad that I had to squint to keep my eyes open and i just thought ah well lets see what this feels like and just sat head up shoulders back and just manned up and took it and I got this sense of peace and control.
    after that I felt pretty good and I just took it as a little rest before the next round of anxiety which i did the same with.
    Then I just got on with a load of tasks which I’ve been putting off like taking some books back to the library fixing my phone.
    It kind of seems like whatever I thought was acceptance so far wasn’t quite right but I needed that time to break down all those old attitudes and things to be open enough too really accept. feel pretty satisfied with my day today and tomorrows another day to try again I know i could have a setback or forget how to accept and that’s alright I guess I can always come back on here and read some posts the only ways forwards at this point.

  217. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Lucy,

    We understand how much you’re suffering, you’re not alone :) For some people it takes awhile to stop caring so much about the symptoms. I know it has for me, so don’t get discouraged if you feel like you’re not seeing any changes. What I’ve discovered is I’ve gotten bored with the symptoms – meaning I’m tired of thinking about them/complaining about them/etc. I want to focus on something else. Yes, the symptoms are still awful, but they can be awful while I read a book, or play with my daughter, or whatever. I’d rather feel awful and do something with my life than feel awful and do nothing.

  218. Joachim Says:

    As long as you let your feelings get the best of you anxiety will always win. You need to believe 100% that this will pass and is of no harm no matter how bad you feel or what thoughts pop into our heads. We all by and large have the same symptoms and recovery is always the same. Live your life along these silly symptoms as they are not serious but silly especially looking back when you recovered. You will honestly say “what in the world was I ever afraid of”? Please understand these feelings are just an outlet of stressed nerves and a tired mind nothing more and just need a rest from the daily questioning of what if this and what if that. Your TRUE feelings are masked by how your temporarily feeling and will resurface once your nervous system settles and that’s a fact. Your not lost or somehow changed nor any mental illness has occurred your simply sensitized just like a tooth that aches. You don’t like that your tooth aches but you continue on with your day correct? We’ll treat anxiety exactly like a tooth ache since only time will heal it. You would start chew food with that tooth and when we check on our symptoms and feelings that exactly what we do. Your tooth can never have the time to heal and neither will your nerves. By accepting that ok these feelings are not pleasant but they cannot stop me from doing anything you give your body a chance to heal. This sends messages to your Limbic system to relax the flight or fight response. The more your not concerned with how you feel the quicker you recover. Feel everything and try to see what you can accomplish while feeling them. You will see that nothing is out of your reach that you did before anxiety. Your brain is fine and doesn’t forget what you have taught it and will respond accordingly. You can walk run smile drive swim read a book and accept everything if you just decide to do so! Please choose doing/living life than anxiety since anxiety can only continue to send you in a circle. Notice everyone here writes eloquent posts and you wouldn’t think they had anxiety unless they told you so! I could be having a panic attack right now and that’s totally fine I’m still gonna finish my post caused it cannot stop me from doing anything I DECIDE to do. Then after a while (it does take time) anxiety leaves cause it has no other choice since there is no fuel for it to exist. We are constantly feeding our anxiety by searching and talking about it looking for reassurance that we are fine. Well I’m telling your for the LAST time your completely fine and always will be with or without anxiety. Choose not to feed it and feed LIFE instead. Go out take your feelings sensations thoughts with you to see the sunset or the trees swaying in the wind. Your anxiety wants your attention so please simply give your attention to the outside world instead. That is the key to recovery but you have to choose to DO IT. 100% this lead to complete recovery everytime. You cannot focus on meaningless anxiety when focused on something meaningful in life. Get out there and breath the air enjoy the Suns warmth and howl at the Moon!

  219. Zee Says:

    Hi Everyone,

    I am very grateful for the support and advice coming from this community, it really has made quite an impact on my attitude and beliefs towards anxiety.

    Nolan – thank you once again. To be honest, my sleeping has slightly improved as i no longer get frustrated and question myself.. I simply go to bed with the attitude of “whatever sleep i get, is what i get” and i do get some non medicated sleep… only a few hours but its better than nothing! It has made me realise that we take for granted the smallest things in life, in my case the ability to sleep haha!

    Kevin – Thank you for you kind and encouraging words! Its such a great relief knowing that you are able to relate to someone. Moments of despair and doubt can really bring you down and im normally not the type of person to get emotional.. but these past few days have been rough. I can definitely relate to you in terms of hearing news about death by suicide and yes you do start to question yourself. Just like you i let these thoughts be there and they eventually pass by. I know things will get better :)

    Ive learnt from the advice given by many on this blog which is “acceptance” to accept how things are for the time being and to do your best to carry on with your life.

    we can all get through this

  220. Caroline Says:

    Hi everyone,I have been really struggling with anxiety lately With every symptom possible. About seven years ago I was in the same place,I was put on antidepressants one of which put me at A and E. I tried another drug which eventually worked but made me feel worse initially. This experience has left me very frightened of taking antidepressants. So when I started with anxiety again last year Nov/Dec I believe the only way to recover is with these tablets…and I’m petrified of them..hence my anxiety is through the roof. I have read Paul’s book..which has helped initially..but the voice in my head says I need the tablets…so everything is undone again…how can I overcome this fear??..many thanks in advance.

  221. Lucy Says:

    Hi Stephanie – thank you for your response and kind words, it is good to know I’m not alone with the way I am feeling. This blog is such a positive, supportive place! Anxiety dies start to get a bit boring, so I am going to try and do what you’re doing. I do for the most part just carry in with my day, but there is still quite a focus on anxiety which I need to break.

    Joachim, your last two posts have been SO helpful, it’s really great of you to come back and help us out! Thank you!


  222. Julie Says:

    Lovely post Joachim, perfect.

    Thank you


  223. Bryan Says:

    Joachim, Nolan…

    Great job!

  224. Joachim Says:

    Always glad to help and just wanted everyone to know there is always a start and finish to anxiety. It was not always there and will not be always here with us. The World will not end because of anxiety but this is an active recovery we have to strive for. Considered your brain covered in anxiety and the way to shake off that anxiety is to continue all of life’s activities which produces an electrical charge that releases a little anxiety at a time. If you knew this would work would you continue to question or restrict your life to accommodate anxiety? Of course not you would fill your day with anxiety removing activities! Listening to 1 song and singing along is 100% more beneficial than googling anxiety or looking up symptoms. You put the work in now to feel better later just like saving money in the bank. Fill yourself with knowledge about anxiety then just leave the whole subject alone and do ANYTHING else. Remember this isn’t about running from anxiety just the whole rumination of it. There is quite honestly nothing to worry about. Fear is just fear not an end result of something bad happening. Every time we face fear and continue with our normal day we rewire the brain a little more. It’s classic conditioning and we are now reversing our reaction to fear and anxiety giving our brains a little more flexibility. It’s called nueroplasticity and its a fact of science. We create different nuero pathways in the brain that are anxiety free. Believe it or not our brains want us to experience homeostasis which is balance and peace between body and mind. It is always working towards this automatically so we just have to get off the wheel of anxiety and allow our natural healing system to achieve this process over time. So the next time you feel a wave of anxiety just smile face it and do something positive no matter how you feel and that is the road to recovery. Your brain will thank you for it eventually and turn off the fight or flight switch in the amygdala. This is always the case 100% of the time. FEAR stands for Face Everything And Recover. Remember your never alone and someone is going through this just like you. You have the key but you have to walk up to the door and unlock it! I wish you all the best and have patience and don’t take yourself too seriously. Anxiety hates when you laugh or smile at so do that several times a day. Positive positive thoughts….I’m here for you all just like your all here for me and each other.

  225. Vicky Says:

    Hi Nolan or whomever,

    I posted on the 26th and am still awaiting moderation?? Of course I fear my post was skipped over because I have had this for so long the moderator may think I don’t belong on this blog.

    Around 30 years ago I had severe anxiety and panic attacks. My world got smaller and smaller. After 7 years of many doctors, books, and therapy sessions with not much relief, I went on medication. For awhile life changed dramatically but eventually the medication seemed to not work as well and the anxiety and depression came back. I have switched medications many times throughout the years.

    As stated in my post on the 26th I am now almost off all medication. My doctor, a psychopharmacologist, said if I went off there was an 80% chance that the depression will return as it is in my chemical make up. Of course that threw me into a panic as he is suppose to be a specialist.

    Fear thoughts and anxiety are with me daily. I feel very vulnerable. Alot of the time, I am very close to tears. Can anxiety come in the form of tears?? Most times I feel a sense of releif after I cry but am afraid I shouldn’t cry as maybe it is self pity. I know after having suffered off and on for so long that I have developed alot of negative thoughts and self pity. Sometimes I am afraid I will never feel ‘normal’ again or know how to feel normal again.

    Any comments would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  226. Alex Says:

    Hi Joachim! How do you face your fears when you have obsessive thoughts, for example harm ocd?

  227. Joachim Says:

    Alex-You face your fears when you simply allow them to be there without judgement or reservations. You know that how your feeling is a result of sensitized nerves on a tired mind nothing more. Have you ever acted on harming yourself or someone else? Of course not otherwise you would not “fear the compulsive thought but you fear because you could never do such thing. Allow these ocd thoughts to come and go as they please like wind through trees experiencing and accepting them fully. Knowing that they are not your true thoughts only products of an tired mind latching on to the silly and inconsequential. Give them their space to shout like petulant children and simply continue about your day as usual. Don’t allow them to disrupt your true world and smile/laugh at them. They hold no power over you just strange feelings and thoughts that after awhile always calm down. That’s how desensitization works it comes on strong you handle the waves as they wash over you then back out to sea leaving you on the beach of life 100% intact and no worse for the experience. But you have shown your Limbic system that you can handle them as many times as necessary and desensitization builds. It is the very fear of these symptoms and thoughts that keep us in the cycle! When we lose our fear of fear we gain peace. The other side of fear is always peace not more fear remember that always.

  228. Brad C Says:

    Hi All –

    This is my first post since finding this site 8 months ago. I am currently going through a setback, and Paul’s book and this site have certainly been a savior. A lot of my fear comes from thinking about how this will effect my future career. I am a senior in college with a full-time job lined up after graduation. I know I have to face my fears head on, but sometimes the lack of motivation and feeling of hopelessness is tough, keeping me from my studies and enjoying life. I have no doubts we all will recover, but I am looking for advice on counseling and therapy. Thus far I have tried to keep this thing to myself as to avoid portraying weaknesses, and I know this is not the right thing to do. Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Best of luck to all,

  229. Alex Says:

    Thanx for responding Joachim!
    I have had these intrusive obsessive thoughts on and off for 20 years without knowing what was wrong. I understand that after so many years they have become habitual. Cause i have allways believed them as they are so f…… persuasive. They really have you believe them. And not to mension the awful feeling/sensation that occurs everytime while having these thoughts. I have done it all wrong for so long, that i din’t know if i can recower any more.

  230. Joachim Says:

    Of course you can recover Alex your nerves are the same as anyone else’s. You just not accepting these thoughts when they come and are recoiling with the secondary fear of then initial onslaught that keeps you in the anxiety cycle. As you know for 20 years these thoughts have not lead you to any harm just a bad habit as you stated. Do not give them that second fear just go towards them accepting them for what they are absolutilty nothing. Fill your day with other things and when these thoughts come invite more of them and fully take their power and influence away. You need to teach yourself to not to fear these thoughts while experiencing them fully. They will always return whilst you still dread them and there is nothing to dread since they cannot possible hurt you or make you do anything to hurt yourself or anyone. Believe in yourself Alex your the only one standing in your way. Accept and move on with or with out them. Make them your friend and allow th as much space as needed. Observe them and laugh at how weak they are compared to you and your life. Practice this and you will get better 100% there is no other outcome!

  231. Nolan Says:

    Nice work, Joachim!

  232. Kevin Says:

    Hi everyone,

    Just thought id post about whats been going on with me. Well, for the past few months i had been suffering from extreme health anxiety (after a great period of a few weeks). I had fears of heart attacks, pulmonary embolisms, flu, ebola, you name it. It was constant. Then just yesterday I felt great and realized a lot of the symptoms i had that “signified a health problem” were gone. So i realized that obviously it is anxiety.

    However, today I woke up feeling pretty good. I was watching an interview on youtube and went to look up the actor and ended up looking up the wrong one, even though I was looking at him. I then realized what I did wrong and then the thought of a problem with my brain was causing my cognitive impairment.

    Then I started thinking about my memory loss, and not remembering small details that have occurred in the past but i paid no attention to. I got sent into a spiral of “what if there is something wrong with my brain?” “what if I am losing my mind?” I even remember seeing an article last week that said that symptoms of alzheimer’s disease were seen in people as young as 20 years old.

    I am not completely back in the mental rut that I used to be when the thoughts first came because now I have a better method of dealing with the thoughts. However, its just funny how every time I get over something, its like my mind HAS to come up with something else to worry about. Anyways, just a rant. But if anyone has any words that would be great. Best of luck to everyone!

  233. Dustin Says:

    I have heard that phrase “secondary fear” mentioned on here before, and that is one thing that still kind of makes some sense even when I’m in a rough stretch like I am right now. Nothing really makes sense, but I feel the difference between my reaction right now and back when I used to be stuck in the anxiety cycle stems from not falling into that secondary level of fear. I am still scared and it doesn’t feel like this is ever going to end, but rather than freaking out about it like I used to, I just carry on. Your encouraging words are appreciated.

  234. Rob Says:

    So anyways I “Recovered” from that small setback after hearing about that incident thankfully. I had feared that I would get permanent damage to my psyche which would throw back my recovery and make it 100x harder after hearing something like that but that didn’t happen. Phew.

    I’m still dealing with this sense of disconnect from my past life before anxiety. Just to make sure/reassure myself—this does go away right and I get the sense of continuity back along with all the memories?

  235. Julie Says:

    Perfect post on intrusive thoughts Joachim. I suffered terribly with harm thoughts and I thought I’d never find peace. I have done what you describe and it works. I just seem to get them now if I am stressed out. Last night I was telling hubby about 2 awful news stories I saw yesterday about that poor girl and a woman who did something terrible to her child. I was fine telling him and he was proud of me for reading the news articles as I used to avoid all news. My daughter came in the room as I was telling him and I suddenly had a horrible intrusive with a rush. I seem to just get them now at times like that or if stressed. I just try to apply the same as I did before and let them be there even if they do hit with a bang and knock the wind out of my sails a bit. They are few and far between now. I just have to learn to not worry why they come at times like that 😉

    Loving your posts.


  236. Kirk Says:

    The thing that bothers me the most are thoughts as I suppose it does
    Most people I think what happened with me is during the early stages of my anxiety I had a strange thought that I was hearing voices and it scared the hell out of me and I think that there is still that little element of doubt that I am going to start hearing voices, now the last few months iv really made good progress but I stumble on this one tought could someone please give me some advice on this thank you it will be much appreciated!

  237. Joachim Says:

    Remember nothing makes sense while your in an anxiety state. Everything is over exposed as though there is too much information to take in at once. We get information overload and think we are going crazy but we are just in a state of sensitization. We cannot try and think our way out of anxiety but just need to lesson the effect anxiety has on us. The second fear is the questioning of what was that symptom or that thought and you get a second wave of anxiety instead of just accepting and going about your day as usual. You have given anxiety more fuel to trick you with as that is what anxiety is a big bluff or trick. Your not in any danger ever you just feel that way. You can call anxiety’s bluff by fully experiencing the sensation completely without running away until they calm down and subside. Then just continue doing whatever your currently engage with. You faced it and more importantly did not allow it to affect your daily routine. Here lies the key to recovery the continued doing while anxiety is there in the background screaming at you to stop and give it your attention. Don’t! Give your attention to the outside world instead and your mind will latch on to the outside world and anxiety will starve. This is a fact that cannot be changed. Sure you still feel like crap racing thoughts foggy brain unbalanced or in a dream but that’s all there is! It cannot get any worse and you can still do anything while feeling all of these things. You can redirect your focus whenever you please and the more you do so the quicker anxiety leaves. Face it accept it continue doing and don’t look for recovery it will come when you stop searching for it. We are all 100% fine enjoy your beautiful life every day.

  238. Alex Says:

    What did you suffer from anxiety?
    Did you have unwanted thoughts?

  239. Peter Says:

    Is it bad to keep reading the book over and over and come to this site? I feel like it might be better to take the information I got and just go on with my life now, and stop coming here.

  240. Nolan Says:

    It’s not bad, Peter.
    If you want to do it, just don’t make that big of a deal about it.

    Put it this way: it’s not reading about anxiety that caused you to have anxiety. Prior to all of this you probably could have read as much on the topic as possible and not developed any symptoms.

    Now, this isn’t to say that it’s a bad goal to try to not come here. It’s good to have a life that’s bigger than what’s afflicting you.

  241. Lucy Says:

    Hi Peter,

    I wouldn’t say it’s bad – I think most of us do the same thing when we are just starting our journey to recovery because we are looking for reassurance and understanding, which is much needed when we are scared and bewildered. But yes – to turn the corner and start moving forward it’s important that we stop reinforcing our ‘disorder’ by constantly checking blogs and googling/reading about anxiety – and as you say just go on with your life, taking your symptoms with you, making your life bigger than anxiety, until such a time that it fades away.

  242. Peter Says:

    Nolan, maybe you can help me out. I have a very obsessive mind…I obsess about accepting “correctly” and all that sort of thing. I suspect that a lot of people obsess about accepting “correctly”. Of course there is no “correct” way to accept, and I think it’s something that’s somewhat difficult to describe.

    Anyway, for two months I have been obsessing about whether or not to stop reading the book. Two months. It’s been very troubling. Basically I know that acceptance is the way out, which is why I’m so concerned with doing it “correctly”. I want to get better so I can go back to school and get a job…and have a life!

    I will open a document and write “Don’t read the book, go to blog, Google anxiety, research anxiety, until May” or something like that. Then I will worry that by doing that I am not truly accepting since I am making an effort to do something about it. What does it really mean? Does it mean that I’m afraid I will be anxious if I read the book? In which case, I’m not accepting. But why else would I read the book, once I understand the information within it (which I do) if not to try to make my anxiety go down?

    Basically, for two months, I have been alternating between not reading the book and reading the book. For some reason my mind has put such emphasis on whether or not I should read the book. What is the difference between reading the book constantly and Google “how to fix anxiety”?
    Paul actually blocked me on the Facebook page back in January because I asked about this twice, which I don’t appreciate, but whatever. My mind is making a very big deal out of something. I think that this is why my anxiety is so bad.

    I mean what if I stop reading the book and three four months from now I’m still just as anxious as I am now? Then what? Did I do something wrong?

    Man, my OCD is bad. I think most people would just read the book and say, Oh, okay, acceptance. And once they read the book they wouldn’t have that much of a desire to keep going back to it. I don’t know that they would consider reading the book again necessarily a bad thing.

    But my question is, what’s the difference between reading the book over and over again and going to a forum, or Googling how to get out of the anxiety?

    Am I showing myself that I care about being anxious by reading the book, or by making myself not read the book?

    I don’t even know if I’m making any sense….

    For me my personality is either read the book, or don’t! I wish I wasn’t like that. I think that’s part of my problem. I feel so spaced out right now because of this constant obsessing…it’s awful. I also posted above, on March 1st…you can read that post if you want to understand my obsessions more….

  243. Nolan Says:

    Hi Vicky,

    You said:

    “As stated in my post on the 26th I am now almost off all medication. My doctor, a psychopharmacologist, said if I went off there was an 80% chance that the depression will return as it is in my chemical make up. Of course that threw me into a panic as he is suppose to be a specialist.”

    First I’d have to say: I would adopt the attitude of “if it comes back, then it comes back…. and it will pass when it’s ready to pass.”
    Try not to let yourself get too worked up over it. Now, I understand wanting to get worked up over it. And, the attitude of “meh, it is what it is” is one that is cultivated over time…. but I’d also have to say that adopting it right away is beneficial.

    And none of this is to even say that it will come back. Because, maybe it won’t.

    Over the years I’ve been on prozac, paxil, the other stronger paxil (can’t remember the name), and lexapro for depression.
    I’ve been told the same thing, “it’s in your genes, you can’t escape your genes.” And to that I say, BS. Paul’s method, for me, worked just as well with depression as it did anxiety. It’s the attitude towards it that builds it up, or deflates it.

    I felt a spike in depression a couple of months ago. It was of the existential variety (life is meaningless, there is no hope and no God)…. Immediately I felt myself arguing with it, trying to convince it otherwise. THis was more of a knee jerk reaction, but, then I just told myself “so what? For whatever reason I feel myself being very convinced by these hopeless thoughts…. oh well. I’ll let them wither on their own accord”; and wither they did.

    You also said:

    ” know after having suffered off and on for so long that I have developed alot of negative thoughts and self pity. Sometimes I am afraid I will never feel ‘normal’ again or know how to feel normal again.”

    There’s no time better than the present to start viewing it all differently. And it doesn’t require a herculean effort on your part. Just a simple “oh well, whatever” attitude.

    To use myself as an example:
    One day driving I started paying attention to my breathing. Then I had the thought, “What if I always had to consciously breathe?”. That thought became a scream in my mind and my awareness was consistently on my breathing after it. I thought I would always have to consciously make myself breathe. Sounds silly, I know.

    I had two ways I could react to this:

    1) OMG NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! what’s so broken with me that I have to constantly pay attention and actively make myself breathe??! I should go on WebMD and maybe even search PubMed for similar experiences and how those people dealt with it or if it’s a brain disorder. Wait… a BRAIN DISORDER!?!?!?!


    2) Oh, I have this nagging thought that I’ll have to actively make myself breathe. Oh well…. let it be there. It will pass when it’s ready to pass.

  244. Peter Says:


    So you don’t think it would be a bad idea to make a commitment to stay away from the blog and book for a couple months? I just obsess so much…I’m worried that staying away is the wrong “decision”, but I feel like with acceptance it should sort of be coming sense to not constantly visit blogs and read books, even if they are about acceptance.

    I’m actually going to Germany for a two month stay in a few days, and I was thinking of just not reading the book and not visiting the blog during my stay. But if I make that decision, I will probably spend the whole time worrying about whether or not it was the right decision…lol.

    I think I’m trying to accept, rather than accepting…it’s difficult.

  245. Lucy Says:

    Hi Peter,

    Yes it is difficult. I think we perhaps put too much emphasis on the acceptance part of things, and that’s how you can end up obsessing over it. Another programme I was involved with for a while which also follows the Claire Weekes/Paul’s method had a good piece of advice: “What if you find you just cannot accept? Well then acceot that you cannot acceot ” This in itself can release the pressure a bit.

    I think whatever way you go about things it’s important to not be forcing yourself in any way – this method is about not trying, letting go, allowing. If you find yourself obsessing about checking the book/blog/google then just be aware that’s what you are doing in a kind if “Oh yeah, I’m doing that obsessive checking thing again. Whatever. I’m not going to beat myself up about it, but I can gently move away from this now and focus on something else”.

    Going away to Germany for two months could be exactly what you need right now – a fresh focus, new experiences. Your body is just waiting to heal itself if you would just get out of your own way :)

  246. Dustin Says:

    I check the blog daily. I just don’t worry that I’m doing it. But I don’t come on here in hopes that it will alleviate my anxiety or calm my mind. If you want to come on here, then do it.

  247. Bre Says:

    Hello everyone! I have to said I have not been on here in a while, but that by no means, means I am 100% recovered. One thing that I’m currently dealing with is the constant intrusive thoughts. This area of anxiety symptoms has always been the worse for me, always! Now those thoughts have evolved into intrusive, anxious, thoughts in regard to my health. I’ve tried, and continue to try anxiety just let the thoughts be but nothing seems to work. I also struggle with monitoring my thoughts. For example, when a thought enters I find myself thinking…. mmmmm Okay is this thought from the true me, or is it just anxiety??!! I already know if its something outlandish that it’s just anxiety, but for the health questions I continue to ponder over them. However, if any one has any experience with these symptoms, or just any advice to help me I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you guys so much in advance.

  248. Melissa Says:

    Hello everyone. I’d like to post on here a few things I am going through. I have an intense fear of growing up. I’m terrified and I don’t know why. I think for the longest time I’ve always had this fear but I just always avoided it. I had several fears but I ignored them and didn’t pay attention to them knowing that one day I would have to face them. And now here I am going through it all. I have had intrusive thoughts as well as DP. I feel as though it will never get better. And I have a fear of death. I do fear that the things I do are not normal and there must be something wrong with me. I feel like the things I do are because I’m mentally insane but maybe they are normal. I don’t know. When I first started having anxiety I started noticing some of the things that I was feeling. And I still don’t know what’s going on with me. I’m really depressed and for the longest time I had coping mechanisms but I didn’t realize that they were coping mechanisms. And the thought of this worries me too. What if they weren’t just coping mechanisms? I’m just afraid that I’ll never feel what its truly like to be happy and that I’ll never be normal.

  249. bre Says:

    Hello everyone! I have to said I have not been on here in a while, but that by no means, means I am 100% recovered. One thing that I’m currently dealing with is the constant intrusive thoughts. This area of anxiety symptoms has always been the worse for me, always! Now those thoughts have evolved into intrusive, anxious, thoughts in regard to my health. I’ve tried, and continue to try anxiety just let the thoughts be but nothing seems to work. I also struggle with monitoring my thoughts. For example, when a thought enters I find myself thinking…. mmmmm Okay is this thought from the true me, or is it just anxiety??!! I already know if its something outlandish that it’s just anxiety, but for the health questions I continue to ponder over them. However, if any one has any experience with these symptoms, or just any advice to help me I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you guys so much, in advance.

  250. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Peter,

    I agree with Dustin. Most days I check the blog, some days I don’t. I don’t worry about it either way – like, “I failed, I went on the blog” or “I must be getting better, I didn’t check it today!”. This blog didn’t cause my anxiety and it’s not preventing it from leaving.

  251. Peter Says:

    Dustin and Stephanie,

    I definitely hear you guys. I just truly wonder what acceptance means! I’m afraid that reading the books and coming to this blog might block my way to “accepting”, but honestly I’m pretty sure me worrying about them blocking my way to accepting is more of a problem than coming here.

    And that’s how it would be for me…it would be like “I read the book again, I failed”.

    But then I wonder….is constantly reading the book helpful?…….

    I mean, there are some things you would not do, right? For instance, you wouldn’t buy and read a book on cognitive behavioral therapy, would you? You wouldn’t go to sites that advocate “coping” with anxiety in all sorts of ways. Paul, for instance, says we should stay away from forums.

    So you can’t say acceptance is doing “nothing”, not really. By keeping yourself from trying to “figure out” your anxiety, that’s doing “something”.

    I think that it won’t hurt me to take a break from the blog and the book.

    I just want to know I’m on the right path….I want to be better by the time I go back to school in June.. :/ It’s a journey that can take months, and I’m tired of wasting time, so I want to feel on the right path.

  252. Nolan Says:

    Hi Peter,

    You’re letting the anxiety dictate to you too much.
    Even reading that post of yours, I can tell its fueled more by anxiety than the quest of knowing how to accept.

    What I mean is…. If your mind were to momentarily calm down, you would probably re-read your post and think, “wow, I was really worked up over nothing…. Must have just been the anxiety”

    And you’d have come to that conclusion despite the fact you never actually got resolution to your question above.
    At that moment you’d see that it was simply the workings of anxiety.

    Do whatever you want to do…. But don’t let yourself get caught up in the whole “but is this more right or is this more wrong” thinking.
    And, if you notice that those thoughts are bubbling up automatically and reflexively then let them…. But just stop entertaining them so much, or following through with the compulsion to work it all out in your mind.

  253. aj Says:

    HI to all

    Have been suffering from anxiety for past eight months. This blog hss helped a lot. I still have anxiety. most physical symptoms have gone. One OCD is still there. I continuously pick my scalp. I do it more when anxious. At times it’s embarrassing as do it in other people’s company also. Need to get over this. I have hypertension and am on medication for that. I obsess about my BP also. Any help in those regards welcone (scalp picking and BP obsession)

  254. Rachel Says:

    Everything you say I am doing yet my dizziness is with me all day every day xx

  255. Julie Says:

    Another great post Joachim. I really like your posts, they are in simple terms explaining what acceptance really is. They make me realise just how far I have come.

    I had agoraphobia at the beginning of my anxiety journey 2 years ago. It started after a very stressful time with my siblings, I began having panic attacks in shops. This soon turned to me hiding at home, I stopped seeing friends, had to cut my toxic family out of me life (which wasn’t due to my anxiety)… I cut the world off other than my husband and children. I have slowly rebuilt that but I still have no confidence doing things alone. I can do everything I want with hubby and the children. I can go shopping, meals out, cinema…. I feel anxious but nothing I can’t handle. It’s when I am alone. I really struggle to go shopping to large shops, visit a friend, I can’t do appointments alone anymore. I have panic attacks and feel my confidence shattered further. I can go for a drive, the coffee shop, small shops by myself and feel fine… so things have greatly improved for me. I even took my daughter to her eye test alone last week. We took the children on holiday last year which was amazing, only an hour from home but huge achievement for me. I want to be that mum who used to take her children abroad and love it. Now the thought of getting on a plane and I panic inside lol!

    I still really struggle at appointments though even if hubby is with me. Last night we had parents evening, I went and we did a one to one with our childrens teachers. I was fine with the first one but the second one I felt awful, I couldn’t keep still, I kept twirling my hair, touching my eyes…. arghhh. I know the teacher noticed and I have beat myself up about it ever since. I felt dizzy, hot, feel like the room is closing in on me and my eyes go black, fast heart….. These feelings hit me hard during appointments even if hubby is with me and if I visit a friend alone. I still did the appointment and I am proud, in 2013 when this first hit hubby had to do all school appointments without me. I am proud of how far I have come but I’m so frustrated by last night. Beating myself up that I still get these anxiety symptoms. It’s why I avoid appointments alone as I still feel awful even if hubby is there. It’s why I avoid socialising as alone feeling those feelings I can’t cope and end up leaving.

    Sorry, I am just frustrated that socially things are still slowly developing. My husband said I have done amazing and in the last year I have got more independent again, and I guess he’s right. I want to be the girl I was before, appointments alone, big supermarkets alone… I hate I depend on my husband still to support me doing those things. I know I am a different person now anxiety wise and I am really happy but socially I feel a little deflated. I am a housewife, I don’t work… I am busy all day. I do a drive each day, pop to a shop, walk my dogs, take the kids to town after school, I exercise and cook. I am not bored but I guess I feel some what lonely because I never go to visit a friend or pop to a class….. all because of how intense the anxiety is when I do. I literally black out I go so hot and I go very dizzy, it happens every time. It’s got better as I can do things now but it hits like I say during those 2 situations really hard and I know in time it will probably get easier but I am at a frustrated now.

    I don’t imagine anyone else suffers like this, I don’t really know anyone that does. Things are great in my life, I don’t have the toxic family making me stressed, I am surrounded by loving, caring family and we are closer for this journey. Life is calm and I feel good but the part of ‘agoraphobia’ that is clinging on, or I guess it’s more a social anxiety, is frustrating me. I know full recovery is so close, I have had some DP issues and this social aspect lingering on for months and I need a kick up the backside to break through these last barriers.


  256. Rachel Says:

    Julie all those things you can’t do on your own I can do I feel dreadful but I do it that’s why I really think it isn’t anxiety. Anyway you have come along way do keep up the good work soon you will be able to do it alone chin up xx

  257. Julie Says:

    Thank you Rachel.

    It is anxiety with you too, I have tried socialising alone and going to the GP alone…. I get all the same symptoms, it’s anxiety because as soon as we leave we feel relief and the physical feelings go. I even get them when my mum comes to visit which is horrible, she’s my mum!

    Thank you so much, I feel just a little down about the social side especially after parents evening yesterday. I sat through it and stayed, I almost ran lol! but I don’t feel proud.

    Well done to you doing these things alone, that’s great.

    Julie xxxx

  258. Ross Murchie Says:

    Hi julie I can relate to that I get very angry frustrated at myself that I cant just get on I monitor everything I do & I feel so scared of myself at times I have 2 kids, wife to live for I cant seem to forget or move away from anxiety it is constantly with me i feel like if I tell my psychologist some stuff I will be locked up I feel like I hate myself & the way I feel it really getting me down & sometimes I feel it is all too much & never be better im going private next week to see someone as feel my psychologist aint helping I sit & cry somedays I hate looking at photos of past as it makes me sad that I enjoyed life before but now i feelike I hate it because of anxiety

  259. Rachel Says:

    Julie you should be very proud you stayed and got through it you didn’t run that’s just shows how far you have come xx

  260. Lucy Says:

    Hi Nolan and anybody who might be bake to shed some light on my situation…

    I feel as if I can’t move forward because I have a ‘special issue’ – yes yes I know we all think that, that we are different and therefore unable to recover like everyone else – but I really do think this!! My anxiety first started manifesting when I went through enormous stress emigrating to Australia by myself 10 years ago, and then while I was there I went through a very painful relationship break-up. Ever since then I have had extended periods of anxiety triggered when I try to get into a relationship, which gets increasingly severe until I end the relationship and then hate myself for it. This has just happened to me again, at the end of last year, and culminated in a frightening breakdown. Despite ending the relationship (it was long-distance and very hard to manage with all my fear), my anxiety has continued.

    Now I feel I must be broken and clearly have major relationship issues. A therapist told me I have an anxious-avoidant attachment style due to my a turbulent time when my parents divorced when I was three, and this gets triggered when I enter into a relationship, which I guess makes sense, but I’m an otherwise well-adjusted person with good family and friendships, and didn’t have this problem until 10 years ago. Just hearing about or reading about ‘relationships’ makes my anxiety spike. Now I can’t stop scaring myself with the thoughts that I’m f**ked basically, will be on my own forever, this will just keep happening etc etc because I have this massive problem to deal with.

    I am practicing paul’s method as best I can. I don’t really avoid much, am continuing to work, socialise, exercise. But I am 24/7 anxious and feel it is because of this massive ‘issue’ I have, and it’s not like I can go out there and face it because I can’t pluck a relationship out of a tree!

    Can anyone help?

  261. Joachim Says:

    Julie anxiety wants you to run from these social situations but you have to do the opposite to show your brain that nothing bad will happen. Your allowing these feelings to scare you into leaving and you MUST face them head on. Ok you feel bad but stay until the sensations calm down. The worst that can happen is you have a panic attack and your adrenaline kicks in. But you have STAYED your ground through to the other side of it. This is the only way your brain will trust those situations again without producing anxiety symptoms. You have to desensitize to whatever you feel by DOING them over and over again. Please i promise you NOTHING will EVER happen to you other than exaggerated sensations that your mind NEEDS to experience to condition it that no danger lurks on the other side. Julie you have come so far please see the journey to the very end a place where you can go anywhere or anyplace alone without fear but freedom. Courage is doing something even though your afraid and builds confidence everytime you face your fears. They cannot control you since you are the one in control. You need to trust this simple road and just continue down it as slowly as necessary but always forward through to complete recovery. Your body and mind will heal and become stronger than you can imagine but you have to let yourself feel everything 100% that is where recover lies in seeing it through 100%. Not 99% but always every moment face 100% no matter what. Recover is the only option left!

  262. Rachel Says:

    Rachel Says:
    March 5th, 2015 at 10:02 am
    Everything you say I am doing yet my dizziness is with me all day every day no matter what I do xx

  263. Perdy Says:

    Mine too Rachel! All the flipping time, though I have to say when I’m really focused on something I don’t notice it as much. I’ve had around 6 months where it has been worse and I go to the doctors who basically say it’s something I’ve got to live with I sit there crying in absolute desperation but I’ve had tests mri’s Doc says it’s hard to say how much is an ear problem and how much anxiety but that doesn’t help me deal with it on a day to day basis! When people/friends ask me how I am I just say “fine” now instead of “bloody awful” what can you do hey. It’s ruined my life for years now so I’m soldiering on, I know the idea is carry on regardless but this feeling of being on a boat makes it virtually impossible to do that. I do carry on with my day to day part time job but social things and things I used to enjoy shopping etc are limited I just hope one day it’ll change and things will improve. Sorry if this sounds negative :-) x

  264. Gordy Says:

    It’s completely the opposite with me at times! I worry and panic when I have to do something on my own with the kids. I fear that I am going to lose the plot and not be able to look after them. I worry about what it is I’m going to do with them right up to the event and still do it, then as I’m doing it panic. I guess it’s because that’s what I’ve conditioned my mind to do! I’ve done the things so many times before but still panic when I’m doing them. I have been fine for a while but I’m in a setback at the moment. Anyone got any advice? I think I just need a kick up the bum!

  265. Rachel Says:

    Perdy I was wondering how you were I’ve had MRI scans and I have even seen a scientist who specialise in ears and he did alsorts with them but yet nothing I’m still not convinced even writing this my body feels like it is moving all over the place can’t even look one way then look another way without the inside if my head whooshing about really sick of it wouldn’t mind if I moped about it but I don’t i carry on with everything even my 12 hr shifts. Take care xx

  266. Peter Says:

    This is a little off topic, but I was wondering what you guys think of the fact that the acceptance advice is so hard to come by? It really infuriates me that I went to doctors for ten years and none of them ever pointed me in the direction of Claire Weekes or Paul David.
    It infuriates me. It’s the responsibility of doctors to understand the nature of what they are supposed to be treating! We seriously need to start a revolution against mainstream psychology, otherwise people are going to lose their entire lives stuck in a trap of “coping”.
    To be blunt, it really shows how worthless their degrees are if they can’t help people! This system needs to be fixed!!

  267. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Julie,

    Well done! I know it’s hard to be proud of yourself because of how you felt, but how you felt is not what’s important. It’s the fact that you stuck it out, regardless of how you felt. If you think about it, doing things when we feel great is easy. It’s doing things when we feel awful that is difficult. You’re doing great :)

  268. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Gordy,

    I can relate to your fears. A lot of my anxiety has centered around my daughter: being afraid to be alone with her, worried I won’t be able to take care of her, etc. However, all the times I’ve been alone with her, nothing has ever happened to her or to me, even when I had panic attacks. It’s proof that our anxiety is a bluff. We’re not in any danger. So the only advice I have is to keep doing what you’re doing. If you panic, you panic.

  269. Gordy Says:

    I know exactly what you are saying about accepting that it’s there and staying in the situation, but when you have the responsibility of looking after kids it can be so difficult! I guess this is why I stay in the loop at times because I’m worrying about being in the situation! Any advice?

  270. Gordy Says:

    I know, it’s the same for me, nothing bad has ever happened but it’s hard isn’t it! Having the feeling of not being in control when you need to be (even though realistically you are in control) is hard to deal with. I’m so proud of my kids and feel somehow that I’m letting them down even though I still do the things, doesn’t make sense does it!

  271. Joachim Says:

    Ok for everyone here regardless of symptoms of dizziness losing control or fearing any situation it all boils down to anxiety and your Limbic system being out of wack. (Read nothingworks article regarding what a big part the Limbic system plays) I posted that here a year or so ago and people really loved the information since it takes you into a suffer’s journey of self awareness through anxiety using a story line.

    While we continue to respect and question (which all of you are doing currently i can tell by your posts????) we will play into the anxiety cycle. Your looking for your symptoms to go away while looking and reacting to them! You have to distance your thoughts from anxiety however brief and that gives it a chance to rest while your attention is else where. You will never get better by looking for recover it is counter intuitive and you MUST let recovery come to you instead.

    If you keep scratching a scab it will never heal and if you keep monitoring your anxiety and talking about it everyday online with friends family etc etc you will just invite more of to the party. You see anxiety after you face it must be ignored and taken with a grain of salt which loosens it grip on you each time you do something anxiety says you cannot do. Your debunking its myth it’s trickery and calling it’s bluff. You cannot let anxiety control you through harmless feelings and sensations!

    Take the time to truly ask yourself what is there to fear? A sensitized body and tired mind should surely feel this way and needs a rest from all the senseless inquiries and questioning into what is wrong. I’m simply over worked and kindly ask you to please allow me sometime to repair myself. Please don’t interfere or try to help me just allow these temporary and transient feelings to be there. In fact go do something else I will deal with this myself. That is what your body and mind is telling you but you don’t take the advice. Anxiety can only make u feel a certain level of discomfort and can never make u lose control or go crazy. In fact people with anxiety are overly sane and too involved with how they feel. A person that looses control does not ask if he is loosing control they have no concept that something is wrong.

    We know something is not “feeling” right but have no outside force to blame it on so we turn it back on ourselves thinking the problem lies deep inside of us. We then run around feeding the anxiety all of our attention and bam we get caught in the anxiety cycle. Sensations worry fear more worry more anxiety etc etc. STOP that cycle now by not worrying or analyzing it.

    Chemicals need time to settle as there is many chemical changes in your body when in a heightened state. Adrenaline dopamine and cortisol are released resulting in all of your physical and mental sensations. If you continue to allow your body to produce these chemicals you will continue to feel the way you do. Having less respect for these symptoms produces less fear and less chemicals firing off in your body. Your anxiety is not always at the same level as symptoms come and go sometimes spiking hard, other times your able to handle them easier. This is to do with the level of chemicals being released by your body at any one time. That’s why laughing smiling playing and hugging produce feel good endorphins that make us happy and reduce cortisol levels as well.

    This is why doing things you enjoy even if you don’t feel like it is so important. Your body doesn’t know the difference since it still remembers what chemicals to produce after a certain stimuli. Not to get personal but sex is an excellent release of endorphins and afterwards they produce what is know as the cuddle chemical which is a sense of well being. Maximize your bodies own release of good chemicals and you will recover much quicker than by focusing on the bad sensations. Crying laughing being angry all release chemicals that help us stabilize our moods. Feel everything and don’t hold your emotions back. Hug kiss and play with your kids or tell a silly joke to your spouse or friend.

    Try being the non anxious person you want to become your body doesn’t know the difference. All of these things allow you to positively affect your well being and anxiety hates all of them. You will get better if you just allow yourself the time to get there.

    Put yourself on auto pilot and let your body and mind fly you to recovery.

  272. Peter Says:

    Thanks Nolan.

    Yeah, I think my mind made a much bigger deal out of reading them or not reading them than other people would do.

    Most people would probably read the book once, go back to occasionally, take the advice into hand, visit the blog occasionally, but as they became less interested in their anxiety probably wean down gradually.

    For me, I think I was trying to force myself to recover by not reading them, especially since I was putting a limit like “don’t read them for two months!”

    I guess it’s just about balance. No one should spend the entire day on the blog or the entire day reading the books. You just go back to them if you need a refresher.

    I think once I’m not so obsessed with “accepting correctly” I will be on the way to recovering. I’m just afraid my obsessive mind will hold me back -____-

    Guess I just have to realize that these obsessive thoughts that come up are nonsense.

  273. Lucy Says:

    Absolutely brilliant Joachim – thank you, that really got me back on track today.

  274. Nolan Says:

    Much better way to view the whole thing, Peter.

    I’ll say this:
    I would have intense fears that would last all hours of the day, all days of the week, and all weeks of the month for months on end.
    I was stuck in this loop of trying to figure it out. As well as trying to convince my mind that I wasn’t broke, not to forget the times I was simply convinced I was broken.

    When I gave up the chase it wasn’t like I immediately felt better. Now, there was some relief in the fact that I didn’t need to work it out anymore.
    But, I would get these glimpses of freedom from it all. They were transient, but they were still there. And, in those moments I just no longer cared about that horrid logic that seemed to make so much sense as to why I was broken beyond repair.
    It just didn’t matter. My mind felt relaxed and calm (as did my body) and in those passing moments of freedom it was like a switch was just flipped. I didn’t feel that way because I was able to convince myself otherwise…. it just came naturally.

    Then the dark moments would roll back in. It was confusing at first. But I noticed the pattern that during the rough moments things just didn’t stick, they didn’t make sense.

    I would read that “Nothing Works” article over and over and I just wasn’t clicking for me when I was in the throes of the storm.

    Then again, a moment of freedom from it would come and I wouldn’t care about the whole anxiety issue again.

    I’ve heard this from another source but it always was the case for me: let the anxiety/depression/fears/despair (whatever) rise and fall on it’s own accord.

  275. carla Says:

    Hi, my name’s Carla and I recently discovered this fantastic blog. Firstly, I would like to thank Paul and all of you who have helped contribute to the advice on this site – I would say it’s the best resource on the web, full of brilliant, positive and knowledgable people!

    Having been pretty much anxiety-free for 15 years, things began to get rocky after the birth of my children. Recently this culminated in a horrid setback, where I couldn’t seem to ‘get out of my head.’ Every time I tried to focus my attention outwards, my mind would flick back in. It got so bad that every time I tried to talk to anyone, my thoughts would get interrupted by a kind of compulsive checking, pulling me away from the conversation.

    This experience caught me when my anxiety was already high and terrified me. ‘What if I can’t stop this checking? How will I ever enjoy anything again?’. I stopped eating, lost weight and one morning couldn’t get out of bed because I couldn’t face the checking any more.

    Anyway, it was so bad that I agreed to start taking a low dose anti-depressant to help take the edge off. This is the first time I’ve ever taken meds and I’m comfortable with it for now as they do seem to have helped pull me through what I would call a ‘crisis’ level of anxiety.

    I’m now 2 weeks on and functioning pretty well again – looking after the kids and the house and even socialising a bit.

    But I must say I still get frightened by the ‘checking/monitoring’ – it feels like I’ll never let myself just be and experience life unselfconsciously. I’ll have a short period of feeling normal and then it kicks in again, giving me a jolt of anxiety – I then imagine living my life with my mind shouting ‘check, check, check, check’ constantly.

    I just wondered if anyone has experienced anything similar and how you got through it.

    Much appreciated

    Carla :)

  276. Lucy Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    Your post above was helpful to me re my post above about being ‘broken’ when it comes to relationships…when you say “in those moments I just no longer cared about that horrid logic that seemed to make so much sense as to why I was broken beyond repair.” I will look forward to those moments :)

    Thank you,


  277. Julie Says:

    Thank you all for your kind messages.

    Rachel – Thank you. You are doing great too, believe that xx

    Stephanie – Thank you so much for your kind words, it means alot xx

    Gordy – Yes it’s tough isn’t it, I do still feel anxious when I go out with the children as I fear having a panic infront of them or losing control or something but it’s nothing I can’t handle anymore, it got easier. It’s alone I feel frightened doing things.

    Ross – I used to feel the same about looking at past photographs. You have to refocus on life to move away from anxiety, it’s the only way. I refocused on life, took up hobbies again, ate well and in time things got so much easier.

    Joachim – I loved your reply to me, thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me. Your words are exactly right, I know from other areas of my anxiety, facing them head on is what desensitized me and I habituated to doing everything I feared. I have come so far but I lack so much confidence alone. I still do these things, ok not as much as I should, I do avoid alot by myself but with my hubby I face things head on. I am usually fine but appointments are not ok at all, they are really tough even with him at my side. I always go so hot in my face and feel so faint that I can’t help but almost run, it really is an intense faint feeling I get. No over breathing or anything, I have always just had the head rush, fast heart and I go boiling in my face and feel like I will pass out lol!. I don’t run like I used to, I stay but each appointment doesn’t get any easier. I am the same if I try to socialise. It’s tough. I do feel this is my last big hurdle, and it is a big one. I recently started driving over bridges alone again, something I have avoided for a year…. I have faced everything on my fear hierarchy and I can feel confidence and freedom returning but what really holds me back from full recovery is the agoraphobia that lingers. I know it’s improved but I do worry will it ever improve enough for me to have my full independence back.

    Thanks again. I appreciate you replying to me.


  278. Peter Says:

    Do you all think it’s at least a good idea to limit my “anxiety research”, as it were, to this blog and to the book?
    I wouldn’t want to go to forums and stuff, right?……Grr………

    I don’t know. To me it seems almost common sense that we should leave the blog/book behind, only coming to them occasionally, while we are recovering……… Since the whole point is to get on with your life and kind of leave the subject behind and “go about your day however you feel”……………

  279. Peter Says:


    You also said this…from the Facebook page:
    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.


  280. Stephanie Says:

    Peter, Here’s an excerpt from “Nothing Works” that you might find helpful:

    I believe there is no wrong way to react to Anxiety/Panic Attacks.

    Yes there are better ways to and worse ways to react which affect how comfortable you feel and extremely beneficial ways in order you alleviate all of your inappropriate feelings, but there is no way to fail at inappropriate ‘Anxiety’ and ‘Panic’.This truth is a catch all statement to address the questions: “What am I doing wrong?” or “What did I do wrong to get in this predicament?” The answer to both questions is nothing … you have done and are doing nothing wrong, even though you may feel or think there is something wrong there isn’t, there never has been. You are the result of simple cause and effect, and there are many more triumphant chapters to write for you yet.

    This information is not a test, there are no compulsion statements such as: ‘Always do this’; ‘you Must do that’; ‘Never do the other’. With regards to Anxiety and Panic you can do whatever you want, whenever you want, for as long as you want and no harm will ever come to you.

    “Why is this important?”

    I believe it to be an important truth to understand. We build upon this truth and gain strength from the freedom it provides, understanding of this concept will help to eliminate any what-if fear statements that the mind can create whilst working through a method of anxiety removal … such as …

    What if I’m not doing it right?

    … or more crucially …

    “What if I’ve done this wrong?!”

    “Can this truth be right?”

    Yes, Anxiety/Panic Attacks are utterly harmless in every way so whatever you and do and whatever you don’t do has no bearing on your safety and your sanity.
    You are the one who will get yourself better and you are the one who will keep yourself there. Once you understand the principles you carry the techniques in your body and mind for the rest of your days.

  281. Peter Says:

    What is Nothing Works?

  282. Nolan Says:

    Hi Peter,

    Please forgive me if I’m interpreting your quoting of me…. but is that supposed to be a “got’cha”??

    I guess I’m not certain what you’re trying to say.

    Again, this isn’t meant to be accusatory. It just seems like you’re trying to show where I contradicted myself.
    I’ll say this: at one point I did feel that way. That you should force yourself to not come back here. I don’t feel that way anymore. But, I’ve always maintained that it’s beneficial to make your life bigger than anxiety and if that means not coming back here…. then great!

    But, if someone wants to still come back, I just don’t want that person beating him or herself up over it. And, if it becomes a matter of an endurance competition to see how long one can stay away I just think that’s coming at it from the wrong end.

    All thoughts can be considered in one’s mind.
    The thought itself is innocuous. Meaning, we all have these individualized fears that spawned from the anxiety. Many times I think that a person is afraid of thinking the content of the fear. That it’s the content of the thought that caused this bout of anxiety…. but it’s simply not. I was terrified I could never sleep again, or at least sleep peacefully. That thought itself “I can not ever fall asleep peacefully again” is not what caused my anxiety. I could have had that thought prior to the anxiety and it would have had no impact on me whatsoever.

    So, that’s why I don’t think the content of the fears matter. So, I think a person should read whatever they want to read and let the fear be there if it wants to be there for the time being.

    Peter, I just come here to help people out. I make no profit from doing this.
    I can’t make you not turn my words against me. If there is something I said in the past that seems different from what I’m saying now, just ask me…. I’d be more than happy to help out.

    Just going forward if you wouldn’t mind asking for my clarification, like I said: I’m more than happy to help clear anything up.

  283. Zee Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    Just got a few questions if you don’t mind me asking.

    As you already know i am facing the exact same fear as you once did, the fear of not being able to sleep. My mind would be in an active state just as I’m about to fall asleep and at times i get close to sleeping but then id get this sudden rush of adrenaline that would cause me to be wide awake again. How did you cope with this?

    How were you able to continue with your day despite feeling physically exhausted? You mentioned before that you were working, exercising and also had a 6month old son at the time. I have chosen to continue work, study and exercise as i enjoy these things and no longer want to spend all day dwelling at home and filling myself with self pity. However i am finding it a bit difficult to carry on with these activities as i feel physically exhausted… BUT i do not want to quit :)

    Did you ever try take naps during the day? In my case after work or study, when I get home i sometimes lay in my bed to try get some rest no longer than an hour. This sometimes backfires as the fear of not being able to sleep pops up and i get frustrated.

    My final question is how did you maintain a “whatever attitude” when getting up every morning knowing you had little or no sleep or when you felt physical exhausted during the day? I try my best to carry on with my day but then id feel tired which would then remind me of how much i want to sleep.

  284. Peter Says:

    No no, Nolan, I did not mean that as a “got’cha!” at all. I’m just continuing to obsess about this and trying to figure out which path to take, the path of coming to this blog occasionally or the path of not coming again for a set amount of time, or the path of not reading the book anymore.
    My mind makes a very big deal out of everything.

    Basically I read the book, then began to wonder what “getting on with my day, however I felt” meant in relation to reading the book or not. I then began to worry if I should read the book over and over, come to this blog, etc. I got over it for a bit (it was replaced by another obsession), but then it came back.
    I started to think, “What if my goal in not reading the book is to get better? Is that indicating to my brain that I care if I’m anxious?”

    I would open documents and write, “Don’t read the book or go to the blog for two months! Stick with this!” But then get anxious and change it. I noticed that I felt less anxious when I didn’t have these documents open.

    I think I was putting pressure on myself to get better.

    I was obsessively trying to ensure that I got better by making myself not read the book.

    But even now, as I’m typing this, my mind flips back to thinking, “Well of course you shouldn’t read the book or go to the blog! Why else would you read the book or blog other than to figure out how to get better?”

    Am I just thinking way too hard here, or is there something to be said for not forcing myself to stop reading the book?

    Here’s the crazy thing: If I did not have this obsession about whether or not to read the book, I think I would not read the book that much anyway! I might check it occasionally, but I would not spend my whole day reading it! I might check the blog occasionally, but I’m sure I would lose interest because once you understand “go about your day however you feel”, there is nothing else to understand! So automatically I would not have that much reason to go back to the blog!

    But as you said in part of that post I linked, you said you are not a fan of any “concerted effort to accept”….and that’s the thing. There can’t be any effort to accept. What I mean is….well you know what I mean. True acceptance is not effort. Acceptance is not a “method” to rid oneself of anxiety. And I’m sure that this is where many get bogged down, or that they give up and switch to another method…or rather “adopt” a method.

    But at the same time, I’m wondering where the line is. To go to a forum and type, “How do I get rid of anxiety?” would not be accepting, correct? I could not say that by doing that I was accepting.

    What is the thread of acceptance here? lol.

  285. Peter Says:

    I’m not at all trying to turn your words against you, I’m just trying to figure out what the “right path” is and also to understand WHY you changed your mind. Maybe you have something that I missed.

    I think I’m slowly starting to get it though. Acceptance is more than going about your day without reading about anxiety. It’s like….not caring if to read about anxiety would make your anxiety worse. lol.

  286. Doreen. Says:

    Goodness me Peter. It makes me quite exhausted reading your posts and concerned that you are so caught up in the ‘why and wherefores’ of the way to move on from anxiety. It seems like you want a concrete set of ‘rules’ which you can follow and you are looking for those from reading this and that in what almost feels like a frenzied way.
    To hang on so hard to what is in books and on blogs must involve an terrible amount of tension on your part.
    Please take it all right back to the basic advice which runs through all of Paul’s thinking which is to get on with your day despite how you feel and gradually anxiety will no longer dominate your world. It is really no more complicated than that.

  287. Nolan Says:

    No problem at all, Peter.

    I completely understand the tension all of this can create.

    Please take Doreens advice to heart. She nailed it in a simple and straightforward manner….

  288. Ross Says:

    Hi everyone can anyone enlighten me on this part of my journey I keep having what if I cant recover & what if im already crazy am I insane & why I feel scared of myself sometimes my mind feels like I have no control over it I feel like I can never beat this as it makes me feel very down & afraid of thinhs that can happen the best way I can explain is like a constant attention on self with alot of mind chatter & overthinking past things never enjoying anything & fear if it gets worse i, ll be locked up.

  289. Caitlin Says:

    Hey everybody

    This first time I’ve posted on the blog.. I have been reading posts for a a while now and they’ve been really helpful, I have been an anxious person for a long time however since July 2013 I had a massive panic attack which lead me to hospital.. I got all the checks and the doctor said I’m fine. Since then I’ve had literally all the physical symptoms sicky, palpitations, dizziness, feeling not with it everything. Then 3 months later I started to have intrusive thoughts about harming others, thought I had said something wrong to people all the time it lead me to such a anxious state and depression. I am better than before however still struggle with the physical symptoms at times and feeling away with it, the reason I’ve decided to write today is because I’ve just had to leave a shopping centre due to a panic attack and feeling so upset, I wish I could re think my thoughts but it’s hard. It’s lovely to see everyone writing their stories .. There’s hope :) x

  290. Cheyenne Says:

    Does this philosophy address health anxiety? Also, if I become unconcerned by pains, lumps, sensations, family history of illness, etc – all the things that have sent me running to the Dr in the past – how will I know when I really should seek help, when I really might be ill?

  291. Peter Says:

    Yes, that’s exactly what I’m looking to do, create a concrete set of “rules” because I am so concerned with ensuring that my anxiety eventually goes away.

    I don’t want to invest months of my time in “improperly” accepting. But again, there is no way to “properly” accept….

    Man, I’m sure people without my level of OCD symptoms would never be obsessing about how to accept it like I am.

    Like I said, I’m guessing I wouldn’t even come here that much anyway if it were not for the OBSESSION ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT TO COME ON HERE! I would probably not read the book that much ANYWAY.

    But meh….it’s all very silly, and I’m fully aware of that. My brain however is not. Or rather my frontal lobe is aware it’s silly but my amygdala is not hahaha….

    I still feel like opening a document and writing “Do not read the book or go to the blog for two months!” is still TRYING too hard……do you guys agree? It’s like my intention is to not read the book or come here in order to rid myself of anxiety. It’s just too obsessive to say DONT READ THE BOOK ANYMORE…or is it? I’m sure it would not hurt me to not read the book anymore….

  292. Peter Says:


    Imagine how exhausted it makes me, haha…

  293. Lucy Says:

    Hi Nolan, any thoughts on my post from March 5th? ????

  294. Lucy Says:

    There wasn’t meant to be multiple question marks after that! It was a smiley face that went wrong! Sorry…

  295. sam Says:

    @nolan/doreen/stephanie have a question which is bugging me…..i read “nothing works” …the idea in that article sounds pretty similar to paul’s idea of doing nothing…but at the same time the author chris suggested that we should “pretend”…pretend to be happy,smile,dance,listen to music etc…now doesn’t doing this amount to “trying”?? i mean if i feel depressed/anxious and am not in the mood to listen to music than is there any point in forcing myself to be happy,to smile,to enjoy?? i have just been living my life as normal as i can and not forcing myself to do anything ,not keeping the tight grip on myself…and it has shown some effect..slow but sure effect…so just askin this question if any of you could clear my doubts…gettin a bit confused

  296. sam Says:

    that should read * i have a question which is bugging me…** …

  297. Chass Says:

    Hi guys, i just wanted to share my own story. Im on 13th yr of struggle from anxiety and depression. In that 13 yrs, there are always intrusive thought/unnecessary thoughts but I managed how to deal with them. Not until the late last yr, when my friend passed away. I dont know what happened to me. Its like everything came back to the first time i had my anxiety. I know in myself, thay its just an unnecessary thoughts but im having a hard time to be ok and fine again just like before.. I really wanted to get better just like before.

  298. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Sam,

    When Chris talks about “pretending” he’s referring to the fact that our limbic system can’t tell the difference between real feelings and pretend feelings, so when we “pretend” that everything is ok, our limbic system will think everything is ok and will initiate the “rest/digest” response. Here’s how I look at it. When I’m anxious, my natural inclination is to want to do nothing, hide, run away, etc. But those responses are actually the opposite of what I should do if I want to break the cycle of anxiety. Instead, I’d be better off dancing, reading a book, whatever – even if I’m “pretending” the whole time. In addition, I look at the concept of “pretending” as making my life about more than anxiety. I can spend my day feeling anxious and doing nothing as a result, or I can spend my day doing something, anything, even if I feel anxious the whole time. The difference is I’m not doing these things to “try” to rid myself of anxiety. I’m doing them because I’m living my life, regardless of how I feel. So if you’re feeling depressed/anxious and don’t feel like listening to music, then don’t. But if you’re feeling depressed/anxious and are tired of dwelling on it, then listen to music. But don’t listen to music because you hope it will help you not feel depressed/anxious. I hope this helps.

