Releasing all this negative energy

I have just posted this and my Facebook page, I hope it helps in some way.

Complete allowing is the way out of anxiety and all the other symptoms that go with it. Be it unhealthy thoughts, panic, restlessness, depression, feelings of detachment. All this is created by months and maybe years of worry and your body and mind is then full of excess negative energy. This is why you feel the way you do, forget all these labels that are given out.

The only way out of this is to then release it all. Fighting, suppressing, constantly analysing and trying to fix it cannot work and can only give small pockets of temporary relief at best, it can never truly fix the problem. In fact this is the problem, as it just creates more of what you are trying to get rid of, so the problem persists.  Add to that all the worrying about how you are feeling and there is a whole more negative energy being put into that mind and body, can you see the cycle now?

So why do we spend so long trying to fix, suppress and fight these feelings? We do so because our mind is a survival machine and it wants rid of these feelings, it screams ‘Do something, I don’t want to feel this way’ so we go around in circles changing meds, seeing counsellors, reading books, self analysing, trying different techniques, anything not to feel this way. And we keep searching not understanding why we can’t seem to find this elusive answer. Well there is the answer, because we have never allowed ourselves to feel this negative energy present within our mind and body, so it has never had the chance to escape and has been kept stored within us and so creating exactly what we are trying to escape from, it’s a vicious cycle. Even when you know that it is the wrong thing to do you keep doing it. Why? Through fear, you are always in fear of how you feel and fear over takes what someone has told you or what you understand at a basic level.

On my blog you get people who have truly seen it and they flow with knowledge and understanding, they allowed all the grot to happen and are now recovered. They did so because they did not just see my words, more that my words resonated with them on a deep level, they truly saw it for themselves. You then get the other person who has read the same material I have written and they are still doing all of the above and the reason is because deep down it has not clicked with them yet and the reason I keep writing.

It took me a while to have that light bulb moment and get it. I was like ‘WOW’ that’s why that did not work, why that did, I see it now so clearly’. Was that the end of my suffering? No as there was so much negative stuff present within me, seeing why would not get rid of it over night, I knew I had to go through a process I had spent years trying to avoid. In fact finally allowing myself to feel it, I felt it more strongly than ever at times, but with also days of peace and bliss I had never felt before. I loved the good days, but I was fine with all the bad too as all the negative thoughts and emotions I felt no longer scared me and I knew it was a vital part of the process. My realisation was the end of all my suppression and coping techniques, as it made no sense to continue to do so. Even when my mind screamed, ‘Escape, fix’ I smiled at it as I knew deep down I was totally fine with whatever symptoms came up, I was not under attack and whatever was going on could not harm me in anyway. I truly saw my mind and body was full of negative energy through years of worry and analysing, this needed to be released by completely letting go and allowing it all to rise up within me.

The mistake a lot of people make is they think that letting go, allowing, is a ‘do’, they want to know how to do it, why? Because again they want to use it as a technique not to feel a certain way, when this is all about feeling it, not the other way around. You can’t ‘DO’ allowing or letting go, it is not a do, it is an attitude. It’s about not holding on to any strategy, not having any rules or technique, not protecting yourself in any way, it is about letting go of everything, about fully opening up and allowing everything to arise within you. People think if they let go of all control, all resistance that something bad will happen, they will somehow lose control, but don’t fall for your minds tricks, it won’t. When you truly allow and fully let go then all these feelings are then felt fully and every time this happens some of this negative energy is released, this is the way towards recovery.

This is not some idea I have, this comes from personal experience, I have seen so many recover this way, and for me it is the only way.

Just remember you are always there underneath all this negative energy, this is all just surface stuff and not who you truly are. When the last of mine was released all the symptoms left me. All the labels I was given were nonsense, I did not need years of therapy, I did not need to deal with each symptom separate or need a bunch of rules or techniques. I did not need to get somewhere or escape anything; the answer was much simpler than that. The answer really is simple once you see it for yourself, hopefully my words will help you do that.


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654 Responses to “Releasing all this negative energy”

  1. Julie Says:

    Great post Paul. It has helped me understand acceptance more because I am one of those that it has never fully clicked for. I have had better times and thought the bad times were well behind me but this latest setback has made me realise I never fully accepted anxiety. I worry far too much about all my labels. I am told I have agoraphobia, social anxiety, OCD, general anxiety and panic disorder. It’s no bloody wonder I feel low about myself. I hate labels.

    I always wondered what I was doing wrong, and I could never fully understand how you could be ok with feeling so awful. I guess it’s about allowing it all, accepting you feel anxious and fearful but living life alongside it. In time anxiety will come off in layers and I hope then I can work on appointments and socalising again as sensitisaton decreases.


  2. Jeff Says:

    Julie – it seems to me that you have the concept nailed down. Agoraphobia – well you seem to be getting out of the house often enough. Maybe you have a lesser version of it….

    It’s hard to stop fearing how you might feel in a situation (like going to the clinic), especially the more sensitized you are.

    I could never be OK with feeling awful – whether it be the stomach flu or anxiety. Feeling awful sucks, how could I be OK with it? Live along side it, as you said. Hit the ‘ignore’ button.

    Let’s say you have heart palps, your hands are shaking, you jump at the slightest sound, feel panicky… what. Keep going.

    Being OK with it, as some put it, is not reacting. Take your hits and keep on keeping on. By doing so the fear fades, then becomes a hazy memory – to the point of truly not being able to remember what the hell it was that got you so worked up.

    Social anxiety – a suggestion, go to a mall or someplace like it, all by yourself. Walk around. Sit down for awhile, watch the people. Harmless exposure therapy.

    As for the clinic – it’s just a building with people in it. That’s it. Chances are most of those people, the staff and patients, have their own issues….

  3. Julie Says:

    Jeff – Thank you for your kind reply. I have read Pauls books a few times, done my own research and I know what it is i I have to do and I was so much happier and reassured that this was all anxiety. Then I had the panic attack in the nurses room, I lost all my confidence and stress took it’s toll on me. I feel I am back to square one, it’s pretty rough but now I have alot of physical symptoms scaring me where as before it was mainly intrusive thoughts that were my issue. Now I am having an unsteady feeling on my feet like the floor is moving when i am walking about, weakness…. that kind of physical feeling plus random panic attacks. All since the nurses room. It’s been a horrible shock.

    I am trying to work on my exposures with the clinic and so far it’s going well, hopefully I will get back in there soon and that day will be a distant memory. It was such a bad panic attack, I hadn’t really had them and it knocked me for six. I haven’t ever really got over it. I have ha 2 more since that day, I am shaken. It’s a new form of anxiety for me and the physical feelings. I really need to find a way to accept that day, accept the physical feelings and move on.


  4. Jack Says:

    Suffered with 5 years of this after sudden onset dp following a break up. Think I’m getting there with the change of attitude, but I still find it incredibly difficult in social situations. I don’t really have anything to say and feel so emotionally disconnected. I feel like if I was just myself and stopped acting my way through i’d never say anything at all. How do others deal with this?

    Good luck to everyone in recovery. It’s tough, but with the help of Paul’s amazing books i’m sure we’ll all get there in time.



  5. Kim Says:

    I came back on here today after a couple of weeks away – and this post was a pleasure to read. I truly thought things had clicked for me a few years back – and I have experienced months to years of feeling ‘normal’

    I have come to a head with trying to deal with my anxiety for 8 years silently with no support from family or friends. I have been referred by my GP to get some CBT. Although I know i shouldn’t go into it with a ‘this will make me better’ attitude, I feel I need to get some issues off my chest and hopefully learn how to slowly to be more positive with myself. My self-esteem is awful and I have a really negative view of myself – which I would really love to change.

    I know recovery is possible – even though I have awful gut wrenching days where I think “this is how I will be forever”

    I’m so thankful that Paul started this blog as it has helped me so much throughout my battle with anxiety. I like to keep a distance but use it as a great tool and reminder that all we need to do is just accept.

  6. Tom Marshall Says:

    Absolutely brilliant post, this really got to the raw attitude of acceptance and allowing. When I first read Pauls book I found enormous amounts of relief but shortly after I created a huge monster. The monster of ‘How do I allow all this’ I instantly turned it into a technique to get rid of it all and as the days went on It only made me worse. I was putting enormous amount of effort into trying to let thoughts and feelings be there and then came to the conclusion that I would never be able to ‘Do’ it. Which only left me feeling worthless with no hope of ever getting through this. I was constantly up in my head thinking ‘Right I just need figure out how I allow all this then I will get on with my life’ regardless of everything Paul had mentioned in his first book I went completely against his advice. I was constantly judging myself for not been 100% perfect at recovering. If you have that same mindset right now then my advice is be as imperfect as you want to be. You are a human being and when you learn to live with what you consider the worst part of yourself you will truly set yourself free.

    I’m not recovered from all of this yet, but that isn’t my goal right now. I just want to live life to the fullest and embrace all the ups and downs it brings with it.

    Thank you Paul David for all the advice you have put on here and in your books. I can’t explain how much I admire your drive to help people through this regardless of how many times you have to repeat yourself.

    You are an inspiration to us all.


  7. Jamie Says:

    A brilliant and very detailed post Paul that has come at a very good time for me. Thank you very much :o)

  8. Paul David Says:

    Tom it seemed that acceptance was something you thought you had to do, to get good at and it turned into another technique. I agree totally with you about not judging being perfect. Did I get pulled back into struggling? Yes, did I start losing sight of what I learnt? Yes. I did it all, but it was a road I had to travel on because for years this is what I had done, of course old habits would creep back in. I realised I was in transition, this new attitude would take time as I was going against years of old conditioning. So don’t try to be perfect, don’t strive for the perfect attitude, don’t even try to remember everything I say, just let go and everything will fall into place in time when you let go of the struggle and the answers will come to you when you need them.

  9. Jen Says:

    Paul I am at a stage where I feel like I’m letting go but my mind still wants to latch onto something to worry about even when I’m feeling normal. I feel like it could suck me back in and that’s when I start to fel anxious again. Maybe I’m over analysing it. Like something is missing when I’m not worrying. Did you experience this if so did it last long? I’m guessing it’s just a habit I created and now trying to break it. But it’s weird like my mind is off a little bit from feeling normal. When did this stage happen for you? I feel like I’m at the tail end but when I feel anxious all that feeli NV good goes out thr window like I lost the hope.

  10. Jen Says:

    Is there a way we could get more info on the inbetween stage of recovery. How you handled it Paul what kind of thoughts came and how it passed etc… There isn’t much on this only a small section in your book. Also how to cope with feeling normal again. How it can feel strange and how to handle this as well? Thank you.

  11. Jen Says:

    Is there a way we could get more info on the inbetween stage of recovery. How you handled it Paul what kind of thoughts came and how it passed etc…the stage you say is kind of like no mans land. There isn’t much on this only a small section in your book. Also how to cope with feeling normal again. How it can feel strange and how to handle this as well? How to cope with feeling anxiety one day and normal the other. Thank you.

  12. Billy Says:

    This is how i interpret the “obsesiveness” with symptoms. It’s like a song comes on the radio and you download it or you tube it because you love it so much you keep playing it over and over again. Eventually after hearing it so many times it has no effect on you as it did the 1st time you heard it. Same with anxiety except this we do not enjoy experiencing but if you allow it to replay any way and any time it wishes eventually it will no longer affect you as it did initially. It will go away :)

  13. Chris Says:

    Great post, thanks for that Paul. I definitely still have alot of negative energy that I need to allow myself to release, alot that I have kept alive due to the obsessive googling and scaring the pants off of myself etc, which I stopped doing about a week ago, as it has fueled the fire massively!

    Another issue I have at the moment is fear of medication/withdrawal, and I’m wondering if anyone can relate or offer some advice? Of course I’m not asking for medical advice – I’ve already done that through my doctor. I’ve been on Citalopram (SSRI) for two and a half weeks and decided I don’t want to go the meds route anymore – basically I realized that a pill isn’t going to cure me! So my doctor has sorted a taper plan for me and I’m already over half way there (I went down to 15mg for four days, I’ve been on 10mg until tomorrow, then four more doses of 5mg – 5 days to go!) – so by the time I’m off it only would have been three weeks and two days total on the drug. I haven’t experienced any withdrawal as far as I know, if anything I’ve felt better… But I can’t get it out of my head that I’m going to experience horrendous withdrawal – mainly due to a conversation with a mate yesterday who had a bad withdrawal experience. Thoughts like ‘you’re gonna get worse’ or ‘what if withdrawals are permanent’ etc, or ‘the withdrawals are going to last months’. It becomes obsessive and my mind feels compelled to go over and over it.

    I guess I’m a bit confused about what to do in this scenario. Main reason why I’m worried is because I’m going on a mindfulness retreat next week and I really want to be in touch with my full emotions (positive and negative) to get the most out of it. I guess at the moment I don’t just see it as ‘anxiety’ and see it as more complicated. If I’m not feeling withdrawals now over half way through tapering, then should I expect them? And if so should I just accept it as anxiety/negative energy?

    Thanks all,


  14. abhi Says:

    hii paul..
    i am a student..i want to make my career in civil services..this caurse want a lot patience and hard work and a lot study..i dont want to do other thing..when i suffered in 2013 i queit my studies give up my studies..give up my career..but one year later i totly cured and put my stidies back..but than i m again in anxiety nw..what i do paul..i heartly want to do my studies..pls give some help..

  15. abhi Says:

    if some one can give me some advise i ll be thankful..

  16. Michelle Says:

    Thank you for your post, Paul. Accepting is my biggest hurdle. I haven’t had the light bulb moment yet. Sometimes I think I get it, probably when anxiety isn’t in full force. But, especially in the mornings when it hits me the hardest, I haven’t figured out how to accept feeling so miserable. Going on with my day… well, I have no choice. I do things regardless of how I feel, but am miserable the whole time. But then I lose hope and despair that there is no way out but through it, and it seems so daunting and impossible at times. I wish acceptance could be taught. I hope it sinks in for all of us who are suffering so much so we can find peace.

  17. Mark r Says:

    Hi Abhi,

    You don’t need to give up anything for anxiety unless it is the direct cause. When I first suffered in 2001 I quiet my job to get better, it only made it worse as my whole focus was anxiety. I have suffered on and off since then but gone on to qualify as an accountant and now in charge of my own client base. Back then I never thought I’d ever work again but despite horrendous times I’ve achieved a great deal.
    This last month has been horrendous but I’ve still gone to work. It’s not always easy but half a mind on something else is better than a whole mind on yourself.
    So if you want to work and study then please do those things but with anxiety alongside you if need be.

  18. Michelle Says:

    Mark r,

    When you recovered before, do you think you truly accepted the anxiety? I thought I was recovered completely, but this hit me again. I don’t know if that means I never did accept it, or if this is just going to keep happening for the rest of my life… recovery, anxiety, recovery, anxiety.. It scares me to death to think of the rest of my life like this. I know it’s the anxiety I’m afraid of.. that’s what it is. For the life of me I don’t know how to lose the fear of it because I feel as if I’m in hell.

  19. Mark r Says:


    Its not just going to click and you’ll be okay with it. Its an attitude you need to cultivate by repeated doing. You need to make life more important than how you feel….its crap and very difficult when the storm rages but the more you let it the more it will die down. It’s one of very few plus points about anxiety….if you leave it be it heals itself.
    The fact that you are doing things regardless of how you feel is what needs to be done and you are well on your way.

  20. Mark r Says:

    To answer your question..

    I’ve had it on and off for most of my adult life…I’ve just turned 35. Ive had years of no anxiety and years of loads of it. Ive not been a 100% since 2009.
    It took me a long time to accept that I get periods/setbacks and probably will for the rest of my life. I used to have bad years then only happy when fully recovered. I’ve changed my attitude now to if I can live life enough to enjoy it despite low levels of anxiety and occasional setbacks then thats good enough for me. Its a bit like an old war wound that plays up now and again. When it acts up I dont enjoy life at all, I just go through it and exist until it dies down, it sucks massively but I always bounce back.
    I don’t really agree when people have setbacks and question if r they were recovered or not. You can recover 100% and it reoccur depending on who you are and circumstances. Life is hard and you get knocks unfortunately.
    I do know though I’ve never sank as low as I’ve done in 2001 and 2005 and every setback has been easier to deal with, not easy mind.

  21. Andy J Says:

    Hi Paul,

    Great post. I think I am as guilty as any one of trying to figure out ‘how’ to accept, rather than just getting on with life. I often analyse how I have been and think ‘was I allowing my anxiety?’. Well if I was just getting on with my life then of course I was.

    One of my main issues is habit. This is something I have experienced and endured for a long long time and so it has now become the norm for me to expect anxiety to rear its head. How do you combat that? Do you just label it as being down to habit and then gradually it should fade?

    Whenever we worry about anything, there needs to be some kind of spark of reassurance to stop the worry. So for example, worrying about how much money you have, if you got a better job or managed to pay an outstanding bill, that worry would be extinguished or if you are worrying about the whereabouts of some one, the worry would go once you either heard from them or saw them again. With the type of worry I, and others seem to have, it is a meta worry. So worrying about worrying. This is how it all started for me. I just couldnt get my attention off the fact I was always focussed on myself. This then lead on to having violent intrusive thoughts, which I had never had before, and didnt occur until over a year after first purchasing your book. Would you treat these the same? When you think of yourself as a bad person, should you argue with it and remind yourself why you are not? Or just label it as anxiety and see it reduce naturally?

    Thanks again for writing your books and this blog.

  22. Jen Says:

    I was doing so good well better then I have been. I was wondering please if anyone could share me some advise. How do you deal with and let go how you feel when you don’t feel like your self like the person you once were? I feel like I have lost who I was that this anxiety has robbed me of me my personality my enjoyment everything. How do you move on from that feeling? I thought I was accepting this but maybe I’m not. I cried today because of how frustrated I am that I have this. I see that it takes some years to recover how do you go.that long and b3 okay with it all? I just maybe I am expecting to much from myself and thought I would be recovered by now and I’m not I just feel like I exist and not living I hate that feeling. When will this ever end. I feel like it will never and I’ll be trapped forever. Anyone that is recovered or reviving can help? I also have to get over all the self awareness I have on myself I think that is thr main issue. Just feeling down.

  23. Chris Says:

    I’ve done it again! No!!!

    So sorry guys, I’m just so scared at the moment. I googled again last night and now I’m convinced I’ve messed up my brain chemistry permanently from using SSRI’s. I’ve only been on them for two and a half weeks and already weening off, but I read something last night called ‘Tardive Dysphoria’ which freaked me out.

    I’m petrified that I’ve screwed my brain with benzos/SSRI’s and recreational drugs. Feeling absolutely hopeless.

    What can I do, any advice? This is horrible.

  24. jacob Says:

    Hi Paul,

    What if the cause of your anxiety was a prescription medication (im referring to the hair loss drug Propecia)

    That drug totally destroyed my body mentally, physically, sexually. It has completely ruined my life and my goals.

    Literally there is no reason for my anxiety other than the drug messing with my hormonal systems really bad. I’ve read that some take years and years to get back to their baseline hormonal state! I’ve even had tests that show so many things being off and yet nobody is able to offer a solution. Even read articles about allopregnenolone and DHT levels in the brain being messed up by Propecia.

    And of course I have to have gotten some kind of damage that caused this anxiety since so many papers support it and I never had it before the drug. Especially the horrid sexual symptoms which pretty much nobody has.

    What am I supposed to do? There isn’t anything direct in my life causing anxiety and yet im anxious. And im not anxious because I think the drug damaged me—I think the drug damaged me because of the way I feel.

    It really sucks when there is absolutely no reason beyond your symptoms other than some ridiculous imbalance.

    I didn’t get here by “worrying” either and having tons of stress. I got here literally OVERNIGHT which I know in your book you mention nobody gets here overnight–but I on the other hand did.

    What am I supposed to do? Will the same things work even though this has been chemically triggered?

  25. Meg Says:

    Chris – you have no need to worry. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it on this blog but I was put on an anti depressent called cymblata in february. My side effects during the first few weeks included severe depersonalisation, constant crying, neuralgia pain, electric shock feeling all over my body, feeling like my insides were on fire, severe suicudal ideation (I never had these thoughts in my life before the medication) ams basically this terrifying experience led to full nervous breakdown. I did tell mu dr about all these symptoms and he just told me to carry on with the tablets and that I would eventually see light at the end of the tunnel…. I never did! Anyway 6 months passed and I changed to a dr who was shocked I had ever been put on this medication and helped me through withdrawal. I was on 30mg which is supposedly a very low dose however thr withdrawal was hell and took me back to square one anxiety wise. I experienced a lot of the side effects I had going on to the medication with the lovely addition of cluster headaches and vomitting every 20 minutes every day for about a week..I’m amazed I didn’t end up on a drip I was shaking with dehydration.
    SO what I’m trying to say is…. that was in August and if you’ve read any of my recent posts you’ll see I’ve come a long way. To be honest you might experience some withdrawal but as you weren’t too bad going onto the medication and very little time has passed I’m confident you will be ok :) you just have to treat all of it the same way you would treat anxiety…accept it and get on with your life. I think as anxiety sufferers we love to add to our load! It took me until last month to just accept this withdrawal and get on with life again but I want to save you the time and just say you MAY have some withdrawal symptoms , they MAY be awful but they WILL pass. If you have concerns speak to your dr, my experience was on the more extreme end of the spectrum I’m sure most people don’t experience it as bad as that but we just have to ride it out but just know you will be ok and all that has happened is your anxiety has attached to a new thing because it’s desperate to hang around and keep controlling you – don’t let it :)

  26. Chris Says:

    Hi Meg.

    Thanks for the response. Sorry to hear that you went through that experience, it sounds absolutely awful. I only have four days left on the dreadful things and can’t wait to be off them. My Dr seems to think I won’t get withdrawals as it hasn’t even been 3 weeks since I’ve started taking them and I’m already down to 10mg (next dose will be 5mg – four days to go), but we will see I guess, my anxiety is already extreme enough so I’m not too keen on them haha. I guess acceptance is the only way.

  27. Meg Says:

    It truly is Chris. It shows incredible strength and trust in yourself and your ability to recover to want to do so without medication – even though you might not see that yourself.
    I felt the same , I couldn’t be off them quick enough but by tackling this head on you will be much more able to cope throughout life as you will know that you already have the strength and knowledge you need to get through the tough tines.

  28. Chris Says:

    For sure, at least I know I won’t have to go through anything as severe again. Just out of curiosity are you out of the woods now with your withdrawal and back to the normal symptoms of anxiety?

  29. Jeff Says:

    Chris – you’re freaking yourself out. 2 weeks on a low dose (20mg?) SSRI is nothing. I’m surprised that your doc even recommended much of a taper.

    Males metabolize meds faster (if you’re not a male forgive my assumption) – and if you’re a male over 150 Ibs, 20 mgs, for such a short period of time, is quite harmless.

    My experience with SSRI’s was similar to Meg’s, though I was only on them for a few days before my world turned black. I stopped them immediately.

    Don’t let horror stories of withdrawal cause self induced anxiety that wouldn’t otherwise exist.

    I don’t get the SSRI approach to anxiety anyway. SSRI’s bring you ‘up’. We’re already up….

  30. Meg Says:

    I am but to be honest the experience made my anxiety much worse so although my withdrawal seems to have passed my anxiety is worse than it was before but this is only because I became so terrified of everything I went through on the medication.

  31. Ann Says:

    I’m in need of some advice. A few years ago I was suffering from anxiety and through Paul’s website I gained so much knowledge and was almost completely back to being the person I once was. I felt as though recovery was just right around the corner and then my young daughter started experiencing anxiety. This put me back into another cycle of worrying and it was almost as though everything came back. I feel so overwhelmed because I don’t know how to get Paul’s approach across to my daughter. I don’t want to put labels on her and send her from therapist to therapist but I know that she needs help. So my question is what do you do for a young child experiencing anxiety?

  32. Stephanie Says:

    Hey Chris, I was on an SSRI (Zoloft) last year for about the same amount of time as you. A couple weeks into taking it the side effects were worse than the anxiety itself, so I was done with them. Like you, I read all these horrific withdrawal stories online. But really, the only withdrawal side effect I noticed was some night sweats. The bottom line though is that at this point, reading stories and psyching yourself out isn’t going to change what may or may not happen. You’re going to be just fine.

  33. Julie Says:

    I take mirtazapine. I have been on 15mg almost 2 years now. I don’t feel it really helps other than it helps me sleep. I think at first it did help my anxiety because I slept but in the last year i have actually worried it makes my anxiety far worse. I blamed my intrusives on the meds and my general anxiety.which just made my anxiety worse.The only way to know if it has helped is to withdraw but I am too scared to do that as I have read withdrawal from this particular drug is pretty rough but next year I plan on trying. I am dreading it having anxiety as I will find the physical feelings very anxiety provoking. There is no point in taking something if I still have anxiety and I don’t feel it’s even taking the edge off.

    I read on the previous blog post someone posted saying that anti depressants can cause damage to the brain. I hope that’s not true. I’ve not heard of anything like that before. I’m pretty sure they’d not be licensed if that were the case.


  34. Chris Says:

    Thanks for the replies everyone.

    Jeff – Yeah I am freaking myself out. I have made myself quit google because it does far more harm than good.

    Meg – That makes sense, the experience itself would cause enough anxiety. At least you have the right advice here now!

    Stephanie – Thanks for that. Yeah I’m absolutely done reading horror stories/studies, it’s just messing with my mind. Stuff like ‘SSRI’s cause brain damage’ or ‘withdrawals can last for months/years etc’ isn’t doing me any good. Did you read similar stories to that?

    Anyways, now I’m left with the aftermath of the google search, which is increased anxiety and absolute obsessive thoughts about the medication (my mind is on it 24/7). Does anyone have advice on how to deal with these thoughts without getting involved, as they are so strong at the moment – I have fed them a massive fuel.

  35. debbie Says:

    Hi just wondering is this d/p whe your mind feelsscared and your mind is always on you. Today every 20 min I saw image of somethings that didnt make sense feeling so scared I had full blown panicattack my heart rate 140 all from a thought than it stayed errie strange mind still having weird thoughts or images that keep. Popping in iam bymyself but imade it just wondering id his dp .

  36. Mark r Says:

    Crulest thing about setback is waking feeling so awful and that you cant face another day like this. I’m no worse than anyone on here but why does this damn thing have to make you feel so bad.

    Skoeey in advance.

  37. Mark r Says:

    That was meant to be sorry.

  38. Anxious Indian Says:

    Hi Paul, Nolan, Rich and everyone else,

    I need some help again. I was facing scary thoughts and odd weird images sticking in my mind. I started dismissing them and focusing on life and they did fade.

    Then one day I was looking at a random object in my house and a scary memory came back. After that every time I looked at it, the scary thought would pop up. This has now turned into a nightmare as I get thoughts like ‘what if XXX reminds me of XXX’ and now my every current thought and things around me are stained with this anxiety. I never wanted to do this, but it’s like some part of my over active mind just kept creating these associations.

    I suppose the only way to deal with this is not pay it respect, but I keep feeling the sadness and fear that I am now too deep into this and will be stuck like this forever. Dismissing a thought every 10 secs can get so exhausting too.

    Please let me know if someone has dealt with something like this, and if there is any way out for me.

    Thanks so much!

  39. Anxious Indian Says:

    I also wanted to ask that even though the fear of this might go away, but will the memory of these things go away because the memory just keeps me having to dismiss all this every second and it’s so hard to think about normal everyday stuff. Please help! I have always tried to stay positive and things fade when I don’t worry, but I feel so sad why my own mind creates new problems for me all the time. I can’t describe the despair I feel :(

  40. Mark r Says:

    Sorry but I don’t ask for advice on here much and I guess this is a dark moment for me. Everyday I get up and I face how I feel, never try to change it. I work, socialise, eat out etc. I put a brave face on and then in my own space I cry. I cry because not so long ago I was living with a low level of anxiety, but I was happy and my life was full. A month ago it got turned upside down. Ive gone from singing along to music in the car every morning to just about making it to my car. Everyone around me is happy and I feel so bloody awful again.
    Am I going wrong with this one? I don’t feel any better at all. People say ride it out and I’ll be back smiling again but I can’t see it at thr moment.
    Sorry to vent but sometimes I need to.

  41. karen Says:

    Mark I think you have a fabulous attitude. You are always so accepting and positive it will pass. Everybody is allowed to vent and feel despair, don’t apologise. I think accepting is mistaken for carrying on and not letting it bother you …. don’t believe anyone can do that. I think it means accept it all … accept the need to vent, the despair, the frustration, the lowness and tears as they are part of it too. All feelings are fair game and all feelings are transient … even though it doesn’t feel like it now.

  42. debbie Says:

    Hi anxious indian I think iam going through what you are going through it is scarey something triggers that thought and image and they keep popping in I talk with people go out but they are still there iam having a big set back now .
    Just wanted to say hi to you also.
    I know it will get better the way it. Came it will leave

  43. Anxious Indian Says:

    Hi Debbie, To me it’s happening with regular objects in the house too. Then I worry that these associations are formed and don’t know how they break them so basically I will have to keep dismissing thoughts all the time. I am particularly worried as I don’t really have much physical anxiety, just the ‘attention one me’ and self awareness. So I can’t even say to myself that once the anxiety goes, this will go too. :(

  44. Mark r Says:

    Thanks Debbie.

    Ive had a couple of very low, tearful days. I’ve still done stuff mind, all feeling detached and horrendous. I know it will pass, I can’t think of a time when they haven’t. Some setbacks I get a gut feeling that I will be okay in a few days and I usually am. I feel quite far into the woods with this one though.
    I find myself doing things I don’t want to do just to pass the time, thinking ‘lets just make it through today’. Not sure if this is accepting or not.

  45. Jamie Says:

    I have been doing as much as possible over the last 6 weeks or so both socially and at work to challenge myself. Previously I would have written all of these down as “successes” (as it had been suggested by therapists) but I have chosen not to this time. After each event I have just done my usual and not congratulated myself though. I have just done it and moved on. I suppose my confidence has increased a bit but maybe I was expecting a big reduction in symptoms.

    I find I feel at my worst when I am going to or when I am at work (as this is where I spend most of my week I guess). I worry about how I am going to feel when I am there, will I get a headache ?, will I feel anxious ?, will I have to come home ?, if I do what will I say and what will people think ? and so on and so on (I work in a big open plan office which does not help). This goes back years and it gives me such intense headaches and every night I spend the evening somehow trying to reduce or get rid of the headache in preparation for the next day. Over the last couple of months my headaches have not been quite as bad which is a step in the right direction. I did get referred to a migraine doctor about a year ago and was prescribed some pretty hardcore tablets for them but they did nothing.

    Anyway, I have to not just use it as a mantra but have to adopt the “I do not care” attitude to truly move forward and continue to challenge myself by putting myself into difficult situations. I get frustrated that after all of these years of me coming to no harm when I have felt really anxious, I still get as anxious and believe the thoughts / respond to the sensations.

    On a separate note, I went on a date with a friend of my sister-in-law last weekend and I was so nervous it was untrue. I was sweating, shifting in my seat and had continual thoughts of “I am going to have leave in a minute as I feel so anxious”, “this is not going well, I am going to make an excuse and go home” etc etc but ended up staying for 3 hours. Apparently, she is quite nervous about meeting new people but she did not seem it. Anyway, I messaged her afterwards and asked her if she enjoyed it (I am not sure why?) and she said she did but she thought I wasn’t fussed at all. I then asked why she thought this and she responded saying my body language. This of course is a red rag to a bull to me. She has agreed to meet up again but I am so worried about how I will feel and act when I see her again. I am self-conscious at the best of times anyway and worry about how I come across but now she has said this, it has really ramped up the anxiety. I feel like I have to act as if I am not anxious and somehow cover it up….

  46. debbie Says:

    Anxious indian. And mark r I left a message for you both and my email but I dont know if u can see it .

  47. Adam Says:

    I want to say one thing to everyone struggling out there: habituate. What I mean is, get accustomed to, get used to the fear. Live with it. Let it be there and feel it. Only when you have felt it do its worst…and survived…and you realize that you will not die from it, only then, will you start to recover. Paul’s message is to FEEL it and stop running from it. Stop developing coping strategies, survival behaviors. Sit with and feel your innermost fear. And once you do…its like blowing out a candle. Your perception/view will completely change.

  48. Anxious Indian Says:

    Hi Debbie, No, I can’t see your message with your email. Not sure why.

  49. Dani Says:

    Hi all

    Anxious Indian – I can relate to your post when you say you’re finding hard to think of normal everyday stuff. I’ve been feeling anxious for a few months now, my thoughts are mainly focused on existential anxiety but I find it so distracting and most the time I am so focused on how I’m feeling and the fact that I don’t feel normal, I’m scared incase I’m always like this from now on, I don’t understand how to get back to feeling and thinking as my normal self.

    Mark R – when you say you feel detached, do you mean that everything feels like a dream and that you’re not part of everyday normal life?


  50. Debbie Says:

    Anious indian it will not let me give u my email address i dont know how to go about it . hope your doing better. Iam having a battle with my mind also the past few days a relapse my mind just wants to go to strange places but iam not gonna let it take me down there are times i cant watch tv every thing has to associate something with something . to start the fear i have had anxiety my whole life but never this with images of trying even to figure what the image is weird.
    Mark r i hope you are also doing be tter today.
    Dani i can relate to you also.

  51. Anxious Indian Says:

    Hi Debbie,

    I read through some past posts of Candie and Scarlet who recovered completely.

    This is how they describe the process. Say first time such a thing happened – our mind creating a scary strange association – we got scared. Now due to that fear, it happened a few times again. Now we got scared further, so we went on hyperalert, as now when ever we are looking at something that alertness and fear make the mind do more of this stupidity.

    So going by their logic, we should do 2 things. 1 – not treat this issue as something so sinister as this is more of a stupidity. We lose fear and just dismiss the thought. 2 – Something that is helping me is that sometimes I catch my mind trying to go somewhere scary. Then I smile and say, ‘don’t be silly’. This has helped me reduce the tension associated with this issue. Also, sometimes I can even smile at the stupidity.

    Once we keep practicing this, and our reactions finally go into our subconscious, this symptom will fade.

    Try it, I hope it helps.

  52. Melissa Says:

    Anxious Indian,

    Do you ever find that you are having a conversation with someone and you can feel the intrusive or scary thought trying to come into your mind, but you over-power it with a thought relating to the conversation you are having or to something a little more positive?

  53. Debbie Says:

    Thanks anxious indian so much .

  54. Josie Says:

    Just want to say that I’m one of those people who it didn’t ‘click’ for many years until recently! I’ve had anxiety for 4 years and got onto Paul and Will Beswicks help after around a year of trying to deal with it myself. Although their information helped enormously to understand what was happening I realised I had gotten into bad habits of actually ‘Doing’ rather than allowing. I used their information as a crutch whenever I had a rough time to get me through with temporary relief. I never truly accepted each and every one of my symptoms. I would be so tense and rise up to it even more every time I realised a bad thought or feeling. Now every time I tense up or realise a ‘bad’ emotion, I just smile and don’t take take it any further and my whole body seems to calm as I’m not placing any fear onto anything. But it’s not a ‘do’! That’s the trick…allow everything to happen and smile at it as it were your friend :) Love to everyone X

  55. Steve b Says:

    Honey. 25% of people have anxiety as a disorder at some point in their lives. There would be an awful lot of miserable people walking around if nobody ever recovered.

  56. honey Says:

    Steve b I sincerely hope you’re right. I get so frustrated with myself! I’m self pitying I know. Bad day.

  57. Steve b Says:

    Mate. Don’t worry. I know what those bad days are like.

  58. Chris Says:

    Hi all.

    Sorry to post again. I’m going away tomorrow and won’t have internet access for two weeks (probably a good thing!) and wanted to ask for a bit of advice regarding my post above.

    So basically I have a massive fear of SSRI withdrawal. As I mentioned, I was on Citalopram (20mg) for 12 days, then decided to taper off because I don’t actually believe in medication as a fix for anxiety. I’ve been weening off and I take my last 5mg dose tomorrow (3 weeks 3 days total on the drug). No withdrawals yet… however…

    I read a bunch of horror stories online which freaked me the hell out, basically I created a bunch of fear. People saying they are still going through withdrawals years later, or that their withdrawals started a few weeks later. Not a good read. A not so healthy diet of pure fear and despair.

    Anyways, onto my question. So my mind is occupied by this most of the day, along with brutal fear and despair. It’s an obsession. In regards to my attitude towards this, should I be like ‘oh well, if that’s me then so be it’ or more like ‘what a load of crap’. Do I accept it as a possibility? I find my mind is fixated on this all day, analyzing, trying to work it all out.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated! I plan to re-read Paul’s book while I’m away but thought it would be a good idea to get some advice on here too. I should note as well that my suffering has been SEVERE. Life has become a horrendous chore pretty much… lol.

  59. Steve b Says:

    Chris. I think people have said already. You done nothing to your brain. Zero,zilch,nada. Anxiety is just fear. You fear the meds have done something. I think I read once that 1 in 6 people are on anti depressants at some point in there lives. Like the post above that would be an awful lot of messed up folks walking about if they did damage. Your anxiety has just latched onto this. That’s all. Ignore it like all other symptoms. It will go away.

  60. Mark r Says:


    You’ll get to a point where you won’t care at all if you’re recovered or not, that’s how Ive been for best part of 18 months. You may get some lingering anxiety but life will be more important. Setbacks may happen but as long as you deal with them properly they pass.

    Thanks to people who have asked how I am. Had a tough weekend but still did a lot. Yesterday I was laughing and joking at work, productive, even sank into it for a few hours. For the first time in a month I was singing out loud to my music on way back from work. My sex drive even reappeared in the evening, shame I’m single! Haha.
    Today I’m crappy and tearful again but not too despondant. The fact that I was good yesterday means I am okay underneath the surface symptoms. Yesterday was certainly livable so when that baseline reappears for a longer period I will be okay again.

    Wonder how Emma and Dominic are doing?


  61. honey Says:

    I know Mark but when I’m feeling good I don’t care but when I’m feeling rough I just want to know that full recovery is possible and that I can one day reach a point of no return. You know a point where I can just put all this behind me and never look back. Days this bad are unusual for me where I feel completely hopeless. But even when I’m good I can always feel anxiety there ready to just engulf me. I’m back to googling just to read people that have fully recovered and theres no information anywhere. I’m doing everything wrong today. I also started mindfulness about two weeks ago and I’m sure it’s making my anxiety worse. Not sure if that’s normal. I’m not really doing it to help my anxiety I’m doing it to just be more present to have a bit of quiet. To appreciate my life more and accept all the negative thoughts and feelings and just be with them. Feel so consumed with myself and my feelings today. I hate myself when I get like this and it’s so dark. I guess everyone here knows what that feels like?

  62. Julie Says:

    HI Carla

    Not sure if you saw my reply to you on the previous blog post. Thank you for your kindness last week.


  63. Sue Davies Says:

    I have read both of Paul’s books and have been reading the blog for a couple of weeks, I would just like to say the help and advice given is inspirational! Thankyou

  64. Rich Says:

    Hi All, Any posts with links or email addresses get put into moderation and are not published. Trust me, you don’t want to put your email addresses on here as you’ll be bombarded with spam.

  65. Mark r Says:


    You don’t need to think of recovery at the moment, don’t aim for it at all. I’m the same as you, when I’m good I don’t care about anxiety….just life. When I feel bad, anxiety matters and life seems pointless. I was okay yesterday and life mattered again as per my prior post. Today is crappy, and everything is tinged with negativity and sadness. You need to remember you are you on good days and this is how you will feel in the future.
    I know how you feel, but it’s only when you feel bad you look for full recovery. Ive cried a few times today but wiped my eyes and got stuck into work. I’ve worked too damn hard in my recovery and my life to let a few bad weeks drag me back down.
    In addition you need to remember other people’s stories are not yours. How do you know you won’t fully recover and never go back to feeling like this?

  66. Dillon Says:

    Hi all,

    Hope you are doing well. I am currently dating anxiety for the second time after a few years of anxious free living and despite my resentment at having to deal with it again, I have been focusing on achieving the attitude that led me to recovery the first time. The attitude that we are all familiar with having visited this blog and read these books.

    I have been doing pretty well the last couple weeks, with my focus more on my life and relationships than on my anxiety. However, this past weekend I stupidly decided to drink and probably got a secondhand high and after some sort of anxiety attack, I am now in a setback where I feel extremely detached and almost confused about what is going on around me. I know that I must keep living normally and let it pass, but it seems like I can’t focus on anything and nothing seems real enough to me to grasp my interest. I feel like I’m on the verge of falling into a void and I’m having trouble shaking it. Does anybody have any experience with this?

  67. Michelle Says:


    I also think that a lot of people that recover just don’t come on here or email Paul. It is a shame, but I think that’s what it is, mostly. They just got on with their lives and put this all behind them. Hopefully that will be all of us soon.

  68. Melissa Says:

    Hey everyone,

    I need some help.

    Does it happen to you guys to feel extremely confused? Not remembering the day of the week….or how to get somewhere….something that you knew before you are questioning now?

    It is really freaking me out. I am thinking there is something wrong with my brain. Is this caused by anxiety? HELP!


  69. Dillon Says:


    That’s definitely a case. When I was recovered I never visited any sites or offered any advice simply because anxiety was no longer on my mind– which is a testament to recovery. I did offer my knowledge to anyone who came to me but I was really just focused completely on other things.

  70. Josie Says:

    I and many others consider ourselves recovered as the symptoms don’t bother us anymore. It doesn’t mean we don’t feel anything, it’s still there, but I don’t care. That is key. Over time I thought about the topic less and less. I can come onto this website and come back whenever I feel rather than anxiety making me feel like I had to use it as a crutch to get me through bad feelings. I once felt I would never get through but did/am and I know you all will too. For some it clicks straight away, for me it was a longer journey but now well worth the wait. X

  71. Jeff Says:

    Honey – Michelle is right. The fully recovered typically don’t look back….and if they do they certainly don’t obsess over it. How do I know? Because I was fully recovered for over a decade. And even that wasn’t the first time…

    Will you ever ‘fully’ recover? Don’t doubt it. Will you ever jump back into the anxiety zone at some point in the future? That’s up to you.

    In my case I’d say it’s possible. It’s also quite possible that I finally got it through my thick skull what NOT to do, so I can avoid it in the future.

  72. honey Says:

    Do you know what, you are all such an amazing bunch of kind people and you have with your advice made a bad day feel much better for me (not that I should rely on others for that but it feels good that there is somewhere to turn). Thank you to you all for helping me see some sense!! X

  73. Shannon from Canada Says:

    Hello everyone
    I have been reading this blog now for about 2 months but this is my first post. I really want to thank all of you for indirectly helping me through the hardest time in my life. For many reasons I found myself having some sort of mental break down in August after a massive panic attack one evening. I have always had anxiety and the odd attack maybe every 5 years or so but this one was different. The next morning when I woke up it felt like everything was different I was in a dream I could barely even look at my children ( this was extremely painful and difficult) I felt no emotion nothing this made me terrified that I was going insane completely insane. How could I just change over night as if a switch in my brain went off and I would never be the same again. A couple times I wanted to call an ambulance to come and get me but I just kept plugging along. But ultimately believing I was going insane and eventually would have to say goodbye to my children and family. I have never been so scared in my life. I found Paul’s book online and this website and that has helped so much. I took some of the advice and just kept going on with my life even though this was so so hard sometimes I felt like my body weighed a million pounds and like I was trapped inside my own body screaming to let me out. I kept going anyway I mean I have to my children need me. I am now recovering and I am so proud of how far I have come. I can enjoy food again and shopping. I do really need some advice of anyone could please help. Most of my physical anxiety symptoms are completely gone but I can’t stop checking in on myself. Like if I feel normal again I’ll say to myself wow that felt really normal. Or that was a normal thought. I keep thinking about anxiety constantly questioning myself. How do I feel? Another thing that I can’t stop thinking about how long life is and how everyday is the same and just negative thoughts about life. It’s like I am so afraid of death but I am also so afraid to live. Just an overall feeling of strange and still like life isn’t real and I’m not real and my life didn’t really happen. Is this just DP still lingering around ? I’m afraid I have become depressed. I want to be excited about everyday and appreciate life but it’s like it’s a chore to me right now :( any advice would be so appreciated and you are all so so amazing. I know what you have all gone through and it’s not easy. Xoxoxoxo

  74. carla Says:

    Hi there,

    Just wanted to check in to see how you’re all doing – I’ve been having a few much better days recently after a tough spell.

    So, whatever situation you’re in, it can and will change. Nothing stays the same.

    Three of of the main things I’m realising are important for me are:

    a) learning to trust myself
    b) treating myself with compassion
    c) understanding that I will not recover in exactly the same way as anybody else.

    So, recently, if it’s all started bubbling up, I first try to step back and notice the anxiety process. Then I try and meet these feelings with as much self-empathy, compassion and love as I can muster. It’s taken me a long time to realise that there must be no self-punishment or self-criticism – this has been so important for me to learn.

    I will then try and take some sensible steps to help reduce the anxiety – not frantically running away but sensible, common-sense steps such as exercise and relaxation.

    And finally I’ll try and add some purposeful and positive action to my day and also make a point of nurturing social contact and relationships. And through all of it I try and maintain that spirit of kindness and forgiveness towards myself if and when it does recur.

    Oh, and I also try and journal my successes (however small) from the previous day.

    So I hope you’re all being gentle on yourselves – Mark, I know what you’re going through and you’re hanging in there brilliantly.

    I’ve also realised that, for me, forums, whilst they can be a wonderful source of support, can also be a bit of a mixed bag in terms of advice – and, in the past, I’ve sometimes read the wrong thing at the wrong time and been sent off down a whole new track of worry!

    So I may not be on here so much from now – I’m not recovered but am having some good glimpses of a calmer, kinder attitude to the whole experience. I’m seeing a lovely anxiety coach once a week and making a point of talking to my own friends and support network a bit more.

    But sending you all hugs and best wishes.

    Carla x

  75. Mark r Says:

    Thanks Carla, doesn’t feel as if I’m doing brilliantly at all. You seem to be doing well, keep it up.

    Just feel like I need a few good days to kickstart my way back out of this but can’t seem to get a foothold. Lots of false starts so far.


    Just intrigued how you know to avoid in the future. I seem to have made all the changes I need to in my life, good diet, exercise, attitude but still get these tough setbacks.

  76. Carla Says:

    Mark, I’ve been up and down but I’m getting some good glimpses. But when anxiety hits like that after a break it can be consuming again for a while and you can get tricked into believing all the catastrophic thoughts and feelings again.

    I think the brain and body can just take a while to settle down again. You’re doing nothing wrong though and to carry on through it all IS to be doing brilliantly – it doesn’t mean you’re not suffering. I know how hard it is.

    Carla x

  77. Carla Says:

    Oh, and I’m not sure anyone can be 100% confident that they’ll never look back. I had anxiety for a couple of years in my early twenties, recovered and then was anxiety-free for 20 years.

    And then a set of stressful life circumstances brought the symptoms back and caught me unawares. Now I’m having to re-adjust all over again.

    But I’m determined not to beat myself up over it, what’s the point in that? Some people have one episode in their lives, others many – we are different people with different life circumstances.

    Claire weekes continued to have panics attacks throughout her life, but for others, once they’re gone they’re gone.

  78. Jamie Says:

    Hi all

    Does anyone have any thoughts on my post from 15/11 (below) ? Thanks

    Jamie Says: 
    November 15th, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    I have been doing as much as possible over the last 6 weeks or so both socially and at work to challenge myself. Previously I would have written all of these down as “successes” (as it had been suggested by therapists) but I have chosen not to this time. After each event I have just done my usual and not congratulated myself though. I have just done it and moved on. I suppose my confidence has increased a bit but maybe I was expecting a big reduction in symptoms.

    I find I feel at my worst when I am going to or when I am at work (as this is where I spend most of my week I guess). I worry about how I am going to feel when I am there, will I get a headache ?, will I feel anxious ?, will I have to come home ?, if I do what will I say and what will people think ? and so on and so on (I work in a big open plan office which does not help). This goes back years and it gives me such intense headaches and every night I spend the evening somehow trying to reduce or get rid of the headache in preparation for the next day. Over the last couple of months my headaches have not been quite as bad which is a step in the right direction. I did get referred to a migraine doctor about a year ago and was prescribed some pretty hardcore tablets for them but they did nothing.

    Anyway, I have to not just use it as a mantra but have to adopt the “I do not care” attitude to truly move forward and continue to challenge myself by putting myself into difficult situations. I get frustrated that after all of these years of me coming to no harm when I have felt really anxious, I still get as anxious and believe the thoughts / respond to the sensations.

    On a separate note, I went on a date with a friend of my sister-in-law last weekend and I was so nervous it was untrue. I was sweating, shifting in my seat and had continual thoughts of “I am going to have leave in a minute as I feel so anxious”, “this is not going well, I am going to make an excuse and go home” etc etc but ended up staying for 3 hours. Apparently, she is quite nervous about meeting new people but she did not seem it. Anyway, I messaged her afterwards and asked her if she enjoyed it (I am not sure why?) and she said she did but she thought I wasn’t fussed at all. I then asked why she thought this and she responded saying my body language. This of course is a red rag to a bull to me. She has agreed to meet up again but I am so worried about how I will feel and act when I see her again. I am self-conscious at the best of times anyway and worry about how I come across but now she has said this, it has really ramped up the anxiety. I feel like I have to act as if I am not anxious and somehow cover it up….

  79. Mark r Says:

    Thanks Carla, suppose I must be then. Think the frustrating thing with my setbacks is they always seem to hit at a time when I’m doing well and at my happiest, never a discernable reason.
    I am hanging in there though. If someone told me you need to hang until xxx then it would be easier, just the not knowing how long that makes it hard!

  80. Belgian Says:


    The question whether or not recovery is possible is one of the many questions people still struggling are often struggling with.

    You notice that I have used the word struggle twice. It sums it up. You are struggling. You are still fighting your emotions, brave soldier! I want to shout to you, into your ear, please hold your fire! :-)

    Don’t be too hard on yourself though. It is perfectly normal to question it all once more. Time and time again. We run through the maze which is our mind a million times, and we come out the same exit a million times.

    It’s a very difficult message for people who are so struggling with their anxious feelings, that anxiety will never leave them. I used to say to myself: ‘If only, I could get back to before. Where I did not feel anxiety’ . This is wrong, I can see now. I have always felt it. I have always carried it with me. It was always one of the emotions that colored my life.

    The only difference was that – suddenly – this one emotion, this one color took over my life. All my experiences were drenched with anxiety and everything in my life seemed to be painted with anxiety and anxiety only.

    As we recover, we start noticing and paying more attention to all the other emotions we feel. All the other colors that paint our life. Anger, happiness, sadness, peacefulness did not leave us when we were in anxiety state. We just stopped noticing it and paid only attention to anxiety.

    So recovery could also be seen as the rediscovery of the – sometimes complex – emotions that are in life. Including anxiety.. I still feel anxious sometimes, and I probably feel it more than people who did not experienced an anxiety state in their life. The attacks in Paris are a huge trigger for anxiety for a lot of people, especially here in Belgium. These last few days I felt anxiety more distinctly than the weeks before. Of course, at some point I felt uneasy and even became a little bit scared of it. Why? Because anxiety has had such a great impact on my life that the memory of this past suffering gets stirred up easily. Still, it does not matter if you also can accept this and accept that time will bring solace.

    In a way, recovery means that you also can appreciate anxiety without returning to fear for it. To learn this, you need time.

    I promise you, it is worth it. I have never felt as alive as I do now. I never felt as wise as I do now. Notice I do not use the words: I never felt so ‘good’. I do feel good at times, but on other moments life also brings pain. You can’t expect a life without pain, sadness. You do not always have a choice to avoid this. People you love will hurt you at times, leave you sometimes, die… and you will do too. But you will laugh, enjoy, relax and love too and you will do even more so if you know what it means not being able to do these things.

    Try not to reach for happiness only, try to live your life to the fullest whatever comes and… this basically comes down to being able to let go.

    So let go, stop fighting, stop struggling and start accepting, start letting go. I wish you all the best!

  81. Jamie Says:

    Fantastic post Belgian. A real feelgood one :)

  82. Maggie Says:

    Wise post Belgian! You described it so well.
    I can tell you are a smart guy.
    Yes I do pay attention to every emotion I feel.
    Some days it is there and I don’t care but some
    other days I am in the fight mode with my

  83. honey Says:

    Mark- same here. If a setback is when you start to question everything again there this is me now! This morning was dreadful but it passed as always.