  299. Kyle Says:

    Hey everyone, just thought id check in and see how everyone is doing. I’ve come a very very long way and have been experiencing a sense of calm and optimism that I haven’t experienced in a while. I never got to much into my story but I thought I was completely broken as of a year and a half ago. Panic attacks started for me about 2 years ago and got worse and worse because after my first one I was always on edge. I then went to the doc and took an anxiety test and was put on anti anxiety medication and everything got worse because I had no clue what “real” anxiety was. I always thought it was just the jitters before big test and little things. I suffered with the worst DP/DR and didn’t recognize myself in the mirror and thought I was completely losing my mind. Thought I was bi-polar, schizo, borderline personality, you name it I thought I had them all. Wasn’t affected so much by the sleeping issues but had trouble falling asleep and always felt like I was floating and spinning. Then I found Pauls book and just decided to live life and manage stress better and go after my goals. 2.5 years later here I am sleeping better than I have in years, working 55-60 hours a week in a high stress/high reward environment in real estate sales for one of the biggest firms on the west coast, working out 5 times a week, and have more confidence then I thought was really possible. I still have moments where I feel like im walking on egg shells and still feel like I might fall into a hole but then I just get on with things and I forget about it. I have new hobbies and am just okay with the way things are. You can get there I promise. You are really just fearful of not being okay and super sensitive to every thought and feeling in your body and over analyze everything. For instance today, I was cruising down the road and had that thought what if I just ran off the road or drove into some one and then I laughed and was like “nah that would suck haha” and turned up the radio. No clue if im 100% but then again im %1000 percent better then I was so im absolutely positive total recovery is possible. I know its hard right now but just take a chill pill and start living life even though you feel depleted, like you are losing your mind, or in a crabby mood, its all temporary and is natural response to the stress your body is under.

    Have a great weekend everyone!

  300. Chass Says:

    Reading your comments and other stories makes me feel relieve… May we have a great day and life ahead of us..

  301. Bre Says:

    Can someone please respond to my post on March 5th please?? To Ross, I know exactly what you mean, I feel the same way.

  302. James Says:

    I really do wonder when anything will come back to me. I mean even the slightest thing, a single thought, feeling, memory or a trace of my personality.
    I know Chris, Nolan and Paul would tell me to not ‘put a time limit on it’ or ‘try and feel another way,’ but it sure would help me accept if I had a single symptom lessen or preferably have a sign of ‘me’ show up.
    This anxiety really tests your faith and willpower.
    Like I’ve said before, recovery seems impossible. I don’t believe that I’ll ever get better, but I still stick with acceptance because it’s the only way to be sure. Plus Nolan said that he didn’t think recovery possible but it came to him anyway. I imagine being certain that you will recover as Chris, Paul and Jaochim say would make the entire process easier, believe me I wish I could, but I have no reason to believe that at the moment.

    Well look at me, venting, fishing for something to make me feel better- as if asking questions will finally give me some proof that this works. I’m clearly not accepting in this moment.
    Oh well, guess I can pick up tomorrow morning.

  303. Bryan Says:


    A an through and read the posts on this thread. Lots of info about intrusive thoughts. It’s highly common and more importantly as Nolan pointed out, just an anxiety symptom. It’s not as if the method for dealing with it will be any different. Read posts by Doreen, Nolan, Joachim and follow their advice to the letter. We are all The same despite our symptoms manifesting slightly differently.

  304. Bryan Says:

    (*scan through and read….)

  305. Kelly Says:

    Natalie – I’m back from my vacation and I had a wonderful time! I had no access to internet, so I wasn’t researching about anxiety all the time. I was even able to relax by the pool and on the beach without worrying about myself. It wasn’t until I came home that I really started to get anxious about whether all of the anxiety and worry would come back. But I’m reminding myself how well I did over the last week and that proves to me that recovery is possible.

    Kyle – I absolutely loved your post. You say, “You are really just fearful of not being okay and super sensitive to every thought and feeling in your body and over analyze everything.” That is so true for me right now. It’s nice to know that someone has felt the same way and that it’s all temporary.

    Bre – My anxiety started as health anxiety. After I had a mole removed, I became obsessed with wearing sunscreen or sun-protective clothing (my dad has had skin cancer). After being diagnosed with PVCs (heart palpitations that are benign), I became obsessed with checking my heart rate. I had my cardiologist run every test and everything came back normal. I know that it doesn’t seem like it now, but these things do fade away. Just start to not pay it attention and it will go in time.

  306. Bryan Says:

    Great job Kyle! Care to tell more about how you actually moved past the condition?

  307. bre Says:

    Hey has anyone ever experienced vision problems such as, blurred vision, dizziness, or just lightheaded ?? For the past few days I have been experiencing these symptoms, and there new to me. It’s just really hard to accept these new symptoms.

  308. Bryan Says:


    Yes. 100%. Totally normal and common for the condition.

    I hear you on how bad they suck, but the key here is to look past actual symptom and at the larger condition.

    Again… read posts by Nolan, Doreen, Joachim and of course Paul and do exactly what they say. Do not get tangled in fighting each individual symptom.
    That will keep you stuck. Whereas doing as those I quoted suggest will start you on full recovery.

  309. carla Says:

    Sorry to repeat, but does anyone have any advice about the constant monitoring/thought interrupting I mentioned in my previous post?

    For some reason I’m just having real trouble accepting this aspect of the anxiety. It’s like I catch myself thinking a normal thought, anxiously notice this, and am then unable to finish the thought. This leads to an immediate stab of anxiety followed by a frustration that I’ll never think naturally or outwardly again.

    i’m reasonably at peace with inward thinking in general, its’ just this feeling of suddenly being ‘pulled back’ from a ‘normal’ train of thought. It feels like I’m sabotaging myself but don’t know how to stop.

    My mind seems to have really fixated on this experience as a dangerous thing that has the power to lock me in, away from my life forever!

    I am carrying on normally by the way and not avoiding anything. But I’m all at sea inside and seem completely unable to feel that crucial ‘whatever’ attitude when it keeps happening.

    Maybe Kyle, Joachim or Nolan may be able to shed some light?
    I’d be so grateful for your reply and will hopefully be able to help other people in turn one day!

  310. Colin Says:

    Great to see such positive posts from Joachim, Kyle and Nolan. I can vouch for the fact that when I get on with life, fill it with experiences and just keep doing things even when anxiety appears, then I always begin to feel better and get a positive cycle… things whatever….reduction in anxiety feelings…..continue doing things…..and they begin to feel more fun as anxiety drops.

    I am now in a set back (I have had quite a few over the past year) although I have some feeling even the set backs are a little more tolerable, perhaps because I have some knowledge about the best way to move forwards.

    Like others I am convinced the approach of 100% acceptance of all you fear and continue living life with those fears taken along for the ride, is the way to fully recover. I actually use meditation to bring all my mental fears into my conciousness (the worse and more scary the better) and just look at them and feel all the physical symptoms. Every time after doing this for 30 mins I feel much much better. I think this helps with desensitizing as I am actively welcoming the fearful thoughts and encouraging them to be present rather than trying to pull away from them.

    Even if you dont want to do this, follow the advice of Paul, Joachim, Nolan and Kyle (and I guess numerous others earlier) live life, do everything and actually want to feel the anxiety. I have some feeling in myself that doing this leads to a better place and better person than before the anxiety nightmare started. So maybe in the end it is all worth it.

    Love to all and thanks so much for being available.

  311. Kelly Says:

    Carla – I know you directed your question to others, but I thought that I would chime in because I know how you are feeling.

    You say “But I must say I still get frightened by the ‘checking/monitoring’ – it feels like I’ll never let myself just be and experience life unselfconsciously. I’ll have a short period of feeling normal and then it kicks in again, giving me a jolt of anxiety – I then imagine living my life with my mind shouting ‘check, check, check, check’ constantly.”

    I, too, went through a phase where I couldn’t seem to get out of my head. It was so bad that it was all I thought about. I would momentarily have breaks in my thinking only to think about it again. While I am not completely through this phase, I can tell you that it has gotten better. As Paul said it, I do feel like it comes off layer by layer. The “normal” periods are coming more frequently and are lasting longer.

    I know that this doesn’t give you much advice, but I just wanted to let you know that you aren’t alone. I feel like this checking in on ourselves is one of the last things to go. We have gotten ourselves into such a habit of worrying about ourselves that it is only normal for us to question it. We just have to continue living our lives and then not worrying about ourselves will become our new habit.

  312. Horton Says:

    Questions for Nolan,
    You say it was 6/7 months into your acceptance that you started getting proper breaks from your anxiety.
    1. Prior to those long breaks did you get small ones? Because It has been well Over a year since i even had a break from this. i was hoping they’d become mre frequent and show me that this is working, but i’ve got nothing to go on
    2. you often mention how even when you were trying to accept towards the beggining you used to log on the blog and break your habit of accepting by asking questions under another username. so generally speaking: how deep or how long into your ‘acceptance/recovery’ did you stop googling, looking for answers or fighting it? i mean i still do after 6 months of trying, maybe i’m a slow learner, just curious

  313. carla Says:

    Kelly, hi, and thank you for chiming in!

    It’s weird because my anxiety wasn’t even that bad before I had the worry about thoughts ‘pulling me in’. The whole concept just seemed to terrify me for some reason which obviously made it more persistent.

    Kelly, it really does help that other people have had similar and, after reading your post, I have felt less frightened. It’s also great to hear that things have improved for you.

    I guess I should try not to view it as thoughts ‘pulling me in’. More a bog-standard anxious habit that shouldn’t be taken too seriously. I have had glimpses of reacting more calmly to these thoughts but the fear just seems to creep back in somehow.

    Hearing other peoples’ experiences definitely does help though so thank you x

  314. Louise Says:

    Hi guys
    I really hate these intrusive thoughts they always on same theme and can focus on family members. I get rid of some then they replaced by new ones I get it thst habit comes into mix it seems my mind hooks into anything. However some days I can have 4 hours peace I hoping this is good sign

  315. bre Says:

    Thanks Bryan,
    Good to hear because instantly my anxious mind begins to assume the worst, like brain tumor Lol

  316. bre Says:

    Hello Louise,
    I know what you mean. It’s been like that for me for the past 5months or so. It’s like as soon as I accept one thought my mind clings to another. It’s really nerve wrecking. It’s almost like it will never let up, but I would imagine that we must get set in the mind frame of no matter what anxioius thought anxiety throws at us, recognize that it’s just anxiety. I realize sometimes it’s easier said then done, but nevertheless not impossible. I wish you all the best, and know that you’re not going through it alone.

  317. Louise Says:

    Hi bre
    Thanks for the reply. It helps we have some people on here giving great advice Nolan gave me some spot on advice. I’ve had relationship anxiety which drove me mad but I knew it was rubbish was still horrible though. Memorys need to fade I think it keeps the thoughts fresh in our minds

  318. Rob Says:

    So right now my anxiety mainly revolves around school.

    I am essentially getting very agitated/frustrated that I am not able to perform at my absolute 100% best due to this anxiety problem and since its not going away fast enough thus I am afraid that my school performance is absolutely screwed and I won’t achieve my very high expectations I have for myself. I don’t do any lowering of expectations since this is just my base personality even before anxiety. The problem is, before anxiety I could meet+exceed my expectations 100% of the time without failure and I was pretty much ultra intelligent/smart/etc + did not have to put in any extra effort to do well since I was so good at everything.

    So now I have these same high expectations but the anxiety is making me not achieve them and so I’m getting frustrated since I’ve fallen behind on my life goals thanks to anxiety. Like all my friends are out there getting internships, girls, etc and I’m stuck with anxiety which ruins my academic and social skills.

    Just needed to vent a bit. I’m sure other college students with anxiety feel the same

  319. yolande Says:

    What NOlan said “it’s the attitude that builds it up or deflates it” really hit home. Cos it’s true. But it’s so darn difficult to practice the right attitude. I wud say i get it right like 50/50 and the other 50 is trying to argue with it

    I too felt the spike of depression couple of days back and of course it made me feel shite and i tried to ‘talk’ myself out of it with positive talking. Didnt really work.

    The ‘just letting it be there’ is super duper hard to do but it’s the only way.

    I too am weaning myself off meds cos i am much better now aND I do not want to be on it forever – only took it to help me thru the toughest months.

    Also i live alone and that sometimes suck – esp when the feelings hit and some company would help so much. but then that’s life. Thankfully my mum is a phone call away altho i try not to call her too often but sometimes talking it out helps a great deal

    I wish each and everyone faith, courage and hope in this journey. WE CAN DO IT!!

  320. Lucy Says:

    What do people mean when they say ‘it comes off in layers?’.


  321. Julie Says:


    Checking in on the intrusive thoughts, noticing how many hours peace you’ve had and how many you have had through the day just means you are focusing on them and giving them attention. Try to just let them be, they will keep changing, as you lose your fear of one another one will come in to try and scare you. It’s how anxiety works. You just treat them all the same, they mean nothing, they are just thoughts caused by high anxiety.

    I still get mine, I don’t know how often or how many hours peace I have a day as I just get on with life, they could be there all day for all I know but I know I have them. I just am used to them now and they rarely spike me. Mine have always been the same theme too and at my family who I love more than anything. Anxiety only targets everything you are against, or it wouldn’t be so scary.


  322. Doreen. Says:

    Hi folks – I read so many of you asking for advice on how to accept ‘this to that’ and getting caught up in believing that because Nolan or I (for example) was feeling something for 6 months then you too should only feel it for six months. Everyone of us is different in terms of the progress from being overwhelmed to managing life ok, so please don’t take someone else’s journey as the blue print and feel you have failed if you are not following that exact pattern.
    And the underlying advice about acceptance is the same for any of the fears that people speak about on here. The content of them (awful as I know it can be) is not the issue. Acceptance is about not taking the content seriously in any way, but living with the discomfort.
    When Bre says ‘It’s like as soon as I accept one thought my mind clings to another’ he is describing classic anxiety stuff. Just say to yourselves ‘oh here we go again’ and shrug it off as best you can. It really does bring relief when you can do that.

  323. ross Says:

    Hi julie i always seem to check in on myself alot i keep having alot of intrusive thoughts i noticed lately all i do is talk about it i seem stuck like do i accept all when all i want is recovery im on a low dose med at moment.

  324. Doreen. Says:

    Ross – Julie and I have already answered your question in what we have said above.

  325. Louise Says:

    Hi Julie
    Yes you are right when I am checking I I focusing on them again and giving them more respect in process. I have started seeing a councillor just to offload to and is helping me as I don’t want to go down medication route

  326. Carla Says:

    For me, it’s not the content of the thoughts that frighten me (mine actually have no content), it’s the act of constantly checking. This certainly doesn’t feel like something I can stop – I guess I’m in the process of trying not to see it as a bad, scary thing that could threaten my life.

    If I try too hard to ‘focus outwards’ this makes the checking more persistent and vocal. I am getting some good glimpses of seeing it as another harmless anxiety symptom but I’m at the stage where it keeps feeling dangerous again.

  327. Julie Says:

    Ross – Doreen is right but honestly all you have to do is stop talking about it, stop trying to work it all out, stop reading about it. If you’ve read Pauls book and A Letter to Myself, you’ve really learnt all you need to know. If you’d like to be a little more clued up try reading Brain Lock as it’s based on OCD type thoughts. Once you have read you then walk away from it and refocus on life. That doesn’t mean the thoughts go, I am a year into this and have my thoughts gone? no! but I can’t tell you how often I have them now or how many hours peace I have a day because I don’t measure it. I just have to let my thoughts be there and carry on living.

    I am a busy mum, housewife, I workout and stick to a workout schedule each day. I refocus on life. That doesn’t mean I don’t have anxiety still because I do have issues with my ‘agoraphobia’ and at times that can make me feel a little defeated but if you read my posts back when I first came here, you will know my main struggle was my very frightening thoughts, they destroyed my world. I have overcome them from implementing what Paul teaches and Chris in At Last a Life.

    You say ‘how do I accept when all I want is recovery’ you achieve recovery by accepting them. Accepting they are there, don’t question them, don’t reassure yourself they are just anxiety. It’s scary but just say ‘yes I could do these things, I could be a terrible person…’ but no amount of trying to work it out or questioning will stop them. You are fighting a losing battle I’m afraid. You have to make space for them, let them come in an bounce around in your mind while you cook that meal, walk your dogs, do yoga (I can’t recommend yoga enough) do that workout, go to work, clean your car………… whatever you do daily you do it, and just let them come with you. REFOCUS on life.

    I hope that helps a little.

    Louise – I hope counselling helps, just be careful you aren’t each week talking about it all and dwelling. If it’s CBT then that’s great as I had to have some CBT/ERP to help me with my intrusives as I was avoiding alot of objects and places due to how severe my anxiety was. Counselling I had for a while, she made me sit there wallowing in self pity, crying about what my brother and sisters did to me, crying about how alone I felt….. she robbed me blind. I wish I’d gone private for CBT before seeing her as it just made me worse. Just be mindful of that. Good luck and I hope it helps you.


  328. Julie Says:

    Sorry I meant Chris in ‘A Letter to Myself’ typing far too fast 😉


  329. Bryan Says:


    Layers means small, sometimes unnoticeable changes for the better. i.e. The bad stuff peels off in layers slowly. You wake up one day and realize you’re suffering less and didn’t necessarily know it. That’s how it happened for me. Albeit I’ve got a ways to go still. But change for the better often happens slowly and stealthily.

  330. Bryan Says:


    Brain tumor worries is literally Anxiety 101. It’s like we all need to go through that stage. (It’s never a brain tumor btw… Not without tons of very specific, non-anxiety symptoms which you do not have.)

    We just finally lost my girlfriend’s uncle to a tumor and he was the happiest guy in the world all the way to the end. No anxiety at all. Nothing remotely like the symptoms we. Deal with. Sadly, his condition was serious. Ours is not. It just feels bad.

  331. Louise Says:

    Hi Julie
    The councillor I seeing only first session today was helpful in a way. She was lovely and asked me to look at my diet and get thyriod checked as they things I can do for free lol. She is emdr trained but not sure if I having that she does cbt too xx

  332. Kelly Says:

    Louise – My therapist doesn’t do CBT, but she does do EMDR. I’m not really sure how well the EMDR worked, but I do know that talking to her every week has been very helpful. If anything, it’s given me a safe place to talk about everything. And she doesn’t make me dwell on the past. Just the present, what I’m feeling, and how to move forward.

    For everyone,
    My therapist said something to me once that has really stuck with me. She said that we all have this “ego” in us that tries to make us worry about things. When we have anxiety, the ego tries to pull us down by making us worry about whatever scares us most. When we make progress in one area, the ego tries to find something else for us to worry about. The closer we get to recovery, the more the ego will try to pull us down. It is at this point that we need to let go of the ego and just move on with our life. I hope this makes sense – it has certainly helped me.

  333. ross Says:

    Julie it scares me that i will feel this way forever my mind goes over&over i bought pauls book where do a find a letter to myself & do u mean dont talk about & dont read about it or any other mental illness & the constant attention on me & the am i crazy can i cope & the what if,s i feel like im getting nowhere & feel very down & ask if i can recover & maybe it,s something more i lack energy

  334. Louise Says:

    Hi I too have felt like this and the despair that comes with it. I have read a letter to myself which was great I have brain lock book although I don’t have ocd it good for intrusive thoughts. I read as much as possible just to have some knowledge on anxiety. I still have thoughts I dislike them and can swing from one thing to another

  335. Lucy Says:

    Thanks Bryan – so it’s more of a fading away really, rather that suddenly vanishing!

  336. Jeff Says:

    As Bryan stated – layers is a good way to describe increments of recovery.

    You can think of it as the layers of anxiety peeling away – or layers of your old self coming back on, to form the whole you (as you used to be).

    I personally like the latter because I feel that I’d stripped myself down to my core (during my ‘breakdown’) – leaving nothing left but a very vulnerable, emotionally tender shell of a person (i.e. a basket case).

    For me those (paper thin) layers continue to come back on to build me back to not only my old self, but a stronger old self.

  337. Kyle Says:


    Its not something that just happens over night as I am sure you are aware. You just got to let it all happen and float past it. You are gunna have good moments and bad moments. The memory of the condition is what allows you to get stuck in the negative cycles. You more or less have become so aware of a certain symptom that just the thought of it make sit come back and you get stuck. Its very difficult at first but once you realize its just all a habit that you have developed due to being so sensitized it will start to fade. Something that really helped me was going out and doing things on my own rather than playing it safe. Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone sometimes.

  338. Kelly Says:

    I’m wondering if anyone might be able to help me. At my worst, I would have days where I would just cry all day long (for no apparent reason, but sometimes I cried about being scared by my intrusive thoughts). Because of the crying, I became very scared about the idea of depression (although I was never sad or hopeless). For about the last 6 weeks, things have been getting much better and I haven’t cried at all.

    My concern is that, even though I feel 1000% better than I did at my worst, I find myself questioning whether I am going to cry and what it means if I do. I’ve almost become scared of crying because I feel like that means that I am going backward or will become depressed.

    Is this questioning just part of my recovery? Is this my anxiety rearing it’s head because it is the symptom that I am most afraid of right now?

  339. Ross Says:

    Hi everyone so how to make the memory & things that happened when I was real bad go & how to deal better with noise & negative comments & the playing over&over conversation s things that’s happened.

  340. Horton Says:

    So what ARE our limitations while we have this disorder/condition/bad habit/thing?
    I am kind of tired of people saying ‘you have no limitations,’ when we clearly do.
    Understandably I cannot think or feel like myself, I can’t remember significant things, suffer from cognitive issues, have trouble connecting with the outside world, can not write, draw, paint, play music…
    I mean those are actual limitations, not perceived ones. So what do I do about them? I mean even during these past 7 months of acceptance they’re constantly there so I don’t think I was making progress in all that time if I believe there are actual issues that need to be ‘cured.’ So what do I do? Do I continue living life as best I can until I just suddenly become able to do those things? And from there I gain momentum in my recovery? Because that just seems unlikely.
    I know everybody thinks they’re the one who can’t get better, but I just don’t see how I can ever get better. There’s just too many irreversible changes it’s made, things that won’t just get better. I mean I’ve lost memories, feelings, skills and abilities.
    What do I want? Do I want somebody to reply and say “No you’ll get better because A, B and C?” I honestly don’t know, I mean I have long since gotten past the point that I can do anything to make myself feel better or convince me that I will recover.

  341. Sam Says:

    Just wondering whether anyone could help me. My anxiety symptoms have have decreased substantially. Now these symptoms have decreased I seem to be depressed. I was depressed before but more anxious. Now the depression is the more dominate feeling. Is what normally happens before recovery. Is the depressions the final thing to go?

  342. Sam Says:

    Horton, I was at a stage where all I tried to do was follow Paul’s method. It didn’t work. My brain and body were just to exhausted and my lifestyle was making me worse. In fact, if I’d changed my lifestyle from the beginning I would have been better ages ago. I used to come home from work and stare at the wall while my mind ran so fast. I couldn’t talk to people, I couldn’t watch tv, read, when I think back to what I used to be like it was baaaaaaaad. Life’s a lot brighter now. Things can get better. I recommend eating better, exercising, not drinking alcohol, try yoga with adriene, you know the general self rubbish. Don’t worry about the fact your doing it to get better as these things will bring you to a place where you’ll finally be able to accept your symptoms because your in a healthier place. Horton if I can get to a place where I’m enjoying things you can. Hope this helps.


  343. Bren Says:


    I have had Generalised Anxiety Disorder for 12 years now, but in the past few months it has got a lot worse. I now am debating stopping driving because I am finding I don’t feel safe in control of a car any more.

    This is not a problem I have ever had before, even when my anxiety has been very bad in the past, I have been able to drive confidently. No, however, I feel disorientated, panicky and just… weird, when I’m behind the wheel. I feel like I could lose control of myself (if that makes sense), and therefore the vehicle.

    Can anyone else relate to driving issues as a result of anxiety?

    Thanks in advance.

  344. joe Says:

    Horton I know what your saying about the limitations, you just have to keep the faith and keep going. I bought this book called the Artists Way on amazon its only like £5 used. and I’m finding it really good for unblocking my creative side and just recovering a sense of myself. Its like a kind of workbook with exercises you do each day and at first I thought it was bullshit But I was so desperate I gave it a go and its actually so good I’ve been doing it for about 3 weeks and its really positive and is deffo clearing up my head. check it out with an open mind and I think you’ll like it.
    But don’t let it sway you from the anxiety no more path, I find I can just use the advice and tools alongside it. and it works well gives me positive activities to do instead of dwelling on my anxiety.
    Anyway you might just be having all the doubts and frustration of a setback so just see how it goes.

  345. dee Says:

    Hi everyone, i have come and gone on this site many times and find it extremly helpful espically when i am having a setback… which i am currently having for some reason it just came on like a dark cloud one day and left me over analiziing again about ‘ is this what life is about’ and ‘life is a routine and boring’ and then this snowballed nto me becoming worrid that i was gong to go back to where i started!!!
    Please please some advice would be great that others have been here before and it is not smething else developing??
    I keep telling myself i have nothing to worry about but i dont understand how onre day im ok and the next i feellike this :( please guys a few words of wisdom woould be great xx

  346. Julie Says:

    Ross- Exactly what I said. Stop reading up on mental illness, you have anxiety. Stop coming on here to type about it, take a break and focus on life even if you feel anxious. Stop discussing it with your loved ones. When you are doing these things you’re feeding the anxiety, you’re showing your limbic system that there’s a problem. It’s no wonder you feel so anxious and so drained. Your mind needs a break. It will feel alien at first to focus on life and living, but it’s the only way to recover and let the rest/digest response take over again. Read A Letter to Myself, you can google it. Nothing Works, A Letter to Myself. It’s a great read.

    Louise- That’s great, EMDR is really helpful. My son had EMDR for anxiety a couple of years ago after a tough time in school.


  347. Andy J Says:

    Hi Guys,

    Just a quick update from me and to check in.

    Not a very positive post unfortunately. My anxiety has been pretty intense the past few weeks. I find accepting intrusive thoughts extremely difficult to do. I also get to the point where intrusive thoughts feel like I am compelled to do something. So I’m not actually afraid of it, but more afraid of what it says about me as a person.

    I guess its a huge spiders web of anxiety drawing me in. I think the worst thing for any one is to try and figure things out. Try and see a specialist, because the longer you leave it, the easier it is for things to grow a life of their own. Feelings which you once thought were anxiety can appear to be the real you and I know in my case, it can be very difficult to separate the two. “Is it anxiety or is it desire?” – The worst for me.

    As Nolan and others have alluded to before, don’t do things because it’ll make you feel better. Did you do those before your anxiety?

    Did you do Yoga before?
    Did you eat healthy all the time?
    Did you avoid alcohol?
    Did you practice mindfulness?

    If you answered all of these ‘No’, then why would you feel that doing them now will be the magic answer? It isn’t. It’ll help you, just like it would people without anxiety, but it isn’t a cure. I’ve tried them all and it was always with the intention of feeling better. It never worked.

    The key I believe, is to live a normal life and just ignore it. Acceptance is a hard thing to understand, but I think its as simple as living your life and acknowledging you have silly thoughts because you have become anxious for whatever reason. As soon as you try not to think of something, the first thing you do is think of it. Something along the lines of ‘the thoughts you resist, persist’.

    As Chris on ‘A letter to myself’ states; you have to allow the motorways to become deer tracks once again. It wont happen overnight.

    I know that’s a whole host of complaints, ideas and comments, but I hope it helps some of you out there.

    All the best,


  348. Louise Says:

    Hi Julie
    I’m hoping emdr will help a little although in not relying on it. Hypnosis has helped me loads too. I find I’m getting thoughts coming back from a year ago drives me mad lol

  349. Kelly Says:

    Andy –
    You say “The key I believe, is to live a normal life and just ignore it. Acceptance is a hard thing to understand, but I think its as simple as living your life and acknowledging you have silly thoughts because you have become anxious for whatever reason. As soon as you try not to think of something, the first thing you do is think of it. Something along the lines of ‘the thoughts you resist, persist’.”

    I really like the end of this thought, and I truly applied it when dealing with my period of intrusive thoughts. But now that I give it some more thought, I can really apply the first part during my recovery. As I am working through recovery, I’ve been worrying about past symptoms and whether they are going to return. I’m also constantly thinking about anxiety and if I’ll ever truly be able to move on. I need to just continue to live a normal life and acknowledge that symptoms and worries will fade as I allow time to pass.

    Dee – I completely understand what you are saying. While I don’t think that I’ve yet been through a setback, I do think that it has become our habit to watch and worry about ourselves. As Paul and many others have said, we need to just live our life and let time pass.

  350. bre Says:

    Has anyone ever experienced muscle tension as a result of their anxiety? I have bad muscle tension in my right calf(I already went to the doctor, no it’s not a blood clot) but it does get tense and swell. The doctor said it’s a muscle spasm. Has anyone ever experienced this symptom, maybe even in another part of the body?

  351. Daniel Says:

    I get plenty of locked up muscles in my arms and legs, but my neck and my back are the worst.
    Funny how I’ll be fine after a long run or work out, but I’ll get aches all over due to my anxiety.
    It makes perfect sense that you’d get muscles aches after being as tense and stressed as we are.
    It’s just one of the usual physical manifestations, like the fatigue, dizziness and all those other symptoms you’re better off not worrying about. They’ll get better along with everything else, sometimes the physical stuff is the last to go, other times it’s the first.

  352. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Horton,

    You said, “I just don’t see how I can ever get better.” Alright, then be ok with that. Be ok with living your life how it is today, however crummy you may feel. You have to get to a place where you’re content with what you have today. I know it’s a difficult place to get to, but it’s a very good place to be at. You also asked what our limitations are. Truly, I don’t think we have any, other than the ones we put on ourselves when we choose to focus on our anxiety. But you might need to change your expectations. When you sit down to write (or paint or whatever), have no expectations of what the experience will be like. Try not to think about how it used to be when you wrote a year ago (or whenever it was that you weren’t dealing with anxiety). You may not be able to write the way you did a year ago – but who cares? That might sound like a careless attitude, but I think it’s an attitude that will lead to less frustration. Focus on the life you have today. Take care.

  353. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Dee,

    Nothing is wrong with you. Nothing else is developing. I have those exact same thoughts. I know they can be troubling, but they’re just thoughts. Let them come and go as they please. Continue on with your day, with your life. Try not to label your days, “oh yesterday was really good, but today is terrible”. You’ll frustrate yourself doing that, trying to hold onto the “good” days and make the “bad” days go away. Everyone has good and bad days, even people not dealing with anxiety. That’s just life.

  354. bre Says:

    I just wanted to let you guys no I love all you guys! You guys and gals are totally amazing. Thanks for being so supportive, understanding, and caring. Thanks for always being their to offer guidance, advice, or just a plain old reassurance of this thing called anxiety. I really appreciate having a family of people who can relate, it truly helps my sanity. I also like to especially thank those who have recovered, and come back to offer the rest of us hope that this too shall Pass. Thanks to you too Paul for creating a blog where we can support one another, and provide a word of encouragement.

  355. Adam Says:

    As someone who is nearly recovered, I wanted to give a positive post as a source of motivation for those who are struggling and in a worse place right now with their anxiety. To all of you who are struggling: I would say take the great advice given on this blog on a daily basis to heart. It really is spot on and when you follow it with your heart and without expectations….letting time pass…you too will recover. Think of your anxious period this way: you did not come to anxiety overnight. It was a process that evolved over time…you may not have been aware of it so it seemed like it happened out of the blue…but it took time for you to become anxious. Similarly, it takes time and the relearning of your mind for you to become non-anxious. What is learned can be unlearned. But it takes time and dedication. Acceptance is a hard concept to understand, let alone implement as “your” method of response or more accurately, non response, to anxiety. But it can be done! I know this to be true as it has worked, is working, for me. How is this happening? How do I practice acceptance? Well, let me just say I believe I have habituated to my fear/anxiety over time. Yes, I still get anxious and feel stabs of fear everyday. Yes, I still feel fear when confronted with those situations that originally brought on my anxiety. But the difference now is I KNOW it is all a big lie. I know this dog is “all bark and no bite”. And so I confront my fear(s). Am I still feeling fear in these situation(s)? ABSOLUTELY YES. But the difference is now I know that it is just a feeling…the intrusive thoughts are just thoughts and NOT truth (especially worries about future events=pure garbage. Anxiety is a HORRIBLE future predictor!) and I do whatever it is that is making me anxious. This builds confidence in my ability to handle my fears AND it sends the message to my amygdala that this is inappropriate fear….and finally, it allows me to live my life keeping it BIGGER than anxiety. That is a win, win, win. Has it been tough? Yes. But as Nolan and others have said…what else can I do? Accepting and feeling the fear and then doing it anyway is the ONLY thing that can be done when presented with anxiety. Responding to the fear only builds respect for it and thereby creates more anxiety. So, I guess I would say that I have made fear my friend and companion. I live my life as I want and need to do …and I have learned that I can do ANYTHING while being anxious. All of my fears…all of the big, scary worries…all of the intrusive thoughts…have amounted to NOTHING over the past 3+ years that I have been anxious. I am still here. Still doing what I do daily and still living my life (and enjoying it). Am I the same person I was before anxiety? Definitely not. I am a much better person today than I was previously. So, yes, it is true what Nolan and others have said on this blog. You will become something better for having been anxious and surviving anxiety. And the method prescribed on this blog does work. I am living proof of it. I hope this helps those of you currently in the struggling phase with anxiety. Take heart and keep the faith….perservere. YOU are worth it. And you will like the new you on the other side of this very bad dream (anxiety)…

  356. Peter Says:

    Adam, do you think it is important for a person who is trying to recover to stop constantly coming to this blog or going to forums?

  357. Ross Says:

    Hi julie so what I have to do is just get on when im having constant awareness of my mind & when the I cant cope im crazy thoughts hit & through time I, ll recover even when the what if I cant are in my head.

  358. Doreen. Says:

    Ross – Julie could not have been any clearer. None of us can give you any different or magic answer.

  359. dee Says:

    Hi Stephanie

    Thankn you for taking the time to reply it really makes a difference to hear that someone feels the same… i will do my best and i know i have to keep trying to live my life just somtimes its a battle with yourself isnt it more than anything else, i find i keep asking the question ‘ what is it all about’… but i amsure you have asked yourself th same self question along with a number of other people :)
    i find so much comfort on this blog than anywhere else. xx

  360. Julie Says:

    Ross – Yes. Everything I have written in my post is what I have done and I think it’s just what Paul teaches. There isn’t really anything else anyone can say to you.

    Recovery comes yes even with all the thoughts in your head, with all the I can’t do this… in my head. You go ahead and do it anyway and in time the rest/digest response overrides the fight/flight response.

    Re- read my posts and many others on here but all you have to do is just live life and take all the anxiety and thoughts with you and give it time. This will not be fixed over night, you are being impatient. You have to give it a try. You can either sit and try to work it all out, Google every mental illness you think you might have, worry, talk about anxiety, read about anxiety……… or you can focus on things you enjoy and live life no matter how awful you feel, in time it will get easier.

    Andy – I agree. I don’t do yoga and mindfulness to make myself feel better. I didn’t do them before I had anxiety but I ate healthy, worked out…. I just took up these 2 things to aid relaxation, not as a tool to get rid of my anxiety and they have now become just part of my life, they are my hobbies and I love them.

    Noone should do these things thinking it will stop their anxiety, because they won’t. Do whatever you enjoy and if you want to take up a new interest go for it but don’t do it to make yourself feel better.


  361. ross Says:

    Thanks julie&doreen for advice.

  362. Jeff Says:

    @Adam – excellent post!

    @Peter – your question was directed to Adam, but I’d say that there is nothing wrong with visiting this blog whenever you feel the need. It won’t make things worse, bring out new fears, or prolong any nastiness. Peer support does wonders for our self esteem, and let’s face it – many of us on this forum need someone to ‘lean on’. We all know what’s going on – the hell that is anxiety – whereas our spouses, family or friends may find it very hard to understand. How can they really unless they’ve been through it themselves.

    Some on this forum are in a very deep dark place, looking for some sliver or ray of hope – maybe a tiny glimpse of who they once were. Realize that there is more than ‘one way to skin a cat.’ The advise given on this forum is as good as it gets. But if things get REALLY dark, consider seeking professional help. Folks have differing opinions on meds, but I can tell you that during my deepest darkest hours they were a God-send. If you decide to go that route do some research and be careful, some meds (SSRI’s) can make things worse, much worse, as they did me. If the dear old doctor doesn’t want to play ball then find someone else….be aggressive – it’s your life and well being.

    I see some postings on relapse fears – I get them and OMG do I hate to go days feeling 99% better, then WHAMMO – an anxiety hit. My experience is that these little visitors of our past are very transient – nothing to get concerned about. You can’t lose the gains that you’ve made.

  363. Horton Says:

    This is an excerpt from ‘Nothing Works:’
    “The only factor outside our control is the slight time-lag we experience between our positive actions and our subsequent recovery.”
    Right off the bat I disagree with this this statement. There are many factors beyond my control.
    “This time-lag is simple honest-to-goodness subconscious processing (cerebral administrative red-tape), it is the time it takes for our brains to remove ‘blocks’ of anxiety memory.
    Why is it removed? … simply because we have demonstrated that we no longer need that memory purely by our choice actions which in turn feeds back through the senses etc. ”
    The time-lag is the reason why people get caught in ‘the loop’. In my experience it is anywhere between a few hours to a few days. The time lag is the reason we can’t simply instantaneously snap-out-of-it.
    The simple trick of nipping the fight/flight in the bud by accepting there is nothing wrong with us is the ticket, we accept there is nothing wrong with us by performing actions that self-demonstrate that there is nothing wrong with us.”
    Fine, sure, but ‘a couple hours to days?’ Are you for real? I’ve been at this for 7 months and it hasn’t let up for a second, hasn’t budged an inch, has not even vaguely gotten better.
    Has anyone here ever seen result ‘a few hours’ or ‘a few days’ after accepting/doing nothing/etc? I know Nolan and Paul both said they immediately felt a bit better from their first day of acceptance, and maybe I did too, probably because having a plan that makes sense to you just gives you a glimmer of hope. But that’s gotten stale over the last 7 months of there being no signs of this ever getting better.

  364. Horton Says:

    Sorry, I made it kind of hard to tell what is from ‘Nothing Works’ and what I am saying.
    Only the second ‘paragraph’ and the last two paragraphs are my comments.

  365. Bryan Says:


    For some of us it simply takes longer. If you are looking for someone to tell you that you are special, you’re unlikely to find it. It took me a very long time to see results… but I did. For some it very well may be almost instant. For some, it can take a year just to desensitize.

    But, you are not an exception to human biology. It’s very common for us to believe that WE are the ones that won’t get better or are so mired In the condition that the methods won’t help. Paul, Nolan, Chris and many of the other mentors here said they also went through this predictable stage.

    If you lose worry completely and resume life… your body cannot fight the laws of nature. You WILL eventually see symptom reduction and normalcy return.
    But frankly… your posts sound anything BUT like a guy who has stopped fretting and analyzing. I’m not judging. I still have hard periods myself and it took me a long time to improve. (Hint: longer than you.) But, you’re questioning the methods that have proven to work instead of truly moving on with life and accepting all. Hence, naturally… your body is going to give you back what you put in.

  366. ross Says:

    Bi julie &Thanksi think it really is habit as to how why it all happened to me & habit to talk & have constant attention on myself my biggest fear i have is it all becoming to much i see a psycologist every 2 wks im hoping this is me on rd to recovery & the mood swings etc go in recovery & tbe constant analyzing everything i do & say as sometimes i feel like i have o control sorry for ranting on julie.

  367. Horton Says:

    Listen Bryan, I may not be accepting now but I have been for months. I haven’t even been on this website in a LONG time.
    So yes I had had stopped fighting, fretting and analyzing and got nothing for it.

    I am aware I am ‘not special’ but I have serious doubts that acceptance really works as I see no evidence of it- it’s kind of hard to just take someone’s word for it, people often just tell me what they think I want to hear, some others define recovery differently from me and I do doubt if those who do recover really got there though these methods because they just seem completely inapplicable to me.

    Side Note: I am, quite honestly, happy to hear you’re getting to a better place Bryan because I am well aware of how long you have been here. I really truly am, and I wish you all the best. It’s all uphill from here for you, even if you might have a short little spike down once and a while.

  368. Peter Says:

    The point is not to recover. The point is to not give a shit if you recover or not.

  369. Andy J Says:

    Hi guys,

    What is acceptance? Ive asked myself that question, hundreds if not thousands of times. When any anxious sensations, thoughts or feelings would come, I would say to myself; ‘Andrew you must allow those to be there’, five minutes later ‘are you still there’, and then repeating that cycle. Clearly the act of checking meant that the thoughts would be there. I think I said it in an earlier post on this thread, but try the experiment about not trying to think of something for a minute. Its automatic that you will try and think about it, or telling yourself not to think it subsequently means you have thought about it.

    Confusing eh!

    So…. how do we get past this? We have to learn to say, yes, this is anxiety. Can I think it away? No. Will trying not to think about it work? No

    What can I do then? Well for a start, you can say, ‘OK, I know my mind is racing and I have these weird physical sensations, but you know what, its all down to anxiety’. There literally is nothing else the matter with you. Through a combination of bad habits and misinterpretation, you have worried yourself in to thinking something is serious wrong. Hey, its only natural that you would do so. Give some one without the stresses that you’ve been under this for a day of their lives and im sure they’d think that there was something the matter.

    I’m no expert. I don’t want to be, but what I have learned is trying your best to get better doesn’t work. It has to come naturally. That means living your life with anxiety. Once your brain and mind appreciate it is just a silly way of thinking, it will give it (the anxiety) less time. So yes, at first you will be anxious. But as you habituate and continue your daily routine, you might start to enjoy things a tiny bit more, before the anxiety makes itself known. If you continue to believe and tell yourself this is anxiety, you will enjoy things more and more.

    It isn’t easy unfortunately. I am currently going through a major low. But I know what I have to do.

    Its within us all. FACT.



  370. Bryan Says:

    All I can say is, I have been where you are as have literally hundreds of people I’ve read who have recovered. It is a expected, almost seemingly mandatory stage for most of us. The whole notion of your condition being so strong that these methods won’t work for you is so common that another popular anxiety website literally describes it as it’s own symptom.

    Believe me, I totally understand. I don’t blame you for doing something for a while and then questioning it when it doesn’t work. I am not 100% recovered yet, but I lead a pretty normal life now and I have the gift of clarity which you just don’t have yet and there was a time in my recent past that I didn’t have it either.

    But I’m telling you, over the last for five years I have collected a document with literally hundreds of quotes from people who have recovered, different websites all over the world. Everyone of them says basically the same thing, they all used a version of the same methods people are telling you here.

    And beyond that, what is your alternative? Load yourself with drugs, complain about it bitterly for the rest of your life, protest, analyze? What acceptance does more than just heals the body is that it gives your mind a rest from trying to free yourself from a condition. Nolan explains this much better than I can. But essentially, what is complaining about it going to help? You are arguing against a mountain of people who have recovered using these same methods. Do you think that the world got together to collectively tell you a lie?

    When I was a kid, I lost about 40 pounds. I was overweight and just decided one day that was enough. It took me a little while, but I never put it back on and I’ve been in excellent health ever since. Ever since then, I’ve heard people talk about various diets, how calorie restriction doesn’t work for them, how they are special, etc. All I can do is pray for them and move on. people will believe what they want to believe, but the human body will discard fat cells when calories are limited. And the human body will desensitize when stress and worry are reduced for a long enough time. I realize your condition frustrates you, like I said I’ve got a good portion of my life to draw upon as knowledge.

    But I’ve seen you before, and myself, another message boards, and people who eventually went on to recover.The choice is yours, but your body is waiting to recover if you do the right thing for long enough.

  371. Bryan Says:

    Forgive typos above. Trying to dictate on phone.

  372. Peter Says:

    It really amazes me how many people complain about physical symptoms. They keep asking things like I have this weird diziness, I have pain in my neck, what do I do about it?

    You do nothing about it! What do you mean What do I do about it? Absolutely nothing. That is the whole point of Pauls book.

  373. Peter Says:

    Bryan, you should consider publishing that document somewhere on the Internet…

  374. Peter Says:

    To all the people worrying about whether or not they should keep coming to the blog or not (myself included):

    I read Paul´s book back in December. Being a person prone to compulsions (as we all are), I began to obsess about what acceptance meant. Does it mean not reading the book anymore? Does it mean staying off the blog? Others have had this concern, as I can see from some of the older posts here.
    It is my belief that to specifically keep away from this blog or keep yourself from reading the book is another way of trying to get better. When you say to yourself Dont come to this blog anymore, you are now putting emphasis on recovering. But it is not about recovering. You need to get to the point where you can come to this blog or read a book about anxiety and not care that you are doing it. Once you just get on with your day, however you feel, you wont feel compelled to read the book as much anymore, or, go to the blog. The information is all the same, you will get bored of it.

    So what is keeping me from buying another book about anxiety and reading that? What is keeping me from falling into the anxiety loop again? Well for one you probably don´t feel compelled to read other books, since you already understand that acceptance is the way to recover; there is really nothing else to understand here. Go about your day however you feel. If you want to come to the blog, fine, but eventually you will just automatically wean down because you can only read do nothing about it so many times. For two, the whole point is to not care if you fall into the anxiety loop again. You don´t need to be mentally guarded against falling into anxiety. As long as you are mentally guarded against falling into anxiety, you will have it.
    I was writing out to myself, Stay away from the blog, stay away from the book, etc. These are all dos and donts. There are no dos and donts with acceptance. None. Do whatever you want.
    So if Im not staying away from the blog and books, then what am I doing, you ask? Nothing. You are doing nothing. Oh…..right. That is what we are supposed to be doing. Nothing. This is not a method. It is just an understanding that anxiety will go away by itself, in its own time.

    Now, Nolan, could you please tell me if what I just wrote makes any sense, or if I am just going insane? I have been thinking about this the past few days and want to know if my thinking is similar to yours on this topic. Because it partly makes sense to me but partly doesnt. I think that is just the nature of acceptance………it is confusing and sort of difficult to describe with words. I just noticed I felt a lot more relaxed when I did not put pressure on myself to NOT do things.

    However, this feels a bit contrary to Letter to Myself, where Chris seems to heavily imply that you should stay away from forums and literature. Common sense would tell us we should stay away from forums and literature, but yeah.
    Just think about it like this: if you pick up a book about anxiety after you recover, are you going to get anxious? Andi f you did, would you care?

  375. Alex Says:

    Was wondering one thing! Is being depressed/down mean the same thing as having depression? I mean when one have obsessive thoughts that makes you kind of depressed, do you suffer from depression then? Is it acceptance to this to or medicaments? I don’ t know anything about real depression. I was just wondering if the terms are different?

  376. Daniel Says:

    Don’t worry too much about words Alex.
    Some people call anxiety a mental illness and that really scares a lot of people on the blog, some people are afraid they have OCD (which would change NOTHING).
    You know how you feel and you know why you feel it. Depression and anxiety go hand in hand, they overlap a lot. And besides it would make sense to feel depressed during a difficult time like this one.

    At any rate it doesn’t matter if you call anxiety a mental illness/a disorder/a learned behavior/a condition/OCD nor if you are depressed or have depression. It makes no difference, those are just words. You know you, your depressive feelings will decrease along with everything else.

  377. Kelly Says:

    I’ve noticed that I am starting to enjoy things more and that my brain is giving anxiety less time and focus. Does this mean that I am in recovery?

    I went to my therapist today and she said that I come across as calm and she would consider me about 95% of myself. But, I still have a habit to check in on myself and check to see how I’m feeling. Most of the times it is worst in the morning.

    Anyone have any advice on this last step?

  378. lainie waller Says:

    kelly your on your way. xx

  379. Kelly Says:

    Thanks Lainie! I thought so too, but wasn’t sure still I am still checking myself. Probably just haven’t gotten over that habit yet.

  380. Rachh Says:

    I’m really pissed off at the moment.
    I understood and accepted the other day. I actually got it for a fleeting moment that there is sod all we can do about the flight or fight response that you can’t wish it away because we all have it and people who recover don’t not feel fear it’s just there yackity yack yack.. And I’m not just talking the talk now.. I really understood it.. I am now however back to square one and feel worse than I’ve ever ever felt! I’m really sensitised and the depression is crippling my whole body aches. I can’t look at anyone I feel like crying constantly and I honestly don’t understand how I got to that place a couple of days ago. I’m havin constant boiling hot flushes headaches can’t sleep. Wtf is going on i feel literally back to the start and severely sensitised again. Do I need some ADs like people suggest to ‘get to the place where I can work with myself” or do I just sit this out till I’m desensitised is this normal to feel so bad on the road to recovery because I’m starting to lose my tiny slither of patience that is left in me after this episode. Getting dressed in the morning is a seriously stressful event let alone walking the dog. Sorry vent alert.
    Please please advise me someone.. At least that this is normal in recovery..

  381. Rachh Says:

    Maybe now would be a good time to read the book again..

  382. Adam Says:

    Peter….Jeff answered your question to me very well. But I will respond to give you my thoughts in my exact words. First off, can I just say “wow”. The amount of debate you have over whether or not to read a book/visit the blog or not is …well, classic anxiety. We over think EVERYTHING. Believe me, I am/was just like you in that regard. I call it “paralysis from analysis”…and in my case, I know exactly where I get it from: my mother. This is a true story: I once watched her take no less than a 1/2 hour to decide on what dog food to buy for her dogs in the dog food aisle at the grocery store. She had to decide between several brands…and this decision pained her to no end. Back and forth, “Should I get this one…..or this one….or this one?” To me, who was not nearly as personally invested in the decision, it seemed ridiculous and way, way too much over analyzation. Really, Mom? Its dog food. They are not going to suffer or die from whatever brand you buy them. They will survive to live another day….regardless of whatever brand of dog food you buy for them to eat here. My point in this analogy is it is very similar to you and your coming to the blog/reading the book issues. Honestly, Peter, whether or not you do so is NOT THAT IMPORTANT in the larger scheme of recovering from your anxiety. For example, I have been coming to this blog since 2012. Through most of that time up until now, I would check it daily. Sometimes multiple times a day. I have not re-read Paul’s book in its entirety but have skimmed chapters here and there throughout that time. I have placed no restrictions on myself with regard to this information and my access to it. And I have progressed TREMENDOUSLY over that time. I am much better today with anxiety than I was in 2012 when I first started visiting this blog. So, is there a correlation between the two? NO! It does not matter if you visit this blog and read Paul’s book multiple times throughout your recovery. What matters is YOU placing emphasis on these activities as “things” you can or cannot do to recover. Peter, avoiding the blog is not going to make you recover from anxiety. Neither is visiting the blog. What will help you recover is learning to be at peace with your lack of peace inside and confronting your fears when presented with them, and most importantly, TIME. You need time to recover. You need time to habituate to your personal fears and to not be afraid to confront them, to move towards them when you are presented with fearful situations. Your body and mind have to relearn how to respond to anxiety. We were all guilty at one point of freaking out and reacting to the fear when presented with it. Now we must teach our mind and bodies that these situations are not dangerous. Reacting with anxiety is inappropriate and unnecessary. Once we do that…once we accomplish that feat…we will have recovered. Its an ongoing process and one we must live day by day. You’ve heard the phrase, I’m sure, “Time heals all”. It has never been more true than with anxiety. Acceptance and time. That is what is needed for recovery. To read the book, to visit the blog, or not…is basically irrelevant. One thing is for sure…stressing about it is not accepting and will only keep you in the cycle.

  383. Peter Says:


    I hear you. I definitely hear you. But then I also hear this:

    Dominic (May 21, 2014)
    Hi guys

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


  384. Peter Says:

    All I know is that that guy was tough on himself and he recovered. It is like Chris said in Letter to Myself:
    Reading this letter over and over ultimately represents just another coping mechanism, a compulsion ritual, an addict’s crutch.

    In order to recover, we need to get rid of these compulsive rituals. Am I wrong? …

  385. Peter Says:

    Nolan was even singing this chorus back in the Spring of 2014. His tune has changed, but you are making it sound like my fears are entirely made up!

  386. Marek Says:

    Hi there,

    I’d like to share some success story. Although I am still not out of anxiety, my last weeks are superb in comparison to times 2 years ago when I didn’t know about acceptance approach.

    My running morning mind is off these days, fearful thoughts, hatred and fearful intrusive thoughts are much weaker, physical sympstoms reduced and I’ve had almost every possible (except for neck tension which seems to be to toughest symptom), brainfog and depersonalisation almost gone, improved memory. Social anxiety (which I am sure was the core of my disorder) is weaker , fear of rejection reduced, fear of conflicts reduced and even I am starting to flirt with girls what I’ve never been doing because I was so freakingly nervous about that. (I am 29). I feel that after 18 years of suffering (the worst were last 6 years after my nervous breakdown after rejection from a girl) I am finally starting having a life.

    I read the book in december 2013 and been trying accepting with tons of up and downs when i was thinking about doing it correctly. I am sure that now I am up and another down is coming soon but I don’t care because my down states last months are much better than it was a year ago.

    So if you are hesitating whether this method works or not. My answer is definitely yes, and during my suffering I tried everything, acceptance is the only one solution for anxiety disorders in my opinion.

    Good luck

  387. Ross Says:

    Hi julie a few questions the constant how am I feeling overthinking things & being down & real fed up are part of it I guess & the on wakeing thinking oh no it, s still here & getting very wound up over fact im still suffering & question if I get a different pill will it help & feel luke I cant put up wuth it much more I guess is self pity I am taking that conversations, words, images playing in my head are ANXIETY at work & the feeling like no one suffers as bad sorry for negativity on blog as what I have read is it, s a very positive place to be my thinking it could be dp, derealasition.

  388. Doreen. Says:

    Ross – please stop it for your sake. You are taking no notice of the good advice on here and just ‘splurging’ – it is not helpful to you.
    Peter – you answered your own questions higher up on March 11th – a pretty good answer if you ask me. The difficulty starts when you want confirmation from Nolan about whether or not you are on the right track. I really wish folks could not see other peoples routes to ‘recovery’ as being the blueprint. It only adds another layer of anxiety about whether we are doing it ‘right’. We all do things differently in other areas of our lives – for instance I might read late at night whilst my partner is asleep. As long as we are both ok about the amount of sleep we get, then that is fine. So it is with anxiety from the basis that we get on with our lives despite the anxiety then we are on the road to feeling better. What we choose to do/not do whilst on that road may be quite individual.

  389. Peter Says:

    But Paul David is like Jesus and Nolan is like one of the Twelve Disciples…lol.

  390. Peter Says:

    I guess it is just a balance…I guess I am trying to find the exact formula, like 70 % not coming to the blog, 30 % not coming to the blog. Again, I am trying to ensure that I recover. But again, the whole point is to not care if I recover or not.

    Honestly, like I said before, if I wasnt worried about this I probably wouldnt even come to the blog that much anyway. I notice most of the posts on here are about things like My head hurts, does anyone else have this?

    At least I understand perfectly that all my symptoms are just anxiety.

    But then again serious question: What is to keep me from picking up a book on cognitive behavioral therapy and accidentally falling into the old way of thinking again? Just this new knowledge that that is not the way? Lol. I feel like I need to keep myself from going down the route of not accepting. Thats what all of this is. It is a legitimate fear, isnt it?

  391. Peter Says:

    30 % coming to the blog***

  392. Ross Says:

    Thanks doreen I suppose my self destruct button is on I find it hard to just let it all play in my head when all I want is to be able to just let it be days are hard I doubt my ability at every turn after work today im going to reread pauls book. As at moment I feel so scared of myself & constantly looking for answer dooren I was hospitalized with my anxiety it was so bad my head convinced me of a lot I do want recovery but I find im constantly on the subject & feel like I tell myself I cannot recover days I feel it all to much with the mood swings etc.

  393. Peter Says:

    You guys do realize that this has essentially become a forum, right?

  394. Louise Says:

    I don’t consider this blog a forum. Forums seem to be full of self pity and people going into great detail about there woes. Any advice I had on this blog has been spot on I’m not recovered and the thoughts linger but I know what I have to do and thst is accept

  395. Bryan Says:

    Great job Marek.

  396. Bryan Says:


    Plenty have recovered as regular visitors to the blog.

    Plenty have recovered by reading the info and by putting it away.

    What might that tell you?

  397. Bryan Says:

    And Louise is correct, by the way. This blog is vastly different than the anxiety complaint forums which are nothing more than drug-swap stories and bitch-fests.

    This blog is a focused, proactive tool for recovery. It’s quite unique in that regard thanks to Paul and the great mentors who stick around to give advice.

  398. Peter Says:

    They might tell me that my OCD is making a much bigger deal out of this than it should be……………………….

    I know. I get it. I really get it. But it is very difficult. I am trying to step outside of it. I mean it is difficult to step outside of it. One part of my mind knows that it is silly. But which one is silly? Worrying that coming here will keep me from getting better, or worrying that NOT coming here will keep me from getting better? Hahahaha……

    Or, it is not worrying that NOT coming here will keep me from getting better, rather that specifically having a list of things not to do will keep me from getting better.

    But I mean…………………………………………………………we have a list of things not to do, dont we? You would say its not okay to go out and buy a book by a mainstream psychologist advocating CBT, would you?

    Paul in his book says to stay away from forums. Does that mean that staying away from forums is necessary to recover? Well, that is doing something, no?

  399. Peter Says:

    Let me tell you guys what this reminds me of, and let us see what you think.

    When I was younger I used to be obsessed with my weight. I would eat very little, then open Documents on the computer and type DONT EAT ANYTHING ELSE TODAY! I was afraid that if I did not open these documents, I would eat more. I had to MAKE SURE that I would not eat more.

    Now, after reading Pauls book, I have opened documents which say DO NOT READ THE BOOK OR ANY OTHER ANXIETY BOOKS, GO TO FORUMS, GO TO THE BLOG, WATCH YOUTUBE VIDEOS ABOUT ANXIETY AT LEAST FOR THREE MONTHS STARTING NOW! Because I figured that in order to recover I need to keep myself from doing compulsive things like Googling about anxiety (which I am assuming you all agree with), watching videos about anxiety (which I am assuming you all agree with), reading OTHER books about anxiety (which I am assuming you all agree with). But where we differ is the book and the blog.

    If a person feels anxious then they run to this blog or run to the book, what is the difference between that and running to a forum or running to the library to pick up another book? Please tell me? Is it just because this blog is promoting the right approach?

    If the point is to get on with your day, no matter how you feel….well then that is why Dominic recovered! He was not giving into his compulsions to go on these websites.

    I just want to know, do you guys think that I should start Googling anxiety? No? Why not? Why is one compulsion okay but the other one isnt?

  400. Peter Says:

    I have been obsessing about this for FOUR DAYS straight, without rest. Think of how awful I must feel. Awful.

  401. Daniel Says:

    Peter the idea is to stop trying to ‘do something’ about it or to seek relief.
    Personally back when I would ask questions it was more about getting a feeling of relief. I think most people here initially ask question to help them understand things, and later just ask things like ‘hey why am I dizzy will that ever go away?” despite already knowing the answer. It’s seeking reassurance and relief.
    You get an urge to DO something about your anxiety (it’s like perceived NEED to smoke or the need to undergo OCD rituals)
    By coming here and scanning for advice to make you feel better or asking questions to get that little bit of relief is feeding your ‘relief addiction’ or your ‘doing stuff to feel better addiction.’
    Any smoker can recover by going cold turkey and showing his body that there is no need to smoke rather than following through with the urge, anxiety is exactly the same, if you don’t run, hide or seek relief your body will realize you ARE NOT in danger and there is no problem.
    So when Paul and others say ‘don’t go to forums’ it’s more of case of stop seeking relief. One of the first things Paul and Chris both mention is to stop ‘googling’ every symptom, so tell me what is the difference between typing a question into a search bar and typing it as a comment on this blog?
    Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to ask questions. But ask questions to increase your initial understanding and then move on.
    Think of exercise, it helps us in that it gives us something to do, distracts our mind, burns adrenaline and is a healthy habit to get into. If one approached exercise as a means to get better and furiously did push ups whenever he had a panic attack it would then turn into harmful behavior that would perpetuate his anxiety cycle. It’s all about how you approach things, you can turn this forum into a bad habit or it can be the training wheels on your bike of recovery that you will eventually out grow.

    I hope this was helpful.

  402. Peter Says:

    Daniel, that is exactly what I am saying!

    And yes, I have noticed that the same people have been here for a long time and are saying things like Hey guys, how do you deal with chronic head pain? Hey guys how do you deal with a nauseous feeling?

    To those people, wouldnt it sort of be common sense to tell them to stop coming here? Or am I wrong? …

    I do know that I see a guy who recovered by deliberately keeping himself from coming here. I have noticed that a lot of the people on here say things like Im not recovered yet, but I am on my way or something like that….

    Dominic posted here like three times, left, came back a few months later and was completely recovered.

  403. Peter Says:

    I think we need to be asking ourselves things like, as it says in A Letter To Myself, would I be doing this or that if I were not anxious? Would I be reading this book about anxiety if I were not anxious? Etc.

  404. Daniel Says:

    It’s all about how you utilize the forum, I take 2 week long breaks from it, sometimes I go a month. When I’m here it’s normally to share what I’ve learnt.
    Going to the forum is not a bad thing, but I agree with you that you should not make it a compulsive/relief seeking/avoidant behavior, I absolutely agree that NOT coming here when you feel the most desperate need to do so is in fact a good show of acceptance and helps break the cycle.
    Take a week off if you want, set it in stone, it’ll probably go to show you how little relief seeking accomplishes and send your brain and nerves some handy signals. First time I took a week off it turned to 2 because I really saw it make a difference.
    You know what they say “make your life bigger than anxiety.”

    Anyway, wish you the best Peter!

  405. Doreen. Says:

    Peter – worrying endlessly about whether you should do this that or the other with regards to books/blogs/forum is only a manifestation of your anxiety. It could be something completely different as you will see from the many things people have said over the years.

    It is no more than that. No one has the right answer to your questions, as there is no right or wrong answer. You are attaching anxiety to these issues, they are not the cause.

  406. Kelly Says:

    So I’ve been doing so well – as you can tell by my posts even up to yesterday. Then just a little while ago I started crying a little bit and then that started scaring me that I was going backwards. Is this a normal part of recovery?

    I’ve been doing well for about 6 weeks now (no crying and little anxiety except in the mornings), so this really through me for a loop.

    Any advice or support is welcome.

  407. Louise Says:

    Hi Kelly
    It’s good u been doing well past 6 weeks. Try not to scare yourself Hun it natural to be down and cry sometimes even non anxious people do it. Tommorrow a brand new day x

  408. Kelly Says:

    Thanks Louise. Crying, although I know it is a normal release of emotion, scares me because that was one of my worst symptoms. Even while better, I was constantly watching myself to make sure that I didn’t want to cry. I’m afraid that crying means that I am back a square one. Irrational, I know.

    I really want to know what I cried. Was it anxiety/fear coming back? Was it hormone-related? Does it even matter why?

  409. Stephanie Says:

    Kelly, yes that is normal. Recovery is very much up and down for most people, which is why it’s best not to try to track or rate your progress. There may even be times you feel back to square one – that’s also normal, although it’s not true. I remember at the beginning I used to question everything: “The last three days were pretty good, but today is awful, what does that mean?” “I thought I was over this symptom but here it is again, maybe I’m not even getting better.” Eventually you learn to stop questioning and just go with whatever you’re feeing. Remember, you will have good and bad days your whole life, with or without anxiety. You are fine. Cry if you need to and carry on :)

  410. Kelly Says:

    Wow Stephanie. It’s like you are reading my mind right now! Especially when you say “I thought I was over this symptom but here it is again, maybe I’m not even getting better.”

    I only got emotional for about 10 minutes, but now it’s all I can think about and I’m questioning why.

    You and Louise are both right to say that everyone has good and bad days, with or without anxiety. I just need to remember that. In fact, I’ve had a terrible tension headache all day and that, combined with it being a hormonal time for me, could make anyone emotional.

    I’m going to take today for what it is and move forward tomorrow.
    I am so thankful to have this community of friends that understand exactly what I’m going through.

  411. Adam Says:

    Thank you Doreen for your post. It was spot on (as usual). Peter, it cannot be put any more simply than stated in Doreen’s last post. You are anxious and the worrying you are doing over inconsequential items like coming on the blog or reading books about anxiety, is nothing more than anxiety itself. Again, recovery does not reside in a certain number of trips to the blog divided by total days or a number of books read and a number avoided…..there is no magic formula. And even if there was…it would differ for every individual on here. Why? Because how anxiety manifests itself in us is different for every one of us. Some people get all the symptoms, panic attacks etc and others may only get one or two symptoms. The point is it is different in all of us and Paul’s method of acceptance for recovery in the face of anxiety is a guide. A collection of principles and practices that each of us must learn to practice in OUR OWN PERSONAL WAY that works for each of us as individuals. Through trial and error we must find out what works for each of us. As Doreen said, your questions are not being answered because WE cannot answer them for you. YOU must answer them for yourself. Find out what works for you…

  412. carla Says:

    Hi there,

    Am just wondering the best way to deal with the constant noticing/self-monitoring of my thoughts as this is what’s frightening me the most. It’s not the physical feelings of anxiety that bother me (or any obsessive thoughts in particular) but this self-awareness and hyper-vigilance.

    It started with some inward ‘sticky’ thinking, followed by a what-if thought that I might get ‘trapped’ in my own head which then resulted in the constant anxious checking to see if I was still able to think ‘normally.’ Cue a habitual and anxious self-awareness that keeps interrupting my thought processes and leaving me fearful that I’ll never think freely again.

    Ugh! It’s all getting a bit muddled in my head. Is the checking simply another anxiety symptom that I need to face and accept or is it a secondary behaviour that means I’m not accepting the anxiety itself? And how will I ever get a handle on it when I get a physical stab of fear every time it happens? Check, fear, check, fear, check, fear etc.. for most of the day!

    So if anyone has any insights, experiences or reassurances about self-awareness, checking and hyper-vigilance I’d be extremely grateful!

    I guess what I’m really hope to hear is that the automatic and persistent checking is not dangerous, destructive or an impossible habit to break. Because somewhere in my anxiety-riddled brain I’m feeling that it is at the moment. And I guess it’s hard to imagine it passing while I’m still so bothered by it.

    Kelly, thanks again for your reply earlier, sometimes it’s good to have a bit of a cry, could do with one now actually!

  413. Kelly Says:

    Thanks Carla!

    As I said before, I have also gone through this hyper-vigilance and self-awareness. I never thought that it would stop, but it did. I was able to start breaking the habit and start replacing it with my everyday life and thoughts. So, even though I am struggling at bit at the moment and very aware of how I’m feeling, I remember that it is possible to get past it.

  414. carla Says:

    Thanks Kelly, you seem like a really kind person (like most anxiety sufferers I have known actually!) and it does help to know that other people have been through similar and got past it.

    Sorry you’re having tricky time, it’s all pretty rocky isn’t it?

    I went to visit a school today and was offered a teaching job (eek!) so perhaps this has raised my anxiety levels again. Part of me thinks that a job would be just what I need but it’s hard to feel confident in the middle of such a turbulent time.

    I’m quite good at not avoiding but struggle more with the acceptance side of things!

  415. Kelly Says:

    Carla – I completely understand. My (very understanding) husband has asked me if I want to return to work. While I sometimes think that might help me, I cannot imagine making that kind of commitment in the middle of this “turbulent” time.

    I appreciate your thoughts. Amazingly, I think that I just had a brief blip earlier today. Re-reading some of the blog and the feedback on this post have really helped me understand today that what I’m experiencing is completely normal. I never thought I’d say this, but it has become so much easier to get past these “down” periods. I’m looking forward to a great day tomorrow!

    P.S. It sounds like you and I are having/had a similar experience. Please feel free to reach out to me at any time.

  416. Peter Says:

    Alright all, I am going to stop coming to this blog now. I think it is important to stop coming to the blog, and stop reading the book, etc. We need to stop feeding the idea that there is a problem, because there is actually none. I wish you all luck, but I am going to follow in the footsteps of Dominic who deliberately kept himself from coming here and threw out Pauls book after reading it to keep himself from rereading it obsessively. I am going to stay off forums and anxiety websites, and just go about my day however I feel! What else can Nothing mean? Anyway, I will be back in some months after I recover! good luck!

  417. Kelly Says:

    Good luck Peter!

  418. Bryan Says:

    Stop back in and help some folks when you feel up to it, Peter. Just my opinion, but I think it’s always nice to give something back to the community of people who helped us get over the hump. Be well!

    On the subject of visiting the blog, my two cents are… you have to find that balance. For me, I stop in some mornings when I’m feeling crappy (always my worst time) and get a little attitude adjustment from the great posters here, and then get on with my day. I never even think about logging in again most days. Sometimes I might be off for a few days or couple weeks. But, when I feel like I’m not working the method properly or losing perspective… I drop in for a re-education of sorts.
    For me, it’s been a healthy way to utilize the info.

    I do think if people are here all day asking about symptoms, fretting, analyzing and using it as crutch all of the time, certainly… it can be harmful. So, it’s about finding that good balance and some people just need more time before the light bulb goes off.

    Just leaving the blog isn’t going to help someone who hasn’t TRULY convinced themselves that they aren’t in danger yet. If they haven’t learned true acceptance…. then they’re just gritting their teeth and forcing themselves away. People (IMO) should use this blog to get themselves into the right frame of mind… and then they will WANT to step away, or simply won’t need to visit. I never had to make a conscious choice to visit less. I just lost interest as I got back into normal life more and more.

    Of course, I’m not 100% recovered so perhaps my opinion isn’t as valid as someone who is totally through the woods. But, I know I have a much better life now… and learning acceptance methods from this blog (and a couple of other places) was how I made that happen.

  419. Bryan Says:

    Sorry, and just to address Peter’s question about “What would A Letter to Myself” say about it…

    It actually addresses it directly: From the article…

    Would you partake in any anxiety themed websites/chat-rooms/discussion boards if you didn’t have inappropriate anxiety?
    No, unless you are an ex-‘sufferer’ who wants to help. I’m not saying stay away from the forums, but just keep it in healthy moderation

    So, Chris (the writer) says like so many here have said… keep it in a good balance. Seems pretty simple.

    Nolan had a great answer to this question for me a while back. I asked… “should I be avoiding using materials when I’m going through a bumpy period?

    And he said (paraphrased) … no, using materials is fine. It’s WORRYING about using materials that causes the problem. If you need to read a few things, read them. Then go out and get on with your life.

    … which is just what I’ve done, and exactly how I’ve made great progress.

  420. Adam Says:

    Well put, Bryan. I couldn’t agree more. We all have to find that balance for ourselves, what works for each of us. As for me, as I said previously, I have probably come to the blog almost daily for about 2+ years. Now, since I am further along in my recovery, it is much less. And there are days where I might not check in to see the good posts etc. But there has been no time since I started coming here that it became more important to visit the blog or more necessary for my existence than living my real life. I think that is the important distinction everyone must make and figure out for themselves. This blog is great…but it must not become our life. We are always bigger than anxiety, our lives are so much more. Use the blog to supplement your living and continue to live your life….don’t live for the blog. Because doing so means you have just made anxiety bigger/more important than living your life. And that will only keep you here…(and in the loop!).

  421. Andy J Says:

    Morning every one,

    I visited my therapist yesterday afternoon. Its been three weeks since I last met her, so felt it was something that would potentially help me out. Unfortunately for me, my treatment seems to be making me worse, and even my therapist thought perhaps a change of tact might work. She mentioned something called ‘EMDR’ which I believe is a technique often used for victims of trauma or PTSD. I’m not sure whether its worthwhile, but I’m willing to give anything a chance.

    Before I first visited this site, I was full of meta anxiety, which is basically worrying about worrying and ‘not feeling right’. Id been through a few years of health anxiety, which all manifested from a stupid one night stand where I believed id contracted HIV. Once those fears were allayed, the hypersensitivity continued, and I convinced myself I had brain tumours, a heart attack was imminent, any bangs to my leg were blood clots, and I even thought I was about to die when I clashed heads with some one playing Sunday league football. So once the meta worry hit, the worry about health concerns seemed to diminish. It wasnt comfortable, as I just couldnt enjoy things like I used to, but I was able to live life quite well.

    Unfortunately last year I read an article about two of our lovely 80’s celebrities Rolf Harris and Jimmy Savile, which made me question if I was attracted to children. Now this worry was around about last July. It went from ruminating about things in the past, to questioning who I am. I’m now at the stage where any child who walks past, or anything I see on Facebook etc, I find myself questioning who I am or whether I am attracted to them. I also now have worries when I’m using the internet, which seem to concern accessing sites which I shouldn’t.

    Ive basically gone from having none of these thoughts prior to last July, to now convincing myself that I’m a changed person and a monster. As you can imagine, this is pretty horrific and extremely depressing, given I know the kind of person I used to be.

    Acceptance to me is fine when its thoughts or sensations, but when you are CONVINCED you have become something else, it can be very hard to try and practice it. I’m in a rut and in a pretty low place at the moment. I’m living but not enjoying my life. I’m ‘getting through’ days.

    I know this topic isn’t discussed very often. Believe me, its hard enough typing it out, but if any one has any advice id be really grateful. And if any one is reading through this who have suffered similar things, you’re not alone.



  422. Andy J Says:

    Just to add in there, reading back I haven’t and do not ever want to access any form of websites. Its just the urge or worry of acting on an impulse to do so.



  423. Kelly Says:

    Andy –

    Paul put a new post up on Facebook yesterday regarding thoughts. Here it is:
    “How to change your thoughts, How to think positive etc are all quotes you hear, which in my opinion is totally the wrong way to go about things. I spent years trying to change my thinking and just got worse. It’s the relationship with your thoughts that needs changing, not the thoughts themselves, as if you have ever tried to change or suppress your thoughts you will know how pointless and counter productive this is.

    ‘Thinking is not the problem, you can think whatever you wish, it’s identification with your thoughts that causes suffering’. ”

    Hopefully this helps you a little bit. I, too, suffered from intrusive thoughts. I was specifically worried about suicide and getting so bad that I would hurt myself. I know that I would never do this, but it worried me just the same. It wasn’t until I changed my relationship with my thoughts, like Paul mentions, that I really saw productive changes.

  424. Andy J Says:

    Hi Kelly,

    Thanks for your message. I hadnt seen that post on the Facebook page, so thanks for sharing.

    I know most people say the same, but it feels like my set of circumstances are unique. I know they probably arent, but it just feels as though they are.
    I do have traditional anxiety in addition to obsessive thoughts. The obsessive thoughts subsequently cause the anxiety too.

    I just feel that sometimes I go around in circles. Lately Ive had little in way of progress, and it feels like I ‘get through’ days rather than living them. I think I honestly wouldnt care if I was told Id either won the lottery or I had cancer. Nothing seems to bother me. I guess thats what Paul refers to as the brain shutting itself off. Its the act of reversing that shut off which I need.

    Its also hard not to interpret certain thoughts as being true to who you are. Telling the difference between the two can be particularly hard.

    Again, this is a whole host of ramblings.

    Hope every one has a good weekend.


  425. Kelly Says:

    So, I don’t feel like crying today (which is good), but now I am super-aware of myself and how I’m feeling again. It’s like I can’t get out of my own head. I know that this will pass, but it is super hard to believe right now.

    Andy – Hang in there. Your thoughts are just anxiety. If they were truly who you are, you wouldn’t be so scared of them. I read somewhere once that our obsessive thoughts tend to be ego-dystonic, which means that they are completely against our character. That is why they scare us so much. The same website said that you never have to worry about acting on them. I think that I posted the full information from that site earlier in these comments, but let me know if you can’t find them. I’m happy to post the specifics again if it will help you.

  426. Nolan Says:

    ……” nolan was even singing this chorus back in the Spring of 2014. His tune has changed, but you are making it sound like my fears are entirely made up!”

    Hi Peter,
    All that matters is the importance you put on something you do. “Don’t come back or come back”…. it’s the attitude you have towards it that ultimately matters.

    And I never said that the fears are “entirely made up”. My fears were very real and they impacted me in a very real way.

    You know, you don’t need to take my advice. I’m completely cool with that. Maybe it’s just something lost in the process of you typing it and me reading it…. but sometimes you come across kind of sharp.

  427. Kelly Says:

    Nolan – It sounds like you have recovered or are very close to recovery. I’d love your input on where I’m currently at. After about 6 weeks of what I would call living at 85-95%, I had a little down period yesterday that started me questioning my progress. Now today I am constantly watching myself and self-aware. This is my first down period (not really a setback) since I thought that I had started recovering. Any advice?

  428. Peter Says:

    I dont mean to sound sharp at all Nolan. Not all. I just get frustrated because I am trying to understand what ACCEPTANCE ist.

  429. Peter Says:

    Daniel said: One of the first things Paul and Chris both mention is to stop ‘googling’ every symptom, so tell me what is the difference between typing a question into a search bar and typing it as a comment on this blog?

    He is correct.

  430. Peter Says:

    And I meant the question of whether or not we should come to the blog, that fear. I wasnt saying you were saying it is made up, it is just the general opinion of the people on this blog it seems like.

    I agree that it depends on what we are using this blog for. If we come here to help others, or just report on our progress, then that is probably fine. I do notice a lot of people are asking questions about symptoms though, and that is where the problem comes in. They are asking how to deal with symptoms, and the answer is always the same. Always. Nothing. Just live and work with the head pain. Etc.

  431. Peter Says:

    Back in the day, when our anxiety first began, wasnt part of the problem constantly reading anxiety literature, or going on forums?

    But then I wonder if conciously keeping oneself from forums etc. is still trying to solve it by avoiding things. I mean, am I telling my brain anxiety is still a bad thing if I conciously stay away from forums, etc.? Does that make any sense?

  432. Chris Says:

    Not sure who this is aimed at but wanted to share my anxiety learning and comment on some themes that have come up recently:

    The blog – how often etc. etc. This seems to miss the point. The reason we can here is the most basic human need to connect with others who are suffering like us. Anxiety can be a lonely business and to feel that connection however momentarily is really important. It certainly has been for me – I have hardly posted but check in regularly. Less when I am feeling better. It is a tremendous source of comfort – sometimes just knowing that anxiety is so boringly predictable and we all go through the same crap takes the sting out of it (for me anyway). Thank you all!!

    Thoughts – Paul on Facebook is right changing your relationship to your thoughts is key. I tend to go with the CBT approach that you can only stop believing those thoughts once you challenge the core belief that is driving them and you do that by rationally looking at reality of the situation. One of mine was that how I felt was my fault in some way and I was failing to fix it. If you believe that acceptance is very difficult! It’s really hard to stop taking emotionally charged thoughts seriously but they really are a load of tosh. Convincing yourself of that is really hard work and I got quite phobic about thinking the other week! However, I have found that thoughts that would have thrown me off on one 2 or 3 months ago no longer matter. Meditation has helped me at times to detach – sometimes made it worse! Nevertheless still have quite a few to work on!

    On obsessing about yourself and introspection – this seems to be absolutely normal response to anxiety. I had a real thing about this a few weeks ago – kept rushing from one thing to next desperately trying to occupy myself and scared of thinking about how I feel. It’s a bit like someone with a broken leg saying to themselves – ‘my leg is not really broken I am just walking around as normal’. Claire Weekes says that ‘forced forgetfulness’ just adds more tension and worry. It seems to me is that all you can do is accept and carry on with your day, focusing on other things, letting go that you are worrying that you may still be thinking about how you feel.

    Paul’s method is described as a natural cure and that makes more and more sense to me – it’s all about getting out of the way of our mind and body’s natural instinct to heal itself. It really does just do its own thing and sometimes it leaves me completely lost. For instance, how is it that I can feel fine going to bed (did have awful insomnia a while back recommend nytol and melatonin) and so crap on waking up!!? I know about cortisol and adrenaline etc. etc. It just seem to take me until early afternoon to feel back in the world, which I am not complaining about as this is real progress from a few months back!

  433. Peter Says:

    Kelly, I used to have obsessive thoughts, and yes, they are TOTALLY ego dystonic. I wish I could walk you through the door and show you that they are, but yeah.

    Think about it. Say you were a psychopath who wanted to hurt people. Well, you would have the thoughts and not care because they would be normal for you.

    The only reason you continue to have these thoughts is because you do not want to. It is exactly the same as anxiety in general, but on a smaller scale. If we wanted to have anxiety, we would not have it. If you did not care if you had those thoughts, they would lessen in intensity. You are the one giving meaning to them.

  434. Peter Says:

    I guess getting over anxiety is difficult to describe in exactly the same way that getting over intrusive thoughts is difficult to describe, lol.

  435. Peter Says:

    Anxiety is, very simply, a giant obsession. To get rid of that obsession, we must cut out the compulsions. That is what it is. Correct? You could state acceptance some other way, but that is really what it is.

  436. Nolan Says:

    Hi Kelly,

    ” After about 6 weeks of what I would call living at 85-95%, I had a little down period yesterday that started me questioning my progress.”

    My advice would be try not to get too caught up on how close to recovery you are. I used to do that in so many different ways.

    When I finally said to myself, “However I am at any given moment is just what it is”. No more comparing myself today to myself from tomorrow, or myself from 4 years earlier.
    When you’re happy you don’t sit around thinking things like, “Well, I’m 15% more happy now than I was tuesday when I thought I was really happy…. so that must be pretty good.”

    You just treat being happy as ‘what it is’. So, treat this the same: ‘however I’m feeling is just how I’m feeling.” and pay it no more extra attention.

    When things got rough I just told myself, “So what, what could you even do?” And I went back on living my life. Sure, sometimes it wasn’t fun…. but again, what could I even do?
    The attitude of setting no goals to be met and just telling myself “oh well…. sometimes things just suck” is what made the difference. Because I took a different attitude towards it and I made my life about more things than just how I was feeling at any given moment.

  437. carla Says:

    Chris, I like your comment about introspection/self-awareness/self-checking being a totally normal response to anxiety. This statement helps me to stop seeing it as the root problem that needs to be solved. It really helps if I can label it as ‘just anxiety, not my fault and nothing serious’

    I was mulling it all over again this morning and reacting strongly to the checking, which usually takes the form of ‘ooh, you’re having a normal thought, we won’t have that’, followed by a stab of anxiety. This pattern then repeats itself until i get into quite a frenzy about it.

    But then I went swimming, burning of some of the adrenaline and felt much better for it. The sting seemed to have been taken out of my reactions. I then had a child and his mother over for 3 hours and was forced into almost continual conversation for the whole time. It was painful at times and I did do the checking thing periodically but it didn’t feel too strong and at least helped to prove that it needn’t stop me socialising or talking about other things.

    So today, a mixture of reading sensible comments on the blog, exercise and socialising seem to have worked quite well at helping me see things more positively.

    Kelly, I hope this helps in some way

  438. Jude Says:

    hello everybody

    It seems we all have endless questions about this and that pertaining to our anxiety and our fear. The key here is uncertainty, which is what anxiety is at it’s core. We feel that something isn’t right and we feel we MUST correct something, make something wrong into something right.

    By definition though anxiety is the intense feeling of uncertainty. So that means it is working as intended. Anxiety should feel exactly as it does. We while stuck in it’s twisted grasp should feel exactly as we feel, totally uncertain. We cannot fix or alter a feeling and we NEVER EVER should. Think of hunger, another human feeling, how do we solve that? We eat and the hunger fades.

    Anxiety is just another feeling but it is one we are headset on changing, on fixing. Look at the feeling of hunger again and look at it’s fix, always the same.

    Anxiety will always be the same, you will notice it’s sensations rarely deviate, yet with hunger pains we do not question it’s origin or it’s eventual passing. We get it, we understand hunger, we don’t FEAR it. Now with anxiety, all we do is question and question and question. We question EVERYTHING. There is a reason why we do that because just as with hunger creating an urge to eat, anxiety creates an urge to question. Again, it is working as intended.

    Anxiety is something we as humans will never ever be without, it is absolutely impossible to not be anxious at some point in life. We spend so much time and energy on trying to NOT be anxious. Imagine if you spent all your time and energy on trying to never be hungry again?

    I feel it is the struggle with the constant questioning, the constant NEED for a solution that fuels our suffering with anxiety. It is intellect driven and ego driven. We feel stupid, we feel ashamed, we feel incapable and diminished. We feel that unless we find the code to break this hellish spell all of our living is doomed.

    Again though, while in anxiety’s grasp, how we feel is exactly as we should. I truly think it comes down to belief, what do you believe?
    Do you believe your anxiety is madness, do you believe that your anxiety will turn you into a monster? These thoughts these feels, this anxiety isn’t going anywhere. It will always be there if you go looking for it. We can continue questioning EVERYTHING or we can start believing. Believe you are safe and secure with anxiety or believe that you will be driven mad by it. Either choice i believe is the correct one. The back and forth, the questioning, the constant need of reassurance while in the face of absolute uncertainty is the problem. You cannot change a feeling. Anxiety will ALWAYS make you FEEL anxious.

  439. Kelly Says:

    Peter – I totally agree with you. I have come through my obsessive thoughts. The comments I made were directed at Andy, who seemed to still be having some issue.

    Chris, Carla, Jude, and Nolan – Thank you so much for all of your input. Each of you are correct and I will do my best to follow the great advice from all of you.

  440. Peter Says:

    Dont you agree that it is sort of difficult to explain to a person how to come through obsessive thoughts, even though we have? I bet it is sort of difficult to explain to a person how to come through anxiety itself, even if the person explaining it has.

  441. Kelly Says:

    Peter – I agree with you. At the time that I had the obsessive thoughts, I never thought that I would get through them. Now that I’ve finally realized that they are just thoughts and don’t mean anything, it’s hard to explain how I got there. But I did, and I know that I will get there with my anxiety too.

  442. Rob Says:

    So can somebody who is recovered tell me if after recovery you feel totally connected to your old self and all the memories are back? And the distant from past perception goes away?

    This has been my main worry for like the past few weeks.

  443. Bryan Says:


    I’m not 100% sure what you’re asking and I’m not at 100% myself, but I think I know the answer…

    You just won’t care. This is the beauty of recovery. These complex questions you (we) ask are the result of long periods of mental stress and living in our own head.
    What happens is… when you start to feel better, you just won’t care. The need to answer all of these questions goes away and the stuff you used to be interested in will be interesting again.

    When you say this has been your “main worry”… once we live a life of full acceptance, we don’t have minds filled with worry. You’ll move your interest to your family, your job, you exercise, your finances, your hobbies, whatever else drove you before you fell into this elevated stress condition.

    So, again… I still have big spikes and setbacks and I’m working on my own acceptance, myself. But, I know no one ever found peace by continually asking questions about how recovery was going to be. That’s the beauty of it. Once your mind starts to regain its resiliency… you won’t give a #### about all of these questions.

  444. Peter Says:

    I do think a lot of people coming here are asking the wrong questions.

    Hey Rob, I am not recovered, but I am sure that everything falls back into place. That is what recovery is.

  445. lainie waller Says:

    peter i think your getting to involved and making things complicated. the method is just leave yourself alone. let nature take its course x

  446. Peter Says:

    So you think keeping to the blog is letting nature take its course? Im still trying to understand the difference between coming to the blog and googling how to stop anxiety?

  447. Jude Says:


    I agree with Lainie. I feel that you are still trying to get it right, fix it, etc.
    Clarity isn’t something you figure out, it is something given to you.

  448. Peter Says:

    So staying away from the blog is trying to figure it out? Geez…talk about paradoxical..but yes I had the same thought.

  449. Daniel Says:

    Rob, here’s something from Nolan from months and months ago:

    “Yes, every happy, warm, joyful past memory was stained.
    But worse than being stained, they tormented me. They seemed like scenes from a life I never experienced. Now, I know that I did experience them… but my anxiety (and the fears, doubts, and symptoms that went along with it) did something to those past memories that appeared to ruin them forever when I was in the darkest days of anxiety.
    I got to a point where I didn’t even want to think about them. I didn’t want them coming up in my mind for the reasons I stated: it just tormented me.
    But yes…
    I recovered the joy of those past memories.
    I didn’t try to though. It’s just something that comes naturally once peace finds its way back into your life.
    This wasn’t a linear improvement. Ups and down and backwards and forwards and new fears and new doubts then new hope and new insight….
    This has been a rollercoaster of a time in my life.
    But, the absurdity of all if it is what ultimately helped me in just letting go, giving up the struggle and saying, “Whatever is going to happen at any moment is simply what it is…. I’m done fighting it”.
    But back to your question:
    Yes, the full flavor of those past joyful and warm memories came back to me.”
    When you think about your anxiety the first thing that comes up is the memory loss, right? It’s your main symptom. So what recovery means to you is getting back those memories and sense of self while also recconecting with your past. What you have is anxiety, agreed? When your anxiety is gone this symptom/feeling will go too. That’s a fact.

    Anything you’d like to add to this Nolan?

  450. Rob Says:

    Yea its not “memory loss” in the true sense but more like a perception thats disturbed. Like a big barrier between the life without anxiety and now.

    Thanks for that–I recall that now.

    My social skills are better but I still feel like I lack the outgoing part of me (although my friends say they don’t see a difference)

  451. Ross Says:

    For julie or nolan how do I get over the constant analyzing & the will I recover am I better yet I have constant anxiety 24/7 & it always on same things & sometimes very intrusive thoughts I feel so in tune to my mind it like I monitoring everything I do & yes I feel like I cant recover days are hard sometimes I really dont understand how to get out this mess im in when I fear everything so much & I get severe mood swings & Im going on holiday soon & would love to be able to enjoy it instead of fearing it&the feelings of no loving anyone&hating how I am will they go through time.

  452. Peter Says:


    You dont have to do anything. If you are monitoring yourself, monitor yourself. That will go away as you become more interested in the world around you. But there is no need to sit around WAITING for it to go away. You really do not have to do anything about it, other than letting it be there. No need to post about it on here either. Obsessing about it wont help! All you can do is let it go.

  453. Ross Says:

    Thanks peter yeah i probably am obsessing as it can feel so out of control sometimes.

  454. Peter Says:

    Doreen –

    I do think there is probably such a thing as coming on here too much, asking about symptoms too much. If people come on here and ask What am I supposed to do about this symptom or that symptom, they have missed the point of accepting. Do you think that asking about how to deal with symptoms on this blog is somehow different than constanly Googling how to deal symptoms? Please, clarify the difference.

    Am I wrong? That should be uncontroversial.

    And yes, I am obsessive. I think it is very normal to be obsessive about HOW to recover from anxiety, but that is the problem, isnt it? We need to not obsess about HOW to recover from anxiety. So what I was doing, obsessing about the PROPER WAY to recover, is the problem. In the same way, I am trying to help out Ross here.

    There is a difference between having the information and applying it properly. If we already have the information, it can be a good idea to not repeatedly seek out information, because that is again feeding the obsessive habit.

    Thank you for corrobrating my point Doreen. I totally agree with you.

  455. Peter Says:

    The whole reason I had that obsession in the first place is because I want to recover, and if YOU dont agree that constantly obsessing about symptoms and asking here how do I get rid of anxiety is not going to help in recovery, then YOU have missed the point of Pauls book. Please, bring it on Doreen. Bring it on. I am a little fed up with the talking in circles. Doing nothing about anxiety means doing nothing about it. It does not mean sitting on a blog all day asking how do I make it go away.

    Or does it? My God.

  456. Peter Says:

    You might as well tell me that I cannot give advice to people who are anxious because I am still anxious. Obsessing and anxiety are the same thing!

    Anxiety IS like an OCD compulsion except on a larger scale.

    Think of an OCD obsession, like washing your hands. How does the person who washes his hands get over the compulsion to wash his hands? He stops washing his hands, and then lives with the anxiety that is generated. He ACCEPTS the anxiety, and continues to work even though the anxiety is screaming at him. Then, gradually, the urge to wash his hands will dissipate.

    How does the person who is constantly anxious stop being constantly anxious? He stops compulsively reading books about anxiety, trying to escape the anxiety. He stops going to forums, he stops googling his symptoms. He then goes on to LIVE with the anxiety without giving into COMPULSIONS to make it go away. That is what acceptance is. If that is not what acceptance is, please tell me what it is? I would like to know. I mean what else could be meant by stop trying to make your anxiety go away?
    There is a long list of compulsive behaviors we have all done for many years, which have kept us in our anxiety.
    Asking on forums
    Trying to get rid of symptoms in a second

    The aim of my obsession about whether or not to stay on the blog is to ask WHY I am coming to the blog. If one is coming to the blog to make their symptoms go away, therein lies the problem

    I am very confused, I thought this was common sense.

  457. Rachh Says:

    Peter I completely understand how u r feeling because I was exactly the same I wanted to know exactly what and what not I needed to implement in my life to recover. It is a very desperate and lonely place to be and you feel completely lost. I will give you reassurance and say one day clarity will come where you but for now you need to stop obsessing and let your nerves calm a bit. Read some of nolans comments on the last post they are brilliant.
    Instead of people being rude and fobbing you off all I will say is recovery isn’t black and white there is no set path with it. Obsessions are a horrible part of this and if your not obsessing about one thing it will be something else.

  458. simon Says:

    Hi, this is my first post on the blog!

    I would appreciate a point of view on something.

    Ive suffered from obsessive thoughts for longer than I want to admit and after periods of relative peace the last few years have been unpleasant with severe anxiety in all possible forms.

    An interesting question someone asked on the Facebook page and something I would be interested in an answer from someone with more knowledge and possibly recovered as it is very relevant to me, can the thoughts be maintained because they are actually true and anxiety/fear etc is because of they are actually real or is this just anxiety playing its tricks?!!

  459. Nolan Says:

    Let the obsessions be there.

    I’ll try to keep this brief:
    Sleep was my main issue. Other issues cropped out of that (like always being exhausted and almost always being dizzy). Then there were other manifestations of the anxiety (or whatever you want to call it): intense depression, depersonalization…. so many others that it doesn’t really pay to go into too much depth.

    I was having a long period of almost complete normalcy…. then one morning I woke up and had the thought, “what if I always had to focus on my breathing and consciously breathe??” And it terrified me. Now, I’ve had that fear before when this first started…. but it was always transient. I cared one moment, the next moment I saw through it and could really have not cared less.

    But there was something different this time: I was convinced of it.
    Now, I had been down this road before, some fear of being broken that I was convinced was now the truth of my essence or being. And it passed. Now, I’m not going to say the fears weren’t real. For me, they were very real and they manifested in a way that compounded my fear.
    That’s why I don’t get all on the whole “it’s only fear and you know it can’t actually hurt you”…. during my dark moments I would have laughed at that sentiment. I knew dang well what those fears were doing to me.

    So anyway…. I woke up and I had this thought but my whole being just clung to it and was convinced that it was the truth about me now.
    I struggled to focus on much of anything else. I was certain that I would always have to focus on my breathing and that hyper attentiveness would never break and I would never be able to sleep again.
    That immediate logic of it, that ‘dead end’ that pops up in your mind to any possible road that may lead out of it was total and definite.

    “why now?! what the hell is so wrong with me that I obsess over this stuff?!”

    But then I had to make the leap again: let it be there, stop trying to figure it out, and move on with your life.

    One day I was certain I was broken; and broken in a way that there is no earthly means to repair. But, some days later it was gone. Not even a passing interest of mine. I can type it now and I don’t feel my heart start racing or my stomach start knotting up.

    I did nothing actively to make this leave. Nothing more than saying, “I have other things to do with my life”. This is not to say I wasn’t scared or still convinced I was broken. I had no other option. Even though I had been down this route before, this time (like the first time) I was certain I was not coming back. And I was wrong.

    I didn’t need to retrain my body and brain…. I just needed to give it time; and in time it passed. And I realized I was never broken to begin with.

    One last thing:
    I’ve had these little glimmers of profound peace and happiness. Not to say that I’m not happy. I’m probably a bit happier now than I was even before the whole thing started. A perspective on life that suffering with this afforded me…. for which I’m thankful. But, back to those glimmers. They come in and fade away and they’re beyond remarkable. I wish I had the words to describe them, but I don’t. I don’t know what they’re supposed to mean, I won’t get into that here. Just that maybe when we suffer terribly and we have an attitude of “it’s okay…. I’ve got this” and move back on with our lives, making them more about others than about ourselves that truly significant changes can happen in our lives.

  460. colin Says:

    Lol Nolan very knowledgable . Peter take note knowledge is everything . Nolan Paul’s book is true in every sense of the word. And accepting these feeling is the biggest part of the recovery. Also being positive helps . Fill your days with joy and things you enjoy and recovery comes . I know as I am nearly there . And even if I don’t get there 100% then so be it . I am better through the knowledge I learnt from Paul’s book .
    Good luck guys . Chins up!!!

  461. Peter Says:

    That is the thing about obsessions….they can just disappear for some reason that we dont really understand.

  462. Natalie Says:

    Hi, I was wondering if anyone had any advice on setbacks. I got to the point where for the last few weeks I hardly thought of anxiety and had an almost completely normal life and perspective back. The only real ongoing thing was my tiredness as I never go to bed early enough to get enough sleep, kind of like a mild anxiety about going to bed even though I usually sleep well when I get there. On Wednesday this week I felt really unwell at work and then got anxious again. I went to the doctor who said I had a virus that’s going round here; starts with a cough then just makes you feel wiped out for about 4 days. I was so lethargic I started thinking “what if this is something else” and wham, last night I didn’t sleep well and flew straight back into the full on anxiety cycle. I had got to the point where I honestly thought “this is it, I have me back” and then wham straight back here. Can anyone else identify with this during their recovery? Thank you in advance for any advice.

  463. Peter Says:


    What do you think of Dominics story? I posted it above….just search function Dominic.

    He had the same logic I had. For years I have read books about anxiety, or tried to figure it out by opening word documents and typing away, in a very compulsive fashion. I figure this is the problem, searching compulsively for a way out, and I am sure you and Paul would agree with me.

    When I read Pauls book, that is how it spoke to me. It spoke to me as in, stop reading this book, stop going to forums and blogs (I guess that doesnt make much sense since Paul made this blog), stop reading books, stop going to anxiety sites, and get on with your life. I deleted Kindle from my computer and also considered throwing Pauls book and other books in the garbage (no offense Paul, but you see where I am coming from!). I had a clear path to success in my mind. Stay off forums, stay off anxiety sites, in other words dont compulsively try to get rid of your anxiety, etc. But then an obsessive doubt crept in that I was wrong, so here I am, wondering if keeping myself off the sites will stop me from getting better.

    But then I saw Dominics story and I realized, okay, here is a guy who was tough on himself (tough love if you like) and he got better! He was thinking exactly the same way as I was and he got better!

    But then I think, coming to the blog in itself is not an issue. The issue begins when people start obsessing about their symptoms on the blog. As you said, reading the word anxiety is not what made us ill.

    It is I guess a balance, and I am just trying to find that balance.
    I think that I would not come here that much anyway, just ocassionally. the only thing that is damaging me is the idea that if I come here I will get worse.

  464. Daniel Says:

    People get intense setbacks, the kind that you describe, the kind where you are ready to give up again, even towards the end of their recovery.
    Appreciate the good days, weeks or months you’ve had, realize that you CAN in fact be your old self and feel and think your old self, recognize a setback as a setback and know with time you’ll go back to feeling your self.
    Remember your progress has not been undone, all that has changed are the perceived results of that progress. Everything you’ve accomplished and learnt is still true, and with time and patience you’ll be fully recovered.
    It’s a very normal, almost signature, part of the process.

    And don’t let this setback coming after a period of security discourage you, like I said they come even towards the end of recovery.
    Chris, Paul, Nolan, Doreen all know and speak of the periods where we are walking on eggshells even though we have returned to our old selves and we fear setbacks, you’ll probably have doubts even when you hit the green and are actually fully recovered, but with a little more time you’ll get to the point in which you can really truly say without a doubt you are recovered and completely free.

  465. Nolan Says:

    Hi Peter,

    I’m very aware of Dominic’s story.
    His postings aided me through a rough time. I owe much to Dominic.

    Listen, I don’t want to keep on repeating this over and over. I think it’s a great thing if someone is going to force himself to not post here or to come back. I did that myself.

    Conversely, I don’t want someone to beat himself or herself up if they do come back here.

    There was a time in each one of our lives where we could have read about to spoke about anxiety and it would have had no impact on us in the least. So, the simple fact of reading about it or talking about it is not what perpetuates it. It’s our reaction to that.

    THere’s no grand contradiction in any of that. Yes, by all means…. take time away from the blog or posting about it or talking about it. I think that’s important. I did it myself. But, don’t beat yourself up if you’re sincerely coming back here because you need some guidance or reassurance. If it turns into an endurance test to see how long you can last staying away, I think that’s doing it wrong.

  466. Nolan Says:

    Those comments towards Doreen were uncalled for.
    Doreen spends a lot of time here helping people out. Her advice is golden and she has a gift of briefness that I lack.

    She has been helping people on this blog long before I ever came along. And, as a matter of fact, her advice was also paramount in my recovery.

  467. Nolan Says:

    Daniel nailed it.
    HA! “Daniel” and “nailed” are anagrams. Just noticed that. :)

    But he’s right.
    I had an intense setback after I was pretty certain I would no longer have them anymore. It was an intense as when the whole thing started.
    Just treat it exactly the same and be patient with yourself.

  468. Natalie Says:

    Thank you so much Daniel and Nolan. Reading your post Daniel has been so helpful I literally shed a tear! I really was thinking I had forgotten everything I learned.

  469. Ves Says:

    Nolan, Your post at 5:19 is very truthful.

    Regarding the “glimmers of profound peace and happiness” as you say that “come in and fade away”.
    Ahhh those moments of peace! How I interpret them is similar to moments of relief after throwing up during the night after food/alcohols poisoning. The whole process of throwing up several times during the night is not pleasant at all, but the relief after every instance of getting the toxins out from your body is very nice.

  470. Nolan Says:

    Hey Ves,
    Good to see you around again.
    Sorry about how I acted towards you in the past.

  471. Nolan Says:

    Hi Peter,

    Never said you were crazy for thinking it was a good idea.
    Nor did Doreen.

    We all want you to get better…. but, let’s try to be a bit more patient with the folk who post around here.

  472. Ves Says:

    Hey Nolan,
    Sorry if I wrote something that was hurtful towards you. I did not mean it.

    No, you did not say anything hurtful to me.
    Usually I get hurt by my own act :) (habitual reactivity)

  473. colin Says:

    Treat setbacks with a pinch of salt Nolan. Peter try doing what’s best for you. I think you are living in the bubble anxiety . Burst the bubble and move on .

  474. Peter Says:

    I am not saying to be impatient with them, but rather…tough love. That is what it is. Tough love.

    After 10 years of struggling to find the answer, I know that there is no answer to find.

  475. Doreen. Says:

    Peter – what I was commenting on was the contradiction I felt was being shown by you in challenging people for what you called their obsessiveness and then showing exactly the same trait yourself.

    They are wanting others to respond to them regarding their various symptoms much as you have been wanting to be told whether or not to use the blog.

    What I have said many times is that in my opinion and I suggest the opinion of Paul and Nolan is that for a period of time we all do see our symptoms or disturbing thoughts as being the problem. Whereas the problem is that we have anxiety which we then attach to those things.

    In your case your anxiety has latched onto whether or not you should be spending time on the topic of anxiety. If you were no longer anxious this wouldn’t matter and you may pop on and off the blog, or read an article in a paper on the topic because it is one that interest you, having been there yourself.

    So hopefully you will give others the space and time to find their way through the maze without saying they are using the blog in the wrong way. And I hope and am sure you too will be there with your head above water at some point too

  476. colin Says:

    Peter think you should maybe take a time out from this blog??? Your negative comments are doing no good. People on here need hope and you are offering none ???

  477. Jude Says:


    I sense and I could be wrong that you have a little bit of a chip on your shoulder in reference to anxiety. That is totally understandable as nothing I know is more exasperating or frustrating than being stuck in anxious thinking.

    You have been struggling with this for 10 years, and maybe you feel oh so close to finally getting over it yet stuck in it nonetheless. This tough love your referring to I also feel is said with a little bit of bite, that is that you want to perhaps power through this stage, still fight for an answer. Set yourself free and i absolutely understand that.

    Yet there is no way for you to set yourself free other than giving up and believing that nature will help and eventually heal you. I am there at the moment myself and i have been there many times before. So tired, so scared, so frustrated, so angry, so lost, so mad, etc.

    I always get stuck with the question, “How does one let go and then have a life?”

    The answer always given back to me is, “You let go first.”

    Give up my friend and then after that give up again and again if you have to. In my opinion there is no other way.

  478. Daniel Says:

    Hey Peter,
    If you feel like coming to blog so frequently is a hindrance to your recovery go for it.

    But arguing with people is pretty obsessive behavior, it was getting into lengthy and very petty arguments that ultimately tipped me over into anxiety mode. Look at Nolan’s examples (dog barking, kids playing basketball, noisy office workers). This arguing with everyone is you listening to your anxiety, learning to leave things alone is a big part of recovery, I imagine this arguing you’re doing is not helping, you’re doing the whole “relief seeking” thing where bad feelings well up in you and you feel like you need to win the conversation to get that fix of relief.

    If you’ve read “A Letter to Myself” the Kryptonite mirrors what I’m saying.

    Walk away from an argument, for now just think about what’s best for you.
    And if you think that’d it be best to take time off from the blog, go for it, no harm in it.

  479. Peter Says:

    Yep. youj are right all. Thank you for your patience.

    And I dont think for me personally coming to the blog is hindering me. Because I doubt that I would come here that often anyway.

    The irony is that the ONLY reason I am coming here is to ask whether or not I should come here.

    I am trying, I guess, to put provisions in place so that me coming here DOES NOT keep me from recovering. It is forward thinking, I guess.

    It is like if you were on a diet. You would want to limit your caloric intake and put provisions in place to keep yourself from eating too much.

    I think for some people coming to this blog too often COULD be a problem, and I dont want it to become a problem for me, so I was thinking maybe it is better to just stay off of it altogether.

  480. Nolan Says:

    Thanks for being understanding, Ves.

  481. Ross Says:

    Sorry if my comments started an argument 1 thing can I ask Doreen &nolan how to get past the constant awareness & thinking it, s more & never be recovered & also constant tingling tightness in head which grips hard & doesnt go with painkillers.

  482. Doreen. Says:

    Ross – You didn’t start an argument but I cannot say anything that hasn’t already been said before. The only way to get past any of the things you have listed above is just to see them as anxiety and pay them no attention. They are only manifestions of anxiety, nothing more.

  483. lainie waller Says:

    anyone get depression and no motivation with anxiety xxxx

  484. Kelly Says:

    Ross – I’m right there with you on the constant self-awareness and thinking about how I’m feeling. It used to be terrible, got better, and then came back again after I had a little down period last week. Now I can’t stop thinking about whether the little blip last week meant that I am going backwards. Mornings are especially the worst. What I can tell you is that it got better for me before and I expect that it will get better again. We just need to heed the great advice that has been given to us on this blog from Doreen, Nolan, and others. The more that we involve ourselves with our life and not pay attention to the anxiety, the more the self-awareness with fade. Not sure that this helps you, but please know that I am right there with you. :)

    Lainie – I’m not sure that I ever got truly depressed, although that was one of my main anxious worries. I did, however, feel a big lack of motivation. My lack of motivation was driven by the constant self-awareness and inward thinking. I was so engrossed with worrying about myself that it was hard to get motivated or take an interest in other things. The more I engaged with my life, the less I thought about myself, and the more motivated I became to do other things.

  485. Nolan Says:

    Hi Ross,

    “how to get past the constant awareness & thinking it”

    Don’t fight against it and don’t put as much importance on it.
    That what I did with my sleeping and my breathing issues. If they were being forced into my conscious awareness I didn’t fight with it, I just let them be there for as long as they wanted to.

    Like Doreen has said though, this advice has been given many times now. I completely understand the fear, but there has to come the jump off point in which you actually commit to doing this as opposed to just reading about what to do.

  486. Chris Says:

    Hi guys,

    I am really hoping for a little advice here. I am sorry if this has been covered before and I am sure it has!

    I have been feeling pretty good the last few months, accepting the scary thoughts etc and just getting on with my day. However recently I have started to get a little scared as it seems to be that I cant stop the constant chatter in my head about the anxiety e.g things like “I should just let it be” “Just get on with what you are doing” etc. I find it hard to stop my mind engaging in this and wonder if I should just accept that my mind is going to talk like this? Is this a normal symptom to have?

    Thank you all so much and apologies if it sounds so silly!


  487. Andy J Says:

    Hi Guys,

    Some great advice being given to people on here.

    Does any one get the feeling that they understand stuff when they arent ‘as anxious?’, but when the anxiety hits theres no way of dealing with it or comprehending whats going on?

    I can understand all the self focus and that by trying to get rid of it, it actually increases. However, some of the obsessions I have, are ridiculously intense. Urges and what feels like obsessive thoughts constantly on my mind. Ive tried allowing them to be there, fighting them, not caring about them, but nothing seems to be working and if anything they are as frequent and feel as intense as ever.

    Im going to be honest, im really confused. I haven’t the foggiest how to get to a stage where my anxiety diminishes. I know people say just get on with an accept it, but how can we learn to accept such a miserable life? My anxiety has caused all kind of issues. Not least the obsessive thoughts, but the total and utter lack of enjoyment in anything couple with a total lack of motivation is awful.

    As a football fan, theres a saying ‘its the hope I cant stand’. I think it sums up perfectly how I’m feeling at the moment.



  488. Joanne Says:

    hi all
    I’ve suffered from anxiety in varying forms for over 20 years. But in April 2012 it became unbearable. I live in an apartment with my fella. And our neighbour above is noisy. Don’t know wether it sounded louder because of the way I was feeling. And I got madder and madder. Believing she was making noise on purpose. Until one night I felt like I’d just snapped. And my fella had to physically stop me from going upstairs and killing the neighbour! I couldn’t calm down. I was shaking,crying having palpitations. And it got worse from then. Dreading the neighbour coming home, scared of any noise she might make. Sitting in my car in my car park crying my eyes out because I didn’t want to go back in the house. Obsessing about where she was. What she was doing. When she,d be home, who would she be with. And having a full blown panic attack, breakdown when she started making noise. Just the sound of her footsteps up above me would set my heart racing! I had to quit work but that just meant I was home more listening to the noise. I didn’t sleep. I lost 2 stone in less then a month because I couldn’t eat. Couldn’t force food down and the feeling of dread was there all the time. All consuming. I went to bed 1 day and decided I would stay there to die. I thought if I don’t eat or drink anything il be dead in less than a week. I took a handful of trazadone to speed up the process but it just made me sick. If it wasn’t for my amazing fella I believe I would have stayed in my bed and waited to die. But he stayed with me. He,d sit and talk to me. He bought me glasses of water, and bits of food, he bathed me and washed my hair. Told me he loved me and we would get through this together.and here I am 2 years later. Il be honest and say I only discovered Paul’s book a few months ago. And after reading it through over and over it makes perfect sense.the hours I spent obsessing, over thinking how I felt, why I felt that way. Google was my best friend. Spending hours typing in the word anxiety. And going through the thousands of forums which did me more harm than good really. I still struggle now. I still hate where I live. But moving at the moment isn’t an issue. But I’m calmer. I still feel anxious but there’s no rise to it. I take Paul’s book with me on my iPad where ever I go. And read it if I feel anxious just to hammer home the points. And remind me of how far I’ve come. I know I will always suffer from anxiety. Something I struggled to comprehend because I thought it meant Me feeling hellish forever. But I have the tools now. And never under estimate the power of love. Me and my fella have come out of all this stronger and more in love than ever.
    Good luck to all you brave people out there suffering from anxiety. And to you Paul for showing me I can live. I can survive
    Ps… My fellas called Paul!

  489. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Andy,

    It sounds like maybe you think your obsessions are different than other facets of anxiety, but really they’re not. Anxiety is anxiety, no matter how it manifests itself. And the advice is the same: let it all be there and live your life. What else can you do? You can’t wish it away. You can’t make it go away. One thing you can do is stop looking for results. Letting the anxiety be there and living your life doesn’t mean checking in to see if it’s “working”. I’ve done that many times. I’ve had days where I would cry out of frustration, saying “I’m so tired of this. I’m not fighting the anxiety, I’m letting it be there and I feel as awful as ever!” But that was the problem, my goal was still to feel better, not to live my life in spite of how I felt. Andy, you’ll get there, give yourself time. As ironic as it is, it’s true, that when you stop looking for recovery, that’s when it will happen.

  490. Andy J Says:

    Hi Stephanie.

    Thanks very much for your reply.

    I was fine at accepting it as anxiety but sometimes the doubt and fear it causes make you wonder whether there is something more to it than anxiety. I know that sounds ridiculous but it’s hard to accept.

    Thanks again for your message

  491. colin Says:


    Honestly the best way to deal with anxiety is to let it be there . You are re training your brain . Hence no fear !!! We all get those thoughts that trigger it . Mines are usually seeing something sad ie a kid in a wheelchair . Sounds like nothing but it triggers my anxiety . I always say to myself there are people worse off than me cancer , heart problems etc anxiety is only a feeling!!! As bad as that can sometimes be . There is light at the end of the tunnel for everyone . Paul’s method works !!!

  492. Rachel Says:

    Silly question but why have I got anxiety when I have nothing to be anxious about going out or going to work or going to shops or driving none of it bothers me so really don’t understand x

  493. Stephanie Says:

    Rachel, it’s because you’ve developed a habit of being anxious. I used to tell myself, “Tomorrow you don’t have anything to do, so you’ll be relaxed.” Then tomorrow would come and I’d still be anxious. There often isn’t a reason we’re anxious, so don’t look for one. If you’re anxious, you’re anxious. Try not to question it or figure it out, just carry on.

  494. Kelly Says:

    Great answer, Stephanie. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  495. Ross Says:

    How do u just let it all be when i feel like im ddriving myself crazy?????

  496. Rachel Says:

    Thanks Stephanie it’s just so hard it’s even harder to convince myself that it’s anxiety x

  497. Stephanie Says:

    Rachel, I know. No need to try to convince yourself though. As time goes by, you’ll start to see that you’re fine and that you’ve been fine all along. Clarity and understanding will come, you don’t need to do anything to try to find it.

  498. Rob Says:

    So I’ve just been having a huge flare up from frustration at how little progress I made over the last 2 months. I know I shouldn’t be constantly monitoring the progress but I live my life.

    Lately my thoughts have randomly decided to morph and focus on that tragic event 1 month ago. I had almost forgotten about it but then I suddenly remembered it and it really #(##@ me off cause I was like dang it.

    And then I start worrying about whether I’m going to aggravate my anxiety from that event. Like what if I just gave myself some trauma from simply hearing about it. I was totally over it, gave my respects and all to the family, but now my mind wants to focus on this again. I suddenly remembered that and then felt this really strange tingling feeling in my head which won’t go away. ANd now I worry about how much this will delay the recovery. I’ve already gone through the “grief” period when I felt sad/guilty but at this point its just the 1 thought that keeps repeating.

    I’d rather think of that horrid experience I had with Ecstasy last year than think about this thing. But now suddenly my mind doesn’t care about that bad drug experience from last year but now chooses to focus on this BS. Why am I doing this to myself….

  499. Sophie Says:

    Hi everyone :)

    This is my first time writing a post, but I discovered this blog a few months ago and have found it an incredibly helpful place to come when I feel like I need support or encouragement. I’ve also read Paul’s book, which has been really positive for me!

    I’m really struggling at the moment, going through intense moments of highs and lows. I’ll latch onto an intrusive thought for days and the effects on my body during this period of time are so intense that I almost can’t function. But then I’ll make a positive shift out of that headspace and feel really calm for a little while (bliss!!). But then another intrusive thought or feeling will come along to sabotage any ounce of calm and normalicy that I might be feeling :( Its completely devastating.

    I was stressing about something unrelated to anxiety yesterday morning and it was taking its toll on me…and then all of a sudden when I thought I couldn’t feel any worse, anxiety took my focus off this real dilemma by giving me an upsetting instrusive thought instead!

    Does anybody else feel that their anxiety manifests in this way?
    I am trying not to give the negative thoughts/feelings any respect, but I feel very shaken.

    Thanks in advance :)

  500. simon Says:

    I have suffered with anxiety on and off for a long time, when the obsessive thoughts first started I had no idea what or why they were there and ‘thought’ if you ‘thought’ something if was true, this was pre-internet and a long time ago.

    Without understanding the anxiety was 24/7, morphed into panic disorder then phobias, avoidance etc etc.

    I did with a bit of help and have a few periods of life when things were ‘better’ but Id have these setbacks which would last a long time, again because Id fight them through lack of understanding.

    Cut a long story short(!) a few years ago things had settled down again but I had a very upsetting personal experience which brought everything crashing down on me like a ton of bricks, obsessive thoughts worse than ever, avoidance. panic, depression, It made me realise that this ‘thing’ anxiety has cost me so much of my life, in terms of things I hold dear, relationships, travel, children, career, quality of life etc etc.

    Can anyone shed any light on how to recover if at possible and how do I get to a position of acceptance where I can view the past with an open mind and not be devastated about it?

  501. Andy J Says:


    I’ve seen you post on here a fair bit mate. All your posts reflect the distress your going through. I and others on here have been through it and still are.
    What you’re trying to do is fight it. I’m going to be honest with you here, you cant fight it and beat it. Im a bit of a Harry Potter geek. On one of the films, theres a scene where Harry, Ron and Hermoine get stuck in the ‘Devils Scnare’. What it does is realises that the person is struggling and then knows they are there, so keeps them there longer. Hermoine (being the clever of the trio) knows to relax and allow herself through. Its the same analogy as quick sand. The harder you try to get out, the less progress you make.

    Anxiety isnt pleasant, the whole questioning, inward thinking and self focus can be one of the worst symptoms in my book. But trying to fight it wont make it easier at all. You simply cant think yourself better. You have to allow all those thoughts and feelings to be there. So if you are sitting at home watching the telly and you can feel yourself inwardly thinking, just say ‘OK, I know this is my anxiety kicking in, but you know what, I dont mind, its not going to hurt me’; and continue watching television. You may not be able to focus on the telly much, but you’re showing your brain and mind that you arent bothered by it. Look at the alternative, you could start wracking your brain, thinking your way out of it, getting yourself worked up and ending no further forward than you were, and probably worse off.

    I understand its natural to want to beat things, but it just doesnt work. All it does is make your brain stand up and take notice and keep a mental note of ‘this is something I need to worry about’. You have to override that and teach yourself that these thoughts are nothing other than anxiety. They are created by excess adrenaline and the longer they go on being fought the more ingrained they become. You have to reverse that process by not giving them any attention. It isnt easy at all. You’ll still fall back in to old ways of fighting, but dont worry, just allow them to be there and keep remembering that this is nothing more than anxiety.

    I suffer from obsessive thoughts. I have to remind myself constantly that this is all perpetrated from an anxious state and the habits I’ve created for myself.

    Ross, give up the fight mate. Allow yourself to feel anxious and trust in yourself that you will come through this. Your mind takes time to settle in to new ways of thinking. Itll happen as proved by so many on here.

    Trust in yourself, I have faith you can do this.