    Belgian would you consider yourself recovered? If so are you saying that recovery is not the absence of anxiety disorder but the absence of caring about the anxiety? Does it still come as strong? Do you get setbacks once you’re recovered? When I say setbacks I mean do you for no reason (or no obvious reason) get thrown into despair? For me these last few days I have spent stuck in my own head going over and over and over. What’s the point if I’m never going to reach a stage where I will stop questioning and just accept? The actual physical feeling of anxiety doesn’t really bother me anymore. I can sit through it and accept. It’s the being stuck on the subject that I hate the most. It stops me wanting to do anthing. I just want answers and I question whether recovery is ever possible and what it truly means and feels like.

  84. Mark r Says:


    Questioning isn’t accepting…you will go round and round and want an answer to an unanswerable question. The best you can aim for at the moment are improvements not recovery. Look at what you can do now compared to a few months ago, 6 months ago, when it started…..I bet its there’s a huge difference.

    Trust me when I say when you become less anxious you will move onto other things. You may not see that now and that’s understandable but take a leap of faith.

    These times are very testing, trust me I’ve been put through the mill and then some but I’m not falling for its old tricks anymore. Years ago I would have sunk into a huge hole and not done anything for months, stopped my life to work it out and solve it but not now.

    Please don’t get anxious about how you will feel in the future….thats the cycle right there and everything Paul advises against. Working it out is a waste of time, especially when you can be doing more important things.

  85. Nolan Says:

    Just wanted to say, Paul David has been referenced as the one who helped Nicky Romero (Producer and DJ) with getting over his anxiety issues.

    Very, very cool!

  86. Nolan Says:

    Hi Anxious Indian… sorry for the delay in responding.

    But you mentioned:
    “Then one day I was looking at a random object in my house and a scary memory came back. After that every time I looked at it, the scary thought would pop up.”

    Hey, that still will happen to me at times. Don’t add more importance to it. Let the fear and thoughts well up…. just react like “okay, so you’re there now…. big whoop”.

    A couple of weeks ago I was reading in a book (Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer) about a character that struggled with insomnia. Insomnia was my biggest symptom… at least the one that scared me the most. Sure enough, those automatic thoughts started to build and build and build. I said to myself, “Let them build… they’ll pass when they’re ready to.”

    I changed nothing about my life. I didn’t stop doing the thing I was doing in order to “convince myself otherwise”.
    We all know how fruitless it is arguing with the content of those thoughts. So don’t argue. You’ll know when they’ve passed. If they haven’t passed yet, so be it.

    Doesn’t mean you can’t feel afraid. I felt afraid. But I still made my life bigger than that fear. And, like every other time it passed away.

  87. honey Says:

    That’s amazing Nolan. I feel really pleased that I found this site and Paul’s work. Mark I know you’re right. Questioning it all at times can be like a compulsion can’t it?

  88. Debbie Says:

    Nolan first off how is your dad doing? You and your family are in my prayers. Thanks for the. Response to anxious indian i go threw something similar with seeing images alot. That dont make sense .

  89. Nolan Says:

    Hi Debbie,
    He’s doing pretty good. There have been some bumps along the way…. but, I at least still have him in my life during those bumps :)
    Thanks for asking and thank you deeply for the prayers.

    Regarding mental images: I would get terrible images in my mind too. Oddly enough, usually when I was trying to eat. A disgusting mental picture that would surface when I would eat.
    But, I’d also get them at other times too…. like, if I would have my son with me and terrible image of hurting him (or him just being hurt).

    What can you do? You’re not intentionally conjuring them up. So, if you want them to linger and keep on bothering you then pay them great attention and try to figure out the herculean task of “how do I willfully dictate all of my unconscious decisions”…. I’d wager it’s impossible.


    Take the attitude of saying “so what?” towards them. Sure they’ll bother you. What right minded person wouldn’t be bothered by it? However, that doesn’t mean you now need to cater to them and roll out the red carpet…. lavishing them with more of your efforts to get rid of them. They’ll set sail on their own when they’re ready to go.

  90. Colin Says:

    Hi Honey
    I sort of agree with you about the recovery theory .
    4 years ago I suddenly for no real apparent reason developed anxiety . This was the worst time of my life . ( this was way before reading Paul’s book !!!
    I managed like I have posted before to discover Paul way by myself and recover ! Then a year ago I suddenly got a setback . I then found Paul’s book and again have ” recovered ”

    The term recovery doesn’t have to mean never having an anxious thought again . Or ever feeling down , adrenalin ? These are all natural feelings that every person will experience . So please don’t look for a perfect happy anxious free life as this is impossible for everyone . Life is full of ups and downs , sad day happy days . I on a daily basis still have moments were a think of my anxiety . I think I will always in very small doses have anxiety ! But so what it’s not going to rule my life . I am so happy in a strange way that I’ve experienced anxiety . Reason it’s made me a much much more better person . I am much more humble , caring and compassionate person than I was before anxiety . Even now when I feel anxious or down I don’t think I will ever go back to where I was 4 years ago . This is because I understand anxiety so well now and have no fear of it . This is the key !!! No fear

    I do think that maybe no one will completely anxiety free as as anxiety is in our biological make up its a human trait its there to protect us .
    Maybe I was lucky and maybe through chance recovered ? But recover I did because if I had terminal cancer then got lucky and was told I wasn’t going to die from my cancer but still have it , I think I would say I had recovered ? Don’t know if I am making sense here ? But I am writing from the heart and feel everyone can get to some sort of peace from anxiety . Anxiety isn’t the enemy it’s us !!! We perceive it as the enemy and let it win even though it’s not a war . We try to fight back and only make matters worse . We need to take a few steps back have a wee think to ourselfs then take that very deep breath and say yes I feel shot but am going to walk straight forward and reach the light at the end of the tunnel . Everyone of you can achieve peace and happiness if you allow yourself to feel and carry on regardless . Recovery is within reach of all of you .

  91. Debbie Says:

    Thanks nolan.

  92. Dillon Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I’m currently in a setback that is really pulling me down and I know that I have to acknowledge it as the simple setback that it is and keep living my life but I feel like I can not connect to my life or surroundings at all and everything that I know suddenly seems foreign and unreal. My own girlfriend who I know I love seems like a stranger that I can’t connect with. This is very frustrating and has me on the verge of panic, I just feel lost. I do feel a little better when I am very distracted but my mind always wants to wander to dark places. Can anyone offer words of wisdom?

  93. Michelle Says:

    Nolan, I struggle with insomnia and extreme morning anxiety every day. I do my very best to say, “so be it,” and ignore it, but I can’t get past that it does upset me so much. Saying it is so different than feeling it. Today’s been my worst day yet.. I feel like I’m getting worse instead of better. Haven’t had a moment all day where I felt even remotely comfortable. I know this horse has been beaten to death a million times, but do you have any tips to deal with the insomnia and high morning anxiety? I can’t imagine ever feeling good in the morning or sleeping well at night anymore.

    I do get up and do what needs to be done, but the whole time I can’t imagine being any more miserable. And with my symptoms getting worse, it makes it even all that more difficult to accept this as my life.


    Thank you for your words. It’s so awesome to see that there is hope… nice to see it through someone else’s eyes, because my foresight is broken. Laughter (when I have the odd moment something is actually funny) is even painful for me today.

  94. Kim Says:

    Melissa –

    I have just read your post and I have been going through similar symptoms recently. I was infact going to post the same question on here myself.

    My bad patch recently has been due to a really stressful period – moving flat/job and having LOTS of things to sort out. I have always had a very good short term memory and usually always feel ‘on the ball’ – but with this attack my brain feels so slow. I forget things that usually come to me so quickly (like you mentioned recalling what day it is etc.) and its quite distressing.

    This is a really frightening thing – it is the feeling of losing control. The conclusion that I’ve come to is that my brain has been so overloaded lately that is it going to be slow. I’m trying not to panic when I can’t remember anything straight away and just accept that my mind is doing overtime and it makes sense to not be as sharp as usual.

    I hope this helps you a bit.

    Has anyone else experience this as a symptom of anxiety? Slow recollections of things / trouble remembering bits of information that you wouldn’t usually?

    Any help is really appreciated


  95. Shannon from Canada Says:

    Dillon I was in that place not long ago. I am still feeling little bouts of it but I am doing much better. It was really difficult not connecting with my husband and my daughters. Very very scary but it does subside. I almost feel recovered, but having some slight DP still which makes me question if I will ever feel like a normal person again. I feel love for my family again but I have strange feeling and like “what’s the point of life” attitude. I never felt like that before. I feel like it’s hard to be excited about life and the days are all the same. Hoping that will also go away once I stop thinking about anxiety constantly. Just keep moving Dillon it does get better I promise you. Xoxo

  96. Nolan Says:

    Hi Michelle,

    First thing: I never ignored how I felt. What I mean is that we have these fears and despairs. They’re very real to us. They impact us in very real ways. It’s not something we’re consciously decided to do. We don’t tell ourselves, “I want to have a thought or thoughts or a general feeling of intense despair and fear all day long.”

    It just happens to us. Maybe through routinely poorly handling stressful situations we find ourselves in a very bad way. Now, things are happening automatically to us. We have no immediate control over them. They impact our sleep, our hyper attentiveness, our heart rate…. and these things scare us more. Along with these symptoms are the thoughts that automatically bubble up “I’m going to be this way forever.” “My mind is convinced that I am supposed to be broken” “I am broken and there is no way out… things will only get worse”.

    So, we have no immediate and direct control over these. However, how we react to them is what will slowly take the wind out of their sails or further entrench them.
    Trying to ignore or distract myself from those thoughts and fears of symptom reoccurrence never helped me. So, following Paul, I just let them come. I let myself feel however it was going to feel. What I did stop doing was taking heed of the fears/despairs. I stopped doing this and that in attempts of abating the symptoms. Fearing that I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night impacted EVERY SINGLE THING in my life. So, I stopped letting it dictate if I was going to see this movie, or eat that pizza so late at night, or to not play this video game or go to that park.

    So, I dropped every defense and hope to stop feeling the full intensity of the fear and despair… and I just stopped all of my extra reactions to it: no more asking for help from every person I see, no more discussing it with people like it’s the lord over my life, no more search to find that solidarity with another sufferer…. my pain was now my pain and I was going to shoulder it for as long as I needed to…. and get back on with the other things of my life again.

    So, if you still feel the fear, don’t feel bad… you’re supposed to feel the fear. Because it can be pretty intense. But, calmly accept it with an “okay, so what” and let it be there while living your life.

    Regarding the sleep though:
    I would close my eyes and my mind would go on high alert. It was sickening and tormenting. Because it was like my mind was automatically trying to hunt out sleep. then I’d think “wait… this isn’t how someone falls to sleep!!” so, the fear would ratchet up even more. Which would feel into the hyper alertness.

    So then I came up with the thought of “isn’t not possible to distract myself from such a high state of alertness and hyper attentiveness when I’m trying to sleep… so, I’m just going to let my mind go along with it”.
    If I closed my eyes and my mind started racing, and terrible thoughts came up, and I felt that dread hyper attentiveness… I just flowed along with it.
    And without fail I always eventually fell to sleep.

    And, in time, that tendency to go automatic like that just faded away. Some nights, even when I first started with this new view of the whole thing, I would still have moments of complete peace and normalcy…. I let it play out however it wants to play out.

  97. Dillon Says:

    Thank you Shannon,

    I’m very happy that you’re feeling better, I actually struggled deeply with DP a couple years ago and managed to recover and I can offer that once you are focused on life, the DP will just keep getting lighter and lighter until you no longer care or aknowledge it so I promise you will be normal.

    It just is hard to remember everything you’ve learned when you’re deep in anxiety but I guess I have to just keep moving. Thank you so much for responding it’s great to feel not alone.

  98. Shannon from Canada Says:


    Yeah I know exactly how you feel. Some days I forget everything ! I spiral and think I’m going crazy again only to feel fine a couple hours later. This blog has been my saving grace at times, but I also feel addicted to it ! Lol I also suffered terribly with DP over 12 years ago I was only 16 and had no idea what it was up until about 2 months ago when it happened again and I found Paul I realized that all those years ago it was DP ! I thought it was a bad trip from a drug I took at a party which ended in a massive panic attack and then DP and agoraphobia for 6 months. Once I recovered on my own ( I don’t know how I did it) I never wanted to think about it again. Now its happening again and I can’t believe it. DP has to be one of the most terrifying things to go through. Especially now having children I feel so guilty for feeling this way. I have hope I will get better because I have had this before. But you know in the back of my mind the fear of never getting better sometimes takes over. Everyone on this blog is so amazing for going through all this, such strong people and amazing stories really. I am so lucky to have found this site. Thanks for replying Dillon it really has helped. You are the very first person I have ever spoken to that has experienced DP so it’s nice to know there is a real person out there that knows what I’m talking about. You can do this, you have done it before and you will do it again. Xoxo

  99. Dillon Says:


    Can I ask how old you are? I’m 18 and for me it was brought on by the same exact thing- a massive panic attack after doing a drug which lead to super high anxiety and DP for about a year. But like you, I recovered and I really never thought about it until I guess a lot of stress about college and growing up started giving me symptoms again and now I’m back in the cycle. The past couple weeks have been a lot better but this week I’m just really struggling after having an anxiety attack from going to a party this weekend. I definitely relate about feeling like you’re going crazy and then feeling fine hours later. It’s like night and day and it’s really hard to remember how being calm feels when you’re in an episode and vice versa. You can’t feel guilty for your children, I bet you’re doing a great job even though you feel you’re not. And we both know deep down that we will recover so you’ll be back to 100% loving and caring for them in no time! You can do this too!

  100. Shannon from Canada Says:


    Wow we have very similar stories then ! I am 29 and since my first experience when I was 16 I have always been a little anxious but it’s been manageable. I have been under a lot of stress over the last year with moving across country and not knowing anyone and other things going on. One night I had a massive panic attack and then the DP started. It was really bad at first for over a month. I spent hours and hours on google trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I reallt thought I was losing it. Now that I know what’s wrong I can function more but I still feel strange and sometimes like I’m not real. Doing so much better though so I can see the light. Thank you for saying that about not feeling guilty it’s been so scary. My husband is in the military and he has been away for almost 2 months. Doing this alone has been tough in a new place. We will be much stronger when we come out of this, and more compassionate for others. Keep up with all the advice given here I believe in it. Xoxo

  101. Michelle Says:

    I need some help.. advice. This evening all of a sudden some very disturbing and traumatic images that I “accidentally” saw on the internet over the years are popping in my head causing extreme, extreme anxiety. These images caused me some disturbing anxiety after I saw them for a long time, and now they just keep popping up. What can I do, I’m going crazy!

  102. honey Says:

    Colin- That’s all I’m aiming for. Not caring. The setbacks I occasionally experience (and I’m not talking about bad days I’m talking about questioning this method and questioning what recovery means and feeling helpless again and trapped in my mind) THIS is what I hope recovery will stop. Whilst I appreciate that this means I fight these feelings I have a huge amount of awareness about what makes these episodes escalate and I am aware of how to nip it quickly in the bud but sometimes I give into the thoughts and I engage and indulge them by taking them seriously and GOOGLING about stories of others that have completely recovered, then I hardly find any and I freak out about it. This cycle is vicious and it’s compulsive to me to just keep on googling. Today I have made a decision to not do this and I already feel better. It fuels and feeds the anxiety. I am aware of this. My biggest fear is never recovering at all and remaining on this rollercoaster forever. I am aware that recovering is the not caring about it all. Surprisingly I feel closer to recovery than ever right now because I am so aware of everything that’s happeneing and what I shouldn’t be doing. I just realise that I have to be OK with reassuring myself and not seeking that reassurance elsewhere. True recovery comes from within. Like I say on a physical level I now understand that anxiety wont harm me. It’s just like having a virus or something and feeling ill for a while. I accept that. Anxiety is no different. So I feel like the understanding is sinking in and its like a jigsaw coming together.

    My friend said to me yesterday ‘what are you so afraid of’? I said ‘Whilst I’m ok with having anxiety at normal human levels, I am scared of having an anxiety disorder forever’. She replied with ‘But you don’t have an anxiety disorder because you go through weeks and months of NO ANXIETY AT ALL, so you don’t have an anxiety disorder it’s all a trick and a label you have been given by the medical world and now you identify with it like it’s something that IS you. You just have moments of acute anxiety like the whole world have but the difference between you and those not suffering is your interpretation of anxiety and the fact that you fight it so much’

    It struck a chord. I really am getting this message finally!!

  103. honey Says:

    Michelle- Accept this. If your mind wants to go there allow it to. Fighting these thoughts will just make them come more frequently and with brute force. Trust me the more you accept them the more they will dissipate until they have no effect on you at all.

  104. Michelle Says:

    Honey, the images I saw were real and very disturbing. Every time they flash in my mind my anxiety increases 10 fold. So I try not to think about it, and I feel like I’m chasing my tail all day.

  105. Mark r Says:

    Wise words Hannah. Wantkng to be recovered is definitely anxious thinking. It’s only been these last few weeks that I’ve wished for recovery, prior to that I didn’t care. My thinking is black and white too. Its tainted everything tricking me into believing that I’ve only ever felt felt anxious but I know that’s not the case at all.

    Good days and bad days at the moment, seeing some clearing and not caring amongst the muck, hope I can continue to trend upwards.

  106. Shannon from Canada Says:

    I just want to get on with my life. I don’t want to wake up every morning thinking about how I feel and obsess over it all day. Wondering if I will ever feel normal again. I am okay with having anxiety be a part of my life as it always has been, but this is different I don’t feel like a normal person. I’m so detached like in my own world. I don’t wish to recover and never feel anxiety again as I think anxiety is a normal natural human reaction to life. All I want is to feel like myself again with the odd anxiety is fine with me. :( please someone tell me I will be able to forget about DP and feel attached to my family again …. Xoxo

  107. Colin Says:

    I think there is a misconception regarding recovery ?
    Walk through it and feel it at the same time . Live with it and embrace it . All your posts sound like yous are so frightened of it .
    Nobody on here will
    Never in there lives be totally anxiety free so why pine for no anxiety .
    Just live with it and in time you will feel as normal as you possibly could .

  108. Aaron Says:

    Hey guys,

    This is my first time posting and I have to say this blog and Paul’s books have meant so much to me through recovery. I have been doing so well along my journey and a week ago I would have considered myself 99% recovered. I found this site 3 years ago when I had a setback. I have used the techniques of letting myself feel the anxiety and allowing thoughts that in the past I thought shouldn’t have been there. I recently had a huge setback where I feel like when I first got anxiety/panic but now vertigo/dizziness. I have had tests ran to make sure it’s not medical and nothing is showing wrong. My main issue is vertigo and dizziness all the time!! Any help from you guys that have experienced this and how to “let” without throwing up or passing out? Lol

    Sorry about my first post :-)

  109. Helen Says:

    Hi Shannon,
    When you wake in the morning and you immediately start to assess yourself just allow it to happen. If you feel detached and like you are in a bubble, accept it and go on with your day. When the questions come into your head; ‘when will this end?’ ‘why can’t i be happy?’ ‘when will i feel normal?’ and so on, get up, get ready and face the day. As you go about normal life; working, doing household chores, shopping, seeing a friend, watching TV, whatever, you allow the outside world into your head and that eats into all the brainpower that is currently being used on assessing yourself. You may not feel like it and you won’t realise what good it is doing but the power of anxiety will weaken and then one day you will say to yourself ‘I actually feel a bit better today’ and it will gradually get better and better. It is a long process but so so worth it. You will become a wonderful version of yourself, you will gain strength you didn’t think possible and you will be able to look back on what can be the most painful time in someones life and not feel afraid of the memory. I am speaking from experience and I would not change anything I went through or felt for anything as I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
    Stay strong but most of all be patient. Don’t give up on life whilst waiting to ‘get better’ as living life is the only way to rid yourself of anxiety.

    All the best

  110. Jamie Says:

    I am so fed up with having headaches every day, feeling full of dread and on edge at work, worrying about talking to people on a 1-1 basis because of how I may come across and thinking a variety of things daily like “it is negative energy”, “i don’t care how I feel”, “give up the fight” etc etc. Rightly or wrongly this is what I do on a daily basis. I have a 2nd date with someone tomorrow night which I am dreading (aren’t they supposed to be exciting ? someone tell my mind that !).

    My mind is just constantly on full throttle and I am so bored of it now. I am now just going to tell myself that I do not care if I ever feel better / recover to take some of the pressure off. This may seem negative but my mind is exhausted by it all.

    That is my rant over…

  111. Joseph Says:

    Hey guys. I’ve been reading this blog for a while, and although I’ve never commented I’ve picked up so much from so many of you. I consider myself maybe 75 percent recovered but I still struggle in certain situations,where I feel “trapped.” Tomorrow I leave on vacation for an early flight and the thought of a panic attack has been bothering me all week. Any advice on what to do in those situayions??

  112. Shannon from Canada Says:


    Thank you so much for your reply knowing other people know how you feel makes it a little bit easier. Today was my daughters 5th birthday and I did everything I would have normally done. Sometimes it felt strange but sometimes I forgot that I was going through this. I know this is a good sign. It has been so scary and extremely painful in the beginning when I felt no emotion towards my husband and family. I thought I wouldn’t be here to watch my babies grow up. Now I feel much better, but sort of in a limbo of normal and not normal. Like life is not real and lack of motivation. Sometimes I dread how long life is and sometimes I’m afraid of how short it is. It’s so strange. I don’t need or want full recovery and to never feel anxiety again. All I want is to feel the way about life as I use to, and to be excited about planning Christmas for my girls. This is hard :( but I am going to keep going, there is no other choice. I just needed to hear from someone that this odd feeling will eventually stop. Thank you again for your reply it brought tears to my eyes. I am so grateful for this site and I can see how this all has already made me into a more understating and compassionate person. Xoxo

  113. Melissa Says:

    Hi Shannon,

    I’m from Canada too. Whereabouts are you from?

  114. Shannon from Canada Says:


    Originally from the Toronto area but recently moved to Victoria BC. The move has started this whole anxiety and DP for me :( where are you from ? Xoxo

  115. Mark r Says:

    Hi Helen,

    Great to see you back posting.

    Do you have any advice for setbacks? I’m long into recovery (almost four years) and this is my second major setback. I’m still doing all the things you advised to Shannon and have seen some brighter days these last few weeks but I’m still struggling overall, feeling sodding awful.
    Did you have many setbacks? Its hard not to lose faith when you do well and it bites you on the arse again.



  116. Jeff Says:

    Mark r – you wrote:
    “Jeff, Just intrigued how you know to avoid in the future. I seem to have made all the changes I need to in my life, good diet, exercise, attitude but still get these tough setbacks.”

    Honestly I don’t know for sure how to avoid it in the future. For me the triggers the last two times were health related. So I figure that if I stay away from doctors as much as possible, there won’t be the fear of God put in me – or me being put on the wrongs meds that make me sick.

    It’s a bit disconcerting, as I was stressing myself out without knowing it. There were no ‘warning bells’ telling me that I’d better chill out or things would turn nasty.

    Each anxiety episode stemmed from a discrete event. There was no mystery as to the why. Which is something of a comfort.

    We all have our ‘breaking point’, ‘triggers’, or whatever else you want to call an event that will send us over the edge. And, as you know, it’s a LONG climb back up….and along the way we sometimes slide back down a bit.

  117. Nolan Says:

    Hi Michelle,

    I’m not asking for any thanks nor even wanting you to say that you feel my advice was helpful.

    However, you asked me for my advice and I replied but you’ve made no comment in respects to it. You kind of just keep on asking more and more questions to other people. Which is perfectly fine.
    But it is alittle frustrating being asked a question, then responding, and then hearing nothing back about it.

    It comes across as looking like “poll taking”.

  118. Mark r Says:

    Yup, agree Geoff. Its the sliding down a bit that’s hard, feels like you’ve not been climbing at all.

  119. Bryan Says:


    You’re doing the same thing you did when Doreen, myself and others offered help last week. You just ignore it and ask more questions.

    Again, I can’t stress enough that the cure is in the APPLICATION of these principles, not just hearing them. We have one poster here currently who keeps changing user names just to ask the same questions over and over and she’s still no better than she was 2 years and user-names ago. I know that isn’t what you want for yourself.

    Folks, we have to try to actually put this into place in our lives. Not just repeat our questions.

  120. Bryan Says:


    I second Mark and others. Great to see you again. Excellent post.

  121. Steve b Says:

    Guys. Has anyone had it when they feel fine for a couple of months and then wham again?.. I always figured a setback was while recovering and not when you are basically recovered. I was going along just fine and then for no reason have collapsed again last 2-3 days. Amazingly frustrating,

  122. Ryan Says:

    Hey guys been doing very well as of late, but having tons of anxiety about an upcoming trip.. I was recently on a trip to Europe, and had a tons of anxiety on the airplane, which I’ve never had before.. Now I have a trip coming up to Hawaii, and my anxiety is through the roof about the flight..super frustrating as I love to travel and usually go in a few trips a so scared I won’t be able to do the flight or will have panic attacks on the flight.. Any advice from any else that has dealt with this before? Really throwing me for a loop and got me kinda stuck right now.. Trip isn’t for a few weeks, and already freaking out!


  123. Nolan Says:

    hi Steve b,

    that’s perfectly normal.
    Don’t put any more special attention on it. I understand the urge to do so… I’ve done it myself.

    And it had to happen many times over and over again…. until I started to realize that it’s just the rhythm of anxiety/depression.

    Treat it all exactly the same. Have no expectations of how you should feel at any given time. If you feel great, then… great! If not, oh well.

    No truly happy person (happy or peaceful) had to convince themselves to be that way, they just were that way and it came normal to them. So, you don’t have to argue or reason your way out of how you’re feeling. But, you can send a strong message back to your mind and body based off of how you respond to your current state. One way will get you (or me, or anyone) stuck back in the loop… that’s the constantly going to war with the feelings. The other way will help make your life bigger than anxiety again…. and that’s the way of letting it all be there for as long as it needs to be there, while focusing back on the other things of your life again.

  124. Nolan Says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Fly on that plane and welcome the anxiety. Even if it takes away from some of the fun of the trip… oh well. Let it be there and don’t let it dictate to you how you’re going to react.

    I’ve had many, many experiences during my dark days where I would have loved to ‘truly be there’, but the anxiety/depression sapped the joy out of it (at least at the time). However, when I look back on those moments, even though they didn’t feel great at the time…. I look back on them with great fondness because I didn’t let the anxiety/depression dictate my life. And, those memories are just as sweet and true when I look back on them…. eventhough that at the time they might have been a struggle.

  125. Dani Says:

    Hi Shannon and Dillon,

    Just wanted to let you know I’m also going through the DP/DR. I’m finding it so hard to deal with. I can’t even fully explain how I feel, but it’s like human life feels strange, like I’ve questioned and analysed life and now it feels odd and doesn’t make sense and I just don’t feel like my normal self. I feel like there’s two parts of my mind – one part which understands on an intellectual level what I need to do in everyday life such as driving, housework, talking etc but then the other part of mind is constantly saying “but this doesn’t make sense, this feels weird, life doesn’t feel real” . I also constantly checking in on myself to see if I feel normal yet. I kind of feel like I’m not human even though I know I am. I just want to feel like I’m me again and part of everyday life. I can handle the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as the fast beating heart and the nervous stomach etc – I almost feel jealous of people who only have those issues but don’t have the DP/DR. It’s really getting me down and making life unenjoyable. I have felt this way before a few years ago and got better, so part of me thinks I will get better this time but then I worry what if this time I don’t get better :(

  126. Steve b Says:

    Thanks Nolan. The temptation is to think you are having another breakdown. From out of nowhere stomach gone, head gone, palps, anxious thoughts,detached.. I thought it had gone!… I will do what you say mate, thanks again for the reply.

  127. Shannon from Canada Says:


    I know exactly how you feel and agree 100%. The physical symptoms do not bother me anymore, and I am not afraid of anxiety or panic attacks. It is the feeling of unreality that is so uncomfortable and scary. For me it has died down a lot over the past couple of months. I do still find myself asking “am I real?” “Did my life really happen?” “What’s the point of life?” These are things I never would have questioned before. But like you said Dani you have gone through this before and it went away and so have I. Dillon also said he has gone through it before and many others on this site have to. Like Helen said we just have to keep going, let it be there accept that this is us for now. Sometimes I just laugh at how I feel and say to myself “wow I feel So funny right now” it’s not going to hurt us so even though it’s uncomfortable just try to have fun with it. Laugh at yourself. You are going to be okay, nothing has changed you are just tired. Xoxo

  128. Maggie Says:

    Hi Steve b

    I am on the same spot right now.
    After feeling good for sometime(I mean I ignore
    My anxiety and live with it), now I am back to
    having panic attacks every where, anytime, with
    The churning stomach,nausea and racing thoughts
    The whole day.
    I just feel like running to medication which I avoided
    For so long and it worked.
    Not sure what started this again and I have so many
    Bad memories with anxiety.
    I hear you.

  129. Mark r Says:

    File me with Steve and Maggie.

    Go along happy as Larry for ages and then Wham! You feel disgusting again. No rhyme or reason. As Nolan said it’s the nature of it. I’ve not felt this bad in years.

    Important to carry on but its hard not to care. It’s like sitting next to an idiot on the bus who won’t shut up.

  130. Dillon Says:

    Shannon and Dani,

    I didn’t post or visit this blog yesterday because I decided to actually apply what we read here instead of staying in my head and being afraid and I actually had a very relatively good day! I actually had no desire to visit the blog since I felt fine and I realize that I along with many of us on here probably use it as a crutch for immediate relief when we should really only be visiting to learn and apply the things that Paul and everyone is saying. 2 days ago I felt completely in despair and unreal and the very next day I didn’t even feel the need to visit. Give it time, laugh at yourself like Shannon said, focus as much as you can on the outside world, and just accept the feelings as the temporary and not so scary things that they are and I promise you will find relief. Don’t let yourself get dragged down into the cycle and really, what is the worst thing that can happen? You’re not gonna lose control, or go crazy or not be able to function it just never happens. I was in a probably worst place than I am in now 2 years ago and doing the same things that Paul did, I recovered and lived a focused and fulfilling life for 2 years straight. And I know I can do it all over again, you all can too.

    Peace and love

  131. Colin Says:

    Small quote from me on mental illness .
    Someone diagnosed with cancer wants to live ” some one diagnosed with anxiety / depression wants to die ”
    Same person who quoted this , said its like having the devil inside my head with turettes
    I know this isn’t positive guys but a wee insight into how we need to promote awareness on mental health issues ???

  132. Melissa Says:

    Hi Shannon,

    I live in Montreal. I totally understand how your anxiety can be brought on by a big move. Moving is so stressful and challenging. It takes a huge toll, especially when you don’t have much time to rest and de-stress.

    My anxiety started a week after I moved into my new place. I also, hated my job, and a lot more was happening too. I think sometimes we need to be a bit more compassionate with ourselves. It is so understandable that you have anxiety.

    I have DP too…I think back to travels or moments and it does not even feel like my life. So annoying. But a lot of sleep, vitamins, and exercise have helped me. Along with a lot of compassion and support from others. I have so many moments where I think I am going crazy (I’ve thought I’ve had it all…borderline personality disorder, bipolar, schizophrenic, multiple personality disorder). Questioned my sanity because of confusion, DP, etc.

    At times I don’t know what to do, other times I’m great and enjoy life. One day I hope (and know) that everything will be ok.

    Love and hugs to all of you guys. Xoxo

  133. Chris Says:

    Hi Paul, Nolan, or anyone that can help.
    Really really struggling.
    I just wanted to ask a question in regards to an issue I’ve been having. I’m not looking for reassurance this time, more advice.

    My problem is this ‘I can’t stop trying to work things out!’. It’s like a compulsion, a strong powerful force. It’s like I HAVE to go on Google and type everything in. Basically I’ve just come of an SSRI after short term use, and I googled and saw all these people having long term withdrawals, and I basically hung out on this forum a bit scaring the pants off myself, being told by others that I may go through the same. I’ve quit Google, however I feel compelled to Google again to find peace of mind, mainly because I feel totally traumatized by this evil forum I was on, and the fearful side of me can’t help but believe it.

    I’ve basically read every fearful thing on the subject now, which has reinforced the fear tenfold and made me feel completely hopeless. I feel like I’m very OCD with the internet now, like it’s a compulsion. So I want to ask, is this OCD or is this simply just non-acceptance?

    Secondly, can I move past this? Even though the trauma and despair is so deep, can I make it?

    I really need some helpful words on how to accept this, because I’m finding it so hard to move past this right now. Thanks everyone.


  134. Mark r Says:


    PLEASE listen to the advice thats already been given on here. Your mind is in anxious state and has latched onto to a minor worry and amplified it. You are feeding it by going on those forums…there is no powerful force making it, only yourself.

    You are trying to reason with an unreasonable part of your brain. You need to accept this worry as another symptom and let it run its course. It will calm down and shrink if you let it but if you constantly read peoples horror stories you are only going to feel stuck. Do something else with your day today with the worry hovering around and leave it be.

  135. Kellie Says:

    I haven’t been on here for a while, I’ve actually been pretty good for at least a few years now. When I first discovered this blog my anxiety was since having my son. I’ve now got another baby and have felt a bit of anxiety creeping back in. I’ve had a bit of association anxiety and I guess feeling anxious about being anxious. I kind of feel out of touch with how to deal with it. I feel a bit scrambled trying to analyse the why and what I’m anxious about but I know that doesn’t help.

  136. Helen Says:

    Hi Mark,
    This might sound a bit strange but setbacks are a good thing. They re-enforce what you are supposed to do (nothing!) and i often felt much better after a setback, like I had peeled another layer of anxiety off. I think calling it a ‘setback’, labelling it makes it bigger than it should be. When you are recovering from anxiety, even when you know things are getting better, you are still on the lookout, watching for it to come back in the hope that you can stop it before it starts. You can wake one day, have a quick check of how you feel and if there is an inkling of old feelings, you tune into it and those old feelings can come flooding back or just happen gradually, however; when this happens, jsut leave it alone. These periods will get shorter and shorter until you don’t get them anymore. These ‘setbacks’ can be triggered by anything, seeing something on TV, a smell, a place but when they come invite them in knowing that you will learn from them. You aren’t going backwards, you are still going forward with your recovery, it is just that you need some re-enforcement of how to deal with it.
    Smile today knowing that you are getting there, you really are.

    All the best

  137. Pietro Says:

    Hi Chris,

    I’ve had compulsions in the past and here’s what you have to do. Simply stop doing them. Just let go. No matter how strong the urge to Google and try to work it all out, resist. Go for a walk, watch TV, whatever. Just remember this because it will help get you through: the longer you don’t give into the compulsion, the less of an urge you will feel to do it. So…today you may feel like crap, but if you don’t start Googling and obsessing and trying to figure it all out, 3 or 4 days from now you may no longer have the obsession and no longer care. Think of it that way.

    “Oh my God, I feel so awful right now and really feel the urge to figure it out!” Well, yes, but if you can let it go now in a few days it won’t be as bad. The intense anxiety compelling you to try to figure it out WILL diminish. It’s not like you have to live with that horrible anxiety forever and the only way to neutralize it is to start trying to figure it out.

    This is difficult, but in the long term it will be much more beneficial.

  138. Louise Says:

    Hi Helen
    Just wanted to say your posts to Kat about relationship anxiety helped me immensely and the fact it took you a while and you had set backs with these thoughts has helped. It’s good to see you posting again. I still get times when I flooded with horrible thoughts towards him however I know they just the product of anxious mind

  139. karen Says:

    Helen that’s a lovely message.
    I am sat thinking about my anxiety and I know I have come a long way …. but I realise that deep down the intrusive still bother me and to some extent I still believe they may hold a truth so avoid stuff in case they are true and it’s not worth the risk… like going away from home or my husband going away over night etc. I know I need to shed these last few fears and avoidances but it’s tough and they are things I don’t do often enough to get over them … can’t afford to (two or three times a year). I want to be that independent woman again but my brain throws these thoughts out and I think it’s not worth risking. Plus I don’t sleep in anticipation or during so don’t enjoy it and it’s cost money. I get a good week then down then up. I yo yo but I think I may keep doing that until I stop avoiding.
    Any thoughts anyone? It’s tough to not avoid when the anxiety goes off the scale. I have worked back up to so much.

  140. Julie Says:


    A little bit of reassurance seeking here but it’s really freaking me out and I could do with some words of reassurance, I admit.

    My anxiety is very physical recently but it’s mostly a DP feeling or general anxiety. A month ago I started getting a very heavy throat feeling, where I felt I couldn’t take a breath. Not a tightness but a heavy feeling. It caused 2 huge panic attacks the weekend that hit and I had to skype Maria to help me through it, she was great. Since then I have learnt to let it be there but in the last 10 days I have started suffering from an unsteady feeling. I I am sat still it feels ok but the moment I walk around I feel heavy all down the back of my head, my throat and body just generally feels heavy. Now i am not in a panic attack or anything and no heart racing so it’s not like adrenaline is flooding my system when it starts. The floor feels like I am walking on a boat and I feel off balance. It’s freaking me out to the point I am avoiding walking around alot. Which is difficult being a busy mum.

    Does this sound like anxiety? My BP is fine, ears ok, not been ill….. these symptoms started a month ago but now I feel unsteady with it and it’s scaring me. I have never had physical symptoms like this. Today I have felt like strong DP feelings (I hope) where when I look in the mirror I feel I can see myself but I am hazy and out in the car tonight everything around me was distant and like I couldn’t focus on my surroundings. Is this DP?

    My husband said to me Julie you are in safe mode, I’d say all of this is DP but my anxiety has never really been physical so it keeps causing me panic attacks. Also because I am afraid I am ill and will collapse and have to see my GP or go to hospital.

    I hate to post for reassurance but right now I am afraid of this, I wish it would stop. Every day I keep carrying on but it’s not easy to let it be there, it scares me.


  141. ken Says:

    Can someone please help. Lately i noticed i am afraid to say how i feel and im having conversations with others in my head abot meds and being aent away to detox or the hospital. But thealse constant arguments with people. For example my neiboor said something about her husband like he has add or something. And it upset me ans i disnt say anything. But i said it in my head like “he seems pretty docused to me why would you say something like that” but i said it in my head rather than out loud. It happens when i go to the doxtors to because o had adverse reactions. And i feel suddocated and saying things to myself rather than out loud. Im worried im going to flip out. At the same time i have alot of guilt and shame for somthing i said that i dont want to write but it has something to do with being labeled ocd. I have a difficult time comprehending because of my anxiety but would really like some advice. Thank you

  142. Mark r Says:

    Thanks Helen.

    It’s so hard to see in these times when you feel so bad that you’re still progressing. I guess it’s like going up a mountain, sometimes you can see the top but then at some point youve got to come down to go up to reach it.
    Trying not to let it trick me but still getting the nagging ‘this ones lasted over a month, must be serious’ thoughts. It’s hard when you think you’re way past all the bad stuff that it can come flooding back so strongly. Still, time to reinforce like you said. I’ll just carry on doing my life stuff and let it hang around. Can’t say I like it though.

  143. Nolan Says:

    Hey Chris,
    First know this: I’ve been exactly where you are right now.

    I had a psychiatrist that threw so many meds at me over a very short period of time. I took myself completely off of Lexapro just one day. I remember watching videos about getting a terrifying thing called “brain zaps” if one does what I did.
    I’ve also been to those boards you’re talking about. Where everything bleeding thing under the sun that you might mention needs meds. People saying things to me like “Nolan, do you know the damage you can permanently do to your brain if you don’t take meds or if you just stop taking them.

    I remember one morning looking in my medicine cabinet and seeing all this crap that I never used to have to take to be peaceful. Bottles and bottles and bottles… my medicine cabinet overflowing with that sienna color.

    I went to my psychiatrist appointment that evening, came back home with a new scrip…. looked at it…. ripped it up and I remember thinking these words verbatim “I would rather die then have to live like this anymore”. I was done seeing her, I was done seeing my psychologist. I knew the forums were poison to me. This was sometime in May. And it wasn’t a month or two later when I finally got Paul David’s book from a friend I had met on one of these forums who was struggling similar to me.

    What is OCD? I don’t know. I hear the term thrown around so much to cover so much ground.

    OCD, in my mind, isn’t something you catch like a cold.

    At its root, I believe poorly handling stress is the ‘wellspring’ (well, not so ‘wellspring’) of this whole nightmare. Poorly handling stress, over a period of time, constantly ruminating about it (opposed to being gracious and accepting of the rough stuff in life), making your world smaller and smaller by all of the ever increasing things that can introduce stress into your life can very well lead to anxiety and depression (and those symptoms that come along with it). I feel that OCD is just another manifestation of that stress that was never handled properly.

    Somethings that would happen to me are: the thought that I needed to pay attention to my breathing. That I would always have to willfully breathe. It terrified me.
    Then there was the swallowing anxiety. LIke I had to put forth physical force intentionally in order to swallow.
    Then I had read about a blinking issue where someone said that he had to intentionally blink. Guess what…. I started to have to do it too.

    One day I was in my kitchen and I was thinking about the breathing anxiety. That belief that I would always have to focus on my breathing. I thought, “how could I even distract myself from something like this? I need to breathe and the sensation of doing it always seems to be under my conscious attention?”.
    So, I knew I couldn’t just distract myself from it. Hell, no one else who walks around breathing normally (or swallowing normally, or blinking normally) is only doing that because they distracted themselves from the obsession to pay attention to it.

    Then I knew that the answer didn’t lay in ignoring or distracting…. but in letting my mind going where ever it wanted to go and stop struggling against it. If my mind wanted to actively monitor every function like that (sleep included) then I was done struggling against. I would just go with flow. In doing that I stopped making it as much of a big deal to myself.
    I let my mind be as alert and hyperattentive as it wanted to..
    Now, I’m not saying this was fun…. but, I was done making more of an issue out of it than it already was.

    I was certain that I would carry that baggage with me till my last days…. but that wasn’t the case. I don’t do any of that stuff anymore. And, if, for some reason, it all comes raging back…. fine, I know what I need to do.

    So, my advice is to let your mind obsess if it wants to. It’s not something you’re willfully doing, right? It’s happening automatically. So, dispassionately go with the flow.
    It doesn’t mean you need to do everything that does require action on your part. If your mind is screaming “GO ONLINE AND FIND A STORY OF HOPE!”…. let it yell, don’t mentally try to stop those automatic dictates; but that also doesn’t mean you need to pay them heed to.

    “Oh, here’s the intense urge telling me to get online and search, or to talk about my issues with anyone in hopes of finding that beacon of redemption…. that’s fine… it can yell all it wants. But, I’m done taking orders from it.”

  144. Dominic Says:

    Some really great posts on here.
    Just like to point out that all the searching and question asking does is reinforce your sub conscience that there is something wrong with you. Every time you get that horrible feeling come up and you suddenly feel the need to read a recovery story or Google. We’ve all done it.
    Stopping this and just letting the feeling be there is the only way out. The feelings and thoughts will still be there but you are giving them less importance.
    I used to hate being left on my own at home. I would spend all night reading this blog because I convinced myself I had no interest in TV or films. ‘ how’s watching a film going to make me feel better’.
    I only recovered by watching that film no matter how bad I felt. Obviously this is just an example.
    Keep moving forward with life no matter how you feel. Live the life you want to live, do things that you don’t feel like doing. It’s not a trick or distraction, it’s just accepting, living with it. Its bloody hard but it gets easier. I’ve sat in front of a film with my mind raging, so what. I’ve sat on an plane for 8 hours with a racing heart and mind. So what?
    On good days I would not feel the need to go on this blog. I would even say to myself ‘ I’m not like them I don’t need to go on the blog” . The next bad day or bad feeling came along and I was straight on here looking for recovery stories to try and ease my suffering. Once I stopped this and accepted this is me for a while, that’s when things changed for me.
    No offence to anyone on here but I still see some people on here from 3 years ago that are asking the same questions. Really ask yourself is this accepting?
    How can you fully accept if every time you find yourself feeling bad, you then come on here to find answers?
    Hope this sheds a little bit of light in acceptance. I’m still learning. I’ve been in a setback for a while and even after giving advise to others I still had to urges to come on here and obsess, fix. It does nothing for you. I’ve just spent an amazing five days in New York with my wife for her birthday. I had anxiety, racing thoughts, felt rubbish. This was something I couldn’t actively change. What I could do however was make sure we both had a bloody good time, with or without anxiety.
    All the best guys.

  145. Pietro Says:

    Hey Dominic,

    I really loved your posts from back in the day and know I need to make the break from anxiety soon…I spend so much time trying to figure out “how to accept” which is stupid…

    Anyway, I wanted to ask you what your symptoms are/were? Do you have unreality symptoms at all?

  146. Nolan Says:

    When I said “Sometime in May”… that was May 2013

  147. Nolan Says:

    Exactly Dominic!
    “how is watching a film going to help me feel better”.

    I stopped so many of the normal things of my life in order to “beat this beast of anxiety”. But, it was in the attempting to beat anxiety that I was just falling deeper into the thick of it.

  148. Chris Says:

    Thanks for the advice everyone, it’s comforting to know I’m not the only one who has felt like this. I will never go on those forums again, all I’m doing is reinforcing the fear.

    I wish I could write a really lengthy reply but I’m on my phone and have limited accesd but all I can say is THANK YOU. This really helps.

  149. Jamie Says:

    Mark R

    It’s great to hear you feeling a bit more positive and giving advice to others on here as I know you’ve been struggling over the last month or so :)

  150. Jamie Says:


    I’m sure people are very grateful to you coming back on this blog even after you have ‘recovered’ or made great strides towards ‘recovery’. You give very honest and detailed responses and advice and I find them very helpful. I’m sure there are people that ‘recover’ and choose to just leave this blog behind as they just want to move on with their life.

    Thanks a lot

  151. Dominic Says:

    I had all the symptoms that came with anxiety. I felt detached at times, deep in thought, unhappy,racing mind, heart, my worst was the insomnia. When it first hit me 3 years ago I had my attack while I was trying to sleep. As I had no idea what this was I convinced myself I was an insomniac. I labelled myself! I read books on the subject, took pills to sleep, even saw a sleep therapist. All the time I did this I was feeding the flames. Of course I was never going to sleep.
    I remember even before my anxiety I had problems sleeping some nights. But like everyone else it never bothered me. You see how anxiety latches on to certain things. Even when recovered I had some bad night and it never bothered me.
    On this setback the insomnia never really bothered me at all. I knew what to expect. Sure it wasn’t nice but it passes.
    Only the other morning I woke up with crazy thoughts about my young children being hurt, they always seemed to get me as I woke.Sure it made me feel bad but I got up, had a bagel and a coffee and went to see Times Square.
    I guess the point that me, Nolan and all the others are trying to get across is that the questioning and trying, searching, working out how to accept stops you from doing the accepting.
    Not only does it keep you on the subject it just reinforces the fear.
    Symptoms are symptoms. Whatever. It’s all the same. I think somebody once put on here that if you’ve got to ask then it’s anxiety.
    One symptom that really got me was my feelings towards my son. I had none. Just fear and despair. It haunted me. How could I not have any feelings for this little boy. They came back and we had another child a year after recovering.
    Again this is something that doesn’t bother me now. I play with my kids, take them out, bath them however I feel. It’s my duty.I know my feelings are there underneath. It is very hard having anxiety with two young children but you soldier through with a big smile for them.
    Sorry for the rambling post but it’s evening here and I’ve had a little glass of whiskey. I don’t like to drink a lot as hangovers, anxiety and two small children is hell!!
    I would love nothing more than to be where I was a few months ago but hey this is me for now.
    Goodnight all

  152. Markr Says:


    Certainly does suck after being free for a while. I keep getting the urge to run to the blog (not bog) when I get those overwhelming disgusting feelings again but I don’t want to feed it. I let them come and leave on their own accord and they always do.

    Sounds like you’re keeping a level head about this. I’d love to have the baseline that I had a few months back too but I unfortunately I don’t at the moment. It will come…..patience is my last hurdle. Never been a strong point of mine.

  153. Chris Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    Just to add, I remember having the fear of brain zaps too yesterday! I was sitting on the couch yesterday just waiting for them to happen. The forums I went on were more anti meds (surviving – the most traumatic site I’ve ever visited). My main fear of course is that benzos/SSRI’s gave me brain damage, or have created a chemical imbalance lol. Should I just adopt the attitude ‘so be it’ or not even judge it? Obviously I will let the fear be there.


  154. karen Says:

    Sorry to ask again but any responses to my post. I know I have been at this few years and I clearly haven’t had that light bulb but I am trying and do have some periods of peace. I am frustrated. I just don’t like the intrusive, they scare me and I guess I believe them. But they are Def anxiety and not true? So I should go do the stuff anyway? X

  155. karen Says:

    I put so much pressure on myself … I have to learn to let go of this …. I have to learn to release control … I have to learn to accept. Ugh

  156. Pietro Says:

    I’m thinking about trying some medication for my OCD as it’s particularly bad…I keep worrying about “how to accept” and how to “desensitize” and all of this stuff…

  157. Mark r Says:

    Pietro….that isn’t OCD. That’s your mind trying to figure its way back to health. My mind is doing the same now ‘Mark, how about another book on anxiety? Another forum?’…….erm nope I will see what films are on thanks. Like a spoilt child trying to get its own way… has to learn the hard way.

  158. Mark r Says:


    That’s your mistake right there….you don’t HAVE to DO anything. Doing is fighting. Forget the lightbulb moment, forget releasing control, this is added pressure you don’t need. Accept the lot and celebrate the moments of peace…..they mean you’re heading in the right direction. They will get bigger and bigger until the crap times mean less and less.
    Now if I could just take my own advice sometimes….

  159. Nolan Says:

    Just a quick note:
    when you’re struggling and the fear/despair is coming on strong…. it’s not your job to make those feelings go away right at that moment, or even to make them hurry up and leave.
    They will leave, be certain of that. But it leaves on its own accord.
    It’s hard to trust this when your mind is running a million miles a second and when your body is both exhausted but as alert and ready as possible.

    It just seems like you really should be doing something to fight it back. It seems like you need to do something lest your grip on reality slips alittle further away or away from you completely.

    I’m of the mind that for the most part we brought this on ourselves. How we responded to the stressful things in our lives created the background noise that follows us around. For me it stands to reason that anxiety and depression seem like logical endpoints for someone who doesn’t handle stress very well.

    But that’s not the end of the story because there are other ways to handle stress.
    My wife provides me another way of seeing how one could react in a stressful situation. She’s been graced with an abundance of patience. She takes things in stride. She has also never had a bout of anxiety or depression. She gets down at times, but she’s always been accepting of it. Not me. I’ve been the one to ruminate on this or that…. finding ways to ‘deal’ with the stress in my life opposed to just accepting that “sometimes things go in your favor and sometimes they don’t”.
    The happiest person isn’t the person that has somehow figured out a way to vanquish all sources of stress in their lives…. they’re the ones that can view stress in a more positive light. Maybe a chance to grow, or to learn to be more patient, or to offer it up for someone else.

    So back to my main point: it’s not your job to end the anxiety and depressive feelings when they’re coming at you strong. That just feeds back into the way we’ve handled general stress earlier in our lives, before we were wrought with fear/despair/thoughts of being broken. We need to feel it all, let it all be there and finally start reacting to it more graciously and dispassionately.

    That reaction is what will send the message back to your mind/body that “it’s okay now, I can handle this.”
    You’ll get your moments of peace to let you know that you’re on the right track…. setbacks will come, but always treat them the same. They will leave on their own accord.

  160. Jacob Says:

    @Nolan (or Paul)

    But what about for the people like me who have not brought it upon themselves?

    My issues were triggered by the hair loss medicine Propecia. It has completely destroyed me and made me into a shadow of my former self. Unlike many others here, not only do I have all the anxiety/depression/depersonalization stuff I also have sexual symptoms AND horrid cognitive symptoms like brain fog/memory loss/lowered intelligence.

    How the hell can I live my life dealing with constant sexual and cognitive symptoms for example??? I used to be at the top of my class at academics and had a monster sex drive prior to that drug. Also had no issues with stress whatsoever. Now I keep comparing myself to who I was before and I am less of a person. Heck, since I can’t even get it up I am basically nothing. If “living life” means continually pursuing relationships with girls for example I am totally screwed in that domain. And I can’t even achieve as much as I used to.

    All absolutely for no reason other than the drug which screwed up my neurosteroids and caused a chemical imbalance, proven by many studies on the subject.

  161. karen Says:

    Thanks Mark and Nolan.

  162. Bryan Says:


    Sounds like a post benzo response which means in time you’ll be fine. I’d suggest working with a doctor and continuing to learn to contain your thinking on the matter. It’s apparent in your language you’re adding s ton of stress to your own body via your language/reaction. As someone who recovered from being on benzos I can tell you that a huge percentage of our suffering is self created and not the result of the medication at all. So, I suggest you work on that which you can control which is your approach to acceptance and moving on with life.

    And so you know, TONS of people wind up with anxiety disorders because of med use and all who do the right work recover, IMO. It’s just a trigger. What happens after that is up to you.

  163. Belgian Says:

    Someone asked me if I am “recovered” or if I consider myself to be recovered.