    All the best,


  502. Ross Says:

    Cheers andy that post is so me & from today im no longer going to research as it time to let my mind heal as Anxiety has taken up so much of my life & your probably so right in the fact I fight & try & think my way better it scares me & yeah I full of fear I might be 1 who doesnt recover & attention on me 24/7.

  503. ravindra Says:

    Can any body explain please what is the difference between OCD & Anxiety.

  504. Bryan Says:

    Great post, Andy.

  505. Jeff Says:

    It’s hard to view anything with an open mind (clarity) when our brains are racked with anxiety. Reality seems like something we see only through a distorted lense.
    Anxiety ,and the fear of anxiety, consumes us, drains our happiness, hope…. zest for life. At times we think about if/when this plague ever ends how will we look back on it? With fear? Will looking back on it bring back those old feelings?

    From personal experience just thinking about life without anxiety, what it must be like – what it WAS like, in itself gave me twinges of anxiety.

    I’ve been through this a few times now and can tell you that getting over anxiety and the fear of it, the process of it – will happen over time and you’ll accept why it happened, and that indeed did happened. You won’t be devastated by the memory of it anymore than the memory of a having a broken arm or getting the flu.

    You will not grieve over the loss of the period(s) of your life from anxiety. We move on – as is human nature.

  506. Doreen. Says:

    I am constantly amazed by the quality of the beautifully written posts that people take the time and trouble to write on here. Jeff and Andy just recently I have found really moving. Many thanks

  507. Ves Says:

    Hi Simon,
    “Can anyone shed any light on how to recover if at possible and how do I get to a position of acceptance where I can view the past with an open mind and not be devastated about it?”

    The only thing that we have to do is to retrain our habitual mind to be in “being mode” in the present instead of “doing mode” in the past or future. Every living moment is a new chance to start.

    How many times in the past my habitual “doing mode” mind was thinking if I just go to one more vacation in order to relax I will be fine. And then I drag, my body and my “doing mode” mind, to the beach of Mexico and nothing happens. Instead of being in present and start experiencing that present moment my mind start thinking “doing mode” : “Maybe that other beach 3km down the road is nicer”, “Hmm maybe if I do little bit of Golf will help”, “Maybe that aromatherapy massage would do the trick”.

    Or “doing mode” mind start going into the past: “that Dominican beaches from last year were nicer” and “food was nicer” and on and on and on.
    Always comparing, judging, and planning instead of just being. And after 8 days instead of being in the present and experiencing the present (whatever present is), my “doing mode” mind was in the past or future. And the whole cycle starts again as soon I land back home. New plans, new comparisons, new judging start for picking a new vacation in order to obtain relaxation, that ultimately never comes.

  508. simon Says:

    Jeff/Ves thank you for taking the time to read my post and write replies I am very grateful.

    When my last setback happened I thought I was in a position where I couldn’t suffer again or fall as low as I have. It has lasted and continues to last longer than any previous setbacks and is as bad as things have ever been.

    I know self pity tires the mind etc Ive read the book and have gained so much knowledge but my mind is battered with thoughts 24/7, I avoid, have grotesque thoughts about things which make me ill.

    I asked the question because I was a 17 year old happy go lucky young lad when this started and now I’m a 41 year old man who feels he has lost so much time, experiences and quality of life.

    I hope if/when I can get through this it is correct than I will not grieve and can move on.

    Thank you

  509. Sarah Says:

    Hi everyone. I read pauls book in january and was doing really well but had my first setback a few weeks ago. It lasted for a few days then i felt ok again. Since last week i have been really up and down, one day not paying any attention to my symptoms the next feeling extremely anxious and always close to tears because i feel so hopeless. Has this been a part of recovery for anyone else? At the moment i really feel like i am not only not moving forward but am taking 20 steps backwards. Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks

  510. Melissa Says:

    Hello Sarah. I too have anxiety. And the definition of anxiety is intense fear. However, instead of fearing we mostly worry instead of feeling fear because fear is worse. When we are worried we are not anxious. Worry and fear are two different things. Now since you have let yourself not worry about things it has gotten worse and not better. I too had this happen to me and I’m recovering. It feels like hell but just let it be, don’t worry about it and just accept the fear. Stay busy, spend time with the people that make you happy. Fake it till you make it.

  511. Sarah Says:

    Thanks for your reply Melissa. Everything you say makes sense. I really thought that i had finally accepted that anxiety along with all of its lies and tricks would be part of my life for a while but i think that a small part of me is still reluctant to give up fighting. I think i just need to let it do what its doing and truely get on with my life. Easier said than done though. Thanks again for your reply.

  512. Stephanei Says:

    Hi Sarah, what you’re experiencing is very typical. Recovery is up and down. I think those first few downs are the hardest, because you finally were having an up period and feeling hopeful and then bam! it feels like you’re back to square one. But you aren’t – remember that. You can’t undo the progress you’ve made. You’ll learn to not get so distressed over the down periods. Yes, they’ll won’t be fun, but you won’t buy into the lies. Hope this helps. Keep smiling :)

  513. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Sarah, what you’re experiencing is very typical. Recovery is up and down. I think those first few downs are the hardest, because you finally were having an up period and feeling hopeful and then bam! it feels like you’re back to square one. But you aren’t – remember that. You can’t undo the progress you’ve made. You’ll learn to not get so distressed over the down periods. Yes, they’ll won’t be fun, but you won’t buy into the lies. Hope this helps. Keep smiling :)

  514. Sarah Says:

    Thank you Stephanie for your lovely reply. It made me feel loads better and i did manage to crack a little smile so its not all that bad. Thanks a million.

  515. Melissa Says:

    Its no problem. It takes a lot of strength to go forward but you can do it.

  516. Kelly Says:

    Great post Andy and others.

    Sarah – What Melissa and Stephanie say are so true. I’ll tell you that I had my first down period last week after 6 weeks of feeling good. For a few days, I worried about whether that meant I was going backwards or starting over. But, then I read the great advice from those in these comments and I realized that I just need to not fight. By not fighting, I came through the down period and am just about back to “normal.” You can do it too.

  517. Andy J Says:

    Hi Guys,

    I guess its a question to those who have obsessive thoughts.

    Do you ever experience urges with those? As though you feel you are going to actually DO something, rather than having an irrational thought? I’m pretty stuck at the moment with this whole concept. I’m busy getting on with my day and then WHAM, ‘what if you did xyz’ which would be really wrong and land you in prison, ruining your life.

    Do these obsessions need to be handled in the same way? As although they aren’t images, they feel like strong urges to do something? I read a lot of posts on here regarding thoughts and physical symptoms, but my set seem pretty different and I guess that’s why I’m so concerned.

    I can handle, explain and give advice on the self checking and inward thinking side of things, but with this I get stuck nearly every time. I try to reason with it, saying things like ‘this isn’t you’, but it never seems to stick and probably makes me doubt myself even more.

    I guess if I was that kind of person, I wouldn’t be having all those kind of doubts and would just get on and do xyz?

    Any advice would be greatly received.



  518. Andy J Says:

    Again, sorry to reword, not what if you did; as in have done, but “what if you might do something” which would be wrong.

    These are the sorts of things which are really holding me back. I know there’s a craving for certainty, but its really crippling me.



  519. Kelly Says:

    Andy – By reasoning with the thoughts/urges, you are paying them attention that they don’t deserve. You need to not only let the thoughts come and go, but also not pay the urges any attention. Don’t try to reason with them. As I said before, the fact that you are disturbed by the images/urges means that they are completely against your character (ego-dystonic).

    I’m going to post some information that I read on the website ocdfree. I posted it earlier, but it really helped me and I think it will be comforting to you too. I hope you find it helpful.

    Courtesy of

    “How To Overcome Intrusive Thoughts

    To overcome intrusive thoughts, it’s important to first realise you’re in complete control of yourself and it simply feels like you’re not when an intrusive thought has a strong grip on you. Knowledge is very important if you’re going to achieve that, so here’s a page that’ll help you to understand intrusive thoughts and explain how you can overcome them:

    Intrusive thoughts are ego-dystonic. This means they’re the very opposite of your character. You have these thoughts because you DON’T want them because they’re everything you’re against morally and as a result you’re perceiving them as threatening, so your brain flags them as important.

    You never have to fear acting on an intrusive thought. You’re terrified of these thoughts. They’re your worst fears which is why they’re so hard to ignore and you’re suffering as a result. You’re not just suddenly going to reverse your character and find it acceptable to act on them. You’re only suffering like this because you’re a good, kind and moral person.

    Analysing the thoughts is the problem. Every human being has intrusive thoughts. However only OCD sufferers react to them for a prolonged time rather than shrug them off because of how our brains flag them as important. The more attention you pay to an intrusive, the more it sticks around because it’s being given importance that it doesn’t deserve to have. By accepting that you’ll have these thoughts and understanding that you’re the one in control you can get on with life whilst they’re in your head in confidence they’ll fade out when you don’t respond to them and as a result show your brain they’re not a threat.”

  520. Kelly Says:

    Does anyone else have the hardest time in the morning? As the day goes on, I seem to get busy with other things and it’s easier to let go. But, first thing in the morning, it’s hard for me to break the habit of thinking about myself and what kind of day it is going to be. I’m hoping that one day I can get to the point where I wake up and a day is just a day without the habit of asking myself how I’m feeling.

  521. Andy J Says:

    Hi Kelly,

    Thanks very much for that post. I guess because the current subject of my obsessions has been with me since last July, its becoming ingrained and Ive habituated to it. Perhaps meaning that it now has less of a power over me.

    However that in itself becomes a problem, because it then becomes ‘why am I not anxious about this anymore’. I used to have issues with knives, where I would be afraid of picking it up and hurting either myself or some one else with it. Ive managed to overcome that thankfully, but the current obsession is something which is plaguing me.

    I guess I just have to not care about it and let it do its thing. Which is easier said than done when it is something that I know is totally wrong. Its getting the balance between allowing things (but not agreeing with them) and totally trying to rid yourself of them.

    I know Paul has mentioned he is going to be doing some of this in his book, but its something i’m really looking forward to reading. Hopefully itll strengthen my insight.

    Thanks again,


  522. Kelly Says:

    Andy – Don’t try to rid yourself of them at all. Just let them be – I know it’s easier said that done. I’ve mentioned before, but my worst intrusive thought was that I was going to hurt or kill myself. I, too, had an issue with knives. Once, while in my kitchen, I looked at the knives and had one of my intrusive thoughts. For a while after that, each time I looked at the knives, I had the thought. But I never stopped using the knives. I just let them thought be, knowing that I would never act on it. Eventually, the thoughts went away. Now, out of habit, the thought sometimes comes back. But now it’s like it is for anyone that may have that random thought. It just comes and goes.

    If only I could get over the habit of thinking about myself now (especially in the mornings)- I would be doing great!

  523. Andy J Says:

    Hi Kelly,

    Thanks again.

    In terms of morning anxiety, I think its quite common. Is your sleep affected by anxiety? Or is it purely upon waking.

    Sometimes its the ‘remembering’ (as mentioned in At Last a Life) which can provoke the anxiety. If you’ve been in a peaceful state, where anxiety isn’t playing an active part of your thoughts, then you remember what you’ve been going through, it can provoke the anxiety again. You may not be fully awake and able to put your thoughts in to the same process you can during the day. As you habituate and the thoughts and process of anxiety lose their importance, the anxiety should also reduce, regardless of time of day, because you know there is nothing to worry about.



  524. Bryan Says:


    100%. My mornings are night and day different than the rest of my day, no pun intended.

    If I felt how I usually feel at noon… When I woke up, I’d have almost no issues anymore. It’s just been my burden since this thing started. But… Things ARE way better overall and like you I plan to just keep accepting and waiting for the nervous system to calm back dome to where mornings are just mornings again.

    Very common for the disorder, btw.

  525. Kelly Says:

    Thanks to both Bryan and Andy! Very reassuring reading both of your replies. My sleep isn’t affected. It’s truly the start of my day where I “remember” the anxiety as Andy put it. As I get going throughout the day, I may remember it some more, but it is much easier to just move on with my day.

    Bryan – It sounds like we are in the same place. Way better overall and waiting it out! Good luck to you!

  526. Natasha Says:

    Hi All,

    It is my first time posting on this blog but I do read all your posts on a regular basis which have been of great comfort. My anxiety started in 2011 and I have had good and bad patches but at the moment I am currently in a bad one :(. My main fear is developing Phycosis through my anxiety. I have the most bizarre, crazy, intrusive thoughts and they really upset me and send my adrenaline through the roof!

    Can anybody offer me some clarity?



  527. KimmieLouise Says:

    Hi everyone I posted on here a few weeks ago when I first found Paul’s book and it really has helped and I’ve been myself again nearly for a few weeks but these past couple of days I’ve been having my first set back and I’m finding it hard to just let the thoughts be there and accepting that it’s just my anxiety, Am I doing the right thing by saying to myself “this is just how I’m feeling at the moment there’s nothing to be afraid of” and moving on? If anyone has any advice I would really appreciate it, thank you. :)

  528. Joachim Says:

    Some essential tips on anxiety and what will 100% lead to recovery no matter how long you have suffered. You must go towards your anxiety asking for more during your worst moments. Ask anxiety to make you lose control go crazy or die but to do it right then and there. Not in the unknown future but right now. Push forward into your fear center and stay there so there is no more unknown place for anxiety to hide in. You see anxiety cannot show its true self because it is based on a LIE not TRUTH. You fear the unknown then possibility of something happening but can never happen. The neo cortex of your brain is over stimulated while your Limbic sysytem is very quiet (your feelings) this is the main reasons why you feel the way you do and is always transient and temporary in every case. My facing the fear head on and asking for more your showing your Limbic system that there is nothing to be afraid of. Over time the Limbic system turns off the flight or flight and replaces it with the rest digest switch. The neo cortex then changes its brain frequency and normal thinking ensues. This is biology and is always the case when you give the correct reactions to the Limbic system. It wants a steady stream of reassuring so it can lift the bodies natural defensive system from protecting you. Do everything a non anxious person would do whilst you are in the midst of anxiety and you must recover there is no other option! I ask all of you what can anxiety prevent you from doing that you could not do before? The answer is nothing it can only slow your thinking down. Go slowly throughout your day but always GO. The more normal living you do the quicker the Limbic system recovers. Face everything and recover. I promise this works 100% because it’s basic biology. If you face the fear you will recover

  529. Joachim Says:

    Sorry for the typo the smart phone ain’t too smart sometimes????

  530. Kelly Says:

    KimmieLouise – It’s fine to have something that you say to yourself, as long as you don’t say it with the intention of it making you feel better. Moving on, as you say, is definitely the best thing to do. Just accept that it is your anxiety. The sooner you do that, the quicker your setback will be over. At least that’s what I’ve found!

  531. KimmieLouise Says:

    Kelly – Thank you so much for replying and for the advice I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully I’ll be back to myself again soon, thanks again Kelly.

  532. carla Says:

    Kelly, how have you been today? My day hasn’t been too bad – CBT followed by a swim (which is great at bringing the anxiety down just a couple of notches). I then collected my son and we hung out for the afternoon before watching my daughter’s Zumba performance!

    My physical anxiety symptoms have been pretty mild I’d say and it’s been easy enough for me to carry out my normal daily activities. But I’ve still been habitually ‘monitoring’ myself, almost like I’m carrying out a silent running commentary on my thoughts. And it feels the strongest when I’m trying to focus outwards which is probably why I feel exhausted now!

    It’s so strange because I know I’m the same person I’ve always been but this feeling of hyper-awareness makes reality as I know it all feel a bit surreal!

    And sometimes it feels like I must be doing something wrong – like, if I’m constantly checking myself then I’m not accepting properly. But instinct is telling my that it’s all part and parcel, just another symptom that should be worked alongside.

  533. carla Says:

    And I also find that it’s hard to focus on outward things without feeling as if I’m ‘trying’ somehow. I know and understand that it’s the best way through but sometimes the effort to doing this seems to make the anxious thinking ‘kick back’ a bit and come more strongly.

    I think I’m finding it hard to focus outwards without trying ‘too hard’ IYKWIM? I think it’s a delicate balance which can be quite tricky to achieve.

    Focusing outwards alongside constant mental chatter whilst remaining relaxed, accepting and nonchalant is quite a challenge isn’t it?!

  534. Rachel Says:

    Joachim I face my fear symptom every day and it hasn’t gone not even reduced to be honest it’s getting worse plus if your flight or fight is there to protect you why does it make you feel so ill could do without protecting if that’s what it does to you x

  535. Kelly Says:

    Hi Carla – Things have been pretty good today. Mornings are always hardest for me and it gets easier to get out of my head as I get involved with outside things throughout the day. I will tell you that, at first, I felt like trying to keep busy while monitoring myself was very difficult. But as I’ve read multiple times throughout this blog, we are told to “fake it until you make it.” I wasn’t sure about that, but I truly think it has helped. Now, I find myself truly getting engaged in activities and not having the chatter. This proves to me that I’m still making progress because I’ve gone from constant inward thinking and hyper-awareness to periodic inward thinking and hyper-awareness. I know that you can get there too!

  536. carla Says:

    Glad you’ve had a good day Kerry! Yes, mornings are hard aren’t they? I’m planning on swimming each morning after I’ve dropped the kids off, just to get going really and start the day with a positively – my worst mornings tend to be when I hurry back home, climb on the sofa and open the laptop!

    I’ve organised a few playdates too (which is what I’d normally do) so doing pretty well at carrying on regardless.

    Someone recommended knitting to me the other day so maybe I’ll dig out some of my mum’s old patterns. My husband has requested a knitted dressing-gown which conjured up some pretty horrific images in my mind and might just put me off altogether!….x

  537. Kelly Says:

    Carla – You are so right! I do find that the mornings that I come home after dropping the kids off are the worst. I do better when I get active right away. I’ve been trying to get back to the gym. I used to go every day, but haven’t been in a while. I do, however, walk at least 2-3 miles per day outside through my neighborhood. Getting back into a gym routine is my next goal. Glad to hear that you’re doing well!

  538. Melissa Says:

    The evidence that we aren’t bad is there, we just can’t see it because the thoughts and feelings seem so real. The simple fact that we worry about it proves that morally we have good intentions. We obsess over it every day. Why is that? Because we care. That’s why. I know this is hard to believe. I still have a hard time believing that this is true, but it is. It took me the longest time to finally be able to say that I am a good person. I am still recovering. But the point I’m making is if someone really was that bad, they wouldn’t worry about it and they wouldn’t care. Just keep that in mind.

  539. Matt Says:


    I haven’t been on in a while, but I’m back and I guess needing reassurance, more than anything. Mostly because I feel like I’ve made no progress, and I’m wondering where I’m going wrong.

    So I’ve been off this blog for at least over a month, I think. I’ve tried extremely hard to not react to feeling anxious, and try to just let anxiety be what it is. It seemed to be working well over my christmas break (I’m in grad school), and I started to have some days which were almost completely anxiety free. However, I’m in the last semester of my didactic work in school, and it seems that school anxiety is constantly perpetuating my anxiety in general, and I feel like I’m never getting a break. It got to such a point last week that I was constantly anxious, and it was of such intensity that I just wanted it to end so bad, that i wanted to quit school and run around yelling and screaming and just letting all this anxious energy out, even though I know it won’t fix a thing…and of course anxiety then throws you the super dire thoughts (which I won’t repeat here). It sucks so bad, and it’s so hard to just allow when it’s so intense, it’s awful, and it sensitizes me to such a state that it’s hard to NOT be afraid of it, and to NOT want to control it.

    I just start to feel like i’m losing control, because nothing I can do right now will give me any relief, and it’s hard to go day in and day out with such anxiety (as you know). I’m on spring break this week, and have had a couple of decently lower anxiety levels, but today it’s randomly back up, and has me wanting to give up (even though it died down some). I hate that I have one bad day, and then I’m finding reasons why I’ll never get better, and why I’m the only one who can’t do this, and how weak I am, yadda yadda. I’m getting feelings of hopelessness, like I’m painted in such a corner that I can’t get out of, and it makes me not even want to try.

    It’s the most frustrating thing in the world to not feel how you want to feel. I know it’s wrong, but I WANT to feel motivated, and I WANT to accept, and I WANT to not worry about recovery, but I can’t seem to get myself there…yet. It’s just so damn frustrating, and I’m wondering if you’ve felt this low before. I’ve never felt this trapped, and I’m doing my best to not talk about it to anyone, or to not let it get to me, but it’s always underneath the surface, and it’s getting bad enough that I’m having a harder time focusing.

    Anyway, sorry for the rambling. I’m trying to respond to it like Dominic said, which is “so what”. It helps me to write it out sometimes, when the frustration (or feelings of anger, or hopelessness, or whatever) is really boiling over, and I don’t know if that’s trying to control it or not, but sometimes I just need a release, and I don’t feel like I’m able to get that anywhere. I hope this doesn’t sound crazy, haha. I guess it’ just one of those days…or weeks. I hope to someday be able to be in the position your at, where I can help others through this. That, to me, would truly be a miracle, and one that I would cherish the rest of my life :)

  540. Matt Says:


    Quick note: Don’t feel that you need to respond, you’ve given me such great advice in the past. I think one of my real issues is that I try to control how I feel because of school, which keeps me stuck, but I have a very hard time letting go. Writing all this out has already helped me to feel better. Also, thanks to you (and everyone else), for all you do!

  541. JoJo Says:

    I just don’t understand why sometimes in the morning when I wake up I just feel like weird about life and just have to motivate myself. I don’t have physical feelings so is this still anxiety? What causes you to keep thinking that something isn’t right with yourself, not physically but emotionally? I mean I notice we call call it “this” thing because we don’t even have a name for this thing that disrupts our feelings and emotions. I have tried to just forget it and get on with my day but it never goes away and then the fear this will always be with me comes in and then I say how could I go on with life like this. Please help what am I doing wrong?

  542. Ves Says:

    Hi Rachel
    If I understood the last Joackim post correctly regarding “feeling” the fear and letting go I think that thing he is writing is not about “letting go” of the actual “fear” but our clinging and aversion to it. And I think the idea is to “feel” and face the fear in order to remember it intimately in every detail and then you will naturally let go your attachments to that fear or experience.

  543. Rob Says:

    Ahhhhh so basically what happened is that my mind attached to the tragedy from a few weeks back. I had gotten over it but somehow with all the stress I began to think “What if that incident triggered another anxiety disorder like possibly PTSD in me I would be completely screwed if that was the case.”

    I talked to my dr/therapist and they both assured me that no it did not do that but in the span of 1 week I worked myself up into thinking that it might have done that and I still cannot stop obsessing about that event. Now I have so much adrenaline in my system that I lost concentration during exam time at school. Its like now I gotta somehow get through this setback but I stress myself out trying to actively get out of it so I can do my work again. My thoughts are like dang it did that event screw my recovery.

    Before that, my obsessive thougts revolved around an experience with ecstasy last year. Now those thoughts basically vanished and I’m thinking about this thing! I would rather think of my bad ecstasy experience than this! Mainly since I was told that once my “adrenal fatigue”/HPTA dysfunction caused by the drug went away all those thoughts would go away. So I basically had huge confidence in that. But now my confidence is shattered and I worry if I will still recover in the way I was planned/guaranteed to recover from AF. Hopefully its still the AF talking and causing me to panic since the AF worsened in the last few weeks.

  544. Andy J Says:

    Hi Guys,

    Really really low this morning, so hoping for some inspiration.

    As I’ve mentioned I have obsessive thoughts; worrying that I am attracted to children. This has also made me feel really scared of using my mobile phone, in case I search for something I shouldn’t. The overall topic of the anxiety began last July and has since manifested itself in to something huge. Its literally all I think and worry about. Last night I was reading an article about people who are that way inclined and people who fear they are that way inclined. It mentioned a website, which basically acts as a vigilante site to find these people and ‘out them’. Anyways, I stuck the name of that site in to Google (without knowing what the site was) and was given a list of search results, informing me it was all about this vigilante stuff.

    However, immediately after searching, I started questioning why I had and what it meant. What if the site had actually been something else? Was that what I was really looking for? As I’ve been having huge issues with my mobile phone and avoiding using it, it feels like I have given in to this temptation and actually acted on an intrusive thought. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I now have a huge amount of anxiety, shame and guilt. Even though I know I havent done anything illegal or viewed anything I shouldnt.

    Thankfully I’m at my therapist this afternoon, however these thoughts have literally plagued me all day. I cant convince myself that it meant nothing and i’m struggling to rationalize it all. I’m in a really dark place at this moment in time.

    Ive convinced myself I’m either going to be arrested or sectioned. I just don’t know how long I can continue being like this. Everything I try just seems to fail. I long for the old me, but I feel I have changed and this is now irreversible. I don’t want to be a monster, I want to be the normal, happy person I was before all of this anxiety, OCD and depression started. It feels like I have changed in to something I don’t want to be. Is that even possible? Can anxiety turn you in to your worst fears? Or do I have some other kind of psychotic disorder?

    I know thats a long rant, but if any one has any words of advice, id be extremely grateful.



  545. Chris Says:


    This is a normal fear particularly for many men in our paedophile obsessed culture. The different is that you have anxiety which increases your fear considerably. But it really is just anxiety. If it was not this you were scared off it would be something else (we can all list the various symptoms that have come and do go). I seem to have become conscious of my breath this week – a new one for me! But hey it will be something else next week or month. It helps to challenge the belief – do you really really believe you are that person? Is there any evidence? They are craappy thoughts emotionally charged, which makes them seem true but they are not. Keep doing your best to accept and do other things even while the thoughts are there – don’t try and get rid of them just know they are not true.

    Good luck! Keep going forward


  546. Jeff Says:

    @Andy J
    Stop beating yourself up brother.
    Many years ago, during a previous go-round with anxiety, I too had some pretty messed up thoughts. I finally came to the realization that this anxiety induced thinking was the OPPOSITE of how I actually felt. If I loved someone deeply I would fear hurting them. If I had a strong religious feeling I would then think horrible thoughts about Jesus/God. I love life, so I would have horrible thoughts of suicide and then try to rationalize why someone would do that. It would devastate me….
    When I realized that it was all BS, I ceased to fear those ridiculous thoughts – and they faded into oblivion.

  547. Melissa Says:

    There is always something new that you are gonna worry about. And some days will be better than others. Its all a process. You just have to keep in mind that some days you’re gonna feel like crap. I’ve had anxiety since last June. And it has been hell every stinking day until I stopped fighting. Its gotten better I stopped worrying and now I’m just living. I feel like crap sometimes. We all do. I have terrible thoughts and feelings and its so hard to believe that none of its true but as I’ve stopped worrying I’ve realized how silly a lot of it is. Hang in there everyone.

  548. Kelly Says:

    Melissa – You really have a great attitude about all of this. I admire you!

    JoJo – Mornings are the hardest part for me too. I posted about this yesterday and got two great responses from Bryan and Andy. Check out the posts above.

  549. Sarah Says:

    Hi Carla and Kelly, without muzzling in on your conversation it really struck a cord with me to hear that you both have a hard time once home from dropping the children off to school. I always feel dreadful a few seconds after i wake up but with all of the chaos of getting the children out i soon calm down. Its only when i get back to an empty house that the anxiety really kicks in. I am fortunate that i live in a really beautiful part of ireland so i go walking for hours. I find just being in nature is a wonderful tonic for mind and body.

  550. Andy J Says:

    Thanks for all of the advice guys.

    I guess I just have to continue treating this as the anxiety it is. It’s a greats ob of convincing you otherwise eh!

  551. Kelly Says:

    Sarah – You can muzzle into the conversation any time! I could have written exactly what you said! The first few seconds of the day are hard, but then I get involved with getting the kids out the door. It isn’t until I get home that it really kicks in. But, I’ve been really good lately about getting out of the house and walking for 2-3 miles. I am so jealous that you can walk around Ireland! I have always wanted to visit there! :)

    It sounds like we are in the same boat, so feel free to reach out to me any time! I try to check this blog every day. Or if you’d like my email address, I’m happy to give it out.

  552. Jude Says:


    I feel your pain, the frustration of trying to rid yourself of something distasteful and disturbing. Unfortunately you are only giving this disturbance more and more power by doing so.

    Have you tried welcoming the thoughts, seeing them through?
    You don’t have to like them, but maybe just give them some space. Instead of fighting them away, just let them be there or if you feel brave enough go along with them and see what happens.

    You are so afraid of something horrible happening, yet that is what anxiety feeds off of, your dread. So you kind of have yourself in a perfect place for anxiety to continually feast on you and your sensibilities.

    Just give it up and give in. Like someone else said, once you are past that particular fear another one will arise. Anxiety is a black hole that can never be filled, it can only be accepted and seen for what it is and that is ANXIETY.

  553. Nolan Says:

    Hi Matt,

    I know what that’s like. You have the underlying anxiety issue…. and then you have these other things that are more situational (school, work, family, whatever) that feed more anxiety into you…. and then the fears start to surface: “what if these situational anxieties serve to amp up my ‘anxiety issue’ and it throws me back into a tail spin!? As a matter of fact, maybe the fact that I’m poorly handling these situational anxieties is proof that I am broken and spinning out of control!!!?!”

    I say this:
    Feel it all and have a different attitude towards it.
    Matt, if it ramps up to an intense degree just tell yourself “oh well, so what… that’s just what happens at times in a person’s life”. It’s how you label that thought/bodily reaction or react to it that makes it one way or the other.

    I took an extended period of time off from work when I was in the darkest days of it. When I came back to work there was alot of stress with getting back up to speed and settling back down into the day to day flow of working.
    Some rough days would come (clients would yell at me, there were things I didnt’ know how to even begin to fix, work pilling up). I had the thought, “OMG! Maybe I can never work again. All of this stress is just going to reinforce my anxiety and throw me back down.!!”

    But, I’ve been in stressful situations before and came out clean on the other end. So, even in the stuff at work…. it’s all how I react to it.

    And to some extent this whole ordeal has been a Godsend because I’ve developed an attitude that I never used to have. When I’m flooded with things at work and I’m freaking out that I won’t be able to get them all done with before the end of the day I simply remind myself, “Nolan, sometimes you don’t always get things done…. and that’s fine”.

    I leave my work at the end of the day and just say “I did what I could do…. and the rest I’ll do later.”

    Now, that’s just in relation to work.
    But it’s an attitude that can follow you anywhere.

    Do what you can do with the situational stressors/anxieties…. when you feel yourself getting worked up remind yourself “oh well, it is what it is”.
    In time, that feeling of being overwhelmed will subside. And I don’t doubt that you’ll be a stronger person because of it.

  554. carla Says:

    Hi everyone, hope you’ve all had a good day!

    I’ve been tired today but have managed to keep going pretty well. I think I’ve also had some waves of DP which have left me feeling a bit strange and not like ‘myself.’ I’ve always been so engrossed in my kids, so today when I felt like I was talking to them in a dream I just felt a bit gutted and sorry for myself I guess.

    I know I still love all my nearest and dearest but feeling so removed from them has left me a bit tearful today – the days just feel like such an effort that there’s not a whole load of room left for love and laughter.

    This all came on quite quickly and intensely so has come as a bit of a shock – I feel like I lost my old self almost overnight. I think I need some time to habituate to it all and come to terms with the recovery process again.

    On a positive though, I had about 15 anxiety-free years prior to this so I just need to remember that I recovered before so can recover again.

    Hi Sarah, welcome to the chat! Yes, I think it’s helpful to fill up those mornings with something vaguely physical to help burn off that morning adrenaline that we all seem to wake up with. Although, having felt so tired today, we also need to be careful not to exhaust ourselves too much.

    How old are your kids? I’ve got a girl and a boy (5 and 4), both little poppets. Just off to read stories now actually (bit late I know!)

  555. Andy J Says:

    Hi Jude,

    Thanks very much for replying to me. I can see the error of my ways. I just find it hard applying all of the different techniques I have learnt.

    I have always considered myself some one who would do anything for any one. I have always loved being around children, and so the themes of these thoughts have distressed me hugely.

    I know that wishing them away will only increase their hold over me. It’s learning to welcome them without giving them the respect they crave that I have to perfect. They just feel so real don’t they?

    Thanks again for your response!

  556. Ves Says:

    Hi Jude,

    I like your posts and I would like to ask your opinion on some thoughts:

    How do you practice believing that you are safe?
    What do you think that underlying reason of a good portion of anxiety is believing that you are not “good enough”?
    How do you practice believing that you are “good enough”?


  557. Jude Says:


    your words…

    “I know that wishing them away will only increase their hold over me. It’s learning to welcome them without giving them the respect they crave that I have to perfect.”

    First off perfect nothing as perfection we all know does not exist. Second off, i feel with your wording you are still trying to come at your anxiety at an angle. Facing something while trying to set up the perfect perch from which to view it is NOT facing something. Face it head on.

    Also please try treating yourself with a bit of compassion, you are suffering my friend and it is NOT your fault. As you also said….

    “I have always considered myself some one who would do anything for any one. I have always loved being around children”

    You are a noble soul lost in a battle you cannot win and shouldn’t be fighting to begin with.

  558. Sarah Says:

    Hi again Kelly, thanks for your reply. Its so nice to hear from other mothers with anxiety. I experience a lot of guilt because sometimes i feel so disconnected from my two girls. DP with children around can be really hard to cope with and really sad. But i just tell myself, ‘i wont let anxiety stop me from enjoying my kids childhood’. Yes, Ireland is a lovely place to live, very easy going and slow paced. It would be great to keep in touch but i must admit that i am terrible for checking my e mails (like once or twice a month) so i will keep a look out for you on here. Thanks again for you support. I know i am i fair way behind you on the road to recovery but i am here too if you ever need a chat, anxiety related or otherwise.

  559. Andy J Says:

    Thanks again Jude.

    It’s the frequency which bothers me so much at the moment.

    Is it a case of just accepting them when they come and getting on with your day? I thought I knew all of this, but my mind gets so overworked.

    I have a really stressful job at the moment too meaning I rarelt get a chance to relax or think to myself. Sometimes I’m all consumed with my anxiety at work too.

  560. Jude Says:


    Anxiety will thrust itself at ANYTHING we perceive as “bad”. That is it’s purpose. To root out ANY inclination of doubt. As we know deep down, life is out of our control. We have no power to control what happens tomorrow, we only have a say in how we will REACT to what happens.

    Believing you are not good enough is a classic insecurity. A part of the human condition we all have felt at some point in life. Anxiety magnifies your insecurities and exaggerates them greatly.

    Now for your two questions i have two questions for you.

    “How do you practice believing that you are safe?”

    Could you tell me how you are not safe at the moment?

    “How do you practice believing that you are “good enough”?

    I would need to know first just why you feel you are not good enough at the moment?

  561. Sarah Says:

    Hi Carla, i totally get where you are coming from with regards to your interaction with your children. It is heartbreaking sometimes to feel like you are not fully there for them and, like you, i have often ended up in tears because i felt so bad for them and sorry for myself. But then i think ‘no, i have allowed anxiety to take so much from me for so long its not going to take away my enjoyment of my children. i just carry on playing games etc, quite a lot of the time faking my enthusiasm. I dont know if thats the right way to go about it but it often helps me connect with them on some level even if its not as deeply as i would like at the moment. I have two girls, 5 and almost 7, who have been in bed now for an hour and a half and i can still hear them chatting.

  562. Ves Says:

    Thanks Jude,

    “Could you tell me how you are not safe at the moment?”

    Depends from moment to moment. In some moments my mind is not peaceful. Then, I maybe subconsciously connect that “not peacefulness” with not feeling safe.

    “I would need to know first just why you feel you are not good enough at the moment?”

    After thinking for a while I don’t have an answer for that. I think the reason is that when I wanted to make definition of what is “good enough” I could not come with one. Then I think if there is no objective definition of “good enough” then it cannot be the opposite of that – “not good enough”. There are many subjective definitions of “not good enough”, but are these the truth?

  563. Melissa Says:

    I do have one fear in particular that I am very scared of. And that is growing up. I’m afraid that my life will just fly by me and I’m scared of what it will be like. I’m afraid that I won’t be a good person. I don’t want change.

  564. Melissa Says:

    But I think my main fear of all is just if I will be happy. I think a lot of my anxiety is a result to the depression that I’ve had for a long time. My insecurities have caused me to be anxious because idk what my purpose in life is and the whole religion thing is confusing. I’m afraid to not worry cause I just need to figure this whole thing out. A lot of it probably has to deal with the fact that I’m realizing that I’m growing up and that I’m about to graduate and its terrifying. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with my life. And I’m unhappy. I’m scared of what the future brings.

  565. Kelly Says:

    Sarah and Carla –

    I completely understand what you are both saying. I have two boys, ages almost 4.5 and 6.5. A few months ago, I can remember feeling totally disconnected from them and feeling like a terrible mother because I wasn’t engaged in them and their lives. I can tell you both that this passes. I am now enjoying life with both of them, playing with and reading to them, and actually interested in it. When people say “fake it until you make it,” they really are giving good advice. I did that and now I’m in such a better place.

    It sounds like I am a little further on the road to recovery, but we can definitely support each other. That is what I love about this blog. It is a safe place where we can ask questions to others who know exactly what we are going through and can give practical advice.

    I wish everyone on here the best and will help each of you in any way that I can help.

  566. Matt Says:


    Thanks for the reply. You inspire me because when I hear how bad you had it. Sometimes, I feel like it’s only me and I’m the worst it can get. I’ll start to feel like I have so many vague anxieties now, that I’m incurable, and that dealing with them is nigh impossible, because something else aborts my attempt at acceptance when I finally accept one thing.

    I’ll keep this in mind, and keep practicing an attitude of acceptance. I’m hoping that getting so summer will help me calm down some (and that I’ll get through finals, etc, without an anxiety meltdown). You’re right though, there is nothing I can do about it, other than to just accept and move on with it, and what happens is what happens. That’s the hardest thing for me to do…to let go (a little bit). I’m scared that if I let go an accept, this anxiety will prevent me from my dreams, and from my goals, and I think that’s what keeps me from accepting…all the while this anxiety seems to worsen, and scare me more and more.

    Thanks again for your words, they really mean a lot to me.

  567. Dustin Says:

    Hey Ves,
    I know your comment was directed at Jude, but in my opinion, I dont think you need to practice believing anything. Of course you’re not going to feel safe when having anxiety. I used to try to make myself feel ok (or safe) when I would have anxious moments, to gain a perspective on it that really wasn’t attainable. I know we don’t like feeling the fear, and it feels wrong, but it really isn’t. And I also don’t think you need to practice believing that you are good enough. To be honest, my self confidence levels are at a low right now, but I don’t feel the need to change that, or make myself feel better about it. Trying to make yourself believe something or feel a way other than how you are feeling right now is tiring and not to mention useless. Well, just wanted to throw my two cents in, and again, I don’t like putting advice out there, because I am not at a point where all of this makes sense, but I can surely see a difference now that I’ve given up the fight with my mind. Hope that makes some sense, and hope everyone is doing alright!

  568. Nolan Says:

    Hi Matt,

    no problem at all.
    Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe that there was a time when I was certain I was broken for good. It’s so different from how I am now…. it seems like another life entirely.

    But, when I was in the throes of it I was certain beyond a doubt there was no coming back. The pain and despair was so total and all encompassing. Paul mentioned how some anxiety suffers have “safe spots” where the torment is less. I had nothing like that. And even thinking of “safe spots”, at the time, would have made my stomach twist with fear and my head sweat intensely.

    There was a time when I used to think the concept of Hell was impossible (not trying to get into a theological debate here). I’d think “well, eventually you’d just get used to it…. and it would no longer be hell. The torment would have to lessen.”

    I don’t want this to sound like a plea for pity, but those months upon months were as close to hell on this side of existence one could get.

    I couldn’t look back into the past and happy memories, because they were now stained with this too. I didn’t even think that was possible.

    For months on end, as I was stumbling helplessly along my days, a constant plea of “please just end me, God” was never too far from my mind. I had to stop even mentioning it to my wife because it was tearing her apart.

    Matt, the best advice I could possibly give on the matter would be “stop planning and hoping for deliverance from this.”. Not because I think deliverance is impossible (I know now that it most certainly is not) but because that was the final leap I had made. I told myself “I’m done making it my goal to get better”…. for one, I wasn’t getting better by force of effort… and secondly, I just wanted to have a life bigger than a constant focus on anxiety. This was me sailing off and waving “good bye” to the old me. It sucked. But what was there left to do? How I was at that moment, wrought with anxiety/doubt/fear/despair and hollowed out on the inside was just how things were going to be for me. I made my life about other people, I made my focus back on other things. Yeah, the anxiety was constantly screaming in my mind. But oh well…. sometimes live doesn’t play out the way we thought it would.

    Anything, any thought, any new fear or old fear that came my way was welcomed to come and stay as long as it wanted to. But that’s all the attention I was going to pay it now.

    So that was my jump off point.

    And unexpectedly the peace and calmness of mind started to make it’s way back into my life.

  569. Ves Says:

    Thanks Dustin for your comment. I think understand your perspective.

  570. Ross Says:

    Nolan or Doreen im trying to get myself through a day at moment is hard I feel so low & my mind is so full of all this negatives I cant, s & what if, s I feel like im really losing my mind I constantly tired & have anxiety most of day asking myself how much longer can I suffer im having counseling soon i dont know what to do to get myself in better place it feels like im constantly in tune to how I feel & think I overanalize everything I sstruggling to just let it all be in my head in case I end up crazy or if I act on thought or if it all becomes too much.

  571. Alaina Says:

    Hi everyone, Just looking for a bit of advice really. I have one obsessive thought that really really upset me but I have now learned that it’s not truth it’s still there all the time but it does not bother me as much. Today I have got my partners grandads funeral and that is one of my anxieties, death. I always go over it in my mind when will my parents-sister/family die, what if they do soon, what would I do. I have experienced so much loss at the age of 22 I was involved in a Rta and lost 2 of my friends and grandparents/great have died, so I know that it can happen so young. I’m just petrified today. Any advice would be really helpful. Thankyou

  572. aj Says:

    Hi Nolan
    I had posted earlier. I am been suffering from anxiety since last eight months. Paul’s book has helped a lot. Lot of physical symptoms have gone. The mental chatter, fear of future and guilt of some past incidents crop up time and again. I have hypertension and I am on medication. I constantly worry about my BP. I also have one OCD, pick my scalp continuously and more so when anxious. Its embarrassing as sometimes I do it in company don’t know how to get rid of this habit. Any help much appreciated.

  573. Lucy Says:

    Nolan – thank you – I really needed to read that post today. I am going through that living hell right now, day in day out, and despairing at how much longer I can go on. You gave me some hope. thank you.

  574. Sarah Says:

    Hi Kelly and Carla, i hope you are both having a good day. I am not having a great one unfortunately. I had a cookery class this morning and though i sat through the entire class it was excruciating, i just wanted to run. At the moment i am obcessed with getting high blood pressure and having a stroke. The more i worry about it the redder my face becomes etc etc vicious circle. Then i start to feel dizzy and disorientated and then become really convinced that i am about to have a stroke. I succeed sometimes in believing that all of these symptoms are just lies, unreality created by anxiety but more often than not i am still convinced the worse will happen. I hope i am not bringing either of you down but i feel so desperate at the moment.

  575. Kelly Says:

    Sarah –

    I’m feeling a little off this morning (it’s still early for me today as I live in the US), but I’m trying to push through it. A friend just called and said that she needed some help at our elementary school, so I am going to go up there to help. Not really sure why I’m not feeling 100%, but I try to remind myself that mornings are always hardest for me and that it gets better as the day goes on.

    When I had health anxiety, I was very worried about my heart and worried that I was going to have a heart attack. Because I get heart palpitations, I had every test run by a cardiologist and everything came back normal. Still, I became obsessed with checking my heart rate. I ever found an app that I could download on my phone where I could check my heart rate. As soon as I accepted that my heart was in good health, I then began to worry about my breathing and whether I was breathing enough and whether I would keep breathing. I finally just had to accept these thoughts and worries. I just let these thoughts come and go just like my obsessive intrusive thoughts.

    You can get through this. It’s all anxiety – remember that.

  576. Sarah Says:

    Hi Kelly, thanks for taking time out of your day to reply. Some days its just harder to remember that none of it is real. Thanks for the advice, again you have made my day a little brighter. Hope you have a good day.

  577. KimmieLouise Says:

    Hi everyone, not having a good day today, can’t seem to accept the fact that all this is anxiety and I fear that I’m going to go crazy or lose my mind and I feel so tense and feel like I want to scream, I try to let the thoughts be there but they seem so damn real and frighten me so much, who knew all this could make you doubt yourself so much. I’m not sure if what I’m doing is right, again any advice would be helpful, thanks.

  578. Bryan Says:


    Yes. That IS the way forward. (What you mentioned about your kids and staying engaged. It’s hard going through anxiety disorder with kids but looking back, I realize that not only did God bless me with kids in general… They were also a blessing because I had to give them my attention and keep on with life.
    I attribute much of my recovery to my little girl. She unknowingly helped me off the ledge many times.

    Keep pointing forward. You’re doing the right things.

  579. Andy J Says:

    Hi Guys,

    I know this has been done a million times, but what is acceptance?

    I currently (I think) battle against anxiety, trying to work things out, telling myself why the thoughts I’m having aren’t real and that I’m a good person. Obviously this isn’t working. Is it because I am trying to hard?

    What should be the way I do it? Just to feel the fear and allow all the thoughts in? Do I need to label them as anxious thoughts? At the moment I’m really on edge and seem to have lost who I am. Id be interested to hear how people manage to not get involved with their thoughts? Is it as simple as acknowledging their presence, but not engaging with them. Even though they shout so loud? I suppose I want to know, when does ignoring them becoming a fight?

    I appreciate I should know all of this, but Ive started questioning whether what Ive been doing all along is actually even working or indeed the right way?

    Thanks for your time.


  580. Sarah Says:

    Bryan, Thanks so much for your reply. Its good to hear that i am going in the right direction at a time when i am really doubting myself and you are right i think i would be a lot worse if it wasnt for my girls. Thanks

  581. Kelly Says:

    Andy – Go to the home page of the blog and enter “acceptance” into the search bar. There are a few good blogs posts from Paul that would be good to read. He probably says it better than any of us would say it.

    Sarah – I’m always happy to help. In fact, writing to you today helped me feel better too and reminded me that not every day is going to be great but that we can make it through. It sounds like our kids are of similar ages (mine boys, yours girls), so we can probably understand each other very well. I wish you all the best and will keep watch on here in case you need to chat some more.

  582. carla Says:

    HI all,

    Well I’ve had a bit of a mixed day really. It started horrendously with a panic attack in the shower, followed by a morning of horrible gnawing anxiety and intrusive thoughts. My thoughts don’t really have any content as such, just more of a constant, spiking awareness that I’m still anxious and not feeling normal – a kind of compulsive attention towards myself and my feelings.

    At lunchtime it all got a bit too much and I ended up getting upset and crying on the phone to my husband. This then seemed to lift some of the tension and I felt much calmer and was able to feel a bit of the ‘acceptance’ that you’re talking about Andy. I can’t explain how really, I just felt a drop in tension and was able to accept (and truly feel) that all my self-monitoring is just another example of intrusive anxious thinking that can’t be stopped or fought. It also felt insignificant enough that I felt I could work alongside it for as long as is necessary. I then had a friend round with her son and we had a nice, relaxing time in the garden. I was aware of the anxiety but not really bothered by it.

    Then, when I went to collect my daughter, the tension built again and the thoughts felt louder and more disruptive and this has stayed with me until now really. But when I think about it, I’m due to go to a quiz night tonight and my mum has come round (which always stresses me out!) so I guess there are reasons why I’ve tensed up again.

    Something I am learning though is that a physical release of tension does seem to affect the power of the thoughts that go with it. A really good cry or some robust physical exercise both seem to help. And, whilst we can’t expect to always feel fully relaxed, it helps to explain that there is nothing ‘wrong’ with our minds and that we’re not doing anything wrong either. It is merely the tension and the physical anxiety that is causing all of this.

    So, for me, I’m gong to continue with the swimming each day and try to do something sociable too. I’m also going to try and accept that mornings are going to be horrible, get the kids to school and then carry on with the day.

    So Andy, I think the acceptance comes in tiny glimmers at first (and probably when your symptoms are not feeling so strong). And, from what I’ve read, these glimmers grow slowly until finally you are fully accepting. But the very clear message that comes through is that we must keep our behavioural routine healthy even when the symptoms are hideous and we can’t accept. And, by doing this, at least we are proving that the anxiety may make us feel terrible but has no other power as such.

  583. Chris Says:

    I would be interested to know what others consider success and progress, and key points in recovery. I try to hold on to some sense that I am going in the right direction, but the nature of the beast is that you doubt yourself.

    I am into month 6 of anxiety. I started with intense anxiety attacks, then insomnia, intrusive thoughts (the usual self-harm or harm others nonsense), then got depressed. I am now in a better place but it is still hell but something has shifted. Today is a case in point. Less anxiety but lots of nervous apprehension, went to work felt spacey and thoughts all over the place – no one would not as functioned pretty well. Came home early – torrent of negative thoughts which seemed almost overwhelming. Then worked at my desk with it all going on. Self focused and struggling to concentrate but just kept on accepting and accepting as best I could. Now feel fine – almost normal! In the past I would be in despair desperately trying to fix myself yet today weirdly feels like a success!! Not that it’s any easier but I seem to be coming through it better.

  584. Chris Says:


    Just read your great post – yes you are right it’s the tiny glimmers that make the difference. It’s the awareness you get that after all you go through you are still there and ok.

  585. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Andy. For me, acceptance starts with stopping the questioning and searching. If I’m feeling crummy, I don’t complain to my husband or come on this blog and ask questions. I was guilty of this a lot at the beginning. I would literally plead with my husband over and over, “Help me.” I was so distraught. The minute I find myself in this mode I know I’m fighting and not accepting. Honestly though it took me months to stop the constant fighting. But I finally learned (and am still learning) that anxiety is a great big bluff. Even when I was at my worst, I was always OK; and looking back now, I see how I did so much of it to myself. I even had a great support system telling me all of the right things, but I had to learn it and see it for myself. As long as I wasn’t willing to give up and let go and just live my life (as scary as that sounded at the time), then I would continue to be anxious and miserable.

    Acceptance also means not looking for results. If your mindset is acceptance=feeling better, you’re not accepting. Accepting means living your life whether you feel amazing or whether you feel horrible. For example, if I’m feeling anxious and say to myself, “I’ll exercise, that will work out some of my anxiety and then I’ll feel better”, I’m not accepting. What I should say is, “You know, I feel pretty awful, but it’s time for me to do my exercise.” I remember I looked up foods that are supposed to reduce anxiety, and I tried to incorporate them into my diet. That was me not accepting but rather looking for ways to make my anxiety go away. Now, I try to eat healthy because I want to be healthy.

    What I have come to believe is that you will accept when you’re ready to accept. We can all tell you perfectly what acceptance is, but that won’t make you accept. It has to start with you.

  586. Rachel Says:

    Stephanie did you have constant dizziness x

  587. Andy J Says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks for your reply.

    It’s getting the balance right between total avoidance and trying to work all the thiughts out. The whole accepting the thoughts when they are so uncomfortable and so unwanted.

    Do I accept them as being thoughts simply? I find it very hard to allow them.

    Thanks again.

  588. lainie waller Says:

    fabulous post stephanie and so true xxx

  589. Rachh Says:

    I don’t know how to accept anxiety:(:(:(

  590. Nolan Says:

    Hi Chris,

    What you describe as your main symptoms were pretty much mine as well.
    Very close to how mine played out.

    I’ll give the advice of don’t over think it and try not to gauge where you are at any given moment (compared to how close to recovery you are).

    At any given moment (even if things are really bad) just remind yourself “this is how things are” and move on with your day.

    Sounds like you’re doing ok. But for me one big stumbling block early on was comparing how I was at any given moment to either being perfectly normal or intensely in a bout of it.

    Again, even when it’s on thick just remember, “this is simply how it is at this moment… so what”.

    You don’t need to trick or convince peace to come back in your life. You’ll know when it’s there.

  591. Stephanie Says:

    Andy – first, they are just thoughts. I can think all I want that I’m a tree, but does that make me a tree? No. Second, there’s nothing you need to do to allow the thoughts. If the thoughts are going to be there, they’ll be there. Again, accepting/allowing does not equal no unwanted/bad/weird thoughts. It just means when you have a thought you don’t react. Just a couple days ago I was holding a knife and thought, “What if I just stabbed myself?” Then I kind of chuckled to myself and kept cooking. There’s no need to analyze why I had that thought or what it means. The more you analyze and question, the more you’ll keep yourself in the cycle and keep having the thoughts. It’s your choice.

  592. Kelly Says:

    Carla –

    The day you had today is a great testament to how we should push on even though the day might start badly. Way to hang in there and be a great example for all of us!


  593. Chris Says:

    Thank you Nolan

    That is very helpful


  594. Daniel Says:

    We often seem to forget or unlearn what acceptance is, even after periods of being sure we had it figured out. But, as a fact, every time we go back to knowing what acceptance is we understand even better and we accept even better. Forgetting or simply not understanding anxiety is an almost routine part of the process. It happens so often to me that I shrug it off and know with certainty that it’ll come back to me with some time. The hard bit is the meanwhile, basically it is a fact that you will not be as good at acceptance during these times however you actually have more opportunities to accept, in some ways it’s a win-win situation. All I can advise is to be patient and do your best during those periods.
    As for your question of what acceptance is, you understanding of that will increase with each setback as well as with each success (another win-win situation)
    For the most part it is firstly separating yourself from your anxious thoughts, understand that they are untrue and no reflection of you. And secondly stop trying to get relief, stop trying to do something and just let it all be there. Stop googling, stop avoiding, stop hiding and really spend all that time and energy you would have wasted on those things on living your life, it doesn’t always feel great or even right, but you’ll be thankful every night that you spent your day doing something other than perpetuating your anxiety.

  595. Andy J Says:

    Hi Guys,
    I’d be interested to hear of people’s experiences with DP and loss of interest in things you used to have? Or lack of attraction.

    Or a complete change of mindset?

    My obsessions seem to have changed who I am. Is this even possible? Or could it be something that’s lay dormant for years? I’m so confused with all this.

    I seem to be getting worse if anything.

  596. Daniel Says:

    Let me call back this quote from ‘A Letter to Myself’
    Chris defines a part of recovery as:
    “The reclamation of your original self- it was completely intact and unflustered during the whole experience. To oversimplify the reason for this is your ‘true personality’ (you) is held in a different part of the brain than your ‘inappropriate anxiety/panic personality’, it is completely safe, sane, rational and calm and has been for the entire duration of your anxiety wisdom journey, regardless of how long you have had anxiety/panic, whether it has been days months years or decades.”

  597. Ross Says:

    Hi nolan how do I get past the constant analyzing how I feel/think & constant awareness of myself I cant get my attention off myself I also have severe tingling/tightening in my head my anxiety is 24/7 at moment & doubt recovery as suffered so long my mind keeps going over&over things I have 0 concentration I try to ignore but find it hard I feel im driving myself crazy with it all.

  598. Nolan Says:

    Hi Ross,

    You don’t need to ignore it.
    I don’t even know if ignoring it is possible. You just have to slowly start not caring so much.

    You say that you doubt recovery is even possible. I don’t think that’s a bad mindset to be in. It was essentially the mindset I was in when I started the new view on things, so to speak. I had no hope of recovery. I truly didn’t think it was even possible.

    So, I just let it all be. I didn’t try to ignore it, I didn’t try to tell myself it wasn’t there, and I didn’t try to lie to myself that I was actually the happiest man on earth. I gave it the space it was demanding and stopped caring so much about it being there.

    You’ll get past the constant analyzing when your body is ready to give it up.

    But I have to be honest, Ross…. I don’t know if you’re ready or not to make that decision to view the whole thing differently.
    And I say this simply as one who cares about your wellbeing. Many others have given pretty similar advice to what I’m giving you right now.

    However, you’re going to have to be the one who makes that decision. We can’t make it for you. So, you can actually move back on with your life (anxiety yelling at you or not), or you can ask the same questions over and over in hope that reading the content will provide that momentary reprieve from it all.

    I’m really not trying to be mean in saying this, Ross. For what it’s worth, there were people here (Doreen included) who pretty much said the same thing to me when I was asking the same question with slight variations over and over.

  599. carla Says:

    Not sure if anyone can help – I think I’m experiencing similar to Ross at the moment and for the last couple of days my head seems to have been a non-stop internal monolgue of disjointed thoughts that run something along the lines of:

    ‘I’m trapped in my head…try and focus outwards…just live your life…I can’t…it’s still here… let it all be… try not to care…was that a normal thought?…oh no, it’s still here…why am I constantly fighting this?….try not to fight….try and breathe slowly…try and focus….I am not my thoughts…this is just anxiety….I can’t connect with my children….what if this never goes away….what if I can never learn to accept this….it’s only temporary….how can I stop this mental loop?….I can’t stop it…accept it….I can’t accept it.

    It’s clear when I write this down (and indeed think it) that it’s all futile but I just can’t seem to stop it. I have so much good knowledge and good advice to draw upon but when the anxiety is biting it feels impossible to utilise it. It also feels impossible to even practice not caring. Every fibre of my being just keeps wanting to shout out ‘JUST STOP IT, LEAVE ME ALONE, LEAVE ME ALONE, YOU’RE TAKING AWAY EVERYTHING I LOVE, JUST SOD OFF AND GIVE ME BACK WHO I WAS.’

    I can deal with physical symptoms, panic and even irrational, intrusive thoughts. But this feeling of being trapped in a constant anxious monologue is breaking me – it’s the relentlessness of it, it feels like it never stops, like it has me in a grip with it’s hands around my neck.

    I’m not avoiding by the way and trying hard to move on with my life (I’ve even got a job interview on Tuesday) but the anxiety is really screaming and I’m having trouble tolerating it at all let alone accepting it.

    Sorry for the negative post, I just feel in such a hole :(

  600. Ross Says:

    Hi nolan thanks for advice I am terrified of medication due to being put in hospital when evet in my head was shouting & im petrified I am a Nast y person & alsso scared of my thoughts & feel so scared of it terified of suicide & scared Im crazy.

  601. Chris Says:

    Hi Carla

    I can really relate to what you are saying. It’s been the hardest part for me. It is all generated by fear and that dialogue is the mind in fix it mode. I found at times it helped to go into the feelings which are behind all this, to sit quietly and feel it rather than think it (although the thoughts will still be there). It fades as the fear fades just keep moving forward.


  602. carla Says:

    Hi Chris, thanks for the reply :)

    I wanted to pop back on to say that I’ve moved past that crisis moment. I loved Daniel’s quote from Nothing Works explaining that your sense of self and personality is always safe no matter how long and how fiercely the anxiety rages.

    This is very comforting.

    Strangely, after posting and reading a few old blog entries I was able to carry on with my morning with everything there pretty well. There was a post that seemed to help me which suggested moving away from trying to focus on outward things and staying in the moment (I think this has just been piling on extra pressure).

    I think if its the ruminating/lack of focus and constant thinking that’s upsetting me then it’s precisely this that I should be allowing. It should all be lumped together as anxiety and accepted as something that is beyond my control, just like any other anxiety symptom.

    I definitely had some glimmers of acceptance this morning which has been nice.


  603. colin Says:

    Hi all just read the most recent comments from you guys. Ross you say you are terrified of medication ? I was put on 20mg of flouxitine and they helped me tremendously ! They are not a cure , but can aid along with paul s method and a full recovery can be had. I am interested to know what other people think of medication??

  604. Kelly Says:

    I am currently taking medication and I think that it, along with Paul’s method of recovery, has helped me tremendously. I am on 40mg of fluoxitine in the morning and 300 mg of seroquel xr before bed. It wasn’t until I started taking the seroquel xr (at this dose it works off-label to help the fluoxitine) with the fluoxitine that I really started feeling good enough that I could start putting Paul’s method into practice.