    For me this is not asking the right question. The right question is if I let anxiety play such an important role in my life that it has a definitive say in how I handle things.

    There I can tell you, without a shadow of a doubt, no I do not.

    Try to stop looking for that one moment that changes it all. That moment that you know that it is all over and you close the door for past and future suffering.

    When you mourn the dead of a loved-one, you are not – at least I hope – looking for that moment when you say: “and now my grief is over and I can go one as if nothing did ever happen”

    Healing on the contrary is very gradual and has much more to do on how you cope than it has with forgetting and moving on.

    I still “feel” “anxious” quite a lot, but I can say that it truly doesn’t bother me as much as before. At times, it leaves me so quick that I don’t really remember at the end of the day that it was there. When hangover, I even almost expect it to be there, but I just carry on. Why should I waste energy on fighting all of these emotions, when if I just let go – it will leave me much quicker.

    Reading the posts of several people here, you see that it is inevitable that they will keep themselves in anxiety state for the time being. They are doing so hard their best not to accept the fact that they are doing this to themselves.

    But in fact, you really are. It is a part of you, beyond you control, that is causing all of these anxiety flashes. It is your reaction or I would prefer to say your attitude that will decide whether or not you will make it into bouts of anxiety disorder.

    So maybe for once try to accept your feelings.

  164. karen Says:

    Oh God … okay so when I Google “how do I let go of control or how do I accept anxiety” or when I Google “ocd. … how to deal with intrusive thoughts.” I am still trying to fix it and DO something. So basically acknowledge what’s happening … get on with life like it wasn’t there no matter how tired from crap sleep / what scary thoughts / tearfulness / symptoms are screaming at you. That’s not easy is it? I think I expected when I accepted it would be easy and not scary anymore …like I could accept what it was but not be scared of it. Nolan you explained this better for me. Basically just IGNORE it. Yes?
    I know this really … its just every time it comes back I get tricked and it takes me a while because I ‘oh no … I thought I was better.’ Frankly we had a bereavement that affected my son badly a couple of weeks ago …. and I expect myself to be fine. Of course it would kick it in but I seem to be unable to use my nurturing compassionate self on myself.

  165. karen Says:

    This is the hardest thing I have ever had to “not do” in my life. I am by nature a “fixer / fighter” as I think a lot of us are.

  166. Belgian Says:


    It is not easy to learn to accept, so be kind to yourself. Everything we learn, we learn it gradually. So be prepared for this gradualness.

    Also, it’s not because you are accepting that the symptoms will lift. On the contrary, the symptoms could be harder than ever. It’s your understanding of it, which means that you know that these symptoms can not harm you, that makes all possible.

    Also, I would not call it ‘ignoring’. Ignoring is like forcing yourself not to care and actually quite impossible. How could you ignore such intense feeling. I find so much peace in doctor Weekes’ term: floating. Float through the experience. Let that tense hold on your body go and move forward with it. Imagine yourself drifting on water. If you start to kick, you will drown. But if you let the water carry you, you’ll be fine.

    In what I read, there is still a lot of fear for your symptoms. A lot of fear of fear. But at the same time, you are starting to see some light. You are indeed a fighter, you are only sometimes fighting the wrong way. I am confident that you will find the right way again, Karen.

  167. karen Says:

    Ah Belgian. … bless you for your kind and helpful words. Thank you. I know I have been at this a while and keep asking stuff but I will get there and words like yours are so helpful.

  168. Mark r Says:

    Good post Nolan.

    I do handle stress a million times better than I used to. My biggest problem is the setbacks I get which seem to be outside of my control. Like Helen mentioned in a previous post they present themselves due to innocuous reasons. I have been dealing with anxiety on and off for a long time and I’m battlescarred with the experiences I have. It can take something ever so slight for the old feelings to come back more strongly than ever.
    What I can change is the way I deal with them when they crop up. The attitude needs to change from ‘Oh god not another setback, this is a disaster’ to ‘this is uncomfortable but I can cope with it’. It takes time for me to get that frame of mind but only then do they pass for me.

    Karen, we are all fighters. Our brains are wired to survive. The way I look at this is that one part of our brain is anxious and preparing us for battle (although we know there is none), giving us the thoughts and symptoms. And there is another part trying to figure a way out of this. I don’t see we have control over either and as long as you dont join in our mind will see there is no issue and both will die down. As long as you act (accept and do life stuff) that everything is okay and not try and fight or think yourself better then the brain will get the right message and let go. That obviously is the hard part.

  169. Pietro Says:

    Hi Beglian, I have anxiety all the time, so should I loosen my body as much as possible all the time?

  170. Ves Says:

    Karen: ” I am by nature a “fixer / fighter” as I think a lot of us are.”

    Hi Karen,

    Not at all. That is huge misconception that will keep you in anxiety state for long time. You are putting a label on something that is called condition. It is not YOU that is a fighter. There is nothing personal. It is just condition.

    Karen, drop the fighting guard. How can you be a fighter if you drop the guard? It is impossible to be a fighter if you would drop the guard. Now put up the guard again. Now you are fighter. Do you clearly see what is happening? It is just condition.

    So drop the guard and that means stop googling for a solution that does not exist. Just drop the guard. Start now. Anxiety loves you so much that will force you to do it anyway. It is just matter of how long you want to keep suffering by not dropping the guard.

  171. Nolan Says:

    Hi Jacob,

    Are you saying you never had stress before or that you were great at handling the rough stress in your life prior to all of this?
    Because there is a difference. Sure, it’s easy to handle stress when there’s little bothering us.

    But given a rough situation that actually severely pushes our patience and comfort how do we respond?

    There’s a difference between enjoying cooking food and trying a new recipe that is kind of difficult and stretches our ability as a cook….
    Compared to losing one’s job and now has to find a way to provide for their family.

    One situation is still enjoyable and it’s a stretch on our ability.
    The other is qualitatively different and is a stretch on our patience and how we react to discomfort.

    Also, you say “unlike others on here”…. but, when I was struggling with anxiety and depression (and every other symptom too) it wasn’t like I had any urge to …. ahem…. have relations with my wife.

    Jacob you said:

    “Heck, since I can’t even get it up I am basically nothing. If “living life” means continually pursuing relationships with girls for example I am totally screwed in that domain. And I can’t even achieve as much as I used to.”…

    Sorry to say, but very little in your posts strikes me as one who, all things considered, is very good at handling stressful situations. Again, there’s a difference between doing something that we ultimately like doing and stretching our abilities in that domain…. compared to being truly in a rough situation and how we respond from that point going forward.

    All in all, we’re not so different after all.

  172. Nolan Says:

    Great to hear, Mark r.

    I know what you mean. I used to let everything drive me up the wall.
    But, now though I may fall into that rut at times…. I have a stronger ‘other’ voice in me that reminds me there are other ways to react to things we don’t immediately like, or things that are by nature hard to deal with.

  173. karen Says:

    Thank you everyone for your support. Really appreciate it. Am going to take a blog break now and see how it goes. Good luck everyone x

  174. karen Says:

    But will add ….. god no anxiety really does not make you want to have relations!

  175. Jacob Says:


    Thanks for the response. What I mean to say is that all normal/day to day stressors never bothered me. The reaction to the medication itself created all the symptoms and then of course those symptoms are quite extreme stressors. But for anybody-even people who are good at handling stress- would be thrown into a huge downward spiral if they had all that (random anxiety/cognitive symptoms included which are probably the worst)

    As in its not some series of stressors that culminated in the initial anxiety response. It was essentially bad luck, bad genes, random. Like no specific series of events in my life that I can point to or find other than that.

  176. Debbie Says:

    Hi, I first read your book a couple of months ago, then I read your second book. I loved them and through the worst of times they were amazing, making me get on with my everyday life. Nothing massively changed and I re read them a few weeks ago, the second time round I seemed to really understand the message. I got back into my hobbies even though I didn’t feel like it and REALLY started living again, rather than muddling through life like I had been. It was hard, sometimes I wondered if your advice was making me worse sometimes, but I thought what else do I have to choose from, so I carried on.
    Last week I was out and realised I felt ok, not weird and space. It was actually quite strange to feel ‘normal’. Then that evening I thought, hmm I’m not feeling on edge and panicky, this is amazing. Thank you so much! I still feel anxious in stressful situations,but I think I was always like that. And I know recovery will have its ups and downs, but I don’t care, I never thought I’d see a way out of the woods!

  177. Julie Says:


    I thought I’d post an update. I also really need some support as I am struggling and terrified. I have no idea how to accept this, any words of advice appreciated because my fear keeps coming through and if this is anxiety then surely I am fueling it with more adrenaline.

    For the last week or so I’ve felt very off balance like the ground is moving. I feel very off balance. It’s been terrifying me to the point I’m now way too scared to walk a around.

    My gp called me yesterday after my hubby rang him to tell him how scared I was and bless him he came to my house. I was scared stiff but he said its ok I will be there if you have a panic attack and help you. When he arrived I told him how scared I was about this off balance feeling. He did a full examination. He checked my temp, BP, eyes, ears, muscle tests and balance tests. He told me physically I am fine and it’s not anything serious or an inner ear infection. He listened to how much stress I have been under. My daughters been ill in hospital and my son told us a month ago he had suicidal thoughts and the childrens mental health team have refused to help and told me I can support him through his bullying issues, panic attacks and these thoughts. I have no support and I’ve been juggling it all. He diagnosed me with stress and anxiety. He said anxiety when acute like this it can cause dizziness and an unbalanced feeling. He asked why my mother doesn’t support me and I told him I had no idea, I have no support and my husband has to work.

    I have never experienced this and I’m terrified. Even though he’s done a full check up I am still so scared. He told me to rest but also keep moving round slowly to build my confidence again. I picked my son up from school yesterday made their dinner and then I remembered my son had gymnastics so I had to go out in the car again. The floor felt it was moving and I panicked I’d fall to the ground. I was terrified. I just took my kids to school this morning and when I got home I felt like the ground was moving under me, my legs feel like lead but weak, I feel just generally ill, exhausted, off balance and very very afraid. I am sat sobbing. I keep waking up praying it has gone but only to feel it just as bad I am adding fear to it I know but I can’t help it, I am so scared it’s a brain tumour or something serious because my vision is a foggy and blurry.

    I’m home now and sat sobbing. Has anyone experienced this with anxiety? I haven’t and I am so scared. Can anxiety really make you feel this ill? I haven’t ever felt so ill and afraid and I have anxiety a few years now. I dread getting up, I feel anxious having to do the school run. If this dizziness would go I’d be fine but it’s causing me so much anxiety :-(


  178. Chris Says:

    Hi Julie

    Rest assured, I have definitely experienced this, and guess what, it went away! It is a common anxiety symptom. Accept it as best you canm

  179. Julie Says:


    Thank you. As bad as what I describe? I have been terrified, I still am despite the GP checking me over. Was yours constant too?

    Thank you for your kind reply.


  180. Andy J Says:

    Hi Julie,

    I had many episodes of dizziness during my early days of having anxiety. Trouble was, I didnt realise I had anxiety at the time. I had specific concerns about my health, but as I hadnt ever read up on anxiety or depression, was always convinced there was something seriously wrong with me.

    I constantly monitored how I was. My head felt like it was a breeze block. I would be convinced I was swaying from side to side, even to the extent I had to sit down during the hymns at my friends wedding. I went to my GP 10+ times, and eventually convinced myself that I had some kind of blood clot or tumor. I genuinely believed there was something the matter with me and wanted to rule EVERYTHING out. I even went to my local hospital having been referred for a CT scan. Guess what though? Nothing physically was the matter with me.

    How am I now? Well, I still suffer from anxiety, but nothing in its physical form. I dont feel dizzy, I dont feel like im swaying, no pains in the chest or sweats, nothing. In fact, I would probably prefer to have the physical symptoms over the constant over thinking.

    I know it might seem hard now, but this will fade with time. The more you focus on an area, the bigger the issue or more real it feels. I’ve been there and know you will be struggling, but I am evidence that the physical symptoms do disappear. Keep going.

    Hope that helps a little.



  181. Julie Says:

    Thanks Andy for sharing your experience with me.

    Like you I am also fearing it’s a tumour or blood clot. Especially as I have some blurred vision in one eye. My GP did a thorough examination and he is rather cautious and said he was certain this was all stress related.

    I am just struggling to even do normal things like housework, cooking, the school run makes me panic because constantly I have this dizziness and feel the floor moving. I am terrified.

    My anxiety was always intrusives, I’d rather them any day if this is anxiety. I regret saying I’d rather have physical anxiety now. I have just never experienced anything like this and I am afraid.

    Thanks for your help.


  182. Andy J Says:

    Thats OK.

    In hindsight I shouldn’t have said that. One anxiety isn’t any better or worse than another. Having read this blog for long enough, I know every one suffers in their own way.

    I know reassurance isn’t always the best way, BUT in this situation, I would say the following. You have been to your GP and expressed concerns about what you believe is the matter with you. I am assuming that the examination would have been the usual, including looking in to your eyes. Now looking in to eyes is one of the best ways to determine any kind of issues within the brain because of the pressure it places on the optic nerve. Lets remember, Doctors are paid to spot these things and the chances of them missing are minute.

    Hang in there. You’re doing great.

  183. Clare Says:

    Julie I really feel for u ,I have had anxiety for years ,Paul’s book and Clare weekes book have been like bibles to me .i retired two months ago same week my sister died and I am in set back.its strange thoughts that bother me ,and self awareness ,i get so fed up of myself .but I know I can cope much better with Paul’s help .good luck to u

  184. Julie Says:

    Hi Andy

    It’s ok. I have even said myself I’d rather have physical feelings and now I am hating it haha!

    Yes he did check my eyes with a light, my BP was normal, ears temperature, muscle test, balance test, looked up my nose… tested alot of things. He said this is all stress and adrenaline flooding my body has caused this nervous exhaustion. I just have never had it like this where I feel I can’t walk around. I just went downstairs now to make a drink and my legs feel like they are almost burning they are so heavy and feel weak. Horrid feeling and I feel so off balance with it. It frightens me so much.

    I have to trust him I know, I just don’t know how to push through this and not be scared of it. I dread walking round. I am feeling scared about picking the children up at 3, it’s horrible. I just want to feel ok again and only have anxiety causing intrusives or whatever, having this constant is not what I am used to. I hate being out of action, I can’t do the housework and cooking is something fast so I can sit down again. So frustrated. GP said I need to rest but get up hourly to have a walk and build my confidence, he said this will pass when I lose my fear of it and get some much needed rest.

    Thanks again for being so kind.


  185. Rachel Says:

    Hi Julie now you know why I was going on and on about my physical symptom which is dizziness which I still have by the way I can’t even move my head from side to side without going dizzy it’s funny to hear you say you would rather have your old symptom back I’ve never had the bad thoughts but I’m sure they can’t make you feel physical ill like this xx

  186. Rachel Says:

    Julie you have to get on with it I’ve carried on my normal life with this for years and it has got no better it’s got worse to be honest and how can you get over the fear of it when it scares the hell out of you not only am I dizzy as hell im in so much pain hell on earth isn’t it x Bet you regret saying you would rather have physical symptoms now lol xx

  187. Julie Says:

    Hi Rachel

    Yes I do regret it haha

    All my gp offered me was diazepam to calm me through it but I refused. I don’t want tablets.

    Is your dizziness this bad Rachel? I know I’m seeking reassurance but this is so frightenung. I am terrified walking round. I feel heavy in thr back of my head, throat feels heavy and my legs are like lead and weak. I feel the ground is moving like I am on a boat. My head feels off balance too but it’s mainly in my legs. It’s horrible and I am scared stuff walking around. I panic I will collapse and end up in hospital and I guess I am worried sick it’s not anxiety causing this.

    Thanks you so much for replying to me. I am finding this really tough.


  188. Rachel Says:

    Yes Julie all of the above I am having another scan of my head and neck cos I’m convinced it isn’t anxiety I really don’t know how I carry on at the min even opening a draw I feel the whole thing is going to fall on me when I needed advice you helped me as you said you had it at the beginning or was it not as bad as you have it now I have it really bad Julie but no one knows why it’s happening people say it’s anxiety but I’m must only be anxious cos I’m so dizzy hell on earth like you I wish I could wake up and it’s all gone no such luck x

  189. Andy J Says:

    Rachel and Julie.

    Thats the anxiety kicking in. Have a look through what Paul says, pretty much any kind of physical symptom can be caused via anxiety. Focussing in on that ache or pain will magnify it to be something huge. You then become obsessed with looking in to it.

    No matter how many times you go to the doctor, you still dont believe them do you? I know, I’ve been there, done it. The amount of money I wasted on tablets or nasal sprays or chiropractors in case I had a dodgy neck would probably be in the hundreds if not thousands of pounds.

    I found when I went to my Doctor that telling him I had anxiety and that I thought I had a specific illness, he would then reassure me to show exactly why it wasnt what I thought it was.
    You say you have both suffered for a long time with this? If it truly was something serious, dont you think it would have happened already? Doesnt that help you see that this is all just anxiety and is being reinforced by constant examining and self awareness?

    Do they happen all the time? Or do you get times during the day where you dont actually notice?

    The less concerned you are with it, the easier it will be to beat it. It wont be easy to start with, but just take the same so what attitude with these symptoms as you would the thoughts.

    I dont mean this to sound too harsh, but anxiety is something that can give you any kind of physical ailment.

    All the best,


  190. Jamie Says:

    Has anyone or does anyone suffer with chronic tension headaches / migraines as a result of stress / anxiety ? The best way to describe mine is it feels like all of the blood vessels across the head have swollen up and they are throbbing, it makes me feel a bit sick and light headed. Granted this is as a result of excess worry / overthinking (in my case anyway) and luckily I do not suffer from them as much as I used to over the last 6 months or so which is good news.

    However, has anyone else got experience of these and can anyone recommend anything that helps when they are there ? I have tried over the counter headache tablets which did nothing, I got recommended, via a migraine doctor, some short term quite hardcore headache meds but they did nothing also. He next prescribed me an anti-seizure drug which I chose not to take as it would have been a daily dose and they sounded pretty heavy.

    Can anyone help as they are very debilitating (as it has been today) ?

  191. Julie Says:

    Rachel thank you I wish we could chat off here but I can’t leave my email address on here.

    Andy – My mum just came to visit. As she left I felt my whole body go like lead. This is a symptom ive had a while. Way before the dizziness started. Where my whole body goes heavy. Just now my head went heavy, my throat then my limbs. I felt I was about to drop through the floor. I felt instantly panicked and sat shaking. Is that anxiety? It terrified me. I feel awful and very afraid. I’m sat shaking and close to panic lying on my bed.

    I’ve not had this before. It’s only started recently this dizziness. It’s why I’m so afraid.

    Thank you.


  192. Mark r Says:

    Julie and Rachel,

    You have both been given the okay from doctors so you need to put this down to anxiety. You both sound a bit stuck at the moment so is there anyway you could go and see a therapist? I use one in ACT which is acceptance and commitment therapy which nicely ties in with the ethos of this blog. Its always good to have that extra bit of support face to face and identify where you are getting snagged on things.
    Please dont take this advice the wrong way, I just know what helps me from my own experience. I truly know how convincing that anxious voice can be but I’ve learned to mistrust mine.

  193. Rachel Says:

    Julie go on my fb and private message me x

  194. Julie Says:

    Thank you Mark.

    I’ve restarted cbt privately but at £60 a session I can’t afford it weekly.

    I just hope I can pull through this myself.

    Rachel. I’m not sure of your laSt name to search for you.


  195. Louise Says:

    Hi Julie
    Emdr is worth a try and a lot cheAper than 60 pound not sure where in uk you are but I’m down south and it 45 pound session

  196. Julie Says:

    Oh that’s not bad Louise. I’d struggle to do appointments at the moment though feeling like this. I do my therapy via Skype.


  197. Louise Says:

    If you can def worth a go there was a article in daily mail online yesterday about lady who suffered through something in past she only had 4 sessions see if you can find it

  198. ken Says:

    Could anyone give me some advice. Ive been coming of a benzo and keep thinking of trying marijuana. I dont libe in a legal state but some family does. Im very desperate and have been suppressing my desperation which i noticed just now but im wondering if it would be a bad idea to go out to a legal state for mmj. Any advice

  199. ken Says:

    I guess because im searching for answers. But at the same time could possibly help

  200. Jen Says:

    Shannon and Dani
    I have been reading through the posts on here and I just wanted to tell you I know how you guys are feeling with the dp. I didn’t know it was dp that I had I never even knew such a thing. I didn’t even know that anxiety was like this I just thought people worry or get panicky sometimes I never knew it could turn into this. My story was that I had a full blown panic attack right when I woke up in the morning. I was feeling overwelmed with things and was probably worrying a lot and just filling up the stress bucket I went on a medication for it I believe I had some reactions to the medication which in returned made me panic and that is what broke the camels back for me. After the panic attack I had no clue what just happened and why I kept staying anxious and panicky from it. I thought it was the medication so I went off nope it was anxiety. I was besides myself. I had a lot of physical symptoms smith has ache, hot flashes, night sweats, heart pluptations, dizziness for about a month, I lost 12lbs, and then it started to effect my sleep as I went on another medication which then gave me muscle spasms in my head and a headache that lasted two weeks straight. I said forget this I went off of it and the headaches went away. All my physical symptoms have gone I now which I am very thankful for besides I get the anxious feeling throughout my body once in awhile and heart pluptations randomly but I remember getting those before this hit so I just ignore it and it never bothers me. I didn’t realize I had dp I just thought it was the anxiety that makes you feel besides your self. However I remember when it first hit and I questioned myself if I was real or looking at my hands like those are my hands and then thinking why the heck am I asking this. It was so weird. I then started getting more thoughts like this questioning if things were real my existence. And it scared me too. I started to go down the self pity route and feeling bad for myself because like you Shannon I have two kids and they mean the world to me. I felt like I was missing out on there lives kinda like my life had stopped when this anxiety happened to me. I now know it hasn’t stopped although I have the worrying thought sometimes but I brush them off now and I’m getting better and better at it. I have been having really good days lackey actually a few nights now from like six on with zero anxiety and dp. During the day is the hardest for me but I know it will get better. I don’t know how I did it or have come to the this stage but I have adopted the attitude that it’s with me right now and oh well. Better to have any kind of life then no life. And it seems to be working. I’m not saying that I probably won’t need reassurance later one but hey we are all human and need that once in awhile. I feel like I’m making great progress and I know you guys can too. I keep reading that the attitude is the most important part to adapt and I truly think so to. This is probably the hardest thing I have ever been through but I know it will be rewarding when we all recover. I just wanted to let you guys know your not alone and it does make it a little easier that what we are going though that others understand. It would be great to stay in touch I wish you all the best. Just keep the faith that things will get better because I know they will

  201. Jen Says:

    Also Shannon what you have said in your posts before I completely understand. I would never question this stuff before and it is strange to feel this way. I think that is the hardest part not feeling like you are yourself. I just keep having hope that one day I will be back to the old me.

  202. Julie Says:


    Sorry yesterday I was so anxious.

    I meant to say it’s constant but if sat I am ok. It’s on walking. I feel like my legs are moving or the floor is moving. My legs feel heavy and sometimes my whole body. It scares me walking round and having to take my children to school.

    I have never had this with anxiety and that’s why I am finding it so hard to accept it, why would I suddenly after all these years feel this way? My GP said it is because the last 2 months have been constant stress with my son ill, my daughter in hospital and I have no support. He said my body is now crying out for a rest from all the stress and anxiety. I hope he is right. I am just struggling to accept it and keep worrying it’s something serious in the brain, or what if i collapse, what if I end up in hospital….. I cry whenever it hits. Urgh it’s really horrible. I pray I will be free of this awful symptom soon because I have 3 children, I can’t go out like this, and I am barely eating due to all the worry about this symptom.

    Thank you for your post yesterday.


  203. Jamie Says:

    Hi. I just wondered if anyone had any thoughts on my post regarding headaches below:

    Has anyone or does anyone suffer with chronic tension headaches / migraines as a result of stress / anxiety ? The best way to describe mine is it feels like all of the blood vessels across the head have swollen up and they are throbbing, it makes me feel a bit sick and light headed. Granted this is as a result of excess worry / overthinking (in my case anyway) and luckily I do not suffer from them as much as I used to over the last 6 months or so which is good news.

    However, has anyone else got experience of these and can anyone recommend anything that helps when they are there ? I have tried over the counter headache tablets which did nothing, I got recommended, via a migraine doctor, some short term quite hardcore headache meds but they did nothing also. He next prescribed me an anti-seizure drug which I chose not to take as it would have been a daily dose and they sounded pretty heavy.

    Can anyone help as they are very debilitating (as it has been today) ?

  204. Andy J Says:

    Hi Guys,

    I am having a bit of a hard time. I think I might have been relatively lucky so far with my suffering, in so much that I have still been able to function, never had a day off work on the sick or been too down to not do anything.

    However, this now feels like I am heading back down the depression route. The continuous obsessive thinking upon waking and driving to work is crippling and I find my motivation taking a massive nose dive. Recently I have been motivated to attend the gym and try and find a new job. However this has all disappeared and its a case of trying to continue as best I can.

    I don’t know if the obsessive thoughts are directly linked to the depression or not, but I think should they reduce, then the depression might lift. I’ve had the odd moments where I have imagined being how I was before all of this hell began. Back before my stress kicked off the only thing I worried about was whether I was out on a Friday night or not.

    My anxiety has morphed from ‘not feeling right’ and inward thinking, to now having what I believe to be OCD in the form of distressing intrusive thoughts. It focuses specifically on whether I am now a bad person and whether my attitude to something I would have hated in the past has now decreased.

    How do I get on with this? When I am confronted with these thoughts on a daily basis and have been now for almost 18 months? I feel as though I have attempted to allow the thoughts to be there and accepted that they are just exaggerated by my anxiety. I am also still on Citalopram, which I dont think is helping in any shape or form. I havent had any sort of physical symptoms which would require them to be taken, but they havent reduced my thought process, nor do I expect them too.

    I feel like most of the therapists I have seen have been trained in generic anxiety, but I need to see some one who specialises in obsessive thoughts and to understand my thought processes.

    I know every one is having their own battles, but I would really appreciate it if some one could pass on some words of wisdom. Its hard work living life like its ground hog day and getting by on a day to day basis.

    All the best,


  205. Julie Says:

    Rachel – I don’t know how to find your on Facebook?


  206. Mark r Says:

    Hi all,

    Noticed a few people struggling with DP and a bit bemused by it. I find that Dp is directly linked to your anxiety levels…ie the more anxious you are the stronger the DP. It’s a very good thing in that its a safety mechanism that slows the brain down from its fast thinking and to protect us from pain. Without dp we wouldn’t survive the thrashing our minds give us.
    Since this started for me almost four years ago I’ve had dp at various levels, very strongly this last month or so. It’s very annoying I know as it makes you apathetic towards things….why bother if I can’t feel anything?
    It is important to know that as your anxiety levels come down the dp level will too and you won’t be bothered by it. Up until a month or so ago it was a very slight fuzzy feeling which I can live with easily. So if you’re in a thick dp bubble at the moment (as am I), don’t worry or fear it as it will die down naturally as you recover.

    Ps I’m writing this for my own benefit too as I was starting to get down about it earlier but deep down I know better to.

  207. Dani Says:

    Hi Jen
    Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I too usually feel worse with the DP and thoughts during the day and agree that the hardest part is not feeling your normal self. I think you have the right attitude towards it, whereas I find myself getting very frustrated and feeling sorry for myself. I went to the shopping centre the other day and when I got there it all looked the same but felt different and strange.

    Jen & Shannon & Dillon – how long have you been experiencing the DP? Also do you go to work? I usually work full time but have been signed off the last few weeks x

  208. Dani Says:

    Hi Mark

    I hadn’t seen your post re DP when I posted mine. Thank you that is reassuring, although I do feel that my anxiety has calmed down but the DP is still hanging around :( it seems strange that our mind using DP to protect from the anxiety, yet the DP itself is worse than the initial anxiety and just causes more anxiety. I totally can relate to the why bother with anything, to me doing certain things seems pointless because what’s the point in doing things when it doesn’t feel like it’s real.
    Also, a small thing, before anxiety & DP, I used to enjoying listening to music in my car but now I have no desire to listen to music at all!

  209. Mark r Says:

    Hi Dani,

    No worries. I’m the same at the moment, music doesn’t interest me in the slightest, which is annoying as its a passion of mine!

    On a side note just wondered if anyone cries much in a setback? I find my acceptance levels are very high most of the time but then sometimes I end up in tears for almost 30 mins or so. Its usually when I’m not occupied then I get the ‘look at what you’re dealing with again’ and it starts.

  210. Shannon from Canada Says:


    Thanks for that msg I have followed your lead and been away from the forum for the last few days and you were right. I have felt the best I have since this all started. I really focused on my children and kept a positive mind set and had hours where I didn’t even think about DP and felt really happy ! I can see the light at the end of this long dark tunnel. Thank you


    I’m so glad that you are feeling so positive about all this. I know exactly how you feel and DP really is so difficult to accept. I have also been taking a lot of vitamins and running at least twice a week and my anxiety has really died down. I also find myself not worrying so much about daily chores or activities which is nice because even before this episode I was always very stressed and anxious. My husband, children and I are taking a trip to Vancouver this weekend and if you asked me a month ago I would have said hell no I can’t get on a ferry boat. But I’m excited to go and even if I get anxious on the boat who cares ! I know the DP is going away because I have hours of clarity some days. I hope your still doing well, and just know you are not alone.xx


    I have had the DP since middle of August after I had a massive panic attack one night. I had been under an extreme amount of stress for a cpl years. I lost my mom, got married, had a baby, and moved accross country. I understand why it happened. I had also experience DP when I was 16 that was 13 years ago I had it and agoraphobia for over 6 months. I don’t know how I recovered but I think I just got tired of being alone in my house and not living my life and I just went out no matter how I felt. So that what I am doing now. Some days are tough but I have moments now where I feel normal and happy. But I did feel horrible in the beginning with no feelings or emotions not even for my children which was very very difficult. I didn’t enjoy music either or food at all. Nothing mattered and everything I did I felt like what is th point in this or in life at all. I would ask myself “why do I get up every morning and live. What’s the point ?” But that fades away I promise you. It’s not easy and it feels like you will never ever get better, but you will! just keep going and doing the things you use to do. I do not work but I have 2 small children at home so even though there were days I did not want to get up, I had to for my children. I think it helped that I had a job to do every day. Even though at the time I didn’t want to do it.

    Today is a good day for me. Who knows what tomorrow will bring but I am in recovery. I am going to get better and so will you guys. Just keep going and stop looking for answers they are not here the answer lies within you. You are strong and you can handle this. You will come out even stronger after all this. Don’t be afraid just let go.

    Hugs and kisses for you all xoxoxo

  211. Jen Says:

    Hi dani
    Yes I have worked the whole time I had my panic attack august 1st and felt dizzy and super high anxiwty really anxious after that. I don’t think I had dp right away maybe I did and didn’t know it was dp as I thought it was just anxiwty ease I didn’t know there was such a thing as dp. But mine was really thick awhile ago and has slowly taken off layers and layers. I must say I notice it gets worse when I feel more anxious because thrn I get thr worrying thoughts of unreality and question silly things that I never did before. Which I have been doing good to just disregard them as I know they are not true but hard sometimes because we go off of how we feel and when we feel not much or strange or odd it s confusing. I still get doubts. But I’m trying to keep a positive attitude about it all. Any kind of life is better thrn nothing. I hurt thr most when I see my kids and husband because I feel like I have failed and am missing out on there lives. Kind of like my life stopped when I had that panic attack. I’m slowly getting over that. But it’s hard. So now I just do as much as I can I don’t care how I feel anymore although I get doubts of not knowing how I used to feel with out this. Maybe one day I will get back to myself. I am confused that Paul and others got rid of there dp and anxiety but others have it for years? How come? Just others are not excepting it?

  212. Chris Says:

    Hi all, really need some advice here.

    I had an old fear resurface last night. I was scrolling through facebook last night and saw a few people share a post of a guy who took ecstasy last weekend and was admitted to hospital (turns out he took alot of stuff, but it still resurfaced the fear for me). He posted a video to raise awareness and basically he’s a stuttering mess, completely messed up. I didn’t actually watch the video, only read part of the article and comments. This is something I used to Google constantly and used to be my biggest fear. The fear that I caused brain damage and this is where my severe anxiety came from. The anxiety/depression got alot worse after I stopped getting putting that crap into my body.

    Of course I’m keeping away from Google this time, but all the fear and memory of what I read has resurfaced. When I was 22-23 I used to party a fair bit and used this drug quite a few times with other things. I’m 26 now and haven’t gone near it in over 2 and a half years.

    Can anyone relate to this fear? And what approach should I take. It’s something I find very hard to move past. Should I a) so what if I have brain damage? Or b) accept that I have damage and I will have to live with it. Or take another approach. Acceptance is key obviously, but need a bit of guidance.

    Any advice would really appreciated, or if anyone can relate that would be a huge comfort. Thanks again friends.


  213. Chris Says:

    Just to add to my above post, should I try to choose not to believe it? Or is that a form of fighting.

    Looking forward to replies/advice, or if anyone can relate ?

  214. karen Says:

    Mark I am not generally a Cryer but when I am struggling I do cry and feel close to tears a lot. It panics me when I cry as it makes me realise how bad I must be feeling. I need to learn to accept ALL emotions it seems. However when I finally give in to it it usually is a good release and I feel better for it.

  215. Mark r Says:

    Hi Karen,

    Think its just part of it to be honest then. Im so wound up and stressed out at the moment I need to let off steam somehow. I sometimes think if someone cut me open now there would be a mass of toxic chemicals.
    Hard to feel that these times you’re still progressing. I think a lot of us are in the protected setback boat at the moment, be nice to see the shore at some point and get out!!


  216. Mark r Says:

    I meant to type Bryan has many of these and floats through!


  217. Helen Says:

    Hi all,
    It would be beneficial I think, for some to step away from the blog for a while. This is a wonderful place for support and advice but it can, in itself turn into a crutch. If you ask for advice and reassurance every time something happens, it can hinder your recovery. Part of really accepting means going it alone for a while so that you know that you really do have the strength to get through this. It can feel hard and it can feel lonely but truly stepping away from the subject as best you can will help in the long run.

    All the best

  218. Colin Says:

    Helen that’s so true . A lot of people on here give out advice etc saying yes I have recovered ! Then are moping about on here asking numerous questions . This is a blog not a forum . Luke Helen says stop off this for a wee while . Stop googling . Stop searching . But start accepting !!!

  219. Colin Says:


  220. Louise Says:

    I can see the advice on stepping away from blog as like Helen says can become a crutch otherwise. But I’m sure the people so called moping would love dearly to be able to step away. I have looked back at quite old posts and even Nolan struggled to accept straightaway and was asking questions and reassurance it is easy to come back and offer support to others but think people need to remember that the so called mopers just need little help and guidance

  221. Sara Says:

    Some help for thos with dp:

    If you ae anything like me you will probably scroll down to the “i have recovered” part.

    YES i have! I’m feeling awful at the moment because I am pregnant, have moved house, and moved country and i’m starting a new job.

    I had it on and off and to answer your question: Yes, it does go away.

    My therapist has really enlightened me on this subject to the point where It doesn’t matter at all to me and that is the BIGGEST accomplishement anyone can make here. Because a couple of years back I would cry in bed and tremble with fear because my surrounding were so unreal that all i wanted was to die.

    1. What you need to understand about dp:

    You probably already know (from David and other sources) that it comes from an anxiety peak so I won’t go into anymore detail on that.

    What you really need to know, however, is that dp, and depression is the consequence of your brain not being on auto-pilote anymore.

    You find yourself in deep retrospective, watching your every move, listening to your voice (that sounds as if you’re hearing it fro the first time right?) and looking at things from a different perspective.
    What we usually take for granted: our brain’s ability to go on auto-pitole, just stops. You become hyper aware and overlyconscious of everyone and everything to the point that your vision seems impaired, your hearing and your emotions too. You feel drained from ‘life’…..Etc

    It’s all about training your brain to go back on auto-pilote.

    I will write another post that I think will really really help everyone here so please read on :)

  222. Belgian Says:

    I totally get Louises point and I feel that if people need reassurance a million times, they deserve to receive it a million-and-one times.

    But it is important to always indicate that constant reassurance should be avoided. It will hold you back.

    When first reading Paul’s book, I felt reassured only to lose this confidence the moment any anxious feeling/thought presented itself. At which point, I reread his words. It became my crutch.

    In fact, I was reassured by the knowledge that this was only anxiety playing its trick. I thought that by understanding this, my anxiety would lift. It did not of course.

    I only made big strides forward the moment I truly allowed my anxiety to be there. I even remember the moment quite well, where I truly felt that I was ‘letting my guard down.

    I still sometimes feel the need to be reassured though. It is only natural to feel this way in life. We all carry the need to be comforted. It is not this feeling that is a problem, it is our reaction to it.

    I completely understand the questions that keep coming on accepting: How do I accept? Should I believe my thoughts or not? Is this the right way to accept?

    My answer to all of these questions is the same. There is no other way to describe acceptance as ‘accepting what is’. It is like accepting that the sun rises in the east and goes down in the west. Accepting anxiety is not doing any thing other than just acknowledging the presence of anxiety and working with it there.

    All the energy you save in not doing anything about or with your anxiety, you’ll invest in other activities. Gradually, you will see how useless spending energy on your anxiety related thoughts really was.

    Chris for example, it’s so obvious that you are at war with your fear of the idea that you have suffered brain damage by using drugs. What is the point of you always getting anxious about it? If it were the truth (which it is most probably not), you could do nothing about it AND everything would still be the same for you as it is today. I feel that the only thing that is truly making you ill, is your constant battle with anxiety.

    Once I was so worked up by the idea that my anxiety would result in cardiovascular disease that I almost vomited at the idea of it. When I allowed it, I started noticing that probably my eating habits were much more damaging to my heart than my anxiety was. I did not feel anxious about that. So, anxiety is not about facts. Anxiety is all about your reaction to your interpretation of reality.

  223. Sara Says:


    What does this mean?

    My pain and suffering is relative.
    Relative to who I am, what I’ve been through, what I believe in and what I know and to my lifestyle.

    This is why noone in here can just compare their recovery process and setbacks to each other. They can also never compare their pain:

    Because some expresses theirselves better, some underestimate thier pain whilst others overestimate their pain. Pain is relative to who you are, your current situation, your environment and how you have reacted to pain in the past.

    Yes you can learn from each other and help each other out. But please remember that everything is relative so comparing is pointless as you can never really be in the same situation as someone and you can never feel the same degree of pain and suffering.

    I say this because it really hurt me when I read things like “I am not recovering”, “It is all coming back”, “I’m feeling worse than ever”

    I instntly connected and thought that I’d be like that too.

    But if you learnt one thing about anxiety it’s that the most harmful habit we have is projecting a negative future and believing in it.

    My inlaw was told that she can NEVER have kids by more tha 20 doctors. After 10 years she kept trying and …..she gave birth a healthy baby girl.
    What does that say about statistics and doctors who say “never” ??

    Recovery is also relative:

    Relative to your suffering, your efforts, your knowledge (assuming it is the right knowledge), your diet, your lifetsyle and also FATE :)

    When you think “I’ll never recover” or “This is going to get worse” just remember that this type of thinking is wrong for two reasons

    – It is based on an irrational fear that feeds on your belief of doom forever. You could die tomorrow for all you know it so your fear is IRRATIONAL.

    – Everything is relative and so is recovery….you can make your own assumptions on this but I hope that you understand what I’m trying to get at


  224. Colin Says:

    Sorry but maybe used the wrong word ? ( moping )
    And I wasn’t suggesting you Louise .
    I didn’t mean to sound harsh either . God I know through my own experiences what a hellish thing anxiety is . So in regards to what I wrote . The advice on this blog is so helpful and all you guys are of great comfort to each other!
    But over the last year there have been certain individuals that have came on here and been given useful advice , only to return a few hours later and ask the same question . And in between the try giving advice on acceptance and how to treat anxiety ??? This baffles me , as I would rather they conversed with other suffers about how they actually feel themselves in regards to someone who’s maybe new to the blog . I often got comfort from another sufferer who had similar symptoms to mine . ( made me feel as though I am not the only one suffering with these . )

    I have fully recovered . So to a recent post yea there are still some people on here who have recovered . I come on here to hope and pray I see a wee post from someone who’s maybe got to were I am ? and also to sometimes give a we bit of advice . Anxiety effects people from all walks off life . Me for example I have been a successful business man ( Rofer )
    For 20 years big strong guy , fit healthy, then bang out of the blue Anxiety , I thought my world had fallen apart and I would never be me again ! But here I am now sitting in bonnie Scotland under the stars in my hot tub happy as Larry . There is hope for everyone !!!

  225. Colin Says:


  226. Louuse Says:

    Hi all
    That’s ok Colin just tad tetchy today. I don’t often post as know what I have to do just find it hard applying that sometimes. Some days better than others so that’s all progress in my book

  227. Pietro Says:


    Does floating and loosening mean to loosen your body as much as possible all the time?

  228. Chris Says:

    Hi everyone. Last question I promise haha, it’s to do with the last post above I wrote. I’m just trying to develop the right attitude, not looking for reassurance I promise 😉

    Thanks for the advice Belgian, and I’d love to leave the idea of brain damage behind and not worry about it. I haven’t read up on it in weeks because this is what fueled the fear in the first place so obviously I had to stop. Unfortunately one of the things I read stated that the whole ‘brain damage’ thing can catch up with you later as you age, meaning you are at higher risk to depression later in life.

    I’d love to be able to take this as a grain of salt but it fills me with despair and obviously fuels the anxiety. I’m doing my best to let the thoughts be there and carry on with my day but it really does hit me like a tonne of bricks, and I then get the urge to go on the old forums I used to visit and search for answers (although I’ve done well to keep away from this). I guess I’m still in the process of trying to accept it. Maybe the best attitude would be ‘if I develop depression later in life then so be it’, but the only thing that is holding me back is the fear that ‘if I believe it’s going to happen, then it’s going to happen’.

    It’s a tricky one, but am I on the right track with ‘if I develop depression later in life then so be it’?

    Thanks again. If anyone can just point me in the right direction I will be grateful.

  229. Dominic Says:

    This was me three years ago. got married, had a baby, moved to a bigger house, both lost our jobs, stress, poor sleep, bang anxiety attack!
    Omg every time I try to sleep my heart beats and I sweat my mind races.
    I need sleeping pills!! No sleep no sleep. I’m a chronic insomniac. I need to read this woman’s book who recovered. Why have I not recovered. Wait… I’m sleeping better I’m not an insomniac, but why do I feel so bad? Why do I worry about sleep when I’m sleeping, my mind won’t stop going over things?
    Another bad night sleep, see a sleep therapist then.
    ‘But Dominic you are sleeping’ there’s nothing I can do for you’
    ‘ I think you’re suffering with anxiety, you need to read this book’
    So I followed a ‘method’ . Again this isn’t working. I can’t do this. There’s no way I can distract myself. I know I’ll see the doctor again. Get some pills.
    ‘ I don’t want pills’ .
    I can do this myself. I’ll read another book. Meanwhile ‘ honey can you help with our son,
    ‘Wait I just need to read this book on fixing myself’
    This isn’t working. I can’t do this. Why am I having thoughts about dying of cancer?
    I need to see a therapist. I hate this.
    I see a therapist. I get hypnotised. Still not cured.
    Blogs, forums, books…… Googled anxiety, ‘ how to cure yourself of anxiety’
    Meanwhile I can’t get to sleep, I wake up early.
    Wait what’s this guy saying? Just accept it and get on with your life? Stop all this rubbish?
    Well guys that’s what I did. And guess what it worked. I decided to let it all be there and just lived my life as normal. Sure I had the thoughts and symptoms but they faded until I didn’t even notice them. Anxiety became a memory.
    Just like when you get dumped by a girl you love. You feel like rubbish and she’s all you can think about, but over time, the feelings and memories fade.
    Setbacks came, usually from a bad nights sleep, but I expected them and they weakened.
    You see. There’s a way out but it takes time and patience. And unfortunately you have to do it yourself. People can give you answers but, in the long run you have to take the advice and run with it.

  230. Dani Says:

    Hi Mark , Shannon, Jen

    Thanks for your replies :)
    Yes mark I do find I cry quite a bit, usually because I just feel so frustrated that I feel this way and feel sorry for myself that I’m going through it, it feels like mental torture!
    Shannon & Jen, I too have been suffering since August (actually started in March but not to this extent).
    You all seem to have positive attitudes towards it, hopefully I’ll feel more positive in time. I still try to carry on as normal but my thoughts are constantly on how I’m feeling, and I hate DP so much.
    Jen I wondered the same thing, as I’ve read some posts on google where people say they have been suffering with it for 20 years! That really scares me and I regret reading stuff like that.

  231. Derrick Says:

    I have been a fan of Paul and Claire Weekes for the majority of my 5 year run with anxiety. I have never posted on this blog before, and truthfully have never really read the blog posts before this thread. I am in a nasty setback, which I think is self induced by trying a new treatment to make it go away. I have tried TMS over the last month with daily treatments using magnetic pulses into my left prefrontal cortex. I have anxiety and have suffered depression as a result. The TMS actually did increase my energy, but it also ramped up my anxiety because I am thinking so clearly. I have made amazing progress in the past when I have given up the fight and just lived. This recent attempt to rid myself of anxiety has rekindled the fire. I take a low dose of a benzo each morning to slow my brain down. I hope to taper off soon. I am now ready, for the hundredth time, to stop trying for the miracle cure and get on with living. The tough part right now is trying to normalize the TMS and benzo induced anxiety from my normal baseline anxiety. I guess I shouldn’t even try to seperate them, and just keep living my life. I work a full time job, take care of a wonderful family, and do everything that needs to be done. It can be very hard to float forward with racing thoughts of losing control and rolling up into a fetal position (this of course will not a fully happen).
    I just wanted to say thanks to Belgiam and Collin and the others who offer such good advice and support. I know I will make it to better days since I have dozens of times, but the long complicated setbacks can feel so tough. I wish the best to all, and look forward to living a full life.

  232. Jamie Says:

    Thanks for the post Dominic.

    So when you read Paul’s book, did you just live your life completely as normal from that point on and not avoid any situation that may cause anxiety or did you do it in stages ? When the anxiety grabbed hold tightly, you should ‘did nothing’ and carried on as normal ?

  233. Colin Says:

    Superb Dominic superb . In a nut shell superb .
    Read that post every one !

  234. Chris Says:

    Anyone got any advice on my last post? Sorry to be greedy here haha, I just want to make sure I’m on the right track.

    The attitude I’m working on is ‘if I have brain damage then so be it’ or ‘if I develop depression then so be it’ in other words, let’s roll with it.

    Wondering if this is the right way to go, or if it is counter-productive? The reason I’m confused is because if I go with this whole ‘so be it’ attitude I may be creating a belief system that I really am broken. Is it more import to create a belief system that says that ‘this won’t happen’. Can we control what we believe with anxiety, or does this naturally happen over time? Sorry just a bit confused here! Would really appreciate some advice so I can move forward and stop having to ask questions :) Thanks again everyone.

  235. Jen Says:

    Chris. I believe the whole approach from the book and blog is to just have the attitude of just go with it don’t try and figure it out and just realize that the thoughts are not fact and silly. I thibk you might be over analysing so it’s confusing you. With my anxiety I just have had to just have Th r so what attitude with the silly thoughts I have. And it seems to be helping. I believe thr more you practice this so what attitude it becomes easier. Because you know that your worrying and it’s from anxiety just remind yourself that. It’s just anxiety making you worry and it’s not fact. I know it’s hard because it makes it fel real but it’s because we have anxiety so it’s more hyped up right now. But this I believe will break the cycle of worrying and thr less you have fear about that thought it will go away. I read some where on here about that and that they stick because we dear it. I’m sure you have latched on to this worry and you fear it so it keeps coming back.

  236. Doreen Says:

    Quite agree Helen.

    Hi all,
    It would be beneficial I think, for some to step away from the blog for a while. This is a wonderful place for support and advice but it can, in itself turn into a crutch. If you ask for advice and reassurance every time something happens, it can hinder your recovery. Part of really accepting means going it alone for a while so that you know that you really do have the strength to get through this. It can feel hard and it can feel lonely but truly stepping away from the subject as best you can will help in the long run.

    All the best

  237. ken Says:

    Hello. Can someone give me some clarity. My anxiety started after i was having trouble with my girldriend who i have been with for 8 years. Things are pretty severe right now and she sometimes says its her fault. I keep sating to myself that its no ones fault. Can somebody give me an explination.

  238. Ben Says:

    Hi Paul,

    Firstly, thank you for all you are doing for anxiety sufferers. No doubt you have helped many.

    I do think however it would be helpful for some to clarify some of your key points on how to recover. For example, you speak often about normal living being the key to recovery. However without proper explanation that can be a dangerous comment. For someone like myself, normal living was running around at 100 miles an hour trying to do far too much each day at a high pace. It was this lifestyle and my normal living that created my stress and subsequent anxiety. During my recovery I have had to create a new normal. Going back to normal living for me was not an option. I learnt to slow down a bit, not rush around so much… I even walk slower these days! I needed to learn to pack less into my days, not more! To do all this I needed to practise a new normal living which at first felt quite fake and like it had focus on techniques and rules however overtime this has become my new normal and I am feeling much better.

    This also meant some trial and error along the way and some mistakes, however I think when you are learning to live again mistakes are all part of the process.

    Also, in your book you talk about not talking to people at your work thru your recovery. I tried this and unfortunately it made my social anxiety worse. It was actually once I stopped that avoidance and talked to my co workers that recovery began.
    Thanks again for your work, I certainly don’t want to confuse anyone, I’m just hoping that some clarity and context may help others.



  239. Julie Says:

    Evening all.

    I have to say that using the blog as a crutch can become a compulsion and one that once broken does stop feeding the anxiety BUT I will say that I am one of those that didn’t find that easy. Last year when I joined this blog I was lost and bewildered. I was having intrusives galore and was terrified. I met some lovely people here and yes it reassured me that I wasn’t sick or a bad person. I needed that reassurance, to me it was just gaining more understanding of what was happening to me. It’s like Claire Weekes says, understanding your symptoms takes away that fear.

    Not everyone gets acceptance straight away. I am one of those. It took me a very long time to really get how to accept my intrusives as anxiety and live alongside them. I got there in the end but it was a rough road. Recently due to stress in my life I have had a flare up over the last few months. It’s how I react to stress, it flares up my anxiety. My son has been crippled by panic attacks from being bullied, my daughter was ill for 6 weeks and in hospital, I found a breast lump before that… its alot to cope with and wham my anxiety hit again but for me it’s been physical symptoms this time. All new to me and yes I came here to get some support. Noone should feel they can’t do that because for some of us anxiety does return and bites us hard from a new direction and it can feel like all is lost. It’s hard to accept all over again.

    Acceptance can be an easy thing for some which is great but for others it can be a long road. I believe time heals and confidence builds the more we pass through these scary symptoms safe and not hurt by them. We realise that it’s anxiety and that it cannot hurt us. Anxiety is our inner child and we just have to hug her and tell her we are fine.

    We will all get there in the end and if we need reassurance along the way then I think it’s great we can all support each other. We all have to remember how it feels to be bewildered and afraid and do our best to help those that feel like that because that once was some of us. There is some amazing advice on here and you can scroll back and find posts and just imagine they’re talking to you because acceptance is the same method for us all no matter what the symptom. Remember time heals and with time confifence does grow, I am living proof of that.

    Julie x

  240. karen Says:

    I think it’s fair to say that yes some of us have been at this a while with many ups and downs. As we all know when the anxiety shifts every thing becomes clear and we get it … its so simple and yes we feel we can give advice. Then it kicks in and it’s form changes and maybe throws us into confusion again so a little reassurance is asked for. We know we should take our own good advice but anxiety makes us doubt everything. Doesn’t mean our advice was any less worthwhile. It’s a journey. We are all just doing our best here to find our way through, a team helping each other.I know people must get frustrated sometimes but that’s nothing compared to the frustration and vulnerability we are feeling ourselves. And yes I wish I was stronger about it but I am not and must accept that too, as I have learned not to engage that critical voice. And THAT is massive progress.
    Having said that I do get what you are saying and when in a setback I have to limit my blog checking and reading because it does become a compulsion and will only ask for reassurance when desperate. Yes we do need to learn not to do this but it’s part of the journey and hopefully will one day get there.

    Dominic your post reinforced something for me…. my last setback I got myself in a tizz about intrusive thoughts again … I wasn’t actually having that many compared to the past. Like you were saying you obsessed about sleep but you were sleeping. Yet your mind tries to obsess about fixing it anyway. This has brought me some awareness to what my mind is doing and will hopefully help next time. Yes lack of sleep is a massive trigger for me … Every time.
    Thanks all for your support. This blog is a godsend.

  241. Sue Says:

    I feel I am getting better all the time. I still have odd irrational thoughts but also a lot of what I would say would be normal thinking for me now. However there are still the odd horrible thoughts that seem to come in straight after or almost at the same time as a normal thought. I find I am experiencing some inward thinking as to what I have thought while anxious especially when I am tired. This still tends to unnerve me as to anxiety still being there even though I feel a lot better and do most things. I do not know now whether it is still anxiety or memory of the anxiety can anyone tell me who has recovered if they experienced this for a while before being completely recovered. Do I need to do more living to get used to being comfortable with myself again.

  242. Rachel T Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I used to come on here a lot! 3 years since I suddenly became crippled by Anxiety, panic attacks and Agoraphobia. I found the App and blog during one of my 18hr googling sessions that I felt would either uncover the missing clue to my return to “normal” or at least reaffirm again and again this symptom of mine was shared and anxiety related. Fast forward three years…. I work, I socialise and life 80% of the time feels normal. I got here by ignoring and doing things regardless. What I mean is acceptance to me I initially thoughts was a zen like process, it wasn’t for me for a long time it was a determined NO! When first out the other side I was very calm and empathetic and avoided stress and recognised what mattered and what didn’t, that then felt more like acceptance in a zen way.

    So where am I now, I worry, I worry that I have become the person I was before, stressed by work, short tempered, surrounded by people who preferred me when I was vulnerable maybe. My problem is I never understood how I got there and consequently how not to go back there. That’s my hangover.The cause of my revival of the symptom of waking up with a rush of dread and the fleeting thought I caught last week mid conversation of “I’m going to have to think of an excuse to leave, I feel panicky”. Brlliant! I know I now need to step back and reassess my lifestyle and say NO! Again. You can recover, life can return to normal and that recovery is unique to you as is that normal. Hugs to you all xxx

  243. Ves Says:

    Hi Julie,
    I am responding to your longer and distressed post way up there.

    1) It would be beneficial for us for just time being to throw away our mental “To Do List” that we all carry with us in our mind all the time. If you can do just one step at time and when you make that step just say to yourself “I have arrived” and reward yourself with a smile. Everything starts with that one small step.

    You don’t have to do anything else. If it is just making a lunch box for kids school just make a lunch box for that day and when you are done say to yourself “I have made it” and smile. Please try it. There is always a time for prep talk in locker room but in order to win the game we have to take a ball and start running. That is the only way.

    2) Another thing that would be beneficial is to gently move your mind to present. There cannot be fear in present moment. How it can be? Fear, despair, worry always appears when our mind is in future – a future that never arrives or past – past that is already gone. Future and past are imaginary concepts. They don’ really exist. The only thing that exists is present moment. Past and future are concepts of our mind that help us for orientation or reflections. For example: “I have to make a hair cut appointment for next Friday”. That helps our mind only in orientation but it is imaginary future time that does not exist. Another example: “I regret saying that thing to my friend and then you dwell for days”. Well that is reflection. It only reflects on the past but past is gone and it is just imaginary time. We learn any lesson from that past reflection if there is any lesson to be learned and we move on into the present moment that is only real.

    Moving mind to present moment is quite difficult because we have a habit of being in the past and future for the most part of the day. If you want to see how difficult that is try peeling a kiwi and cutting in the cubes for your kids school lunch and count how many times you can catch your mind drifting into future and past during these few minutes.
    If you are doing yoga as you mentioned try to move your mind as much as possible on what you are doing from first asana until shabasana. Being present on what are you doing on your mat is what nourishes you mind and body. If your mind moves to making grocery list just gently and without frustration move it to whatever pose you are in. After very short period you will notice how your “monkey mind” jumps all over the place. It does to everyone not just you. But once you become very good in observing you will slowly become just “observer” and not the center of the “story” that mind creates. That is the moment when you will realize that it is just old habit what the mind does. It is not You, but just habit. If there is a lot of stress it is naturally to become habit of stress.

    Julie, you are doing great with your recovery and everything will be okey.

  244. Fleur Says:

    Hello again :-)
    I have 2 questions.
    1. Is it possible that after exercise I feel close to panic attack? Because I don´t have problems with panic attacks anymore. I decided to exercise for my mood and I wanted new hobby. I really LOVE it. I exercise jumping, deepwork. But after exercising (at the end) I feel really bad, it is almost like every minute I will have panic attack. I feel that adrenaline! I speak faster… I feel happiness from hormones of exercise, everything is fine but that feeling of panic I can´t understand. It´s strange because even Paul David in his book said that when adrenalin is released that´s why after exercising we should feel more relax. So when adrenalin was released why I feel panic only after exercising. I don´t get it. Because I hadn´t problems with panic anymore and now when I exercise I have that feelings again.

    2. I have 1 strange symptom from the start of my anxiety. Every symptom is changing because when I see somewhere that other people have it I stop fear. But I think that this 1 symptom is here all the time because I didn´t read about it on internet.
    It is very bad feeling of overwhelmed. But I don´t have so much duties. It is irrational. This overwhelming is so strong. Immediately when I think about it I feel like I am going crazy that I can´t stand it anymore. For example I think about that I want to learn new language (russian) and that overwhelming feeling. But it is from everything. It is feeling that every minute I will go crazy. :-( It is so sad I don´t wanna feel it :-( Why I can´t see this symptom nowhere? I think that that´s why I have still this feeling because I don´t know how to accept it when I don´t know if it is anxiety or some burnout syndrome, or some mental syndrome that it will be worse, worse and one day I will can´t do anything. May I accept it? Because I have strong instinct that I must do something with this symptome, that if I do nothing I will go crazy, I will be crazy from duties.

    If somebody knows something about these symptoms, thank you :-)

  245. Sue Says:

    I still have a lot of crazy thoughts which seem to come on more when I am tired. I am not afraid of them anymore but when they come on with anxiety I wonder if I will ever get rid of them.
    Today I have a few weird thoughts and my mind homed in on it again and I got mithered over them again.
    When I got home I was OK But sometimes I wonder how crazy the mind can think when anxious.

  246. Belgian Says:


    It’s not a do, it’s an attitude.

    I do consciously ‘loosen’ sometimes when I feel totally worked up about something. But that’s more a reaffirmation of an attitude than it is physical action.

    I do feel crap at this time. I’ve had some bad and disturbing news. My mother is in the hospital, my wife just missed a big promotion, my sister has found a lumb that they have to check. All this in the course of a few days.

    The crazy thing is that what the stress does most to me is that disturbing thoughts about my relationship are once more triggered. Whereas, in the past, my health was a favorite subject to panic about. We are creatures of habit. The good thing is that we can change these habits.

    Not so long ago, I would have called this period a setback. Now I just like to call it ‘just the way things are right now’.

  247. Paul David Says:

    Ben says: Also, in your book you talk about not talking to people at your work thru your recovery. I tried this and unfortunately it made my social anxiety worse. It was actually once I stopped that avoidance and talked to my co workers that recovery began.

    Trust me nowhere in my book do i say this, i said I had stopped talking to co workers at my worst and this was wrong. i would never ever suggest this at all, I tell people to do the opposite many times and mix and live your life as you normally would and practice non avoidance, the second book says how non avoidance helped me so much. I have no idea where you got this message out of my book from.

    Your unconscious mind works (which runs like a computer full of old programmed data) in the background and will run off old habits and beliefs, so if you avoid this tells it that this is what you need to do to stay safe, this is wrong, the way you change this is by doing then opposite no matter what the unconscious mind says, you don’t take the old programming seriously, the computer then is programmed with new and more helpful data, new pathways and then these things no longer seem like a problem. Non avoidance is always the way forward, the best way is to see the mind as filled with wrong data, one we have strengthened by continuing to avoid, the way to unstrengthen it is to live your life as you normally would over riding the data that comes through.


  248. Paul David Says:

    Dominic Says: Wait what’s this guy saying? Just accept it and get on with your life? Stop all this rubbish?
    Well guys that’s what I did. And guess what it worked. I decided to let it all be there and just lived my life as normal. Sure I had the thoughts and symptoms but they faded until I didn’t even notice them. Anxiety became a memory.
    Just like when you get dumped by a girl you love. You feel like rubbish and she’s all you can think about, but over time, the feelings and memories fade.
    Setbacks came, usually from a bad nights sleep, but I expected them and they weakened.
    You see. There’s a way out but it takes time and patience. And unfortunately you have to do it yourself. People can give you answers but, in the long run you have to take the advice and run with it.

    Trust me this is all you need to do, it is made far too complicated by people thinking it is a ‘Do’ or they feel down and then , this is not working, I must feel good all the time, so they search and search once again while trying to do something about it. They talk daily about it, analyse it all, waste countless energy trying to fix it all, the mind becomes strained, nerves become more strained with worry about how they are feeling. Yes it takes understanding as to what is happening, as then you automatically let go.

    Here are some pointers that cured me

    ALL and I mean ALL emotions, thoughts and feelings are just energy, thats why peoples hearts or thoughts race more, there is too much energy present, energy that has been built up through worry and stress, it stays there as we are always trying to suppress it, find ways to NOT feel it, this is wrong, it should be felt, it needs releasing, it is not harmful in anyway. People create more energy in the body because they then worry, fret and try to fix the way they feel, so any energy released is just replaced with more and they go around in circles for years. Dominic above just gave up and allowed everything to happen, so all this negative energy stored up left him, he did not try to suppress or fix any of it, he did not worry about it, he just allowed, he could of fought and questioned it for years and stayed in the cycle but he did not. But there is plenty of old negative energy stilled stored there so in recovery even when allowing you will still feel plenty and have many ups and downs.

    Secondly my mind was just running of old data, as I said above. I needed to just live my life and take no notice of it when it said avoid or some old habits and beliefs popped up. I just did things anyway and stopped avoiding.

    I realised how much of my life was focused on it, how much it had become me so I stopped reading up on it, stayed away from any googling and started to add other things to my day, I just gave up with it, all this attn was not needed, I was just feeding the subject daily into my sub-concious. I then started to see a shift in my attention, my mind would start to settle on other things and I would feel breaks and feel odd moments of clarity.

    There is no secret here, nowhere to get to, nothing to fix as we are creating it. I created it for years with worry, fear and focus, I just saw through the whole condition and gave up, just like Dominic did above. I had great and awful days, it took time but eventually I was me again, I saw clearly how for years that I kept anxiety going, I created the fuel.

    As Dominic says, no one can do this but you, I keep sending the same message out and seeing people do the complete opposite, like they are scared just to give up on it all and think the best way is to keep fighting, suppressing and analysing, I can only keep pointing people in the opposite direction, I can’t make people do it for themselves, that is up to them. Nolan who posts on here and is now recovered did the exact same thing which he has mentioned many times, he just gave into it all and allowed himself to go through it all, feel all the grot and thoughts without trying to suppress any of it, he completely gave up fighting and analysing it all and he recovered, this is no coincidence but I understand its not easy to finally feel it all, its not nice, it does throw us, but its the only way to release all this negative energy present in us, this is the only reason you feel any symptom. Not one person has ever come to me and said ‘I out thought my anxiety, I battled it and beat it, battling and analysing just creates more of what you are trying to get rid of, the irony is that to get rid of it, you stop trying to, thats the key.

    Hope that helps


  249. Andy J Says:

    Hi Paul,

    Great to see you responding to comments, I really appreciate it.

    What is your opinion on medication? I have been taking Citalopram for a little over six months, but havent noticed much difference. As far as I am aware it is used to deal with some of the symptoms of anxiety, but wont actually deal with the thoughts themselves? I sometimes think taking them is making me worse as it interferes with my sleep and other areas of my life.

    My thoughts are of an intrusive nature and began last year. I had already been reading your book prior to this and had more generalized anxiety, mainly worry about worry and like you depressed about being depressed.

    I then read an article about a subject which has gripped me ever since. I cant seem to convince myself that I am fine and so I am always on edge. How would you deal with this? Is it good to tell myself that this wasnt me before I read the article? Or is that putting up a fight? I seem to constantly need reassurance.

    Thanks again for all you’ve done.


  250. Paul David Says:

    Medication is a personal choice, for me it is just another suppression tool and won’t fix the problem, more of a sticking plaster, but thats your choice.

    I can talk all day about thoughts, i have in both books, you can either see them as excess energy finding an outlet of no fact or substance like I did or you can keep battling with them and take them seriously, again i can only point you to this, I cant make you stop taking them seriously and battling with them, as long as you see them as fact and in fear of them you stay shackled to them.

    Thoughts are fuelled by all this negative extra energy present, when that goes so do the thoughts, its all related. Think what you want it does not matter.

    You worry about worry, so are creating more negative energy, fray your nerves further, the feelings you feel is a warning, a pointer that this worrying is doing you no good, it is your bodies alarm system, so let go of worry, don’t do something that makes you feel worse, it makes no sense, if your mind starts to worry, let it, pay it no mind, don’t get dragged into it and involved with it.

    Your fine underneath all this, but are imbalanced inside, there is too much negative energy stored within you so you feel anxiety in your body, its just excess energy, you need to accept that and stop worrying and battling with it all and it will calm, if you worry and fight it and you stay in the cycle.

    There is no advice I give but do nothing about it, don’t worry, suppress or try to fix, its the laws of the body. When you do give up on it all it will calm by itself, there is nothing to ‘DO’ just things not to ‘DO’. Nowhere to get to, just something to see.

    Let go of everything and instead of worrying what will happen, find out for yourself, release that grip and see. People keep saying I worry about this and that, I keep battling, i was so hard on myself today and wonder why nothing changes, again really read what i say in the books and on this blog, don’t skim through looking for another technique to control or suppress, a magic answer to make it all go away, it does not work like that, there is no quick fix. Nearly every question i get asked is about how to NOT feel something, how to NOT think something, think and feel it all, you will just chase your own tail forever while you try to get rid of something through personal will, it never works, so why not try the opposite and no longer try to think or feel the way you do presently, then your mind and body will eventually fix itself.


  251. Shannon from Canada Says:


    I have a question about DP/DR I find that I am not afraid or bothered by physical anxiety symptoms any longer, but I still feel very odd. Sometimes I feel like I am traumatized from DP/DR like how could I have ever felt that way? How is this even a real thing that happens to people? I feel like I am still afraid of the memory of it all. Will the memory become less scary and fade? Will the DP/DR fully go away? I feel a little stuck in between right now. Most of my days are very normal and I feel almost fully recovered, it is just the symptom of DP/DR that has really stuck. This weekend I traveled 2 hours on a ferry and took my daughter to Disney Frozen on ice ! I was anxious when we first got to the show as we were sitting high up ( I have never been one to be able to go to the theatre as my anxiety would be really bad ) Well I sat through the whole show, and I enjoyed myself :) I have you to thank for that. In the past the moment I felt uncomfortable or panicky I would have got up and ran, avoided it all together, or drowned myself in booze. I sat through it and felt it and it went away, and now I have a wonderful memory with my daughter. Thank you xoxo

  252. Julie W Says:

    I was wondering if anyone had any comments/advise for me. I have been trying to follow Paul’s advise since March. Have gone everywhere with anxiety. Been on quite a few vacations, went back to work part-time, go out and about, etc. I don’t fear the physical symptoms, which have subsided. When they occasionally rear their head again, I don’t pay them attention. My main issue is intrusive thoughts, which have recently been diagonsed as OCD intrusive thoughts. I am getting better at not paying them attention and just getting on with things. I can honestly say though, that I don’t feel I have made any progress and that gets discouraging (ie – I don’t seem to ever get good days).

    If I could see progress, then that would spur me on, but days, weeks, months go by and I don’t see the progress even though I am living my life. I went back to work, but honestly find that almost worse, as I constantly have intrusive thoughts working, but i keep going and paying them as little respect as possible.

    I do struggle with the self focus, as I am constantly thinking of myself, no matter what i am doing or where I am going, even though I am not afraid of things. I am doing my best to pay no attention to the self focus, but some days it’s like a blinding light shining on me saying pay attention to me (and this lasts all day).

    I don’t feel like I am fighting, but I feel emotionally exhausted. I would just like to not think about myself all the time, or at least see some progress. This is the first time I have posted, as I try to keep my distance from googling and reading about the subject, but I feel really discouraged today. I woke up this morning and had the thought “i’m scared” all day long. I must admit it got to me today, and just feel fed up.

    I have always been a deep thinker, and am trying my best not to overthink things, but I wonder if this is somehow my stumbling block. Maybe I am not truly accepting??? I am going to continue on my day as normal, but any comments would be appreciated.

  253. Jamie Says:

    Andy J

    I have been taking 45mg of Mirtazipine for about a year now and do question how much benefit I am getting from them. Long-term I would like to be off them but like a lot of people on here, I would worry about the side effects of coming off them. I was also taking 60mg of Propranolol (beta blockers) for a few months to help with anxiety but decided to come off them as I don’t think they were helping.

  254. Jonathan Says:

    I have a question, has anyone here truly recovered 100%? By this I mean has anyone recovered to where they were before having anxiety?

  255. Paul David Says:

    Jonathan many people have since the blog started and gave great advice on here for a while, some who I am still in touch with, they are now just busy getting on with their life and no longer hang out here which is the best thing to do, Nolan is recovered who posts on here.

    Tarmo was very active here a couple of years ago and is now fully recovered, he passed his story which i published here

  256. Fleur Says:

    Hello :-), first, sorry for such a long post.

    I want to say that all my life I was kind of perfectionist. All my life I wanted reach perfection. I remember when I was child (it is funny) my favourite “game” was that I said to myself that FROM now I will be perfect (I will do everything perfectly). I never realize that it could be some form of OCD, but now when I am thinking about it I think that It was strange behavour. But I was happy I considered my perfectionism as normal. I liked it!

    Last 5 years I was having lot of stress! I was studying difficult university and I didn´t like it, every week I was going at dormitory I hated it there I remember that sometimes I was crying that I want go home but I was very strong-willed and I said to myself that I must finish this school. NOW I know that I did horrible mistake.

    I had fear of cancer for 4 YEARS. I didn´t know that time nothing about anxiety. I had physical problems for 4 years and I was worried about my physical health until this JANUARY. I had 1 night before exam panic attack and my doctor told me that day that I have panic disorder I was so scared. Since then I have anxiety every day.

    Since January I have had all worries what you can imagine (fear of every mental illness, fear of emotionless, fear of depression, fear of harming myself/loved ones, fear of lose love for my boyfriend – EVERYTHING).

    Anxiety latches to anything – it is changing every month for me. It is like bad habit, I can´t stop it. But every of these fears stopped because I found out that those symptoms was common for anxiety.

    But I´am posting here because I have 1 very specific symptom, I didn´t find it nowhere. It is uncommon symptom I think that I am the only one who has it. It´s unique for me. :-(
    I said that I was all my life perfectionist. But now everytime I want to do something (what is connected to perfectionism) I feel strong anxiety. When I want clean room, learn language, bake perfect cake I have strong feeling of going crazy (or something like panic attack). When I want do something perfectly I have high anxiety or it is very bad feeling. I am oversensitive to my perfectionism. Like every symptom is changing for me THIS 1 is here from January . Maybe because I never accept this one and never saw this one on internet, I was looking for it but nowhere. Nobody has problem with this feeling. So AM I crazy?

    It is like I am afraid of my personality (perfectionism). I hope that it is anxiety but I am afraid that it is CAUSE of my anxiety and I am broken somehow. That I am crazy from that perfection and that´s why I have anxiety.

    I must say that I have this symptom almost only when I am at home. When I am in my room and thinking what to do. I was in USA this summer and I hadn´t this symptom for 3 months!!! I had different symptoms – I was afraid that I have schizophrenia and dont love boyfriend.

    I know that lot of people have feelings of going crazy, but mostly I read that they have that feelings because of DP/DR, panic attack, BUT I have this feeling when I want do something and then I think that I will go crazy from that feeling. I know that cleaning my room can´t harm me so why I am afraid of it WHY I have these feelings?

    If you can understand me. I need reassurance, please, do you think that this is tricky anxiety, or is it some deep mental problem? Thanks for your time.
    23 y/o girl from Slovakia

  257. jane b Says:

    hi im not sure if ive posted right can someone reply plz before i post my question i really need advice x

  258. Colin Says:

    Jonathan I have .
    100% anxiety free .
    Tell I lie I suffer from normal anxiety .
    There is hope for everyone . Pauls thinking is the correct way . And it’s such a simple way . Carry on regardless do everything you have always done . Don’t fight it , don’t give it your time . Eventually it fades , and pure normality returns . Maybe right now you find that hard to believe but I am here writing this totally at peace . Actually I think I have become a better person ! “More chilled ”
    Good luck

  259. Jen Says:

    Shannon. I completely understand what you are talking about. My story is very similar to yours with a panic attack back I august. I thibk I had or have dp I had feeling of unreality and questioned things like that which makes you feel weird that we would ever question that stuff. I understand of being scared from the dp feeling. It feels like it’s slowly going away from me I’m hoping that with time it will just go completely. Does anyone else that has recovered can give any inside on this for us? Will that odd weird feeling go thr memory of what we had gone through? Thanks

  260. Nolan Says:

    Hi Jonathan…
    I can honestly say that I’m better now than I was even before the anxiety started (my dark days).

    Paul’s approach not only changed the way that I was able to react to the intense anxiety and depression that I suffered with (as well as every single symptom that bubbled up…. and there were scores and scores of those) but his approach changed the way that I react to just the typical day to day stressors that I used to get worked up over.

    Even before my anxiety I was a tightly wound fella. So many things would just get me in a bad mood (not wrought with anxiety, just out of sorts). At the time I sincerely thought the issue was in the thing that was offending me: Say I’m sitting next to someone who’s chewing with their mouth opened. Sure, that’s annoying… but, I no longer let that ‘thing’ (whatever it may be) drive me up the wall like it used to. I started to realize that I can change the way that I react to those things, that it was more me than it was them.

    I can let things like that fall back into being just the background noise of my life…. opposed to being front and center in my mind and needing immediately addressing (which always involved me being angry and offended).

  261. sue Says:

    Hi Paul or Nolan,

    When you were recovering did you still get intrusive thoughts and inward thinking about what you had been through at the height of anxiety or did they slowly just go.
    When you recovered did your memory keep throwing things up or did it all just wear off.
    I am just trying to see if I am near recovery or do I keep getting a set back.

  262. Nolan Says:

    Hi Sue,

    You said:

    “am just trying to see if I am near recovery or do I keep getting a set back”…

    First off I want to say that this is not a good idea of doing. You’re tracking your recovery. It’s understandable the desire to do it, but, it never works out that well for the person. Because it’s still making the anxiety the hallmark of all of your concerns. How close you are to or how far from recovery that you are at any given moment shouldn’t be your focus.

    You’ll know when you’re feeling better. Keeping track of your recovery doesn’t speed the process up and if anything might only lead to more frustration.

    However you are at any given moment is just “what it is, nothing more, nothing less”…. so try to start treating it that way.

    It’s pretty hard to say in one breath that “I’m going to start letting it all be there and get back on with living my life and being concerned about how I’m feeling”…. and then in the other “am I closer to being recovered today than I was yesterday? Last week??”

    yes, intrusive thoughts regularly came during my recovery. I would have moments of complete freedom and peace…. but those moments, early on, were transitory. It was going through so many ups and downs that I was eventually able to more completely surrender myself to the anxiety, stop caring about how I am feeling, and making my life bigger than the dictates of anxiety.

  263. sue Says:

    Thank you Nolan for your reply it is so helpful. Yes I too have days where I have no intrusive thoughts and then wham they appear again. I think that is where I go wrong at times because they push in and I have to start the process of letting them be which can be hard again when you have been free of them for a while. Even when I do not feel anxious.
    Yes I will stop looking back to how I felt last week to how I feel each day. I think that is another problem of mine in looking back and not just accepting each day as it comes and taking what comes with it.
    Did you find the intrusive thoughts were worse when you were tired and did they come back with force at times for no reason. Were the thoughts of negative horrible stuff that seems to stick. Just have to get it clear in my head.
    Thank you again Nolan.

  264. Jonathan Says:

    Thank you guys for the prompt responses, it’s a big relief knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that I’m not alone in this. Is the second book a continuation of the first or it doesnt really matter, just wondering which one to get first.

  265. Adam Says:

    I too am recovered. And its as Paul mentioned in his post: most who have recovered eventually move on from the Blog. We may have been on here for years prior posting/reading/listening and sharing…but eventually anxiety becomes mostly a memory or memories. And I know how hard it is to imagine being “there” someday when you are caught in the throes of anxiety and your daily world is hell, but it can happen to everyone (as Paul says). It happened to me and I know of several others who were on here during my anxious phase who are no longer frequenting the blog (so I assume as with me they have recovered). As for me, I like to come on the blog and try to help out when I can (i.e. give back). I don’t come on everyday anymore as my life has moved beyond anxiety. But it is still a part of me that will always be there. An invaluable life lesson that I will gladly carry with me for the rest of my life. As others have said, I am a better person for having been through my anxious days. Good luck and have faith…Paul’s approach works. Trust it.

  266. Nolan Says:

    My pleasure, Sue.

    I know exactly what you mean. I went from being inundated with terrible thoughts and fears and symptoms 24-7…. to starting to get these breaks in the clouds. These little moments of peace where things just made sense to me. It made sense to me how I wasn’t actually broken. It made sense how this bout of anxiety/depression will eventually end.
    Feelings that I struggled so hard to force them to be there and consistently failing with that approach, just started to come casually on their own accord.

    But those moments would quickly be clouded over. And, all of the things that just made sense when my mind was calm, no longer made sense. What made sense when the anxiety came raging back was how I was broken and how there was no escape to it. In those dark moments again I was back to being 100% convinced there was no hope for me.

    At those dark moments I just blindly trusted Paul’s method. Deep down I was thinking “he didn’t write that book for me. … no, I’m different. I’m more broken.” But I had the thought, “even if it is so that I am broken for good, and the substance of all of my doubt and fear is the only true thing in my life…. Why not still make my life bigger than the constant, willful focusing on anxiety and all of my symptoms?? I mean, if I’m going to be this way for the rest of my days then I might as well get back on with my life again.”

    And that was the blindly following of Paul’s method. Many, many, many times I was completely convinced it wouldn’t help me…. but I wanted to start doing ‘other’ things with my life again. I wanted to at least be a stronger husband for my wife and father for my son. I was no longer following Paul’s method because I thought it was going to fix my brokenness, I just wanted simply a glimpse of my old life again… to do the things that used to make my life mine.

    And that’s when the profound moments of peace started to come. After I completely surrendered to the reality of the anxiety/depression/symptoms but still wanting to live my life again the way I used to live it. I won’t get into too much detail about those very profound moments of peace but simply to say the broadsided me. The filled me with a feeling I probably hadn’t felt since I was a young, innocent, stress-free boy just loving life.

    Now those moments were clouded over too…. but I treated those times exactly the same: oh well, so what, I still have a life I’m going to live.
    I wasn’t angry at myself for the setbacks, I stopped thinking “what did I do wrong to bring me back here?!?!”

    I’m rambling: you’re only goal is to live the life you used to live. Let the anxiety, the intrusive thoughts, the fear do whatever they want to do to you. Let them scream and scream. Let your heart race away as fast as your mind…. and greet it all with a big “so what”. You don’t have to convince yourself to not feel the fear or the thoughts or the fear of the thoughts… all of those things are beyond your immediate control anyway. Just don’t take their heed. Don’t not watch that movie or avoid going out with those friends or not have a late night drink or whatever.

  267. Jen Says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for having this Great blog and website. For sharing your story and for helping so many out that are in such need of guidance. What you and others that have recovered that help out is amazing and truly a blessing to all of us that are looking for help and guidance. I honestly can say that your website and blog has helped me so much. How you explain things really make sense. I can see how it’s working by just letting go of the control our minds want to hold on to. I am we are only doing something we have been taught to do with everything else be in control try and fix it and figure it out. However with anxiety it’s completely opposite. I never knew this existed before I had my panic attack. Sure I had panic before but never like I did in August. It knocked me down that’s for sure. But I see my self building back up again and my old self coming back and I am so happy. I don’t think I could have said this a month or two ago so this is huge. You are doing great things and for that great things come back to you. Thank you again I am truly blessed to have come across this website on a day I was googling at my worst trying to figure what was Happening trying to make sense of it all. This has truly changed my life for the better.
    Thank you Jen

  268. Julie Says:

    HI Everyone

    Ok I am wondering if anyone could relate and advise me here. My anxiety was always intrusives and feelings that I worried about but in the last 2 months it returned and hit me health wise. In the last few weeks I haven’t been too well with vertigo type symptoms, to the point last week I was bed ridden all week and my husband called the GP out to me. He examined me and told me the dizziness and walking on a boat feeling was all due to extreme stress and anxiety which totally threw me as I have never had this feeling before. It has improved some what but I am still feeling very afraid of it, scared I have a brain tumour because my eyes feel blurred, when I walk into a room I can’t focus on things around me and I don’t feel in the room so again I panic something is wrong….. you get the picture. Every bodily sensation sends a rush of panic up my body and I just generally all day feel high anxiety due to health worries. I had health anxiety 10 years ago and now it’s back with avengance.

    I have read Pauls second book again and even gone over the first one but it’s not sinking in, I can’t seem to apply it to health anxiety? Can anyone give me some advice please? I’d really appreciate it.

    Can anyone relate to the vision thing, is this DP? I feel I can’t focus on things, left eye especially feels foggy and I panic it’s something bad in my brain. I spoke to my GP Thursday on the phone and he said he checked my eyes and BP, I passed all the muscle and balance tests so he didn’t need to check me again so to accept it’s anxiety. I had my CBT Friday but I don’t find it very helpful. She just made me spin around and walk around to face the dizziness and told me to just say ‘ok I could have a brain tumour but how much time am I going to give that thought, I want to enjoy my days’. Live with uncertainty which isn’t easy when you’re worried about a symptom that’s very real.

    Thanks all.


  269. Belgian Says:


    You wrote: ‘And that’s when the profound moments of peace started to come. After I completely surrendered to the reality of the anxiety/depression/symptoms but still wanting to live my life again the way I used to live it. I won’t get into too much detail about those very profound moments of peace but simply to say the broadsided me. The filled me with a feeling I probably hadn’t felt since I was a young, innocent, stress-free boy just loving life.’

    I can totally relate to this. It truly is a very special feeling and one I did not even pursue. The key lies in this seemingly strange paradox where you feel calm while being nervous and anxious. This is where your confidence is built by seeing the truth. As relationship anxiety was part of my intrusive thoughts, it is the place where I accepted feeling disconnected, out-of-love even revulsion for my partner while knowing that you love her. With regard to my physical symptoms it is the place where I work with them instead of against them.

    Recovery is all about this peace in the midst of the storm. I had a very important presentation yesterday and at some points really felt as if I was going to faint. It was only natural to be nervous, almost everyone would feel this. But as I know these anxious, nervous and potentially debilitating so well, I did not welcome them with fear. They are old acquaintances who are welcome to join in whenever they want. They are not pleasant, but they will do their thing and then will be gone. The only signal they really give me is that I should stop worry or take it a little bit easier for a few hours/days. So I thank them for that and let them go whenever it feels fit for them to leave.

    Am I completely recovered while I still sometimes feel a struggle? I do not really care too much actually. Each time I have found peace amidst the raging storm, it becomes a new memory of success. A new layer of strength. It’s all about taking these steps.

    I wish that everyone could find the time and kindness for one’s self to gradually make these learnings part of their lives.


    There is nothing I can say that takes away your dizziness immediately. I have it too sometimes. But really, what is the point of always coming back on this and asking guidance? It’s not a rhetorical question. Really try to answer it. Why do you ask this reassurance? Why do you ask for help with your dizziness while it can’t harm you in any way? What do you really need?

    Furthermore, health anxiety is one of the most commonest forms of anxiety. I survived brain cancer, testicle cancer, aids-hiv, kidney failure, schizophrenia. I am not kidding, I thought I had them all at one point. At some times in the past – and back then I would not call it even ‘anxiety times’ – I could not even read or speak out the word cancer not feeling anxious. So yes. I can relate to all of your fears :-)

  270. Bryan Says:

    Brilliant, Belgian. Great post.

  271. jane b Says:

    hi i dont really no where to start as ive been this way for many years but got so much worse when i c/t from beznos bk in 1998 i was then put on cocktails of other drugs not that any really helped at all ive been lost in this hopeless state of anxiety / depression and i dont see a way out i have tried so many things without helping i have just hung on from day week month year i dont wonna come across as oh she feels sorry for herself or i dont wonna get better i want it more than anything in the world ive had many failed relationships because of way i am ive recently broke up with my last i feel such a failure i just wonna cope like other ppl i do relaize i have been doing all the wrong things for all those years my poor mom and dad god knows how they have put up with me and still suffer cause of me every single day i know some of u will think or say something bk like well get on with it live your life …. i do try i go out i go yoga swimming but its such a big thing to do when u just feel so tired and depressed all the time my worse fear is never getting better and theres noone out there as bad as me and been this way for as long does any of that matter in recovery ? i know it has to come from within but i so need alittle support ive been watching this blog for a while now and not seen anyone or feel anyone can be in this state is that just my thoughts telling me that ? im so sorry for such a negative post as alot of ppl prob dont wonna read this such negativaty but plz if theres anyone on here that has felt such depair for such a long time plz reply again im so sorry to go on im just so so despreate i wont keep posting on here but if theers someone that would be kind enuf for a chat it would mean so much to me i dont wonna come across as self pity or anything just when u feel such despair and cant take much more i just feel im beyond help x

  272. jane b Says:

    sorry forgot to add ive also got *me fatagie and chronic nerve pain which was caused from reslt of sensative to drugs damage that does limit me to what i can do physicaly x

  273. Mark r Says:


    I can certainly relate to the breaks in the clouds analogy. These last few months have been pretty rotten for me and I’ve been battered by symptoms. I get pockets of ‘okayness’… hour, afternoon, sometimes a day where all the intense feelings seem to just wash out and I’m left feeling groggy and tired but with a slower and clearer mind.
    As Nolan suggested I’m letting the mind be active, the body feel terrible and tense and just carrying on. Its as if someone has put an old tape of old suffering on in my head and it needs to play until its come to the end of it.
    It goes to show how much truth is in this type of recovery, that they are just surface symptoms and there we are underneath just waiting to bounce back up.

  274. Colin Says:

    Post your question Jane b.
    I am sure someone will reply !!!

  275. Mark r Says:


    Just a quick one….

    I wasn’t angry at myself for the setbacks, I stopped thinking “what did I do wrong to bring me back here?!?!”

    Did you find some setbacks extra long? I always apply the same principle to each one but it’s been a good six weeks for this one, most clear up in a week or so. My question is really why some stick around? Is it just the luck of the draw or do we have some influence here?

  276. Pietro Says:

    Colin, how did you recover?? Did you move away from the blog?

  277. ken Says:

    Nolan or anybody
    Can somebody help me. Im have a hard time with something. I am having some severe anxiety and arguments in my head and dont know what to do. Inwent to an old therapist that i ended up not wanting to go back to but some thing he said is bothering me. He said something like if a “a crazy person was to walk up and say aliens existed what would you do” it scared me at first. Then a coiple days later after i was able to relax in my head i thought about how the universe is a big place and what not and there is a possibility. And i got upset likenwouldni be crazy if there was a possibility. Its still bothering me and dont know what to do about it. Do i confront him about, do indrive 50 miles to go see him again, do i call him, i dont know what tondo about these arguements cansomebody give me some direction anybody.
    Thank you

  278. Rachel Says:

    Julie couldn’t of said it better myself specially the last bit of it being so real if you do get rid of it let me know and just a though have you been to ent xx

  279. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Julie, I truly feel for you as I used to be you just a few months ago. So I say this for your own good: you are not helping yourself by coming on here and asking for help with every new symptom. You’ve already been giving wonderful advice by many people on this blog. Nothing more can be said. If it’s reassurance and comfort you’re seeking, then ok. But that will only provide you with temporary relief. Then when the next new symptom pops up, you’ll be running right back here. I’m sure you don’t want that.

    You said you’re worried about your symptom(s). Why? I urge you to test yourself. Let the symptom do its thing, as much as it wants. Let yourself panic. See what happens.

    At some point, Julie, you are going to have to tell yourself, “Enough is enough. I’m done letting dizziness, vision issues, weakness, etc dictate my life.” This is an attitude you have to cultivate. It won’t happen overnight. But each time a symptom appears its a chance to put into practice the right attitude. “Oh I’m feeling dizzy? That’s kind of unpleasant, but oh well, time to wash the dishes.” You need to stop thinking there’s something you can do to make the symptoms go away. It won’t work. Yes, the symptoms can be downright awful! Believe me, I know. But I also know you can’t think them away or reassure them away. If the symptoms are going to be there, let them be there. Learn to be comfortable with them. Not comfortable as in “oh this doesn’t feel so bad” but as in “it doesn’t matter how I’m feeling, I have a life to live.”

  280. Rich Says:

    Julie, I completely 100% echo Stephanie’s post above. I was going to write the exact same advice to you one final time except my advice was a lot more blunt and to the point. All the help you need is here in Paul’s blog posts and the advice he and others including me many times have given you here over the years.

    I hate to imagine how long you spend online each day looking how to be cured. I hate to think of how much money you’ve paid in online CBT – which clearly isn’t working. The only person stopping you from beating this is you. You can’t sit and wait for it to happen – you have to go and make it happen by living your life.

    Please stop using the site (and I fear others) as a crutch for regular reassurance while your world shrinks and anxiety consumes you. Take the bull by the horns. Be the wife your husband deserves and the mother your kids deserve and stop losing time to things. Only you can do this and nothing apart from your own active deciciveness will work.

    I wish you all the best.

  281. Julie Says:

    Thanks Belgian, Stephanie and Rich.

    Firstly, honestly I don’t surf the net all day trying to find help. Infact I never Google, I haven’t Googled anything health or anxiety related in years, I know too well that just makes anxiety worse. First thing I learnt when I had CBT many years ago for health anxiety.

    I think I didn’t word my post correctly. I just wondered how I can put Pauls book into practice with health anxiety because health anxiety is pretty tough to deal with I find. I have real physical symptoms going on and they seem to trigger the panic and constant fears that I have something seriously wrong with me, so I was just wondering if anyone else found their anxiety manifest in this way and did they apply Pauls teachings to it and found it worked? I hope that makes sense. With health anxiety it’s pretty constant, every pain, rush, shake… ignites fear and it’s difficult when your brain keeps automatically triggers the fears it’s serious. Everytime i walk around and feel I am about to fall over, or my vision is blurred it causes a rush of fear and I go back to not accepting it all over again. I think I just wondered how I can tackle this with acceptance when that keeps happening. I am trying to describe how it effects me but not doing a great job lol!

    Sorry I didn’t mean to seem like I was reassurance seeking, above is the main question I wanted answering if anyone could. I am just finding it tough using acceptance when it’s health anxiety biting me on the ass. It feels very different to my anxiety in the last couple of years which was a fear of going out and fear of my harm intrusives. This is a fear of the strong physical symptoms I have, the dizziness, vision issues… and fearing it’s something serious. So any physical feelings will frighten me and trigger the health anxiety. It’s been many years since I had this and it is quite tough to deal with.

    I don’t come here daily and read, so I don’t really use it as a crutch like I did 2 years ago, I just wondered if anyone could help or relate to this type of anxiety and how they coped with it. It’s just I am struggling to apply acceptance to it.

    The CBT did help wonders with the intrusive thoughts and agoraphobia for sure but since i restarted it recently I haven’t found she’s been very helpful with this form of anxiety. I am actually considering ceasing the CBT again.

    I keep living, being a mum, wife, friend…. but inside I am not happy or relaxed right now due to all the stressful situations and now my anxiety changing direction. I want nothing more than to feel true inner peace like I had found again.

    Thanks for your replies.


  282. Rich Says:

    Physical symptoms have been, and still are how anxiety affects me when it comes into my life, but this is irrelevent.

    No matter what symptoms people have, the questions asked are always the same and the answers are always going to be the same. The symptoms do not matter.

    Learn what you need to learn and then go on and do it. Without actively doing positive steps to overcome your own issues, nothing will change.

    If you don’t rise above the symptoms then the symptoms will hold you back. Don’t look back at the time spent in fear of this and wish you’d got on with life sooner – when the only thing stopping yourself is you.

  283. Julie Says:

    Thank you Rich.

    I think I just felt a little confused on how to handle health anxiety as it’s not touched upon in Pauls and Clarie Weekes books. So I felt a little lost on what to do.

    Thanks for explaining and to you Stephanie, thank you both.


  284. Mark r Says:


    I was in your place a month ago so I can guage how you feel. Ihad a huge flare up mid October that I’m still dealing with now, but dealing with better. I made the same mistakes as you, reading the blog, looking for an answer to get round it before realising that in order for me to turn this round I had to move on regardless of how I felt. Slowly over the past few weeks the things I was doing/enjoying pre flare up have started to mean something again, this only comes from repeated doing. I’ve also seem times of peace too. As Rich said the symptoms do not matter, sure they feel like s**t but they will only get less and less if you make them less important.

    To be honest I’d forget about ‘health anxiety’ or any other label you’ve given yourself. Its quite apparent that atter doing very well your anxiety levels have increased due to external stress, this is completely normal. Temporarily you’re back in the cycle. The only way to break that cycle is to not care about it, peace will follow.

    For the next week or so let your mind rage and your body feel as bad as it needs to …just as mine is typing this to you.

  285. Rich Says:

    Don’t get hung up on labels, and don’t label yourself.

    Specifics are all irrelevent.

  286. Julie Says:

    Thank you Mark and Rich.

    I agree. I think it’s the external stress really badly flared up alot of anxiety for me and with it some physical feelings due to the amount of stress i was under. I just have to let my body recover I guess, let time pass.

    My son has now been put on a waiting list for some CBT for his panic attacks. It’s been really difficult as a mother seeing him suffering. It started after his bullying in school, and I have been left with a little boy really struggling. The stress led to me feeling quite unwell. I am now hoping things will change and he will get some support which inturn will make me feel more relaxed.


  287. Doreen Says:

    Julie – even your last post indicates that you somehow see yourself as in some different place to others as you yet again tell us the stresses that have led to you feeling ‘unwell’ as you call it. In numerous posts above you have told your ‘story’ over and over again as if somehow this time someone will read it and come up with the magic answer. I cannot believe that you get any relief from recounting all these stresses and if you do it can only be temporary.

    As Rich says ‘Don’t get hung up on labels, and don’t label yourself.
    Specifics are all irrelevent”

  288. Jamie Says:

    Have you ‘recovered’ now Rich ? How did you find the journey ?

  289. Sara Says:

    Hey Paul, I think that it’d be great if you did some videos or podcasts.

    Providing that you have the time ofcourse :)

    I’ve noticed that anxiety robs you of your ability to concentrate and also when an anxious person reads he’s just scanning for that miracle cure and nt letting he information sink in.

    Also, visual messages sink in much easier…especially to anxiety suferrers. It would certainly save you all the trouble of repeating

    Just a thought :)

  290. Dustin Says:

    You have to stop trying to find it. Stop trying to figure out a way to be ok with everything. Just go on feeling as shitty as you do. I am hesitant to post any advice right now, because I am going through a very rough patch and things aren’t making a whole lot of sense to me, but I can tell you that there is no need to fall into that secondary level of fear that keeps many in the cycle. Hope that helps a little.

  291. Jamie Says:

    I’m unsure how your post links to me asking Rich about his recovery Dustin ? Sorry if that appears a abrupt.

  292. jane b Says:

    hi i did put a post on here 2 days ago now it shows its been posted but noone has replied :( sorry if u ignored me cause im so negative …. im just in just a black hole for so many years just wanted some advice from someone that had been very depressed and felt no hope with overcoming thoughts feelings panic attacks phobias and come thru even when had all these problems for so many years without a good day using this method thats all sorry just needed alittle help and a glimmer of hope x

  293. Dustin Says:

    I apologize if I was unclear, and I was in no way trying to answer on Rich’s behalf, so sorry if it appeared that way. I was just refering to “the journey you mentioned. You’re on the journey right now, so there is no need to go searching for it and trying to feel right.

    Again, sorry Rich, I wasn’t trying to speak for you, I just wanted to throw my two cents in.

  294. Jamie Says:

    Thanks for clarifying Dustin

  295. Nolan Says:

    “Don’t get hung up on labels, and don’t label yourself.

    Specifics are all irrelevent.”

    ….. Exactly.

    Great point, Rich.

  296. Jen Says:

    Although I haven’t suffered long I know how anxiety fells and robs us of our selfs. I saw your post and I just wanted to reach out and say that you can over come this. Have you read Paul’s books? Or try reading through past blogs? Paul gives really good advice in both of those. Basically you have to just try and live your life as normal as possible even if you feel yucky and don’t want to no matter how you may feel. I would read the book and past blog posts that Paul’s has done. They have really helped me alot. You are not being negative it’s just hard to see the light when you have this anxiety is all. I had no good days for a few months once I accepted this was going to be with me for awhile and I just carried on the anxiety has been lifting and I have had many days now of feeling like my old self. Granted it feels a little strange to feel normal again but I’m taking it. I kept reading that the shift in attitude is what has done it for people and that’s when things started to change. I couldn’t understand how anyone could be okay with feeling like this at one point however there came a time where I was just fed up with fighting it and I just accepted it. After that things seems to be falling into place. This is a great place for advice. It has really helped me alot. Best of luck to you keep your head up things will get better.

  297. Julie Says:

    Doreen – When I used the word ‘unwell’ I meant it physically not mentally. I never call myself unwell or ill with my anxiety as it isn’t an illness. I meant physically I have felt unwell. I have had tension headaches, unable to eat…. of course that leads to a feeling of feeling unwell physically. Stress can make a person feel very unwell indeed.

    I am stepping away from the blog now, not that I was using it as a crutch or nor am I on here daily posting/reading. I just want to step away for a while as I have alot going on in my personal life so that needs my full attention right now. Thank you for all of your words of advice, I appreciate it. Good luck to you all.


  298. Sara Says:

    Hey, (Nolan, Belgian, Doreen…..etc)

    Has anyone felt like this before?

    For some times now i’ve been in a setback and I cannot for the life of me see me recover…..It’s like I’m convinced that recovery is no for me :(

    I’m making progress everyday with anxiety but I know that I’ll always be in this state of progress-setbeck-progress-setback…….Even my good days are just days where I can “handle” anxiety rather than me feelng happy

    In order to recover you need to be believe in, yet I can’t……why do you think this is and has anyone been through this phase??

    My therpaist isn’t worried and nobody else around me is, but I just can’t even imagine getting out of this mess…..and it all depends on me at the end of the day and my will-power

    PLEASE if you can relate tell me how i can handle this thought as I have handled all types of scary OCD thoughts so far but this one is engraved in me

  299. Paul David Says:

    I am going to Split Belgians post up here as it is very important and I think so many miss this, firstly he says below:

    Recovery is all about this peace in the midst of the storm. I had a very important presentation yesterday and at some points really felt as if I was going to faint. It was only natural to be nervous, almost everyone would feel this. But as I know these anxious, nervous and potentially debilitating so well, I did not welcome them with fear. They are old acquaintances who are welcome to join in whenever they want. They are not pleasant, but they will do their thing and then will be gone. The only signal they really give me is that I should stop worry or take it a little bit easier for a few hours/days. So I thank them for that and let them go whenever it feels fit for them to leave.

    Am I completely recovered while I still sometimes feel a struggle? I do not really care too much actually. Each time I have found peace amidst the raging storm, it becomes a new memory of success. A new layer of strength. It’s all about taking these steps.

    This is exactly what happens, you get comfortable with being uncomfortable, if anyone on here is wanting some symptom to go away instantly or some answer to unlock some code to be instantly peaceful then trust me you will be chasing your own tail forever like I once was.

    The point is that none of this can harm you, no feeling, no thought, no symptom, it is made worse by you labelling it as wrong/bad so then it must be eliminated, fought against, defeated, you want to feel different so then resistance starts, it is the resistance that brings all the fighting, the worry, the inner conflict, it is never the feeling or symptom that causes the problem, it is your reaction to it that does.

    When there is no resistance to a thought or feeling, no labelling it as wrong, no suppression, no fighting, no concentrated focus then it is allowed to pass on its own and it will not touch you the same, like Belgian said above it is just a temporary visitor, not pleasant, but he no longer labels it as bad, wrong, something to fight against, he just allowed it to be there, how many others on here do that? The people who struggle are the ones that do the opposite. They only want to know how to rid themselves of these symptoms, thoughts and feelings, they have no intention of allowing them their space, they just become their enemy, their whole world, a constant, endless battle.

    I have said many times that these thoughts and feelings hung around me for a while, but they really no longer bothered me, they were a nuisance at times, but I understood they would be there for a some time, I had been through so much, but now the fight was over. Everything I learnt was pointing towards giving up, no more worrying, fighting or analysing, it pointed to the exact opposite of what I had been doing. It makes sense to me now of course, how could I fix worry with more worry? how could I fix my tired and weary mind with the same tired and weary mind, through more thinking, more analysing? surely all this would do would make it more worn out, more tired, more chaotic. How could I fix my anxious state through battling with it, putting more and more stress on my over worked body? How could I not feel all these symptoms with all that I had put myself through? My symptoms where like an alarm going on if in my body to tell me to stop worrying, stop analysing, stop fighting, but I never listened, I just upped the ante and felt worse.

    People who stay stuck are still in fear of the way they feel and so stay shackled to it, the war continues, only when you give up the techniques, the worry, the analysing, the effort will you become free. Knowledge was everything to me, I understood why my thoughts raced, why my mind felt so worn out and tired, why I felt anxious or my heart raced, so I no longer feared it all, it lost my respect. I stopped fighting with it all as I understood this was only counter productive, I basically learnt that none of it was important and I could live alongside it and let my mind and body heal itself and that’s what happened.

    But there some days well into feel better that I would feel awful, really off and detached, anxious, like everything was back, but I knew everything I felt was totally harmless and I may need to go through a few of these times, my mind and body still had old habits and pockets of energy to let go of, it was just going through another temporary process, so I fully allowed it all with little concern and it passed quite quickly, before I would have worried, analysed it all, tried all night through effort to fix it, just making it into something it wasn’t and giving it far more respect than it deserved and the whole cycle would have started again.


    There is nothing I can say that takes away your dizziness immediately. I have it too sometimes. But really, what is the point of always coming back on this and asking guidance? It’s not a rhetorical question. Really try to answer it. Why do you ask this reassurance? Why do you ask for help with your dizziness while it can’t harm you in any way? What do you really need?

    This is exactly the point and sums up so much, why do you want it to stop if it is not harmful? Maybe you think it is, maybe you label it so bad and concentrate on it so much that you suffer way more than the actual symptom itself. No one can ever tell you how to get rid of a symptom, but to just allow it to happen and not try to change it. The biggest thing I ever said to myself was ‘What if from now on I never tried to change the way I feel’ little did I know what I had hit on that day, but that day came because doing the opposite was just making me feel worse.

    Giving up requires courage, to feel everything without trying to change it is not always easy as our minds are survival machines and when they don’t like something they scream at you to do something about it, but the truth is we have no control, just like we have no control if we are full of flu, we can’t get rid of it instantly, we just have to ride it out. I had no control to how I felt, the more I tried to control it then the worse I felt. When I let go of all effort and personal will then change happened naturally, it is effort, worry, stress that keep anxious feelings alive, this is the fuel they need.

    Recovery is not about waking up one day feeling anxiety free, feeling good all the time, it starts by allowing yourself to feel whatever you’re feeling at the time with no labels and no resistance, knowing that none of it can do you any harm and it is a process that you must go through, there are no quick fixes here no matter what some claim on the internet. This is where people go wrong, they think if they don’t feel good today then they must be doing something wrong, that they need to search for that answer harder, resist or analyse more. When I felt off I just saw it as my body finding its way back to balance, I was just a passenger along for the ride.

    I and others words can only point people in the right direction, as I have seen many times, people continue to do the opposite. The words are just pointers for you to see it for yourself, where things click. I did not have to try and give up any fight, it just made perfect sense to do so, I saw clearly how the fight had kept me trapped for so many years. Read old posts on here, people who have recovered responses, the books I wrote and really see the message.

    People always ask others how they recovered and when they get the answer that they just allowed it all to happen they dismiss it as they want a ‘Do’ what did you do? They want a technique, rules to follow, but there is no technique, no ‘Do’ all doing is more effort, all techniques are just suppression tools, they may give you temporary relief at best, but they don’t solve the problem. It took me a long time to realise that I did not have to do anything, when I truly saw this then a new attitude came automatically.