  605. colin Says:

    Hi Kelly glad that its working for you???? I think at the end of the day I wouldn’t have got through it on Paul’s book alone . No disrespect to anyone on here but I think because medication didn’t work for paul , and hats off to him for getting through the hell of anxiety the way he did???? I really think people who are struggling with this method alone would benefit from some form of medication . To begin with the fluoxetine made my anxiety intense but always got reassured by doctor that this would subside. And as told it did and the anxiety became less then went ???? for 3 years then this January got ear infection which progressed into perforated eardrums ???? then out of the blue anxiety returned, I decided to go back on the meds and at same time discovered Paul’s book, between the 2 of them I am in a great place at the moment and really believe with Paul’s theory I will recover fully???? so anyone thinking they can’t make it on Paul’s way alone please try seeing your doctor ? It just might give you the key to recovery . Hope this helps ? Kelly am really sure you will get there too , just don’t give up.

  606. Kelly Says:

    Thanks Colin. I am in such a good place right now. I would venture to say pretty much recovered except for some periods of high self-awareness each morning. Best of luck to you too!

  607. Alaina Says:

    Hi everyone, looking for some advice/guidance please. Im really struggling with my intrusive thoughts, I have had the same thoughts for the past 2 years since a medication change which I had a really bad reaction too the thought have come and gone with my anxiety. I have had anxiety for most of my life but the thoughts only for the last 2 years, they are extremely disturbing and upsetting I know I am not the only person to suffer from these kind of thoughts and that they focus on the things you fear and love the most. I know they are not ‘me’ but im struggling as I have them all the time, I have come to terms with them but they are know manifesting themselves into other thoughs to do with the same subject and are making me feel anxious. The physical symptoms have lessened as I understand anxiety more, but im just wondering if the thoughts come out of a learnt habit? As they are not making me as anxious as I have been. Also im struggling to not keep checking in on how I am feeling and I am constantly aware of how I feel and my thoughts. So im just wondering on how to deal with the thoughts and the constant self awareness. I think I have accepted the anxiety to a certain extent but perhaps not to the extent I should be? any advice I would be extremely grateful.

  608. Sarah Says:

    Hi everyone, just a quick question seeing as a few of you iare chatting about medication. I was taking medication until last october and was doing well until off it until around Christmas at which point i started to feel really bad again. I was tempted to go back on medication but after reading paul’s book i decided to try to face my anxiety without. I sometimes think though that it would help with acceptance and assuming a ‘so what’ attitude if i had the help of meds. Its so hard to just live life as if i dont have anxiety. I know it is my choice wheither to go back on meds again but i was just curious about other peoples thoughts on the matter. Hope you are all doing well!

    Carla- i totally know where you are coming from with the annoying constant chatter. Sometimes when it is really bad i find myself shouting out loud just to drown it out or other times i will listen to what its saying and say out loud “you are really talking absolute crap today i couldnt even be bother taking this rubbish seriously”. Sometimes i even go so far as to laugh at it. More often than not this works. I know it sounds a bit nuts but whatever may work is
    worth a try i say.

  609. Rachel Says:

    How do I move forward when i can’t even accept that I have anxiety, I so want to believe it is but my symptoms are telling me it is something else (ears eyes whatever) as it is getting worse seriously what if it is something else and instead of getting it sorted so I can move on all I am doing is wondering if it is anxiety because everyone is telling me it is how do I move on from this in five years time I could of wasted that time wanting to believe it’s anxiety and it was something else or I could of wasted my time thinking it was something else and it was always anxiety like now as I write this my whole body feels like it is rocking I have a noise in my ear my head feels like it has a massive pulse in it and my brain feels like it goes from side to side really quick and on top of all this I am really wozzy constantly all day every day doesn’t ever go xx

  610. Rachh Says:

    Thanku for the advice Daniel. Honestly brilliant! It’s soooooooo hard when you are in a fully blown blip it’s as though my world has been turned upside down my head aches My shoulders and neck are solid I don’t know what to do with myself I eat a lot or either feel sucky I don’t know. I’m starting to wonder now whether I need to stick some medication out for a bit to see if it can lift me up a bit. I’ve been on this site for 2 and a half years and albeit I’m getting there slowly the up and down rollercoaster takes such a toll on my life!
    I’ve lost everything bar my family and partner now.

  611. Rachh Says:

    **sicky not sucky! Lmaoo!

  612. yolande Says:

    hi all,

    just came back on here for some support. I still find myself complaining to my parents when i feel bad. LIke if i woke up with some fearful thoughts i would tell my mum when she calls me. Altho i already knew what I shd do, I still cant’t break out of this habit of talking maybe not complaining about it. Sometimes I would feel low/ bad and then i actually made it worse by focussing on it………………..

    Does anyone have this problem as well?

  613. Andy J Says:

    Hi Guys,

    I’m just going to use this post as a way of getting the thoughts out of my head and on to paper (well virtual paper).

    I have for a long time had various forms of anxiety. Subsequent depression has also plagued me. The fighting, the not knowing how long this will go on for and obsessive thoughts have made me worse. I’m now at my lowest I’ve ever been.

    I have one major symptom. Whenever I use my phone, an intrusive thought of searching for illegal material crosses my mind. I’ve done everything I shouldn’t have to try and handle this thought. Ive tried stopping thinking it, tried reasoning with it, tried allowing it, but whatever I do, its still there. Which logically I guess is right. My mind knows it would be wrong and the consequences severe, but how do I learn to take that importance and fear away from it? The gravity of the thought but ability to do it, is making life virtually impossible for me at the moment. I tried avoiding my phone altogether, which is clearly not feasible for a normal life. I met my therapist last week and she set me a task of allowing myself to sit with my phone next to me on full charge. Whenever I go to type in to the ‘URL bar’, the thought hits. Its now turned in to a ‘just do it’. I’ve even had that thought of ‘if you just do it, the thought might relinquish’, which I know it wont and I know is not the right thing to do. Its the equivalent of saying to some one with harm ocd, just hurt that one person/animal/thing and then you’ll be OK.

    I’m just really stuck and haven’t a clue where to go from here. My anxiety levels have shot through the roof this past week and an ability to see a way out of this is diminishing rapidly. I know there is a way of writing down thoughts which can help, but again, is this fighting? This is all just so confusing.

    If any one has any good practical advice, Id really appreciate it. Sorry if this has offended any one, it was not intended.


  614. Julie Says:

    I have seen a few posts from some women here that struggle with anxiety in the mornings once the children are in school. I too suffered this and hated being on my own, I felt unsafe. The way I got through this was by letting myself be alonea and taking up new hobbies and concentrating on a focus for myself. We all rush around being a mum, taking care of the house and everyone else we don’t stop to give ourselves some ‘me’ time. I wanted to get fit so I started working out, this had my cooking and focusing on my health. It has been a great focus. I wasn’t the kind of person that worked out before, I was so unfit. I enjoy yoga, hiit training and weight lifting. I never took them up to be rid of the anxiety but I wanted to have something for me. At first the anxiety was saying no don’t do it, but I did it anyway and in time it became more natural and I enjoyed it. So having a daily focus has been a huge benefit to me.

    The feeling disconnected from your children is tough, I still have it now at times if I am tired. When my children are talking to me I suddenly feel I am zoned out and I can see them talking but I can’t seem to feel truly there or listening. That is a tough one as we love our children so much. We do still care and we do still love them, it’s just our tired mind switching off as we struggle to concentrate on what others are saying when our attention is always on ourselves. As I say I still get this now and at times it can upset me but you just have to carry on, it’s just a tired mind.

    It’s so true, fake it until you make it. Go for that walk, that run, cook your favourite cake, hug your children, read them a book, play a board game…… do everything you want to do and interact with your family and friends no matter how bad you are feeling. In time the rest/digest (PNS) response kicks in and these things make you feel good and relaxed. It just takes time for the fight/flight response to calm, but time is a healer and doing things that can kick in the rest/digest is the best way to move forward.


  615. Bryan Says:

    You are doing awesome Julie. Great advice.

  616. Bryan Says:


    Most here either don’t want to take drugs, or did with no results or they were greatly harmed by psych drugs like myself. The beauty of Paul’s work is that it focuses on true recovery, not drugging away symptoms or numbing ourselves.

    So it’s not as if people here have never had the drugs idea cross their mind. Most are here BECAUSE they want a true recovery. That’s what sets this blog apart. It is not a drug-story swap forum like most anxiety sites. It’s great if you managed to (at this point) not be harmed by the drugs. I’m happy you escaped any damage. But many hear didn’t, which is why you don’t see a lot drug pushing among the members here. Paul is too diplomatic to be anti-drug here. But his message pretty clearly rest on acceptance and natural (real) recovery.

  617. Bryan Says:

    (*many here )

  618. Kelly Says:

    Great post Julie. I am one of those moms that has struggled in the mornings. Prior to the anxiety, I was very active in going to the gym for cardio and lifting weights. However, since the anxiety, I have stopped going to the gym. I have improved so much over the last few weeks, but still hadn’t gotten back to the gym. I am happy to say that I have now been the last 2 days and am so proud of myself!

    Andy – Many of us have given you some great advice on this. It’s now just up to you to take the advice and move on with your life. I will tell you that, when at my worst, I read over the obsessive thoughts chapter of Paul’s book many times. There is one part where Paul says that you should take the thought, ask yourself “what’s the worst that could happen”, then ask yourself “would that really happen?” He says that when you answer that question, a part of you deep down will see the thought for what it is – nothing that will actually happen or can harm you.

    Sarah – As Bryan said, the medication question is an individual one that you can only answer for yourself. For Bryan, it didn’t work. For me, the meds didn’t harm me and actually helped me get well enough that I was able to put Paul’s method into practice. Each one of us is an individual and can only decide what is right for ourselves. I hope you are doing well today.

  619. Andy J Says:

    Hi Kelly,

    Thanks for your reply. I guess I’ve just been kind of freaked out by the whole topic these last few days and have gone against everything I know I should be doing.

    I think I might have to re-read the book, from scratch rather than poking through pages. I know I am still making it my goal to feel better every day. It can be hard not to when having a particularly hard day/period I guess.

    Thanks again,


  620. Kelly Says:

    You’re welcome, Andy. I hope you don’t think that my last response was harsh. I definitely didn’t mean it that way. It does sound like you still trying to get better – which is exactly the opposite of what Paul teaches. In fact, I made a comments on Facebook last month and Paul responded. Read this over…

    My comment: “I’m just having such a hard time letting go of this habit that I have gotten myself into. ” My habit being thinking about anxiety all the time.

    Paul’s response: “Let your guard down, that’s the whole point, it’s trying not to feel anxiety that causes an internal struggle that creates more anxiety.”

    You could apply his response to your situation too. It’s your trying to get rid of the obsessive thoughts that is causing more anxiety for you.

  621. Andy J Says:

    Hi Kelly,

    No not at all and even if you did I would have deserved it.

    I think I just get confused. The whole acceptance thing is a hard concept to grasp. Rather than indulging in the thought and stressing about it, we just have to allow it? When we’ve been involved in them for so long it can be hard to take a step back. Is it as simple as smiling at them and saying ok, this is an intrusive thought and moving on? Or do we allow the mind chatter to happen?

    I think I just need to see a few examples of how people ‘accept’.



  622. Sarah Says:

    Hi Kelly, thanks for your reply. I think in my heart i know that i dont want to go back on the medication. Sometimes i remember the blessed relief and the feeling of ‘being myself’ that i got while on medication. I miss that relief now that i am travelling this road without them. I havent been doing too badly over the past few days, thanks for asking. I am still going through huge fluctuations in mood, sometimes even from one moment to the next. One moment i feel really calm with anxiety far from my mind, the next moment i feel sick with fear then moments later calm again. Its exhausting but at least there are moments of calm which is a lots better than being in a constant state of anxiety. I hope all is good with you. ????

  623. Sarah Says:

    I have no idea where all of those question marks came from. My typing finger is feeling nosey today.

  624. Kelly Says:

    Sarah – Yes, everything is going pretty well for me. Mornings are still a little tough, but I have now met my goal of getting back to the gym. I have gone two days in a row! I completely know what you mean about things changing moment to moment. I’ve been doing really well today, but all of a sudden my heart started racing and I started questioning why. What I need to do is stop asking why and just continue on with my day. Thanks for asking!

    Andy – Acceptance is a hard thing to describe, but I’ll try to give you an example. As I mentioned before, my obsessive thoughts used to be centered around harming myself and it scared me to death. At one point, I was putting the knives away from the dishwasher and I had the thought “what if I cut my wrists with these?” It totally freaked me out and then I had that thought every time I put the dishes away. I got past being disturbed by my intrusive thoughts, but that doesn’t mean that the thought stopped coming. Now, if I have that thought, I just know deep down that I would never do that and I just keep putting the knives where they go. To me, that is acceptance of the thought. Not that I like the thought, just that I accept having the thought and that’s all it was – a thought.

  625. carla Says:

    Hi everyone,

    Kelly – the comment you made to Paul is exactly how I’m feeling now. It’s as if I can’t let go of the habit of monitoring my thoughts. it seems that each time I try to focus outwards, the monitoring starts, I get a jolt of anxiety and the cycle continues throughout the day. The big fear that fuels the cycle is that I’ll never be able to have normal, unselfconscious, outward thoughts again.

    I often wake in the morning quite relaxed but then I have the dreaded thought that I’m going to start monitoring again and I just get this pit of fear and dread that sets in.

    The positive bit is that I can still function pretty well with the mind-chatter there. I’ve been swimming, hosted a playdate and had tea with friends today. This makes me think that there is at least some level of acceptance there.

    But I think I still need to work on developing a more accepting inner voice when the monitoring starts. I think I’m still scared by it and instinctively fighting.

    Kerry – do you remember how you began to come to terms/make peace with this habit and lose some of your fear of it? A little similar to Andy’s question I guess…

    Sarah, I think I’m probably feeling a little similar to yourself at the moment. Glad you’re having moments of calm, I think that’s definitely a good sign!

  626. Andy J Says:

    Hi Kelly.

    Good answer, thanks very much.

    Non anxious people will believe everything they think or feel. It’s us with anxiety who need to know that these thoughts are just anxiety playing it’s tricks.

    Thanks again

  627. Kelly Says:

    You’re welcome, Andy. I’m glad that my example helped. You are very right to say that anxious people need to know it’s just anxiety playing its tricks. Non anxious people have the same thoughts that we do, but they just don’t get caught up in rationalizing them.

    Carla – I never thought that I would be able to let go and stop monitoring myself. I used to ask my therapist, “how do I get out of my own head?” But Paul was absolutely right when he said that I just needed to let my guard down. To be honest, I didn’t really do anything to let go. I just stopped worrying about it and it went away. You say, “I need to work on developing a more accepting inner voice when the monitoring starts.” Actually, you want to do the exact opposite. When the monitoring starts, just let it be there. Don’t engage with it and just keep functioning along with your day.

  628. carla Says:

    Did you just stop worrying about it one day or did that come gradually Kelly?

    And thank you so much for passing on your experiences to us by the way, it’s very kind of you.

  629. Kelly Says:

    Absolutely – I’m happy to help. I have taken a lot of help from those on this blog and I am only happy to do the same for others.

    I would say that it came gradually as I just became more active in my life. I still have some monitoring in the morning, as I’ve mentioned, but it just fades away as I get involved with the day. Over the days, I just started monitoring less and became more like my “normal” self.

  630. carla Says:

    Thanks Kelly,

    I’ve got a job interview and trial lesson tomorrow (eek!). They’ve basically said I’ve got the job but that they need to go through the recruitment process as a formality – no need to worry they said – oh if only they knew :) !!

    I don’t even know if I want the bloomin’ job but I guess it will at least give me something different to worry about!

    Think it’s time to persuade my OH to give me a rub and pour myself a nice glass of wine.

    Happy evenings all x

  631. Sarah Says:

    Carla-Gook luck tomorrow. I hope all goes well!

  632. Kelly Says:

    Carla – Good luck in your interview! Let us know how it goes tomorrow.

  633. Kevin Says:

    Hey guys. So i had a pretty good week but yesterday i saw a news report that a reporter died of a brain anyuerism. (Excuse the spelling) well of course now my health anxiety is back and im convinced i am going yo have one any second. I even have a tension headache as i write this. I know deep down that the chances are really really really low but still…anxiety right? Anyways just a vent really as im trying to avoid being desperate for help online.

  634. Kelly Says:

    Kevin – Definitely anxiety. I had the same thought when I saw that story yesterday. In fact, I read three different articles about it to see if I found any new information. Then I reminded myself that it’s just anxiety and the likelihood of it happening is very low. Just accept that there is nothing that worrying about it will do for you.

  635. Kevin Says:

    Hi kelly,

    Thanks for the reassurance. Yeah i find that knowing that worrying wont stop it from happening if it were to happen, helps a lot.

  636. colin Says:

    Hi Bryan

    I can say for sure that the meds I have taken in the past have NOT damaged or numbed me in any way or form. And in fact have helped enormously with my road to recovery ( 20mg fluoxetine ) per day . Why can’t with the aid of a AD not reach recovery? I think personally during high anxiety it’s almost impossible to accept . I believe everyone on here might ??? Benefit from a low dose of AD to just let them have a bit of clarity. And while in this phase start to accept like I did . I discovered acceptance of anxiety by myself by just doing all the things I used to do. Or work, gym , going out for social events . I then started to look online ( something I would never do) ii then discovered Paul’s app / book and bingo I started to realise this is it I can recover from this. I run my own business and was in a position of being able to say when I felt anxious , I won’t go to work today !!! But I never once let this thing stope doing what I wanted and put it to one side . I just carried on with my day and gradually it would subside . It did take a few months of waking up and asking myself , ” is it there ” but through time it slipped into my subconscious . We have to remember anxiety is only a feeling , there are people out there with really illness . Everyone on here can achieve there goals . Just let go and do a lot of what paul says in the book. And if you do need a little help by means of an AD then don’t be ashamed to do so. We all want to recover from this and I bet everyone of us would do anything to achieve this? Goodly k to everyone on here .


  637. Nolan Says:

    Hi Colin,

    I am not here to tell anyone what they should do as law.

    You said,
    ” I think personally during high anxiety it’s almost impossible to accept . I believe everyone on here might ??? Benefit from a low dose of AD to just let them have a bit of clarity.”

    This just simply isn’t true though. You do what you think is right for you. But you’re talking about everyone.
    I was on so many meds in a very short period of time. I forced myself off of all of them. My anxiety was all encompassing and as intense as I thought possible. Unrelenting.

    I was certain beyond a doubt that there was no way back for me. And I recovered.

    You’re right, no one should be ashamed to take an AD. But you’re going a step further. You’re saying that recovery is impossible (that acceptance is impossible) without taking something.

    That I do take exception with.

  638. natalie Says:

    Hi Kelly i’m so glad you had a good holiday and enjoyed yourself, how was you on the flight?

    I’m getting so frustrated with myself at the moment, i was doing so well but now i feel like i’m going round in circles at the moment all i can think about is anxiety even tho most of my symptoms have gone i think one of my obsessive thoughts is just to think about anxiety all day its driving me mad i just don’t know how to move a way from it, iv been feeling detached again as well.

  639. Kelly Says:

    Hi Natalie –

    I did great on both the flight there and the flight home. In fact, I’m heading out on another flight next week across the US and taking my two boys with me. We will be celebrating Spring Break in Arizona.

    Try not to get frustrated with yourself. Try to read a couple of the posts that I just made recently to Carla and Andy. I used to feel like I couldn’t get out of my head and I was obsessed with thinking about my anxiety and when/if it would get better. I didn’t think that it was possible, but I did it (almost completely). You can too.

  640. natalie Says:

    That’s great kelly i’m well chuffed for you, its sound like your doing really well.

    I’m going to read a couple of posts again, i’m at the point where i just want done with the who thing to be honest and i’m sick of thinking about it, i think that’s why im getting frustrated because im trying to rush it.

    I hope you have a lovely time in Arizona with your boys.

  641. carla Says:

    Hi Natalie,

    This seems to be such a common symptom but a really maddening one! I often get an anxious thought along the lines of ‘what if the anxiety never lets me have a normal thought/conversation’. Then, of course I become hyper aware of all my thoughts and find myself testing to see if I can indeed think ‘normally’. And, then of course I find that I can’t and I begin to get that pit of fear and dread creeping in.

    But I guess that we only have one choice in this situation – and that is to let all these anxious thoughts keep rattling around, shouting and repeating themselves and just carry on with the day as normal.

    My day was interesting actually. I had a job interview and trial lesson scheduled for a potential teaching job and, as I expected, woke with horrible anxiety, intrusive thoughts (as described above) and a feeling of panic about the ordeal ahead.

    So I went for an early morning swim, took 1mg diazepam, drank a cup of camomile tea and had a little chat with my husband (just a few crutches – oh well!). He just motioned his hand forwards and said ‘it can’t hurt you, it’s not important. It’s never stopped you doing anything in the past and it won’t stop you now. Just carry on’

    So off I went and, guess what? I breezed through the interview and lesson, they offered me the job and I barely thought about my anxiety for the whole time.

    I really don’t think there’s much we can do when these repetitive thoughts come, except perhaps to remind ourselves of what my husband reminded me this morning. We’ll probably keep testing ourselves too and I’m not sure we can stop that either. But if we live our lives alongside it, as fully as possible, there will be little opportunities where confidence can be built – when we realise that we haven’t thought about the anxiety for a while or accomplished something despite it. I don’t think we can particularly go looking for these opportunities though – all we can do is try and accept that the thoughts are harmless and insignificant and live with them.

    I know I’ve said it before but exercise really can take the edge off the physical symptoms which I find then makes it easier to function well for the rest of the day.

    Good luck Natalie, I know how hard it is. But, as Claire Weeks said, you can’t force forgetfulness of self, especially after what you’ve been through.’ She talks a lot about accepting this inward thinking and self-awareness. Check out her book if you haven’t already xx

  642. Sarah Says:

    Carla- its great to hear that you had such a good day. I could feel the positivity coming from your post. You seem to be in great form. Fair play to you and congrats on your new job.

  643. carla Says:

    Yes, it’s been a good day Sarah with some glimmers of confidence. But I know how up and down this business is so I guess will keep taking each day as it comes.

    How were you today?

  644. Sarah Says:

    Carla- yes things are good. The anxiety is always in the background but i seem to be taking less notice of it the last few days. I am really busy at the moment getting things going in my veggie and flower gardens and enjoying it so much that i am too distracted to think of anxiety. Its still there and i still get the pangs of fear brought on by intrusive thoughts but at the moment i am enjoying the garden too much to care.

  645. Kelly Says:

    Way to go Sarah and Carla! It sounds like you both are on the way to acceptance and recovery! :)

  646. carla Says:

    That’s great Sarah, I need to get going in the garden too but am just waiting for it to get a couple of degrees warmer!

    I was excited when I saw frogspawn in our little pond the other day though!

  647. Horton Says:

    I have a bit of a question, guess I’m in part just fishing for some reassurance, but it’s also a major problem I have had while trying to practice acceptance, or more so improve my ability to accept.
    How do you keep faith?
    I have been at this over 7 months and am yet to have a minute of normality, in fact it seems like more and more doors are closing and my chances of returning to my own self are slipping. Meanwhile my symptoms have budged an inch.
    So how do you keep going?
    People can tell me their success stories, or explain exactly how acceptance works, but I’ll never believe it until I see it (which I haven’t.) Other people say ‘measure recovery in your ability to accept and not in how you feel,’ but once again how do I know its making any difference?
    I know a day spent accepting is much more rewarding than a day spent trying to get better, but I just can’t imagine spending the rest of my life like this.

  648. Horton Says:

    I’m done.
    It’s over.
    I. GIVE. UP.

  649. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Horton,

    I think we have all felt that way and asked those questions, so know that you are not alone. The way I keep going is by realizing that my life is not just about me. I have a daughter and a husband who need me. It’s utterly selfish of me to spend my days wrapped up in myself and self-pity. My suggestion is to find something/someone outside of yourself to focus on and give your life meaning and purpose.

    Second, I just got tired of doing nothing but focusing on how I was feeling. Time was passing me by and I was squandering it. So I decided that I was going to DO something, anything, with my day, even if I felt terrible. Even if it was just ONE thing. So you have it right in a sense when you said, “I know a day spent accepting is much more rewarding than a day spent trying to get better”, but I would change that to a day spent just living your life! For me, slowing getting back to doing regular activities gave me a small sense of accomplishment. That kept me going because I started to realize anxiety couldn’t hold me back unless I let it.

    Lastly, stop looking for recovery. As much as I know you desperately want to get better and feel normal, that can’t be your goal. You have to decide that you are going to live your life alongside your anxiety. You are in control.

  650. Stephanie Says:

    You’re right, Horton, give up the fight against anxiety. Get back to living your life!

  651. Horton Says:

    You gave me the same reply a month or so Stephanie.

  652. Stephanie Says:

    Are you looking for a different answer?

  653. Horton Says:

    I wish you the best of luck in your recovery, but personally I no longer really have any reason to even recover, I’ve just lost too much.

  654. Bryan Says:


    If you were “giving up” you wouldn’t be here. So just stop with that.
    It’s not helping you and it’s certainly not helping anyone here to hear that kind of talk. Please have enough decency not to spread that mindset to others who may be suffering.

    And please don’t tell me about your 7 months and how hard it was for you. I’m in my 5th year of suffering to some degree. The first 3 of which were a nightmare.
    But, I was committed not to let it beat me, and I learned through people like Paul, Claire Weekes, Jeff at PanicNoMore, Chris from Weebly, great posters like Nolan around here.

    So, after WAY WAY longer than 7 months of suffering, I started to get better and I’ve never appreciated life more than I do right now. I still have hard times and question things, but I had a little girl depending on me who I wasn’t going to quit on and I’m glad I never considered it.

    You still sound like you are straining as much as ever, fighting and accepting so you’ll make it all go away. We have all made this mistake. And I’ll tell you as firmly and harshly as many told me… you’re not different, and you’re not doing it right.

    The guy who helped me the most through this whole thing a few years back gave me a firm kick up the arse and challenged me to start truly accepting, not grinding my teeth and claiming to accept as I eagerly awaited changes in my condition… analyzing and tracking things constantly.

    You say “you’ll never believe it until I see it”….. but you’ll never see it until you believe it. You don’t believe it and you’re not living it. It’s clear in your posts. Trust me, it takes one to know one. I’ve been there. I still have days where it’s too much for me, but I always find my way through because I know the truth.

    The truth is that you are doing this to yourself. Provided you are NOT on medication… if this is persisting, you are doing this to yourself. It may not be apparent, it may be cumulative and from years of prior stress… or subconscious worry, or negative thought processes… but WE create this.

    You are free not to believe this works, Horton. You don’t owe anyone here anything and no one owes you anything. But coming around trying to discredit Paul’s methods (which are really age-old and have been covered by many) isn’t doing you or anyone else any good. Personally, I think you KNOW there is something to it… or you wouldn’t keep coming back. I think you suspect that there’s no way scores of people around the world could have recovered using these same methods if it was some kind of a hoax.

    There’s a book called Mental Health through Will training by Abraham Low you might want to look into. It’s very old, dated in some ways but has some very crucial information inside. It applies specifically to people like yourself (and like I used to be) who don’t want to take responsibility for their condition.

    I’m not trying to be insulting, but you keep coming back saying the same things and this just isn’t the place for it. This place is built on practical advice and results-driven conversation.

    I’ve been working on TRUE acceptance for several years now. I’m close, but not all the way there. Hence, I’m almost recovered… not completely. (If I had to gauge it which I don’t really like to.) You’ve spent a few months with the topic and are irate because you’re not 100% recovered yet. Sorry, it doesn’t work like that for some of us. You can be mad about it, or you can get about the business of trying to learn from the experts around here (not me) what REAL acceptance looks like, because what you are doing isn’t it.

  655. John T Says:

    Great post, Bryan.

    I thought I was the only one who read Abraham Low’s material.

  656. Horton Says:

    I sit and give people advice all the time, I convince people that they will recover and give them the reasons why. I am patient and considerate of them. I hope with every comment I post I will help people go back to accepting for another couple days or couple weeks, as that is what will ultimately help them.

    But I am yet to meet someone who meets my own pleas with any amount of decency.
    Bryan, you couldn’t be more wrong. Your idea of me, of who I am, what my attitude to recovery is, what I have managed and what I have been through is completely incorrect.

  657. Horton Says:

    I sit and give people advice all the time, I convince people that they will recover and give them the reasons why. I am patient and considerate of them. I hope with every comment I post I will help people go back to accepting for another couple days or couple weeks, as that is what will ultimately help them.

    But I am yet to meet someone who meets my own pleas with any amount of decency.
    Bryan, you couldn’t be more wrong. Your idea of me, of who I am, what my attitude to recovery is, what I have managed and what I have been through is completely incorrect.

  658. James Says:

    I feel like too many people ‘vilify’ the idea of ‘our old selves.’
    It seems based on what Nolan, Bryan and others say that wanting to be ourselves perpetuates anxiety and the only way to recover is by saying goodbye to that person, his personality, his memories, his talents, dreams, feelings, family, friends and start a new. Supposedly this is what ultimately let’s see that old self again (which is seems paradoxical to me, although I do believe and understand it)
    I suppose what I am asking is what are your opinions on ‘A Letter to Myself,’ in which Chris writes about acceptance with both recovery and the reclamation of your original self in mind? I find recovery based approaches more uplifting and inspiring than those that say ‘accept and deal with it’ but do you find that they are ultimately harmful towards ones ability to accept?

  659. Adam Says:

    That was a very good post, Brian. Well written and to the point. I very much agree with all you said.

    Horton…I don’t know you from Adam (excuse the pun), but from what I am reading Brian seems to have nailed it. I very much agree that your most recent posts seemed to discredit Paul’s method, are laced with self pity and make you sound frustrated and are lashing out because you are not recovered yet after seven months of practicing the acceptance approach. You also say that “I am yet to meet someone who meets my own pleas with any amount of decency”. Please excuse me, Horton, but you couldn’t have made a more untrue statement. Brian just gave you all that and more in his post above…and If I scroll up I am sure I will see very similar postings from both Nolan and Doreen-two of the most knowledgeable, recovered people who still give us their priceless advice on this blog almost daily- directed to you and your specific situation. Honestly, Horton, if I am being honest, you’ve received much more specific advice regarding your situation than most of us who frequent this blog. So, please don’t say you are being ignored. Again, with the self pity. Also know that I feel for you with your frustration. We all would like to awaken from this nightmare and have it be over. Poof! But as Brian said so well above…it doesn’t work that way. It takes work. Real, hard, honest to God work to accept and change. And this I know because I have put in the work and I have seen results. It takes work and it takes time to recover from anxiety. Acceptance does work…but it isn’t easy. But in my opinion, nothing good in life ever is. Give up if you wish…that is your choice. But don’t bash/put down a proven method for recovery that does work and is working for many of us.

  660. Dustin Says:

    I don’t think that anybody is saying that you have to give up you’re hopes and dreams or your desire to be the person you once were. I think (and correct me if I’m wrong) that the point that Nolan and Bryan and many others are trying to get across is that it is ok to feel like we will never get back to the person we once were. Of course being our old selves is something that we all want, but you just have to carry on however much doubt you have that any of it will return. And it sucks and you will feel horrible sometimes. Live alongside it. Its more fun to play in the rain than sitting inside wondering why it’s not sunny out. Just my two cents.

    And Horton, hang in there. You asked; “How do you keep faith?” I think that we all lose faith sometimes. I am not on the other side of this, nor do I feel that I am close, but I believe that my attitude towards anxiety has changed. I think you have to live with the lack of faith or the belief that you will never become the person you once were. You don’t have to react to the doubt and the hopelessness and fall into that secondary level of fear. Just let it be.

    Hope that made sense and I hope everyone is doing alright!

  661. Stephanie Says:

    Good posts, Bryan and Adam.

  662. Bryan Says:


    I know man. You think you are different, and there’s no way I could understand what you are going through. You think you are different than the rest of us. You think that, just like every single one of us has during our recovery. What you think is so common that another author actually describes it as a symptom in itself. This belief that you are different and the method won’t work for you and that nobody understands you is an actual symptom of anxiety. If I have time later, I will try to find some of my old posts and prove to you that I was typing the exact same thing a couple of years ago. And guess what people were telling me? They were telling me the exact same thing I’m telling you.

    I wasn’t ignorant to the method a couple of years ago, I understood it. I could recite it and tell someone what they were supposed to do. But I couldn’t live it myself and I am still in the process of getting there. So, you are free to believe that you are unique or different, despite the fact that I’ve heard this 1 million times including from myself.

    You are basically standing in a crowded room with people who are telling you the sky is blue and you are fighting them with all your might to convince them it is green. So I suppose it is up to you to decide if it is everyone else who is wrong, or perhaps if it is you who hasn’t assessed this situation accurately.

    Again, as long as you are not on medication, you are not unique. I am saying this from a place of love, despite it perhaps sounding a bit harsh. Seven months isn’t even enough time for the body to properly desensitize from severe anxiety disorder. Jim Folk at AnxietyCentre theorizes that it may take up to two years for some people who reach high levels of sensitization. That doesn’t mean you are bad for two years necessarily, but it means the body cannot heal itself in a few months from extreme states of high anxiety and panic without long stretches of total and complete acceptance.

    And regardless, you’ve got two choices. You can argue with the mountain of evidence people are providing to you or you can listen to them and continue to try to work. I still have days where I feel like I am back at the beginning and struggle mightily. But the differences, I don’t think I am broken anymore or try to blame other people or argue that the method doesn’t work. I’ve decided to take full responsibility for this until I have recovered. You should consider that route as well.

  663. Bryan Says:


    No one is “vilifying” the notion of being your old self. But those who fully recover… to a man will tell you they’d never go back to their old selves exactly, because their old selves generally perpetuated anxiety disorder due to bad habits, traits, etc.

    Let’s face it, if our “old selves” were so great.. none of us would be here.
    In fact, most people out there would change things about themselves if they could. There’s nothing wrong with trying to work on one’s self. If someone is 100 lbs overweight, they don’t have to “vilify” themselves to lose weight. They can simply recognize bad habits and stop them.

    Beyond that, one thing I learned as I made improvement was that we don’t have to search for ourselves. When this stuff starts to lift, you just appear. It’s not as if you wake up one day and can’t remember who you are. As anxiety symptoms diminish, you simply don’t care about all of this. You just get back to life and can’t be bothered. No need for some kind of grand re-confirming of who we are, or were… or whatever. You just get back to life… happily, dreams perfectly in tact.

  664. Doreen. Says:

    James – many years ago I had my first very scary experience of anxiety following the death of my mother. I was lucky enough to have a supportive GP who really believed that I would recover even when I didn’t think it was possible. I always remember saying to her one day that I had ‘lost’ who I was. She responded by saying ‘well all the old you might not come back but what will replace those parts that have gone will be just as good, if not better’. I treasured that comment and guess what – it turned out to be true.
    If you didn’t have anxiety you would be getting on with life changing a little day by day, as your life evolves. You wouldn’t be mourning who you once were.

  665. Lucy Says:

    For what it’s worth, I am exactly where Horton is at the moment – eight months in with no change at all, and I understand (as most here do) the utter frustration of this, and then the ‘beating yourself up’ for not apparently ‘getting’ the method and not accepting ‘properly’. It is only natural that we find ourselves in periods of spiritual fatigue and hopelessness, and it is at this time that we need gentle reassurance to keep going, that what we are feeling is normal, and to also make allowances for those who are questioning/despairing/being grumpy!

    But I’d also like to say that I find Bryans posts very helpful, I guess you take things in different ways depending on where you are in your head on any given day.

  666. Jeff Says:

    @Lucy and Horton
    From this (my latest) anxiety go-round I didn’t really hit ‘rock bottom’ until several months into it. But we are all different. Some of us suffer for months, some for years.
    When you’re in those deep dark places it doesn’t really matter how long it’s been….nothing seems to matter except a way out of the hell we find ourselves in. How did we get here?…what the hell happened?? It’s like a horrible dream that you can’t wake up from. The recovered (and nearly recovered) who post here know only too well what you’re going through.

    The concept of acceptance, the way I see it anyway, is a way to cope with the horrors of anxiety and not FEAR IT. What’s worse, the anxiety or the fear of it? Tough question for me at least. They both suck equally I think.
    By accepting anxiety in all of its glory, your fear of it will diminish. Your anxiety will too over time.

    You haven’t lost your old self. As your anxiety fades you will start returning to your old habits (good or bad), favored activities etc.

    As Colin mentioned above – the medication route is always an option if you need a break – and believe me I certainly did (and still do at times). Personally I can’t take AD’s, but benzos certainly give me some breathing room when I need it.

    To each his own.

  667. Matt Says:

    Has anyone felt keyed up all day, and also like their mind is going in fast mode the whole day? My mind will have these times when it just skips around all day in fast mode, and I feel like I’m trying to do everything fast, and I can’t slow down, and I’m super anxious. It also makes it way hard for me to focus, but I know that anxiety can cause inability to focus. It scares me because I can’t get out of it, and it’s really hard for me to be calm and accept it when it happens. I fight it when I shouldn’t. Gah, I feel like when I conquer one anxiety symptom, then a new one pops up!

  668. Ross Says:

    Hi everyone has anyone done a mindfulness course & feel it helped&does anyone struggle to let go of past??

  669. Nolan Says:

    Hi James,

    you said:

    “It seems based on what Nolan, Bryan and others say that wanting to be ourselves perpetuates anxiety and the only way to recover is by saying goodbye to that person, his personality, his memories, his talents, dreams, feelings, family, friends and start a new. Supposedly this is what ultimately let’s see that old self again (which is seems paradoxical to me, although I do believe and understand it)”….

    Pretty much was the case for me. I wanted to force back that old, familiar, ‘taken for granted’ feeling of being at peace in my own body…. and it just wasn’t coming.

    But, when I surrendered to the fact that I have no control over bringing that old me back by force of will, slowly that peace started to make its way back into my life again.
    And, I started to be at peace (at home) in my body and mind again.

  670. Sarah Says:

    Hi all, i think that things maybe getting a little too complicated on here sometimes with regards to bringing back our old selves or letting go of who we used to be. I think i find it more comforting to think simply about what Paul says in his book, ie that i try to accept the way i am at the moment and see it as a temporary thing that will pass wheither that takes months or years. If i just live my life eventually the real me will finally emerge from under all of my anxiety symptoms. The thought that i am still really here makes the bad days a lot easier to handle.

  671. Bryan Says:


    You said…

    ” If i just live my life eventually the real me will finally emerge from under all of my anxiety symptoms.”

    That is really well-put. I’ve read and collected countless stories from those who have recovered and they all expressed a similar sentiment. Great post.

  672. Rachh Says:

    Yes Matt me.. The last week or so I’ve been doing things so fast I can’t even remember eating food or anything I feel like it’s all a bit blur. It’s wierd like life is passing me by days fly and I’m like shit what have I done bar rush around..

  673. Sarah Says:

    Thanks Bryan, i just think that if we start to overthink anxiety and fret over what we should be thinking, our expectations and what we should allow ourselves to think it just makes for tired, confused and frustrated minds. I am fairly early on in my journey having only discovered Paul’s book in january but i think i am staring to understand what has been goin on with me on and off for the last 10 years which in itself it a relief.

  674. Matt Says:


    Thanks for that last post. Part of acceptance that is hardest for me is that letting go of who I am (even though I’m losing it because of anxiety anyways). I’m afraid that if I let that go, I won’t return to who I am, and then obviously you know the rest of the story.

    I also like that you put the “taken for granted” feeling of peace. I have this thought all the time, of how when I find peace again, I will realize that it’s a gift and not just something I’m owed. It’s crazy, but it will also give me so much more perspective on what’s important in life, and will ultimately make me a happier, or at least more peaceful, person.

    You really do encourage me through all of this. Knowing how bad it got for you helps me to remember that I am okay too. That horrible voice inside my head is full of crap, and all I have to do is just let him be there…and be patient.

  675. Melissa Says:

    I’ve come to realize that a lot of my problem is just because I’m unhappy. When I’m doing things that are fun and I’m not worrying about anything I’m much happier and the anxiety goes away. It took me a long time to get to this point but I’ve stopped trying to get rid of it I’m just living with it and its slowly going away.

  676. James Says:

    Thank you for all the replies everyone.

    I feel like this is a point that isn’t set in stone, as I’ve seen people argue for either side regarding the whole idea of how do I approach anxiety? Is it “settling for now?” Or is it “settling for life?”

  677. carla Says:

    For me acceptance simply means gradually losing fear of your symptoms. It also means accepting that you can’t force them away.

    I think the second point can be understood by most of us quite quickly even if it does contradict our instincts. But the first often requires a lot of repeated reassurances both from ourselves and others along with the glimmers of confidence that come with living alongside the anxiety and learning that it can’t stop us doing anything. And, of course, we need time to habituate to the symptoms and practice the above.

    In my opinion, if physical sensitisation is very severe then we may need some help to bring it down a little to enable us to function. This may be in the form of exercise, medication, massage etc..

    I don’t think it’s really helpful to see acceptance as a concept for the rest of your life. More an attitude towards the symptoms you are experiencing now. Just trying to learn that you can’t push the thoughts and feelings away, that they won’t hurt you and they can’t stop you doing things.

    I don’t think it’s about settling at all actually James, I think it’s about gradually shifting our attitude towards the symptoms. Claire Weekes is the queen of acceptance but she doesn’t just tell us to accept and be done with it, she spends a lot of time explaining particular symptoms and reassuring us that they are harmless and a predictable outcome of anxiety; she is helping us to shift our attitude. Living life as normally can also help speed up this shift. And it is as this shift (slowly) takes place that the acceptance starts to creep in, helping the anxiety levels to drop.

    And our old selves are still there, completely intact by the way. I had my first anxiety episode in my early twenties, it lasted a couple of years, and then I spent the next 18 years completely anxiety free. And, yes, I was my old self – just perhaps a little more kind and compassionate than before. And I’ve never heard any different outcome to this. I think the point people are trying to make is to not worry about your old self while you’re in the midst of it all as it’s a bit of a pointless exercise.

  678. Sarah Says:

    Carla- i totally agree with everything you are saying. I think it is scary to think of acceptance as a concept that will be there for the rest of our lives. I find great peace in believing that this is temporary and in doing so the length of recovery time becomes unimportant. I also found Claire Weekes explainations of symptoms really helpful. I have all types of strange symptoms with my heart, palpitations, skipped beats, slow heart rate etc which were really freaking me out even though my doctor told me my heart was fine. I read Clairs book and went from having strange heart beats every few minutes to having them once or twice a week. This demonstrated to me once again that everything that anxiety told me about having heart disease or something else was a load of old crap. I burst into tears with relief when she wrote ‘all of these symptoms are harmless, you have a healthy heart’. I know that according to many people i should have just accepted the symptoms and carried on but just reading that my particulare symptoms were textbook made me feel so much better.

  679. lainie waller Says:

    hi guys. theres alot of people on here making this method sound so complicated but it isnt. Accept you have anxiety and theres nothing you can do about it only leave yourself alone. let nature take its course. the more you google, question , and complicate things it will linger. xxxxxx

  680. tim Says:

    “Accept it and leave it alone”. Ok, but what to do when you find yourself automatically time and time again resisting, questioning, fighting, thinking etc. with numerous physical and mental symptoms going on.

    I notice that I’m fighting and know that this perpetuates anxiety so I want to stop fighting and the cycle just continues..

    I want to accept but keep fighting it just happens.

    Should we see fighting and questioning as just another symptom? But if we continue it we continue the cycle..

  681. Lucy Says:

    Fighting and questioning are part of it – it is pretty much what has got us into this state in the first place, so we have become well-practiced at it! And this ‘habit’ is what we are aiming to reverse, by gently but consistently sagging, letting go and allowing everything to just happen. Sometimes I find it helpful to imagine I’m ‘resting’ in the eye of the storm – it’s all raging around me and I’m just letting it do its thing. It is by repeated practice of just letting things be as they are that gently reverses the habit of fighting/struggling.

  682. Chris Says:

    There’s some really great recent comments here (Carla, Lucy, and others) – thank you! I had a similar but more extreme experience of anxiety 20 years ago and always said it was one of the best thing that happened to me as it showed me I had strengths and inner resources I never thought possible. I remember listening to tapes of Claire Weekes and I was also very influenced by Japanese ideas of acceptance (arugamama) which had been used as for anxiety conditions for some time. It’s hard to go back to a place that you thought you had left behind for good but nature does work wonders and as Claire Weekes said you have to ‘let time pass’. Acceptance is an active process – you do have to work on your attitude and it’s quite subtle. Just recently been enjoying TV in the evenings and can forget about myself for a bit – it’s these small changes that give me hope!

  683. tim Says:

    It’s just, I will realize that I’m fighting or questioning and then it’s like there an immediate reaction of “I’m not supposed to fight it” or “My mind is on anxiety, that’s not good”. It’s like I’m blocking or recoiling from that experience that I was just having of fighting. We should not fight so when I find myself fighting I’m like GRRRR!!!! I’m not supposed to fight! Or I’ll be like recoiling from the fact that I was just fighting because fighting’s what keeps anxiety going. This inner recoiling happens a lot I think with me.

    I can’t seem to leave the topic alone of this: “We should allow everything but when we find ourselves fighting trying to stop it is a form of fighting in itself and continuing fighting just keeps the old situation going so how to get out of this?”
    I’m really confused now trying to put this into words lol/cry.

  684. Lucy Says:

    Hi Tim,

    When you find yourself noticing that you are fighting, don’t go “Grrr that’s not good! etc etc”, you’d be better to say, “Ahh there I go again!” And kinda laugh at yourself if you can – its a softer emotion for your nervous system and brings a gentle awareness to the way your mind is working. Frustrating I know, but it’s all practice and part of the journey!

  685. Sarah Says:

    Ianie waller- i know you mean well but if it was as easy as saying “ok i have anxiety, i will just accept it and move on”, and really be able to do that, none of us would be writing on this blog. We can all say the words its putting them into practice that most people on here are still in the process of doing.

  686. carla Says:

    Tim, I think the fighting and questioning is the status quo and, yes, basically another symptom. Who wouldn’t want to try fix something that upsets our balance so spectacularly?

    I don’t think the idea is to ‘stop fighting’ but rather working to improve our understanding and practicing living alongside the symptoms. Claire Weekes explains that patients can often can’t process understanding at first because the underlying tension is too great. She recommends keeping her book by the bedside so it can be read as often as needed.

    I think that as your understanding increases and your behaviours improve, you slowly become less frightened by your symptoms and the fighting sort of fades on it’s own.

    Instead of trying to ‘break’ the cycle, I prefer to see it as very slowly shrinking it until it eventually disappears to a dot in the centre.

    My setback has been caused by intrusive thoughts surrounding inward thinking and self-awareness. It really knocked me for six and I still seem to be needing quite a lot of reassurance around this symptom. This is why the blog is so helpful; there’s always someone who can help to provide this.

    Is there a particular symptom that’s bothering you Tim or just all of it?!

  687. Stephanie Says:

    Recovering from anxiety is a process and a nonlinear one at that. There will be ups and downs, good and bad days. I know we wish we would feel better overnight, or at least start feeling a little better and then continue to improve from there. But that’s not how it works. And I believe true recovery happens during those downs/bad days, when we choose not to let anxiety hold us back. I’m having one of those difficult days today and I don’t like it and it’s not fun, but you know what? It’s ok. The good days will come again, and I’ll appreciate them all the more for it. In the meantime, though, I will still live my life. I’ll smile. I’ll laugh. I’ll play with my daughter. I’ll go outside and enjoy the sunshine.

    Enjoy your day, everyone!

  688. Kelly Says:

    What a great attitude Stephanie!

    I’ll say that, for me, recovery and acceptance have come gradually. I used to believe that I would never be able to drop the habit of thinking about myself and my anxiety. But I’ll tell you that I have been able to do it! By getting more active in my life (reading, watching TV, playing with my kids, etc), I have been able to slowly gain minutes, then hours where I am engaged in life and not thinking about my anxiety. Believe me, it is possible. I was stuck in my habit not that long ago – probably a month ago.

  689. Adam Says:

    Very good post, Stephanie. That pretty much sums up the entire approach for recovery from anxiety. Well done!

  690. Jaz Says:

    For all those who are scared that their bp is high. If you never had hbp b4 anxiety it doesn’t mean you do cuz every time you wanna check it you get anxiety it’s gonna be a lil high it’s called white coat syndrome. Every time your hr goes up while working out, arguing or w anxiety your bp will go up. So what you gotta do is check early in the am as soon as you wake up and it should be normal as long as you don’t panic. Your hr should be low so you bp should be low too. And for accepting anxiety you just gotta go with I don’t give a care if I faint or collapse oh well we all gonna go one day. And that’s the whole reason we get anxiety cuz we’re afraid to die. We’re not so just don’t care and live on. ???? that’s the advice I got from my sister that has suffered for 5 or 6 years but now she’s happy and has normal anxiety but she gives it the I don’t give a fbomb. Lol

  691. Ross Says:

    Hi guys iv, e given in & started on a low dose med to help me get through as was struggling without so feeling positive & hope this is final hurdle in my recovery as Anxiety has had enough of my life it, s time to live & enjoy yeah I have my worrys & doubts but hoping the meds help a little to allow me recovery.

  692. carla Says:

    Don’t worry Ross, there are millions of people for whom meds ‘take the edge off’. Last time I had anxiety I managed to get through without them but this time I’m trying a low-dose antidepressant as the symptoms were becoming too severe to function properly.

    The effects have been pretty mild for me and certainly haven’t been a magic cure. But I’m up and about at least, functioning normally even if the symptoms are still there and I feel this is a crucial part of recovery.

    I’ve been finding it harder again to accept the inward-thinking/monitoring today, although exercising and keeping busy have kept the physical reactions manageable.

    Chris – funny you mention TV; this seems to be a bit of a trigger for me. I automatically find myself anxiously wondering if I’ll be able to focus on/enjoy any of it which of course immediately makes this virtually impossible – aargh!

    I guess I’m still frightened by the monitoring/checking because it feels like an intrinsically unhelpful thing to do. But, of course, because I’m frightened of it I end up doing it all the more. Monitor – fear – check – fear – inward thinking – fear – try and think outwardly – fear. Until I eventually wear myself out with it all. And because it’s dominated my day and caused so much fear and tension, it becomes more and more entrenched as a ‘dangerous thing’ that I need to stop doing and the cycle continues.

    So I’m thinking it’s probably not the monitoring/noticing that’s the problem but the fear of it, along with the ‘what if’ thought that I might never be able to have a normal, outward thought again!

    So, any reassurances guys about this particular experience would be great. How you managed to shift your attitude, come to terms with inward thinking or repetitive, checking type thoughts.

    And Kerry, sorry if I’m repeating myself like some kind of dementia patient, your posts have been really helpful but this one is proving a bit tricky for me to come to terms with!

    How has everyone been today?

  693. Kelly Says:

    Carla –

    It’s no problem to repeat yourself. That is what we are here for – to help. You will be able to have normal, outward thoughts again. I think, for me, what happened is that I just began to no longer care about how I felt. Once I stopped watching myself, I was able to engage more in my life. Minutes of outward thinking have turned into hours of outward thinking. Now, I’m close to having an entire day where I don’t think about it.

    You can do it. I never thought that I would be able to get out of my own head, but I did. And I was in the throws of it just one month ago.

  694. carla Says:

    You’re right Kerry, I need to practice not caring if I’m monitoring, checking, thinking inwardly or not focusing/enjoying things.

    I’m finding this hard I must admit (I’m pretty impatient by nature) although I’ve certainly had some glimpses of it. And I guess I can’t be as terrified as I was a month ago because I’m functioning much more positively and having less strong physical reactions.

    I guess I keep getting frustrated, seeing my repetitive thoughts as somehow holding me prisoner, and instinctively trying to fight myself free of them. I think I just need more time and practice really – this setback came on so suddenly and severely that I think I’m still reeling a bit.

    But I’m ok – still managed a swim, an induction meeting at my new school and a bounce on the trampoline with my little pickles. Onwards and through as Claire Weekes would say!

  695. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Carla, It sounds to me like you’re doing just fine living alongside your thoughts. You’re not letting them hold you back, which is what matters. Yeah, you don’t like them and they may scare you sometimes, but who cares. That’s a normal reaction that will decrease with time.

    Most of my anxious thoughts center around food. When my anxiety was really bad I had no appetite and became a borderline unhealthy weight. Without going in to too much detail, I started obsessing about food. I would think, “It’s so strange that we have to eat to survive. Even if we don’t want to eat, we have to or we’ll die.” It sounds so ridiculous, even to myself, but these were the thoughts that crossed my mind. For awhile I would respond to these thoughts by thinking, “What if I never have a normal relationship with food again?! What if I’m always obsessing about it?” Then finally I decided, “You know what, who cares? Even if I always have these thoughts, oh well. I’ll have these silly thoughts and continue to live my life.” I still get those thoughts now, and they still bother me, but I just let them be there.

  696. aj Says:

    Hi all
    posting again (third time). I am suffering from anxiety since eight months. Paul’s book and this blog has helped a lot. on some days I have extreme obsessive negative relationship thoughts but now I know from where they come ! . I need help for the following
    1. I was diagnosed with hypertension last year (had no anxiety then but was under stress and I think this was my anxiety trigger point). I obsess about my BP. I am on medication for this
    2. I have OCD….i pick my scalp a lot, more so when anxious. Sometimes I do it in company of others and that’s embarrassing. Right now as I am typing out with right hand my left hand is busy picking……aarrrgh.
    any help much appreciated.

  697. Matt Says:

    This question is directed at Nolan or anyone else who has made improvements who can answer this:

    When you’re ruminating or worrying about something (like how you feel, or the stupid thoughts that keep popping into your head every 30 seconds and won’t leave you alone, or how you’re going to get out of this mess, etc.), what do you do?

    I think Nolan answered this with Anxious Indian a while ago, but I couldn’t quite find the post, and I try not to go through here and read too much. I think of it as two options:

    1) Just keep ruminating about it, and do nothing

    2) Try to actively think of something else, while not being frustrated that the thought is there.

    I’m not sure which option would be “doing nothing” as Paul would say. Ruminating means continued worrying, whereas thinking about something else seems like “doing something”. I think I should try to do/think of something else, with the expectation that I won’t be able to for a while, but I wanted to confirm this I guess. My mind won’t come off a certain topic now, and it’s driving me insane, and I want to move forward, however it happens. Thanks!

  698. Rob Says:

    About the BP or heart worries….

    Think about it whats the worst that can happen? Ok you get diagnosed high BP big deal so what. The fix for it is certainly easier than dealing with anxiety….

  699. Daniel Says:

    I agree, there’s no shame and no problem taking meds.
    And I’ve always felt it doesn’t contradict acceptance in any way.
    Just think of medication as training wheels helping you stand while you learn to ride without them.

    You often say that any ‘health scare’ somebody gets during the period shouldn’t scare them because ‘anxiety is worse.’ I’d disagree with you on that. I feel that that mentality gives too much credit, fear and power to your condition. Just yesterday my mother said “This is the worst thing that has happened to you in your life.” And I told her that is simply not true, as I’d say things like the death of my grandfather or aunt were much worse (and irreversible) in an objective sense. I’ll agree with you that the paradoxical nature of anxiety makes it quite a trial to deal with, but I just want you to know it only has as much power as you give it.
    Sorry if I came across as condescending or arrogant, my intentions were not to correct you or instruct you, more so to check in and see how you’re doing in terms of how you are seeing and approaching your anxiety because I find more than anything else that is how we can gauge our recovery.

    Best wishes to everyone!

  700. carla Says:

    Stephanie, thankyou, your attitude is great and one that I’m managing to glimpse for myself at times.

    I think it takes time to lose a fear of something, especially when it has given us such a scare. But going towards the thoughts, welcoming them, practicing accepting their presence with slightly less fear each time seems to be the way forward.

    But it takes time, that is what I need to remember!

  701. Ross Says:

    Hi kelly it, s the constant thinking & questioning & inward thinking that gets me well I took 1 of my new tablets & hey presto slept for 12 hrs. I always seem to go over stuff in my head& things from past it, s like I cant let go & I have fear im stuck like this I get some horrid intrusive thoughts at times. Which I hate as they can be horrible.

  702. Bryan Says:


    Definitely no shame… But there IS risk. Training wheels don’t carry risk. Meds do, big time. (Psych meds in particular.). So while I agree we do what we have to do… I think the training wheels analogy is a bit lacking.

    Psychotropic drugs carry risk. And people should weigh them when considering use.

  703. Ross Says:

    I know there’s risk my main thing is they fear im crazy & fear I cant recover & never letting go of past & how bad I was so I really think meds are what I need at moment im seeing a councillor & psychologist at moment to help me on my way to recovery & at moment all I can do I think/talk about my anxiety & worry im crazy & I worry I can never recover

  704. Kelly Says:

    Ross – You are not crazy and you will definitely recover. I, too, thought that I never would be able to think of anything other than my anxiety. I got past it and you can too. I just realized that, as I engaged more with life, I gradually started thinking about other things. Minutes of non-anxious thinking were followed by hours.

    If anyone has specific questions about this, let me know. I’m happy to try and answer.

  705. Rob Says:


    Maybe I should rephrase it–I meant that the anxiety about having something is often overblown compared to the problem itself.

    Lately im in a setback. Had some school stress last week and during the exam my mind randomly decided to wander to the death of my friend which happened sometime last month. I was very annoyed cause I was totally over it–I went through the feelings of sadness combined with guilt in moving on from the tragedy for about 1 week and then the feelings dissolved.

    But last week I suddenly out of nowhere started thinking of that and it made me super anxious that I had a total breakdown last week. Now this week, I’ve “recovered” from that specific breakdown but it still bothers me that I think about that when in reality im over it. Its like my mind doesn’t want me to get over it when I actually am–I don’t show sadness about it anymore. Just anxiety at the thought of thinking about it cause I’d rather think about my usual obsessive thought: the ecstasy from last year than think about somebody’s death. Now this one thought completely demolished my thoughts about E though cause I gave my mind the signal that thinking about E was better than this so it did the opposite…

  706. honey Says:

    Could some of you explain your take on depersonalisation…

    I’m not sure if the experience I have occassionally is that or or if it is something else so il explain my take on it…

    It’s a feeling that comes out of the blue
    I find it very hard to sum up into words
    Episodes are fleeting they literally last a few minutes
    I get scared and feel like I’m depressed
    I feel suddenly disconecyed from everyone I love
    I feel a range of emotions like guilt, sadness, hopelessness and that il always be like this so what’s the point
    It makes me become very introspective
    It’s like a black cloud decesnds and then leaves
    I spend time afterwards analysing it thinking it’s depression and worrying that it’s something other than anxiety

    That’s my take on it but I’m not sure if its definately depersonalisation or better known as disasociation.

    Anyone shed some light?

  707. lainie waller Says:

    honey to me its a feeling of being detatched from the world like your in a dream and looking in on yourself. as though the worlds not real. a horrible feeling. the first time i felt it i thought someone had spiked my drink

  708. lainie waller Says:

    AJ i pick my eyebrow but its a habit not ocd. i stopped once and started it again but it dont bother me. its sore and scabby but i will stop again lol when i put my mind to it. my mum used to call me brow lol x

  709. aj Says:

    Thanks for the response. I think I should consciously try to overcome this scalp picking habit.

  710. Daniel Says:

    Whether it’s a feeling of reality or an anxiety spell doesn’t matter too much. There are these moments, which some people refer to as panic attacks, when our anxiety comes to a head, these are the moments where we most want to run, hide, google, ask questions, break down and cry. They are also the best times to practice acceptance, simply by doing nothing about them. I know that’s hard at times being as unpleasant as they are, but each time one of those intense scary moments arise know that they are fleeting, take comfort in knowing they are baseless and cannot harm you, and continue to do whatever you were doing.

    As to answer your question, that intense feeling is just anxiety telling you to do something about it because your body is under the completely false impression that you are in danger, once you prove to your body that you are safe it will start following your lead.