  300. Belgian Says:

    I have made a document of all my posts on this forum and while I was rereading them it occurred to me that I basically said the same thing over and over again. Only but to see people asking the same questions over and over again. I feel totally sympathetic with all of you. I was there, Paul was there, Nolan was there and so many others where there too.

    There is one aspect of life (recovery) that – in my opinion – does not come up so often here while it deserves a lot of attention: it is time.

    Time is your friend. Every second, every new waking moment, time invites you to see your situation all different again. Every second you can decide to change your attitude from hopelessly seeking to get rid of your feeling on “how you feel” into acceptance. In that way, every second is like an eternity.

    Indeed, time not only heals wounds. It also offers opportunities, a chance to renew yourself, a chance to be grateful – even when not everything in your life goes the way you would like it to be. It offers you a chance not to blindly follow your anxious feelings just once more. It allows you to forgive others and yourself for our human weaknesses. It allows you to (re)find love.

    In fact, time is like a endless river on which you can put your anxiety as a raft. Let yourself float on your anxiety while experiencing the landscape, the air and all the places time is bringing you.

    Life is short but time will always remain your trusted friend. Trust in time, trust in yourself and take the leap forward! If we can, so can you.

  301. jane b Says:

    ty for reply jen thought i was just being ignored yes i see what your saying and ty for your advice i really need some kind of reasurance from someone thats been stuck like this for years on end with no breaks [etc. etc.] I so need some support plz x

  302. Mark r Says:

    Great post Paul.

    Belgian that is my biggest bugbear to be honest. I do very well at accepting and just doing life stuff regardless of how my mind or body feel. I’m impatient with time. My mind churns over and over ‘what if this setback never ends’ ‘what if you get stuck like before’ ‘its been xxx amount of weeks, should be gone by now’. Not sure how much of those are just anxious thoughts due to my state of mind or whether there is an element of my creative input.
    Maybe I’m no different to everyone else on here. It’s hard feeling like this and probably only natural to want to feel better.

  303. Paul David Says:

    That was suppose to say you get comfortable with being uncomfortable which I have now changed.

    There is a pattern to everyone who posts about thoughts, they make them so important, thoughts only make you feel like crap, only have an effect, only disturb your inner being when you identify with them, without identification they are nothing but a ball of energy rising up in you, because in reality that is all they are, nothing more, they hold no weight whatsoever.

    Jane I was there, probably worse than you, yes hard to believe but I was. Your self punishing yourself every day, why this, why that, I feel like this and feel like that, this happened, that happened. You even mention you beat yourself up all the time. The short answer is in your words and that is why things are not changing. I went through all the anger, the self pity, the thoughts, feeling trapped. I realised it was me that was doing this to myself, there was no outside force, it was me that was keeping myself stuck by worrying, punishing myself, fighting, suppressing,searching, analysing, it is recognising this that is the start of recovery, otherwise its like trying to lose weight while still eating bad food constantly throughout the day and wondering why nothing is changing. It took time to reach the person I am today, it was not an overnight thing.

  304. Fleur Says:

    I don´t want to be importunate but I feel invisible. I wrote here twice and no response. I want to go forward in my recovery but I really doubt if this is only anxiety and her tricks. I love this website and Paul´s 2 books, I lost so many fears thanks to the book but I didn´t find this symptom. I had so much and still have some physical feelings but I really accept it, I am smiling on my diziness… I really get what you mean by acceptance. I have nausea after exercising, nervousness, restlessness. I am accepting all BUT this:

    I have a block or something (almost only when I am at home). I have so much free time like nobody else and before anxiety I loved that free time. But now I have anxiety when I think for example:
    „what to do at home with that free time.“ It is like I have so much possibilities (read a book, clean room, studying…) that eventually I have anxiety thinking about it. When I am at home alone I feel like I am going crazy when i want to do something. I am afraid of doing something. I have an idea that it maybe is really some block from panic attack and I have this intrusive almost 1 year and I never accept it because I fear of this feeling so much that I think about it all the time. Maybe it was started from thought and now that feeling is my fight/flight because my body give signal that it is something wrong. How I may accept something like this? I think FIRST I must stop fear it but how? The best with anxiety is understanding, Paul and Claire wrote about it. But I don´t have understanding with this symptom.

    I must add, that I don´t have these feelings of crazy when I am at boyfriend´s home or when I was in usa, or when I am at dormitory. I have these feelings when I am at home – where my PANIC ATTACK first started. It is like my trigger. My trigger is my room and my free time at home. So much people from panic attack fear of going out (agoraphobia). But I love going out. I have strange crazy feelings at home. Like what to do in my room. I´m introvert and all my life I loved been at home alone and thinking, playing games, organizing my closet! Now I am afraid be at home. Is it possible is it anxiety? WHY? Every agoraphobic is afraid of going out and I am afraid be at home. When I ask myself why, I answer: because I have feelings of panic when I want to do something at home and that´s why I am afraid do something. Maybe it is some intrusive thought. Everytime when I want to do something at home INTRUSIVE thought is immediately here and that feeling. Is it possible, what do you think about me? I am really unique I don´t want be with this thing.

    When u didn´t answer me I am scared that you think that I am crazy and u don´t want to respond me because it would be like this: „ sorry you are crazy you are not like we are“.

  305. Sara Says:

    Hello all


    I’ve been reading every post since this blog started (and replies also!) for the past couple of weeks but nothing much has been said about depression.

    Paul, I’d really really love for you to write something about this topic. I’m going through a devasting time with this. The sadness is very strong, almost like melancholie. It feels like I have a sinking sensation of doom and despair it honestly is VERY painful.

    I don’t want to ask questions that have been asked (and YES Belgian you’ve really repeated yourself for us…so Thank you, I too was planning to start a document of your replies actually)

  306. Rich Says:

    Jane B, please break your posts into sentences and paragraphs and think whether putting everything streaming into your head onto here is beneficial not only to us who have to try to read it but also to you who has to run it through your mind each time. I find it reading it extremely tiring – heaven knows what it does to you writing it.

    Fleur, I do not understand what you’re looking for in your post – all the answers to your questions are in everyone’s advice on this post and all others on this blog. If you’ve read them, you won’t feel unique.

    Dustin, Don’t worry about replying to posts mentioning me – Everyone’s help on here is beneficial and all opinions valid.

    Jamie, I wouldn’t regard myself as recovered – only because I see ‘recovering’ from anxiety disorder as a state of mind – an attitude to take – more than a destination.

    We’re all on the journey thats for sure. It’s just that some of us have read the guidebook and know where we’re supposed to be going, while some of us are wondering around lost without noticing we’ve actually got the map in our hand the whole time.

    Keep on moving forwards.

  307. Jamie Says:

    Belgian, Paul and Rich – thanks so much for your posts. Posts like yours are the only thing that keep me going sometimes.

    I’ve had horrendous anxiety at work today but stayed there the whole day even including a half hour 1 on 1 training session which sent the symptoms through the roof. I did all of it though. I’m now at home now watching Elf with my daughter and won’t waste my time dissecting the day. Have a good evening.

  308. Mark r Says:


    In my experience there are two types of depression..

    Actual depression – my symptoms were pretty much the same as anxiety but without the will to recover. I slept 16 hours a day only to wake up exhausted.

    Anxiety lowness – this is common for anxiety sufferers. If your body is constantly thrashing itself to keep up an anxious state, your mind dominated by nothing but anxious thoughts then you’re going to feel invariably low.

    Have to say for me in both cases facing, accepting and time cured both. I had acute anxiety symptoms a month ago and was very low, its only natural. As that improved and ive started doing things again I feel miserable most of the time as I’m not enjoying whatever I’m doing. For me the next phase is having interest back and the lowness will lift.

    It may not be the same for you but hopefully my experience may help you a little.


  309. Tiffany Says:

    Hi all, new here. A month ago to the day I started to feel like something was wrong. Never having been an overly anxious person, I simply could not understand what was happening. One evening, I was nailing a light into the wall of my son’s bedroom and had a sudden intrusive thought. It his me out of nowhere. I can only equate it to crossing the street and looking both,ways to see all is clear. Then wham, getting hit by a bus. I froze, analyzed and then over the next few days I was in complete panic. Am I this terrible person? How could I think that? What if I’m losing my mind? Am I going insane? Then the fear came that I would have to commit myself and not be apart of my sons life. I had my first full blown panic attack in a room full of myour friends and my husband. I quietly excused myself and pulled my husband aside and just sobbed. I told him everything, and he saw real fear on my face. Sweating hands, over heated, racing heart, light headed. It passed within minutes, but for the next few days I was in such a constant anxious state I went to work and had a melt down. My boss gave me 1/2 a xanax and it took the edge off. I called my mom, and told her everything. Told her I needed help and she picked up my son’s and kept them for a few days. BACKGROUND: when I review the last 5 years in my head I suppose I have had a lot of stress, much like most everyone. During the financial meltdown l, my husband and I both lost our jobs. Not only did this cause a HUGE financial strain, as in cars repoed, evicted, power cut off, etc. I had never been unemployed before. This was hard for me to take. Because of this my marriage took a hard hit and we had some Fidelity issues, which have now been worked out however they took their toll. Fast forward a few years and my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, and my sister and I hadn’t spoken for a year. All of this was resolved so fast forward again and my husband and I own our own business which he runs and works, and are financially stable. Then, I decided to make a HUGE career changer which required giving up q5 years of tenure and starting over. My new job is HIGHLY stressful but I love it. I also moved into a new house. W weeks into my new house and theven anxiety happened. FAST FORWARD: My mom told me that I’ve finally hit a breaking point and need rest. I only slept about 5 hours a night. I didn’t understand because I hadn’t necessarily felt stressed. So I started researching and decided I might not ever know the exact trigger. The worst part of anxiety was my fear to be around my children. I loved to cook but was terrified to be around knives or scissors. I saw my GP who wrote a scrip. For anxiety to take at night. I also saw my gynocologist to rule out horomones. I then saw a psychiatrist who listened and mentioned that often times working mothers don’t even know they are open l rating everyday life at extremely high stress levels. I guess that was me. Exactly q month later, he is where I am: I started taking A magnesium supplement after dinner which seemed to chill me out. I cut out almost all caffeine and none after 7PM, I committed to 8 hours of sleep every night, no matter what. I Procter breathing techniques for 10 min or so when I get get in bed whether I’m feeling anxious or not. I stopped obsessing about the disturbing thoughts and took the advise from this site. They 99% gone, and I can be around my children normally. One day is was getting g highly anxious when going out with another couple. I identified my anxious state and said okay and went anyway. I even talked about how I was feeling with our friends at dinner and miraculously the anxious feelings went away. I have talked to anyone who will listen and found great comfort in that process. Many of my friends said that had a similar experience. I refused o be afraid to be around my children! One day last week my son needed a flu shot and he is terrified of it. I had to hold him down while he cried, and then I cried because I almost couldn’t stand to see him distressed. I knew I that moment, I LOVE my children and would do anything to protect them and now believed 100% my mind had been playing tricks on me. I let the guilt go. I have noticed that violence in the Media whether it be news or movies or shows makes me anxious. The anxiety associated is manageable, and I plan on facing this fear soon. This site is the only site that gave me peace of mind, with real techniques to help myself. I am 95% better because of this site. Take my advise, rest your body and your mind, talk to others, and buy into the advise given here.

  310. Jude Says:

    Wow Paul, that post truly does say it all.

    Something i have noticed about myself is that the surrendering to all of it is very humbling and very very very difficult because not only is there intense fear, there is all the time that i have fought it. It’s like telling a soldier that has been fighting a war for months and months, perhaps years, battling through every second of the day, fighting for survival, only now being told that there was never a true enemy to fight, that there was no battle at all but one of his/her own making. So many days spent fighting through every second and for what? That is hard to accept, so much lost time, so many horrible memories.

    I find that when i do give up, it at first makes me feel worse, like a sinking feeling of doom and shame come over me. That happens because i realize i am powerless to all of this. That is truly hard to face and accept. I am figuring though that healing is gradual and all of this is a transitional phasing of sorts. That’s where i believe time and practice come into the picture. The old ways won’t ever help us so we must adapt and try something new, but this new way isn’t really a way at all, not one we can so easily wrap our minds around because the answer like you have said is “do nothing”. Change scares all of us. The unknown is truly frightening, to give up control seems so very very threatening but we never had control to begin with. That’s one hell of a slice of humble pie indeed.

    Here’s to all of us having the courage/faith/trust to just pick up our fork and knife and dig in!

  311. Sara Says:

    Hey Mark,

    Thank you for answering:)

    My depression currently is a deep sesnse of sorrow and dispair.

    Its so painful I feel this state of doom inside of me and it comes like an anxiety attack… in the pain and sadness is so powerlful and reaches a peak until it dies down.

    But then I’m left petrified of that ghastly feeling and I’m too scared to move on incase it envelops me again

    Can you relate?

  312. Julie Says:

    Paul – Something made me come back to check the blog as i had a feeling there would be a post for me, spooky 😉

    Thank you so much, I loved your post to me, it really helped. I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to reply to me. I really appreciate it and I have taken it on board.


    Fleur – I wanted to say I hope someone will come along and reply to you. I think you are over thinking the time you have on your own and thinking you must fill your day up to the brim to avoid feeling anxious.

    I have had agoraphobia and still to some degree suffer and at home I have even felt anxious. I have that anxious feeling at home due to panic attacks and bad memories in the house having those attacks. That’s just memory and they will fade with time. If you want to lie down and watch a movie do that, if you feel anxious whilst doing so, then so be it, that’s fine. If you feel anxious doing a workout, again that’s fine….. just allow yourself to feel anxious but do the things you want to do. Trust me i know as I have avoided in the past and lay around worrying, too scared to get up and just do what I needed to do at home. It got me nowhere, do it and feel anxious. In time the things you do become fun again and anxiety and bad memories fade.


  313. Chris Says:

    Hi all!

    Just thought I’d post an update. The last week I have seen steady improvements, the terrible days are now not as terrible, and I’m even having a few good days. Although admittedly I am not accepting 100% of the time, I am doing a better job at it than I previously was. I have also been keeping away from Dr Google mostly, I slipped up a few times in some difficult moments and the compulsion still pops up, but I’m back to writing music, socializing and I’m starting a new job next month.

    I’m still plagued by the thoughts ‘what if the speed/ecstasy that I was using recreationally 3 years ago ruined my mental health’ but I’m doing my best to not take them seriously. It’s something I really need to let go and leave behind, which can be hard sometimes because part of me still identifies with them.

  314. Mansor Says:

    Paul is right in his book.
    Recovered :)

  315. jane b Says:

    hi ty for advice paul i do get where u are coming from im just not getting it at mo but i will keep on trying and wont post anything negative anymore just got to somehow keep picking at it and trying my best to keep working on ignoring my thoughts that have haunted me for so long ty again for taking time out to reply to me x

  316. Belgian Says:

    Chris, good for you! I am happy to see that you are picking up your life and live it regardless of your anxious thoughts and feelings.

    That is the way! Do not feel too discouraged by the way you feel and what you think. You do not need to leave them behind, in time they will leave you.

    Your only job is to accept them in the meantime and carry on. The rest will follow automatically.

  317. Doreen Says:

    Jane. As Rich asked, could you try to break your post up into sentences. Much easier for others to read then

  318. Luke Says:

    Hi team,

    I posted here roughly a month ago looking for advice on strugglong with fear of going crazy.

    I practise accepting however i feel at the moment and i believe that is the key to everything.

    However it seems like my scary irrational thoughts got worse. I get them prettyuch anytime during a day, and they are not a “what if” thoughts. More like i get unsettling reaction to any regular thought, it is really hard to explain. As if my mind was trying to scare me of any regular daily situations. Is this caused by sensitized nerves and will it go?

    Can anxiety manifest itself like this or is this something else? I am not on any meds. It is really tough to go through the day with this.

  319. Luke Says:

    Sorry for mistakes in above post, typing on the phone.

  320. Colin Says:

    Hi Luke
    Sensitised is exactly what you have .
    Before I recovered , I used to get anxiety when I felt sorry for someone or a kid crying or a house that looked old and run down . Everyday things that shouldn’t bother us ? Try to just let it happen and as much as it pains you . Just move on trying to work it all out exaggerates it all , and it will only get worse .


  321. Luke Says:


    With me is different. I get these weird reactions to just about anything. It is as if my brain was picking up or was in a scanning mode to take any regular information and try to see if i get scared or stressed. I question a reality a lot, have existential thoughts. It is hard to explain.

    I feel constantly tensed and unsettled. I don’t have any panic attacks though. More like at the edge at all times. My mind is all over the place. Sometimes i feel that losing it and become unaware would be better than this torture. I just hope it settles in time, that my mind will somehow gets bored of this subject and let it be.

  322. Mark r Says:

    Hi all,

    Can anyone shed their thoughts on this as I’ve been chewing over it for a few days now….

    …….For the past 15 years or so I’ve had periods of sensitisation/anxiety/setback on and off. I’ve never really gone longer than 3 years without being affected badly by it. Getting myself to an ‘okay’ place can sometimes take between a few months or a year and the periods of when I’m very sensitised appear every 18 months to 2 years. I mean on a positive note I have a great life in between those awful times….enjoy work, dating, holidays, free time etc.
    Can anyone identify with this? Have they managed to shorten the periods of sensitisation and extend the good periods in between? I always carry on with my life but feel like I miss out when I feel so crap as I dont enjoy much.
    Some people I talk to say I haven’t properly recovered and will get these periods until I do….others say its the nature of the condition and that’s how it will always be.
    Any thoughts would be welcome….

  323. Sara Says:

    Hey Mark

    Guess what, i started accepting all the feelings and today i got a glimpse of myself back!!!! It didn’t take long but it’s al the hope i needed.

    Are you on any sort of medication? This is pobably why you are not healing

    I’ve suffered for 7 years and whenever i had a relapse i would treat it with meds. The longest I’v gone without it coming back is 1.5 years but since then it’s been coming back far too frequently

    I’m learning to face it now without them…..I’ve been reading a whole lot of recovery stories (of people that kept having setback) and that’s helping me right now

    I advice you to read Claire Weekes again and again, I found out today that she too suffered with the condition for around 2 years. Her audio CD might help too (i don’t have access to that but according to the people i’ve been corresponding with they’re very good)

  324. mark r Says:

    Hi Sara,

    I’m on a low dose of antidepressants but meds do very little for me to be honest so very much doubt thats the answer.


  325. Sara Says:

    Long term usgae of SSRI can really mess with your brain.

    Trust me I’ve been reading A LOT these days and talking to those who are on the other side of anxiety.

    You may not want to add another hassle to your life but I think it’ll definitaly be worth it.

    My twin sister has only seen true recovery AFTER she stopped the meds.

    If you prefer we can talk about this elswhere., I can give you all the stories I’ve read that helped me out.
    If not I really do insist upon Claire Weekes, especially when your mind is clear :)

  326. jane b Says:

    doreen / rich
    sorry if way i have been posting has upset you or anyone my heads all over the place, i kind of just type as it comes out ,the none stop racing thoughts and fear of never getting better, dp , and such a deep dark depression are my biggest issues, i can understand tho not as easy for others to read .

    it took me along time and was worried to post on here incase ppl thought i was a hopeless case, i was just reading what other posts ppl was putting , now i feel if i put something too negative or not put my words into paragraghs and sentences if gonna get bad comments and its made me feel even more upset and stressed over .

    i am trying so very hard to ignore way i have felt for so many years but its not coming that easy to me . im so glad alot of other ppl are finding there way to revovery and i truely beleive paul has the right ideas to just let go of everything , its like my stupid head is programmed this way its like i fear and panic and stress and cry over everything ,yes its like a habit ive got into for such a long time, i get so tired . the longer ive been suffering the worse i worry, im trying to keep it short and not go into too much negative details.

    i will keep on taking pauls advice ( ive been reading the book for a few months now ) and will order the new one. and hopefully one day soon it will just click and i will finaly calm myself down, and feel theres a light at the end of the tunnel .

    god bless you all x

  327. Markr Says:

    Sorry Sara I don’t support that theory at all.

  328. Chris Says:

    Hi Luke, it sounds like me and you are in very similar states at the moment. The whole uneasy/on edge feeling. This usually happens when I’m coming out of a setback actually, but it has always been a big one for me too! Any thought, even a positive one I found can give off that horrible reaction in your gut. It’s just anxiety and I originally thought I was the only one. Turns out this is very common.

    Thanks for the encouragement Belgain! It really does help. The what if’s seem to be getting a bit weaker, apart from today when I had the thoughts again – pretty much the same ones, this time it was to do with when I took party pills as a teenager – ‘oh noes what if that contributed to brain damage/anxiety!’. If this was me a few weeks ago I would have googled it, but this time I just let myself think it as much as I wanted, without getting involved as best as I could. The desire to google was MASSIVE but I decided not to go down that road, and as a result the fear is fading. It will probably come up again, but now instead of googling I’m going to do my best to just accept it.


  329. Jen Says:

    Don’t worry things will get better. I know it’s hard when we are in the mist of it all but just know that nothing stays the same and things always change. It’s just a bad habit that was created and now you(us) have to unlearn that bad habit and create new ones. Happy ones. No one is mad at you for how you have posted on the blog. So don’t stress out about that or worry. We alll do things differnetly. I sometimes write or type like i am talking and have to go back and take out all the “and ya’s” since im from the midwest ?I know things are tough right now. But really follow Paul’s advice. He suffered for 10 years and is recovered so can you. So can we all. When you feel down and sad or full of anxiety try and turn it around with a positive word. For every negative word you have to say a positive one. I know it’s hard. I have been feline down the last day and half. My old habit of worrying but it will get better have faith maybe start something new to focus on. Now I am going to take my own advice lol. I know it’s easier said then done but we got this you got this just going to take time to adjust and become automatic because right now it might not feel right but it will. Keep your head up. We all can do this recovery is there we just have to realive it that nothing is doing it to us we are just.doing this to our self out of bad habit and learnt behavior. Hope you have better days they will come.
    Take care

  330. Belgian Says:

    Mark you wrote:

    “Getting myself to an ‘okay’ place can sometimes take between a few months or a year and the periods of when I’m very sensitised appear every 18 months to 2 years. I mean on a positive note I have a great life in between those awful times….enjoy work, dating, holidays, free time etc.”

    I think you are looking for recovery in the wrong place. It seems you are looking for peace in a “desensizited period”. Recovery does not lie there. In these peaceful moments lies rest and hope, but not recovery.

    Recovery or true peace lies in the middle of your worst nightmare. When your symptoms are at your worst. It lies in your attitude towards these feelings in that exact moment. It lies in acceptance towards all these feelings and thoughts.

    What was different in your life when you felt well? A million things perhaps, but actually it comes down to but one thing and one thing only. Your way of dealing with yourself, your own thoughts.

    It seems to me that you have learned a way to endure your suffering. This is already very good! You should feel proud! But if you ask me how to get rid of it all, I can only give the same answer as always. Don’t.

    You will feel bad at times. We all do. We are human. If we did not feel bad, we could never feel happiness. Accepting means acknowledging that life does not always go your way. Accept your suffering, but try not to suffer because you suffer. This is pointless.

    My grandfather was probably the most ‘happy’ person I have ever known. He always saw the good in the bad. The opportunity in a failure. The comeback after a setback. His life was difficult and he had to endure a lot, but this did not made him resenting life. He loved it and lived it to the fullest right until his last very difficult breath. The only thing he was blessed with was his natural attitude towards it all.

    We are not all blessed with this same spark, but in people like my grandfather we can see the possibilities of life. The other way of looking at it all. As gently as we can, we should try to find this attitude. We can, you know.

    It’s true. We are not always lucky. We do not always make the right choices or we are simply confronted with the bad choices of others. We can always make one right choice though. The choice of the right attitude. A difficult one at times. One that often needs refreshed courage. But your attitude can be a matter of choice.

    Be kind to yourself when you have to make this choice – over and over again. Sometimes choosing this will be easy, sometimes it will be not. Trust that time will give you a lot of opportunities to resource yourself. Trust yourself. Trust in time.

    Good luck!

  331. Luke Says:


    I actually relate to what you are describing as sensitized periods and then regular desensitized ones when i feel like i dont even remember that anxiety exists, and am enjoying the life to the fullest.

    This good periods would last months even years. I mentioned this here before, after i attained the knowledge from first Paul’s book i went almost 7 years without a setback, it was such a long time for me that i totally forgot all about it and when big setback hit me this past august i fell for the trap and did all the mistakes to drown myself in anxiety cycle trap which i am still at. Questioning everyhing, trashing my mind with worries, googling, you name it.

    Thanks for encouraging words. My mind is tired and i can relate to a lot of what Paul wrote about overworking our minds. He explained it there so well. I wish doctors would have these explanations for people that suffer.

    I told my wife few days ago that Paul’s books should be included in teaching materials in high schools to explain people how the mind and body works. That would give tens of thousands of young people the tools on how to deal with their insecurities and fears.

    Belgian, man, the way you write these posts has always a soothing affect on me. I thank you for taking your time and encouraging others. My grandpa was alot like yours, very difficult life, his first wife died, 2 world wars, 8 kids, two of them died etc… and i remember him always being living the life in such a positive way, i think about him alot when i feel down.

    I want also thank to everyone who is recovered but still hangs around navigating us who still suffer to find a way out of the anxiety maze.


  332. Ves Says:

    Mark r said “Have they managed to shorten the periods of sensitisation and extend the good periods in between?”

    Hi Mark r,

    That is a trap that your mind is creating for you due to long term conditions. It is very common. Try not to follow it.

    Fear, despair, low moods are not negative mental formations but just unpleasant. There is huge difference in understanding in labeling certain emotions as negative to just unpleasant. Almost whole recovery depends on that subtle difference.
    If you don’t know how fear feels, how would you know how peacefulness feels? If you don’t know how being sad feels, than how you would know how being happy feels?

    If you try to figure out how you can prolong your good periods you are trying to force things out of mind, what you will achieve is a strengthening of those things (the old trick of telling someone not to think about an elephant – that’s all they can think about). Additionally you will have slathered a thick layer of fog on top.

    Practice has thought me that to let go you must first remember in intimate details: the experience, the feelings, the clinging or aversion. Only then will you be able to truly let go. Letting go does not mean to forget but to remember, feel it fully and let go of clinging or aversion.

  333. Yvette Says:

    I read both books and I have a few questions. Where can I ask these questions. I am in a tough place and would really appreciate some help. Thanks.


  334. Sara Says:

    Hey All

    Finally some progress! I THINK I’M RECOVERING!!!

    After a lot of complaining and repeated errors I believe that I’m finally making some progress.

    During an attack i’m actually able to say this will pass” and I let it do it’s worst and not care one bit. Yes i feel horrible but I now know its only natural and just the beginning of the process.

    I completely understant that it’s hard but it’s only a result of my tired mind, bound up on habit.

    I also know that with anxiety much of the reactions are just really exagerated (tired mind, habit…etc). So we’re scared of the silliest things.

    It’s like seeing a HUGE shadow of an ant and you think it’s a monster! It’s only an ant but our nerves make us see otherwise.

    Obiviosuly I cannot have done ANYTHING without Paul and his book and the many patient and kind people here.

    I hope I can keep this attitude up, I miss life and anxiety shouldn’t ruin that for me, I’ve already let it do it for 7 years!!!

    I’ll try and post when I make more progress, good luck and THANKS to everyone

  335. Belgian Says:

    In my view, medication should always be combined with psychotherapy unless otherwise judged by a psychiatrist.

    I started taking fluoxetine last year in October when I was at rock bottom. At first, I refused to take these pills. I asked a lot of questions to my doctor and psychiatrist and they convinced me of their necessity while reassuring me that taking them would not harm me. In fact, the winning argument was the fact that there was a chemical imbalance that needed to be fixed. Much like someone who takes insuline for his diabetes.

    They also told me that – if I felt very bad – I could take Xanax. Personally, I did not wanted to take this being afraid for the addictive effects of benzo’s and I am now very glad I did not do it. I was able to go through the worst without it. I will never judge people who take them though. This is up to everyone to decide for themselves.

    It was also very important for me that the psychiatrist stressed on the fact that these pills would not ‘cure’ me but that real cure had to came from within myself. He told me that my psychotherapy would get very rough and so it did. It was good that I had a baseline to fall back on which the fluoxetine provided.

    The sessions were very hard because until then I was seeing another therapist whose approach was to comfort me and to reassure me which only worked until 10 minutes after the session :-) . I am sure you can relate to this. Now I was confronted with someone who did not say a lot but let me talk and when she did spoke, I felt even more anxious. This was the goal. To feel anxiety through and through and … do nothing. Sounds familiar? :-)

    Where am I now?

    I am now a year in therapy and still have a weekly session with my psychotherapist. I do not see these sessions as periods where I can heal though. I see them as an opportunity to open myself up towards a complete stranger and who can professionally guide me in this introspection.

    I still take fluoxetine and I only will get off it when both myself and my psychiatrist seem it fit to do so. I am not in a hurry to stop taking them nor do I feel clinging on to them. Exemplary to this is the fact that I forget to take them at times:)

    Why did I wanted to write this? For several reasons:

    1) Do not so readily believe all horror stories you read about medication.

    2) Sometimes medication can help.

    3) Ask your doctor questions if you are insecure. If he/she does not give you an adequate answer, go for a second opinion.

    4) Medication is not the miracle answer, it is mere an auxiliary to cut off the sharp edges in order for you to go on your own road to recovery.

    5) Try to seek guidance with a professional that suits you. With whom you feel okay. But do not judge too quickly. It can take time to establish the right therapeutic relationship.

    6) If you are not so lucky to find a suitable counselor, do not despair. You can recover on your own! My grandmother had a similar episode in her life back in her thirties. She got through it all by herself and became the wise person she is today at 88.

  336. Steve b Says:

    Hi Colin. Thanks so much for helping me back in the day.
    I am ok now, not 100% but getting there. Horrible few months!
    Hope you are well?

  337. Julie W Says:

    I posted a week or so ago about my OCD intrusive thoughts and just feeling like I am not progressing. I had a little “ah ha” moment today. Woke up with my crazy thoughts, and then later in the morning felt depressed and really just wanted to give up on recovery. But then it occured to me that I hadn’t felt this depressed for quite a while, whereas at one point I was feeling like this a couple times a week. So I guess that means I must be recovering but so slowly that i don’t even notice. Did anyone who has recovered not realize they were recovering until they had a return of a symptom and realized they hadn’t had it for a while?

    I did get caught up today in the anxiety cycle thinking I am depressed, oh I am not getting better, this is going to be me forever, etc, etc. Then I realized I was totally falling into the trap, and I need to feel this feeling and not worry about it. Easier said than done for a deep thinker like me, but I am trying not to worry.

  338. Colin Says:

    I am doing superbly well mate !thanks for asking .
    Keep believing in yourself and you will get there .

  339. jane b Says:

    ty so much for your reply means alot to me ,as i feel so alone . yes i know what your saying and what advice paul gives us its just not sinking into me as yet , i will keep reading the book and trying my best to just ignore how bad i really feel i hope u are doing ok . is there anywhere we can chat private off here as i dont wonna go on too much or upset anyone .

  340. Lea Says:

    I just wanted to say thanks to Paul – your blog and book have helped me more than any psychiatrist or doctor ever have :)

    I first felt the intense anxiety with all the fighting and analyzing, using techniques etc. about 3 years ago. It was hell on earth, and it took me about 6 months to feel somewhat okay again. I just had my first really big setback – I actually thought I would never be back in this cycle, but the mind can play tricks, and I obviously forgot all the things I had learned the first time around.

    Remember: you cannot use your mind and thoughts to think yourself better. All you think when you are feeling this way is some sort of worry – and that’s okay, you shouldn’t try and force the worry away. Just know, that you shouldn’t use energy on thinking yourself better – it will come naturally when you just let yourself worry and not worry about the worry or try and push it away or force yourself to think certain things, etc. It feels so counterintuitive, and you will probably feel horrible at first, because it feels like you are giving up all control. But it helps.

  341. Elaine Says:

    Just reading Struggling with your thoughts in Paul’s new book fantastic information explaining how to let the thought be then it will lose its power.
    I’m going to put this advice into action it will be hard because I cannot beleive how a thought can make me feel so physically ill but I need to do it

  342. Andy J Says:

    I think regarding medication, it is pretty dangerous using terms such as ‘all’ and ‘every one’ because people who take them react in their own individual way.

    I know some people who have been on long term medication for Mental Health issues for a long time and who believe they could not survive without them.

    For me personally, I have never noticed a difference when being on or off them. They’ve always been ‘thrown’ at me to try and help take the edge off. I am currently tapering off the medication because I dont think it is the right thing for me. I suffer from headaches, issues with sleeping and also some other bodily issues which make them less appealing.

    As my anxiety is largely of an intrusive thoughts nature, I know that taking these wont actually help me, it’ll merely deal with some of the symptoms.

    I want to live a normal life without the help of medication as Paul himself has said.

  343. Emma Says:

    Hello everyone,

    I hope everyone is doing well. It’s been a while now since I’ve visited the blog. I experienced some very good, anxiety-free periods with some setbacks that would typically last a week or so. This was becoming my new normal and I knew I was on the right track. It became far more easier to deal with my little setbacks when they happened, they ranged from just feeling anxious, or sometimes I would feel low moods/blue, or other times it would be some intrusive thinking, however I committed to living these sensations as fully as any other — as fully as my good days.

    But…on November 10th (exactly a month today) my boyfriend of 4 years broke up with me. This isn’t the first time he’s broken up with me but this time it’s for good. He’s 27 (I’m 24) and he feels he no longer has that “spark” for me, he claims he loves me but isn’t “in love” with me anymore. My soul exploded, my life completely changed in a matter of minutes. I think I might have actually cried for 48 hours straight, I packed up all my things and left our apartment because I couldn’t stay there another day, living in what no longer was. I texted him all the time, insisting we could change the dynamic of our relationship, change the routine, that I was holding back because of some relationship anxiety and my libido was low, but that we could work on it all because we had such a beautiful relationship. He was firm. He wants to move on. I asked if maybe he just needed some time to confront his doubt and struggle with some epiphanies. He told me not to hold out hope for that and to let him go. The shock of it all was mind numbing.

    I moved in with a friend, her lease was up in a few weeks so we apartment hunted together. It was extremely stressful looking for a place. We moved into an apartment and had to move out 2 days later because there were issues with the unit. I spent all night loading a truck and unloading it into a storage unit. I was living from friend to friend, could not sleep, grieving still, wondering where I was going to live, AND going into work every day. It was a nightmare! I kept running into obstacles and felt truly cursed.

    We finally my friend and I moved Monday into a great apartment that was perfect for us. We have been there 4 days and I’m slowly settling in. Now that the chaos of moving is over, I’m starting to feel all sorts of shades of blue. I wake up with anxiety and that “need to go to the washroom” feeling. And during the day I am exhausted, I feel grey inside. My adrenaline is high and heart beats really fast.

    I guess I sort of worry about my own sanity, thinking maybe all this stress will push me overboard. My boss told me she has never had so much happen to her all at once, this made me feel like this kind of stress can’t be handled by normal people and that maybe it would only be a matter of time before I crack.

    I’m trying to take it all slow and decompress from the stress but my old anxious neural pathways are lighting up and exercising their power. I keep feeling like things will always inevitably go wrong for me.
    I had a very stressful event happen to me in June this summer and now this. My anxiety tells me that I will have a “bad life” and that I have an affinity to attract bad things, or my energy just attracts negative situations. Sorry for rambling. Wishing you all ease of well being xx

  344. Arthur Says:

    Im a single dad of 2 boys, (aged 8 and 6)currently very anxious

    My question is what do you do when you get so many intrusive thoughts? Hundreds a day, how do you accept them?

    My worst is around my anxiety getting worse and then having my children go and live with there mum

    I also have thoughts of becoming agrophobic

    (My reaction to this thought is to actively go out to prove im not agrophobic, but this feels like a “do” which reinforces the thought)

    i work on my own indoors with no one to talk to so im stuck with my thoughts all day

    Im rambling but any help would be appreciated

  345. Colin Says:

    Wee foot note :
    AT LAST A LIFE !!!
    Is this not what everyone on here desires ??
    So please get there by what ever means can achieve it .
    Everyone on here deserves to be happy !
    So please be brave and make the choices that suits you ?

    Good luck everyone and God bless all of yous .

  346. Bryan Says:


    We do not lose our sanity because of break-ups, as much as it may feel that way. 😉

    Times of high stress cause simple and expected stress reactions in the body. They are not easy to to be sure but simple and logical. You said it in your last paragraph. The thing to do now is to ignore the narrative your fatigued brain is creating and get back to living. Paul’s methods are there for you and perfect for times like you are experiencing.

    There is no such thing as “cracking” or “losing one’s sanity.” These are Hollywood concepts that you needn’t worry about. Just go on with decompressing and getting back to life.

  347. Steve b Says:

    Hey Colin. In your road to recovery did you have days when you felt normal, dare I say, even better than normal then wham, feel like crap, depressed again for no good reason?

  348. Rich Says:

    I’ve just deleted all of the comments regarding peoples opinions on drugs and medication as well as peoples opinions on other peoples opinions on the subject – which were getting out of hand. Apologies to those who spent time typing them.

    This is a blog for us to help and support each other. While we all have experiences to share, we should avoid medical advice in the public domain which other people may follow – no matter how passionate we may feel about the subject. We should allow people to research and form opinions of their own before they make decisions themselves or with the help of professional advice.

    Please consider the wider audience when posting on here.

  349. Bryan Says:

    Steve B,

    That phenomenon is totally normal in recovery. Difficult to understand, yet totally normal and expected. Paul does a great job of covering this in the setback portion of his newest book, if you haven’t read it yet. It’s tremendous.

  350. Colin Says:

    Yes I had many a day when I felt superb then the next , wham anxiety low mood , headaches , chest pain ! But all I did was just say to myself god I have had 5 great days , I am not going to let one bad day spoil it . I would just trudge my way through that bad day letting all the crap anxiety could throw at me . And basically stick 2 fingers up to it . And because my attitude had changed towards it . And I no longer feared it , suddenly it was gone again . I think we all get into the perception that when we feel anxious this is it all over again . That’s when we fall into the cycle , worry
    And it takes over , it’s when you can look at it from a different perspective and couldn’t give a flying ,,,, that we conquer it . I only ever get normal anxiety now. And do sometimes have days when I have low mood . But was life like that before my anxiety ? Of course it was , I just didn’t take note of it . But when we are anxious we remember that , it sticks in the head . If you think to yourself in a relationship, why is it we always remember all the arguments. ( which would be few and far between! ) but we have hundreds of good days and take them for granted .
    Steve what I am trying to say is you can get full recovery through feeling and letting it be there put it I the background . Take it with you on the journey , believe that you will one day be your old self . I promise you that one day you will look back and laugh at all this .

    Good luck on this journey Steve it’s not going to be easy ! But have faith in your self . One last tip !!! I being a humble big burly roofer was quite an angry soul . I have learnt through anxiety that loving life , being calm and considerate and kind to our fellow human beings . Basically anxiety changed me as a person . LOVE LIFE !!!

  351. Jen Says:

    Colin, Nolan, Doreen, or Helen.

    Could you guys give me some advice. Most of my physical symptoms have gone besides sometimes I get dizzy and heart pulps once in awhile with some a Dina line rush but that doesn’t bother me. I just have this heavy feeling like I’m almost my old self but not quiet there yet. Did you guys have this feeling? Did it eventually go away by just living life and moving away from anxiety? Please if you guys could give me some advice how you guys got through this that would be great. I still have a bit of numb feeling and thr connection is coming back but not all the way there yet. Could that be left over dp maybe or just anxiety. I had the unreal thoughts I feel like I don’t have them much anymore at all but I remember them. Thanks guys so much this would really help me. I feel like I’m almost there but yet some days so far.

  352. Jen Says:

    I guess I still feel off is that normal. Not my like my old self yet but almost is it just the hovering feeling of anxiety? Did you guys get this feeling ? Just an off feeling

  353. Bryan Says:


    I see you missed deleting Belgian’s pro drug post on 12/9.

    Would you consider the wider audience and delete it as well since we are banning pro or anti-drug talk here?

    I know you wouldn’t delete only the posts you disagree with. You’re a much better mood than that..

  354. Paul David Says:

    All posts have been deleted by Richard as it was no longer constructive debate, just insults and arguing which goes nowhere and is not what the blog is about, it has imo recently gone very negative and lost that positive/helpful vibe recently that it has had in the past.

    Richard does not have to answer why he deleted this or that, its just his decision on what’s best for the blog. He kindly gives his time up for nothing and that’s a credit to him and v helpful as i just don’t have the time to be here every day and check through posts, which is needed at times. Without him the blog may have had all comments closed, which I have considered in the past, it just makes it a lot easier if people stick to the rules, respect other people’s opinions and keep to constructive debates.

    Lets all get back on track now and start afresh as any more posts carrying on from the last few days will be deleted. I will post some key points that seem that people have missed i the next couple of weeks that i think are important also.


  355. Steve b Says:

    Thanks so much Colin. An inspiring post. Cheers mate!really.

  356. Bryan Says:

    Fair enough, Paul. I have certainly praised Rich for his contributions in the past as I’ve been a long time supporter of you and the blog. Rich and I have exchanged friendly emails, as have Doreen and I over the years. My stance was purely relating to the issue, not personal and one born of concern for people’s well being.

    Thanks again for all you do…

  357. Colin Says:

    Hi Bryan
    I have read many a great supporting post from you to many people .
    Please continue to contribute to this blog as your support to others is invaluable.
    Keep up the good work mate its appreciated so much by many on here .


  358. carla Says:

    Hi all,

    I’ve been feeling quite a bit better of late so I thought I’d drop in and say hi.

    Generally I think this is due to enjoying some fun times teaching, keeping busy and trying not to be hard on myself. By working to understanding the way anxiety works – the way it grabs my attention, tricks me with false suggestions, the way it has me arguing with myself and feeling uncomfortable in my own head. By allowing myself to go through it ALL in the messy ways that anxiety presents. By being KIND to myself through it all.

    The main advice I can give is that if anyone is ever harsh to you about your anxiety or the way your handle it (or, indeed, if are being harsh to yourself then you need to take stock, walk away from the criticism and practise self-love and self-confidence). Sure, challenge the false beliefs and work on your behaviour but be nice to YOURSELF whilst doing so. Dealing with anxiety is tough and can be lengthy but you can do it. And we will all do it IN OUR OWN WAYS and AT OUR OWN PACE. Some of us may wake one morning with an exemplary attitude but others (like myself) may tread a thornier path involving more mental conflict and self-doubt. But what we must strive, above all, is to be gentle on ourselves.

    Have a look at Tim Minchin’s song on YouTube “not perfect” – it’s a beautiful song about acceptance in the most gentle sense of the word. Oh, and his UWA university address is also worth a watch…

    Carla x

  359. Bryan Says:


    That’s very kind of you and the same goes for you… your posts are always productive here, and appreciated. We can (all) agree to disagree at times and still keep the common goal in mind here. Appreciate the sentiment.

  360. Paul David Says:

    Bryan my post was not aimed directly at you or anyone else, your contributions are appreciated trust me, I do enjoy your posts and you talk a lot of sense. It was just a general one to end the bickering, as turning on each other does on here does no one any good. We are here to support each other.

    Drugs/medication is a personal issue, I have my opinions on them, but that’s all they will ever be, an opinion. I learnt in life that we all see the world through different eyes and all have different opinions, ill debate my point, but won’t tell someone they are flat out wrong, it is just how them and me see things differently.

    My point about him not having to explain is not about it not being a democracy, people can say what they wish as long as it is done in the right way, no one is trying to silence anyone, it’s just that it starts more bickering off having to explain why he deleted this or that. Whoever moderates will not please everyone, trust me i’ve done it and had emails about why I did this or that and explaining gets exhausting and Ill never please everyone. But as Richard is kind enough to do it and trust me he is v fair, then I have to let him do it as he sees fit, I can’t start moderating a moderator, all I can do is just thank him and leave him to it.


  361. Paul David Says:

    Colin Says:
    I have learnt through anxiety that loving life , being calm and considerate and kind to our fellow human beings . Basically anxiety changed me as a person . LOVE LIFE !!!

    Pretty much did the same for me, I am a much more considerate and kinder person since I suffered.

    All of what Colin says in his post was true of me to as I keep saying, I had to go through many good and bad days, real up and downs, but never stopped living my life, I just took the glug with me, accepted whatever the day brought and refused to change my behaviour or go into self pity mode or hide away and recovery eventually came to me, I did not have to search for it or try and force it.

    Again ill do a post soon on the real key points of my recovery. Trust me no one will ever anaylse or battle their way to recovery, you have to let the system find its own way home, the people who try and manipulate the system to get it to do what they want instead of letting it do what it wants are the people who stay stuck. It has to go through it’s own process and be left alone to do so.

  362. sara Says:


    Fair play….it was getting negative. Sorry for any misunderstandings everyone I hope I haven’t offended anyone here.

    I kept insisting because honestly do know a lot and would like to share my knowledge.

    If ever you want any questions answered just ask for my email.

    I’ll write a post soon on my road to recovery. Take care all :)

  363. sara Says:


    Same here!

    I’ve come such a long way and can go through the worst of anxiety symptoms without a fear in me.

    I think that the best we can do is wait this out, right? I’m trying t be patient and accept that “being myself” will come when it is time.

    I think that it is important not to make it a source of anxiety because it will just build up old habits.

    It’s tough i tel ya!!

    Have you been having episodes of “your old self” come?

    I HAVE and it made me cry with happiness!! I just had this beautiful moment where my mind was free of OCD, that thick depersonlisation and sadness was gone. WOW i mean WOW it felt beautiful because I was at peace.

    That has given me enough hope and strive to handle the rest….how about you?

  364. Meg Says:

    Sara, jen – I too am at this point coking away from the blog was the best thing for me and now I feel like “normal” half the time now and have got to a point where when I have a bad day I just know for sure it will pass. I’ve had an incredibly stressful week at work this week and the last few days have felt really awful with headaches, exhaustion, racing heart, anxiety thoughts and even depersonalisation but I just have an attitude of “Ive got through much worse… This isn’t a big deal” and I just don’t really care how I feel. I’ve got on with my day regardless!
    I wouldn’t say I’m almost recovered but I think that now I truly am in recovery… its just a matter of letting all the negative energy out now and after over 5 years of suffering I know there’s going to be a fair bit to release but I’m ok with that :)

  365. Markr Says:

    “I think that the best we can do is wait this out, right? I’m trying t be patient and accept that “being myself” will come when it is time. ”

    “I HAVE and it made me cry with happiness!! I just had this beautiful moment where my mind was free of OCD, that thick depersonlisation and sadness was gone. WOW i mean WOW it felt beautiful because I was at peace.”

    Strange how in the midst of feeling so awful peace can come. Doesn’t make sense how it comes. Doesn’t make sense how it goes. What does make sense is that we know the process is working.

    Being yourself will come, I’ve seen bits of this in these last few months of awfulness. Initially I was searching this out, but I knew it was futile.

    Meg, I’ve been the same as you over the last few weeks or so. I felt rotten this morning when I woke. We have an Xmas meal between friends each year and my mind tried every trick to talk me out of it. I went with my mind raging, heart beating, thick DP and still enjoyed the food and had a laugh. It takes me time to get the not caring attitude back but I have it now. Sure it’s crap feeling like this and I wish it wasn’t so but I need to care less.

  366. Emma Says:

    Meg, Mark,

    Missed you guys. Not sure if you read my last post but I too have been struggling lately. It seems the three of us go through similar phases at the same time! Mine is really circumstantial though because my boyfriend of 4 years ended our relationship (more in my last post). Prior to the break up I was doing extremely well, I was impressed with my ability to live my anxious days as fully as my normal days. I felt like I was truly finding the key to inner peace and was feeling quite stable.

    Since the break up and having had a horribly stressful time moving into a new apartment, my anxiety has been awful. Been having DP which I rarely get (it was my first symptom at the onset of my anxiety 4 years ago), as well as racing heart, exhasution, panicky feelings, depression/blues and in turn fear of depression.

    It’s been really hard because not only my am I grieving the loss of a relationship I believed would last many more years, but I’m also suffering the anxiety triggered by everything. It’s been a month since the break up and at first I was just mostly in shock, crying every day, now I don’t cry as much but have this awful ache of anxiety and depression.

    I’ve begun to question my ability to live life without him, to cope with my existing anxiety without him (he was a major source of comfort and reassurance when I was going through setbacks as he’s dealt with this type of thing before in the past). Now that he’s gone I feel extremely vulnerable to my anxiety and the depression-y feelings. If I weren’t already suspetible to anxiety this break up would be easier. But it’s now triggered my anxiety and depressed moods and thoughts, which feel totally separate from the heartbreak. You know what I mean?

    Last night I thought I was FOR SURE going to lose the plot. I felt panicky, i felt depressed, I had that awful “urge to cry” sensation that we experience in very bad anxious bouts. I forced myself to go out even though every part of me wanted to stay. Today, I had a wave of DP hit me and I thought “alright folks,, this is it, I’m entering full blown relapse any day now.” I have been trying to accept but my mind is in auto-struggle mode.

    I’m worried that the immense pain of this break up and the trauma of losing someone I was so attached to and afraid of losing, will thrust me into full blown relapse. I remember reading old posts in the blog from a few years ago from Charlotte who I believe always had some degree of anxiety but the break up with her partner triggered a breakdown and couldn’t leave the house etc. I fear this will be the case with me too as I already feel myself slipping.

  367. Jen Says:

    Hi sara and meg.
    Yes I have been getting moments first starting in the evening and on that I am feeling my normal self. However the memory of anxiety is always there which then reminds me.of everything I have gone through. However today I have a great day. I didn’t even think about coming on here until now. My day was full and busy and I had fun. I have a cold and have been thinking about it. Which I think in return has kept my mind off thr anxiety.. I can see now it’s all anxiety. I have felt pretty darn good today. I could tell when my mind wanted to watch out for the anxiety symptom but they never came. So I just tuned into keeping my mind busy with other things. It does feel amazing, feeling normal is such a blessing and I can see how when someone has suffered and has come our the other side truly is changed for the better. I must say it feels kinda weird and strange to feel normal though. Like I’m waiting for thr anxiety crap to show up. I’m guessing that will go in time. But I can see that this way is working and I’m so greatful and blessed. Life is good, god is good

  368. Meg Says:

    Emma – so sorry to hear that. Ironically your fear of your anxiety coming back is probsbly one of the main contributors to your symptoms hanging around. When you’re worried about the symptoms this makes you behave in an anxious way and this just causes the brain to think you must be in danger therefore generating further anxiety (the loop!). Just be compassionate to yourself and take it easy you’re not superwoman! You’ve had a really hard time don’t overdo it- anxiety or no anxiety a break up is hard enough without adding anything else to the mix! If I asked you what you would expect a person to experience/feel after a break up of a long term relationship you would probably say despair, misery, fear of being alone, depression, anger, crying…etc… so how youre feeling is to be expected BUT anxiety pathologises it and makes you label it as “depression/anxiety”. Your brain does this because it’s trying to problem solve without your input and using past experiences to fuel this problem solving. This is why it is important not to listen to your thoughts as a lot of the time they are just your brain scrambling around for answers which aren’t very good answers a lot of the time!

    Jen – I think it’s hard to stop looking out for the anxiety. I tend to worry when I start getting headaches as they are now my main anxiety symptom but I think it’s all a learning process we have to go through. Whenever a get flashes of anxiety I just check in with myself and see that actually underneath it everything is ok the symptoms are just an automatic reaction that i am un-learning through recovery. I notice depersomalisation more now also as it’s only now and again so I’ve got used to it not being there! My anxiety always escalates massively when it comes but I just ignore it and it goes away each time :)

  369. sara Says:


    My comment is still awaiting moderation, so i’ll try again like this:

    s.ouarezki gmail

    it is by the way

  370. Meg Says:

    Emma – did you get over your intrusive thought issues? I still struggle very occasionally worrying I have this or that mental illness and not anxiety (today being one of those now thankfully rare days!). I’ve come a long way with it but whenever i get that weird keyed up jittery feeling I seem to get headaches then convince myself it’s something else…annoying.
    just wondering can anyone explain the why the jittery keyed up feeling can cause/appear alongside headaches?

  371. Nolan Says:

    This advice didn’t make any sense to me at the time, but following it was what ultimately got me through it:

    Live your life (like you used to or how you want to) as if the anxiety didn’t matter. Don’t force any scary or despairful thought out of your head; but simply let it be there and decide to still live your life regardless.
    Things will start to make more sense and your mind will start to become more clear and calm…. but you can’t force this to happen. Like if you bought a new cat and you wanted to befriend it, demanding the cat come up to you while running around in a panic certainly won’t achieve the result of a compliant cat.

    Many people here have already received this advice numerous times over. Where they get stuck is in the unwillingness to make that jump. There’s always one more question that needs to be asked. One more new fear or doubt that has just crept up…. and they then seek out that consolation that “yes, it’s still the same ol’ anxiety/depression”. They get the advice they were looking for, get ready to take that dive into the unknown again…. but then another question/fear/doubt arises and they come back off of the diving board and seek more reassurance.

    I’ve personally interacted with many people who have gone through the same turmoil. I don’t know a single one who made that metaphorical ‘jump’ when they were completely certain that “yes, this is the road to the old me!”. Every single one (myself included) did it when we were probably at our lowest. When the thought wasn’t so much “this will heal me!” but instead was “I am certain there is no hope for me, but I still want my life back…. that is my only goal now”.

    I know exactly when I finally made my cut from this board, from all boards, from asking everyone I knew for advice, from googling every symptom, from constantly talking about my woes, from wondering when I will heal, from hoping that I can be that old me again, from stopping all of my plans to live my life again…. When I finally made the jump I was in complete doubt and despair. I had some ups but the downs always wiped them out. And, I knew I wasn’t getting anywhere asking the same questions over and over.
    I started to just live my life again. My wife would ask me if I was okay (as had become our new interaction) and I told her “let’s not talk about it anymore…. it doesn’t matter”. I went on in my days with the same fear there but I was done fighting it and done trying to distract myself from it.
    One night (somewhere near Christmas 2013) I was carrying my son out of my bedroom to bring him into his….. and I looked at my bed (which usually caused intense fear, despair, sweats, stomach knots…. because insomnia was one of my biggest symptoms) and for a brief moment I had a calmness of mind that almost made me fall to my knees and cry (out of joy).
    It lasted for a few minutes. the fear and doubt crept back in, but I couldn’t stop thinking “what on earth just happened?! That was the old me! I know it! I felt it!”…..
    Dark moments soon enveloped that moment of peace. But that was okay. Dark moments were my norm. I carried back on. Still not coming here and asking every question. Still not emailing my “anxiety friends” for support. Still not googling this and that. I just carried back on with my life…. all of the fear and doubt coming along for the ride. But I was done humoring it. I stopped following the mental leads they would give to get my mind ruminating on this or that ultimate fate and just told myself “so what, if you’re broken, then you’re broken”
    More and more moments of profound peace and the old me started coming. Setback as intense as ever, but I still I persisted. It was then that I started to realize that you can’t force the peace in your life.

    You can take that jump off of the diving board and move back on with your life…. or, you can ask that one last question. Look for that one last bit of reassurance. One option will lead you back to you…. one will fortify the anxiety that has become to lord over you.

  372. Sara Says:

    Hey Nolan,

    I get exacltly what you mean!
    You know when we’re really anxious it’s almost impossible to understand other’s posts.

    Partly because we are skimming for that miracle cure but also because we can hardly concentrate ans so we read without really reading, you know?

    It’s very true that taking the leap really doesn’t mean complete belief.
    The process takes a while to sink in and at the beginning you’re basically just making mistakes.
    Here’s the tricky part: You can either sit there , google and ask questions endlessly
    You can practice for yourself and you’ll soon learn how to fix things.

    With every progress you make, you become more confident, but you do encounter more problems, different kinds.

    Great thing is, tevery problem is dealt with the same way: Acceptance

    You know the trickiest of all is “accepting” but once you get the hang of it, that’s it! You can learn to accept the hardest setbacks and symptoms

    I can really relate with those moments of “peace” it did make me cry!!!
    Because for months I’d lost all hope

    My husband really did help too. He kept telling me to stop obessing over recovery, he said just focus on getting through the day, on accepting and the rest will come.

  373. Debbie Says:

    Wishing all happy holiday and new year. May the new year bring us all peace. Nolan peace to you and your family god bless your dad.

  374. Ian Says:

    First post on here.
    A little about me, I’ve been suffering with gad and all that comes with it for far too many years.
    Late last year/into this year I had cbt and was also given meds of which I couldn’t bring myself to take as I had anxious thought about taking them.
    A few months ago I brought Paul’s book and I’m currently rereading it to try and get it to sink in.
    I’m not really much of a reader and his book is the first one I’ve actually finished for years. I also have his second book which I plan to read once I’ve finished the first one. Hopefully over the xmas holiday.
    I’m following his advice and living my life no matter what’s in my head at the time nor do I any longer google for the magic answer to End the anxiety.

    I feel that I have more good days than bad, I sometimes find myself smile without acting it which is a weried feeling after acting happy for so long.
    But This blog post is how I feel at the moment, I’m finding the really bad days hard to deal with they are such a come down from the good days were I’m happy to just carry on with things no matter what.
    At times I just feel like I’m back to square one and again want rid of this which in turn I know is the wrong thing to think, then the cycle starts again..

  375. Jamie Says:

    Thanks very much for that post Nolan. It has come at a time when I need it. I will refrain from asking you questions as that’s what my auto pilot mind wants to do. Thanks again :)

  376. Debbie Says:

    Anxious Indian how are you doing these days?

  377. Jamie Says:

    Your post makes so much sense Nolan.

    Reaching that point where you truly and absolutely give up and do not care what happens from that point onwards. I totally understand how you or anyone else can reach that point but part of me thinks by reaching it 1) it is being negative and one is telling ones self that you are always going to affected by anxiety and not have an enjoyable life or 2) although one is truly ‘giving up’ on trying to control how you feel, in the back of ones mind one would be thinking “is this going to make me feel a bit better though in time” ? and if / when you did feel any better, one would then be thinking “how long is this going to last?”, “have I recovered ?” etc. These are the sort of thoughts that I would have anyway.

    Can you or anyone else relate to this ?

  378. jane b Says:

    hi sorry to post again just wanted to ask if no matter how bad u have been for years on end, is it still as much possible to recover, ive read where ppl have had this for months or years but maybe breaks of not feeling as bad , but with me its been full blown for so long ,i look bk on the years ive wasted and lost , the now, and the future terrifies me, i cry and obsess over anything and everything ( even things from years ago seem still as raw as yesterday. i know i have such deep depression and it worries me that theers alot more to this with me than anxiety i feel i should be locked up ,but then i dont wonna be pumped with more benzos Antipsychotic drugs .my thoughts ,feelings, emotions are just so overwelming . I have this fear about losing ones that i love , and i put my poor mom and dad through hell being this way , but can see what i do to them does anyone else have this fear , its crazy i think about it non stop and worry over them so much, they are in there 70s. im finding it very hard to just let them thoughts be there without them bothering me .

    also does anyone have any views on drinking alcohol too , throughout the years i have drank , i wouldnt say alot but like maybe a couple pints a night or 2 -3 glasses of wine , as i does help me alittle bit ,just takes the edge of things . but lately i have been relying on it even more again .

    any feed bk would be very Appriciated


  379. Ves Says:

    Jamie said: ” although one is truly ‘giving up’ on trying to control how you feel, in the back of ones mind one would be thinking “is this going to make me feel a bit better though in time” ? and if / when you did feel any better, one would then be thinking “how long is this going to last?”, “have I recovered ?”

    Hi Jamie,

    Perfectly normal that in the back of mind we always think “is this going to make me feel a bit better though in time”. It is just habit that we have developed due to conditioning that we can “fix and manipulate” with our emotions.
    But if you look at emotion it is always subject to arising and subject to ceasing. That which begins, ends. Whatever goes up, must come down. If it’s born, it dies. Then you notice that what we think, to what we feel, the pleasant experience, the painful experience, the beautiful, the ugly , the emotionally pleasing, the emotionally distressing have primary quality that is changing. We can call it good or bad. We can call it success or failure. But its primary quality is that it is changing. That is the most important thing about it.

    In my recovery that was the moment that changed everything because I was no longer obsessing – fixating on the content of experience. I become aware of the process of experience itself.

  380. Chris Says:

    Hi all, thought I would post an update!

    First and foremost just wanted to apologize if I offended anyone with my comment that was deleted among many others, definitely didn’t mean to come across staunch if I did (I probably didn’t and it’s probably just the inner critic in me haha). I didn’t see the replies as I made myself stay off here for a good few days, as the discussion did spark up a few old fears of mine which I won’t go into detail about – most of you probably know what they are anyway. I think it was a good decision by Rich to delete the comments though, best to keep a positive vibe here!

    Anyways, if you look at my comments at the top of the page you can see I was in a right state! I’m doing alot better now. I’ve learned to not grab hold and chew on the thoughts so much, rather just to let them go and float past them, and learning to move on. Sometimes I still do analyze them as they can come quite strongly, and I sometimes still buy into the fear, but it’s becoming less frequent.

    I’m currently back at the gym, writing music, socializing, starting work again next month, basically starting to get interested in life again. I also started to dive into a bit of online gaming, which actually has really helped me. It’s cool because I’m chatting to people all over the world while playing it, and it’s a nice healthy distraction which keeps me off the dreaded Dr Google! This is a pretty big step for me, as six weeks ago I could barely leave my bed, I was in a very bad way.

    Another thing that has really helped me is mindfulness meditation. It’s amazing how much reassurance and wisdom comes through when you are in such a still place. I’ve mainly been using meditation to practice a deeper level of acceptance, and am learning to become the observer of my thoughts and emotions. Here is a link below if anyone wants to try it, it’s by Jon Kabat-Zinn – very consistent with Paul’s advice.

    I still have my old fears, but to a lesser extent. In time I believe that they will truly be a thing of the past – because in reality they are a thing of the past.


  381. Nolan Says:

    Hi Jamie,
    you said: “1) it is being negative and one is telling ones self that you are always going to affected by anxiety and not have an enjoyable life”

    I feel that you’re overthinking this. And, there comes a time when one must simply realize that it’s not going to be via thinking that this is ‘escaped’.
    Or, put another way: you (any of us) are not going to think our ways out of this predicament.

    I think you’re looking at the approach backwards. You say that it’s negative because it’s essentially saying “I’m always going to be this way… I’m doomed to not have an enjoyable life.” But not at all…. what it is say is “even if I have these automatic, intensely negative thoughts and feelings I am STILL going to live my life regardless.” I’m talking about putting the emotion in the backseat and let the will start to drive around and determine life.

    I have to be blunt here, having an “enjoyable life” is not a commodity that anyone can simply purchase. Many, many, many people are born into, or find their way to, some pretty terrible situations. If the objective facts of their environment where truly terrible and then they bemoaned the fact that “I won’t have an enjoyable life” I’m sorry to say that I don’t think they would be alive all that much longer.
    Look at holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl. He speaks directly to this when he said (paraphrased) that it’s in the demanding that the situation meet our desires (opposed to use accepting them and ‘getting on with it’) that we will be lead to despair and ruin. He knew when he was interacting with someone in a concentration camp whether they would make it or not based off of how they responded to the horror of their situation: ‘getting on with it’ or ‘insisting that life start comporting itself to our demands for enjoyment and comfort’.

    Peace can most certainly be found…. but not that way. Not by demanding that life starts giving us what we believe we deserve. But, in accepting the hard stuff in life and having our lives moored to something more solid than how we feel and our emotions.

  382. Jamie Says:

    Thanks Ves and Nolan.

    Nolan – so it sounds like, although you were not searching for it, after that night at Xmas 2013, you began to feel your old self for small periods and it went on from there ?

    Do you feel there is a place for things like meditation, meditation and positive thinking ? I practice meditation and try to practice mindfulness as much as possible but can’t help but think that these are yet other things that I am using to try and ‘fix’ myself.

  383. Sara Says:

    Hey Jamie,

    I cannot stress how normal it is that you feel like this.
    If meditating makes you feel good: do it. Just don’t force things.

    The acceptance attitude takes a while to kick.

    Just try this for now: whenever you feel horrible just say “this cannot possibly do me any harm” and after going through a few bad moments it gets easier, you start believing it.

    I’ll email you later on but i just wanted this to help others

  384. Belgian Says:


    I was doubting whether or not to write this down. I guess because I know that some of you must think I would have already achieved some kind of state in which I never ‘suffer’ again. That anxiety is only a distant memory to me.

    My message to you today is that this is not the case. I do feel crap right now. Lightheaded, overtired, emotional, difficulty with concentrating on my work, blurred eyes, dizzy, short of breath, tendency to withdraw within myself.

    The reason I wanted you to know is that I see a lot of people looking for recovery in the absence of these symptoms. When they are told that true peace only lies in the midst of these symptoms, they start to understand. Unfortunately, only to feel resistance again when the symptoms present themselves again. So they fall back on the old routine of fearing it all again.

    It is not easy to learn to really let go. It’s like learning to ride a bike. Someone can explain you into detail how to do it, but it’s only by getting on it that you will learn to ride.

    You will fall. But you will get back up. Time and time again. Sometimes with a little support of the people next to you. And even when you really thought to have the hang of it, a bumpy road can still make you lose control of your bike. Yet another fall, yet another experience, yet another day of learning.

    Am I a born optimist and instantly forget my current state? Heavens no :) . But I truly know that whatever I would do now not to feel this way, it would only make it worse.

    Like Ves said: “But if you look at emotion it is always subject to arising and subject to ceasing. That which begins, ends. Whatever goes up, must come down. If it’s born, it dies”

    I try to cherish these difficult moments/emotions as I know that in time they will bring me strength and wisdom. Time is my best friend. I find comfort in these words without them relieving me from my suffering. This is the only way forward. Trust me. In time you will know too.

  385. Rich Says:

    Jane B, You may think that you are beyond hope and recovery is unachievable after suffering for so long, but you’re no different to countless others who have come here and found the way out of the maze.

    I see you post the same things over and over – basically a running summary of all that bothers you. Now you’ve been here for a while and hopefully read the posts and comments on here, ask yourself what are you now going to do differently? What new approach to it are you going to adopt? What keeps you in this state? How do you break the cycle? How could your current thought process be holding you back?

    The answers are all here.

  386. Rich Says:

    Belgian, I’ve not replied to you personally before as you seem to have this whole thing nailed down, but to emphasise to everyone else experiencing symptoms (of any kind), it’s when you experience them that you can take the opportunity to practice accepting them.

    When you feel OK it’s fine to learn what you can, but it is only when you can put the new approach to anxiety into practice that you can change your minds reaction to it – which happens over time.

    While you experience anxiety, it isn’t fun, it isn’t enjoyable – it’s always horrible. While you experience it you can however make use of the time to apply acceptance and look at the time spent in ‘anxiety hell’ as a time for your brain to learn a different, more enjoyable reaction to it – by showing it it’s all unnecessary and totally fine. While not fun in the short-term, practicing – even if you feel it’s not giving instant relief (it probably won’t), it will benefit you in the long-term and make the time spent in the current moment at least time well spent.

    People on here over the years comment how they look forward to setbacks as a time to re-assert the correct reaction to it and to practice and ‘course-correct’ your mind again. While this ignores the present hell of the situation, it is the correct attitude to take. You just have to remember to think this and not fall into the trap your mind is nudging you into.

    You have a choice whether to believe what it’s telling you – or not.

    It’s all about learning to dance in the rain. This will make rain will stop – but it doesn’t matter by this point, because you won’t care about the metaphorical weather.

  387. Pietro Says:

    I’m not even sure what “practicing acceptance” means. It’s not really something “active”, is it? It’s more an attitude of not caring, correct? But I guess it takes some time to cultivate this attitude.

  388. ALbert Says:

    My question is:
    Do you go out of your way to “accept” ie;Purposely go out of your way to go to places you once feared or do you live your life as normal and if these “obstacles” appear, face them ?
    Im concerned purposely going out of my way is a “do” like a test and is therefore counter productive ?

  389. Nolan Says:

    Hi Pietro,

    You said: “I’m not even sure what “practicing acceptance” means. It’s not really something “active”, is it?”….

    I think you’re completely right.
    It’s just the attitude of ‘having bigger fish to fry’ in your life than constantly focusing on the anxiety. Not letting those prompting from anxiety dictate how you act (not seeing this movie, not having that drink, …. putting your life on hold until the storm finally passes).

    I never liked the phrase ‘acceptance’ since we are already ‘accepting it’, because even if we struggle with it it’s still going to be there.

  390. Rich Says:

    ‘Acceptance’ is one of those words that always confuses people – because it is a passive thing. It’s like Nolan says – you don’t ‘do’ anything, but you ensure you don’t ‘not do’ anything you should or want to do.

    I see it as accepting to yourself how you are right now, but then rising above it and carrying on instead of all the searching, questionning and worrying.

    I found learning about the ‘why’ and ‘how’ the game works helps me understand it, but no amount of searching, questionning or worrying, putting life on hold and waiting to feel better will ever achieve the result you want – although plenty of people try so hard to overcome it in this way.

    It’s when you leave it alone and just carry on that you figure out how to overcome the fear of it and life returns to you. That’s all there is to it.

  391. Sara Says:

    Hey Rich / Nolan

    I’ve come such a long way, hell i even laugh sometimes at how silly this all is. Especailly the intrusive thoughts (they are so irrational its ridiculous)

    I realized that I’ve come this far because i stopped obsessing about recovery. I’m focusing on today in the hope that the future will be a better place

    I guess my only question for you guys is this:

    Why I am still petrified of this thing? For some reason i still get these feelings of dread and doom.

    -I feel like i’ve gone through fire with this thing and it honestly doesn’t scare me one bit, i even find it ridiculous sometimes.
    -I’m not overanalysing and I can shrug off any weird thoughts and feelings
    -My dp has practicly gone

    For a pescimist like me I can even admit that there is true progress.

    I am also experiencing moments of “my old self” coming back and they are soo blissful.

    Is this just a question of time?

  392. Andy J Says:

    Hi Guys,

    Great posts from Paul, Rich and Nolan as usual.

    When I first started visiting this site, I fell in to the usual trap that many others on here do. I thought I had to do something to get myself out of this mess. I’ve now realised that the more I try, the worse I make it. The activity of trying to do something becomes a problem in itself.

    I guess the things I still struggle with are being able to go about life without trying to fix. How do I mentally tell myself to carry on without fighting? Is it a ‘this is anxiety Andy’ and then carry on. I find myself thinking too much about the issues, figuring them out etc and then having to say to myself that none of this matters.

    Add in how long this has all been going on and its really hard work not to get too down in the dumps. I guess I’ve come to terms with being like this, but I dont have any expectations for the future. I’m still living one day at a time, without any kind of looking forward or without taking much pleasure out of each day. I have to try and continue like this, but I cant help all the nagging doubts about whether I will recover or when I am next going to have a set back.

    I’m also tapering my tablets, which may be increasing my anxiety, so I am also trying to deal with that too. Basically a lot going on at what should be the happiest time of the year.

    Thanks for reading.


  393. Nolan Says:

    Hi Sara,

    You asked: “Why I am still petrified of this thing? For some reason i still get these feelings of dread and doom.”

    I still would get dread, doom, despair for a long time…. I stopped trying to make sense of the ‘why’ about it and just told myself ‘so what’ and got back on with my life with the full intensity of those thoughts/feelings there for as long as they wanted to be.

    It’s perfectly normal for the feelings/thoughts to be there (heck, they’re there automatically)…. it’s perfectly normal to feel that strong desire to “make sense of it all” and to want to direct your efforts as solving that puzzle…. but that’s where you leave it. You decide that you’ve got better things to do with your life than to dedicate your time to understanding the nature of this tempest.
    Let it scream at you like a petulant child and simply opt to not engage. Because, like a petulant child, engaging is going to reward it… it’s going to give it the fuel to continue to linger. So, cut it off by not following it around. Take your life back.

  394. Sara Says:

    Cheers Nolan :)

    I guess that’s my next challenge. It’s very very tough not take take notice (especially when they come with flahes of “a gloomy future” that are so vivid)

    But Let’s say that none of this is actually me…..just a tired (and somehow very sadistic) mind.

    Challenge accepted!!!

  395. Belgian Says:

    There is a subtle but crucial difference between putting up with anxiety and fighting your way through it on the one hand and really accepting it on the other.

    Acceptance means that you live your life with every emotion present and without truly trying to change it. If you truly let go and go with your emotions, you will see how pointless it is to try to change them yourself. Emotions change on their own accord.

    As I wrote to you above, I am currently feeling anxiety. But since letting go has become more and more of an automatic reaction, I do not feel the urge so much anymore to go into combat mode.

    This does not mean that I stop feeling anxiety, it means that my outlook at it changed. Of course, there are annoying thoughts that are coming back. (Do I love my wife? Do I have cancer?) But I stopped caring about them. I just accept them.

    In fact, I just surprised my wife with an unannounced visit. I literally felt the doubts that are created by my anxiety melting and forming into another emotion which I could call ‘deep love’ or something. :-)

    Funny thing is that also my relationship with these so called good emotions has changed. In the past, I would have tried to cling onto them. Desperately holding on the good. Now, I do not feel this need anymore. I just want to be in the moment as much as possible and let the moment pass when its over.

    I can honestly say now that I accept myself as I am. Even my weakest and most vulnerable parts. I know that a lot of us anxiety sufferers have them. I think about the intensity of the feelings we experience. I feel so much that sometimes it can be overwhelming. I know now that these feelings although very disturbing are not something to be afraid of. Instead, cherish them. Cherish every feeling that comes up. Good and bad. And know that if you do not cling onto them, hang onto them , push them away, try to drink them away or try to avoid them… absolutely nothing can happen to you. Accept them and feel whatever there is to feel.

    It is in feeling them through and through without being too overwhelmed by them that acceptance lies. This acceptance will bring you knowledge, wisdom, strength and love for your own self.

    I can honestly not wish you more than this: take the time to learn to accept. And every word of this last sentence is important.

  396. Rich Says:

    I echo absolutely everything Belgian has written above. This is me. This is my approach and my attitude towards it. I’m not immune to the fear, but my reaction to it is now different. I am indifferent to any symptoms.

    I choose not to go into combat mode and just let it do its thing as it feels it needs to.

    If you are someone who is in combat mode and scared, this is a natural reaction and you can’t control this – but you can choose what you then do, and you can choose your attitude towards it all.

    The longer you fight it the longer it will bother you. That’s all there is to this.

  397. Paul David Says:

    Well said Rich and Belgian, in my own recovery, the symptoms were still there, but I no longer fought against them or tried to figure them all out. I also no longer feared their presence. Fear creates more fear, more symptoms. Attention magnifies symptoms, they no longer had this.

    But yes we are drawn to how we feel, we go into fight mode because when our mind does not like something it screams for you to fix it. But let it scream, let it have a tantrum, just don’t play those games. Once you let it scream as Nolan says, like a child it stops. I was recovered way before I was because I could be having a meal with my partner and have all sorts of dread/thoughts going on, but I no longer feared or cared about them, don’t get me wrong I would have rather felt great and sometimes I did, but this was how it was for now. I finally realised I had no control, so I gave away control, the emotions would change when they were ready, I could NOT do this through any technique or personal will, that was natures job. Damn I had anxiety so of course I was going to feel this way at times, what a pointless battle trying not to !!

    My symptoms were just a mere nuisance at times, but in no way stopped me living my life or made any decisions for me and this was super important as I was over riding old pathways, old habits, by going against all the old data that kept me hidden away. When you feel fear when there is no danger present is just your protection system kicking in when it is not really needed, theres nothing wrong, it is just the wrong data has been fed in through months/years of avoidance, so it thinks it is doing it’s job. To over ride this and feel comfortable again, I had to put myself in situations that made me uncomfortable until my sub conscious changed, where new habits, new beliefs were built, basically I was feeding new data in there and no longer running off old data.

    At one time I would hide away, change my movements, my behaviour, spend all day running around in my mind trying to sort my feelings out, make sense of them, go to counsellors, talk about symptoms, try another technique to make them go away, come home and read up more on them, I thought I had to defeat the way I felt, no wonder I was so exhausted, no wonder I was getting worse, I was at constant war with myself, I was the one creating the cycle I was stuck in.

    I remember when the light bulb went on and I said I need ‘The ultimate drop’ this meant that I could not keep half of it going, like the research and avoid certain things but drop the others, it all had to go. No more avoidance, the research was over, the questions, no techniques or rules, the counsellors, the analysing, the whole lot, it was not needed, all I needed to do was go and live my life and take these harmless thoughts and symptoms with me, so I shook their hand, no longer called or thought of them as my enemy and off we went, the thing is without my attention and hate of them, they eventually wandered off and left me alone.

  398. Sara Says:

    You see it feels as though I’m on exactly the right track!!

    I no longer have any urge to search frantically, I’m at a point where I know everything and fear nothing.

    All the symptoms are still there, sometimes worse than ever and the best part is that i DON’T care … kind of feels like I’m in “no man’s land” though.

    A point of no return, can you guys relate?

    I don’t see me ever giving in to any of my symptoms BUT i don’t see me recovering either. Which is odd because you guys are proof of recovery

    Is that something I should deal with? It’s hard to imagine recovery and I see me staying in this point of no return forever you know?

  399. Ian Says:

    Hi all.
    Feeling better after a rough couple of days at the start of the week.
    I won’t let a couple of bad days mess up all the hard work I’ve put in so far.

    I have a question for people who have come through into recovery and a question I often wonder while still working my way to recovery.
    Even when your fully recovered, Do you still get that initial negative thought(s) that once used to start you in the anxiety merry-go-round??

    Many thanks

  400. Ryan C Says:

    Hi Paul, I was wondering if you could answer a more positive post. I have restrained myself from becoming an active member of the blog as personally I feel I am going through what everyone here is: recovering from anxiety, so I really have nothing else to say that others haven’t already.

    I remember reading something very early on after I bought your book, you said if everyone truly accepted how they felt, the blog would be dead. Not to disrespect others on here, but this is the reason I have not been a participant, as I feel every bring is explained in your book and whenever I feel the need to ask something I know it’s just my anxiety talking so I don’t, I just accept this need and carry on and it passes, and then later on I would have been looking at my post thinking writing what I did was pointless, as how I felt passed.

    Anyway, my question is this: I am well into recovery and I have started trying to exercise, but it makes me feel utterly shattered and send me through an intense release of this negative energy which usually begin not long after I finish within hours or the next day, this carries on usually for only as long as needed depending on how intense my workout was. Then, once passed I feel better than ever. Did you feel exercise drained you even more?

    I’m really trying my best to apply myself but it really makes me feel dreadful. Did it take our body a whilst before it adjusted, and how long did you exercise for as I notice in your blog post you gave it up just before you recovered. I just don’t want to push my body too much when I’m sure it’s already using a lot of its energy recovering from anxiety.

    Everyone around me keeps telling me it doesn’t mean anything and to keep pushing on but I just feel after I train I feel very detached and overwhelmed and stressed and full of panic. Of course I let it be there but it’s frustrating that it seemed to help you but I almost feel it enhances my symptoms dramatically of course temporarily before improvement is felt. Can you help me out here? How often did you train and when did you know to take a rest day? Cheers mate.

  401. jane b Says:

    hi sorry to post again a few days ago i asked if anyone had any views on alcohol , i know paul u said u used to drink then cut it right down . i would really like to hear more about this as i know i drink too much and think i need to cut down or even stop . do you think alcohol is a very bad idea for ppl with anxiety and depression even in small doses .

  402. Belgian Says:


    Needless to say that drinking is not helping you. Alcohol is just making things worse. Not when drunk of course, but when you sober up. It’s very common for anxiety sufferers to turn to alcohol and drugs. It’s a way to ease the pain on the short term but it has devastating long term effects.

    I would strongly suggest you to try not to drink anymore and to seek help when stopping proofs to be difficult.

    At one point, I noticed that I too was using alcohol as a way not to feel anxiety. It wasn’t after that someone pointed this out to me that I realized it. Luckily for me, this realization came very quick so I did not suffer the difficulties of an alcoholic.

    Jane, if you think you should stop. Stop. If this is difficult, then realize that you do not have to do this on your own.

    If you have read all the posts above and the message from Paul and you understand it, you will also know that as long as you turn to alcohol recovery will be very hard to achieve.

    Recovery is all about feeling the dreaded feelings and NOT about avoiding them. In fact, try to see every time you feel crap and you’re not turning to alcohol as a good moment. A crappy feeling, but a good thing. Something worthwhile.

    I wish you a lot of love and support in your own journey towards recovery.

  403. Ian Says:

    Jane B,

    For me alcohol is bad 9/10 times as I’m one of them that has a crap memory the next morning after hitting the beer and I’m not talking about a lot to drink, sometimes my memory can go after 4-5 beers, mostly it doesn’t after just a few but there are them times.

    A evening of beer or wine can sometimes turn one bad day into many as….

    Alcohol may help me sleep(or lets says drunken sleep) BUT, After hitting the beer I wake up in the morning and wonder what happen in the bits I can’t remember, this in turn will set my anxiety off or increase the level from the previous day.. This means it can take a extra day or two to get over a patch of anxiousness as I then find it hard to sleep that night and then the lack of sleep doesn’t help my anxiousness…. So around we go again.

    I hope you get what I’m turning to put across for me.

  404. Mark r Says:

    Hi all,

    Not feeling particularly great at the moment to be honest and after a couple of months I still feel affected by setback and accompanying dreadful feelings.
    I’ve stuck to my guns and lived alongside it for two months although its been very difficult. It was hard to take at first as its been a long time since I’ve been in this situation. I actually feel okay underneath these symptoms and it feels like a dose of the flu that I’m waiting to leave. I’m undeniably better than I was a few weeks/ a month ago and its as if the real me has started to appear from out of the thick fog.
    Rationally I know my life is awesome and always has been so hopefully with continued acceptance the protective part of me realises this too and doesn’t need to guard me like this.
    I know one day I’ll look back and be grateful for this ‘practice period’ but I feel far from grateful at the moment.
    I can’t imagine feeling like I did in the summer but that’s another part of the bluff.

    Anyone that’s all for now.

  405. Jacob Says:

    So regarding this stuff I had posted earlier about a medication reaction to fin that made me get all these anxiety+cognitive symptoms.

    Problem is with the cognitive symptoms especially how am I supposed to just “live my life”? Living my life means doing school and stuff for example but I just failed my classes thanks to these symptoms and thus I am not able to achieve what I achieved before. And this causes me to continuously compare to who I used to be.

    Even socially I don’t have my confidence and I am not able to socialize as well as I used to. Literally for no reason as I used to be a very outgoing person and then overnight/in the span of a week had a total breakdown and lost everything that made me “me”.

    How are you supposed to “live your life” when everything that you do is essentially very low quality? Do I just have to wait until my body heals the damage to a certain extent until the cognitive stuff is gone?

  406. Sue Says:

    Hi I am new to this site after coming across Paul on the web. I am an addict to worry . I worry about everything yet cope with the big things in life. I have now got a medical problem so am having to back off from some committments. I worry about that, what I am going to say to the people involved. I am a volunteer but feel really bad about letting the organisation down. I get so cross with myself as I know it is a pointless exercise but am dreadful for negative thinking . I hold conversations in my mind which hardly ever turn out like I think. I have also been down the road of CBT, reiki – you name it.
    Thank you for listening.

  407. Didi Says:

    Hi, is anybody having experience on feelings different “states”of mind at the same time??
    I’ve been having an anxiety to leave my parents since 2012 (mind you, I am almost 26 hmhm) that expressed itself in severe anxiety and depression, leaving me unable to get off the nest and live my life. I’m petrified of living alone and have been since I have lived abroad for two years and those fears started to appear significantly.
    I am seeing a therapist and lately I’ve been feeling : 80% as if nothing I had done (therapy, confronting situations, being more open to people, feeling more etc) resulted to zero progress. I feel exactly the same, I have exactly the same emotional blocks, I still have issues with my parents, and most importantly, I feel a LOT of frustration as I’ve been working on myself for over 3 years now and I am convinced (yes convinced, I have to be honest there) that I’ll never make it or change for the better, and that actually change feels fake or as if it makes no sense (it’s just “change for change”). 15% of the time : feeling like things are “shifting” for me, I have a new behaviour, I see and feel my problems in a different light, and just feel like this is the right path to follow, I just need a little extra effort and my problems would disappear. 5% of the time is when I actually confront my anxiety, and “train” myself into going somewhere alone (recently I’ve stayed at hotels to try and confront my fear of being alone) and it extremely bad, with depersonalization, anxiety of course, negative thoughts, tiredness afterwards…and in those situations I just know things are doomed as it just appears and brings me in a dark place where, at the time it occurs, I have no control of and it scares me (I am scared to do something wrong with myself as I realize just afterwards how bad I felt)

    I have read Paul’s book and the idea of accepting things, and I do want to do that, except I have a lot of difficulty doing so. First of all because I have learned to restrict myself into having emotions or into taking charge of myself because of the parenting I’ve had, and living with my parents sends me “stimulis” to actually not do that. It’s an unconscious reaction that I’m trying to fight. Second of all is because I think that if I actually accept the fact that despite everything I’ve done, this was not the right way or that I still have a very long way to go, I just don’t want to go down that road. I just want to be done with it.

    Does it make sense? Does it sound a bit childish?
    Most importantly do you have any opinion or adice for me? Especially from people who’ve been there and RECOVERED!! :)

    All the best to any one of you :)

  408. Luke Says:

    Hi Paul,

    I read your book a few years ago when I was suffering from crippling anxiety.

    I had a raft of physical symptoms so bad that at the time I was sure I had a neurological disorder.

    Your book helped me immensely at the time, and now I like you I am fully recovered.

    I used a few different mental techniques but the core of acceptance is the same. I actually feel I have become a much stronger person than I was before I became sick in the first place.

    It wasn’t easy: I went through 3 years of absolute hell but I did it without medication and I have you to thank for setting me on the right path.

    So thanks again for your inspirational work.

    Best Wishes

    – Luke

  409. Ben Says:

    Good afternoon,

    I need some advice to give my wife please.

    We are expecting a baby in some months. She was doing very well with this technique but now is feeling depressed and believes “she will stay like this forever”.
    I see she has posted many but is not listening. It breaks my heart to see her suffering
    I want to tell her everything is ok, it is normal but she say “you do not know what i am going through”. Which is fair enough, that is why i come to this site for advice from people who are in the sam situation


  410. Jamie Says:

    Following on from the comments about drinking alcohol, although I understand people’s comments, I take comfort from the fact that when I have a few drinks, the anxiety reduces. Although I agree that it does ‘mask’ it and is not a solution, it reminds me that the anxiety is not permanent. Also, whenever I feel hungover the next day (I have the odd night out for drinks so I want to make it clear I do not drink to excess) I never feel anxious. Again, this shows me that an anxious state is not permanent.

    One other thing that I noticed many many years ago is that if ever I feel unwell with a cold / sore throat / flu or whatever it may be, I feel relieved, is the best way to describe it. I could never work out why. I now understand that by feeling ‘unwell’, it would take my focus off my anxiety and how I felt. So as long as felt unwell, my anxiety would reduce as unconsciously I knew that everyone feels unwell and it would pass in time.

  411. Colin Says:

    Albert don’t try and think your way out of it . Just live your life! Don’t go looking for obstacles . If you get invited for a meal just go even when the anxious mind is saying no don’t ! Just go , carry on regardless. At first it will be crap . But after doing this a few times it will feel more natural ( less anxiety) strangely enough I have just returned from a short breat at centre parcs with wife and kids . On the third day ( after a few too many alcoholic beverages ) I strangely felt the dreaded anxiety !!! But all I did was remembered all of what I have learned and practised in the past ( feeling it but not fearing it ! ) I actually smiled to myself on one occasion whilst I got a huge adrenalin rush , which in the past would have consumed me . But it passed within seconds . I continued with my day & night and it wasn’t my best day. But hey I have just had loads of good days !!! So one bad day isn’t a problem , life is never going to be full of everyday being happy . I am recovered ! I remember reading on this blog once, that some people look forward after recovering to feeling anxious on occasions . This might sound strange ? And one reading it thought the same , but I now know we’re they where coming from . I sort of enjoyed the challenge of it ( not fighting it but feeling it ) it’s now 2 days later and I am happy as Larry again . One wee lesson I learnt from this was to not drink that amount any time soon ! Lol

  412. carla Says:

    Colin or anyone else,

    Could I ask for some advice over a question/issue that frequently bothers me?

    I’ve actually been doing quite well and enjoying some real periods of confidence where I’ve been able to shrug off anxious thoughts and feelings with a ‘whatever’ attitude and, of course, this has felt great!

    But sometimes the fear returns – anxious feelings but also accompanied by proper fear. Fear of my future, fear of getting stuck in this forever, fear that I’m doomed and will never feel normal again. Destructive, deeply fearful thoughts and feelings. During these times my belief in these thoughts begins to get stronger again.

    Now, these are the times when I run into the same problem time and time again. Because, on the one hand, I’m aware that I should be treating these thoughts and feelings as harmless offshoots of anxiety yet, when it’s hitting me hard, I find this difficult – the ‘whatever’ attitude and casual contempt of the thoughts doesn’t come naturally. So this is when my mind begins to reassure itself with thoughts along the lines of ‘it’s just anxiety’, ‘it’s ok to feel this’ ‘these thoughts not my thoughts they are the anxiety’s thoughts’ etc. etc. Not really thoughts to make it all go away, more thoughts to remind myself that my experience isn’t dangerous and my fearful thoughts aren’t really a threat.

    But THEN I remember other advice along the lines of ‘don’t have sayings’, ‘don’t engage with the thoughts’ ‘don’t try and think your way out of it’ and I start punishing myself, criticising myself for somehow doing it all wrong. This then leads to a kind of mental paralysis whereby I feel like I can’t think anything at all; not only am I scared of my anxious thoughts but also the reassuring, rational, sensible ones too!

    So if anyone has any advice on how to deal with these sorts of thought processes I’d be really grateful. Like I say, I’m doing pretty well but could do with some ideas about how to feel more confident (and less critical) of myself when I do hit these tricky patches.

    I think just some reassurance that it’s ok to give ourselves little, helpful reminders when the anxiety strikes would probably make me feel much better.

    Many thanks,


  413. Carla Says:

    Colin or anyone else,

    Could I ask for some advice over a question/issue that frequently bothers me?

    I’ve actually been doing quite well and enjoying some real periods of confidence where I’ve been able to shrug off anxious thoughts and feelings with a ‘whatever’ attitude and, of course, this has felt great!

    But sometimes the fear returns – anxious feelings but also accompanied by proper fear. Fear of my future, fear of getting stuck in this forever, fear that I’m doomed and will never feel normal again. Destructive, deeply fearful thoughts and feelings. During these times my belief in these thoughts begins to get stronger again.

    Now, these are the times when I run into the same problem time and time again. Because, on the one hand, I’m aware that I should be treating these thoughts and feelings as harmless offshoots of anxiety yet, when it’s hitting me hard, I find this difficult – the ‘whatever’ attitude and casual contempt of the thoughts doesn’t come naturally. So this is when my mind begins to reassure itself with thoughts along the lines of ‘it’s just anxiety’, ‘it’s ok to feel this’ ‘these thoughts not my thoughts they are the anxiety’s thoughts’ etc. etc. Not really thoughts to make it all go away, more thoughts to remind myself that my experience isn’t dangerous and my fearful thoughts aren’t really a threat.

    But THEN I remember other advice along the lines of ‘don’t have sayings’, ‘don’t engage with the thoughts’ ‘don’t try and think your way out of it’ and I start punishing myself, criticising myself for somehow doing it all wrong. This then leads to a kind of mental paralysis whereby I feel like I can’t think anything at all; not only am I scared of my anxious thoughts but also the reassuring, rational, sensible ones too!

    So if anyone has any advice on how to deal with these sorts of thought processes I’d be really grateful. Like I say, I’m doing pretty well but could do with some ideas about how to feel more confident (and less critical) of myself when I do hit these tricky patches.

    I think just some reassurance that it’s ok to give ourselves little, helpful reminders when the anxiety strikes would probably make me feel much better.

    Thanks again,


  414. Markr Says:

    Hi Carla,

    I’m in the same boat really and it’s very common when you feel bad to not imagine feeling okay again. For me it’s when anxiety spikes and I have fearful thoughts along the lines of yours such as ‘When’s this setback going to end’ ‘It’s just like 2013 all over again, you’re going to feel bad for ages’ ‘Why can’t I have a normal life’. I think the best thing is to not engage with them, let them run out of steam. Like you said you’ve had some real moments of confidence and peace so really they aren’t true in any case are they?

    In my case although I don’t feel anywhere near okay at the moment, I HAVE been okay so I don’t they are total crap. I can further support this as I was feeling rubbish yesterday but was sat in the cinema watching Star Wars. For the first time in a while my mind drifted off me, tension dropped and my mind cleared. It didn’t last long but times like that keep me moving forward knowing that I will be fine again soon enough.

  415. Markr Says:

    *know not don’t.

  416. Carla Says:

    Yeah, Mark, I too have had (many) times lately when the tension’s dropped and the clarity has returned so I do feel like I’m getting there.

    I think what I just need to keep remembering is that when the amygdala starts firing off and my mood becomes an anxious one then it will search for danger and threat in everything and this is why ANYTHING I think during these times becomes another potential source of worry. And this is why, even when I have a perfectly sensible thought, such as ‘it’s just anxiety, it can’t hurt me’, my anxious mind will then start attacking THAT thought with ‘oooh, you’re thinking about it too much you know, you’re engaging your thoughts, you’re trying to fight it, you’re doing it all wrong etc. etc.’

    It’s a right tricky little bugger basically!

    I guess all I really need to do during these times is recognise that my anxiety is high and it’s seeing false dangers in everything again. I remember Claire Weekes commenting on how anxiety will twist and toil, trick and obstruct at every turn and that we need to recognise this as an inevitable part of our recovery process.

    But I’m glad you’re having a few good glimpses Mark – like you say, they’re proof that this whole business is a superficial sham that just keeps coming and going as we gradually recover.

    Carla x

  417. Mark r Says:

    We seem at similar stages Carla if you want to chat? Maybe if you reply on the latest facebook post I can add you. If not, cool.

  418. Carla Says:

    I think it’s just gradually getting to that point where I recognise and understand all of it’s bluffs.

    Getting to that point where there’s always a part of me thinking ‘yeah, yeah, now sensible thoughts are dangerous’ ‘yeah, yeah, now analytical thoughts are dangerous’ or ‘yeah yeah, now all thoughts are dangerous.’ Very good anxiety, now what was I doing?

    Understanding and knowing that it’s all just boring old high anxiety again, searching around for something to hook onto.

    When I do feel calm (like I did for the whole day yesterday) I can see that thinking is a good thing, I like thinking, I am proud of being a thoughtful and analytical person.

    Yeah, like you say, it’s very much a case of practising letting it run out of steam.

  419. Carla Says:

    Mark, yes, I’ll take a look at the Facebook page tomorrow. My battery’s about to die on the computer (probably for the best!) so I’m off to bed now.

    Chat would be good :)

  420. Meg Says:

    I’m really struggling again with fears of mental illness specifically schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. I want to just be ok with these thoughts but they are the thickest terror for me and I don’t know how I can possibly accept these thoughts and hAve a so what attutude to developong these illnesses. It’s so frustrating I was doing so well but this last month I’ve just felt like I’m getting gradually worse. I guess I was just wanting a bit of hope/ encouragement to persevere as i feel lost.

  421. Bryan Says:

    Great stuff Carla.

  422. Carla Says:


    If you’re struggling with the these fears again it just means that your anxiety has become high again. Have you had any stressors recently? Boredom? Unfullfilment?

    Just practise stepping back again and recognising what is happening. Remind yourself of the basics. When anxiety gets very high it churns out catastrophic thoughts. Usually it find something that a) is potentially very frightening and b) not entirely impossible and then misinterprets loads of evidence on the subject to support the fear.

    I mean, think about it. Where is the logic in worrying about both schizophrenia AND bipolar – they’re completely different disorders. But, rest assured, almost all anxiety sufferers have worried about these conditions at one point. And this is because anxious thoughts can be noisy, intrusive and incongruous with our beliefs – they can be shouty and almost present as voices (Claire Weekes always refers to anxious thoughts as negative voices in our heads). This is where the fear comes in but it is a fear based on speculation rather than facts. Schizophrenia presents VERY differently from anxiety and, any doctor with first-hand experience of the condition will tell you this with confidence. My sister’s a doctor and my brother a psychologist and, even when I was telling them that I had voices screaming in my head, neither of them were ever REMOTELY worried about schitzophrenia. And they were right of course. You write so coherently and intelligently Meg – it’s blatantly obvious that you’re just a boring old case of anxiety. Not schizophrenic, not bipolar, not anything else.

    But it will probably take a while for you to see this for yourself. You need to keep on living, keep on talking to people about your concerns, see for yourself and trust others that the pattern of your experience only ever continues to manifest as anxiety. You WILL see it in the end but it may just take a little time.

    All you have to practice doing is intellectually reminding yourself that the anxiety is churning out garbage again and keep taking practical steps to look after yourself. Exercise, plan how to create some purpose and meaning into your life and keep talking to lots of people, both about how you’re feeling and also about other stuff.
    Just keep your behavioural habits healthy and the thoughts will fade over time.

    But I do know how it feels when the fears take hold. It’s tough and sometimes really hard to know what to do with yourself. Are you feeling any better today?

  423. Meg Says:

    Thank you so much Carla I think sometimes I just need to talk to someone who understands.

    I have had high stress the last 2 weeks as work had been much busier than usual, christmas shopping, relationship issues. I always had anxuety before the “breakdown” part happened and I honestly would be happy to live the rest of my life at that level of anxuety now I have seen how awful it can be when it escalates. The schizophrenia fear reared it’s head as I’ve started jerking awake again as I drift off to sleep and I often feel like an imagine noise or shouting voice it is my head so I convinced myself that I’m hearing things… so frustrating as I know logically that this is just happening because I’m half asleep and extremely sensitised. Then I worry I’ll become so anxious ill become schizophrenic… I think the only reason ive not worried aboit other disorders is that I’ve resisted researching them. I just feel like I can always make my symptoms relate to each disorder.

    I think I need to get something more to focus on as when the weekend comes I kind of just sit around as im tired from work/worrying/not seeing daylight due to working hours and I just obsess – ask me 6 weeks ago and I would have told you I was close to recovery.

    I’m definitely feeling calmer now just exhausted from the stress. Went for a long walk to clear some cobwebs away and it cleared my mind a little I just have an awful headache now.

  424. Markr Says:


    I’ve not much to add as it seems Carla has said most of what needs to said really. It’s quite apparent that due to a bit of stress you’re anxious mind has flicked back on temporarily. Don’t let it convince you of old fears or you’ve gone back to the start, trust me I know how believable it can be.
    It’s so hard when you feel close to recovery and past a certain point of suffering that those old feelings resurface again. I remember you saying that you were feeling loads better and had a lot of calm times. At the moment you’re sensitised for the short term, just let it be there and the calmness will come through again.

  425. Carla Says:

    Aw, yes, it is exhausting Meg but I’m glad you’re a little calmer. Take a couple of ibuprofen and maybe a small glass of wine?

    I’m beginning to recognise that stress can re-sensitise and breathe life into fearful thoughts again, particularly when our bodies are still not fully recovered. I think this is normal and also normal for them to take us over again for a while. Give yourself some time to settle again and you’ll readjust once more.

    Yeah, the jerking awake and hearing voices as you come out of sleep sounds totally normal to me, particularly when anxious – I’ve had similar in the past. Time will help you to realise that it won’t lead anywhere however much you fear it will happen x

  426. Doreen Says:

    Carla says ‘You write so coherently and intelligently Meg – it’s blatantly obvious that you’re just a boring old case of anxiety. Not schizophrenic, not bipolar, not anything else”
    Firstly let me say that I completely agree with Carla, that nothing you have written about would in any way suggest you had either of those illnesses.
    However I have two friends, both doctors and both with bipolar and they too are coherent and intelligent women carrying on doing splendid work, one as a GP and the other as a consultant. So I would like to dispel myths that such a diagnosis is necessarily a recipe for a life of that cannot be lived normally.

  427. Carla Says:

    Yes, you make a good point Doreen :)

  428. Belgian Says:

    Meg, Carla and others

    I noticed that Meg said :

    “Thank you so much Carla I think sometimes I just need to talk to someone who understands.”

    I feel there is a lot of truth in this. Sometimes, even when we completely understand and accept, we need the comforting words of people who truly can sympathize with what you are going through.

    I find it very surprising that – here in Belgium at least – no such organisation exists that brings people with anxiety issues together. This could be different in other countries. Does anyone already attend such meetings?

    Carla, I always enjoy very much the posts you write. You feel the wisdom throughoutevery word you write, while at the same time there is great kindness speaking out of them. I would like very much to get into contact with you.

    Especially for Meg I would like to confirm that “the schizophrenic, psychotic” thought is one the most common anxiety thoughts. Actually, it is the “am-i-crazy” thought packed in a word you have heard of but don’t really understand. I had it and I think most anxiety sufferers had/have it.

    The way to handle these thoughts is no different to the way to handle your anxiety in general. It is a simple one but not an easy one: Understand and accept it by truly allowing it to be there.

    The reason why all these thoughts and symptoms are so scary and feel so real is not the fact that they present themselves, but because you do not want them to be there. You hate them. You hate them through and through and why shouldn’t you? They are making you so ill, aren’t they?

    In fact they are not the reason of your pain. You are tricked in believing that you should fight them, get rid of them while in fact they are not important. They are – like all thoughts- clouds passing high in the sky. Temporary and just part of scenery.

    Surely these clouds can prevent the sun from reaching you. But the truth is that they can never make the sun stop shining. The sun will always continue to so even when the sky becomes as dark as the night. Even when your body in this moment can’t believe this to be true.

    While you wait to feel the soothing heat of the sun on your skin, it makes no sense to stay focused on the sky. There is so much more to discover!

    My point is that by accepting and allowing, you will develop another relationship with all the anxious and weird thoughts. This is the way! Gradually, you then will learn to appreciate every thought and assess it in a very different way then you do right now.

  429. Ves Says:

    Ben said: “I need some advice to give my wife please. She was doing very well with this technique but now is feeling depressed and believes “she will stay like this forever. I want to tell her everything is ok, it is normal but she says “you do not know what i am going through”.”

    Hi Ben,

    You are already giving the best help to your wife – and that is your presence in her life. There is nothing bigger than that.

  430. Didi Says:

    Hi, is anybody having experience on feelings different “states”of mind at the same time??
    I’ve been having an anxiety to leave my parents since 2012 (mind you, I am almost 26 hmhm) that expressed itself in severe anxiety and depression, leaving me unable to get off the nest and live my life. I’m petrified of living alone and have been since I have lived abroad for two years and those fears started to appear significantly.
    I am seeing a therapist and lately I’ve been feeling : 80% as if nothing I had done (therapy, confronting situations, being more open to people, feeling more etc) resulted to zero progress. I feel exactly the same, I have exactly the same emotional blocks, I still have issues with my parents, and most importantly, I feel a LOT of frustration as I’ve been working on myself for over 3 years now and I am convinced (yes convinced, I have to be honest there) that I’ll never make it or change for the better, and that actually change feels fake or as if it makes no sense (it’s just “change for change”). 15% of the time : feeling like things are “shifting” for me, I have a new behaviour, I see and feel my problems in a different light, and just feel like this is the right path to follow, I just need a little extra effort and my problems would disappear. 5% of the time is when I actually confront my anxiety, and “train” myself into going somewhere alone (recently I’ve stayed at hotels to try and confront my fear of being alone) and it extremely bad, with depersonalization, anxiety of course, negative thoughts, tiredness afterwards…and in those situations I just know things are doomed as it just appears and brings me in a dark place where, at the time it occurs, I have no control of and it scares me (I am scared to do something wrong with myself as I realize just afterwards how bad I felt)

    I have read Paul’s book and the idea of accepting things, and I do want to do that, except I have a lot of difficulty doing so. First of all because I have learned to restrict myself into having emotions or into taking charge of myself because of the parenting I’ve had, and living with my parents sends me “stimulis” to actually not do that. It’s an unconscious reaction that I’m trying to fight. Second of all is because I think that if I actually accept the fact that despite everything I’ve done, this was not the right way or that I still have a very long way to go, I just don’t want to go down that road. I just want to be done with it.