  711. anna Says:

    Well said Daniel.Thank you so much for the advise.

  712. honey Says:

    Thank you to anyone who responded. I feel worried that this symptom will engulf me. Thinking it was depersonalisation helped me to accept that it was just another anxiety symptom which made the whole thing easier to accept bit I don’t think mine is depersonalisation based on what other people are explaining. I was worried I was getting depressionbecause it’s such an intense feeling of sadness and hopelessness but it comes and goes so quickly but I cling to it and start worrying googling and analysing. Sonedays I just feel so exhausted and fed up and other days its so much easier to accept. I guess that although patience really is paramount in this sometimes it just gets to you.

  713. Natalie Says:

    Honey, I definitely get the exact feelings you describe but they don’t come on suddenly. They tend to last a bit longer but not always as intense. They really do pass though, I’ve had long periods without them at all and sometimes I just get bad days, like today. Now though I’m not as worried about them as I know it will always pass and I know I’m there beneath all the symptoms. It doesn’t mean they still aren’t horrible but they are temporary. Hope that helps a little.

  714. honey Says:

    Thank you natalie x2D

  715. Julie Says:


    What you describe above is what I had every single day early last year and even now I get a sudden feeling of doom (that is how I describe it) woosh over me. It’s rare but now when it happens I feel suddenly flat, flow, look at my future and my life and feel sick with anxiety and a what’s the point feeling almost. It’s like a proper doom hits me in the pit of my stomach. I am not sure if that’s depersonalisation, I describe it more as a sudden doom which is common with anxiety.

    When I get it now it passes within a day, but I used to have it constant for many months and it was horrible. I felt very detached as though I was different to other people and why couldn’t I live life like others without this morbid eerie feeling hitting me every day. Now if it hits I just accept it and carry on. It does pass, and you know it passes so find comfort in that when it does wash over you. I know it’s hard but I hope you will feel better knowing I and others have had similar feelings. I found once I knew others felt like this it took the sting out of it and I could accept it. I still hate it now when it hits but I am able to carry on with my day and not sit around worrying and crying all day like I used to.

    I hope that helps a little.


  716. Julie Says:


    Do not say you give up, as long as you want to live there is hope. Giving up takes away the chance of recovery.

    I have suffered with anxiety now for 2.5 years. Last year was the worst year of my life so far. I had severe anxiety, intrusive harm thoughts about myself and my children. I was housebound for many months in 2013. 2014 was a year of trying to get out and live my life again whilst struggling to be alone, and alone with my children. Believe me I have felt everything anxiety can do to you. Now it’s 2015, I wouldn’t say I am fully recovered but I am in a much better place. I guess I don’t know what full recovery means, it may be different for everyone.

    How did I get over scary intrusive thoughts of harm? How did I get over feeling terrified of going out? Fearing I was some kind of monster and all of my fears I was a danger….. Well I eventually saw that during stress my anxiety peaked hugely. I started to refocus on life and avoided anything that caused me stress. I walked away from negativity (family members hurting me in my case) and surrounded myself with those that loved and treated me right. Life got better and I felt calmer. In time my sensitized body started to recover. During this time I refocused on life and started doing things for myself. Yoga, working out, healthy eating…. I had CBT and learnt that the thoughts were all due to high anxiety, aswell as reading Pauls book and A Letter to Myself, I lost my fear of alot of my anxiety. I spent time with my children when my thoughts were racing, I drove in my car when I was petrified, I went shopping when I was trembling, I started to interact with people and the outside world again…….. It was alot of hard work but I knew I had to try to live a life as normal as possible to find some kind of peace. It works, it really does.

    I am now able to be alone with my children, my hubby can go out in the evening to walk the dogs, he can travel with work, I can have objects back in the house I feared and would trigger thoughts, I can be alone……. Do I get set backs? Hell yeah! I get them occasionally and have a few wobbly days. I even had one the other day which is passing, because of the news about the co-pilot that crashed that plane. It affected me deeply. Double that up with having a virus and I had the perfect recipe for anxiety. What did I do? I just carried on living. Childrens parties, shopping, visiting my niece today….. You just have to carry on.

    I am 2.5 years into this but trust me if you just learn to accept that after all this time suffering you have not done any harm to anyone, you have anxiety, you aren’t a monster…. then you will gain confidence. Do everything you want to do, everything anxiety tells you not to do, go for it and live life. Over time confidence grows. I thought I’d never ever have sharp objects back in my house (trying to be careful what I type here) but my confidence grew hugely once I did and I saw I was a good person, I could be like I used to be and not let anxiety make me fear myself. Over time you do see that this is anxiety, time is a healer as they say and it’s so true.

    I can go out now, I am working on socialising by myself again but I socialise alot now with my children or hubby. I go out, I shop, I exercise, I take my children out, I take my children to their appointments and tomorrow night I am taking my daughter to see Paloma Faith. This is HUGE for me, I couldn’t even walk into the corner shop a year ago. Maybe I will panic, maybe I will freak out before hand but one things for sure I’m not going to let anxiety stop me trying.

    Big hugs to you. Hang in there, I still have days where I feel terrible and a black cloud comes over me and I fear it’s all back but I stick to what I’ve learnt. I want to live, I don’t want to give up. I have beautiful children to live for and I love life. I just hate this anxiety, as I am sure you do too. You have to be patient, it doesn’t leave over night. It comes off in layers and you have to work at refocusing on your life to feel those layers come off. At first it feels so hard to enjoy a hobby or to go visit a friend, but fake it till you make it as they say. Remember this is a long process for many of us. Whilst you are here there is hope. Don’t give up, don’t let anxiety win.

    Take Care.


    Bryan – Thank you for your kind comment above :-) I have only just seen it from last week.

  717. lainie waller Says:

    lovely post julie xx

  718. Jade Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I’m a 24 year old girl, last December I diagnosed with severe anxiety and OCD intrusive thoughts. My thoughts were based around hurting my loved ones with knifes and crashing a car (I was in a accident last March). They threw me into a complete nightmare as I had no idea what was going on. I was crying all the time, couldnt be alone, had a dreadful stomach, honestly thought I was going crazy. I am currently on 50mg of sertaline which has been brillant and stopped my panic attacks. But not the severe anxiety and the OCD thoughts. I went private and seen a therapist who was brill but my company I work for got me refered for CBT, which I am currently under going now. It’s made me realise that I have had OCD since I was a child but never realised. This book has really helped me and I have actually bought it for a friend who also suffers from anxtiey. I call it “MY BIBLE”. Anyways, the book along with CBT has been brilliant for me to realise my horrible thoughts are actually my biggest fears and the reason I panic is because I don’t want to act on these which I read people never do who have this. I can Google for hours on end to find a answer when I’m having a bad day, this is the worst thing as I am looking for a answer I will never find, then when I’m on a “good day” it doesn’t even cross my mind. My intrusive thoughts lately have been about suicide and this is really really killing me. I have the fear that maybe it isn’t intrusive and maybe I will do it? I don’t plan it or anything but I do obsess over it and I do start thinking well I can’t take this I want the thoughts to go away is this the only way? But it makes me feel sick that I can think this as I am usually a very happy girl. I have a brilliant family and friends and boyfriend so have no reason to think this, but I do want to stop feeling like this and then that’s when the suicide thought comes back :( can anyone relate to this? I’ve tried to calm down on the googling and just stick to this page as I find reading the comments calm me down. I have the app on my phone too incase I freak out when I’m out. I was off work sick for a month over Xmas and work have been brilliant but I feel like it’s always up and down but this is the one thought I cant get over.

    Any advice would be very much welcome :)

    Jade xx

  719. Natalie Says:

    I agree, great post Julie. I also identify with your first post above about the feeling of doom that comes over you. So good to hear people talk about exactly the same way you are feeling (although Im sorry others feel it too at the same time!). I too have come a long way and the setbacks do come but it’s strange as the more you go through them, there’s a part of you deep down that knows it’s all anxiety. It’s like all the same horrible thoughts and sensations come and you are still afraid but deep down you know it’s just anxiety and it will pass. Really pleased for you how far you have come :)

  720. JoJo Says:

    Bryan: why do you keep saying your not unique unless your on medication. You keep making statements and then saying well if your not on medication. I don’t understand. I am on medication so how am I unique or not able to benefit from your same advice. Your losing me here :)

  721. Horton Says:

    Thanks Julie, that means a lot to me. Really amazing stuff. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me almost a week later.

    I’m sticking with the program and hoping for the best, my only concern is I have no idea what’ll it be like on the other side. Like what really qualifies as recovery.

  722. Julie Says:

    No problem Horton. I couldn’t read your post and not reply to you. Sorry I didn’t reply sooner, I don’t come here that often.

    Take care


  723. Julie Says:

    Thank you Lainie xx

    Thank you Natalie. Great to hear you are doing so well.

    You’re right, with each set back you kind of feel reassured and you know that this is anxiety. It soon passes and you have a spell of peace again.

    Julie x

  724. Krista Says:

    Julie, thank you so much for your post. I can relate to everything you said from the intrusive thoughts, couldn’t leave your home to hearing about the news affecting you. Today is one of those days where my anxiety is high and I came on here to read some posts and am so happy to have read yours. Thank you.

  725. Bryan Says:


    Many are prevented from full recovery by taking drugs (meds) depending on what type. Horton’s belief that his body is somehow incapable of healing would only be possibly supported if he was on psych drugs which we’re holding him back from recovery which for some it does… Or in many cases creates or worsens issues. Furthermore it is my belief that until you are off the drugs you never know how your body\mind are healing and where it not you are truly accepting or if it’s just the drugs numbing down symptoms.

    For some meds help or do at least do not harm recovery. For others it’s a real problem. It’s a crap shoot.

    Horton isn’t on meds apparently which means the upside is that he has a clear shot to recovery if he sticks with it. Nothing is working against him under the surface.

  726. Bryan Says:


    Isn’t it interesting that those waves can pass in a day or less now? There one of the hard things to explain to someone in early stages. We sometimes accept for long periods without seeing a change In our condition. It does take some persistence or faith, some might say. But it DOES happen. That’s the great news.

  727. Ross Says:

    Great post julie how did you get past the overthinking/analyzing everything & fear of things & the questioning& doubting.

  728. Lucy Says:

    Hi All, I was just wondering whether you have to face your biggest fear, your biggest trigger – to recover? Or can you recover without having to do that? I have a particular trigger, but it’s a situation and but something I can just conjur up do I can face it, and I’m worried that I won’t recover until I do :-(

  729. Horton Says:

    Yo Bryan, never said I thought I’d never get better!

  730. Daniel Says:

    Not sure if this will help your situation Lucy, but here’s an excerpt from “A Letter to Myself” you might find interesting:

    “What is the distraction technique?
    Let’s explain it very simply.
    Fear is kryptonite, you are Superman.
    Kryptonite hurts Superman.
    Superman has been holding the kryptonite for as long as he can remember trying to work out how he can ‘beat it’.
    Why on earth would Superman keep kryptonite in his hand??!
    “Hey Superman, just throw it away for fuck’s sake!!”
    When people talk of distraction, all they are talking about is Superman throwing his kryptonite away.
    Superman does this, he feels great, and he goes on to help people.
    Has Superman in his solution somehow cheated? Of course not, he did the sensible thing.
    Did kryptonite win?
    Who cares!
    In other words when you get anxious, accept the situation, accept its normal, don’t run for the hills and just do what you would have done had you not been anxious.
    Superman feels great, and he knows what to do every time he comes in contact with kryptonite. He treats it with the contempt it deserves and simply throws it away.
    The only difference between you and Superman is when you throw your kryptonite away it takes a few days to a few weeks for your confidence to bubble and your smile to return and you may get the odd setback along the way. But if you read the setback section then we find out why set backs are good things.
    On a point of interest it is completely possible to enjoy fear; adrenaline junkies do it all the time. All I am saying is that it is not necessary in the slightest.
    There are loads of ways to exit anxiety, do whatever method feels best for you.
    There is no way to fail.
    It is time for you to walk away and live your life.
    If you do find yourself starting to ritualize then simply start the recovery process again (just reset the clock), each time you do this happiness, relaxation and clarity come back faster and stronger.”

  731. lainie waller Says:

    Had a fabulous two weeks of complete peace and feeling happy. woke up sunday morning very anxious again and same today. any advice peeps xxxx

  732. Adam Says:

    Lainie… I would chalk it up to “recovery” and not worry at all about it. I have been in that exact cycle for months now. I will have days to weeks of feeling fantastic…as good as I felt before anxiety was ever even a thought in my mind….and then with a drop of a hat I am full blown anxious again. Nolan has explained this quite well in previous posts. Scroll back up or in Paul’s previous post and see if you can find it. Basically, it boils down to the fact that recovery is not linear. It goes up and down in cycles. One day good, two bad etc etc. And there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it. Just accept it all and not worry about it. Be happy and thankful for the good days (which I am). For example, for me, I was extremely anxious last Friday morning for no exact reason. I felt as anxious as I have felt in several months time. And that was after a pretty good week of not feeling too badly. Why? I don’t know…it is what it is and I try my best to not worry about it (but it is hard to accept, I admit). I do know that I went about my day and lived alongside it like normal with acceptance. And by Saturday I wasn’t feeling nearly anxious at all and I had lived my life the way I wanted without letting anxiety stop me. As many others have said on here…the key isn’t the fact that you are having a set back when you have one, it is how you react to it. Treat it the exact same as you always treat anxiety: accept it, face it, feel it and move on with your life.

  733. honey Says:

    Thank you Julie I have since realised that it is indeed depersonalisation. Luckily for it usually fleets in and out and last minutes maximum. I usually go onto analyse it all day which makes it feel like it lasts ages when in actual fact it’s my reaction to it that lasts ages!! Thank you for taking the time to respond

  734. Bryan Says:

    Sorry Horton, I should have said that you didn’t believe the methods would work for you, which is probably more accurate.

    I hope you realize they will in time, and spend more time soaking in and learning here… instead of confronting. It’s a rare bunch here of people who will go so far out of their way to help strangers. My goal here is to help a little where I can, but continue to learn myself so I can complete the journey back to smooth waters.

  735. JoJo Says:

    Bryan and others: I have to still do the mental work while I am on an SSRI, and go on with life still affected at times with my thoughts on myself and bad thoughts. I hope your not saying the progress I have made will not hold once I am off the Meds. That makes me feel so hopeless. I was really at a point where I couldn’t not function and had to calm down a bit.

    Does anyone have success stories of being on Meds and working on yourself while on them and eventually being able to get off once you felt recovered?

  736. Bryan Says:


    Not at all… everything you’re learning and the acceptance you are employing will absolutely help you once you come off of drugs.

    There ARE people here who have used drugs successfully as PART of a recovery program. Most didn’t, but that doesn’t mean you can’t.

    My point about meds is that I don’t think we can really consider ourselves fully recovered until we fly solo, which I think most people taking drugs understand.
    Psych drugs rarely work forever, and IMO they should ONLY be used as disaster control measures and tapered as part of a true recovery plan. That’s just me, and given… meds set me back years, so I’m biased in a negative way. (I’ve also seen a lot of people damaged.)

    However, if you’re calmer now… that’s great. Keep doing the work. No need to be hopeless AT ALL. In fact, look at it this way… I took meds, they made me 10x worse…. and yet even with that, managed to come through and am making great progress using organic recovery methods.

    The reason I brought it up with Horton was… when someone says they’ve been TRULY accepting for 8 months and haven’t seen a bit of progress, one of two things are usually going on…

    1. They aren’t truly accepting, just think they are.

    2. They are on drugs that they may not know are causing symptoms or keeping the condition in a heightened state. Remember, “SIDE” effects of drugs are only called side effects because they are not the desired effects. Side effects ARE the effects of the drugs. Sometimes those affects are negative, and sometimes people don’t know it.

    In your case, it sounds like you have a good plan… and the acceptance you are learning will help you when you decide to taper off the drugs and recover organically.

    Again, I’m not anti psych-drugs. But when someone well-meaningly compares them to “training wheels”… I feel the need to simply provide the counter-view to that, as this forum is about helping people make educated choices. There are pros and cons to both drug and drug-free methods. I’m a big believer in going organic at all costs if you can… but one can certainly recover using meds as well. I just provide this info because of my experience so others can have the option to avoid what I went through.

  737. Jeff Says:

    I have to agree with Bryan in that no meds is certainly preferable….certainly the less the better. And full recovery IS feeling great med-free.

    However if meds are making you feel better, then it sounds like you found the right one. Finding an SSRI that works for you is not always a walk in the park.

    I have never heard of any anti-anxiety med preventing or slowing down recovery – though some SSRIs can certainly make things (temporarily) worse, as I had the displeasure of experiencing – though it didn’t hinder my recovery.

    In general though, it’s going to take a certain amount of time for your body to recover and CALM DOWN regardless of whether or not you take meds…

    I find it amusing that many docs consider SSRIs as a cure-all for whatever ails you… many think of benzos as the root of all evil. Plenty of pros and cons all over the internet….

    Keep in mind that we are ALL unique. Although we all walk down similar paths to recovery – those paths are all different.

  738. Lisa P. Says:

    I was on meds for anxiety and depression. It cleared my mind up enough to really work on myself. I am now off all of the meds and it did not affect my recovery. I’m doing great and feel that if I had not had the meds at the time it would have been very hard to think straight enough. I weened off of them slowly all the while still using Paul’s advice. Meds are not for everyone, but I’m proof that if used correctly they can help you thru and can be left behind once they are no longer needed. I feels amazing to be off of them and to know that I am strong without them. I’m one of those people who have reached the other side after suffering from severe anxiety and depression, many sleepless nights and non functioning days. I am now completely recovered and have been for awhile. You can do it. ~Lisa P.

  739. JoJo Says:

    Lisa Jeff and Bryan:

    Thank you so much for your advice. I guess I get scared that the drugs take the edge off and you think your doing better but when you come off it is all right back. I just want to be off meds and over this chapter in my life. I was off meds once and had to go back on two months later because the meds took it all away and I had not needed to work on myself. I stayed on a low dose so I could work through it myself, got pregnant and was off meds for 10 months. That was a rocky time but I made it. Right after baby was born starting having it so bad again I jumped back on. I can’t seem to get out of this cycle and just want to be able to stop them for good. But everytime I try I’m going through huge life changes. What should I do guys? I want to be better on my own and don’t want the meds making me think it’s all gonna be ok

  740. Stephanie Says:

    Hi JoJo,

    Unfortunately no one can tell you whether to stay or get off meds. That’s a decision you have to make for yourself. Same goes for what will/might happen if you get off the meds, no one can predict that. I was on an SSRI for three weeks last year. I hated it and stopped. The side effects were worse than my anxiety. I also realized that I was putting all of my hope in medication. I wanted to hide from my anxiety and have medication fix it for me. Looking back, I know that even if medication had reduced the effects of my anxiety (insomnia, no appetitie, etc.) it wouldn’t have been able to change my response to anxiety, which is what was keeping me in the anxiety cycle. I had to change that myself. Like many peope here, I believe we can all get better without medication. But again, no one can make your decisions for you. Only you know what is best for you. If you do decide to go medication free though, know that you can do it! It might be a hard, difficult road but others have tread it before. Take care!

  741. Shawn Says:

    Hi, I’ve been a background lurker on this sight for a while. I posted in disturbing thoughts but it seems to be a dead thread.
    It’s so nice to see how everyone helps each other, I avoided forums like the plague for a while as some were so negative.
    I’ve just had my cherry popped in regards to anxiety; it’s been an interesting 2015! I can laugh about it now but January and February were pretty horrific.
    I couldn’t work, drive or engage with anyone. I had a racing heart, no sleep, constant feelings of pure dread, horrible thoughts of violence to the point I didn’t want to be left with my little one, and I was almost completely spaced out for most of January.
    I constantly thought I was going to go mad!
    I’m starting to feel much better now, I’m back at work now on restricted duties and have been driving with no issues for a while now. I understand where the thoughts come from and think I know how they come about; which has helped massively.
    I still get times where everything seems “hyper-real” if that makes any sense. That feeling of being an alien watching the human race is fading (I never thought I was an actual alien) some of the physical symptoms are slowly fading and the mornings haven’t been too bad recently. The feelings of pointlessness comes and goes, but when it come I know it’s a symptom of a condition and won’t last. My anxiety and depression was bought on by stress and trauma related to work, like I said, I’d never had either before.
    Does anyone get a feeling of pressure in their head, like a bad head cold? This isn’t too pleasant.
    I was prescribed Citalopram but avoided taking it, I took propranolol for a while as I needed it.
    I found low doses of St Johns Wart to be helpful with the depressive element and the sleeping, I assume these things will never work for me, but I felt better within a few days, placebo or not I don’t know. I also started running and mindfulness to help the thoughts drift on by. I’ve learnt that drinking alcohol isn’t for me; although I’ve had a love affair with booze going back as far as I can remember. However, according to my therapist (never thought I’d say that!) the “beer fear” as I called it isn’t a normal state of affairs. I’d have to write myself off for at least 24 hours after a session with what I know now was anxiety bought on by alcohol.
    I still worry I’m going to take a step back somehow, I can’t take anymore time off work, but I feel I’ve turned a corner, and intend to use this experience to better myself and help others in the same boat. It’s really good to hear from people who have recovered, and you’re helping more people than you know by coming here and sharing your experiences, I’m sure there are loads of lurkers like me on here.
    I’ve come clean at work, and now know of at least 6 other people who’ve had the same, some worse than me!!
    Best of luck to everyone, whilst mine hasn’t been going on for as long as some of yours, it has still been very intense and would have been very easy to give up, if I can do it anyone can!

  742. Julie Says:


    With time it really does just happen, I believe time is a healer. When you’re first going through something you feel despair and as though nothing will ever calm down. As months pass I think you see it in a different way, and you think ‘well it hasn’t hurt me before now, bring it on’ you stand up to the anxiety but in the beginning that is very hard to do.

    Ross – I don’t think there is much more i can add to my post other than I gave it time and I refocused on life. To me that was the biggest thing. I just decided to start focusing on my hobbies and I took the anxiety with me. This over time gave me life back. That doesn’t mean I didn’t feel anxiety because I did but my determination to live life took over and I made sure I worked out, did my yoga, went out with the kids for that meal, went for a run……. whatever I wanted to do I did.

    Here’s an example. I have been poorly with a virus and after the recent news about the plane crash I was a recipe for a rise in anxiety. Yesterday I felt pretty low, exhausted, still not 100% well thanks to the virus and I think the news story really did upset me. I thought how will I go to Paloma Faith with my daughter tonight. I got dressed, I did my make up, I danced with excitement and once there I had the time of my life. A year ago could I have done that? no chance. I struggled to go to the corner shop.

    Let the doubting be there, let the anxiety be there. I still get random spikes every few months and it terrifies me in the moment but now I say what the hell and like last night I went to see Paloma Faith instead. 😉

    Just refocus on life. Spikes, doubting, anxiety attacks are all scary and every few months I get them now, better than every day like I used to. Will I get more, I am sure I will but you really do have to just carry on living and let it all be there. Stop searching for answers, and let the mind heal itself, let it have that rest.


  743. Kat Says:

    Hello everyone, I hope you are all feeling better.

    I think I just need some kind of reassurance at the moment. I have posted before, though have made an effort not to recently. That said, I am at a point where some advice would be very welcome.

    I don’t want to go back over my history, but suffice it to say, I’ve been dealing with anxiety for many years. I have had periods of relative calm, though I’ve never really gotten over my safety/avoidance behaviours. Last year, after a silly experience in which I fainted after a strenuous bike ride (did not know at the time that I suffered from anemia), anxiety came back, with a vengeance. I have solicited advice on this blog, and read and re-read the advice from those recovered, and have done my very best to put into practice what I’ve learned, appreciating every positive word along the way.

    Whilst in the midst of working at this, my mother died, unexpectedly. I thought I’d handled it well, and waited for some kind of super-attack, but I seemed to plod along, having moments of sadness, but also moments of acceptance. This is life, I thought, and you cannot escape this sort of thing. I felt moments of peace come back, and I even had a couple weeks of static peace, even enjoyment. Then, wham. Last week, everything sank again. Not only anxiety, but depressive feelings which have me feeling fatigued and on the verge of tears all the time. I cannot figure out if this is delayed grief, or just my anxiety.

    Also, I’ve been working with a physician on my anxiety. He does not know that I read this blog so we do not discuss it and Paul’s approach to dealing with anxiety. He is a huge proponent for exercise and healthy eating, and explains how the chemical process of anxiety works. He also firmly believes that anxiety is 100% curable with understanding and patience.

    My trouble is this: when I go through a good period, I am grateful, but very aware that a bad period could be just around the corner. Of course, this tends to happen, and then the bad period feels so much worse than the one before it. Last night, while at a work meeting, I started to shake, uncontrollably, and could not focus on a thing that was said. My handwriting was spidery, so I know that my hands were legitimately shaking, and this went on for an hour. I had never experienced that kind of symptom in such a benign situation before (I shook when I learned my mother was near death, but I figured that was understandable). I tried relaxation techniques, but I just shook away, until eventually I stopped, probably because the adrenaline ran out.

    I suppose I’m looking for someone to tell me if they’ve experienced this shaking before, and if so, how to stop it when it happens. Also, I feel very hopeless at the moment, because all of this work and attempts to understand, but somehow I feel worse. Am I confusing anxiety and depression for grief? It’s all very distressing, and I can officially count myself as one of those people who thinks they may never recover from this nonsense. I would love to be less negative, but this is how I feel today.

    I would appreciate any helpful feedback.

  744. Ross Says:

    Hi julie im getting there slowly & yes I hate how anxiety makes me feel but wishing it gone never worked so I just trying to get on with my life now with it kicking&screaming at me on a positive note im off on my holidays in 2wks I have a life to lead & enjoy so onwards&upwards as the saying goes

  745. Shawn Says:


    I’ve had the shakes twice, it happened as I was getting better, it happened for no reason I could think of. It went on its own.
    Have you been eating properly? Even before all this lack of food would bring this on for me, I never thought anything about it and never considered anxiety.
    If I got this now, I would probably think it was anxiety related.
    Was it a stressful or important meeting; most people would probably get the shakes.
    And this is what was explained to me; even when I’m fully better, certain things in life will affect me in a normal psychological and physiological way, and I may attribute these things to anxiety, even though they’re completely normal and anyone would feel the same.
    The death of a family member is one of the most stressful and depressing things that could occur; of course you feel the way you do! If you had never had anxiety you would never had questioned these feelings.
    From what I’ve read, you’ve handled this very well and seem quite a robust person.
    Occasionally I’ve had to deal with strangers in various stages of grief due to the nature of my job, some act blasé, some are confused, some are shattered and some get very angry, there is no fixed act and it sounds like you are in grief.

  746. oana Says:

    Hi there everybody! I am at a point in my life where i don t know what way to choose. I first suffered of anxiety and panic attacks 3 years ago because of a stupid doctor who keep repeated me that i am going to die. Thanks to Paul’s site, book, Claire Weekes books i manage to get through all the symptomps and find the light eventualy. In a mean while my anxiety comeback to me a little bit when i was pregnant and a lot more now when my child arrived. I have a great husband who love me and the baby like a lot. I don t have a job for about 3 years. Now i am staying at home to raise the baby. He already have 1 year but my frustration are so biggg. It all start when i saw a friendly message in my housband phone addresed to his boss which is a women. I know he will never cheat on me but since than my anxiety started to grow. I am so frustratwd that i am no longer beautiful, that i don t have a job, that i am not smart enough especialy to be a boss, in conclusion i have nothing to be proud of. And because of all that i am panicing like a lot and started to shake thinking that my housband will found another women intersting. i spoke to him about all this and he is always fuul of love and kindness and i am ok in that moment. But than all kind of creepy thoughta turn back. Now i am at the point where i am afraid of not let him go wich i don t want. i just can t get rid of that message. I search for a lot of answer everywere. I know it s up to me but i don t know were to start. Last night i just have a panic attack just because he tell me something about his boss in the evening. I just don t know what is wrong with me and how to let go. Thanks everybody. Sorry for the long post and my bad english. Hope someone can show me the way.

  747. Sarah Says:

    Shawn- yeah i get that strange, uncomfortable and sometimes painful pressure in my head too. Claire weekes explains in her book that it is caused bythe contraction of your scalp muscles as a result of continuous tension. She suggests that if you press on the top of your head you should feel a bit of relief. It does work. At the moment i have a head cold and this crappy pain so happy days all round.

  748. James Says:

    This whole memories thing is getting too much for me.
    I just want to get back to where I was in life, have a sense of continuity rather than having to start all over. I want to remember the people and events that mattered in my life and get their taste and flavor back.
    It’s been my worst symptom since month one, it’s now been 14 months so as you can imagine my hopes of getting them back have pretty much disappeared.
    Will that come back with my ‘identity/personality?’ I mean do people have this symptom in mind when they say your ‘old self will come back?’ Very few people suffer from or discuss this symptom and I have never met anyone who has recovered from it. It’s also really difficult for me when people say that you need to let your old self go in order to recover, when all that matters to me is my old self (only got to be me for 8 months in the 8 years) and it bothers me even more when people on this blog completely vilify the very concept of our old selves, like they did something wrong and we should be glad to see them gone.

    If anyone has any advice I would appreciate it.
    I’d rather if Bryan did not reply because I find him a little to harsh.
    And I know Rob is in a similar situation, so I suppose this question applies for him too, so no need for you to reply.

  749. Matt Says:

    (Figured I’d post this one more time. Hoping for a response :) )

    This question is directed at Nolan or anyone else who has made improvements who can answer this:

    When you’re ruminating or worrying about something (like how you feel, or the stupid thoughts that keep popping into your head every 30 seconds and won’t leave you alone, or how you’re going to get out of this mess, etc.), what do you do?

    I think Nolan answered this with Anxious Indian a while ago, but I couldn’t quite find the post, and I try not to go through here and read too much. I think of it as two options:

    1) Just keep ruminating about it, and do nothing

    2) Try to actively think of something else, while not being frustrated that the thought is there.

    I’m not sure which option would be “doing nothing” as Paul would say. Ruminating means continued worrying, whereas thinking about something else seems like “doing something”. I think I should try to do/think of something else, with the expectation that I won’t be able to for a while, but I wanted to confirm this I guess. My mind won’t come off a certain topic now, and it’s driving me insane, and I want to move forward, however it happens. Thanks!

  750. Shawn Says:

    Sarah, thanks, I read Claire Weekes book but never picked up on that, I’ll have a look again.
    Matt, I know you were asking someone else, but you need to let the thoughts float on by without paying them too much attention; easier said than done.
    I go through most of the day now without thinking about anxiety, it still happens now and again but it’s not a problem.
    Have you tried mindfulness? I know some would say that your “doing something” to avoid anxiety, but it helps me, and lots of people without anxiety do it. You could tie yourself in knots trying to decide if your correctly following the advice to do nothing, it’s almost philosophical, what is “nothing” and if your doing something to try to achive nothing are you in fact doing something????? Try Headspace, it’s only 10 minutes a day, but it helps separate you from your thoughts, you can observe them rather then get sucked into them, it’s not easy but nothing worthwhile ever is. Best of luck.

  751. JoJo Says:

    Today I am working and then a thought comes in that says “I just don’t know what is wrong”. It isn’t about anything specific and it’s not doom or dread or scared but enough to bother me and make me write this post.

    Has anyone experienced this and is this anxiety still and how do I stop letting it frustrate or bother me. As long as my mind tells me something is wrong how can I ever recover?

  752. Shawn Says:

    James, there is no such thing as your “old self” you are yourself, still there; with a few dark clouds over the deep blue sky.
    If you broke your arm you may be keen to get it better, but I doubt you’d be saying to yourself “I want my old arm back” reminiscing about using it to lean on things, and thinking about all the wonderful things you picked up or touched.
    What old self do you want to be? The old self when you were 8? 15? 20? Life is a process of growing and changing, use this experience to grow and change as you would have done naturally through life’s challenges before. If you mean will these symptoms disappear and I can crack on without worrying and over thinking everything, then yes, they will. Do not identify yourself with this, accept you have a condition which will fade if you let it.

  753. Shawn Says:

    Jojo- that’s me now. But as long as I’m not feeling the dread anymore, I’m happy, and I accept this is the healing process, I may have it tomorrow, I may not, I just say to myself “that’s just how it is right now”
    Sometimes it feels easier to say it rather than do it, but I’m having so many stretches of normality, whatever that is, that everything just floats on by.
    I can’t believe I had to take nearly 2 months off work this year! It still feels weird that this happened to me!
    I still worry that I’m being premature and that I’ll have a major relapse, but I’ve been assured that I won’t, as I’ve dealt with the issues which led to my wobble, and I accept that I’m just going to worry right now.

  754. Nolan Says:

    Hi Matt,

    You asked:

    “When you’re ruminating or worrying about something (like how you feel, or the stupid thoughts that keep popping into your head every 30 seconds and won’t leave you alone, or how you’re going to get out of this mess, etc.), what do you do?”

    Just let them be and move back on with your day.
    If they shout, let them shout. If the keep bubbling back up in your conscious awareness then let them…. and don’t pay any extra special attention to them… orr feel the need of ‘working it out’ to convince yourself why those thoughts shouldn’t be there and why the content of them is bogus.

    Just let them be. Even if you keep noticing them. It’s your attitude towards it that makes the difference. If that means you have to keep reminding yourself “so they’re here…. no big deal”, then do that.

    Let the intensity of them rise and fall on their own accord.

  755. Bryan Says:


    Brilliant post on the “old self” concept. I tried to touch on that last week but you did a much better job. The notion of returning to an old self is a total fallacy.
    You explained why perfectly.

    When we recover, we’re just ourselves. Period. We won’t have to go looking for someone/something, and even better… we don’t care. We just move on and are done with it.

  756. Matt Says:

    Got it Nolan. So basically, just allow myself to think it, and rethink it, without trying to change what I’m thinking about? As in, there is no active effort on my part? Just go and do things, even though I’m thinking or having intrusive thoughts, etc?

  757. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Yes, I have experienced shakiness. It was one of my first symptoms. I’d go hours feeling shaky/jittery. It’s just adrenaline. However, I would encourage you not to get caught up on individual symptoms, even new ones that you’ve never experienced before. I know new symptoms can be unnerving, but try to put it all under the umbrella of anxiety and move one. I have to agree with Shawn, though, that you seem like a strong person to me. Maybe you don’t feel like it when you’re anxious/down, but you can and will get better! No matter what you’re feeling, keep on living your life. Don’t try to label it (anxiety/depression/grief etc.), it is what it is, some days will be worse than others. Allow yourself to feel it all, but don’t let it stop you from living your life.

  758. Nolan Says:

    That’s what I did, Matt.

    Here’s what I noticed: I had these good moments that just came on by their own. After time of not reacting so viscerally to the fear I started to get these moments of peace and clarity. They came by no force of will on my part.
    All of the understanding I sought and peace I desired so strongly started to come when I simply submitted to the fact that “however I am at any given moment is just what it is…nothing more, nothing less.”.

    The fear would come back intensely… and with that too I noticed that it didn’t come back because I did something wrong. It was simply going to happen regardless. And with it came all the doubt and hopelessness that was there when this first started.

    But, I noticed again that it didn’t come on because I did something wrong. And that, in time, it would pass too…. and it always did.

  759. Kat Says:

    Thank you, Shawn and Stephanie.

    I really appreciate your thoughts. I can honestly say that I don’t feel at all strong. This recent bout of intense anxiety (since last August, actually), has made me more aware of how I’d been putting up with symptoms the past 15 years or so, and not actually getting better. I am very much into avoidance behaviours, and for a long time this helped me to lessen my symptoms. Then, I was subjected to such intense anxiety this past while that I’ve been struggling to believe I will ever feel well again. When I have moments of peace, I am almost afraid to move for fear of setting everything off again. Of course, the pattern the last few months has been anxiety alternating with depression, with brief periods of almost-happiness. I can’t decide if depression is worse than anxiety, but I do know that feeling hopeless is beyond horrible because it takes away your ability to glimpse calm in any form.

    The shaking was awful because I can usually fake my way through an anxiety/panic attack, but in that hour or so of quivering, I really couldn’t express a clear thought or compose myself. I was very upset and angry by this. I continue to wonder if there is more to this than just “nervous illness”, like a thyroid issue or something, but then I know most anxiety sufferers think the same way, searching for a reason beyond anxiety. Such a mind trap, isn’t it?

    I will tell you that your supportive comments helped me feel a bit better. I think that the most important thing when stuck in this confusing mess is positive encouragement, because it helps you to believe again. So, thank you. I just hope that I can find a way to stop dwelling and obsessing about how I’m feeling so that my body can start to lose the symptoms. It is truly exhausting at times. All I can do is try to remember the good periods and take them as evidence that there is still peace to be had.

    Thanks again,


  760. Jeff Says:

    We all desperately want to return to our ‘old selves’.

    But what does that mean exactly? As others have said, maybe there is no more ‘old’ you – or me for that matter.

    Maybe what we really mean is to return to feeling normal. To be able to interact with others….to go through our lives once again without our bodies and thoughts plagued with various anxiety symptoms.

    With a temporary condition like anxiety… other than maybe learning more about humility than we’d care to, and perhaps gaining a bit of wisdom…we don’t really change.

  761. Rachh Says:

    I can remember being in your shoes desperate to be the person I once was. The reason why was because every time I had heard someone had, had a mental breakdown it was as though their lives had completely changed afterwards a bit like a midlife crisis. I was fearful that I wouldn’t love the people close to me (especially my boyfriend) because all my feelings had gone. I was fearful that everything I stood for that made me ME would have been lost forever. I was and still am to some extent lost.. However the difference is I now know It’s simply not true. At times when I’m not panicking normal perspective shines through and In fact, when you start to accept it and start getting your life back things slot into place much better and you appreciate the simpler things again. And as someone said not long ago we don’t miss the time that we’ve lost from this disorder life moves on and it human nature you don’t constantly batter yourself with regret for the time you lost.

  762. James Says:

    Thanks Racch, really encouraging words.
    And if you don’t mind me saying you’ve really come a long way! Wish you the best.

    Thanks to everybody who took the time to answer my question, I really do appreciate it.

    Keep up the good work everyone! And remember to be patient with yourself!

  763. Denise Says:

    Julie wow your story touched me! God bless you! And to all.

  764. Peter Says:

    Hey all, I havent been here in a few weeks but I just wanted to post something from A Letter to Myself that I think is relevant:
    What I am not saying is “getting support/information for your anxiety based disorder is the wrong thing to do”. We need the information that these constructs provide but once we have the information we need to break free. You choose your time frame in which to do this.

    I still feel strongly that getting off of this blog is important. I have been thinking about this a lot recently, and am surprised that more people do not agree with me. Pauls message is to stop searching for the cure. All of your symptoms are anxiety….to come on here and ask Hey all, what do I do about this symptom? makes no sense at all….Do nothing about it. You are doing nothing about it because it only exists because you feel the urge to do something about it. To come back here when you are feeling super anxious is just telling your body that you care that you are anxious.

    While I can sort of understand the position…Come back if you want to, but just dont care if you are coming back…I cant imagine myself saying to someone….Keep Googling your symptoms and trying to find a cure, just dont care that you are googling them….I cant imagine myself saying to someone with a handwashing compulsion…keep washing your hands until they bleed, just dont care that you are doing it….

  765. Emma Says:

    Hi everyone.

    I haven’t visited the blog in quite some time. Partially because I wanted to take a break from it and also bc I’ve been doing quite well. I have gotten on with my life and have been feeling better than I have in a while. This is not to say my anxiety is ALL gone, but my symptoms have diminished in number and intensity pretty drastically over the course of my recovery. I used to suffer from DP, at first it was intense and then it would just come and go.. I went through a period in which the dp was always there lingering and drove me crazy! I believed it would never lift completely….But, it faded as all anxiety symptoms do if you let them. It’s about letting go, let go of the need to figure out you symptoms, let go of your need to control the mental/physical/emotional sensations of, often intense, discomfort that you’re experiencing. Let go. Letting go (aka doing nothing) is hard work, I doesn’t mean you ‘let go’ and bam, things feel better — no, it means you’re allowing yourself to sit with that discomfort and that doesn’t feel particularly good! But you need to let yourself feel bad! Let go of all your needs to control and favor one sensation over another and let your mind feel what it needs to feel at this particular time. Be with your thoughts and feelings simply as they are. But it doesn’t feel nice and you have to let go off your need to control the way you’re feeling. Feeling crap is cathartic in a sense, the human spirt (and by spirit I mean the mind/body situation, so don’t get up out of your seats now) is capable of transcending discomfort if you allow yourself to sit with it and let it run it’s course. You must trust the process.

    I’ve been in the middle of my last round of undergraduate exams and it has been so stressful bc I am by nature an a type A personality and a perfectionist so I put tons of effort into my work and push myself too hard at times — i was up all night revising, lacking sleep, completing assignments, rushing all over campus, etc. The other night I went to sleep feeling stressed — I’m talking STRESSED. I had gotten maybe only 12 hours of sleep over 3 days and I was restless in bed. And I woke up in the middle of the night heart pounding, anxiety, panic, the whole bit. I managed to go back to sleep but the following 2-3 days I still felt “off” — a but if low moods, noticed a bit of morning anxiety, a bit of relationship anxiety around my boyfriend, a bit of “general” anxiety over the course of the day — just off. Now, this type of anxiety is circumstantial (particularly stressful time), but it’s something that is inevitable. Life can be extremely stressful and can cause anxiety to spike and symptoms to return. I wouldn’t call this a setback (at least yet) bc it’s part of the natural process of life and is part of being human. The key is to let it run it’s course. Let go of the need to feel good/normal right now and to continue living normally as though you did feel normal, as I am doing now despite the symptoms that have come about the last few days. The key is not to judge your sensations but to pay them respect, be kind to them — an analogy I always use is, treat the anxiety/depression like a needy child who won’t leave you alone, you do not judge the child (“this will never go away, I will never get better, why do I feel so bad” etc), you do not ask the child to leave either — just let it be there, despite the discomfort it is causing at this time, and the child will leave when it is ready. If you can befriend your anxiety in that way, you will begin to find peace.

    We will always, at one point or another, feel pain, anxiety, fear, discomfort — but we need not SUFFER from them. The journey isn’t about getting rid of the symptoms (but they go on their own anyhow) but it’s about letting go of the need to control them which is what causes much suffering — for the thoughts/feelings to be a certain way. Let them be. xx

  766. carla Says:

    Peter, I can see the point you are making but I’m going to post for some help anyway because, quite frankly, I’m having an absolute shocker today and hoping that some reassuring advice or parallel experiences might help me back on the right road. Actually what I could really do with is a cry and a cuddle :(

    As seems to be the case for many people, all of my anxiety is currently distilled into a single thought/fear. And for me this is ‘what if the anxiety is able to actively stop me having any normal /outward thoughts.’

    And then it all starts; I try to ‘do nothing’ and carry on with my day and every 10 seconds or so I get an intrusive thought of ‘NO!’ or ‘STOP!’ or if there is no actual word I just get a stab of fear as I interrupt myself trying to think or behave ‘normally’. And I think the intrusive nature of these thoughts has enabled my subconscious to caricature the anxiety as a ‘thing’, a kind of enemy force which has the power to ruin my waking life. I can see how this image is completely unhelpful but the fear really seems to have got under my skin.

    And, of course, the more scared I get, the more it keeps happening. So, today, doing nothing has not helped much because I have simply been too terrified.

    I think I understand that it’s *just anxiety* but I’m having a *lot* of trouble feeling it today.

    I can accept some inward-thinking and self-monitoring, but when it becomes intrusive and aggressive in it’s nature I really start to lose my composure.

    I kind of feel stuck in a no-mans-land; not able to distract myself from the thoughts yet not able to allow them either.

    So any advice on how to ways to improve my attitude/perception of this thought would be hugely appreciated. Like everyone, I’m hoping to get to the stage of seeing it as ‘just another silly anxious thought’ but I feel a million miles away from that right now.

    And hope everyone else is doing well – Kelly and Sarah, I will assume your absence as a good sign!

  767. Peter Says:

    Carla, you dont need to act normally. You dont need to do anything. Really, I know it is hard to understand and I am still getting there myself…but you dont have to make yourself behave normally. You dont have to do anything at all.

    None of us are in anxiety. What we are in is a belief that we need to get out of anxiety.

  768. Stephanie Says:

    Emma – good post, you have a great attitude. Someone else has said it before, we have to learn to be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. Most of us have convinced ourselves that not feeling good means something is wrong. But as you point out, life is going to be stressful at times. We can either despair and fight during those times, or we can say “ok this is how it is right now” and keep on living. Hope you did well on your exams!

  769. Stephanie Says:

    Carla, I’m sorry you’re having a difficult day :( My advice is to be patient with yourself. Some days it’s going to be harder to let the thoughts be there, and if today is one of those days, then so be it. I’ve read your previous posts and you know what you need to do, so don’t be tricked into thinking that because today is rough you’re going backwards. You’re doing great. Remember, recovery is up and down.

  770. Carla Says:

    Thankyou Stephanie and Peter and great post Emma x

  771. Rachel Says:

    I have vertigo is that part of anxiety if so how do I accept it and not think about it x

  772. Sarah Says:

    Carla-sorry to hear you are having a crappy day today. I wish there was something i could say that wouldnt sound like i am belittling what you are feeling. All i can say is that when i go through periods of dealing with a certain thought and doing nothing just isnt working i just constantly remind myself that its just a thought. A thought that can do me no harm and is not based on fact. I suppose i try to go back to basics and remind myself that its all the product of a tired mind. At the moment i am feeling really dizzy. It freaking me out but i have to keep reminding myself its just amxiety and i am not going to pass out. It works more often than not. With regards to not being on here, well i dont really have a reason. To tell the truth i am not sure if i am doing well or not. My moods are still yo-yoing like crazy and i had my first sleepless night in a long while last wednesday. Like yourself i find myself very teary but i usually am more anxious during my time of the month. Sometimes i think i dont know enough about how to deal with anxiety myself let alone try to advise other people. You have dealy with days like this before and have come out the other end feeling really positive. It will pass like all of the others. Sorry this post is all over the place and probably makes no sense. What i wish for you is a good nights sleep and to wake in the morning with the strength to see that intrusive thought for what it is, a big old pile of crap.

  773. carla Says:

    Sarah, thanks, that was a lovely reply. Anxiety can feel pretty lonely sometimes and it’s nice to feel connected to people who understand and can offer a few words of support.

    I’ve actually had some decent days (or at least parts of days) this week – we’ve been on holiday with the kids. I’ve noticed that a good period often seems followed by a dip, probably because my expectations subconsciously rise.

    I think I’m having some trouble reconciling this particular experience as just another manifestation of anxiety for some reason, although part of me knows it’s right there in the mix of symptoms.

    I remember Claire Weekes saying that one of the mistakes we make is accepting 99% of our symptoms and fighting the final 1% – I think this is exactly what I’m doing; in fact I’m magnifying that final 1% into a huge, scary monster when all it is is bog standard hyper-awareness and inward thinking – it’s my fear of it is that’s making it feel more loud and intrusive I think.

    I suppose if our bodies are still sensitised and our minds are tired it makes sense that we continue to hang on to something that frightens us.

    My aim for tomorrow is to work on accepting (or at least tolerating) this symptom a little more calmly – no striving for ‘normal’ thoughts or to be free from inward thinking or noisy anxious interruptions.

    I’ve had the dizziness before Sarah and it can be very disconcerting if I remember – I never passed out though and I do remember our guru, lady Claire saying you’re actually less likely to pass out when anxious as it slightly raises your blood pressure.

    Sleepless nights don’t help, although, again, it’s something we have to learn to tolerate. We always cope even if we haven’t slept at all and generally we can grab a few hours to tide us through.

    I think coming on here can help us to accept our anxiety more easily, even if it is only temporarily – we’re in good knowledgable company, can be open about how we’re feeling and have some space to remind ourselves of the importance of positive attitudes and behaviours. I rarely have anxious feelings when I’m posting or reading on here.

    The real challenge comes when we try and apply this in everyday life, when our feelings are at odds with the world around us. But I realise that it’s here that the real gains will eventually be made, it’s just a case of slowly ingesting all of the great advice on here and carrying it with us as we go about our daily business.

  774. Sarah Says:

    Carla-yeah you are right, coming back on here today made me feel a lot better, made me remember that i am not the only person in the world with this going on in my head. Claire weekes really is a great place to go for good, down to earth fact. She hits the nail on the head everytime. The whole, fighting that 1% and not being able to let go is so true. I think that, even though, both if us are going through a rough patch at the moment we are still heading in the right direction. I still take comfort in reminding myself that this is only temporary, wheither it last months or a year it will go eventually. By the way have you started your new job. Hope its going well if you have.

  775. Kat Says:

    Hi Carla,

    I absolutely understand what you’re going through. I had a few weeks of feeling almost normal (although I knew the anxiety would return because I did not expect that I was cured), and then everything seemed to sink again. Today was really tough for me, too, and I ended up crying into my husband’s shoulder for a good 45 minutes because I was convinced I would never get better, that I was doomed to be a depressed and anxious person for the rest of my life. I don’t usually cry, so it was a bit of a release. Still, I continue to be worried that I will never feel good again, which I know is a bit of catastrophizing, to borrow a phrase, but it feels real enough. Now, for me, as I have mentioned in previous posts, grief is also part of the mix, but the anxiety seems very intense at the moment, and I find myself kind of stuck each day, only doing what I absolutely have to do, and lying about for the rest of it. I know it’s not the right way to go about it, but I sincerely feel so tired and sad/anxious that I can’t muster the strength to do much else. Then, I come here, to this blog, and find some small comfort in knowing that others are experiencing what I’m experiencing, and that others still have improved and want to share how they did it.

    As you say, accepting when doing things in our real lives feels almost impossible at times. I’m going through that right now, unfortunately. Tomorrow is another day, though. My hope is that I will eventually understand and put into practice all the good advice I read on this board. I really don’t know where I’d be without it.

    I hope you feel better soon. Dizziness is difficult, I know. If I can say anything positive, it’s that it will pass. I’ve had it, too, and while it has always been a bother, it does go. Now if I can just get over the rest of it!


  776. Rob Says:

    Does anybody else get the sense that life is moving really quickly?

    My perception of time is one of the main things that is messed up. The outside world seems to be moving really quickly, whereas my life itself is moving very slowly. I’m getting pretty anxious over this trying to “catch up” with life. Especially cause at college time really flies. I’ve had this anxiety for 11 months now but looking back the time really flew by.

  777. Rachel Says:

    Hi Kat what did you do to make your dizziness go x

  778. Peter Says:

    The diziness is just a symptom of anxiety. Anxiety will not go away until you stop trying to make it go away…
    So sorry if this is harsh, but the only way to make your dizziness go away is to stop trying to make it go away. You need to get to the point where you are dizzy, but you dont care that you are.

  779. Peter Says:

    Something from A Letter to Myself that I wanted to share…
    Anxiety and panic is like being at the bottom of a lake wearing a very buoyant lifejacket. The lake is anxiety/panic; the surface is normality & relaxation. We are clinging on for dear life to the rocks, plants, indeed anything we can grab a hold of. We feel tremendous forces on our body and the more forces we feel, the tighter we hold on. One plant we grab on to might represent reeking reassurance by visiting anxiety websites for help. Another rock we cling to will represent researching our condition. Each one of these articles is in fact a coping ritual which we have taught ourselves we need, in order to ‘cope’ with the ‘disorder’. If you eliminate the rituals, the anxiety may temporarily increase for a small blip in time, but that’s OK that just means anxiety is learning faster. After all it is only harmless anxiety/panic. We are keeping ourselves at the bottom of the lake.

    … Imagine what would happen if we just let go.

  780. Ross Says:

    Any tips on how to stop talking about & researching anxiety & how to get past anxiety i feel like im sinking in anxiety & cant ever have a clear mind as my mind never lets go I notice i analyzing everything twinge ache etc & fear im stuck like this forever which is what I dont want I get sayings images conversations you name it I have it.5

  781. Kat Says:

    Hi Rachel,

    For me, dizziness when at work was the hardest thing, because I’d have to try to appear normal when everything was spinning. Eventually, I’d just let it happen, knowing I wouldn’t pass out (I did pass out last summer, but that was because of anemia and not because of anxiety; I’d been exercising a little too strenuously 😉 After a bit of time, the symptom of dizziness just gave way to something else. Also, the heart palpitations would usually come at the same time. My doctor explained that since my heart is in good shape, this was just anxiety, and that it actually strengthens my heart when this happens. I hope this helps a little.

    Right now, the heaviest symptom for me is flashes of adrenaline in my stomach followed by depressive feelings and the urge to cry. I think that for me this is the roughest by far. If anyone else has experienced this and come through it, I’d love some encouragement.


  782. Bryan Says:


    Sensitization has given me the symptom shifting as well. It’s very normal for some of us. I still get it to much lesser degrees even though I am making great progress.

    Hang in there. I can tell from your tone you are right on track. You are starting not to care about them and this is how we win. Keep pointing forward and living life. You are doing great.

  783. Kat Says:

    Thanks, Bryan.

    I have to say that it can be monumentally distressing to feel so low, after so many years of trying. But, I know that it is the trying that is probably working against me. I think my biggest fear is becoming clinically depressed, as so many other people here have expressed, as well. I am coming to terms with the reality that I will never be an extrovert, that this is who I am to some extent. It’s just that I wasted an entire afternoon yesterday crying, feeling lost, and losing my belief that I will ever be fully recovered. I really feel disappointed in myself for taking so many steps backward.

    I have been advised to try meditating to give me some clarity. My doctor also made some suggestions about mindfulness, which he says works very well on most of his patients. I don’t know what more I can learn about this problem, given that I have been following this site for several years, read Claire Weekes, and have even done CBT. At some point, I’m hoping it all clicks and I’ll finally figure it out.

    Your positive thoughts help. I really appreciate them!

  784. Robert Says:

    Hi folks…

    I wonder if I could possibly ask for peoples opinions on my situation…

    I have some very strange symptoms which I’m sure is all down to anxiety but I have also been told they are caused by something else

    My story is this… ( I will keep it as short as poss )

    In 2006 I had lower back trouble and went to see an osteopath…
    He manipulated my neck saying it would help my lower back…

    This manipulation went wrong and caused lots of neck pain and tightness

    Shortly after I developed my new symptoms…

    I would constantly feel like I was on a boat ( a rocking sensation )
    My balance became terrible and I would feel like I was drunk and unsteady all the time,
    My head was like full of wet cement that sloshed around on movement

    In 2008 these symptoms went away….. I did nothing to help myself and they just went on their own…. I sort of forgot about them and just carried on with my life

    Which is exactly what Paul mentions in his book… Just do nothing…

    However in 2010 they suddenly came back one day… ( I had another health problem which I worried about ) …. But also the day they came back I was also doing lots of work which involved looking down and using my neck…

    I also get a lot of pressure in my ears and tinnitus and funny noises and pops n crackles

    I have since been to see a ENT specialist who was NOT a nice guy….
    He basically just said.. ” ah you have meniers disease ”

    I also saw a neurologist who was a nice guy and he said my symptoms did not sound like meniers and he thought it was all just down to anxiety..

    I have 4 degenerated discs in my neck with severe stenosis and pressure on the spinal cord but he was not concerned by this
    ( and a neuro surgeon was not concerned by this either )

    My symptoms are much worse when I move my head and body..

    I just wondered if anybody else who has recovered from anxiety used to get the drunk feeling and unsteadiness…. And loss of balance which was made worse with movement ??

    Walking at night or in dark conditions is much worse and it’s like I’ve just come from the pub after a hard nights drinking
    ( I am actually tee total and not drunk in about 15 years )

    I’m sure it is anxiety…. But a little voice in my head keeps telling me that maybe it is meniers or another inner ear problem… Or the neck….

    ( both my parents suffer with the same symptoms as well and Dad has been told he has PPBV )

    Is it worth me going to get checked out yet again for another opinion ?… I really don’t want to and i hope it’s just anxiety

    It’s either neck trouble….. Ear trouble…. Or anxiety ?…

    If I know other people have or have had the same symptoms then this will help me to believe it’s just anxiety ?…

  785. D-Ren Says: dizziness..
    anxiety may bring some tension in your body, so try to stretch a bit..
    neck, shoulders, chest, upper and lower back… (especially chest and neck area tends to be quite tight)

    and in case you don’t exercise regularly, try to add little physical activity.
    AAnnnd… maybe check your blood sugars..

    and lastly, don’t let it stop you of doing what ever you want or are supposed to do :)

    Just few things you can “try”.

  786. D-Ren Says:

    and also stay hydrated!

  787. Jenny Says:

    Hey guys, haven’t been on for a while. I was doing pretty well, anxiety was low and when it came on I could handle it well. But over the last few days I was takig a natural supplement to help w my hormonal acne (called DIM for those girls who might know it) and I feel my anxiety has sky rocketed. I stopped takig the supplement. But I just feel off still and like I’m always on the verge of “cracking” like something’s about to just pop. Can anyone relate? All my surroundings ‘weird’ me out and frighten me a bit — in other words I just feel highly sensitized right now and anxiety is firing off in all directions, feel like I’m always one ‘slip’ away from full blown panic. This totally sucks as I was doing so well. I’ve had anxiety for 4 years and these last months have been a grea stretch for me. Now I feel anxious and sensitized and a bit of low mood. I don’t want to go back to how it used to be :( needing some support please.

  788. Emma Says:


    I just want to say that I too experienced the “depressive feelings and the urge to cry.” That was by far the toughest symptom for me. If you go back to around May/June 2014 you might find some of the posts in which I describe my struggle with these sensations. What you wrote mirrors my experience. That urge to cry was really rough, I would feel it all in my chest. I would sometimes call it a “depression attack” because it came about with the pang of a panic attack but the feelings were sadness/grief. I would rarely actually cry. I always said the sadness felt ‘lodged’ in there and it was weighing on me, it all felt so catastrophic. These feelings triggered additional anxiety because I could not help but feel that ‘something’ was just so terribly wrong. I want to assure you that these feelings will pass.

    These are really difficult and painful sensations to deal with and they (in my opinion) don’t compare to the other anxiety symptoms. DP is a close second, but that grief/wound-hole feeling can be blackening. What helped me is to surrender to these sensations. It feels counterintuitive at first, but you must. Just surrender to them, these sensations aren’t going hurt you, nothing will happen whatsoever. The only thing they cause is (albeit intense) discomfort, so when they come on, lean into that pain, lean into that discomfort. In the most paradoxical way, when we soften to this pain, and relinquish our need to grapple with them, they begin to subside. Not all at once, but little by little.

    I’ve actually been experiencing a heightened bout of anxiety lately and I experienced that ‘urge to cry’/low mood/grey cloud sensation today for the first time in a VERY long time. I must say, I had forgotten how bad it really felt. The bulk of the sensation passed, but it is still lingering. Instinctively, the anxiety wants to believe that things will get much worse and my sustained recovery will spiral into relapse, but I know what needs to be done… and that’s just to yield to all the sensations, be truly okay with the fact they are there and they will lift once they’ve been given that respect.

    Hope this helps xx

  789. Natalie Says:

    Hi Emma, just wanted to say what a great post above. I experience similar to what you described and they really are horrible moments/feelings. Especially when you get the feeling of ‘pointlessness’. I am having a bad day today and reading your post has helped me to know firstly I’m not alone and secondly to surrender to the feelings. Hope you have a good day x

  790. Kat Says:


    Thank you, so very much. You are right, the feelings are “blackening”. I think I share the same fears/anxieties that a lot of people have, and that is that one day I may sink so low I will never come back, and become a recluse or worse, suicidal. I want to be clear that I am not suicidal; if anything, I love life so much that it terrifies me to think of letting it pass by from behind a window. The very idea of becoming categorically depressed makes me even more frightened, and then the cycle is born.