    Does it make sense? Does it sound a bit childish?
    Most importantly do you have any opinion or adice for me? Especially from people who’ve been there and RECOVERED!! :)

    All the best to any one of you :)

  431. Didi Says:

    Putting this back in case it’s not been seen…thx a lot in advance for your answers :)

    Hi, is anybody having experience on feelings different “states”of mind at the same time??
    I’ve been having an anxiety to leave my parents since 2012 (mind you, I am almost 26 hmhm) that expressed itself in severe anxiety and depression, leaving me unable to get off the nest and live my life. I’m petrified of living alone and have been since I have lived abroad for two years and those fears started to appear significantly.
    I am seeing a therapist and lately I’ve been feeling : 80% as if nothing I had done (therapy, confronting situations, being more open to people, feeling more etc) resulted to zero progress. I feel exactly the same, I have exactly the same emotional blocks, I still have issues with my parents, and most importantly, I feel a LOT of frustration as I’ve been working on myself for over 3 years now and I am convinced (yes convinced, I have to be honest there) that I’ll never make it or change for the better, and that actually change feels fake or as if it makes no sense (it’s just “change for change”). 15% of the time : feeling like things are “shifting” for me, I have a new behaviour, I see and feel my problems in a different light, and just feel like this is the right path to follow, I just need a little extra effort and my problems would disappear. 5% of the time is when I actually confront my anxiety, and “train” myself into going somewhere alone (recently I’ve stayed at hotels to try and confront my fear of being alone) and it extremely bad, with depersonalization, anxiety of course, negative thoughts, tiredness afterwards…and in those situations I just know things are doomed as it just appears and brings me in a dark place where, at the time it occurs, I have no control of and it scares me (I am scared to do something wrong with myself as I realize just afterwards how bad I felt)

    I have read Paul’s book and the idea of accepting things, and I do want to do that, except I have a lot of difficulty doing so. First of all because I have learned to restrict myself into having emotions or into taking charge of myself because of the parenting I’ve had, and living with my parents sends me “stimulis” to actually not do that. It’s an unconscious reaction that I’m trying to fight. Second of all is because I think that if I actually accept the fact that despite everything I’ve done, this was not the right way or that I still have a very long way to go, I just don’t want to go down that road. I just want to be done with it.

    Does it make sense? Does it sound a bit childish?
    Most importantly do you have any opinion or adice for me? Especially from people who’ve been there and RECOVERED!! :)

    All the best to any one of you :)

  432. Meg Says:

    Carla, Mark r, Belgian – I really do appreciate your responses.

    Recently I’ve gone into myself a bit and I think that’s part of the issue. I’ve felt so exhausted I’ve used it as an excuse to stop living my life, I don’t even feel particularly down, just frightened and sick of my worries flicking from one thing to another. This has been happening to me for about 8 years now but I used to be ok in between, the stress I went through at the beginning of this year turned my life upside down and left me feeling highly sensitised all the time with few breaks.

    I know not to believe my thoughts but it’s incredible how real they feel. I can’t even have a happy day without questioning why I’m happy and this has caused me to get into a tangle. I’m a real perfectionist and very ambitious and I think this element of my nature also applies itself to coming through anxuety so I feel like I’m someone who should be able to handle it better when in fact this is what has really held me back

    Sorry to jabber on I do just need to talk about my frustration sometimes. I was seeing a therapist but they always seem to want to delve into the past and drag upsetting things up which for me doesn’t seem like the best method especially as a lot of my anxiety is habitual and learnt from childhood…. It didn’t have an ultimate triggering event. I’ve also found that therapists seem to want to teach a lot of coping strategies which just seems like avoidance to me.

  433. Cody Says:

    Hi Meg,

    I haven’t been on this blog for over a year now and so I also haven’t followed your posts. I just decided to come back on the blog to help other people as I am fully recovered now and when I read your last post it reminded me of the person I was when I had anxiety! :-)
    By the way I am no native English speaker so I am sorry for Mistakes!;)

    You say that you suffer from disturbing thoughts right?
    These thoughts were my biggest problem too, believe me! I would wake up in the morning and feel okay for the first 2 minutes. Then these thoughts came back into my head and scared me my whole day.
    I thought I was crazy, I thought I had schizophrenia, I thought the world was not real, I was even scared of myself, of my body, that was made out of blood and bones and skin. I had thought about soon many different things and these thoughts scared me to hell and destroyed my once so happy life day by day..

    What helped me was reading and reading the words of people who had already recovered from anxiety and who also had experienced these thoughts!
    I can tell you these thoughts are NOT REAL! Your anxiety is the only reason why you are so scared of these thoughts!
    At this point your nerves are extremely tired and very sensitive so that nearly every scary thought scares you to hell! It is totally normal!
    Try to give your nerves and your mind the rest it needs! Go out, try to do the things you enjoy. Talk to people, even if it feels strange.
    Just live your life! At the beginning I just to say ” piss of ” to every thought that came into my head. I said piss of and then I went on with my life.

    Well, I hope this helped a bit! If you have any questions feel free to ask! I will try to come here more often now! :-) And believe me! These thoughts ARE NOT REAL! Your nerves are tired and that is the only reason why you are so scared!

    All the best!
    Cody :-)

  434. Jamie Says:

    I wanted to document some successes I have had over the last 5 days or so.

    Last Thursday night I went out for a sit down meal with about 10 work colleagues and then watched the the new Star Wars film. I had been dreading this for weeks leading up to it as it was so anxiety inducing. I was flooded with worries of how I was going to feel on the day, what if I felt panicky while at the meal or watching the film ? what if I can only do the meal and then have to say I don’t feel well and will give the film a miss etc etc ? Anyway, I had a HUGE tension headache for the whole day leading up to it but something stuck with me that Nolan said a few weeks back. He said instead of discussing how he felt with his wife he simply said “it doesn’t matter”. Instead of analysing, trying techniques and / or fighting the feelings on the day I simply said to myself “it doesn’t matter”. I went to the meal, felt quite nervous and yes I had a really bad headache but did it. I went to the film and although I did insist on having an aisle seat (I’m sure anxiety sufferers can relate to this), I sat there for nearly 3 hours and watched trailers and the film. Although I think I will have to watch the film a second time as my mind was all over the place, I did it !

    The night after I had my Xmas Do with work colleagues AND I was staying over in the hotel it was at. Both of them I was worried about for weeks beforehand also. Yes, I was nervous but I did another sit down meal and chatted to several people and generally had a good time. I had people say stuff like “you should get more drunk if you’re staying over”, “you should loosen up” and lots and lots of people insisting that I get up and dance. I hide the way I am well and they obviously were unaware of the worries I had about the night so getting hammered and dancing were not top of my agenda. Anyway, I had a good night, stayed over and everything was ok.

    Yesterday, I went to a family meal with about 20 people. Again, I sat on the end but I chatted to a few family members on a 1 on 1 basis and it was fine. I was there for about 4 hours in total.

    I kept saying to myself that I could have done with these events to be spaced out to give me time to ‘recover’ inbetween them but this was just the way they had fallen.

    By the way, I have also felt a little better at work on Friday and today. Although I have had my usual tension headache and felt quite nervous, I have just accepted it and not reacted / worried about it as I usually do. It is small progress and as I never congratulate myself for any achievements, I wanted to write this down as I should praise myself for this.

  435. Carla Says:

    Meg, have you thought about an anxiety coach? These are people who have been through anxiety themselves and have also undergone specialist training in helping others.

    Have a look at the anxiety coaches podcast and also the anxiety guru podcast. Both have some very informative episodes and also a list of coaches who can Skype you 1:1.

    I’m currently having weekly sessions a great coach – there has been no delving into the past, no list of 10 ways to beat it, just sensible, personalised chat and advice.

    Forums and books can be a wonderful source of support and advice and, when there is no other option, I’m sure are invaluable. BUT, the downside is that they aren’t always flexible and tailored to you. You may read something helpful one day and unnerving the next. Someone else may lead you to believe that there’s only one possible road to recovery so that, when you feel like you’re not managing in the same way, you fall into despair.

    I’m a believer that there are many ways through this – some of us respond well to distraction, some to medication, physical exercise, meditation or talking therapy. I also think the concept of acceptance is something that can create a lot of self-punishment and criticism. Personally (I have experienced full recovery from anxiety myself for some 20 years) I found that, the first time round, acceptance was something that emerged organically as my understanding grew, my life gained more purpose and my relationships became happier. I didn’t experience it as a conscious change of approach like Paul did or wake up able to consistently apply the principle of ‘whatever I feel I feel’. But this time around I think I very much fell into the trap of trying too hard with acceptance – aspiring to feel that aura of nonchalance whilst the anxiety has been raging and all it’s done is got me in a knot and lead to a lot of feelings of failure and hopelessness.

    The thing is, I understand I have anxiety and I know how it works. I know it’s not dangerous, I know the thoughts aren’t real and I accept I might be stuck with exaggerated reactions for a while. These are more or less the foundations of acceptance and they are good foundations. But that doesn’t mean I’ve always been able to apply these principles. Sometimes I’ve got frustrated, upset and negative and sometimes I’ve spent all day arguing with my anxious thoughts. On bad days I’ve often just needed to go for a run to shake it all off.

    But I’m now realising, with some relief, that this is all normal too. Normal for me at least. It took me 2 years to recover the last time round and that ‘whatever’ mentality, that shrug of the shoulders was something that crept in slowly (and annoyingly inconsistently).

    And THIS is where I think a coach can come in handy -they’re there to support you through this up and down process. Help you to unpick anything that’s bothering you, reassure you with your own specific worries and help you gain clarity on which things make you feel better or worse. They can help you see the big picture.

    You sound a lot like me Meg (and lots of others on here!) – I’ve always been pretty successful at school, university, career etc. and I too have found myself being somewhat self-critical whilst trying to cope this phase of anxiety.

    Part of me thinks I need a meaty ‘project’ to get stuck into – I’ve spent the last 6 years at home looking after my kids (and renovating houses!) and I really think I need a new challenge for my busy mind!

    Carla x

    ps. I wrote a reply on Paul’s last Facebook post so MarkR could get in touch. Feel free to add me (and Belgian too!) and I’ll let you know the name of my coach.

  436. Carla Says:

    And great to hear Jamie – of course you should be praising yourself, these are big achievements :)

  437. Jessica Says:

    I haven’t posted in some time, but just wanted to echo advice coming from some of the best contributors–at least in my opinion :) I’m still in the recovery phase—actually I don’t particularly like to use that phrase. What many call recovery, I call life. I focused so long on that “elusive” stage that I would get to, where I would no longer feel anxiety that I lost sight of what was right in front of me—life. I like to think of this as a journey, with no particular destination in sight. Thinking of it in this context has helped me to see that there isn’t a stage or feeling I should be chasing. The truth is, that when you fully allow every feeling, you stop caring about whether or not you will reach some stage where you feel “normal” again. Anxiety itself is normal, it’s just our reaction to it that’s not.

    I know, I know, much easier said than done. However as much as I have struggled this past year, this is truly the first time in my life that I didn’t think being okay meant I had to stop feeling the way I did. I finally stopped chasing after this stage where I wouldn’t feel like this. I remember very clearly realizing that I was okay if this is me.

    Now, that’s not to say that it’s been perfect. In fact, it’s very much the opposite. Allowing yourself to feel every emotion is not an easy thing—mainly because I had been suppressing it so long. But there is something about allowing yourself to feel everything that is truly freeing. When I want to cry, I cry. No judgement, no story line of how this is something bad. It’s just an emotion. I often feel very relieved after I let my feelings out—and I try my best not to label. Feelings, thoughts, emotions…they are all energy in the body. Some feel better than others, but I always remember that you wouldn’t be able to feel happy if you didn’t know what sad felt like.

    Even though this road is much tougher than avoidance, it’s much more rewarding. Today was a rough one, but I let myself feel it. My husband saw me cry and said “Sorry you..” and I stopped him mid-sentence and said “No this is just part of the process. Even if I feel crappy. I know deep down the more I let in, the better it will be.” It doesn’t immediately make you feel better—it’s not supposed to. But I know I have made the strides I have by allowing. Sometimes it just hits you months later that the work you put in weeks ago paid off today.

    So anyways, the whole point of my rambling is to really just say, that as hard as it may be, allow everything. Looking back on my year it was difficult, but I still made a 22 hour road trip with husband and dogs in tow to Pennsylvania to see family. I went to the Caymans for a wonderful vacation. I flew to New York to see a friend get married. I went to an Austin City Limits Live Taping of an amazing band. The whole time I had anxiety, and at times I was scared and felt like crap, but I didn’t let that stop me from living. Don’t ever feel like you can’t do something because you have anxiety. Do it in spite of it.

    I’ll end with the lyrics from a song that really resonates with me. “But I don’t want to spend the whole of my life indoors, laying low and waiting for the next storm. I don’t want to spend the whole of my life inside, I want to step out and face the sunshine.”

  438. Meg Says:

    My comment has disappeared and can’t write all that again! I added you on Facebook carla.

  439. Andy J Says:

    Does any one ever have issues with what they are actually anxious or depressed about?

    I go through phases of being really anxious about my intrusive thoughts, but then get anxious about being anxious. So take this morning, I know I am pretty irritable and struggling to concentrate on my work, and that is really getting me down. I’ve tapered my tablets from 20mg to 10mg (which I think might be too much) and I’m concerned this might be making me feel worse.

    On other occasions I feel down because I have been involved in this process for so long. Real life events don’t actually stress me out. I can have the same worries like every one, say money or a hectic life but these don’t have a detrimental impact on how I am. I guess my worries are that I ‘dont feel myself’.

    Can any one relate?

  440. Meg Says:

    Andy this is exactly what I was saying on my post which deleted itself. My anxiety isn’t to escape or avoid any situations…It started like that when I was at school being bullied but now it’s very much anxuety about intrusive thoughts and feelings/symptoms

  441. Andy J Says:

    Hi Meg,

    Its a difficult one. A lot of the stuff I read on here is about specific concerns. Clearly I suffer from intrusive thoughts, but they arent real life scenarios, and are merely in my imagination.

    The stuff that got me to this point, in terms of my health concerns have diminished. I now seem to be stuck with anxiety and depression because I am anxious and depressed. Its a cycle around nothing a lot of the time.

    A cycle of being worried about how long I’ve worried for or how long i’m going to worry.

  442. Bryan Says:


    Again, great stuff. Do you work with a coach from AC by chance? Just curious. I have and it helped me.

    I like what you say about allowing for the bad days. I call that building it into the business model. Like a bank, for example, builds in theft, fraud and loss to their model and is still a profitable business. We can allow for bad days, setbacks and failures to implement the strategies well on certain days into a overall model of living that still takes us towards normalcy.

    I think it’s a really important point to help us, especially the perfectionists among us to avoid despair.

  443. Rocky Says:

    They say stop trying to get that ‘one last question’ answered and just start your recovery/acceptance already. And I agree with them.
    But I’ve had a question that I have asked many times but haven’t gotten an answer to yet, and I feel it is necessary to do so if I am going to accept.
    They say “Live your life.” And I can do that, I look after my family, do errands, chores, work, I be the strong one when others feel down, I give advice, live my life for the people I care about rather than myself, read books, go for runs, watch movies, research things for fun, I never shy from my responsibilities.
    But I don’t do EVERYTHING I used to, certain creative interests I simply do not feel the desire to do nor the ability. This is my second spell of anxiety, the first lasting roughly 10 years. And during those 10 years I had not picked up this creative hobby, it was very much a product of my recovered state.
    What I am trying to ask is:
    Must I do everything as I used to? I go above and beyond for my family, I fill up my free time healthily. And that’s all I needed to do to recover in the final year of my original 10 year stretch of anxiety so is it enough this time? Or should I do literally everything I used to, even certain things that I feel require my mind as it was rather than in its current state? By avoiding certain things am I losing ground to my “disorder” and simply putting too much importance on recovery?
    It is a question I have not been able to crack for the past year and a half, a question I simply wonder all day every day. I wish I could just get a definitive yes or no answer on this so I can just get on with things, it feels like this question simply undermines everything I have achieved during all this time of attempted(?), successful(?) acceptance…

  444. Dustin Says:

    Your post really resonated with me as I totally understand where you’re at. This past year, I too feel that I have lived more and have experienced so much more just allowing myself to feel like complete shit. And like you, I always thought that acceptance was some place or state of mind I had to get to. What I have learned is that we are all already there. Another thing you mentioned that I have noticed in my journey is the experiencing of pure emotion when you allow it to be there. It really is very freeing. And honestly I do feel horrible a lot of the time and it gets very confusing, but there are good moments too.

  445. Mark r Says:


    I can relate in both cases. I struggle concentrating at work and muddle through the day. I love my job and worked hard to get it so there’s no way I’m letting it go despite the fact I’m not enjoying it at the moment. It’s got easier but I’m currently running at 70%, a month ago it was about 2% !!
    I feel anxious for no reason too and in no way does it reconcile to how good my life is…great job, awesome friends, loads of hobbies etc. Up until the point I was sensitised again in October everything was great and I was enjoying life to the full, moving freely about.
    One of the main issues with anxiety and depression is that they are unreasonable, illogical states of mind. They don’t care about material things in life, their primary concern is keeping us safe. I think its important what Claire Weekes says here….that present sensitisation needs to be healed ….so if you’re doing the right things and have no issues that are keeping you this way then time is the only healer. It’s a huge ballache when you know you should be feeling so much better. Everytime I do something positive my mind flicks back to me to remind me about Dp and how crap I feel. Sometimes the futility gets to me but then I remind myself that my life is more important than anxiety and the more of that I do the more anxiety will fade into the background.
    So my message to you (after my ramble) is to keep at it despite how you feel. If you’re back at life and just at the stage where its an annoyance (I am too) then its a downhill path and patience is a virtue.

  446. Andy J Says:

    Thanks Mark r.

    It really is difficult. I make so many mistakes with all of this and just find myself going back to square one constantly. I just can not be bothered with all of this anymore. It’s absolutely exhausting feeling like this. What to allow, what to feel, what not to feel, what to read in to etc. All the while it appears every one else is loving the Christmas period.

    I know this is a bit of a rant and feeling sorry for myself but I’m just sick of it. I don’t want to be like this and just want to be normal with normal worries.

  447. Jessica Says:


    Thanks for sharing your experience too. Definitely on the same page there. I too, agree that it can be really confusing at times when you feel like crap, but like you I have many good moments too. I think that is just the nature of it all. It reminds me of the ebbs and flow of waves. I know that in this moment or that I may not enjoy how I feel, but I know it’s part of the cycle.
    And I often find that when I look back on the things I did, I don’t tend to focus or remember so much on how I felt like crap, it was more on the experiences themselves. Even in the most intense moments it does feel freeing to express that emotion, whatever it may be. Good to hear you have found joy in living this year as well :)

  448. ken Says:

    Just to clarify. I made the dumbest mistake i could have ever made. Somehow i took this advice stop trying as an escape and whatever minfulness i have tried just becomes another way to supress things. Im way to anxious andade the mistake of reading to much. But i do not know what to do now since all of this stuff is supressed in me. What do i do now im about to flip?

  449. Doreen Says:

    Carla. Really liked your post and it supports my feeling that we shouldn’t be too prescriptive about the helpful aids that people might use in then being able reach acceptance. That has always been my view and you put it beautifully.

  450. Ben Says:

    Thans Ven,

    So my wife is getting worse. She is overreacting to everything

    For anyone that has been through this can they give me atleast an explanation, i don’t know what to say to her anymore!
    She keeps telling me “I’m the only one that has been through this” and “noone can understand”

    You see I know that all her feelings are exagerated, she is even too scared to “cook”, she says everythings is “scary”

    She also claims that there is some sort of “electrical discharge all inside her body and she feels like bursting in tears”

    I really want to console her, she was doing so so wall but now is getting worse. Please can anyone relate to her symptoms and help me

    – Her mind is “racing” all the time, it is not clear
    – She feels depair for absolutly no reason (she loved her life) but cannot look past this feeling
    – She says she is so said “it hurts”

    I’ve read the book and many posts but I just don’t understant anympre, i think you need to have felt it to understan.

    PLEASE give me some advice guys :)

  451. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Ben, I’m sorry to hear your wife is having a difficult time. Hormones are very powerful, and pregnancy is a hormonal time. I remember during my pregnancy, I felt so out of control, like I was going crazy. Worse, I didn’t talk about it much because I was ashamed and didn’t understand. Your wife needs your support right now – and she probably doesn’t want you trying to just “fix” her. Would she be willing to see a counselor? I highly recommend that. Try to find someone who deals with prenatal depression/anxiety. Your wife needs to know that the way she is feeling isn’t abnormal or weird. Pregnancy isn’t always a wonderful time for women; for some women it’s downright miserable. But there is help, and there is hope. Also, as someone who went through postpartum depression, I know it’s better to deal with issues sooner rather than later. If your wife gets the support she needs now, it will lessen her chances of developing PPD. So try to get her to go see someone. And as far as what you can do, let her know you’re there for her.. Listen to her. Ask her what she needs you to do, then do it.

  452. Bryan Says:


    I hate to say this but you’re describing basic anxiety and depression, perhaps in a breakdown form. (All at once so to speak.)

    Paul’s book and website describe everything she needs to do in detail. I also recommend Jim Folk’s group of therapists if you need someone for her to talk to which it sounds like would be best.

    Remember, the details don’t matter much. This is all stress and anxiety you describe. Focus on the big picture.

  453. Bryan Says:

    (Google Jim Folk if you want more info. I am not connected to them, have used them myself. )

  454. Ian Says:

    Hi Ben.
    On the cooking front it may be the same as how I am/can be.
    I’m someone that used to love cooking and did it without a second thought, this would inc cooking for others and once a year cooking Xmas dinner for around 10+ People.
    Now when my anxiety is at its worst I don’t even like cooking something simple like beans on toast for the kids because of the “what ifs”
    What if I do it wrong and make the kids sick.
    What if I forget the turn the hob off….. What if what if.

    In my mind I play the what if I did this and that happen, what if I didn’t do that and this happened.
    My anxiety seem to focus around responsibility on my part and if something was to happen it would because of something I’d done or hadn’t done.

  455. Markr Says:


    You’ve had some great advice so far but just thought I’d chip in.

    Sounds like she’s in the acute stage of anxiety. She will feel fear at the moment which is the reason she finds everything scary. Everything she has described rings a bell with all of us, unfortunately every single one of us on here has been at this point, me very recently. The good news is though that it moves on from here very quickly.
    From my own experience I understand that she can’t see past how she feels as the feelings are intense. She needs to know though that how she feels is very temporary, the fact that she has been doing very well supports this.
    As Bryan said there is wealth of information and advice on here and in Paul’s book. She may not feel she can read at the moment but she will be able to read either of those.
    You can only be there for her at the moment but it’s important that she doesn’t just sit and do nothing. I know this is very difficult but even if she feels scared cooking, washing, going for a walk, going down the pub etc then this is a step towards acceptance. Try not to force her but encouraging her to do these things is very beneficial.

  456. Markr Says:


    I feel like s**t on toast most of the time but I feel the same whether I’m sat in the house, playing golf, in the pub, in the bath etc so I do everything anyway.

    It takes a while for the information to go through the limbic system and to calculate a lower anxiety setting so as Jessica says whatever we do now we will feel the benefit of a few weeks later or a month etc.

    It’s very freeing when you allow it. I just let the crappy feelings and thoughts swirl round inside of me and carry on. Sometimes its difficult and I get fed up but I’m doing a lot better at giving it free reign. Then there are the times when it all stops and peace comes, that’s when you know it’s all worth it……

  457. Deborah Says:

    Hi Andy I get intrusives of memories of dreams ,movies or of any memory it’s a creepy feeling . I also get every thing seems familiar or has to remind me of something it just comes out of nowhere not from being anxious. It’s like my mind is always trying to figure something out. This is a big setback I was doing good.

  458. Jessica Says:


    I have to appreciate the frankness in your post “I feel like s**t on toast most of the time..”

    I love that you can tell it exactly as it is sometimes!!

    Just today I had a panic attack for the first time in I can’t remember when. It really shook me, but I let all the feelings flow over me. I know that I honestly can’t do anything about it and I’m going to feel how I’m going to feel. I may not like it, but I also know that the way I react today will make a difference in the future.

    I agree that it can be vary trying at times—it can get annoying to feel a certain way or a certain state and know there is nothing you can do in the moment to change it. I always remember, as bad as it is, that the best thing to do is just let it rage. Sometimes I want to slip back into the old behavior or feel sorry for myself, but then I remember it’s in the midst of the hell that all your work is done.

    And you are 100% right–when the storm settles a bit and peace comes, man is it worth it! There is noting like that feeling. :)

  459. Colin Says:

    Happy Christmas when it come to all .
    Wishing you peace and happiness for the future !


  460. Debbie Says:

    Merry chritmas to all. Peace and happiness.

  461. Mark r Says:

    Merry ‘Sod how you’re feeling’ mas x

  462. Jamie Says:

    I had an enjoyable Xmas Day. A bit shakey at the start but I adopted my “it doesn’t matter” attitude and my mind was clearer than normal. This was not drinking alcohol either which sometimes I do take the edge off. Over the last couple of weeks, I am starting to see small glimmers of sunlight and I’ve been living my life regardless. Long may it continue :)

  463. Rocky Says:

    Now that I have been ‘moderated’ I’m gonna repost this, apologies:

    They say stop trying to get that ‘one last question’ answered and just start your recovery/acceptance already. And I agree with them. 100 percent.

    But I’ve had a question that I have asked many times but haven’t gotten an answer to yet, and I feel it is necessary to do so if I am going to accept.
    They say “Live your life.” And I can do that, I look after my family, do errands, chores, work, I be the strong one when others feel down, I give advice, live my life for the people I care about rather than myself, read books, go for runs, watch movies, research things for fun, I never shy from my responsibilities.
    But I don’t do EVERYTHING I used to, certain creative interests I simply do not feel the desire to do nor the ability. This is my second spell of anxiety, the first lasting roughly 10 years. And during those 10 years I had not picked up this creative hobby, it was very much a product of my recovered state.
    What I am trying to ask is:
    Must I do everything as I used to? I go above and beyond for my family, I fill up my free time healthily. And that’s all I needed to do to recover in the final year of my original 10 year stretch of anxiety so is it enough this time? Or should I do literally everything I used to, even certain things that I feel require my mind as it was rather than in its current state? By avoiding certain things am I losing ground to my “disorder” and simply putting too much importance on recovery?
    It is a question I have not been able to crack for the past year and a half, a question I simply wonder all day every day. I wish I could just get a definitive yes or no answer on this so I can just get on with things, it feels like this question simply undermines everything I have achieved during all this time of attempted(?), successful(?) acceptance…

  464. Bryan Says:


    Maybe people will disagree with me on this one but I don’t think so. I don’t think we have to do “everything” we did before having a breakdown. I consider myself much recovered from where I was but I’m not doing everything I did before yet. I just couldn’t. My body reacts to high intensity exercise still (for example. ) So, I do lower intensity lifting, walking, stretching etc. I keep in good shape but the means are different. I also can’t drink alcohol because during my breakdown I had gastritis (similar to ulcers) and my stomach lining can’t tolerate it. I also modified my diet a bit. So, I’ve had to make a few changes and ACCEPT that this is me for a while. I’ll keep patiently adding things back in until there is no more to add.

    To me it’s about common sense. What would a non-anxious person do if their body reacted negatively to things? They wouldn’t do them. The difference is…. they wouldn’t be on message boards asking if it’s OK not to do them like we do. See the mindset difference? One is fearful about making “the big mistake” and one just says… oh well, guess I can’t do xyz right now. No big deal.

    To me, the answer is just using common sense. We have gone through a breakdown and the body needs rest. So rest. Don’t rest out of fear! Just rest the way a normal person would after a stressful event or flu. Take naps. Normal people take naps. Set boundaries that are logic based, not fear based. (Don’t overwork yourself a a take on too much.).

    Do you see how it doesn’t matter so much what we do…. But our mindset about doing it?

    That’s my 2 cents anyway.

  465. Bryan Says:

    And happy holidays all!

  466. Nolan Says:


    Thanks for sharing your story. You’re getting it.
    Reading what you typed I found myself recollecting my earlier days of ‘living my life again’….
    It may not seem this way for you at the moment, but I trust a time will come when you will actually find yourself looking back fondly on these moments: both the good and the bad.

    When I was driving my family up to my in-laws house for Christmas I found myself in a daydream thinking about all of those moments; both scary and peaceful. There was a time (even later into just living my life and not following the demands of anxiety) when I thought I would always have to have a healthy distance from those moments mentally. Not allowing myself to reflect to heavily lest I somehow ‘break’ myself again.

    But here I am; I can think about those moments for as long as I like and they have no power over me. And, as I said, I actually find them as very endearing moments. Much of this is simply thanks to Paul, because of my reading his book and interacting on this blog I now have a very different way of handling the rough stuff of life.

    Thanks again for sharing.

  467. Carla Says:


    Did you always feel confident about the path you were taking, despite the anxiety?

    My anxiety isn’t as high as it was this time last year and I barely have any physical symptoms at all these days. So, in many ways, I really should be feeling quite optimistic and confident.

    But I continue to berate myself and feel plagued with self-doubt, particularly upon waking. The fear of getting ‘stuck in my head’ still lingers and I continue to naturally recoil when I begin thinking about myself and how I’m feeling.

    And this is where I get a bit stuck. I want to be comfortable with my thoughts, whatever they may be. I want them not to matter. But, frustratingly they still do, particularly when the anxiety rises again. I guess it’s because I’ve experienced the ‘full force’ of acute repetitive, anxious, intrusive thoughts and the memory of this scary time still affects me.

    So a not-so-good morning goes a little like this:

    1) Wake.
    2) Think about anxiety.
    3) Feel a wave of fear.
    4) Remind myself that it’s ok to think about anything, thinking is good etc..
    5) Berate myself for ‘getting into and mental dialogue’ with the anxious thoughts
    6) Wonder whether by trying to reassure myself I’m trying to fight the anxiety and perpetuating some kind of cycle.
    7) Feel scared about reassuring myself. Try and stop reassuring thoughts.
    8) Feel scared about thinking anything as well as a pervasive feeling that I’m somehow doing something wrong.

    I wonder if you have any advice about dealing with this kind of doubt and lack of self-confidence. I feel like I’m otherwise dealing with the anxiety quite well and the intensity has certainly dropped.

    I think my anxious mind has taken the ‘let it be’ message to such an extreme that it’s lead to a kind of self-punishment whenever my mind tries to reassure itself or think through an anxious thought.

    Now, my calm, rational self would suggest that it’s a perfectly normal and sensible human instinct to reassure in times of fear/worry. For example, if my daughter comes to me with a worry, I’ll always talk it through with her and help her to view her worry from a more reassuring perspective. I wouldn’t dream of telling her that she wasn’t allowed to reassure herself or think about her worry.

    My calm, rational self is also aware, however, that reassurance is not always effective when dealing with an anxious mindset. So, again, when I reassure my daughter it sometimes helps and sometimes doesn’t. Sometimes she just needs a bit of time for the worry to unravel and fade on it’s own. You win some you lose some.

    But my anxious mind just can’t seem to find this common-sense middle ground and apply it to myself. If I were giving myself advice I’d say that it’s fine to reassure myself as long as I understood that it may not work and that I might just have to wait for the anxious mood to fade.

    I think one of the problems I experience is that the shift in attitude that you and Paul talk about, the ‘don’t care’ mentality, sometimes gets stuck as a cerebral concept and doesn’t always transfer into that confident feeling in my gut. I think Claire Weekes referred to this process as developing the ‘right inner voice’. She talks about how, at first, patients are only able to reassure themselves with words but eventually feel a strength in their core that is able to carry them through future brushes with anxiety and enable them to dismiss it/allow it without too much drama.

    So I suppose she implies that it’s normal to go through a phase of slightly ineffective self-reassurance. This I find comforting.

    Behaviourally I’m good. I live life as if I don’t have anxiety and I refuse to let it dictate my actions. I feel better when I’m busy and certainly benefit from time away from the subject. I’m having some good periods of relative calm too where I’m able to play a game with my husband, watch a film, chat with friends and almost forget the anxiety altogether.

    It’s how to deal with those times when life is quiet, I’m home alone with plenty of time to think and my mind is circling around with anxious thoughts/reassuring thoughts/repetitive thoughts/analytical thoughts. These are the situations where I can become paralysed with doubt and fear, with each new thought confirming that I am indeed digging myself deeper and deeper into some kind of anxiety quagmire. This is when I self-punish and have real some real crises of confidence.

    Sorry for the essay, I’m not the most succinct of posters!



  468. Jamie Says:

    Thanks for responding Nolan. That particular message you posted I referred to really resonated with me and I haven’t been on here every couple of hours since skim reading for ‘the answer’. I am not sure why but it did.

    Over the last couple of weeks, granted I have still had headaches and I have still felt anxious but my mind has been a little clearer. For example, the idea of changing career which I have been thinking about for a long time but the anxiety has got in the way, although it is scary it does not seem impossible. The idea of going on a date with someone does not seem completely out of the question when previously, it would have been.

    Leading up to spending Xmas Day at my parents with my daughter I did feel pretty anxious (thoughts and feelings) and it took my mind back to 2 years ago (Xmas Day) when my anxiety was at its peak. I spent the whole day anxious beyond belief, stayed over and could not get to sleep I was so anxious ! Anyway, that was then and this is now. Once I was round there, I was fine and I had a good day.

    I am not going to ask you tons of questions along the lines of how long you took to recover, the key things you used to recover etc. They are not as important to me now. One thing I would like to ask if you don’t mind is – where do you live ? Are you in the UK or USA ?

  469. Markr Says:

    Hi Carla,

    From an outsiders point of view……..

    ….Ideally as we become more adept and psychologically flexible with dealing with anxiety and feelings what we really should be doing is stopping at 3) – Feel a wave of fear………that way the emotion plays out and dies down on it’s own without us trying to analyse, control, think ourselves out of it. Is it easy? Nope…….most of us do the opposite!
    It’s okay to reassure ourselves to a certain extent but then if this carries on it becomes a ‘doing’ and a control method. My therapist identified this in my own behavior, I was constantly reassuring myself with sayings, other people, blogs etc. It was only keeping me stuck. So the answer really is try not to engage and get to step 8).

    “But my anxious mind just can’t seem to find this common-sense middle ground and apply it to myself. If I were giving myself advice I’d say that it’s fine to reassure myself as long as I understood that it may not work and that I might just have to wait for the anxious mood to fade. ”

    I don’t think in a million years that an anxious mind will see common sense, if it did we would all be laughing by now. I think you have identified the correct approach here in the last sentence. This just doesn’t just apply to anxiety……..have you ever tried to think yourself out of any other extreme mood? It’s impossible, you just have to wait for it to pass and then your rational mind will come back into play.

    It’s great that you’re able to have moments of calmness, what you’re doing is definitely working.
    I know what you mean when life is quiet………..when I’m having downtime and my mind isnt occupied my anxious mind taunts, upsets, even tortures me. I try and let it do what it wants without reacting. A lot of the time I do well with this, others I don’t (hence our conversation this evening!)

  470. Carla Says:

    Yes, I see the logic Mark.

    Once I get to the point where I can stop at 3 I wouldn’t have an anxiety problem.

    I can see that, once you get to stage where you can meet anxiety with a ‘yeah, yeah, you can shout your shit, I don’t care’ feeling then you’re basically over it.

    But how can we accept the situation when it moves beyond 3? To me, the definition of an anxious mood is engaging with a worry, chewing on it, building up a worry into a fear. Trying to reassure yourself and failing.

    It was actually fear of thinking this way that triggered this episode of anxiety in the first place. I was chewing over a worry about my daughter and started developing a concern that I should not be thinking like this. And then this built into a fear that I might get stuck in fearful, repetitive thoughts forever. And the rest is history.

    So my problem now is that I basically fear ANY thought that I have whilst anxious. So, at the first sign of a reassuring thought popping into my head I think STOP IT! or, if I begin engaging with the subject I think STOP IT! Everything I think just becomes another source of fear.

    And I don’t want to be scared of thinking. I always loved thinking. In the past I’ve been praised for being a ‘thoughtful’ person, friends would come to me to help ‘analyse’ situations, chew over life or discuss worries. I was comfortable with delving deep sometimes, it made my life richer. Thinking used to be my friend!

    But now the relationship has changed. Engaging with thoughts has become bad, analysing has become bad, reassuring has become bad – thinking has become the enemy!

    Now I do understand that thinking isn’t always particularly helpful with an anxious mood/anxiety state and that it can be more helpful to practice patience to wait for it to pass. I also need to recognise that anxiety WILL hook onto every thought I have and make it seem dangerous – again part of the condition. I understand that I need to practice recognising this happening with a ‘yeah, yeah, now every thought is dangerous. Whatever.’ mentality until the storm passes. I do see all of that.

    But I also feel I should be punishing myself less when the anxiety hits. I don’t think I should be thinking STOP IT about any type of thoughts, this just doesn’t feel right. I don’t remember this kind of self-punishment when I recovered the first time round. I remember a lot of difficulty getting used to the thoughts and feelings but not the self-reproach and pervasive fear of doing it all wrong like I have this time round.

  471. Rocky Says:

    Thanks for the response Bryan,

    The concept of “logic based decisions vs. fear based decisions” seems quite clear to me, and I definitely will proceed with that mentality.
    You were a huge help, although understandably I still have some residual concerns regarding leaving some things for recovery and the potential pressure that can have on the recovery process. But we shall see.

    Thank you again,
    Happy Holidays

  472. Carla Says:

    I suppose I’ve sort of answered my own question really with the way forward being something along the lines of:

    1) Understanding that thinking is a perfectly natural response to fear/anxiety/worry – thinking/talking through worries is a basic common-sense strategy. (Claire Weekes encourages it, CBT is based upon it and it’s what families and friends do informally on a daily basis) . However, alongside this there needs to be a recognition that it’s not always a particularly helpful strategy at reducing an anxious mood.

    2) Trying to be as kind as possible to myself when my mind goes into this thinking mode. I should not try and stop any of it but practise developing the patience to allow it to rattle away and run out of steam.

    3) Understanding that when the anxiety is particularly high, I may well begin interpreting EVERY thought as dangerous again and that nothing I think will make any sense. Again, I suppose it’s just a case of practicing that ‘yeah, yeah’ mentality and waiting for it to die down.

    I feel better this morning, a little more grounded and confident. But this confidence seems to come and go, often evaporating altogether when the anxiety sucks me back in again.

    It’s most frustrating but I think is probably a normal part of working through anxiety.

    Happy Christmas everyone x

  473. Carla Says:

    Sorry, just to illustrate with a quick example from just now:

    The kids came home from swimming along with various minor stresses – mini tantrums, husband snapping, general noise and hustle and bustle.

    Anyway, I could feel myself over-reacting to the stress with some anxiety creeping in. My mind then automatically stepped in to remind me that I’m just sensitised and it’s ok to over-react in this way. I mean, just a brief reminder to myself that it’s ok to feel this way.

    But then came the self-punishment. The thought that I should not be reassuring myself. That this is a somehow a wrong thought. And then the mental paralysis where every thought seems wrong.

    I don’t know what’s happened really. i don’t know why I’m criticising myself so harshly over everything. I want to be able to develop some confidence over my responses to anxiety but I’m struggling with it if I’m honest!

  474. Chris Says:

    Hey Carla.

    One thing I have found that has helped me is just to observe the whole thing, including the resistance and resistance to thoughts. Completely dis identify with them. Anxiety comes in many layers, and I find that this really helps to simplify things when it comes to accepting anxiety.

    Hope this helps!

  475. Mark r Says:


    Sorry for negative post especially over the Christmas period but I’ve woken today feeling very crap and fed up with it all.

    I’ve been in this setback for just over two months now and despite me accepting every aspect of it, it doesn’t seem to have any obvious signs of passing. I go about my day and live it as if I didn’t have anxiety but for the most part I feel bloody awful, I’m okay with that but only see very, very infrequent signs of any peace…an hour here, a day there, no longer than that. Overall I’m happier but still feel the daily onslaught of my nervous system and heavy symptoms.

    As per Paul and Chris’ s a letter to myself that setbacks are recovery accelerators. I’m finding this hard to believe at the moment as up until October my anxiety levels had been very, very mild and I can’t help but have a nagging that I’ve been pegged back from this.

    I guess I’m asking the ‘recovereds’ or ‘nearly recovereds’ if they had a situation similar to mine and a long setback after feeling relatively okay for a time. How did they deal with the frustration and contrast in their symptoms.

    I know I wasn’t recovered prior to this but I’d been okay so I guess I was still vulnerable to a setback. Even when I had my worst one for 4 months at the end of 2013 I still had a break of two weeks in between where I felt great but Ive had next to bugger all with this one.

    If anyone could chuck their thoughts my way I would be grateful..

    From a very crappy Mark.

  476. Carla Says:

    Chris, thanks. I think observing the whole thing is definitely helpful. And, you’re right, anxiety does have many layers which can make things appear more complicated than they are.

    Mark, you’re a lovely guy. I know this doesn’t help in the slightest but you’re managing to keep some humour and good spirits throughout this tough time which shows great strength of character. I’m sure you’ll get some great advice here :)

  477. Ben Says:

    Just testing and wishing you all happy ( healthy) holidays on the way!

  478. Ben Says:


    It’s great to hear that you can all relate. Though I am truly sorry anyone had to go through this.

    If I understand well, her current state of mind can be treated the same way general anxiety / depression is? But current state of mind is very very weekened by this :(

    Would depression however be treated differently?

    Stephanie: she went to see a therapist last week and ended up being sexually harrassed by him. Most of her experiences with therpaists have not been worthwhile and i don’t want to push her into “seeing a therapist’ because i know she will panic and think that something is wrong with her.

    Honestly I myslef have found more valuable information in this blog and books than a therapist has ever told me or her!

    I guess that she is feeling very inense feelings because they came after a moment when she was making soo much progress.

    I can see hat her anxiety / depression is very acute right now , she can’t even take a deep breath and relax, its THAT BAD…..and I hate not being able to fix this, but i hope suppose its a question of time.

    Good day to you all

  479. Jen Says:

    Nolan or anyone one could please give aome.advice
    I have been doing really well with just living with this anxiety and I have always done things and never let thr anxiety hold me.back no matter how I felt. However I have this lingering stage of just feeling off. Not quite like my old self or old personality of just living with out having to worry or think about the feeling anxiety has left me.with. has anyone else been through this? It’s always in the back of my mind. It’s like I’m still trying to figure it out maybe? Any advice would help me alot. I feel this is thr only thing really holding me back. Along with a few symptoms like a little dizziness and I can feel waves of the axious ess come back. Thank you guys

  480. Billy Says:

    Hi it no mind, i am sure its been said more than once that there is no magic cure or mantra to rid us of these feelings and symptoms. We all have this symptom or that symptom. Go on about your life. I visit this blog every now and then and one thing i noticed is that people are comparing their symptoms, has anyone had this or that. i find that wrong as that tells me you have not accepted anxiety and all it comes with and without acceptance there is no healing. I have come a long way with my healing and every time i feel “off” i think to myself its anxiety in its new shape or form and i go on about my life. One morning i got out of bed and i was extremely dizzy, almost like vertigo so instead of panicking or googling what it causes it i thought tomyself its anxiety and i went downstairs to make coffee and get ready for work. i dont even remember when it left me as i didnt constantly check in to see if i was still dizzy. So i think you keep “checking in” to see what symptoms are still present and that is wrong. To end my blabber lol…i think we will never go back to our old selves and i mean who would really want to..our old selves brought us all this anxiety i believe we will come out of this stronger wiser and new with more love and apreciation for small things. Wishing you all the best, happiest and healtiest of holidays.

  481. Jen Says:

    Thanks Billy. I completely understand what you mean. What I am doing is oviously keeping this feeling alive maybe because I keep looking for it and what do they say whatever you give you attention to feeds it and makes it happen or something like that. I agree and thanks for commenting. I appreciate it

  482. Fleur Says:

    Happy Holidays everyone :-),

    I have relationship anxiety 2 months (ROCD).
    I have GAD about 1 year now. And I am with my boyfriend for 5 years. I really love him, I think that he is love of my life, I dreamed about our wedding.

    He is perfect, my type, lovely, intelligent, I love his family, I want to have children with him.

    This summer, my relationship anxiety started. I was in USA with him, and I liked other man. But only platonic. Nothing happend, no flirt, nothing. It was only in my mind, and I know that after 5 years relationship it is normal. But I felt big guilt. Then I felt some numbness towards my boyfriend. After coming back to Europe, my anxiety target changed and I was started afraid of depression.

    My relationship anxiety was gone. I wrote to my diary with big letters that I AM SURE I LOVE HIM. Everything with him was alright again. (but of course I wasn´t happy, I had big fear of depression, so of course anxiety wasn´t gone)

    Then something happend, I was reassured enough to stop afraid of depression. Then I felt numbness towards my boyfriend again. At first I was sure that it is anxiety for 100%, but now I am afraid what if I really don´t love him. That what if my anxiety took my feelings forever. But it is not only from 1 thought, I really don´t feel love. It is like I don´t want to spend time with him. But it is not wonder when I feel anxiety when I am with him.

    This numbness lasts for 2 months now :-(. When I think about it I have almost panic attack. I am sure that I don´t want to leave him. He is love of my life. But I don´t feel feelings towards him I only feel anxiety. When I think about break up I have the worst feeling on the world, because deep down I know that I must love him. I want him to be happy.

    It is a torture, I don´t want to kiss him for example. Because from that kiss I have big anxiety. I may talk with him but when I touch him I feel anxiety. I don´t want to kiss him, to touch him, I don´t want romance with him. Like I don´t have mood for that. I can only speak with him but nothing more. Everything else is numbness and that is giving me big anxiety.

    I cry everyday, it is a torture. When I had bad panic attacks before 1 year, and fear from craziness, when I was with him I was safe, I was always glad that at least I am with him, and nothing is so bad then.

    My biggest fear is that my feelings of love will not come and I will always feel only anxiety towards my partner. WHAT IF?
    My biggest fear is that I will must leave him in future, cause these feelings. These feelings are really strong, because of them I can´t feel love towards my boyfriend and I am afraid that my love is GONE.

    What should I do, when I don´t feel to kissing him or touching him, because I feel nothing (I am not sure what I feel anymore)? I should kissing him and touching him? How can I get my old feelings back? I know that acceptance is the key. But I am not sure what I should do. To meet him and lie to him that “I love you” and kiss him although I have anxiety from that kiss?

    It is the vicious circle. Because I have anxiety from that numbness. But I think that I have that numbness because of anxiety. But how can I not have an anxiety when I feel nothing only fear when I look at him? Please somebody who overcame this help me with some kind words. Thank you. Fleur

  483. Billy Says:

    You’re welcome Jen. Anxiety is pretty nasty to say the least so the fact that we are almost healed is fantastic. i’d rather be dealing with whatever small symptoms i have left for now than with the initial ones and the ones i was batting before i read Paul’s books. So lets celebrate the fact that we are free of those symptoms and the remaining lingering ones will go away as well if we give them the room to run out of their steam. Enjoy every day!

  484. Ves Says:

    Hi Mark r,

    The mind tends to leap forward toward proliferation. Your mind keeps asking “When I will be out of this setback?”, “Where are the signs of peace?”, “It has been 2 months, I should see the sign of peace” and on, and on….
    Our constant search and questioning for peace is what prevents peace to come.

    So we need patience to step back and ask ourselves, What do I have to deal with right now? Mostly all we have to deal with right now is breathing in and breathing out. There’s not much to do. If there is task to be done, then we can learn how to apply patience and attention to it. As we do this, we realize that the morning has passed, another day has moved on. Very simple. We can recall this quality of simplicity as we pay attention to the reactions in the mind, the moods that keep popping up, and proliferations that keep hounding us. One step at time. It’s all very uncomplicated and there’s not much to be done.

    Don’t get chained with any time frame that peace should come. Surrender to any feelings unconditionally and peace will come.

  485. Mark r Says:

    Hi Ves,

    I’m fully aware that my mind’s constant search for peace is what’s holding the desensitisation up but it happens automatically without any input from me, well not consciously that I’m aware of.

    I certainly feel better and I feel happier despite feeling like total crap with an inward mind and thick, thick dp. It’s as if at the moment my mind is split in two – one half Is happy and having a normal life and the other half continues to suffer. I’m guessing the more I let normal life the suffering part with drop off?

  486. Carla Says:

    Hi Mark,

    Just wanted to touch base with you – sorry you’ve had a crap couple of days.

    You see, I would disagree with your statement that it’s your mind’s constant search for peace which is fully to blame for your continued sensitisation. I think this view puts far too much pressure upon yourself and is actually more likely to generate more anxious thoughts.

    I think the reality is that you are going through a process. Acute anxiety has reared it’s head again causing some intense symptoms and fearful thoughts. When it hits acutely again like that it can be incredibly easy (possibly inevitable even) that you get drawn into the anxious stories that rage around in your mind (Im guessing yours are something along the lines of ‘I’ll never get better, I’m doomed, I’m not improving, I’m doing this all wrong, I can’t handle feeling like this’ etc. etc.

    When this happens it’s then perfectly natural for the mind to begin resisting and rejecting everything again. Of course it’s going to do this, it’s trying to protect you.

    None of it is your fault.

    You just have to go through the process again. A process which involves practising stepping back from that anxious dialogue, observing it all as anxious exaggeration (because the truth is that you have had some good times, you are making some progress even if it’s slow, you’re functioning well and you’ve recovered from similar setbacks before).

    And along with this I think appropriate behavioiural practices are crucial. Socialising with good friends, chatting with people about your concerns, regular and fairly strenuous exercise, relaxation etc. Basically anything that can encourage a few breaks in your symptoms. Now this is not to avoid anxiety completely but to shake things up a bit – give your mind some focus/breathing space, balance the hormones temporarily etc.

    And I think, as you plug away with this process the acceptance kind of emerges alongside it. The symptoms subside enough for you to glimpse that the anxious thoughts are not based in truth and stress symptoms are harmless and temporary in nature.

    I guess I’m trying to encourage you not to put too much pressure on yourself to accept. I’ve done the same myself and it’s simply created another anxious layer for me to fret about. (By the way, Chris – your description and advice about observing all the layers of anxiety was extremely helpful).

    I hope this helps a little – I know I’m not fully recovered but I’m definitely having longer and more frequent spells when I can view it all much more dispassionately and fairly regular periods when it lifts altogether. When it hits it can still hit hard but I think I’m beginning to get the measure of it all to some degree!

  487. Jacqui Says:

    Dear Nolan,
    I just wanted to say thank you, you are a true inspiration. I’m in a setback at the moment and your posts give me hope.
    Keep up the great work!
    Jacqui x

  488. Mark r Says:

    Thanks Carla,

    I guess you’re right and I need to just allow the process to take place without beating myself up about it. To be honest I did spend some time so angry with myself about feeling like this again after being okay. As you say none of this is my fault and looking back I did nothing reckless to encourage a setback, I just lived my life like anyone would.

    I also agree on your point about the anxious thoughts. As I said that they automatically look for peace and its not something I’m doing deliberately. Getting fused into these is only engaging and adding more stress as you say.

    My initial post a few days ago was very negative due to being at a very low ebb. Although this setback hasn’t ‘passed’ as yet it’s certainly improved. I only have high anxiety very occasionally and I’m living my life to the full despite feeling bloody awful every day. I guess I can’t ask for more than that of myself. I think looking back at that post it’s quite clear I’m being impatient with time. My mind wants to get to that ‘okay’ place but its just doing what it’s designed go do I guess.

    So to sum up I’m going to feel like crap and my mind is going to self check for the time being, I just need to carry on with life and be patient. Not that I haven’t been doing that anyway, just need to trust in the process.

  489. Albert Says:

    Could i ask for a bit of advice
    When i get an anxious thought i get this overwhelming thought to face the problem in order to beat it
    Say i have an episode where i got anxious walking around shops in the middle of a busy town centre. Ill come home give myself a hard time and ill then say right im going to go into town now to prove i can do it
    Yesterday i was driving in town and it was absolute gridlock, i was stuck there for a hour, i was getting more and more anxious, i then saw a bridge, now i didnt have to go over the bridge but i decided i wanted to go over it to prove i could handle the anxiety (i was dreading it), anyway i went over the bridge (absolutely crapping it) and i panicked massively, i wanted to get out of the car, abandon it, but i stayed in it and i got through it .
    So i suppose my question is,do i go out of my way to conquer my anxiety or do i just face the obstacles when they arise in my day to day life?
    When ive tested myself driving to places where i know ive panicked before i still get anxious , however i have also “had” to drive the same place when ive had to take my son somewhere and i did this fine (as if it wasnt a test ?)
    So im thinking when i force myself to beat these fears it is a “do” and im testing myself which gets me in an anxious frame of mind before i even set out
    Hope im making sense as ive made progress over the past year but this problem is really holding me back

  490. Carla Says:


    I think this kind of testing mindset is extremely common. I don’t think it’s a terrible thing, it’s a reflection of your determination really.

    You’re just putting yourself through a kind of exposure therapy which is a perfectly sensible way of tackling any kind of fear/avoidance kind of behaviour.

    Tbh I think in some ways you can’t really win in the situations you describe – if you don’t go back you worry that you’re not facing and if you do it feels a little contrived, like you’re testing yourself. So, if you can’t really win then you may as well accept that you’re going to feel anxious anyway and try not to beat yourself up over either decision. Just put it down to an anxious moment and wait for it to subside.

    I would say, as long as you’re not limiting your life through avoidance or, conversely, spending entire days testing yourself to the exclusion of everything else, then you should simply continue as you are and try to be kind to yourself about the decisions you make. And, like you say, most of the gains will come from meeting obstacles as part of your every day life.