    I have experienced the urge to cry before, and like you, I seldom ever did. In fact, I found it hard to cry when I tried. I think that for me, right now, I am experiencing a mix of anxiety and depression mixed with grief, and it’s difficult for me to know what kind of approach to take with things. I let myself cry the other day, and yesterday I felt so much better. Perhaps it’s okay to let the tears flow so that a release can be felt. I will admit, though, that although I know your suggestion of surrendering is the best option, I struggle with it. I am doing my best to just let myself be. It’s harder than I thought. Thank you so much. Your post did help me a lot, especially since I just had a conversation with a relative who continues to think my symptoms are physical and that I need medication. There’s no reasoning with that. Your post came at the perfect time!

    If I may, with regard to the blog and the idea that it’s unhealthy to read it over and over, I can understand why some people feel that way. However, I think it only becomes unhealthy if someone is repeatedly on the blog, posting the same thing over and over and not seriously taking in the responses meant to help them through. When I’m feeling good, I do not come to the blog much at all, but I try to employ the practices I have learned here. When I feel awful, I come back for the positive reassurance of others so I can get myself back into the learning mode again. When I have tried to talk to family or friends about my struggles, I find that because they don’t really understand it, I come away feeling worse than before. It’s not their fault; they just don’t get it and are impatient because they want me to be “better”. What they don’t understand is that this is what I want, too, and their impatience only adds to the pressure I’m feeling, which makes me feel worse. Here, on this blog, there are wonderful, caring people who not only know what I’m feeling, but have some very good ideas on how to get past it. Personally, I need that, and and will always come back when necessary. My hope is that one day I can come back and be one of the helpful recovered :)

  791. Doreen. Says:

    Emma – have seen a post from you on 3rd April and another one from you on April 5th followed by a one-liner. Not sure if had posted any more. But as usual you have said some great stuff.

  792. Sarah Says:

    Hi everyone, i hope you all had a lovely easter. We had 9 people for dinner today and i have to say that , this morning, when myself and my husband were preparing dinner i was dreading everybody turning up. I had really bad Dp and wasnt with it at all and was panicing about how i was going to get through the day. Now that everybody has gone and i sit here i can say that i had a really lovely day. We had a great laugh, nice conversation and i just thought, ‘my God, how quickly anxiety and all of its symptoms disappear when we are distracted by life, good times, family and friends’. It really goes to show how weak anxiety really is. When we are so involved in other people and just having a good time and forget to give it power over us it becomes insignificant.

  793. Rob Says:


    I’m not a girl lol but I do know what DIM is since I’ve considered using it as an estrogen blocker. Its basically modifies estrogen metabolism (had no idea it can be used for acne) but it makes sense that your anxiety could have gone up due to it since estrogen is involved in regulating mood and neurotransmitters like serotonin in both males and females. Don’t worry too much about it since your body should bounce back pretty soon. It takes some time for hormones to correct themselves.

  794. Jenny Says:


    Thanks for replying to me. Yes I want it to use it with the intention of clearing up some acne. Apparently it’s highly effective for those people whose acne is caused by excess estrogen (which I know mine is). I must have taken it a total of 5-6 days until I started noticing on Friday my mood dipping. My sister thinks that because I read some bad reviews of people claiming it made them more anxious/depressed that I psyched myself into thinking my mood was dipping, placebo-style. But regardless, my anxiety is very high and I feel “off” … just not good and very tired from being so sensitized. I just hope it doesn’t take too long to get back on track. This has been quite a scare for me as the anxiety/depression-like feelings have come on strong.

  795. Melissa Says:

    I feel like I’m going crazy. Today consisted of so much fear. It feels like its the first time I just full on surrendered to the fear. When I would before it was always just mediocre if you get what I’m saying. I would be afraid but I would still kinda avoid the fear. Well today I feel like hell and I feel like I’m in a daze like things aren’t real. I’m just so scared. I wish that this would have never happened to me. If anyone has any advice please reply.

  796. Shawn Says:

    Peter, I think your taking the whole doing nothing thing a little literally.
    Like I said in an earlier post, it’s almost a philosophical argument in regards to what doing nothing consists of, in both Paul and Clare Weekes books, they both suggest reading their books over and over again if necessary; surely if you’ve read them once and then go to the trouble of reading them again your doing something? Should I just read them once then throw them away?
    I’ve found mindfulness to be helpful, but surely I’m doing something when I do that! Should I avoid anything which makes me feel better because it makes me feel better? What if I start avoiding doing things for fear of not doing nothing, and that’s a double negative I just used there!
    I would suggest that would be anxious thinking, especially if I was still checking out anxiety blogs!
    I think the point is don’t react to your symptoms, live your live and don’t avoid situations or things.
    Seeking out like minded people who have been there and done it, and looking for a little reassurance is fine, I’ve done it and I’m feeling a whole lot better.
    When you no longer feel the need to come here you won’t, it won’t cross your mind.
    You’ll be fine, I wish this had never happened to me as well, but if think in the future I’ll be glad it did. You’re not going crazy; it can’t happen, your the opposite of crazy! You’re too in tune to how your feeling, if you were going crazy you wouldn’t be aware of it, you are showing classic anxiety symptoms which will fade if you let them.

  797. Rachh Says:

    Maybe peters talking about the lets pretend method here and not Paul’s method. I’ve been reading a lot of posts on panic ends forum which is where the author of nothing works posts and advises people. In his document he says there’s many ways of treating anxiety:- one of them being acceptance which Paul and clear weekes is talking about. And his Alcatraz analogy suggests that this is the staying in your cell and not being scared. The moving on from your cell and leaving the prison is something entirely different. (Let’s pretend)
    For that reason Peter if you want to use that kind of approach I would go to that forum and post really. I personally don’t think you have recovered rather would like to preach it to others and it is coming off negatively because of the way you are wording it.

  798. Peter Says:

    Racch, you are talking about lets pretend and acceptance like they are two different methods. I think they are pretty similar but with slight differences. For instance, I dont agree with Chris´s (the author of Nothing Works) idea that you should actually physically slow your body down, like if you are washing the dishes intentionally do it slowly. Or force yourself to smile all the time. That is the kind of pretending that I dont think is necessary. But I do agree with his idea of stop researching your anxiety, stop trying to get out of it….which is the same idea Paul (correctly) espouses.

    Here is my belief about what anxiety actually is. And I am sure basically Paul would agree with me. It is a miscommunication between the higher thinking part of the brain and the animal part of the brain. You may logically know that anxiety isnt real, that it is a phantom, but you need time to prove that to your animal brain, which is the part of your brain which is sending out the signals to your body to produce stress hormones. And because the body is so well designed, this is why it takes time to change…Your body has learned to be anxious.

    Anyway, I guess this is a bit more philosophical, but anxiety is not really a thing. In other words….we are not IN anxiety. We are only in the belief that we MUST do SOMETHING to get out of it. Solving anxiety is the obsession, and researching it, trying to figure it out, are the compulsions.

    I know this very well. In high school, instead of taking notes, I would try to figure out my anxiety with complex graphs in my notebook. I would purchase many books, staying up through the night with coffee in the hopes that the next day my bad feelings would be gone. I would post on forums, asking how to get out of it, etc.

    I also had OCD compulsions. I would wash my hands obsessively, etc.
    In retrospect I am glad I had these OCD compulsions because I see that anxiety as a whole is like an enlarged version of an OCD compulsion.

    I got over those compulsions by forcibly removing myself from the sink after briefly washing my hands. I did not ALLOW myself to sit there for thirty minutes until my hands started bleeding…..

    So to the many people here who are saying we should allow ourselves to keep coming back here…or keep researching…I am very confused. I cannot imagine myself saying to someone with a hand washing compulsion…keep washing your hands, just dont put any emphasis on the fact that you are washing your hands. No, I would tell them to step away from the compulsive behavior and then feel the flood of anxiety that comes.

    In the same way, I would tell someone with a compulsion to figure out their anxiety to step away from trying to figure it out (…which is EXACTLY what Paul says)…I cant imagine myself saying to them…oh yeah, keep googling, keep going on anxiety websites, keep spending your whole day worrying about how you feel. Would you come to this blog if you were not anxious? I doubt it. You would be doing something much more exciting.

    So I believe there are a whole slew of compulsive behaviors that keep us trapped in the loop, and I cant imagine saying that keeping yourself from doing compulsive behaviors is in itself compulsive….

  799. Peter Says:


    You sound like me…thinking a lot about it…

    Do you think it is true that a person, once they understood it, would stop searching automatically?

    For instance….are we taking a bottom-up approach or a top-down approach?

    You read about acceptance, understand that there is nothing to be done about it, and then automatically stop searching for answers.

    Or alternatively, you read about acceptance, understand that there is nothing to be done about it, and then force yourself to stop looking for answers, even if you still want to.

    What if we have a third person who reads about acceptance, THINKS that he or she will stop searching for answers, but begins to search for answers again? Then that person will fall back into the loop without even realizing it! I mean what would stop that person from picking up a CBT workbook?

  800. Steve b Says:

    Hi. My name is Steve live in London.
    Suffered on and off with anxiety for years. I had no idea what it was until this time around( about 4 months ago)and reading the wonderful book from Paul.
    Symptoms have always been pretty much the same. Feel like total and utter crap.
    I have a question though. This time around I seem to get a bigger picture worry which involves animals in slaughterhouses. Not sure if anyone has had that one! The images are printed on my mind 24/7 trying to make me depressed as well as anxious.
    Is that part of anxiety?
    I know all the irrational thoughts etc and can handle them pretty well but these images are horrendous. Every-time I see a lamb to or someone eating a chicken leg I want to cry. I am not even a vegetarian.
    I know it sounds silly. I have a good job etc..pretty stable (apart from the anxiety episodes)
    It feels like depression this time around. I won’t say its scaring me as those emotive words do nobody any good and saying scared is classic anxiety babble but what on earth!
    I notice a lot of people have worries like fear of suicide etc, fear of hurting someone etc but does anyone get these big picture worries?

  801. Jeff Says:

    I get the gist of what you’re saying….but let’s face it, anxiety is a very lonely business. We go through life like Pollyanna and then WHAMMO….we find ourselves in a hell that we didn’t know existed.

    People come on this blog to not feel so alone, and maybe to get some reassuring tips on how to cope. Not as an obsessive crutch.

    Please don’t refer to anxiety as ‘not a real thing’. Like it’s a figment of our imagination. That’s like saying happiness and sadness aren’t real. They are ALL emotions/feelings, which are very real.

  802. Peter Says:

    When I say anxiety isnt real…what I mean is the only thing we are anxious about is being anxious. It doesnt make any sense.
    The fact that anxiety is a fallacy…thats the only reason it is possible to overcome.
    I didnt mean the feelings we with anxiety experience arent real, I meant that it is an illusion created by us. In other words, if we dont care that we are anxious, we can not be anxious. That is the crux of the acceptance approach, and acceptance is the only way out of anxiety.

  803. Rena Says:

    when I read your post, it seems that it is all about me.Please, believe me ,you are not alone. After a long time I have a setback. I fell very low , unhappy and depressed . Yes, it is really hard … But I know that it is just a setback, if I feel depressed-it’s ok, let it be. I know that it is temporary. Being deprresed is my biggest fear- and we know that anxiety loves our biggest fears :) I am not afraid of panic, insomnia, scary thoughts. But I am afraid to become clinically depressed ( your fear is the same Kat) . That ‘s why i had such “depressed” setbacks. Because I don’t want to feel like this, I want to fix and remove this feeling. I noticed that I started to think “What if I be like this forever?, What if I become clinically depressed?” And so the anxiety began…
    But after such along time of feeling fine-I am cleverer and stronger. I KNOW THAT THIS FEAR IS FALSE. IT WON;T HURT ME. IT NEEDS TIME.
    Kat, be compassionate to yourself.I am sure you are wonderful and kind person for other.But don’t forget to be kind for yourself. Give your body time to heal itself :)
    Peter, i got your idea:) If we need support we can read the messages, ask some questions, then we have to live our lives without googling and searching for the answers. But understanding this is a huge step forward the recovery. So at first I was googling and searching too.It is normal.
    Doreen, it is not wrong to come here and ask questions. It is very important to live your life with anxiety, with scary thoughts, depressed feelings. They are just feelings-nothing more:)

  804. Kelly Says:

    Denise – I tried to respond to you earlier, but my post hasn’t been moderated through.

    You are more than welcome to email me. It is kellycains at gmail dot com.

    I typed it this way hoping that it would go through this time.

  805. Kelly Says:

    Carla/Sarah – How are you both doing? I’m currently on Spring Break vacation with my kids, but I wanted to check in on you both!

    Denise – It looks like my email made it through above, so feel free to reach out to me any time!

  806. Emma Says:


    Just wanna say that when it comes to anxiety we can get really passionate and bc of the online mediated spatiality of our discussions here, it’s natural to have less empathic cues and whatnot. You don’t seem like a bad guy, you just seem confused about how to handle your anxiety, and I’m not here to lecture you or anything like that, but that confusion seems to be the fixation of your anxiety at the moment . The uncertainty of not being sure which approach to take is causing you distress — the only way you can move passed this is to be OK with uncertainty. Just be ok with the fact that you don’t know how to cope “properly” and let it go. Let go. Resist your urge to ‘figure this all out’ and place your focus on living life alongside anxiety. Even if it’s uncomfortable, scary, intense, painful, whatever — let it be there and focus on what’s outside. In order to bring normalcy back, you’ll have to do ”normal” things. So let go of your need to put this approach stuff under the microscope and focus on what I said, I promise you’ll feel much better once you let yourself accept the anxiety and live your life despite it! X

    No worries!

  807. Shawn Says:

    I wanted to ask a question or two. My problems were bought on by trauma, pretty bad trauma linked to some really horrible stuff at work, my work can be quite challenging at the best of times.
    I’m usually quite a robust person, and it surprised me what I could deal with, but I’ve always been quite sensitive inside, my family know this, but work colleagues would be surprised.

    Everything properly kicked off for me at the end of December, but it’s linked to something I dealt with about 4 years earlier, I had a trigger towards the end of November, had one or two moments leading up to D-day but was ok.

    I have seen two psychologists, one who I had to see at work for one session, and one I paid to see myself regularly, I’ve had EMDR which seemed to stop the incident going through my mind. I have not had hyper-arousal, one has told me it’s linked to PTSD, whilst the one I see regularly says that I don’t have PTSD, just anxiety and depression which should go as I have dealt with the issue.

    1. Because mine has been severe only for the last few months and I sought help quickly do you think it should only take a short time to fully recover, I am loads better than I was, I couldn’t do anything before, I am expecting no quick fixes, but I need to be able to get back to full duties in work again at some point, I WILL take it easier from now on! I suppose the question is, does the length of time you’ve suffered matter in regards to recovery?

    2. Has anyone else had their own issues come on in the same way mine did, a gradual build up over a short period following a trigger, followed by one day when it suddenly kicked in? My therapist said my brain said “that’s enough” and pulled a plug.

    3. Has anyone else felt the same or similar physical symptoms, just before I went really bad I experienced severe thirst, I was drinking litres of water a day and still thirsty, and, excuse me for lowering the tone, but toilet troubles?


  808. Rich Says:

    Hi All,

    I’ve spent this morning removing a number of posts from this thread which are not in keeping with the community spirit that this blog thrives on.

    Any posts containing personal insults, bad language or aggression towards other users will be removed. Repeat offenders will be banned. You have been warned.

    This blog is read by a high number of visitors who never post, and can be read as historic articles in many months and years from now. It is my hope that the posts contained within serves as being useful, insightful and supportive to those who come across them.

    Everyone visiting this blog has their own experiences, symptoms and fears, and everyone is at a different stage of overcoming their fear of anxiety. We must respect each others thoughts, opinions and mindset when we read their posts, and consider them and the wider audience of this blog when contributing to it ourselves.

    So much useful information lies in the archives of this blog – so many questions answered, success stories to encourage, knowledge to absorb, and the empowerment to get out there and live life – which is the key to overcoming anxiety.

    I would not be where I am without this blog, and want to see it help other like it’s helped me through what is a difficult enough time as it is.

    Stay positive, Rich

  809. Rich Says:

    Hi Shawn,

    1. I suffered for around 20 years and it’s taken me around 20 months to get to where I am now. Don’t put pressure of a deadline or target on your recovery – this will only slow you down. You’ll get there in your own time, when you’re ready. Other people’s experiences are irrelevant to your own recovery journey – even though you may share parts along the way.

    2. For me, I was unknowingly struggling with anxiety for years, then knowingly struggling with it for 3 more, then hit a major event in 2013 – brain had had enough, now feel a lot better in 2015. Different people experience different things – this is what happened to me. It was only once I had hit the bottom could I start the climb back up. It was the jolt I needed and I am thankful for it (in retrospect – I wasn’t back then!).

    3. Everyone’s symptoms are different – if you have to ask ‘has anyone had…’ the answer is that this is a symptom for you. If someone else has had it is irrelevant. I’m with you on the toilet thing though – I wish I had a symptom that doesn’t bother me that others have – like thoughts or diziness or whatever – but anxiety doesn’t work like that – it hits you where it hurts. Just roll with the punches.

  810. Andy J Says:

    Hi Guys,

    Sorry I havent been around for a while to post, Ive been trying to have a bit of a break from the Blog, though its great to see people are still posting helping each other out.

    I’m still pretty much in the same boat, but have realised that theres no point fighting this thing, and that the key message is to literally do nothing about your anxiety. You have to live with it and continue living your life. I think Paul mentions in his book that he always assumed he had to wait to get better before doing things again. Unfortunately that isnt the way things work and you have to show your brain that you are capable of doing things, otherwise you are still in ‘I have something wrong with me’ mode.
    One of the things I was told which helps clarify this is; when people are admitted to hospital for a minor operation, they are no longer left to lie in bed. Instead they are told they must sit in a chair next to their bed. What this does it changes the patient from being in ‘ill mode’ to ‘recovery mode’. If they lay in bed all day, they would think there was still something the matter with them. Changing the focus to sitting up, encourages them that they are getting better or feeling more ‘normal’.

    Just a quickie from me. Is it possible for thoughts to change and our values to be effected because of our anxiety? An example would be some one who is anxious about being gay, believes they are now attracted to the same sex? When all along they have been straight their entire lives? Would that person gradually return to their heterosexual self or would they require some kind of mind training to do so?

    Hope you all had a wonderful Easter.



  811. Rich Says:

    Hi Nolan, Any posts not relevant without associated posts have been removed to keep the comments thread on the whole readable for everyone. Any comments which may be relevant to everyone else remain. If you’d like any particular posts re-instating I’d be happy to do so as this is basically a judgement call. I don’t delete conversational comments, but do imagine myself as a reader of the comments looking for help or viewpoints, and how difficult it is reading through the vast number of comments we have on here to find the more useful ones.

  812. Rachh Says:

    Hi rich,
    Have u recovered now?

  813. Shawn Says:

    Thanks for asking the time to answer, I’m just having a pants one today hence asking questions, I’ll get over it.
    Hopefully I’ll be thankful for this when it’s over as well.

  814. Sarah Says:

    Hi Rich, like Nolan i had posts removed that were not insulting or aggressive in any way. I just mentioned that it would be great if all of the arguing would stop.

    Hi Kelly- thanks for asking how i am doing. I am still really up and down with this dizziness persisting but i am trying to just live with it for the moment. I hope all is well with you and your family and that you are having a wonderful spring holiday.

  815. Jenny Says:

    How is everyone doing?

    After having been well for quite some time my anxiety is back. I’m in the middle of grad-level exams at the moment so perhaps that’s why, although i’m not particularly more stressed from school than I would normally be. As I mentioned before, I was taking a supplement (DIM) to help balance out some hormonal acne. I think this may have triggered my anxiety. I’m feeling a bit better than before but sometimes I sit in the library and this wave of anxiety washes over me (feel disconnected, heart rate speeds up, vision blurs slightly/tunnel vision). It’s rare that I go into full blown panic but that always seems to be the worry. I also worry about when uni ends and I am no longer surrounded by friends (or even just people), back home alone until I find a ‘grown up job’ more prone to sinking into low moods (happened last summer). I know that this is all anxiety but acceptance feels much harder than it used to. Any insight would be helpful. Really hope this setback won’t get any worse before it get’s better.

    Jenny x

  816. Rich Says:

    Hi All, I’m about to run through the older posts and remove any more which serve only to argue non-constructively. Please don’t be offended if this includes your posts. My aim is simply to keep the thread readable for those not interested in who’s right or wrong in their opinion, and for future visitors who seek help and not conflict.

    Sarah, I can’t recall deleting any of your posts, but if like anyone else you’d like any re-instating, I’ll be happy to do so.

    Rachh, I don’t know if I’m recovered – I think it’s more a state of mind rather than a milestone, but I don’t let anxiety stop me any more from doing the things I want to do. This year I am getting married, I booked my honeymoon last night, have all the planning to do and even though I know I’ll be a nervous wreck, I am looking forward to it. I’m also in the latter stages of coming off medication completely – and feel so much more alive (both positive and negative emotions are returning) and feel better for doing so. I feel I’ve still some way to go to lose the ‘fear of anxiety’, and trust me I’m nowhere near symptom free, but I just don’t care about it any more.

  817. Sarah Says:

    Hi Rich, no thats fine. There was a couple of posts missing and i was worried i may have said something that had unintentionally upset someone. As long as that didnt happen i am happy.

  818. Kelly Says:

    Sarah – Trying to live with it for the moment is the best thing to do. Keep with it and things will get better. I am having such a great holiday with my kids that I’ve barely been on the blog. Forgive me if you ask me something and I don’t respond right away. I will try to check periodically. I am still having some uneasiness in the mornings, but I just try to get active and it gets better.

    I hope everyone had a great day today! Please let me know if I can help in any way!!!!!

  819. Peter Says:

    Hey guys, I found that Chris the author of A Letter to Myself posted this on a forum somewhere, thought you might enjoy it…

    “I don’t need to do anything about it at all, I don’t need to avoid, it I don’t need to accept it, I don’t need to float with with it, or reject it, I don’t need to make it worse, or make it better, I don’t need to push it away, or invite it, I don’t need to embrace it, I don’t need to research it, I don’t need to manage it, I don’t need to demand more, I don’t need to push it forward or push it away, I don’t need more sleep, or less sleep, I don’t need anxiety, I don’t need anxiety removal, I don’t need to switch it off, I don’t need to keep it on, I don’t need to embrace it, I don’t need to like it or fear it or even permit it, i don’t need to do anything at all, at any time in any place, I don’t need to be active, to be passive, to be mindful, to be mindless, I don’t need to do anything at all. I don’t need to try anything at all, I don’t need to write this, I don’t need to delete this, I don’t need to let time pass, I don’t need to observe it, I don’t need to ignore it, I don’t need to divert, I don’t need to attend to it, I don’t need to listen to it, i don’t need to ignore it, I don’t need do do something, I don’t need to do nothing, I don’t need to do anything. But I can do any or all of these of these things if I choose.”

  820. Peter Says:

    Again, I am of the firm belief that the only reason we continue to be anxious is because we believe we have to do something about it.

    I would be reading books in the past, and then suddenly my mind would say, Hey dude, why are you wasting your time? You need to do something about your anxiety!

    I would then proceed to search on the Internet for the way out.

    I would tell myself that I could not read the book, or do anything I wanted to do, until my anxiety was fixed.

    This would make me feel even worse, because I wanted to read the book or watch a TV show. Little did I know that reading the book while anxious was a much better way to treat my anxiety than freaking out and searching for the exit… It is pretty funny…

    Basically reading Twilight (not that I would ever read that…uh….) is a much better way to treat your anxiety than going to CBT sessions…

  821. Emma Says:

    Hi Rich,

    I just want to say that I can relate about your honeymoon comment. My boyfriend and I planned a vacation a while back. The date is almost exactly a month away. I’m so nervous as the dat approaches! I travel to Europe quite a bit as my family resides there — but visiting my grandmother is a heck of a lot different than going to a resort alone with my boyfriend. It will be the first time and I worry about i having a bad bout of anxiety there, or dp, or low moods and be “trapped” without my family around. That’s anxiety though, finding ways reassert itself. Really hope I don’t pull the chute last minute because my anticipatory anxiety gets too high. That’d be a serious shame. Nice to know I’m not the only one x

  822. mark r Says:

    Hi Peter,

    I appreciate what you are saying, however I feel you are misguided in how you are applying what you have read and the advice you are giving others. The fact that everyone disagrees with you somewhat proves that point.

    I don’t believe that anxiety boils down to just looking for a way out. I have been a sufferer on and off for over 15 years and only at my worst I google relief or post on here for help, yet anxiety is a constant companion to my day. Like most on here anxiety built up over a period of time due to various factors, some I could have avoided, some I couldn’t.

    It may be logical to say stop coming on here and then you can recover but when are emotions logical? If they were then no one would suffer.

    Anxiety is a painful process, a huge part of recovey is learning about the condition and to get inspiration from others, which this blog offers. There are only a handful of people who make no progress asking the same questions and they are quickly dealt with by some good advice and a kick up the arse.

    I didnt mean this as a negative post or any kind of argument but I don’t think anyone (particularly new sufferers) feel they shouldn’t come here and that seems to be the point of your messages.

  823. JoJo Says:

    Do any of you ever think you have to find the reason this is in your life! Like not searching for a medical reason or for an online reason you find but more questioning if it’s something wrong in your life like is it your job or relationship? Is it too much stress at work? Do I need to work on myself? Is it I need to grow up and now I’m dealing with the real world?Is it the stress of being a new mom. How do You know when it’s a real stress in your life! I keep thinking I have to figure it out to make this thing go away. This thing I can’t even out a name or face too. Any advice?is it the search that keeps this going?

  824. Peter Says:

    @Mark r

    Ive changed my opinion about staying off the blog…I think people will eventually stop coming here very often as they slowly loose interest. I mean you can only read Do nothing about it so many times.

    But yes, the crux of Pauls message is to let your anxiety be there without trying to make it go away. Once we understand that anxiety is just a phantom, we will automatically lose interest in it…Our interest in it is the thing that basically creates it.

  825. Peter Says:


    Claire Weekes said that the reason you have anxiety isnt really important, and I agree. Its just a thing that we have. My personal opinion is that people with anxiety are sensitive and intelligence people.
    It is the mix of sensitive, intelligent, creative that gives us our anxiety.
    We feel things deeply.
    We are all pretty awesome people actually.

  826. Peter Says:

    You dont have to figure out the cause. Whatever the initial cause, the cure is always the same…do nothing. Easy to say, hard to do.

  827. Natalie Says:

    Hi everyone, I’ve tried not to post but am really think struggling with a particular symptom at the moment. Despite getting to a really good place and feeling just about recovered, I can feel myself falling back in. I’m really struggling with hot flashes and feeling uncontrollably hot a lot of the time. It’s as though my head is on fire but my body doesn’t always feel hot with it. I struggle to accept it as anxiety as I can’t tell if it’s real or anxiety/how anxiety would cause it. I work in a hospital and it can get very hot, I start getting the hot head, sweating and feeling sick/faint. Everyone else gets hot but not to the extreme I do, they just feel uncomfortable. It’s getting to the stage where I’m now scared of going to work, I’m on the way now having a nasty panic attack. I’m also dreading my holiday next week as it’s going to be 30 degrees and I’m worried about getting hot and faint. Can anyone else identify with this? Thanks in advance.

  828. Doreen. Says:

    Jojo – sometimes it is worth sitting down, maybe even with a counsellor and working out what in life gives you stress and what gives you pleasure. Then at least you can identify the causes and sometimes it is possible to alleviate that stress by doing things differently.
    Real stressful anxiety provoking things do happen – it is not all in our imagination. The task then is to not let that spill over into all of your life so that everything becomes anxiety laden and overwhelming.
    Do you have other new mom friends, do you have time just for you? Try and bring as much relaxation into your life as you can.

  829. Julie Says:

    Krista, I just saw your post when I scrolled up. I am so glad my post helped you. Big hugs. I hope you’re doing well.


  830. Steve b Says:

    Hi guys. Asked a question the other day but I know everyone is busy
    I get all the scary thoughts and know how to handle them but does anyone get stuck thoughts about more depressing things ( not that the horrendous scary thoughts like hurting yourself are not depressing enough)
    Example. I seem to get stick thoughts about animal cruelty or slaughterhouses.
    Is that just another manifestation of anxiety. It’s worrying me because it is so depressing and real( eg it happens) as opposed to say hurting yourself which you are not going to do because that’s the opposite of what you stand for and just a fear.
    Is this all just part of the anxiety basket?

    Sorry to trouble anyone.


  831. Jeff Says:

    I find it difficult to distinguish between anticipatory anxiety and the FEAR of anxiety. I too have an upcoming trip and similar fears….like what if I get some nasty little hits of anxiety while on the plane, on the road….while a thousand miles from home? What if I feel there on vacation like I do now?

    I’m at a point now in my recovery where I am experiencing more and more ‘moments of clarity’. One thing I’ve noticed is that when I’m anxiety free I find it difficult to imagine having it. It’s like trying to imagine that you have a stomach ache…. And during these precious moments there is no fear. It’s nice.

    Back to travelling – I tell myself to not fear something that no longer really exists OR may not exist. And if it does….I’d rather feel anxiety on a beach than on my couch at home.

  832. Bryan Says:


    Nice to hear about your progress and holiday! Stay with it. You’re doing great and it’s really nice to see. We both have the morning struggles so I relate. But overall things keep getting better. Enjoy the rest of your holiday.

  833. Rich Says:

    @Emma @Jeff, Most of my anxiety is anticipatory and ‘what if’ – and I still get this. It will lessens with exposure to it, but it’s hard to expose yourself to things outside of your routine (like holidays!). My approach to it now is one of “ok, I’m anxious”, so acknowledgement, but then to carry on with it anyway. It’s awkward and less than ideal – especially with symptoms that are hard to hide, but nothing is ever as bad as I think it would be, and my mind is slowly re-learning this is the case. It’s hard to go against an impulse to protect yourself by avoiding that’s so strong, but it has to be done. The rewards though are worth it.

    Looking forward to stuff still requires some affirmations from my conscious self to remember the positives, and rationalise the negative fears, but the most important thing is to do whatever it is, and never give into the ‘what ifs’ and let them stop you living life.

  834. Nolan Says:

    Hi Steve b,

    We all have things that we don’t like that are very much part of the reality of the world. And thinking of those things can bring anyone down.

    With a slaughter house you’re probably sitting there and the thought enters. Then you think of this innocent creature that didn’t do anything to warrant this treatment. You think of the confusion, fear, and despair that animal is probably experiencing.
    I hear you. Thinking of stuff like animal cruelty, children being beaten and killed… you name it, bothers me too. And most others.

    I think to a large extent it’s a great thing to have that kind of compassion for others. But we’re not meant to fall into despair ourselves about it. Despair compounded on more despair gets us nowhere.

    At my lowest I saw it starting to deeply impact my wife and that tore me apart even more. If she were to tell me, “I’m full of despair now too because of what you’re going through.” I wouldn’t be comforted in the least by that. I would have felt terrible that my suffering (or how I reacted to my suffering) had that impact on her. It would have made my pain worse not less to know that now another is struggling because of the despair that I was experiencing.

    Say you have a goal: you want to do whatever in your power to end excessive cruelty to animals or children (or whatever)…. then you 1st must accept the grim reality of the world we live in. Next, understand that not composing yourself and letting the ‘bottom fall out” in your world does nothing to address the situation. Again, we get nowhere with adding despair to more despair.

    You’re reaction to it is pretty intense. It’s good to be concerned and to what to do something. But, the added step of it pulling you down and filling you with hopelessness and anxiety is too far. That’s the part where I think you’ll need to stand firm and say “okay, those feelings of despair and anxiety are there right now. And that’s fine. They can be there for as long as they want to. But, I’m not going to let them dictate my actions. They can occupy the space they need for as long as they want to…. but swooning in defeat and submission to them does nothing for me or the things I care about.”

  835. Andy J Says:

    Hi Guys,

    I wasn’t sure if any one had seen my post from yesterday, but I was wondering if any one had an opinion? I know I should draw the conclusion that everything is down to anxiety, but its the doubt which really frustrates, upsets and is beginning to destroy me.

    The thing with anxiety seems to be that the harder your fight it, the harder it fights back at you. There’s been days where I just want to scream with the pain of going through this, but it isn’t going to help me one bit, is it? I may as well accept what it is at the moment and attempt to continue with some kind of normal life.

    Its just so overwhelming. Having been through this for years now, it does make you question whether you can actually get through this stuff. I’ve always been a hard worker, and feel like the way Ive handled this has been my toughest ever challenge. Its like climbing Everest with only mist around you, you have no idea how far it is to the top, but you know you have to keep on going.

    I know this is a whole load of nothing, but its just trying to get my words out and on to (virtual) paper. I know I am still anxious because I am so fearful. Its having the ability to live my life whilst reducing that fear which seems to be the penny that needs to drop.

    All the best,


  836. carla Says:

    Nolan, while you’re around, would you mind sharing your thoughts on my thoughts?!

    Basically I’ve developed this fear that my anxiety is this ‘thing’, a kind of enemy force that is wilfully preventing me from having normal outward thoughts. A kind of malevolent and rude interceptor who will almost shout at me when it catches me thinking freely or outwardly.

    I’m really bloody terrified of it as it permeates my whole being, no matter where I am or what I’m doing. I must say it does sometimes fade as the day progresses, especially if I’m forced to socialise or concentrate on something.

    But it recurs each morning and repeatedly scares the pants of me each time.

    I was having some high anxiety prior before all this started but it felt as though I just woke up one morning, had a thought about an anxious voice controlling and interrupting my thought and, bam, I was paralysed with fear and barely functioning.

    I am better now and the fear has fallen a notch or two but I am still disproportionately scared each time I have this thought and, of course, as soon as I have it I’m constantly checking for it’s presence. It can go on all day.

    I noticed you had a (possibly comparable) experience when you began focusing on your breathing and wondered if you may be able to share some insights into how you managed to transition from blind panic to a ‘so be it’ attitude.

    I kind of feel like I’ve created something that’s ‘really got me’ this time; something logical that I can’t reason myself away from.

    Your advice has already been of great help to me throughout the archives so thank you for taking the time to help so many people.

    Kelly, so glad you’re doing well on holiday!

  837. Horton Says:

    Question for Nolan, Doreen and other recovered people,
    How’s it work when your coming out of anxiety and recovering regarding your relationships with people (and other things too.) Do memories come back regarding your loved ones or just feelings? Do they all come at once after your break out of your ‘anxiety dome’ or come individually as you recover? Are there some feelings, memories and relationships that never come back?
    I only ask this because some people I’ve been talking to have lead me to believe that recovery is just the absence of symptoms, but I don’t mind all the unpleasantness, uncomfortableness or any of the presence of all the things we deem ‘badness,’ what I hate is the absence of any of the old goodness. I wonder if my family will ever stop feeling like strangers to me, or if I myself will stop feeling like a stranger to me, I wonder if I’ll ever remember why I love my home so much and I wonder if I’ll ever remember the great summers I’ve had or friends I’ve made, of what I had been planning and dreaming before anxiety caused me to lose my way.

    Thank you,

  838. Melissa Says:

    Okay, so this is what is on my mind today. I have lots of feelings that I can’t seem to figure out. Lots of them are bad and I can’t help but wonder if they’re really true. I’m so scared, I don’t want them to be true. It’s like the feelings are over exaggerated. I did read once that you feel this way because adrenaline needs a release and it’s simply because you’re anxious. Any advice is gladly accepted.

  839. Nolan Says:

    Hi carla,

    you said this:

    “I was having some high anxiety prior before all this started but it felt as though I just woke up one morning, had a thought about an anxious voice controlling and interrupting my thought and, bam, I was paralysed with fear and barely functioning.”

    Rest assured, I’m pretty certain that’s normal.
    That would happen with me but with other kind of things.
    For example: my anxiety/depression issue had alot of things but the main one was terrified I couldn’t fall asleep anymore.

    Then I was coasting along and doing okay, still with setbacks. But then one day I had the thought while I was swallowing “What if I couldn’t swallow normaly and those reactive muscles in my throat and tongue had to be under conscious control?”
    Seems silly, but then I was starting to panic every time I would swallow. And, that fear would disrupt it at times. Like the food would be stuck on the back on my tongue and I had to really put forth effort to finally swallow it.

    Then the same thing happened with my breathing where I thought “what if I had to consciously breathe…. always paying attention to it?” And, because of my heightened state of arousal, that thought terrified me. And I kept noticing my breathing and putting it under conscious control.

    Both of those lingered for a bit, terrified the hell out of me, left, came back…lingered some more…. and then left again.

    When I read what you’re saying it doesn’t seem all that different from what I was dealing with. Just, your fear and obsession is that these reactions of your body are actually the intentional actions of a malevolent force. I believe, that when your mind and body naturally come down on their own, and you have a bit more peace in your mind, you’ll see beyond all of that and the thought, even while being held in your head, won’t scare you in the least.

    All that is happening is that you already have these automatic reactions of your body which are spurred on by anxiety…. your mind drifts to some explanation of it, which happens to be an explanation that terrifies you, further compounding the anxiety and making you ponder it/try to work it out/ try to convince yourself otherwise…. which just further feeds into the anxiety and fear of it.

    All of your explanations that you offer up to your mind to wisk this thought away are automatically shot down. The scary explanation, at this moment, makes more sense to you. The logic of it trumps the competing argument that it’s all bogus.

    I’ve been here…. I’ve referred to it as the “horrible logic of anxiety”. Where all of the good arguments in the world just fall flat. But, they only fall flat because you’re in the throes of a rough spat with it. When your mind calms down you’ll be able to naturally (with no need for killer arguments) to see behind the fear and glance at the absurdity of it all.

    hope this makes sense.

  840. Steve b Says:

    Thanks Nolan. Very kind. Basically these thoughts get stuck when your wracked with anxiety so they stay. Accept it’s anxiety and move on?
    Again just about acceptance? These thoughts are common and don’t have to be about anything particular.

    Would love a response if only to put my mind at rest.

    Cheers bud

  841. Ross Says:

    hi guys it my past that eats me up&terribkle thoughts they feel so real when they hit i always wonder how i can ever get past the fear & overthinking.

  842. colin Says:

    Hi Steve
    I understand where you are coming from . When I suffered anxiety it was always when I seen something sad ie a kid with downs etc . Honestly mate let these thoughts come and go as threats all they are . You will gradually start to let them blow past like leaves in the wind. Steve are you on medication for your anxiety? I think sometimes it takes the edge off and really helped me . Good luck mate and take care!! Peter you are so negative mate and maybe should try stopping these posts as I see them as very counter productive and upsetting . You are complicating the whole issue of anxiety . It’s very simple get on with your lives and it fades. I will eventually become less as the weeks days go on by just accepting we have anxiety.

  843. Nolan Says:

    Hi Steve b,

    Yup: just let them be there for as long as they want to.
    If they freak you out, that’s okay. They’re scary thoughts and your mind is currently in a pretty aroused state…. so, perfectly normal.

    Just don’t feel the need to argue with it, reason it away, convince yourself otherwise.

    When you get those moments of peace (maybe you’ve already had some) you’ll notice that those fears and concerns just don’t matter as much. You’ll notice that there’s no reason to argue with them because at a fundamental level within your being you just really don’t care all that much about those issues that, at another moment, were the most important thing in the world to you and needed to be chased off or resolved right at that moment. And that’s the product of a mind that is coming down/calming down on its own accord.

  844. carla Says:

    Nolan, thank you, yes it all makes sense. I guess I don’t really truly believe that it’s a malevolent force (possibly a tad dramatic with that one!). It’s just that the anxious thoughts feel a bit like the ‘enemy’ because they’re preventing me from thinking as I’d like so it becomes easy to characterise them in any kind of negative way.

    I think what I need to appreciate is that even when I have this thought each morning there are periods when I am actually thinking fairly normally – so that thought doesn’t have quite as much power as I’m attributing to it. I can also function even when it’s at it’s most severe which I should also be reassured by.

    I also had the sleep thing for a while too Nolan and I think I overcame that one with the thoughts that

    a) I could still function perfectly well, even on a shockingly small amount of sleep
    b) even when I had the anxious thought that I wouldn’t sleep, sometimes I still did. That anxious thought was not quite as powerful as I imagined.

    So I think it’s probably exactly the same principal here.

    And Horton, I really relate to what you’re saying. Sometimes the disruption to the good, normal thoughts/emotions is more painful than than the discomfort of the bad.

    I fully recovered in my 20s by the way and was pretty much anxiety-free for 18 years and felt completely like my old self – the anxiety became a distant memory that held no emotional reaction. And now I’m feeling lost in it all again and it’s hard to remember that. But I’m pretty sure this is the same for everyone who recovers.

  845. Steve b Says:

    You boys are great. Cheers
    Give you a little history. Had 4 episodes of anxiety in my life. Lasting from 3 years in my early 20’s to two shorter episodes of 18 months and 1 year. This one is currently month 4. Oh joy!
    With the previous 3 there was no internet plus no doctor ever diagnosed me so guess what, I had the full hand of symptoms like Paul and like Paul no way of knowing what it was. Can you imagine how scary that was.
    Do you know what I did to get through them. Nothing!…Paul’s advice is exactly what you do. Walk through it. I must admit on the third one I finally got the right medication. An anti depressant but have been stuck on them for years and now can’t increase the dose for certain reasons so effectively going it alone this time around.
    When I say say nothing what do I mean? Well obviously the first few months are horrible. In the first one the first 18 months was horrible but I started understanding the patterns( I work in the stock market and started doing charts of what happens when I have the thoughts etc and noticed a pattern, I then did an anxiety chart like a stock chart! Hee hee)
    I found that when I just walked through it and carried on as if I had nothing wrong with me like letter to myself suggests ( and Paul) the symptoms were not as intense. So that’s what I did, kept on walking.
    I ask the question this time around because I have a) never experienced these more depressive symptoms ( glad its anxiety) and b) to add something to the board.
    To anyone who needs encouragement right now. It WILL get better. You are lucky to have all this wonderful information and it is the only way.

    Steve b

  846. Doreen. Says:

    Horton – I was so keen to recapture those good feelings that I kept searching for them and of course failing to find them. Once I stopped trying and rested with feeling that ok was good enough then from time to time I would feel really connected in the way I had been longing for.
    Now I don’t seek to feel anything in particular so some things are grotty, some things are good enough and some things are brill (the view of the hills today for instance). Like life itself I suppose.
    But I remember that longing that you are describing. Let it go and believe me you will feel the things you want creeping back in.

  847. Steve b Says:

    I would say that I was so bad in the first one that I could not work for the first 18 months. That is important because it shows what a pit I was in. I had no way of knowing what it was. No drugs. It was like being in hell
    The point is that even then I recovered. Everyone here has all these wonderful people. The key to the door. Help with medication etc if need be.
    It is anxiety. You will get better.

  848. Nolan Says:

    Great insight, Carla.

    I completely agree with you.

  849. colin Says:

    Correct steve????
    Steve I first had anxiety 4 years ago after believing I had a brain tumour . It stopped me going on a planned holiday with my wife and kids. I never had a clue and went to doctors only to be told get a grip ( not quite in those words ) but eventually got prescribed flouxitine 20 mg a day after 3 weeks being off work ( run my own business . ) I made the decision to get back at it . Best move I ever made . It was still tearing me apart but I accepted it. And slowly it left me ( recovery? ) until this January when for no apparent reason it returned .i found Paul’s app/book and read it in one evening lol I haven’t looked back since it was something he had preached that I had achieved before . And today 8th of April 2015 I am as good as I have ever been . It’s there waiting to be your old self please believe in this method it works . It’s hard as hell at times but it’s only anxiety !!! Not life treating cancer or any other terminal illness . Exercise eat well relax be a peace with yourself. Share your love for others and I swear happiness returns . Cuddle your kids and wife lol and embrace life .

    Sorry for going on but I hope everyone of you get to where you want to be Goodluck guys and stay strong


  850. Jenny Says:

    Quick question, does anyone find that Green Tea increase their anxiety? I’ve been drinking green tea (decaffeinated) lately and I seem to get anxious after. I’ve read somewhere that green tea can increase symptoms in those with anxiety the enzyme COMT in the tea excites dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine pathways. So I guess biologically it makes sense?

    Anyone else notice more anxiety w/ green tea?

  851. Dustin Says:

    Hey Nolan,
    you have actually kind of answered my questions in your previous few posts, but I guess I’ll just throw it out there anyway to get it out of my head. I am experiencing something similar to your pretzel situation at the moment, and it has got me really down. Not trying to make this too long of a post, but basically I was playing this frisbee game with my family quite some time ago, and I don’t know what started it in my mind (maybe I had a bad throw or something), but It kind of got stuck in my head that I couldn’t throw a frisbee anymore. Then all of the anxiety rushed in, and every throw I made after that sucked because every time I went to do it, I was afraid it would happen again. It sounds really stupid right now writing it out, but I was embarrassed. I felt like I couldn’t physically do it. Now probably 5 months later, I had a similar experience playing darts. For some reason, my reaction is really strong right now, and I just feel sick when I even think about throwing a frisbee, or playing catch or darts with my friends. It is really frustrating because I love sports, and always have prided myself on my athletic ability and I just kind of feel broken right now. I know you have already touched on this, so no need to respond if you don’t want to, but any additional insight would be appreciated. Thanks and hope everyone’s doing well!

  852. Jeff Says:

    @Steve b & Colin
    Great inspiring posts. I’ve been through this myself a few times, and like you know that it does indeed end. The first few times I didn’t know what the hell was wrong with me. Then finally realized what happened…a particular trauma or major life changing event. I recovered.

    This latest episode has been particularly nasty. Hit rock bottom about 14 months ago. Still have nasty little brain zaps, fears.

    Each anxiety episode was different. This time I didn’t have the crazy thoughts that I did in past anxiety episodes. Somatic and over sensitivity (jumpy as hell) symptoms mostly this time. Bad. Going to work was a challenge to say the least.

    I can understand how someone could easily develop agoraphobia….as I sure did to some extent. Avoidance behaviors? You bet. Going to meetings, going into elevators, on an airplane…NO NO NO!

    The door to that nasty little dark jail cell that I’ve been in has finally started to open. And I can tell you that at times I feel so elated that all I want to do is run around and kiss everyone….though I do try to restrain that urge.

  853. Steve b Says:

    I first got anxiety 25 years ago after coming back from a lads holiday in France. Drunk to much. Came home. Panic attack. The rest is history. I would give anything to have been told then what I have found out subsequently on my own but more importantly since reading Paul’s book 4 months ago. That is just do nothing. As I never had that information in writing from Paul, Claire and other wonderful websites I figured it on my own but was never truly convinced if I was doing it right. I am sure that was the reason subsequent attacks have followed.I truly believe this will be the last one now.
    Trouble is, now I am in one you have to go through the process of time. Gutted! Haha
    What you say is right and in no way belittling the condition because it is as close to hell as you can get but it is only anxiety. It was never this beast I have been hiding from and then getting hit with sporadically for 25 years. I say that from a position in the eye of the storm. 14 hours ago on my knees in the kitchen with shocks running through my body. The joy!

  854. Steve b Says:

    Jeff. I still don’t go on a plane. Since my last one. If I had found out sooner what this was and the whole process from doctors it would have saved me so much heartache.
    Yep. All mine have been triggers, trauma or life event as well. I am hoping which is not a strategy so believing this will be the last one. Do you think the same now you have the key to the door?

  855. Emma Says:

    Hey guys,

    Must say, my anxiety has returned full throttle. Not sure what happened, I’m thinking maybe hormonal changes, stress of finals, I don’t know but i haven’t felt this bad in nearly a year. Had a couple minor setbacks since last summer but now it feels… well… like last summer again. I got it in my head that maybe I have reverse SAD and that my anxiety and especially low moods manifest around spring time (happened last year end of April and lasted through June after having sustained a long period of stability). This reverse SAD really had me in a funk because I was like “god, please don’t let this be another spring/summer spent completely depleted.” Also, I have a trip planned the 2nd week of May and now I’m beginning to worry I won’t be able to go because of this setback (it’s now been a week like this).

    The symptoms right now are mostly unfocused anxiety — huge amounts of adrenaline, feeling like panic will come. My baseline anxiety is typically very low and it just feels like I’ve been kicked into overdrive. I’m very sensitive to all my thoughts (the typical scary “s-word” intrusives have been poking around too). And of course, I have the low moods ‘down’ and ‘blue’ feeling, I even cried today bc I got hit with a big wave of deep sadness.

    I’ve been practicing acceptance and trying to non-judgementally observe these sensations rather than flee or chase them as they say in mindfulness practice, but when the symptoms are so intense it feels honestly almost impossible. But I have noticed that I’m still managing whereas last year I really let myself get consumed by these identical symptoms. My question is when in the throes of it, how do I simply float through this wave of emotional/mental turmoil without getting carried downstream. My fear at the moment is that things will get worse, bad like they were during my setback last spring/summer, and that I’ll start getting those awful ‘pointlessness’ grey feelings. I say this because last spring it started out just like this, around mid april started to feel bad (same symptoms), and things got progressively worse, struggled a lot with low moods/urge to cry/emptiness/grey cloud feelings. Sorry for unloading like this, but I don’t really have too many people to talk to about this and, and some of you guys know where I’ve been with my anxiety. I’m just pretty discouraged after having spent 8 whole months with minimal anxiety and only negligible blips. Feeling kinda desperate and vulnerable at the moment.

    Anyone’s feedback would be super appreciated
    Emma xoxo

  856. Rob Says:


    I drink green tea sometimes and haven’t noticed that as much. Different from everyone I guess cause green tea also has L-Theanine which is supposedly anti-anxiety. The only tea where I notice some effect though is Chamomile Tea which I drink for sleep and it works for me I guess. Acts on GABA receptors I believe.

  857. aj Says:

    Hi Nolan
    Your posts are really helpful. My anxiety started in September 2014 after a stressful year. I am a worrier and catastrophizer. I am looked upon as a very resourceful person and I have helped others come out of their difficult situations. However when it comes to me I get confused. This blog and paul’s book have been very helpful. Lot of my physical symptoms have reduced noticeably.

    I need some guidance. I have some stressors which I think are keeping me in anxiety loop
    1. I am in a relationship for past 8 years. There were lots of ups and downs in this relationship. in the past she had proposed marriage and I had ignored. We have had fights (in the hindsight I feel fights were due to my attitude). I have fear of Marriage. I feel getting married will complicate things. I feel very guilty of hurting her feelings (unintentionally) in the past. I just cannot let go of the past. Our relationship is still on and I am still fearful of commitment. She is facing a very stressful situation at her workplace, this stresses me further. somehow I feel I am not doing justice to relationship.
    2. I am a teacher by profession and a very a good one. I love this job. I am a cyclist and very good at bike repairs. I started a bikeshop 4 years ago as a hobby and part time activity. Now the business has grown beyond my expectations and has become stressful. Due to the budiness my other hobbies (pottery, birding and photography) have taken a backseat. I get urge to shutdown the business, but it’s not an easy thing to do currently.
    3. I get a strong feeling that I have complicated and screwed up my life.
    4. I used to be a carefree (despite being a worrier) person planning and organising outings and other events. Now I am fearful of everything.

    Sorry for rambling but had to unload this.

    Nolan do I need to resolve all the real life conflicts to come out of anxiety loop OR is it still possible to overcome anxiety and simultaneously work towards resolving real life problems ?

    I continuously thinking of relationship and business and worrying a lot about myriad other things

    Any suggestions guidance much appreciated.

  858. aj Says:

    Just little bit more – I am 46 she is 49 I worry its too late to get married,at the same we cannot spend quality time together as we do not live together. I find this situation stressful, currently unable to make any decision. Should I wait till I recover from anxiety ? if at alI i recover !

  859. Ross Says:

    Nolan / Doreen how to get past the need to check in analyzing how I think& feel & will it all be ok & the huge fear I’m losing my mind & never recover my anxiety is pretty much 24/7 never living outside my head always thinking that I will be driven crazy if I can’t stop this & when talking it like I listening in to my head I have some intrusive thoughts aswell.

  860. Chris Says:


    I just wanted to say how much I have appreciated your posts in the past so wanted to reply. I am sorry to hear that you are having a setback but it sounds like you are under a lot pressure. I don’t think we forget what we have learnt from past experiences and while it may seem like you are going backwards this is not possible. A lot of what we carry is memory of how bad we felt in the past and the fear that it will happen again. But it is memory and the fact that you are carrying on shows how further forward you are. Trust yourself – I think we reach a point where our body and minds know how to move forward and we don’t need to force it. Just keep going on through each moment and keep focused on your goals – they are more important than the thoughts and feelings.

  861. Robert Says:

    Hi folks…

    I wonder if I could possibly ask for peoples opinions on my situation…

    I just wondered how people cope when they have been given conflicting advice by different doctors ?

    I have some very strange symptoms which I’m sure is all down to anxiety but I have also been told they are caused by something else

    My story is this… ( I will keep it as short as possible )

    In 2006 I had lower back trouble and went to see an osteopath…
    He manipulated my neck saying it would help my lower back…

    This manipulation went wrong and caused lots of neck pain and tightness

    Shortly after I developed my new symptoms…

    I would constantly feel like I was on a boat ( a rocking sensation )
    My balance became terrible and I would feel like I was drunk and unsteady all the time,
    My head was like full of wet cement that sloshed around on movement

    In 2008 these symptoms went away….. I did nothing to help myself and they just went on their own…. I sort of forgot about them and just carried on with my life

    Which is exactly what Paul mentions in his book… Just do nothing…

    However in 2010 they suddenly came back one day… ( I had another health problem which I worried about ) …. But also the day they came back I was also doing lots of work which involved looking down and using my neck…

    I also get a lot of pressure in my ears and tinnitus and funny noises and pops n crackles

    I have since been to see a ENT specialist who was NOT a nice guy….
    He basically just said.. ” ah you have meniers disease ”

    I also saw a neurologist who was a nice guy and he said my symptoms did not sound like meniers and he thought it was all just down to anxiety..

    I have 4 degenerated discs in my neck with severe stenosis and pressure on the spinal cord but he was not concerned by this
    ( and a neuro surgeon was not concerned by this either )

    My symptoms are much worse when I move my head and body..

    I just wondered if anybody else who has recovered from anxiety used to get the drunk feeling and unsteadiness…. And loss of balance which was made worse with movement ??

    Walking at night or in dark conditions is much worse and it’s like I’ve just come from the pub after a hard nights drinking
    ( I am actually tee total and not drunk in about 15 years )

    I’m sure it is anxiety…. But a little voice in my head keeps telling me that maybe it is meniers or another inner ear problem… Or the neck….

    ( both my parents suffer with the same symptoms as well and Dad has been told he has BPPV )

    Is it worth me going to get checked out yet again for another opinion ?… I really don’t want to and I hope it’s just anxiety because as soon as I realise this is all it is then I can start to put it behind me and stop worrying about it being anything else..

    It’s either neck trouble….. Ear trouble…. Or anxiety ?…

    If I know other people have or have had the same symptoms then this will help me to believe it’s just anxiety ?…

  862. Louise Says:

    Hi Nolan / kat
    I have relationship anxiety since sept last year it frustrates me as I know I live my husband more than anything I find it one of the worst symptoms for me. Any tips would be grateful we have been together 20 years and he love of my life

  863. Jeff Says:

    @Steve b
    Yes, like you I truly believe that this is the last one for me. My last two triggers were health related. Doctors prescribing the wrong meds for stomach issues that made me sicker and sicker (I was too dumb to question the good doctor),….a scare involving internal bleeding (I’ll spare you the details)….more doctor scare tactics and tests – more fear/STRESS etc.

    With the exception of a broken bone or infection, I am pretty much DONE with doctors. No more exams for the sake of it.

    If I ever do feel that I’m starting to stress mentally, which may lead to another ‘breakdown’….well as the Rolling Stones sing….’there this little yellow pill’….

    I’ve no intention of suffering again.

  864. Andy J Says:

    Hi Rob,

    I used to suffer with health anxiety (approximately 5 years worth of the damned thing). This was the precursor to all of the current anxiety I am having.

    Like you, I had dizziness, full head feeling, like I was drunk when I was walking, couldn’t take in bright lights. It got so bad that the fullness felt like my head was going to explode. I went to my doctors and having previously read about sinusitis, decided I would quote what id read, whilst probably elaborating on my actual symptoms. I eventually got an appointment with an ENT doctor, who also performed a CAT scan.

    Needless to say, everything came back normal.

    Like you, I just ended up doing nothing about it. Anxiety can result in psychosomatic symptoms, which cause us to feel like we have actual physical symptoms when we dont. Clearly a visit to a Doctor is the first port of call, but given they havent found anything seriously wrong with you, and you’ve overcome this before, Id suggest this is anxiety. The ‘Doing Nothing’ approach and taking your mind off it by filling your life with other things should help reduce the symptoms.

    I know how horrible it is and how scary it can be, but you have the power within you to overcome it.

    All the best,


  865. Robert Says:

    Hi Andy…. Thank you for your response….

    That’s the kind of thing I needed to hear…

    I know I have over come this before… Just by doing nothing

    ( although at the time I didn’t realise I was helping myself just by doing nothing…. My life just got so busy and I sort of forgot about my symptoms… )

    I think I’m struggling this time because that little voice in the back of my mind keeps saying that maybe the doctor who diagnosed meniers was right…

    I just need to shut that voice up and get on with things like you say and hope I soon forget about the symptoms again…

    All the best…

  866. Andy J Says:

    Hi Robert,

    No worries at all. Its only natural to try and figure things out. That is the biggest stumbling block for most people on here. Before anxiety, if you had a bad thought, you would either laugh it off or just replace it with a good thought and move on with your day.

    That method doesn’t work for those of us with anxiety unfortunately.

    I think my anxiety has morphed because it has shifted from subject to subject. Like my health anxiety left because I started worrying about being depressed. And then the worry of being depressed left because I started obsessing about different subjects and having intrusive thoughts. I hope one day my current anxiety will shift because I know whats causing it and no longer fear it.

    If you feel the need to revisit your doctor, then do it. But don’t make regular visits as I did, because all you are doing is telling yourself there is something the matter and that only the Doctor can help. This reassurance only acts as a temporary relief unfortunately.

    Like I’ve said, Ive been through it and at my very worst I was having examinations for blood clots, heart disease, testicular cancer and brain tumors within the space of months. I can honestly say my health doesn’t bother me now and any symptoms I do have will either drift away naturally or can be explained by things such as anxiety or stress.

    All the best,


  867. colin Says:


    Any good investments in the city for me ? Lol hope this is the final episode of anxiety for you mate!!! Chin up, stay strong .

  868. Steve b Says:

    Have a look at northwestbio. Ticker nwbo us. Very speculative but they involved in new therapies for brain cancer and I think they may have something… Don’t put a lot in! You could lose it all.

    Better talk about anxiety as well or Paul may get the hump. Typical day. Terrible morning then better in afternoon. Isn’t it funny how sometimes even for 5 minutes the head totally clears almost like something is moving about in the brain. You feel totally normal. Then it closes again! What is that?

  869. Robert Says:

    Thanks again Andy..

    It does help confirm that what I’m dealing with is probably anxiety

    The strange thing is that both my parents suffer with the exact same symptoms and they have both had them for about 10 years
    ( actually my dad is more like 20 years I think )

    I was actually really good in December, January and February and then in March things kicked off again…. and today has been the worst day by far…

    Ho Hum… just keep plodding on I guess..

  870. lainie waller Says:

    i see some peeps say they have had a breakdown. what is a breakdown ??

  871. colin Says:

    I will have a look at that thanks!!
    Steve I also used to suffer more in the morning. Just let it happen and before you know it will be gone. That sounds simple but it’s not you just have to persist.


  872. Rachel Says:

    Hi Robert I have the same feelings as you I have had every test under the sun and all came back normal but like you I wonder if it’s my neck or ears or eyes cos things seem to move when their not everyone says its anxiety so we have to believe it is and try and get on with it x

  873. Robert Says:

    Rachel… Thanks for the feedback… It does help me when I hear other people have the same symptoms…

    I am worse on movement which makes me think it’s ears… And I have heard about the atlas bone in the neck being out of alignment and causing the symptoms…

    But I can’t think along those lines….. Like you say… We need to believe it’s just anxiety then we can put it behind us and move on…

    Steve B…. You mention now and then your head clears for 5 minutes and you feel normal…. but then it goes again ?

    What state does it go back to ?….. The reason I ask is that almost 24/7 I feel drunk…. But every now and then I get a couple of minutes of pure clarity where all the motion stops and all the thoughts stop…. But then I go back to feeling drunk again….

    It’s usually when I step outside and look at a tree or something I get a few minutes of calm and steadiness…. But then I drift back to feeling drunk…

  874. Melissa Says:

    I’m having such a hard time. I’d like to share my story and any advice would really be helpful. I have always worried. I was thinking about it the other day and I try to be a perfectionist soo much that I tend to make more mistakes. I think to myself, do I really care? Am I worrying because I care or am I worrying because I feel pressured to do the right thing. It exhausting. And, my mom and dad don’t have the best relationship. I am surrounded in a negative environment. My mom is a good person, but I feel as though she leans on me too much that its hard on me. Her and my dad fight in front of me all the time and I’m tired of it. And, when I don’t want to hear from my mom about how bad my dad is, I feel like I’m a bad person. I don’t like hearing any negativity, it makes me depressed. But, growing up I never really had any friends, I stayed home all the time and I was to myself. I do have friends, don’t get me wrong but I never hung out with them. I just saw them at school. But, this past year, I have been hanging out with my friend megan like every week. I haven’t as much though. I don’t really feel like I have true friends. And, what I mean by that is, I don’t think they’re bad, but I just don’t think me and my friends really have that connection. When I hang out with Megan, I’m not having fun. I’m bored. And, she’s not a bad person, she’s a great person. But, we just don’t have that connection. Our personalities are different. Heck, my mom gets along better with Megan than I do. But, Liz, on the other hand, is a closer friend. We can have deep conversations and talk about meaningful stuff. She had anxiety as well so we help each other out. She’s mostly recovered and I tell her everything. But, she’s really quiet, she doesn’t really say much. I’m very outgoing and loud. But, anyway, back to my parents, I feel as though I don’t really have parents that I can lean on. I just don’t think they understand. My dad has a huge temper and doesn’t really let me go anywhere. My mom does but I don’t think my dad really likes it. It’s like I have to be in the living room all the time. But, here lately I’ve noticed he doesn’t really say anything, he lets me do my thing, although, he’s not doing it because he thinks I need my space. He thinks that I avoid them and all this and that. And sure I do ignore them a lot but I’m just sick of all the negativity. I’m a senior in high school. I’m overwhelmed with all my worries. I think I’m a terrible person that cares about no one. And, I’ve asked myself, do I really care, or am I just trying to care because I don’t want people to look down on me. I have also wondered, do I feel bad just because I don’t feel bad. But, maybe this is just me being a perfectionist. And, I also have these strange feelings too, I just don’t understand. They feel so wrong. But, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  875. Karen Says:

    Julie If you are around could I possibly get in touch with you somehow. Your story is so similar to mine I have questions about our ongoing recovery.

    I have purposefully been off the blog for ages but having a massive setback where I feel back at square one. Can others reassure me that after a year of acceptance this still happens regularly! I know people say they have setbacks but I guess I thought it would be one or two not every couple of weeks and lasting for a couple of weeks. In my setback all the things I have stopped avoiding and worked hard at, become so tough again and my anxiety screams to avoid again And makes me believe I can no longer do these things. Is that usual for setbacks. My main issue is intrusive thoughts and you know they went for ages unless I was anticipating. Now they are back to 24/7 literally constant and its so hard to carry on. Some reassurance would be so appreciated please. Its my sons birthday today and I feel numb. I so want to enjoy my children again instead of worrying about being with them.

  876. Steve b Says:

    Hi Robert. Hard to explain. Almost like for 5 minutes everything settles. You become you again. I am not sure if that is a road to recovery or what. Maybe Paul can explain.

    Had the worst morning so far. Anyone ever get the feeling they are totally enclosed and can’t escape and just feel totally overwelmed?

    No probs Colin. Very speculative but as I say, they may have something that works.

  877. Rena Says:

    yes you can have setbacks. I have one now too. I guess they semms stronger and more painful because we had anxiety-free period. And now it looks like we were at the beginning. But don’t believe your anxiety-these thoughts and feelings are false. I know that I have my setback because of the memories. When the spring came I noticed myself thinking-it is spring, last year I had such a bad setback, I am so tired-maybe it is depression. And then it started :) Believe me, you are much stronger then last time. Don’t be afraid- I really know how hard these setbacks are. But be sure-you have a setback only because you are on the recovery road.So let it go, smile at your thoughts and feelings ( because we know that they won’t hurt us). When I noticed my scary thought I just say to myself-oh, here you are-and continue my routine.

  878. Steve b Says:

    Also. Does anyone get unbelievably intense anxiety for an hour or two but not a panic attack. Like the anxiety comes in a massive wave when your legs buckle, you get totally overwhelmed but then calms down? They are the moments you truly feel broken as Nolan says. Why come on waves like that?

  879. Daniel Says:

    Don’t worry about it Robert, I am yet to have a minute break from my anxiety. But that’s fine because some people get feelings of normality last weeks, other get just a few minutes, many people don’t get any breaks at all. That being said, nobody is worse or better off, we’re just different in that regard.
    However it is important that you know we’re all capable of feeling normal whether it be for a few minutes now or permanently after we recover. There are no exceptions!

    Don’t stress about not getting a break, that’s a fine position to be in because it provides you with opportunities to recover 24/7. “Anxiety is a student that can only learn if it shows up to class.”

  880. Bryan Says:

    That’s a great attitude Daniel. Stay the course. Your outlook will pay off in spades in time.

  881. JoJo Says:


    Can you send me a link on this letter to myself you refer to a lot? I googled it and can not find it.

    Struggling today with a bad thought I had last night. Just a fearful thought that I can’t do this anymore and it was like about my life in general and. If I can’t do it anymore I then thought you have to end your life. I don’t understand this I don’t want this and how is this not supposed to upset me. It’s wierd it’s not a what if or a thought Into the future but more a statement I’m making which make it feel true. Please any advice anyone?

  882. John T Says:

    To JoJo:

    Not sure if this link will work:

    Ok, as for your intrusive thought: You say its not a “what if” thought – but earlier you say “just a fearful thought”.

    Well, sure its a fearful thought. Many of us have fearful thoughts. I have a brother who has a fearful thought of having a stroke (because that how my dad died) and he obsesses if its too high, starts freaking out if it is – meanwhile, I could care less about having a stroke and admittedly my blood pressure is much higher than his. Well, its not that I could care less – but the thought doesn’t bother me.

    You’re having this thought because it scared you. “Why would I want to end my life? I’m not that kind of person!” is what you’re saying to yourself. Your anxiety radar found your weak spot – that obsessive thought. Now you’re challenging it and giving it more fuel. I have done this so many times I’m pretty used to it now. Yes, I’ve had the self-harm thoughts because it goes against my very nature.

    Claire Weekes also discusses this – how a mother had the fleeting thought of throwing her baby out a window. That’s how anxiety works, it finds something you react to and magnifies it.

    Pay these thoughts no mind, they’re just there because you’re fatigued from having anxiety. If you have no anxiety at all, this thought wouldn’t phase you a bit.

  883. Sylvia Says:


    I need some advice please,

    Did anyone had obsessive thoughts but like not normal ones,lately I get some all the time witch I never had before,there like not normal loud thoughts,they are like sounds or I here some whisper sounds.When I hear that I already think I am crazy and I hear soon voices or mind is telling me that I am crazy and I will hear freaking me out.I try to take it as a thought like all the others but I still react to them in fear.Is that normal thoughts sound and stuff ??

  884. colin Says:


    Hi mate do you have Paul’s app?
    If you do, listen to the audio relaxation . Go to your room draw the blinds lie back and chill , think of all the wonderful things that you have done in your life . Basically get in a mindfull state where nothing bothers you. Accept that anxiety will be part of your life and may never totally go and setbacks do happen. Jo Jo please try this also ? As bad as you are feeling there is hope be positive about accepting this . Even when it feels so bad . Keep believing that this will work. If anything it gives us hope . I promise you there are people on here with a much better understanding of this than me . Just ask they will give you an insight of there recovery and setbacks. Be positive as hard as that can be there is hope !!! Take care


  885. Horton Says:

    Yeah Daniel’s the man, been giving advice here for a long time now.

  886. Joachim Says:

    It really pains me to see how many people are still questioning their anxiety and subsequent harmless symptoms. It is imperative to want to face these uncomfortable yet harmless feelings. You will simply not die go crazy not hurt yourself. The truth is that your wishing these feelings would just go away even if you think your accepting them. Putting up with them is NOT acceptance for we must actively go seek out the very worst anxiety has to offer and ASK FOR MORE! It is a paradox but what you resist persists. Anxiety cannot get any bigger than a panic attack so if you been there you have been through the absolute worst anxiety has to offer. And you came out the other side perfectly fine. You cannot run from anxiety nor hide and taking pills is just masking the symptoms temporarily. Be one with your anxiety until the symptoms no longer matter if they arise or not. This is the road to recovery 100%. How can we ever desensitize if we are symptom free? It’s is the very anxiety that leads to true recovery through repetitive exposure of your fears whilst never looking for the way out. The way is through not around or through the back door or emergency exit. Anxiety is not your enemy it is design to keep you safe so allow it to do its thing with a smile and thank it for working so efficiently. The switch will then be switched off once anxiety is comfortable that you no longer need its assistance. Please for whoever is still suffering stop questioning your anxiety there is truly nothing wrong with you except for sensitized nerves. I have been there and back racing thoughts no sleep dizziness hard to swallow breathe and cannot think straight for a minute. Just a shell of symptoms walking around like a zombie NEVER accepting just trying to work it all out. Feel it all embrace it and push yourself into living your life knowing it is all 100% temporary and will heal itself if you just stop looking for the answer. You just being afraid of yourself not some terrible monster. Accept it all and smile that is the ultimate key. 100% ACCEPTANCE. Be safe and start now.

  887. Doreen. Says:

    Jojo – hope this link works

    [Rich] – Links automatically go into the moderation queue, and are approved on merit to avoid spam. ‘Nothing Works’ was one of the most beneficial reads I came across about how to manage anxiety – and should be prescribed by DRs across the world in my opinion.

  888. Kat Says:

    Hi Louise,

    I will try to post this for you once more as it didn’t seem to take the first 2 times I tried, but I really wanted to respond to your post.

    Relationship anxiety was horrible for me when it hit, so I empathize with what you’re going through. I remember it came on one night, and the result was a very intense panic attack. I knew anxiety was the culprit, but I had a very hard time shaking it. It was a very difficult period in my relationship.

    I came to this blog seeking comfort and reassurance and had some very helpful advice and encouragement from several members on the blog, the most influential being Helen. She, too, had experienced it, and came through it, so I came to view her advice as gospel. The suggestions which came my way included forcing myself to hold hands with my husband, talking to him about what I was feeling, hugging him even when I was overcome with anxiety at the thought of it, etc.

    The biggest thing, however, was time. It took a while for the symptoms to lessen, but they did. I remember one day much later, looking at him, and suddenly feeling overwhelmed with love. Where did that come from? Well, it was always there, but I had been anxious by thinking I didn’t love him anymore that I couldn’t feel anything positive. Basically, I believed the lie, and that’s what kept the fear going. Luckily for me, my husband is very understanding and I was able to talk to him about what I was feeling without him taking it personally. He knows anxiety is a struggle for me, and he understood that it had attached itself to my thoughts on our relationship. I am very grateful for this because when this happened in a previous relationship, my partner became resentful and I eventually made the decision to leave him. At the time, I simply didn’t have the encouragement or understand to let the anxiety settle down and dissipate, and so I came to believe that there was no other option than to leave. Now, to be clear, the relationship had a lot of problems, and truthfully, my anxiety was probably brought on by said problems, but if he had been more supportive, it may have made things easier. In a way, I suppose one could say that anxiety was a gift at that time, or I would never have found the man I’m with now.

    Helen said something very wise to me and I’ve always remembered it, so I will pass it along to you, but I am paraphrasing: if the thought that you don’t love your husband frightens you, then it’s anxiety and not a true reflection of how you feel.

    I hope this helps.

  889. Peter Says:

    Hey Jojo,

    Sorry, I didnt see your request until now…

    But yeah, A Letter to Myself is very useful….

    I am starting to think that anxiety recovery basically starts with the understanding that anxiety is meaningless… In other words, that there is no wrong way to react to it, like Chris (the guy who wrote the letter said). We dont have to come up with any methods at all to get rid of it. True acceptance is not a method. It isnt a test to make your anxiety go away.

    I am still working on my understanding of acceptance, but basically I think it is like…once we understand that we dont have to do anything about anxiety, we dont try to do anything about it, and then it slowly goes away on its own.

    I bet some people have anxious sensations that would develop into anxiety disorder if they cared about those sensations, but they dont, so they dont develop anxiety disorder.

  890. Jude Says:

    Thank you, Joachim.

  891. Louise Says:

    Hi kat
    Thankyou so much for taking time to reply to me I have read your posts and Helens replys to you they have really helped. The thoughts can be so persistent sometimes I know I love him it is a really frustrating symptom it has got better over last 4 months but think I just get impatient as us anxiety sufferers normally do ha. I know I can get through this I love cuddling up and being with him. I find the wanting to annalize everything drives me mad. Once again your reply has helped me no end x

  892. Elaine stocks Says:

    Hi Everyone
    Really struggling at the moment.
    No appetite feeling sick choking anyone else the same
    I really try to accept but it’s hard xx

  893. Michelle Zimmerman Says:

    Hi all – I have been doing very well despite much ongoing stress in various areas of my life. Paul’s method truly does work. However, I still have a couple of specific phobias and despite continuing to do these things (fear of heights and anything to do with me medically) and allow the fear to be there, it hasn’t gotten any better. I do it anyway but do so freaking out. On our way back from vacation in Florida and have to drive through the mountains and am nervous before I get there. I try to tell myself that it’s ok but it’s not. I hate heights and hate that it bothers me. Any help would be appreciated. X

  894. Alaina Says:

    Hi everyone, hope everyones ok. Im really struggling with my intrusive thoughts, I have had anxiety for most of my life but had a medication changre 2 years ago and the thoughts began. I am now not on medication and the physical symptoms have subsided a bit and don’t come as often. The intrusive thoughts however are there all the time, and I feel apprehensive most of the time also. I am trying not to get involved with the thoughts, but find myself checking in and seeing if they are still there and then my anxiety tries to make me believe them. I know in my heart that I am not my thoughts but my head tries to trick me. So im just looking for some advise really on how to deal with them and whether I am handling them correctly. Im not avoiding being in certain situations and just let them be, but sometimes find myself checking if I still have them and try to convice myself that I am not what my thoughts say I am. any advice would be greatly appreciated as im really struggling to get over this hurdle!

  895. lainie waller Says:

    there is such a thin line from being in severe anxiety to normality. i have been in a bad set back for 6 months , had the crisis team out for 10 weeks. these last few days had happiness and peace it just came out of the blue. its amazing i feel so so happy xxxxxx

  896. Ross Says:

    Hi Joachim I suffer constant anxiety 24/7 I can seem to live outside my head I fear I’m going crazy & can’t cope anymore my whole days are filled with what if’s & why me & it really is getting me down I fear suicide as I know I want to live life not fear it I really don’t know how to get past this my head is a jumbled mess constantly with questions.

  897. Peter Says:

    Hey guys,

    I found a good post from Chris the author of Letter to Myself.

    It was something like Anxiety and panic are their own cures.

    It is true, if you think about it. All we have to do is let the feelings go away on their own without trying to do anything about them. Thats it.

  898. Maggie Says:

    @Nolan and Kelly

    “Nice meeting you guys” I am in Chicago, IL

  899. SarahS Says:


    I would highly recommend reading the articles written by Sen on the calmdownmind site. They really help understand and are so informative and help transcend these thoughts and feelings.

    Pick an article that stands out and go from there, reading others and taking time to understand. I can’t recommend enough.


  900. Louise Says:

    Hi all
    My intrusive thoughts are getting better but once I get over one thing it latches into something else is this anxiety losing its grip and finding other ways to scare me. I understand it anxiety causing thoughts not thoughts causing anxiety but it frustrating when the thoughts change to something else

  901. Julie Says:


    I’m not sure what intrusives you have but mine were about harm to myself or my family. It was constant, it started aimed at me and then at my kids….. it was relentless. They will change theme, or be aimed at different people. That’s what anxiety does, it changes theme as you become less scared of one thought. It will keep finding ways to frighten you.

    What you have to do is used the same tools you used for the previous thought. I was told I had all the tools in my tool box and to treat new thoughts like a fresh wall but you get the same tools out of your toolbox to deal with them.

    Big hugs, I know how awful they can be.


  902. louise Says:

    Hi Julie

    It not harm ones but still about family memberships is a new one and I hate it I am getting better attempting thoughts be there without adding second fear but it hard. I see a councillor for anxiety which helps she does ender but we not tried any yet I onl seen her 3 times so far

  903. Maggie Says:


    How do you deal with the intense fear that comes with a panic attack? When your brain goes 100/min and you feel confused, sick in the stomach, about to loose control and then I get that intense fear that nobody will be able to stop the monster inside me even doctors will be unable to help me.
    I can see anxiety sometimes and calm myself down. But other times I fail in it and it scares me.

  904. louise Says:

    I meant emdr. The thoughts worse thing for me I hate them as i say it moves from one thing to another this particular thought been lingering 3 weeks but this last week been better I must say. Sometimes I think to myself really and laugh

  905. Joachim Says:

    To Ross…I have been there buddy and more importantly back from “the edge” we feel we are on. Your not alone and your symptoms are exactly what to except during high anxiety. Your not going crazy and will not no matter how u feel. It’s a medical fact and you won’t hurt yourself those fleeting thoughts of suicide are just produce my temporary anxiety. Now here is the answer to dealing with them……don’t fear them any longer it’s your reaction to them that is allowing them the fuel to stick around and bother you. They are simply thoughts and feelings not reality Ross. They cannot stop you from doing anything in life but if you sit around fearing them they will stick around. You see Ross anxiety doesn’t want you to live life and wants your attention but you can and HAVE to do the opposite . It takes time but what you fear can NEVER happen to you! It’s just sensations of fear that you have to face and desensitize to! Your need at least 6 months to correctly desensitize and allow our nervous system a chance to heal big guy. But your 100% fine mentally and physically even if your cant “feel” it. Just know it bro ok? Of you can lose respect of the symptoms you will recover 100% that’s a fact. What is there to truly fear? Only yourself and you are totally fine it’s just a temporary test that you will pass. I was exactly like you asking why me feeling sorry for myself and wanting to “end it all” but I just wanted to end anxiety not my beautiful life. So I took the power away from anxiety by living life no matter what. 100% acceptance and the anxiety does not me and not you as well I promise you that. Do the things you love and leave anxiety do whatever And just smile at it!

  906. Kasra Says:

    Hey Paul,

    You mentioned in the book that “…just explaining a certain symptom can take away so much fear and worry”. I have yet to understand some of my most prominent/annoying symptoms and how they relate to anxiety.

    Namely Paul, what confuses me are two things:
    1) Sharp nerve pain in my left foot and back of left knee. This pain is always there, remains sharp and painful, and worst of all, robs me of any attempt at sustained attention or awareness. I don’t feel many sensations in my body other than this specific nerve pain. I have seen doctors about it and nothing has helped or explained the symptoms

    2) Eye pain upon looking at anything not far away. If I look or try to pay attention to anything not far off in the distance, my eyes feel a good deal of pain and discomfort and fatigue very quickly, which you can imagine is problematic in social scenarios where communication is naturally close up. I have had my eyes checked by several doctors and there seems to be nothing wrong with the eyes.

  907. Emma Says:

    Thanks for your response, Chris. I really appreciate it.

    So, my setback is beginning to lift. I’ve been actually feeling quite well lately but, because I’m still a bit sensitized from the recent blip, the anxiety has latched onto intrusive thoughts about feeling well and bipolar mania or hypomania. I find myself mapping my feelings/behaviours with symptoms of bipolar hypomania … like being very productive, suddenly having a long list of things I want to get done (wrote down ideas for a short film even), having more energy (almost like these jolts of energy/adrenaline) and feeling in a great mood. It’s spring here and the weather is finally getting warmer and I stepped outside and breathed the fresh air and felt like I could just jump from joy. I looked at some online stores for clothes I wanted to buy when I save up more money. Then all of a sudden I think to myself — oh my, I’m sounding like i’m on a mild bipolar upswing. I know these are anxiety fuelled thoughts but they are SO convincing! I know better than to believe them, because I’ve had these thoughts before and whenever they pass I think to myself “How could I be so silly as to actually believe that” but the interesting about ocd is that it feels just as convincing every time it comes around.

    I know Riri used to get these thoughts too, I haven’t had them for a while but anyone else get the ole bipolar obsession? Doesn’t it feel so totally plausible? x

  908. Ross Says:

    Thanks Joachim for advise it scares me to think I can’t recover but I suppose that every anxiety sufferers nightmare & also the attention on ones self I am back at work etc the main thing that troubles me also is the need to talk of how i feeling thinking etc & the fact I suffered real bad in beginning & really scared I end up back there.

  909. Jake Says:

    Question for Nolan, and other who have been in the same position,
    You say that it was not necessary for you to believe you will recover in order to recover.
    Personally it has never seemed even like a possibility to me once, after 2/3s a year of accepting. Not an inkling of a possibility and my symptoms have faded only very little, if not not at all. Would you consider the lack of normality and your past identity as symptoms as well? I often count them separately, well at any rate none of that has come back either and every day it seems less likely.
    I keep on trucking and accepting and all that, but I am certain it’s going to go nowhere. Is this okay? It’s not like I can be convinced otherwise, so what choice do I have?

  910. Doreen. Says:

    Jake – can i suggest that you don’t even think about or call anything ‘symptoms’. You have feelings associated with anxiety but you are not ill. And though it may seem a downbeat message many people on this blog including myself were affected as you are by anxiety for a lot longer than 2/3rds of a year. Many years in some cases. Yet we have reached the position of either being anxiety free (except in appropriate circumstances) or living with the awareness of anxiety but getting on with life to the full anyway.
    For me, as soon as I, stopped rationalising, stopped fighting and saw anxiety just as a pain in the a… I began to feel a little better.
    You do have a choice and that is to stop moderating how you feel and seeing if ‘it is going somewhere’. Hard, I know but it is possible for you as it has been for many others on this blog.

  911. Doreen. Says:

    Sorry Jake – I meant ‘monitoring’ how you feel, not moderating.

  912. Kelly Says:

    Carla and Bryan – Thanks for the well wishes! I had a great holiday and now am home. Trying to get back into my routine today, so I have a little bit of a struggle this morning. Just trying to push through. :)

    Maggie – Nice to meet you too! I live in Charlotte now, but am originally from Naperville (outside of Chicago).

    I hope everyone is doing well today! Let me know if I can be of any assistance.

  913. Duncan Says:


    I hope you are well. I just wanted to reach out and say thank you for the work that you do. A little over a year ago, I had a nervous breakdown. I was living abroad alone, dumped by my girlfriend, working seven days a week and then had some bad dental work which left me in pain 24 x 7.

    I had everything you have listed in all of your literature 24×7, from mental symptoms like intrusive and disturbing thoughts as well as the physical – shaking, adrenaline rushes, restless legs, chest pain, heart racing, stabbing feeling in stomach, sweating, pins and needles, headaches, tight throat, over production of mucous, insomnia etc all the way through to depersonalisation and derealisation.

    I wished it away from my bed for 3 and a half months before returning to the UK. I spent nearly ten thousand pounds on pyschologists, psychiatrists, therapists, methods, programs,hypnotherapy, vitamins, minerals and all of that rubbish.

    I then after yet more research, found your book. I read it and to be honest was very skeptical. I thought however I had nothing to lose. So I tried it and within days some of my symptoms lessened, within weeks I had an hour or so of clarity. A month or so later it was a couple of days. Then weeks on end. I’ve had four major setbacks, the last of which was the week between Christmas and New Year. I haven’t felt a twinge of inappropriate anxiety since then. After the first couple months I found a psychologist who essentially espoused the same methods as you and worked with them to keep me on track. I haven’t spoken to them in four months other than the odd text to say hello.

    I accepted. I got back out there and lived my life, despite feeling like I was dying much of the time. I have gone back to work and started my own business, I have been on holidays abroad, I have built new relationships with new people. I now genuinely love life again. The only task I have ahead of me is to shed some weight after all of the comfort eating!

    So I wanted to say thank you, because instead of trying to fix things I should have been moving out of my nervous system’s way and letting it heal itself, and you helped me to see that and through a £15 book guided me on a path that £10k of therapy could not.

    If you want to share this with people please do, I know how much success stories kept me going in the darkest times.

    Thanks again,


  914. John T Says:

    Emma –

    It does seem so plausible. I have been in the same boat – this weekend is a perfect example, of how I woke up, it was sunny, warm, I had a whole list of outside chores needing to be done. All the sudden I was hit with an overwhelming sense of dread; why bother, what does it all matter in the long run, we’re all gonna die…and here Saturday I was flying high. I immediately began to think I was bipolar, how can I feel so great one day and like utter crap the next? Plus, I got the sense of self harm thoughts flashing – like, I know a woman at work who’s sister ended her life due to being bipolar and the “what if” started – “what if I’m bipolar and it hasn’t been diagnosed?” “What if I wind up like her?” The catastrophic thoughts really stacked and almost ruined the day. Googling didn’t help.

    One thing my therapist has said – repeatedly – she treats bipolar patients and she has assured me I am not one of them. Not all bipolar people get suicidal, either, some just get so depressed and don’t want to leave the bedroom for days at a time. Me and you, Emma, we have anxiety, which leads to intrusive thoughts. They latch onto that self-harm and we immediately diagnose: Is this some kind of illness, am I rapid cycling, blah blah.

    I had spoken with the woman I worked with who described her bipolar sister. She would go on drug binges when on her upswing – like LSD, cocaine, etc – then when she crashed, would ignore her medications and wind up hospitalized many times.

    About the only thing I’ve ever done when I feel pretty good is have a glass of wine. When I’m feeling that down mood, I get frustrated, and that frustration leads to the whole cascade of awful thoughts. This requires training and acceptance and understanding that it will pass as long as we don’t attach any danger to it. Give yourself permission to feel crappy on a nice, sunny day. As a matter of fact, I was outside feeling down when I saw one of my neighbors. At first, I was frustrated because here I am feeling like crap with no motivation at all and you look at everyone else outside having a good time. Well, he WASN’T having a good time. He just recently put his dog to sleep and was pretty depressed. All the sunshine and warm weather wasn’t going to make him feel good.

    So equal that to anxiety. You’re having a bad day, that’s all. No need to over analyze it (analysis = paralysis), read about it, catastrophize about it. The brain chemistry just is out of whack for that day. Sure, we wanna try to figure out why, but is it really that important? Maybe you had crappy sleep. Maybe something in the news upset you. Who knows? Just understand it’ll pass and tomorrow is another day – another day to try and accept and learn from the past.

  915. Andy J Says:

    Hi Guys,

    Hope every one is doing OK and making progress.

    Unfortunately I’m still in my old ways. I don’t have a clue how to overcome this thing. I feel I have developed bad habits around anxiety, purely to try and rid myself of how I’m feeling. I know this isn’t the way to do things, but when you feel so low and so anxious, you have to try and perk yourself up dont you? Its only natural.

    My anxiety, OCD, depression (its possibly one or a combination of all three) has taken over my life. Fortunately I have a steady job with a good boss who understands how I am and allows me early finishes to see my therapist. I just cant comprehend the whole ‘do nothing’ method? I’ve been doing nothing about my anxiety (as far as I am aware) for a couple of years now and yet seem to be further away from where I want to be than I ever have. Im not sure if this method is right for me? Could it be that my condition (recurring intrusive thoughts/urges combined with a constant low mood) are treated a different way?

    I know the idea is not to have an end goal, but for me its hard not to have one? How can I not be desperate to get back to my old self? How can I not want to wish this anxiety away? How can I label automatic thoughts as intrusive, when my first reaction is to push them away?

    I’m just so fed up of being like this. Life literally doesn’t feel worth living when the monotony of anxious days blend in to one.

    Sorry for ranting and raving, but I’m sick of being this way.


  916. Jake Says:

    Thanks Doreen.
    I’ve been on the accepting path for about 8 months, but I’ve had anxiety for many years now. It’s funny how tricky it can be do something so simple.

  917. Daniel Says:

    Great work Duncan!
    Awesome post!

  918. Peter Says:

    Congrats Duncan!

  919. Andy J Says:


    Just read your post (after posting mine) and its great to hear of some one doing so well.

    Congratulations on your recovery mate.

  920. John T Says:

    Andy J:

    Those intrusive thoughts are a real kick in the ass. When I hear people say “I have to wash my hands 50 times an hour”, I only WISH I had that type of OCD. You won’t ever get it, you know why? Because you want it. That very same person who washes their hands repeatedly would say to YOU – “Man I wish I had obsessive thoughts, those are easy to deal with!”

    Its all a matter of perspective. You have anxiety. The depression is simply your mind tired of the incessant thoughts.

    I think Nolan had mentioned one time: What if you had to live the rest of your life with this? Would it be that bad? Do you still function at work and at home?

    I’m in the trades – so I work with my hands a lot. A LOT. One of my coworkers is missing 2 fingers from an industrial accident years ago. He lives with it and works around it and is probably more productive than I am with 10 fingers. Do you think he questions it, gives himself the pity party and says “woe is me?” Nah, he just works with it and accepts his lot philosophically.

    Intrusive thoughts are a bugger. BUT – because of how much react to them is how much you find them repulsive. My therapist once told me, “the worst you react, the more that thought means the complete opposite” – meaning, I have intrusive thoughts of self harm. Picturing my kids at my funeral, my wife the grieving widow – you get my point. The opposite fact is: I love life far too much to do anything to myself – and the obsessions like to throw little things in there, like your family grieving, etc. This causes tremendous anxiety. Round and round we go.

    I don’t know what your thoughts are, but I’m sure there are many others who have had this same thing. I can refer some reading material if you’d like on OCD – but I think your issue is the same as everyone else’s here – good old ANXIETY. If you wouldn’t have anxiety, you wouldn’t have these thoughts. Period.

  921. Andy J Says:

    Hi John T,

    Thanks very much for your message. Unfortunately mine are of a worse nature. I don’t want to cause any body to have further anxiety by me mentioning it, but it’s around the area most people would deem the worst.

    I had already been on this blog before my really bad intrusive thoughts started. I used to worry about jumping off bridges or using knives. It’s since shifted to a different focus which plagues me every waking minute of every day.

    I’m not 100% it even is OCD, but the fact of having anxiety as well isn’t helping me at all.

    My therapist says to just see the thoughts as the anxiety that they are. I get really stuck because they feel so real and feel like I am going to act on them and that I have to restrain myself. I hate having them, but they aren’t relinquishing their power over me.

    Any reading material or advice you have would be greatly received. I’m at my wits end. I’m a shell of who I once was. This is all self pity but every single day for the past nine months have been filled with this topic and the last six or seven years with pretty much full stop inward focus and anxiety.

    I just worry of what I’ve become. I always think of myself as a good person but can’t seem to return to who I was.

    Thanks again.

  922. Chris Says:

    That’s a great post John. There’s a lot on here about ‘intrusive’ thoughts – but they are only intrusive because we don’t want them and then they become a problem. The content of thought is meaningless, however horrible – there’s a process that lies behind them that we are not in control of. They just get stuck because they get attached to fear, which is reinforced by our dislike of them. The only choice is total 100% utter acceptance to the point of welcoming them in and carrying on, refocusing as much as possible. One of the biggest challenges with anxiety yet essential to recovery is to stop believing that we can control what we think – we can’t, we can redirect our attention and hope our mind will follow but it won’t always happen. The poor bugger is doing its best – it needs a bit of compassion.

  923. John T Says:

    Andy J:

    I’m unsure if I’m allowed to post links here, so I’ll err on the side of caution and mention that there is a therapist named Steve Phillipson who deals a lot with OCD – especially the O part. There may be a youtube link of him, but your best bet is to google him and search for “thinking the unthinkable” with his name in it. Whatever you have, (and I think you may have mentioned it before but I won’t rehash), this guy has heard hundreds of times.

    There are a couple of OCD books out there as well that are considered the “bibles” of those suffering with OCD – “Brain Lock” is one, and “The Imp Of The Mind” is another.

    Regardless of how you look at it, its all caused by anxiety.

  924. Bryan Says:

    Claire Weekes also wrote extensively about the intrusive thoughts -anxiety connection. It’s mandatory reading and really explains just how simple a seemingly complicated condition really is. Doesn’t mean it is an easy road to recovery but that it is indeed anxiety at its core.

  925. John T Says:

    Agree with Bryan. Not only do I have ALL of her books, I have her audio as well. The name I mentioned above, Steve Phillipson, is a follower of Claire Weekes works.

  926. Andy J Says:

    Thanks very much guys.

    I’ll look in to both those authors.

  927. lainie waller Says:

    if your still googling and looking for answers your not accepting xxxx

  928. Denise Says:

    Joachim thank you for that. Please email me?!

  929. louise Says:

    I have just taken look at the ocd site suggested and he seems to know his stuff very interesting as I believe knowledge is power. I don’t think I have ocd or pure o o just got into a habit

  930. John T Says:


    I agree 100%. I probably erred in doing so – but Andy J seemed to be getting nowhere with what he was trying, so I thought that he may benefit from his particular obsession by looking at something else.

  931. Andy J Says:

    I do understand the sentiment of the posts, but it’s hard accepting your thoughts when they are so horrific.

    How can some one with children possibly accept their thoughts of hurting their child? What if every time they were left alone with them, that thought occurred. Surely it’s natural for them to not be happy with it?

    It’s the method of accepting for those specific topics that can be hard to accept.

  932. Colin Says:

    Dear All

    I have posted on here occasionally over the past 6-9 months or so. I would be extremely grateful to hear from anyone that has experienced what might be termed relationship-anxiety or major problems with their relationship linked to anxiety.

    Quick background: I am from the UK and have a Swedish wife (we have been married 22 years & have 3, fairly grown up kids). I had a breakdown (best description I can think of) in 1991 while studying and living at the time in Sweden (my wife, girlfriend then, was away at the time). Subsequent to this I had ~2 years of mixed anxiety-depression and one of the strong traits I remember during those 2 years was always feeling critical of how my girlfriend (now wife) looked, talked etc etc and being very anxious about all things Swedish and hearing her speak Swedish. Eventually this passed and we had a marriage like most other people (e.g. ups and downs, more ups than downs). In 2008 we decided to move from Canada (having lived there 4 years) to Sweden. On an early visit to Sweden, alone, I guess I had another breakdown (perhaps panic attack might be more accurate, not sure). We did move back, but I again had a couple of years of mixed anxiety/depression, again with the same very negative feelings to my wife (almost like I was blaming her and everything Sweden-related subconsciously for my feelings). I did not tell her about this, but it was pretty obvious. We moved to the UK mid-2013 and my 17 year old daughter decided about 1 year ago to move back to Sweden and bingo I have since had mixed anxiety/depression and again am very negative (very anxious around) my wife… I am blaming her for everything…again.

    I am in a complete mess emotionally. Deep inside I feel I want to be with her still (i.e. rest of life). When alone, like the past 2 weeks, I find myself crying and crying feeling so bad about how horrible I feel towards her and vowing to myself the only thing worth continuing to live for is to be with her and make her feel happy. The when she is back (e.g. like now) I find myself inwardly just finding faults and having thoughts I should just leave her. 3 times now (1991, 2008 and now) this seems to be strongly tied to when I have had anxiety/depression, so I guess I am answering my own question…..

    Have others experienced the same: anxiety triggers dislike and anxiety against the people you have lived with for so long, like you subconsciously blame them and all they stand for, for everything that you feel. I get severe anxiety when I hear her and my kids talking Swedish and find myself so negatively thinking about her. Then later I am asking God to help me to feel love for her again as this is what I so much want….just to feel calm and content with her rather than the incessant feelings of negativity.

    I sort of understand (from this blog) that what I should do is actively be with her, spend time with her, do things with her, and let all the feelings and negative thoughts come, not fight them and just be there. Even if this feels the opposite to what my anxiety says, which is avoid being close so you don’t get negative thoughts and feelings, otherwise you will just feel rotten. People that have experienced this before, is this the right thing to do?? I am completely at my wits end….but guess I have nothing else to try. She has actually suggested she might leave me once our youngest child is grown up…this also fills me with terror. So right now I feel trapped between 2 awful situations (of my own mental making)….being with her and feeling negative and anxious or being alone and feeling the same (probably worse).
    Sorry this is long. If anyone has wise words of advice, I would really appreciate them.

  933. Kevin Says:

    Hey guys,

    Been doing alright. Just wanted to bring something up. I find that whenever I am at college i feel really bad. Just sick. I get sweaty, cold, clammy, hot flashes. Just a general unwell feeling. Most of the time when I am back home the feeling goes away. At school I am not really anxious consciously. But I guess that means that my body is used to being anxious at school so it produces these symptoms anyway? It doesn’t bother me as much as it used to because i know that its anxiety but I feel just sooo bad. Like I’m getting the flu. Does anyone have any relation to this?

  934. Peter Says:

    @Andy J

    I used to have intrusive thoughts when I was a lot younger…

    I really think everyone has weird thoughts all the time. It is just us anxious people who put so much emphasis on them.

    But seriously, if you really wanted to hurt your children, you would not be upset by the thought of hurting your children.

    They are totally ego-dystonic…In fact if you did not care if you had those thoughts, you would not have them. Maybe they would flash occasionally, but its just the product of a creative mind. We humans are incredibly good at projecting into the future and worrying about things that possibly could hapen.

    Intrusive thoughts are exactly like anxiety in general. They only exist because we dont want to have them.

    It is hard to describe but yeah the only way out of intrusive thoughts is to just not care that they are there.

    I know exactly what you are going through, but its all nonsense. You are not a child abuser.

  935. Adam Says:

    Hey Kelly…I just wanted to say that I too am from Naperville (I lived there for 27 years) and I also currently live in North Carolina. Although, not in the Charlotte area. Small world.

    Hope all is well with you…

  936. Kelly Says:

    Adam – Such a small world! I lived in Naperville three different times over the period of 15 years. Been in Charlotte for almost 9 years. Everything is going great with me – much better than even two months ago when the comments for this post started. I hope all is well with you too! Nice to know that a friend is nearby! :)

    I hope everyone had a great day today! If not, I hope tomorrow will be better!

  937. Lauren Says:

    I need some help. I followed Paul’s advice in 2011 and worked great. But after I went off medication, my anxiety, constant thoughts returned and instead of ‘accepting’ I pushed them away (repressed).. my mind has numbed with all the stress and anxiety. I was named a ‘thinker’ as I was always thinking/analyzing (although I didn’t know). Ive been in hospital for depression but numb feeling in brain hasn’t gone. I believe my brain was overloaded for too long, and this is result. I know what the accepting feeling/idea is but my brain is too fatigued/numb to even do it. . Dods anyone have any words/thoughts. I’ve had neurology test but all was fine. Some part of the brain isn’t working properly. My mind is tired/drooped.. thanks :) Lauren p.s I know the accepting principle is using mindfulness, my mind just can’t do it, the way it is :/

  938. Daniel Says:

    On the topic of intrusive thoughts,
    There are really two things that I emphasize in regards to recovery, the first is to stop being a relief-junkie by ‘doing nothing’ about your anxiety and the other is distancing yourself from your anxiety.
    Both can be applied to intrusive thoughts. When you get a nasty intrusive thought comes into your head don’t hide or try and get rid of it. This is made easier by the second thing, which is distancing yourself from your anxiety. It takes time to realize and implement, but your anxious intrusive thoughts are no reflection of who you are, they are simply just ambient noises trying to get a rise out of you. With time you can reduce them to white noise and eventually mute them all together. It’s okay to be scared of anxious thoughts, they are after all created to be scary, but after that initial lurch of fear carry on as best you can and don’t waste your time placing further importance on intrusive thoughts.
    And don’t hate your intrusive thoughts, think of them as a neurotic paranoid mother figure who really doesn’t want any harm to come to you and tries to keep you alert, cautious and scared to make certain you’ll be safe. You just need to convince it otherwise by unmasking the danger and ignoring her advice.

  939. Jake Says:

    Doreen you said:
    “For me, as soon as I, stopped rationalising, stopped fighting and saw anxiety just as a pain in the a… I began to feel a little better.”

    Solid advice. But I was wondering if you feel that this is ALL it takes to recover. I sometimes wonder if just pressing on with thing despite of anxiety is too much like waiting. Should it feel like that? Is there an element of waiting involved?

    Thanks for your time,

  940. Carla Says:

    Hi Daniel,

    I really enjoy reading your insights on here. My intrusive thoughts have no frightening content really but I’m having problems with ‘noticing/interrupting’ every outward/non-anxiety based thought I have.

    So my head will be full of anxiety-related thoughts and my attention will wander to my daughter and I begin thinking about her in the sunshine in her little summer dress at school. Then I’ll notice that I’m having a normal thought and its gone, leaving me full of fear and despair.

    This basically happens each time I catch myself thinking away from the subject and has left me waking each morning with dread. I wake peacefully and then I remember ‘oh no, that interrupting thing is still here. I can’t carry on like this, I’ve lost who I am etc etc….’

    I try and think all the right things but each time it happens I feel like I’m being jabbed by a compass. I’m carrying on as normal and my reactions to this ‘noticing’ do ebb and flow to some degree.

    But goodness it’s been hard and it’s really cemented itself as a dangerous threat that could ruin my life.



  941. Andy J Says:

    Thanks for the advice on the intrusive thoughts guys.

    I guess one of my main sticking points is; whats the difference between i) allowing a thought to be there and continuing with your day vs ii) ignoring the thought and avoiding it. They seem so closely linked that I never know if I am deliberately avoiding something, or having the thought and then moving on with my day? As Nolan has said before, we can avoid the thoughts can we? They just come as they please, welcome or not.

    I appreciate that the mind is trying to flag up these thoughts as being something to worry about. Its only natural. Its the ability to allow those thoughts to be there, accepting that they are just anxiety, without trying to counteract them or figure them out which seems to stump me every time.

    I know its been mentioned on here that the thoughts diminish of their own accord, but when allowing thoughts to occur without any change in heightened anxiety, its hard not to get disheartened.

  942. Steve b Says:

    Joachim. Interesting you mention 6 months. That seemed the type of time frame when I got some clarity in previous episodes. Currently month 3 which is normally the worst- and seems to be fulfilling expectations.
    When people say good and bad days so they mean good in that they can actually function or like really normal good? I don’t ever seem to get a good! Day.

  943. Daniel Says:

    I know what you mean Carla, it’s unfortunate that we will always be aware of anxiety even when we’ve become masters of acceptance, but hey that is just one less thing that you have to do and that means less stress for you.
    It can be discouraging when you try and think and feel the right way, the way you used to feel and want to feel after you recover, but perhaps we’re getting carried away with that, we need to aim for something that is in our control.

    Here’s a post of mine from mid-February that you might find interesting:
    “Recovery means being free of all symptoms, but accepting means you will let it be there no matter what.
    All those who recover talk about a point they reach where they still have all their symptoms but are “no longer bothered by it.” It is a great period in which they can really enjoy their lives in the present and longer fear their symptoms or seek recovery, ironically once they achieve this happy, completely manageable state they find that there is a whole second level of recovery in which one is completely free of all symptoms and perceived limitations.
    Now you and I should not aspire for this second level, what Paul calls “complete freedom,” but rather the first level, the state of being fearless of fear. That is something that is within our control, we can aspire to create new habits and react to anxiousness a certain way but we cannot make our symptoms lessen or go away, they will do that on their own accord provided we stay out of their way.”

    Take care,

  944. Duncan Says:

    Thanks for the kind words folks, much appreciated. I wish you all the best of luck.


  945. Carla Says:

    Daniel, thankyou.

    It just feels so hard losing the fear of this one for some reason. Do you think it sounds like a normal symptom? This morning I said to my OH ‘I can handle anxiety but I just can’t deal with this interrupting thing’

    I keep trying to tell myself that it’s not dangerous and I can live alongside it but my subconscious doesn’t want to believe it. What it’s saying is ‘there is a thing that keeps interrupting your thoughts and it’s stopping you being normal; stopping you being you’

  946. Daniel Says:

    Don’t worry Carla, it’s my worse symptom too.

    I’m not entirely certain if this will make you feel better or not, but in regards to ‘not being you’ there is this great excerpt from ‘A Letter to Myself’ I frequently repost on the blog for other people grappling with that symptom,
    Chris defines a part of recovery as:
    “The reclamation of your original self- it was completely intact and unflustered during the whole experience. To oversimplify the reason for this is your ‘true personality’ (you) is held in a different part of the brain than your ‘inappropriate anxiety/panic personality’, it is completely safe, sane, rational and calm and has been for the entire duration of your anxiety wisdom journey, regardless of how long you have had anxiety/panic, whether it has been days months years or decades.”

    Not only does Chris say this, but it’s a prominent part of Paul’s teachings. As he puts it, “our original selves are intact, but buried underneath all our symptoms.”

    One last thing, here’s an earlier post of mine:
    “There’s a lot of satisfaction to be had in crossing things off a list. Not a list of symptoms mind you, I don’t believe in the whole mindset of trying to beat and cure each individual symptom, as you are better off writing them off as a single thing that will collectively fade with time.
    No, I’m talking about a simple ‘to do’ list. It can include things that must be done, like housework, errands, homework or things for your job, it can include continuous projects like going for runs, or going to the gym. I sometimes make note of songs I want to listen to, or films I want to watch- because often a time comes when I don’t feel like doing anything and nothing comes to mind on how to pass some free time, so I refer to my list and see things I was planning to do before the mood took me and I do them anyway. I don’t always enjoy them as much I could have in the past, but I enjoy them as much as I can at the moment, and I know in the future I will appreciate having done them and will be able to retroactively really enjoy them.”

  947. Kelly Says:

    Andy –

    For me, I think there is a difference between having the thought and going on with your day versus ignoring the thought and avoiding it. The difference is in the attitude towards the thought.

    For example, when at my worst with intrusive thoughts, I was terrified of hurting myself. I had an intrusive thought when I was putting the knives away from the dishwasher. It totally freaked me out and I tried to ignore the thought. That only served to keep it more present in my mind.

    As time went on, I realized that I would have this thought for a while every time I put the knives away. I even had the thought yesterday even though I have been past the constant intrusive thinking for a while now. But, the difference was that I just kept putting the dishes away and not giving the thought any more attention. To me, this isn’t avoiding and ignoring, this is accepting the thought is there and moving on with your life.

    You can do it. I know you have been struggling with this for a while, but please trust me when I say that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

  948. Ross Says:

    Kelly how to get past the overthinking & the constant attention on how you feeling & the feeling like u not interested in anything due to thoughts.

  949. Horton Says:

    Carla and Daniel discussed that topic recently

  950. Rachel Says:

    perdy how r u doing xx

  951. Kelly Says:

    Ross –

    That was my last symptom to go. I never thought that I would be able to get past this constant attention on myself, but I did. Kind of like Daniel said, I started small by making myself a to-do list. My therapist made the same suggestion to me. At night, before I went to bed, I made myself a list of things that I wanted to do the next day. This wasn’t to avoid thinking about myself, but it was to help me stay busy. If I thought about myself, so what? I would then get back engaged in something else. Before I knew it, I had minutes and then hours of time where I didn’t think about myself.

    It wasn’t that long ago, within these very comments, that I was also asking about how to stop thinking about myself and how to stop the self-awareness. Since I took these baby steps, I have been on two holidays and now have much more time living my life than I do thinking about myself.

    Part of my problem was that I never thought that I would enjoy things again or be motivated to do them again. But reading a past post from Scarlett, I just tried the fake it until I make it view. Pretty soon, I was enjoying things again.

    You can do it too.

  952. Andy J Says:

    Hi Kelly,

    Thanks so much for your reply. I just end up tying myself in knots. I know this isn’t simple, but I just get so confused with it all. All the ‘am I accepting?’ Or ‘am I doing it right?’ seems to plague me.

    I do just get on with things as best as I can. I still work and do most of the things I have always done. My social life and things like the gym have took a hit as I just don’t feel motivated enough to go and do them with the knowledge that my intrusive thoughts will occur.

    Thanks again,

  953. Kelly Says:

    Andy –

    You are doing great. My social life and going to the gym were the last things to come back to me. I used to go to the gym every day and felt off if I didn’t go. Then, through all of this, I stopped going. I’m happy to say that I started going again a few weeks ago and I have never felt better.

    Keep up the good work. It sounds like we have had a very similar experience, so I’m here if you need anything.

  954. colin Says:

    The motivation comes with acceptance. Believe in yourself ! Read some of the book again ? I found that reading the odd chapter motivated me and kept me in touch of what inspired me to re over . And now if I feel like anxiety might come back then I don’t really care anymore . I won’t stop doing the things I love doing!!! I just accepted it and keep moving on . But you do have to suffer to recover . Good luck and never give up mate .


  955. Andy J Says:

    Kelly and Colin,

    Thanks very much you two. It’s so nice having people who are willing to help. I really appreciate it.

    It’s just getting on with life and not letting it beat you. If it were a bully I would be sort of hiding away from it, rather than facing it.

    Thanks again

  956. carla Says:

    HI Andy and Ross,

    I am still coming to grips with similar symptoms to you. But I think I’ve at least grasped what is happening so thought I’d share. Despite still having some intense periods (particularly in the mornings) I’ve also had some good, calmer periods when I’m able to be less fearful and more accepting.

    So with me, increased sensitisation made my thoughts ‘sticky’ and the heightened anxiety then began to see the sticky/inward thoughts as potentially dangerous and created a worst case scenario in order to try and protect me.

    And this thought was ‘what if I never have a normal thought again?’

    i then began self-checking all my thoughts (again to protect myself) from this perceived danger.

    Now, as I understand it, I need to recognise that this danger is a false one created only by an exaggerated fear response.

    Now, at the moment, much of the time, i am not managing to do this. The ‘horrible logic of anxiety’ is telling me that I’m indeed not thinking normally and the more I check the less normally I think (which makes the checking dangerous too.) And because this cycle is actually happening it’s creating more and more evidence to back up my case each day.

    So; in order to help reduce the threat of this perceived danger, I’m thinking that I should be trying to practice the following:

    – accepting that a heightened anxiety state will create some thought disturbances and I’m likely to think inwardly, concentrate poorly, and and find engaging an effort for some time. I should try not to be too frightened of this – after all, without the fear response all of these things are normal and inconsequential.

    – try and understand that there are limits to how much anxiety can interrupt thoughts. However much I test and however bad I try and make it, there will still be quieter periods when it fades into the background. And even when it’s strong I still manage to behave and speak rationally.

    – carrying on as normal, which will send my subconscious the message that the above symptoms need not interfere in any significant way. This may also provide some natural distractions.

    – try and resist hyperbole. Sometimes I find myself saying to people that the anxiety is shouting at me when actually, if I really examine it, I find that it isn’t.

    – not do anything to try and stop the checking. It’s just trying to protect me.

  957. carla Says:

    Oh, and I meant to add that I should expect that there will be times when my anxiety will be very high and I’ll be unable to adopt the right attitude. And at those times I should just surrender to the moment, accept that I’m going to feel crap and go and do something else (possibly some exercise). I find that these are the worst times to try and rationalise with myself.

  958. Bryan Says:

    Terrific, Carla. Well done.

  959. Kelly Says:

    Way to go Carla! You’ve got it!

  960. Jake Says:

    Hey folks,
    kind of getting ahead of myself here but I have a question:
    When you do start having normal moments where you’re your old self should you not let yourself make a big deal out of them?
    I’m always afraid when they do come I’ll be a dumbass and place too much importance on feeling good and undermine all the good days I’ve had despite feeling crappy you know? But on the flipside I feel like I should make a big deal out of those good days because I need to hold onto the good stuff, I mean my biggest achievement after 8 months of sticking with the acceptance program is that, staring 2 and a half week ago, my sense of smell comes back occasionally. So I need to hold onto the good stuff, but would that be placing too much importance on feeling good?

  961. Julie Says:


    As you know I had/have intrusive thoughts, they started about myself and then went onto what if I hurt my children. It’s horrific and I know how you feel. Pauls book really helped me but my intrusives were so thick I needed extra help. John T mentions my therapist here, Dr Stephen Phillipson. He is a well known OCD doctor in the US. I have been seeing a therapist from his centre for the last year and she has worked wonders with me. I think you would benefit alot from ERP. You seem to be stuck in the loop I was. I couldn’t be alone with my children without feeling intense panic, it destroyed my life.

    The centre is in New York and they do the sessions in person if you live in the States or via Skype. I used to Skype my therapist weekly but now it’s just fortnightly. I can’t put a link here but if you google OCD Online his site is the first one in the search. You can contact the centre via email or call them to arrange appointments. You can see trainee psycholigists who are very qualified and are all trained by Dr Phillipson himself. I pay £40 a session but you can see someone alot cheaper than that.

    Just something for you to consider. It’s a small price to pay to get you on track. I can’t recommend them enough. I no longer fear my intrusive thoughts and an be alone with my children. If you look back my posts showed just how scared I was.

    If you have any further questions feel free to leave me a message here. I pop on from time to time.


  962. Peter Says:

    Hey all,

    I was wondering what you think of Claire Weekes. I read one of her books and she seems to put a lot of emphasis on loosening your body, physically relaxing it, as part of acceptance.

    I worried for a while that I should, in her words, loosen that tense hold on myself, but I eventually realized it doesnt really matter too much at all…

    What do you guys think?

  963. Joachim Says:

    You need to feel the feelings and sensations the numbness of it all to show yourself there is nothing on the other side of it. If we don’t go to the very edge we cannot recover completely. You mind wants answers and you need to show it by facing life that although strange and many times blank minded and emotionless is not in the least bit harmful to any of us. Anxiety is not our true personalities just symptoms that lift when you no longer pay attention to them. It takes time just keep going forward you won’t go crazy or die anxiety will leave cause we are so much stronger. Doesn’t this make absolute sense? Fear less live more ……..God bless all of us

  964. Daniel Says:

    Great post Joachim, couldn’t agree more!

  965. Julie Says:

    Hi Everyone

    I usually only post here to give advice if I can but I still have a part of my anxiety bugging me. I have had the intrusives and constant anxiety but life is much better. As some of you may remember my anxiety began in 2013 after a stressful time with my siblings. I started having panic attacks in public places which led to me hiding away at home. After a year of barely going out I then had the intrusives. Well, now the intrusives and anxiety only bother me occasionally but what lingers is some of my agoraphobia. I have come a long way, I now go out daily to walk my dogs, pop to the local shops, exercise outdoors, I can go anywhere with hubby and the kids. I even managed a Paloma Faith concert 2 weeks ago. I still struggle to socialise alone and go to larger shops alone but I am working on that. All huge changes and very positive but one part that still lingers is during appointments.

    My husband has accompanied me the last 2 years to all my gp appointments. Last year I avoided the GP alot and if the kids got ill he had to take them for me. Now I am going to the GP if needed and I have taken my son recently 3 times by myself and went to the hospital with our son on Monday night. So again some huge positives but what I am still struggling with is how I feel during appointments, it’s a huge struggle. Sometimes it’s not so bad and I can get through it ok, other times it is so tough and lately I seem to be struggling.

    I have an eye test next Friday and due the 3 yearly ladies exam that I know we all dread but I dread it for the agoraphobia reason. This is how I feel during appointments. Whilst waiting I get the usual fast heart but it’s much worse than that once in the room. I get powerful head rushes, feel like i have tunnel vision and the room is closing in on me and I go boiling in the face. I feel like I need to run. Then on top of that I get my intrusives kicking in telling me I must be ill, and a danger to others because of the harm thoughts I’ve had in the past, so I worry being around people when my anxiety is this high (only time my intrusives seem to hit hard now). So it all kind of merges into one and this is why I dread appointments so much. I know I am going now and that’s all that matters but I want to be the girl I was before who went alone to appointments and could feel relaxed, not have this to cope with whilst there. I get similar feelings when I am trying to socalise alone. I can socialise with hubby and the kids but alone it’s a no go as this always kicks in. I literally feel like i can’t focus and am about to pass out. Urghh, it’s horrible. It’s rare I get this but when I do it’s during appointments, why??

    It just doesn’t seem to be getting any easier and I really need to get to this eye test and the female exam. I can’t avoid them but I am dreading it inside because of how intense my physical feelings are. My husband had to accompany me to the hospital with our son on Monday, he has tendonitis and we had to get him checked. Whilst there i felt so anxious in the waiting area, but I did it and was there 3 hours so I should be proud. I just get frustrated, I want my independence back to do these things with ease like I used to before these last 2 years.

    I doubt anyone can help but I wish they could lol! It’s a total lack of confidence. The physical symptoms made me hide away 2 years ago and then the intrusives of harm to my kids then destroyed me inside and since I haven’t trusted myself. That has got easier and they don’t really cause me anxiety these days but during appointments the physical feelings still hit and all the intrusives flood in that maybe I am a terrible person and not safe but I must admit it’s mainly how powerful those physical feelings are that are the problem. The intrusives just hit I think because the anxiety gets so high and I feel like i am about to run out and go crazy lol!


  966. John T Says:

    Julie –

    Claire Weekes talks about this on one of her books – “The strain of a set appointment” – she tells the story of a woman who, once becoming agoraphobic, would have the catastrophic thoughts of having the school function that night, meaning she had to make a hair dresser appointment, then socialize with the teachers – Claire Weekes explains that it is the exaggeration of her feelings of despair and the bodies and mind’s reaction being the culprit.

    I’ve been feeling like crap today. Couldn’t figure out why until I realized I have a therapist appointment tonight. I personally would rather be out and enjoying the sun and cutting the grass than talking about myself for an hour. I realized that this means I’m probably getting better since I’d rather be elsewhere than therapy.

    Also, cut yourself some slack. You’ve come a LONG WAY and are at least going to your appointments. Many agoraphobic people do not leave the house and do not go have anything checked. Ironic how you have intrusive thoughts yet you want to make sure you’re in top physical health.

    Being sensitized doesn’t help, and it sounds like you are right now. I have NEVER liked going to the doctor at all, because it was never good news for going, y’know? Even when I had a routine physical, all I heard was “your blood pressure is high, your triglycerides are up there” – so going to the doctor has always been a trigger for me. I think the last time I went there, I left with 3 prescriptions – signaling to me SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH ME. I hate that label.

    Try not to put too much pressure on yourself. You wanna go to the doctor in a great mood, right? Well, how about maybe, just maybe, your mindset has changed and THAT’S OK? Again, I kinda surrendered to the fact that in my younger days, going to the doc never bothered me. Now that I’m getting older (52), going to the doctor will probably bother me because I’m older! Remember as kids, we loved amusement rides? Guess what? Forget that, I’m done with that phase of my life. Does this mean I fear amusement rides now? Well, a little bit, but at the same token I’m just kinda over it.

    Hope this makes sense!

  967. Joachim Says:

    Hey Julie I think remember you when you first started posting here (I use to post under JOE) and I was one of the first ones to reply to you. Remember now you have come a long way since then and just allow those feelings to come freely they cannot hurt you in the least bit. It seems to me like your trying to not feel them and it’s not the places ie the appointments that is causing any of this. It’s your apprehension of how your going to feel! You need to change you attitude to a whatever attitude and actual welcome these sensations feelings and thoughts especially when at your appointments so your mind and b