    It sounds like you’re doing fine Albert, perhaps being a little hard on yourself like the rest of us though!

  491. Mark r Says:

    Sorry just wanted to add (I’m aware I’m going to be shot down I flames here) is that I don’t understand when people say they welcomed a setback etc. It occurs to me that it’s said with the benefit of hindsight or their setbacks arent deep or long enough. I can’t get my head around feeling good then welcoming front line symptoms again.

  492. Belgian Says:


    I totally get what you are going through.

    For more than 1 year and a half, I too felt very anxious about my relationship. And although it was not the first time anxiety played a big role in my life, I wasn’t prepared for the huge impact this episode would have on me.

    Before I focused heavily on diseases, illnesses. That was very unpleasant, but at some point there was always clarity. Either you have cancer, either you haven’t. Even the most stubborn hypochondriac can’t but acknowledge that.

    Love on the other hand is by nature not that objective. It is a subjective human experience. Unique for every individual and although poetry tries to, we will never be able to capture or define it right. Bring in a relationship which by definition is always work in progress and the perfect breeding ground for anxiety sufferers is set.

    Doubt and uncertainty can be excruciating for us. I think it is because in anxious times we get stuck in that moment by doing the exact opposite what a non-anxiety sufferer would do. We dwell on the same thing over and over again. Endlessly we gaze at a never ending sunset with clenched teeth and tensed muscles. Afraid of the present and therefore imprisoned by it.

    Fleur, the question is not whether or not you love your boyfriend. The answer has always been the same. It has not changed these last few months. You got it the first moment you read Paul’s book. It has been reaffirmed by several others on this forum.

    The answer lies in your approach to it all. By constantly looking and fighting for a feeling, your only result will be even more tiredness. It is that tiredness that is making things so difficult for you. It’s that tiredness that has taken your capacity to love someone.

    So what should you do? You guessed it already I suppose :) Accept and let time pass. Accept that at this point you can’t be sure of anything. Not because of the things around you, but of the things within you. Seek that peace inside of you.

    I know this is easier said than done. The feeling of numbness, the feeling of not having the capacity to love anymore can be excruciating when you’re not understanding or accepting it. Trust me, I have been there.

    But.. there is definitely hope.

    I was in doubt (anxiety)for so long. I got married during this period, I had an excruciating honeymoon. I lost my job which I loved so much. And the only one who was with me and supported me during the most difficult period in my life was the woman my anxiety was so heavily focusing on.

    Looking back at it now. It totally makes sense. Everything does. Not because something ‘in the real’ world changed, but because my outlook on it all changed completely.

    I now feel a love for my wife which can’t be put into words. It’s strong and fragile. It’s deep and it floats. Sometimes it can be missing, but it’s never lost. And most importantly of all, I did not find these feelings by looking for them but it was the road that I took that has brought them to me. For that, I will be forever grateful.

    Take care.

  493. Bryan Says:


    Perhaps people mean welcome… as opposed to fighting and questioning? Maybe he term “welcome” is a bit misleading in that no rational person would look forward to a period of suffering. But we may be able to simply allow it in, knowing that while uncomfortable… it is ultimately going to lead to better things.

    I honestly think it’s a question of semantics here. No one loves a setback. But our mindsets can be welcomING of them as opposed to being their bitter enemy. I think that’s all people are implying.

  494. Dustin Says:

    I have most certainly been where you are right now. I would have a thought “Oh I’m not doing some task or going out because of my anxiety”. Even if I truly did not want to do it, I would force myself to do these things just to prove to myself that I could. I was so concerned that if I did not fight and disprove all of these negative thoughts, that anxiety would defeat me, and that somehow they would become true. Finally I said to myself “enough is enough. Whether or not these thoughts are true, and no matter how real they seem, I’m just going to keep moving on with my life. Trying to disprove them hasn’t helped at all, so I might as well do what I feel like doing.” Decision making can be truly difficult in the anxiety state. Don’t get me wrong. I this is still one of the hardest things for me. I think we just need to follow our desires and face the obstacles when they come. There is no need to seek them out.
    Just my 2 cents.

  495. Jayneymy Says:

    Hi everyone,
    I would just like to share my ‘light bulb’ moment with you all. After recently reading Paul’s new book I was disappointed to find no Health anxiety chapter, as this is what my gad wirrisome thoughts manifest themselves in. I thought that maybe this book wouldn’t help me as the first had. However, when I read Tims success story I realised that the type of anxiety is not important. A thought is a thought regardless of its focus. I have been following Pauls advice about paying no intention to my health related thoughts and I already feel so much happier! So I just wanted to point out that just because your precise symptom may not have been specifically mentioned, it doesn’t mean this advice will not work for you too.

  496. Fleur Says:

    Belgian, thank you very much for your beautiful post. I think that you know anxiety doubts like “But what if I am different, and really lost feelings 4ever”.

    Yes, you are right, this anxiety has big impact on our lives. That´s why I am afraid that because of anxiety my love will dissapear.

    It is very strange, that before this relationship anxiety I had this year always something. Fear of mental illnesses, depression, I questioned everything in my life. But NOW when I have relationship anxiety, again every fear is gone, it is like if I hadn´t this relationship´s doubts I would be anxiety free and happy. But I realize that it is not working like that. Probably if I hadn´t ROCD now, I would have something else to obsess about. I remember me last year at this time. I was in church on Christmas day and I was thinking that “What if I have a cancer and this new year will be my last”. I didn´t know that time that I have anxiety. BUT 19th of January I found out that I have anxiety. And my fear of cancer changed on fear of mental illness immediately.

    All this relationship worries started because I had 1 thought that What if I don´t like him so much that what if I want other man in my young age. And I feel deep down that my numb feelings are caused by my anxiety. I worry all days that what if my love is gone, and I feel like it is true. Every day I feel bigger and bigger anxiety towards my boyfriend, and less and less love. I don´t want to spend time with him. Because when I´m with him I feel anxiety, big guilt and no love. :-(. But if you understand me I am sure that this feelings are “gone” because of anxiety. I know that. But I am afraid that anxiety destroyed my love feelings forever.

    Thank you Belgian that you think that it is not about question if I love or not love my boyfriend, that you think that it has not changed last months.

    But I want to ask you about acceptance. Should I meet him and tell him words like “I love you” and kiss him when I don´t want to kiss him? I have a big anxiety reaction, almost aversion :-(, when I touch him or something. I am empty. :-( It is the worst thing in my life. I definitely don´t want to leave him, but I am afraid that if these feelings won´t stop, what then!

    Thank you again very much, I appreciate that. Fleur

  497. Andy J Says:

    Hi Guys,

    I was wondering if any one had some advice for me regarding thoughts and obsessions.

    For about 18 months now, I have been obsessed with one particular topic, which began from memories I had when I was younger and whether something had happened that shouldn’t have. This has then spiralled in to doubt over who I am. It has also made me scared that I could be capable of doing something that I shouldn’t. The thoughts used to really have a major impact in terms of abhorrence, but this seems to have reduced over time.

    I guess what I’m saying is, can people change? Could my fears actually turn in to something that I want to do? And if so, why am I so anxious about them? I’m just stuck in a circle day after day of being in fear, which leads on to further anxiety and depression. I try not to avoid, but reading any articles to do with the topic just sets me back in to fearing this. I need something to latch on to as a crumb of comfort. I know we say on here people shouldnt reassure, but I feel like I need reassurance constantly. I’ve tried just getting on with my day but this cycle continues. Life is being taken away from me as I’m just trying to get through each one without any enjoyment and without doing anything wrong.

    I’ve had a load of counselling sessions, but these just havent worked for me. I’ve tried the medication route and that seems to make things worse too. If anything it makes me worse due to the side effects.

    I had anxiety long before this subject of obsession appeared, so the logical answer would be to explain it away as my anxiety. But I am just so scared of who I am now.

    All the best,


  498. Mark r Says:

    Hi Andy,

    I read Jayneys post then realised it’s applicable to yours and my situation. I’m not a great believer in any ‘type’ of anxiety, be it relationship, health, ocd etc I feel that these are labels the medical profession has come up with and their model of anxiety is appalling to say the least.

    My opinion is we get sensitised due to stress, shock, life change etc. When we are in this state our minds do what they are designed to do and look for the reason we feel this way and try and solve it. Now for me this is why people get stuck with the content of their thoughts….some ‘Do I love my partner’, ‘Do I have a brain tumour’ etc. Our mind latches to a worry, deems this the cause of our anxiety so around it goes trying to solve it. Over the years my anxiety has chewed over ‘Do I have brain damage due to drugs?’, ‘Do I love my girlfriend?’, and my current one is ‘When will this setback end?’. I can tell you though as sensitisation had reduced the thoughts disappeared and were actually laughable in the end. I could try and find an answer to how long my setback will last but it won’t change how I feel, sensitisation needs to heal and then I won’t care.

    Try not to buy into the content of your thoughts, even if they are grotesque and believable at the moment. As your rational mind comes back into play (as you desensitise) you’ll realise that they are just a product of an anxious mind. I know how believable they are Andy but thoughts aren’t facts. It’s also very doubtful you’ll act on your fears…..afterall fear is there to stop you doing something not as an impulse. Have you ever worried about being run over and lept in front of a car?

    People may disagree but I think you answered your question in your last paragraph. Just chalk it up to anxiety.

  499. Albert Says:

    Dustin,Carla appreciate your reply
    Unfortunately i had a massive panic last night while out with my son,it really rocked me but i stayed in the situation and although i felt guilty as i didnt “accept ” the feeling and repelled against it i was ok. When i got in all the what ifs started , what if i cant go out, what if i cant look after my kids? So first thing today i took my son out again, had something to eat and guess what ive come back fine !
    So im still a bit confused as doing what i did today helped but i still dont think i should purposely go out of my way to
    prove i can handle difficult situations as it is a “do” and it puts unneccessary pressure on you to succeed
    Any thoughts ?

  500. Doreen Says:

    Completely agree with your recent post Mark. I have said many times on this site that the content of the anxiety isn’t relevant in most cases (obviously if waiting for medical results for instance anybody might be anxious).
    I too am not keen on the dividing up into ‘this anxiety, that anxiety’, words like intrusives for instance. Janeymey said it spot on too

  501. Andy J Says:

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks very much for your reply. It is the nagging doubt which continues to be a massive struggle for me. I’ve always needed certainty in life, and my tolerance towards uncertainty is at an all time low.

    Unfortunately I have started using avoidance as a means of relief. This was supposed to be temporary but has become a huge issue for me. I cant even read articles or watch news items about specific things as it triggers my anxiety and kicks off all of the questioning.

    I never had any of this specific anxiety when I first noticed I had issues, so clearly I should know that this is just anxiety generated. But then the doubt creeps in and ‘have you changed?’, ‘perhaps this isnt anxiety’, ‘what if you did this’ sort of questions kick in.

    I really am at a low ebb, but know that I must continue on and hope things will get better for me.


  502. Jayneymy Says:

    Andy j, although I know how hard it is, see those thoughts as what they are, manifestations of your anxiety trying to play its tricks on you. As Paul says, let the thought in but pay them no respect, and eventually things will get better for you without you even having to try

  503. Belgian Says:


    you said: “But I want to ask you about acceptance. Should I meet him and tell him words like “I love you” and kiss him when I don´t want to kiss him? I have a big anxiety reaction, almost aversion :-(, when I touch him or something. I am empty. :-( It is the worst thing in my life. I definitely don´t want to leave him, but I am afraid that if these feelings won´t stop, what then!”

    It’s very difficult to advise you on this because – of course – I don’t know you or your relationship. But did you consider just talking to him about your feelings, your doubts, your anxiety?

    I will not reiterate the many things already said on acceptance. But the fact that you still ask me what ‘to do’ with it, means that you don’t completely understand it yet.

    Acceptance means the opposite of doing which is not doing. Imagine yourself floating on a river, completely surrendering to the feeling. Not wanting to change it, just be with it. It’s only just a feeling, isn’t it? If you could leave it with that, the feelings would eventually subside. But because you are so afraid of them, you are reproducing the exact same chemicals that are making you anxious.

    Somewhere you already know that all the feelings (read thoughts) you dread are not true. That is why you are fighting them and reaffirming that they aren’t real. Unfortunately, that is why they are so difficult to discard, why they keep coming back. You are so afraid of them. You even say it yourself ‘But I’m afraid these feelings will not stop’.

    So my advice is not a ‘what should you do’, but a ‘what shouldn’t you do’. Stop fighting. See what happens and don’t expect anything. You can’t control feelings so don’t try to. Feel anxious and try not to care too much.

    Your relationship is more – I hope – than defined just by the way you are feeling at any given point. This changes so often, it would never be a good and solid base for any relationship. A relationship is based on the willingness of two people to come and stay together.

    Your anxiety (you yourself) is tricking you in believing that this ‘feeling’ is somehow the prelude of the end of your relationship. Why? Because this is what you are afraid of, not because it is true. That is why you should look at it as anxiety, fear.

    By labeling anxiety as ‘Relationship Anxiety’, hypochondria, OCD you are giving it more power than it deserves. Why? Because in it’s essence it’s nothing more than the result of chemicals in your brain. It’s a warning signal and nothing more than that.

    When you understand this – and this is not an easy task – acceptance will follow naturally and you will have found the door out of your suffering. Take your time to find it. Don’t worry, you have plenty of it! The more you get to practice this new approach, the better you will become in it and the sooner you’ll be able to move with and on.

  504. Debbie Says:

    Hi dos anyone ever feel scared of there mind 24 /7 that your mind just dos not know how do think its a deep scarey place.i have felt this the last week .

  505. markr Says:

    Just a quick question really……

    ……..How do people see those ‘glimpses’ of feeling fine? I’ve been in the mire of a setback for over 2 months now but the last few days I’ve had a few seconds/minutes where I feel okay and the tension and crap drops out.

    Beginning of the end perhaps?

  506. Doreen Says:

    Mark – please don’t see it like that otherwise you might get all anxious waiting for the next glimpse. You are monitoring your feelings far too closely, just go with the flow and don”t even look out for ‘glimpses’.

    See those moments as an indication that underneath there is a ‘you’ who is ok. When you stop longing to reach that place it will be there waiting for you

  507. Jamie Says:

    Hi Mark R

    You mentioned a while back that you enjoy holidays, hobbies and dating, all with the anxiety in tow. How did you / do you find finding with the issues you have ?

    Although I have been on a few dates here and there over the last year or so, I still find the idea terrifying. I am flooded with thoughts of “what if I feel panicky ? what if she notices ? what if I have to leave ? what if she does not want a 2nd date as I am really edgy ?” etc etc.

    I am interested to get someone else’s comments who experiences the same thoughts / feelings.

  508. markr Says:


    I’m not longing for those moments and I’m going with the flow but it’s still important to look for the positives and I enjoy them when they crop up. Just wanted to see someone else’s take on it.

  509. Nolan Says:

    I have to apologize, I see that some have asked a few questions of me. I promise I’ll get around to it either tonight or tomorrow.

    Work has been pretty crazy and very stressful.
    But, the great thing is that this doesn’t impact me like it used to. My reaction to stress at work was one of the sources of the initial fuel supply that eventually lead me to my dark days of anxiety and depression. But, now I just react to the stress of work differently. I might find myself getting geared up, but nothing like it used to be.
    And, I can be in the situation and have no fear (or concern) at all that this will bring my anxiety back.

  510. Nolan Says:

    I do want to reply to this though (I promise I’ll get to the others later):

    Jamie you said:

    “Leading up to spending Xmas Day at my parents with my daughter I did feel pretty anxious (thoughts and feelings) and it took my mind back to 2 years ago (Xmas Day) when my anxiety was at its peak. I spent the whole day anxious beyond belief, stayed over and could not get to sleep I was so anxious ! Anyway, that was then and this is now. Once I was round there, I was fine and I had a good day.”

    Wow…. I could have typed the exact same thing about me and my son over at my wife’s parent’s place for Christmas a few years back.
    Actually got me alittle choked up thinking of the memories of it (choked up in a good sense).

    I live in America… Wisconsin. A couple of days ago I got to dig my drive way out from under all of the snow (twice, in the same night).
    For the most part I like the snow. I always did as a child, and now my son is 3 and I get to see the joy of it all over again.

  511. Anna cj Says:

    I am very confused as to what to do in my situation. I suffered from anxiety on and off in high school. I would go through a period of stress from a test or project and then anxiety would hit me and I would think I’m going crazy! I graduated highschool and felt way more confident and haven’t suffered from anxiety for 3 years! But now just this little while I was put under a lot of stress from Christmas and issues with my boyfriend and just not knowing how to control a sitation and wanting to sort every little issue which now has brought on my anxiety which is freaking me out because I thought once highschool was over it left me and I found Paul’s blog in highschool and it makes a lot of sence to me that you have to accept how you’re feeling but then I look up every thing on here and suddenly I think I have social anxiety, dp and panic attacks? it’s hard when you still have to deal with stuff that is causing you’re anxiety… and I know that I’m not supposed to take medication because recovery is from within but it’s really hard not to when you can’t sleep and your mind won’t turn off.. and everytime I came out of my anxiety in highschool I had to remove a stress in my life and I was on medication which after every time I would get off of? So I just really don’t know how to accept this especially when it’s causing me not to sleep! I just feel like I’ve really learned anything yet :( I’m glad for this blog though it helps to know there is support out there

  512. Jamie Says:

    Thanks for that Nolan.

    I’m encouraged to hear that you see similarities in my life now, bearing in mind where your life is now. That gives me hope so thanks again.

    I’ve returned to work today after 6 days off and returned to my usual worries and tension headache, which has continued into the evening. Yes it’s a bit annoying but I’m a bit less concerned about it than I’d usually be.

    I’m in Kent in the UK by the way.

  513. Dustin Says:

    Wow Nolan, I’m jealous of all the snow you guys got! That huge storm didn’t hit where I live in Michigan. It’s been a pretty green winter. I’m just happy it hasn’t been subzero temperatures like it has been the past couple of years.
    Sorry for the off-topic post, but I hope this next year brings everyone much hope and happiness. Also, happy holidays to you all!!!

  514. Kat Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I’ve tried to post a few times, but for some reason the posts aren’t showing. Thought I’d try again.

    I haven’t posted in ages because I felt I was making progress and didn’t want to keep the habit of monitoring the blog going. I agree that it can be part of the problem if it becomes an obsessive/safety behaviour, and I’m certainly not above obsessions! I had been feeling marked improvement overall, with blips here and there, but I told myself that this is part of the process of recovery and I tried my best to practice acceptance.

    I had anticipated a difficult Christmas season, primarily because it’s the first one since my mother passed, but also because I typically find Christmas to be a stressful period overall. December was better than I had thought, but perhaps due to feeling apprehensive, the past few days have found me in what I assume is a setback.

    My reason for posting is to ask for suggestions as to how to stay the course. I don’t want to revert to despair or to stop believing that recovery is possible, because at times, recovery seems like a dream. Perhaps because I had been feeling positive for a while, the setback feels magnified?

    Any feedback is certainly welcome. And, I wish everyone an early Happy New Year!

    Take care,


  515. Jen Says:

    Kat I read some where not sure if it was here or another anxiety place but I read that set backs might seem worse because of how great you felt before hand I think they Said kind of like when you sick your hand in cold water and then put it in hot water it is going to feel worse. I think it was the dpmanual said something like that. It probably isn’t worse but it feels like it just because you have had great days. You sound like you are doing great. You got this. Another thing I have learned is whatever you put your energy to will bring it to pass. So thr more energy we put towards being positive the more of that will come to pass. I have to keep reminding myself of this all the time

  516. Jen Says:

    Dustin and Nolan,

    I’m from Minnesota and we haven’t had much snow here either like usual. Which I’m okay with that ?

  517. Debbie Says:

    Happy new year to all may it bring happiness and good health

  518. Mo Says:

    Hi Jen you seem to know what you’re talking about. Do you think it’s a bad idea for an anxiety sufferer to be taking prescription stimulant such as Adderall,vyvanse, Ritalin, etc? My doctor prescribed it to me when I was complaing that I wasn’t able to focus but in my heart I know I can do without it and I feel I’m becoming dependent this making me more anxious. I also have a nicotine addiction I know makes me over worry about things. The medication helps because I’m in college but I’m scared my grades will decline if I stop but at the same time I want to be rid of my worry cycle. Please help I feel alone in my battle-yes Battle with anxiety since 2011 and I’m only 22. Ever since May 2014 when I started taking these drugs I’ve become more isolated and became a pill searcher again and don’t feel like myself and have sunk back deeper into the worry cycle I think depersonalizations/derealization can’t really tell since those were worst when I first got anxiety and I just don’t like it at all. Thank you to whomever replies.

  519. Belgian Says:

    People here were talking about ‘labeling’ your anxiety for example as OCD, relationship anxiety, ‘health anxiety (hypochondria), etc…

    The potential problem with this is that by giving your anxiety a quality you risk giving it more substance than it actually has. By doing this, you risk to legitimatize its presence and you will try to seek a solution for a self-created problem.

    Let me explain this to you by giving the example where you define your anxiety as health anxiety. You feel anxious and the main topic of your thoughts is about having cancer. In order to end your suffering, you are trying everything to convince yourself you don’t have cancer. You google every symptom, you go and see your doctor, maybe you will even go as far as having a scan of you whole body. Every step along this way adds stress. Even for a non-anxiety sufferer these are stressful events. So you add stress on stress while searching for a solution to a non-existing problem.

    If you would have appreciated the initial thought ‘I have cancer’ as a stress reaction and not as a ‘magical cancer’ warning signal from your sub consciousness, you would not have gone down the never-ending road of searching to be reassured. Your reaction could have been: ‘Oh, I must be stressed. I should relax and try not being so tensed about being tensed.’

    You see the importance of your attitude towards your thoughts? It makes all the difference. In fact – unless there is true medical cause to be alarmed – you don’t feel anxious about having cancer, but you are afraid of how this thought makes you feel. For example, you can’t really be afraid of elevators. Elevators are not dangerous. You are afraid of the way the elevator makes you feel. You are afraid of your thoughts about the elevator. You are afraid of yourself. You are afraid of being afraid.

    Exposure, acceptance and letting go are all about losing your fear of your fear. That is why Paul says that he started to categorize all his symptoms as ‘anxiety’ and nothing more. The symptoms will still be there, but you create for yourself the opportunity to look at them in a different way. And it’s that new approach, this knowledge that will pull you through and will make recovery inevitable.

    By seeing your symptoms as anxiety and nothing more. By understanding anxiety as stress and nothing more. You take a path towards a new approach and you create solid ground for an introspection that actually can be insightful and helpful.

  520. Sara Says:

    So basically in the space of 3 months: I moved country, moved house, had a huge setback: was put back on SSRIs : this is when I found Paul’s book and and this blog so i soon recovered from the setack and was doing verry verry well.

    …..then I found out i was pregnant so I quit the SSRI cold turkey ( i was sure they were not helping anyway) I was on 20mg of Deroxat

    It had been going “smoothly”, ups and downs but nothing I couldn’t handle

    But since week 9 of my pregnancy everything is going downhill.

    Right now it feels like I can’t get a grip on my thoughts, my “self” feels far and I feel completely disconnected from my own self.

    Its so bad that I can’t even say to myself “this is just anxiety, you’ve handled it before”. you know?

    Its very very hard to explain it feels like I’m just floating and loosing itm I’m sooo detached and this does not feel like Depersonalization. Its different ( I’ve been through dp and got cured from it)

    The mornings are the worst because I wake up with a deep sense of impending doom and everything is scary, I just think of the future and can’t breathe, I’m in FULL BLOWN panic mode 24/7

    Now even when moments of calm hit me I find them scary, its like I can’t even accept them and I don’t enjoy them.

    My thoughts seem far, I seem “far” from myself”…..I’m so so confused. Talking to people feels odd and everything if terrifying.

    I don’t knoz what to dom its like information doesnt sink in anymore

    This is the weirdest state of mind I’ve ever been in.: its hard for me to make decisions

    I don’t eat unless I am forced, this is making me very weak and not helping at all.

    I can’t see my therapist until Sunday so pleaaase can someone just tell me what the heck is wrong with me??????

  521. Jen Says:

    Nolan, I know you have been busy but could you explain the stages you went through? How did you over come the transitional stage? The feeling off or strange like your not quite back to your old self yet or I guess how you over came the off feeling of something isn’t quit right the uneasy stage maybe? I feel like im almost there maybe i need more patience. Maybe more time. Thank you so much.

  522. Amanda Says:

    Following Jen – I feel I could be at a similar stage although I worry I now have depression, I just keep on keeping on.

  523. marco Says:

    Belgian, your explanations are brilliant, good work keep it up. I’ve now recovered from anxiety, thanks to Paul’s book and this blog but I love coming back here now and again to read the excellent advice that you and others give to those who need help. Keep going everyone, acceptance+time=cure

  524. Mark r Says:

    Happy New Year to everyone on here (I know it’s a bit late!).

    Just thought I’d touch base with people on here really as I’ve only posted to help others.

    I’m still dealing with this setback which isn’t nice at all but feel I’m at the tail end of it or at least past the bad times. I’m feeling pretty grim everyday, that hungover feeling, thick dp, little interest and a mind of mud. I’ve made room for it and not ducked out of any Xmas or NY events even though I wanted to run and hide most of the time.
    I know what’s kept helped and hindered in the past so I’ve kept this in mind when dealing with it this time round. I do well at accepting, some may disagree but I’ve kept life going and live as I would if I didn’t have anxiety. Sometimes I fail at this, but accepting this and dusting myself off is something I can be proud of.
    I’m writing this on the back of an arse of a day. I’ve shed a lot of tears of frustration this evening….who wants to feel like this at the start of a new year eh?
    It’s frustrating, it feels like total crap but I have been seeing very brief glimpses of myself and normality and you can’t beat that feeling. Just got to carry on and be a little patient I guess.

    Wonder how Dominic and Emma are doing?

  525. Kat Says:

    Thank you, Jen.

    I made the mistake of reverting to an old habit of searching for relief on the internet, which made me feel worse and has subsequently convinced me that I’ll never recover. I understand that this was the wrong thing to do, and that my apprehension is making things worse, but I guess this goes to show that even though I was feeling better, I hadn’t really learned how to accept what I was feeling. I hope I can change this, but it is definitely the hardest thing for me.

    One thing I would caution others to do is to stay away from other sources of information about anxiety on the web. I encountered a lot of other people who have the same problem and haven’t recovered who will tell you that it isn’t possible to remove anxiety. Paul is proof that it is. I am frustrated with myself for exacerbating my issues by seeking comfort elsewhere.

    I am going to continue to practice accepting. I also want to recover my belief that I’ll ever have control of this issue. I think that’s the thing that is disrupting me the most.

    Take care,


  526. Jen Says:

    Hi mark. I have been reading your posts and I can hear your struggle and how it’s bringing you down through your posts. I have felt like that when I first was dealing with this. I just wanted to give you some encourgment that things don’t stay the same and what do they say the storm will always pass. I know the hardest part is “when”. I think your doing great by still doing everything you would when you didn’t have anxiety. I have done the same I never let it stop me no matter what. You should be really proud of yourself. We all have down days even when we weren’t dealing with this anxiety stuff just remember anxiety just makes it feel so much worse then it really is. Keep telling your self positive things. Remember this will not last forever keep your head up. You got this. I think your s self aware of how your feeling. I was like that too but it’s slowly fading away because the anxiety subject is getting old for me. I keep telling my self 2016 is going to be a great year. It will be a great year for you too.
    Kay. I know what you mean about thinking that you will never recover from this I get this to and I think it’s a normal worry that a lot of people have when they are going through this. I used to google too and boy oh boy I had to stop. I have been practicing accepting too. I have made so much progress however I have this lingering off feeling of unease or just a strange off feeling I have to continue to except this feeling too. I know this is all anxiety because I went to give bloods yesterday to run some tests. I started to panic automatically even though I knew I had nothi to worry about so I just let it be there I thought I was going to faint and had that weird dizzy feeling. However when I left I felt better. My test results where all fine and excellent. So that goes to show me it’s only anxiety and nothing else.

  527. Jen Says:

    I wanted to say that what you are describing about 24/7 panic mode was me a few months ago. I had a bad panic attack and stayed super anxious weird feeling ever since. I had no clue what was happening. I think I experienced dp too for a bit but I had a period where I was so confused and just felt kind of in a daze. It does get better for sure. I think it is hard to realize when your in the thick of it. But what helped me the most I think was reading the past blogs on here. The Ladies named scarlet and candie On the previous posts helped me so much on how they responded and gave advice to people on here. I would read through them, it might help. Just remember this will pass and we all will come out of this stronger. Take care

  528. Anna cj Says:

    I’ve been in a set back for over a week now. It’s really hard to get back to feeling normal and just going about my day when my hands shake and I can’t see very well. I’m a hairdresser so I need to be able to focus! It’s just so hard to deal with anxiety especially when you can’t fall asleep!!! I just am full of worry right now and don’t know what to do! Someone please help :(

  529. Bryan Says:


    The irony is… if we respond properly over a long enough period of time.. It’s impossible NOT to remove anxiety.

    Agree. If we must read about it… Paul, Jim Folk, Claire Weekes… Stick to the basics. All of the info is there that people need.

  530. Kat Says:

    Hi Anna cj,

    Like you, my setback has been ongoing for about a week. I am devastated by it, mainly because I felt like I had made so much progress and now I feel like I have learned nothing. I even said to my partner that maybe I should give in and start taking medication because clearly I lack the understanding to make this problem go away.

    Last night, I was watching “Sherlock”, which I had been looking forward to for ages, and for the first hour I had to endure wave after wave of adrenaline. It was distracting, to say the least. I was upset but I just sat there and took it, think that it would eventually ease and I would feel relief. It did for a bit, but then, at about 5 a.m., I woke up full of it again. All I could think was, “Here we go again!”, and became very sad at the prospect of another prolonged period of suffering. I really don’t want this, and am feeling very defeated.

    Mainly, I’m venting, but I also want you to know that you’re not alone. I hate when I’m like this because I feel like there’s no way out. Others recover, of that I’m sure, but because of how I feel right now, it’s tough to believe I’ll ever be one of them.

    I’m supposed to go out today with my partner and daughter. She asked her friend to come along and I nearly went through the roof! It’s bad enough that I have to force myself to go, but now I have an audience and that only adds to the problem. Now, I feel like a bad mother on top of everything else. I just want to cry, and I’ll be honest, I really don’t like myself right now.

    I think part of the problem is that after two weeks off work, I have to return on Monday and I am feeling very panicky because I am now in “anxiety mode” which makes the idea of going back seem impossible. I had been in a fairly good place the last six months, and now this!

    I think setbacks may be harder than the initial onset of anxiety :(

    As I said, I’m venting. It’s hard to do a “primal scream” in a house full of people and a very attentive dog, so I am doing it here. I hope that you feel better soon, and that maybe one day we can laugh over our war stories.

    Take care,


  531. Anna cj Says:

    Thanks for the response Kat it makes me feel better too, to know that I’m not alone! I want to feel better so badly that I’m basicly willing to do anything! I’ve starting the cycle again of worrying about stuff that doesn’t even matter. My mind races with ” ohh it was my boyfriend that caused this because we were fighting ” even though we are working it out now but it’s just th unknown so now everytime I talk to him I feel anxious! I’ve been taking medication just to sleep but that’s not even doing much now I’m depating on seeing a counceller just to figure out how to deal with the stress of work and my personal life but then I come on here and feel guilty because I know that’s not the answer I’m just so scared this is me forever :( I don’t want things to be like they were in highschool! I hope that you make it through this Kat! You seem like a very nice person and I’m sure a great mother!

  532. Sara Says:

    Hey Jen,

    The worst part for me is that its such a fluctuactinh mood. Its making me go NUTS, i honestly feel like i’m becoming crazy.

    In the morning i’m all hopeless and extremely anxious, then by the evening it calms down and i feel like i’m another person, like i came out of a trance.

    UUURGH am i loosing it???

  533. Mark r Says:

    Sara, Anna, Kat.

    In my opinion its a misconception that even if you accept anxiety 100% that it won’t return. Claire Weekes says that you should be prepared for the return of anxious feelings and panic even after recovery, if you can accept that then you are truly cured.

    A setback can feel devastating and I am still dealing with this one which started in October.

    I know its very difficult but try and keep a level head about things. It’s likely that some stress or memory has triggered those old anxious feelings and thoughts. But whatever it was, it was NOT your fault. You’re sensitised again and it sucks but acceptance is the only way through it

    As Bryan said there are some great articles on setback. Claire Weekes has some good advice in her books. Helen sent me a good reply on 15th November.

    What I would say is let it run its course. Don’t try and force your way past it as you’ll resensitise yourself even more. As I mentioned above I’m still dealing with it and its crap but I need to give it time to run out of steam. It affects me everyday still but I try not to let it get the better of me. Sure I feel like total crap at best but I have a life to lead.

    Just keep in mind you’ve felt good for a while, I did too so these are surface feelings which will pass.


  534. Anna cj Says:

    thanks for the response mark :) im sorry to hear you have been going through this for a few months ! i think thats what scares me the most is to have it keep going ! the longest ive had a bought of it has been 2 weeks and i would come out of it when i would remove some stress from my life that caused it, and before i would just tell myself school is just a small part of my life and that would make me feel better but now im just spinning my tires trying to figure out what caused it and i worry i wont be able to do my job and get fired because today i wasn’t able to focus on my clients hair because of blurred vision and shaky hands and i ended up messing up there hair which is just really not helping my self confidence ! how can i continue to work now ???

  535. Kat Says:

    Thanks, Mark.

    I truly value Helen’s take on things. She was wonderful in her advice when helping me through a different anxiety focus some years ago (I managed to pin the anxiety on my relationship; she comforted me and gave me some sage advice to get through it).

    I found her response to you and will copy it again for those of us dealing with an increase in our symptoms:

    “This might sound a bit strange but setbacks are a good thing. They re-enforce what you are supposed to do (nothing!) and i often felt much better after a setback, like I had peeled another layer of anxiety off. I think calling it a ‘setback’, labelling it makes it bigger than it should be. When you are recovering from anxiety, even when you know things are getting better, you are still on the lookout, watching for it to come back in the hope that you can stop it before it starts. You can wake one day, have a quick check of how you feel and if there is an inkling of old feelings, you tune into it and those old feelings can come flooding back or just happen gradually, however; when this happens, just leave it alone. These periods will get shorter and shorter until you don’t get them anymore. These ‘setbacks’ can be triggered by anything, seeing something on TV, a smell, a place but when they come invite them in knowing that you will learn from them. You aren’t going backwards, you are still going forward with your recovery, it is just that you need some re-enforcement of how to deal with it.

    Smile today knowing that you are getting there, you really are.”

    I especially love what she wrote about feeling better once a setback passes. That gave me a bit of a boost.

    After I posted this morning, I had a long chat with my partner about what I’m feeling, and then I insisted we go out. I even drove, which isn’t my thing on any given day. I wasn’t enthusiastic or especially great company, but I did it, and I didn’t have panic or anxiety while I did it. I’m a bit keyed up now, and know it will probably come again before it leaves for good, but at least I had that.

    I hope everyone else is feeling some relief this evening.

    Thanks again, and take care.


  536. Meg Says:

    Sara – you’re not going nuts the fluctuating mood is something we all experience. Anxiety releases stress hormones into the body which can create a huge list of symptoms (look om anxiety centre for a VERY comprehensive list!). I can go from feeling jittery and full of nervous energy to calm and content by the evening. Other days ill cry and feel fed up and hopeless but it’s all just the body and brain being thrown into complete confusion by anxuety. I’ve just learnt that of I feel a bit jittery and hyper just to stay calm and not add to it, if I want to cry just cry, if I feel tured just take a rest..basically just let it be there as there’s not a lot else we can do! The only way these symptoms will go away is if we stop adding fuel to the fire but it does take time and patience. I still have a lot if days where I’m affected by these symptoms but I also have a lot of days when I’m not. I used to spend everyday being affected by them so I have made a lot of progress – just hang in there and everything will begin to settle down in time :)

  537. Mark r Says:

    Hi Kat,

    She has a brilliant take on the while thing. Sometimes people are so good at writing and leaving you with the hope that things will be okay in the end.

    I know how you feel though, I wasn’t recovered but certainly in a good place so to go from that to feeling square one anxiety over night was a kick in the teeth. I was very bad for around a month with acute symptoms. I’m long past that now but feel the s***ty feelings daily. My body feels sick and weak, constant dp and inward thinking.

    I’ve been to hell and back and it’s certainly tested my resolve. I wanted to give up many a time but just carried on so don’t give in to how you are feeling. Its temporary so carry on living and show your brain you don’t need this overbearing protection anymore.

    They say you come out of setbacks stronger than you go in so keep that in mind. I have too even though the thought of feeling anywhere near okay seems a million miles off at the moment.

  538. Mark r Says:

    In addition to my message to Kat just wondered if anyone can answer this, I did post it initially but didn’t really receive a reply.

    This period of anxiety has been going on for about six years now. I seem to put a load of hard work in, get myself to a good or okay place (not recovered) and then hit a setback. Ive trawled over these blogs in the past but it seems to be that the common timeframe for a setback is a week or few weeks. Mine seem to last a few months then i have a period after that of a few months of getting myself back to a good place again. I don’t want to paint myself as a special case here or anything but I’ve never found anyone else with a similar pattern.

    Would be nice to see if anyone can relate as it’s frustrating to say the least to get myself close to any kind of recovery then get pegged back again. I feel like the donkey chasing the carrot but never actually eating it.

    Cheers in advance.


  539. Colin Says:

    Hi mark
    I think you really need to give up the search for answers mate ?
    That’s what I think is keeping you in the cycle !
    We have all done this in the past , but the only way forward for you is to just stop searching and really try to accepted .
    The reason most likely for setbacks lasting is your not releasing all that energy that goes with the anxiety .i just don’t give a toss if I got a setback as I knew it would go again . It sometimes took longer than other times but always went . They didn’t have the same effect on my life . Example, when I first suffered from anxiety I was totally at a loss , I done all the searching for answers thing and got nowhere . ( apart from Paul’s book 😉 ) then found the for mentioned and strove to take in and do all this , because it seemed I already by myself was realising this is the road . If say I suddenly now did have some anxiety , I will just get on with it put it to one side and usually what works for me is to give it little or no attention. I used to laugh when I got a adrenalin rush from it as it was not as scary as it was way back when I didn’t understand what it was ( hence fear , run , frightened ) now laugh , do as I will , don’t let it stop me don’t question it , STOP SEARCHING !!!
    Let yourself go feel free feel good . Start loving yourself first !!!!

  540. Jamie Says:

    Wise words Colin.

    Mark R – maybe try staying away from the blog for a while or try visiting only every other day for example. Speaking from experience, I find if I read this / post on here several times a day, it did not help me as it is keeping the focus on how I feel and what I should do about it.

    All the best.

  541. markr Says:

    Thanks Colin for the reply,

    I wouldn’t say I was constantly searching though it’s just something I have a nagging feeling about that even when I am ‘okay’ I seem to end up back in a crap place a few years later with no real recovery in between.

    So my question really wasn’t ‘How long will this setback last’ as that’s the proverbial How long is a piece of string. It is more to see if anyone has a similar pattern to me.

  542. markr Says:

    I think people are missing my point. I’m not on here everyday to search for answers or a solution its just an overarching question.

  543. Shawn Says:

    I’m feeling a bit crud now as well, I don’t post on here very often but I’ve had a little wee setback over the last couple of weeks.
    However I think I expected it, as it’s a year since I first had my “breakdown” and I was expecting a few memories to come back, also I was really worried it would go as bad as it did first time and I would need time off work.
    I’m still feeling it now, but chugging on through, I had a great day today, and I’m in work again tomorrow.
    A few friends and family mentioned they feel down at this time of year, they said that they feel drained of energy and lethargic. I think this has a lot to do with the weather (I live in the UK)
    Maybe we feel a little down as anyone would, but it causes the anxiety to flare up? I think sometimes I attribute anxiety to a normal unpleasant feeling.
    I’ve found myself loosing hope a bit, I felt really good for ages, and find myself worrying “what if” but surely anxiety is the “what if disease”
    The thing I tell myself, is if I was doing press ups, and I overloaded myself, and my arms and chest really hurt, I wouldn’t keep on doing press ups to try and make the hurt go away, I’d have a rest, and the same goes for worry, but it’s so hard to stop worrying sometimes.
    The thing I hate are these damn existential/ nihilistic points of view which seem to take over now and again, I tell myself I had it REALLY bad before and got over it, and I’ll do the same.

  544. Colin Says:

    Shawn you will get over it mate. And yes this time of year does play apart in it . Try not to dwell on these thoughts as this only aggravates the anxiety . Just carry on as normal and you will get through this .
    I think that sometimes I need not to be on here . Not because it makes me feel better but because I am busy with my life ! The reason I come on here is I hope and pray people like yourself will be feeling better and if not I try to give a wee word of advice . I think personally that to recover you have to have setbacks . This being that when we all first start to feel better and the anxiety goes , we think that’s it this won’t come back . Then bang like me it returned . God I was in panic mode . Why me again , I can’t do this anymore . But without that setback and all the others I wouldn’t be where I am today !!! And one thing I will not take for granted is that I will never get anxiety again . I most likely will personally I think we can’t ever be cured ! Of anxiety but can recover . Learn to live with it embrace it . It will then not have the same effect on us . Worrying ( shawn ) will only feed your anxiety . Please let it be get on with your life and it will gradually go . Also I found that Deffo eating exercise, no alcohol is a sure fire way on helping with recovery . Try if you like a drink not doing it for a couple of weeks and tell me how you feel after it . Bet you there will be a marked improvement .
    One last word keep the faith in Paul’s way it’s the only real way to recover .
    Good luck to all of you .


  545. Chris Says:

    Hi all. Sorry this isn’t a very positive post but I need your help.

    Basically I’ve been feeling really hopeless the last few days and depressed. My anxiety is purely of the emotional kind – low mood/depression, fear that feels like it’s burning in my stomache/solar phlexus (does anyone experience this?), constantly horrible thoughts on how my life is over etc, accompanied with a strong feeling of despair, and anger/frustration towards how I feel, and how I see the world. This experience has made me very bitter towards life, it’s the most unhumbling thing I’ve ever experienced. I feel like this is more than anxiety and I feel like my experience is different to others. I don’t experience panic attacks at all, or the physical symptoms – except for fear. It’s such a dark experience.

    The driving force behind this is the ‘I messed myself up with recreational drug use’ gremlin. But wait it get’s worse, and this is certainly the WORST PART. A few months ago during my obsessive googling, I read that if I really did mess myself up with drugs, then it’s ONLY GOING TO GET WORSE AS I AGE – due to the aging effects on the brain. Whenever this thought comes to mind, I literally think what’s the point in even trying to live life anymore. I’m not suicidal, but I definitely do not enjoy my life, and I certainly don’t feel optimistic about the future. I really wish I didn’t believe any of this stuff about the drugs, I honestly really wish I didn’t have to believe it. But my stupid mind insists that this is why I am ill. Also, I only really experienced panic attacks before I took recreational drugs, not depression or this lingering anxiety. I get so angry just thinking about the lack of control I have over this.

    It’s probably worth noting as well that I haven’t taken any drugs in about 3 years, except for alcohol now and again.

    I’ll be honest, I want these thoughts and feelings out of my life so badly. They are draining all the good emotions out and I feel like my life is being completely wasted.

    My question is this, how the heck am I meant to accept all of this? I personally believe it’s impossible, because when you are in this state it’s already like you’re in a state of non-acceptance. Maybe I need to focus on exercising and meditating more.

    Also I guess I’m just looking for some words of support/reassurance. Sorry this is negative, I just needed to put it into words and reach out for help. Thanks everyone.

  546. Chris Says:

    Also, I’m sorry if my above post scares anyone who has similar worries to me, I really hope it doesn’t. If it isn’t allowed on here I will understand if it gets deleted, I just feel it’s something that really holds me back from recovering.

  547. ken Says:

    Does anybody have any advice on what to say to my parents. They are very unsupportive and more of a hinderence on me. But i dont know why but my mom makes my anxiety so much worse because what ever issues im dealing with she say im doing this wrong, or im not telling my therapist everything, or constantly in my business. But it doesnt help and she continues to try and ask me whats wrong or whats the matter but she enslds up making things so much worse. I have told her to leave me alone but she then says that i live in her hous. I dont know what to do.

  548. Sara Says:

    Thanks Mark r, Meg :)

    Have I mentioned I’m pregnant??

    I’m in such a state really, utterly confused. At one point i was completely dissociated and nothing could get through my head, its like no thought was getting absorbed it just flew right past my head.

    Whatever anyone said I coudlnt beleive, it was totally bizarre. I was trembling and pacing and I coudlnt even tell myself “this is just anxiety” its like nothing was sinking in.

    Aside from the crippling anxiety I don’t enjoy the moments of peace anymore….they’re a source of stress and for some BIZARRE reason. Its like whenever i feel good I start to get anxious and i almost cant accept

    Have I mentioned I’m pregnant?

  549. Sara Says:

    Also one thing that TERRIFIES me:

    I can’t make decisions anymore. I’m soo detached that I can’t even convince myself to do things.

    Couple that with the fact that I’m nervous whenever i get moments of peace and you have a TOTAL WRECK

    please please please someone tell me what the heck is going on??

  550. Chris Says:

    Hi Sara.

    Sorry I’m not in much of a better state myself, but just wanted to let you know that I can fully relate to everything you’re saying and want to assure you that it is anxiety. I’m the same in a moment of peace, it still feels weird and it’s hard to explain.

  551. honey Says:

    colin I thought you were fully recovered? Do you feel that we can only aim for living alongside anxiety? That it never completely leaves us? I understand that anxiety is natural and normal but anxiety disorder is not is it? Are you sayin that we cannot hope to reach a stage where we will no longer relapse? I’m willing to go through a number of setbacks to reach a point of no return but it’s hard during setback to accept that although this might pass it will be back so what’s the point?

    Sara I’ve been through two pregnancies whilst having anxiety, and I just wanted you to know that I got through both of them despite havin dreadful anxiety at times throughout the pregnancy. I understand what ou say about the moments of peace. They are almost depression because you know that it will be back. So this makes them less enjoyable. Anxiety is a very dark place at times Chris I’ve just come out of a bad setback which is just fading with a bit of morning anxiety. I tried my best to accept and float and be PATIENT which is HARD! And it does lift. Things that help are not googling at all and re reading the books I have to reinforce hope and the message. Scrawling through for recovery stories also helps but only as a temporary relief. The real work comes from within.

  552. Karen Says:

    Hi I haven’t been on for ages. I took advice and left the blog for a break. It’s been mixed. Had a couple of brilliant, better than ever weeks. Then another bereavement and it’s rocketed my anxiety again.
    I have a question about anticipatory anxiety. For me my most feared symptom has always been the scary intrusive thoughts. so …. when I am going out of my comfort zone and anticipating my brain puts lots of those scary intrusive thoughts there. Is that because it’s trying to stop me doing it and it knows they will work best. Like somebody else’s worst symptom is panic attacks so it puts fear of that happening there.
    In which case is the answer still the same. Ignore the intrusives no matter how real they feel and carry on. Really there is no threat? I would really appreciate an answer to this. Hoping other people experience this too.

  553. Sara Says:

    Really Chris?? even the detachment?

    God i’m real real stressed :(

    I can’t even get the courage to do this anymore, or to write and read on this blog!!!!

  554. Fleur Says:

    Belgian, I´m sorry for late respond. Thank you for explaining acceptance. I really appreciate it.

    But accepting is definitely not easy, when I have a fear. Yesterday we had some intimacy and after that feeling like I was disgusted with my partner. Like I wasn´t attracted to him at all and every touch was dread. Then I told him about my feelings. The truth is that I talk with him about my real feelings every day, I am honest to him and he is big support, He touched my hand and told me that he feels that I love him, that He knows that it will be better.
    I feel these horrible feelings (dread, aversion) and I hate it. So I have an aversion toward him and in the same second I am sad and scared why I feel it. I don´t want to feel it. It is vicous turmoil.
    Now I am home alone, and I am crying.. I feel despair. I know that it is anxiety. Because I feel the same pattern like (depression fear, cancer fear, schizophrenia fear).
    I have a feeling that if I hadn´t this I would be normal. It is funny that nothing else scares me now. When I think about depression I smile and thinking that I would be better have another fear than this. But when I had depression fear it was the worst thoughts like „this is over.“

    The problem with acceptance is that I don´t understand this type of anxiety. I understand that anxiety can cause physical symptoms, like nausea… I understand fear. But I don´t understand how can anxiety cause aversion toward partner. Everything was perfect in my relationship and one day aversion.
    I don´t get it. Do you think that this aversion is from one thought? I have a feeling that maybe my brain is protects me from boyfriend. Because brain thinks that it is source of danger.
    How can this be real, it must be anxiety because in long period of my relationship I never had these feelings of aversion. We don´t have any problems!!! We have the same values, same dreams, I was always physically attracted to him, he is everything what I wanted from the man. We were laughing all the time. So that´s why I am so afraid of these feelings. If my anxiety will cause breakup It will be the same pattern with every relationship. It must be because it is not about HIM. It is about ME.

    My boyfriend is supportive, great and he wants to help me. Of course he doesn´t understand anxiety. He was very wondering yesterday because I was crying and told him: „I don´t want to lose you, I am afraid that I will leave you, I can´t feel anything only dread and some kind of aversion.“ He said to me that it is easy, when I don´t want to leave him, that it means that I love him and I won´t leave him. That how can I be afraid. Because he see nothing to be afraid of. But he doesn´t know anxiety.
    The worst is that I read old posts here from some women with this problems. And for example I love posts from Kat and Helen. They recovered from ROCD. But I found other posts from others people as: one girl wrote this same problem – relationship anxiety maybe in 2011 and then I found post from her in 2013 that she broke up with him, because she couldn´t cope with anxiety, and then she felt terrible and guilt. But didn´t reunite with him. Bad end. And I am afraid that it is possible, never recover from these fear of relationship. I am afraid that only option is to broke up because anxiety never leaves.

  555. Albert Says:

    i have a nagging question i could really do with answering

    In pauls book it says however anxious you feel live your life as if you dont have anxiety, so go everywhere, do everything etc

    My situation is im a single dad of 2 boys aged 9 and 6.As you can imagine it can be very stressful bringing up 2 boys on my own (i also run a small business as well from home) ive suffered anxiety issues on and off for a number of years and since by boys mother decided to leave for another man a week before christmas last year, i have been finding it quite tough (although i feel ive done ok considering)

    My question is should i still do everything as if i dont have anxiety.Ie: im thinking of taking the boys abroad for a holiday (even though im terrified of the thought), should i take them to Alton towers on my own etc etc etc ? Or would a “normal” guy in my situation have second thoughts about doing these things on his own?or should i gradualy expose to the situations ie: ask for a bit of help , ??

    I have taken them places, done things in the past year, took them away on holiday in england with my parents help etc

    I dont know whether im subconsciously looking for an excuse to get out of doing these things ? and i dont know whether i should just do them and if i get anxious so what ?

    My underlying fear is what if i get panicky /anxious when im with my boys and im the only person there to look after them . Or should i take the mind set of so what if i do panic when im the only adult with them, so what it may not be nice but nothing can happen ?

    Any help would be appreciated

  556. Colin Says:

    Hi Albert
    Yes live your life as normal .
    If your thinking of Alton Towers there’s a lovely place called quarry walk . They have log cabins with hot tubs !!! 10 minutes from the park . Superb location and I personally think it would help you with your anxiety … Don’t stop doing your normal things mate . Stay positive !!!

  557. Belgian Says:


    The way you write clearly indicates that you are very emotional at the moment. It is also clear to me that you are suffering from anxiety.

    But re-read my post on ‘labeling’ anxiety which you can find a little bit higher. I have posted in other topics also some posts on anxiety with a focus on relationship which clarifies why relationships are easy targets for anxiety.

    I could say to you many things that would comfort you. For example: that you do love your boyfriend, that you don’t have to break up with him. That I totally get the way you are trying to reason with yourself, because I once did the same (‘But I DO love him!) and…. those arguments would all be true. :)


    They will not fundamentally help you! Because you would still not have had the experience of losing your fear of the feelings you dislike, hate and fear by accepting them. That is the key, the road to follow. Open yourself up for these feelings of anxiety. Don’t try to ‘understand’ relationship anxiety, try to understand ANXIETY. It’s only a physical feeling and you are only in such a bad shape because you are building your life with it.

    In the mean time, try to build your life with everything else it has to offer.

    In your post I already read two extremely positive things from which to go from:

    1) You have found and – most importantly- CHOSEN an understanding partner. Celebrate this!

    2) You already have the experience of a fearful thought which are not creating a fear reaction.

    The latter is the most important. You say that you smile at those old thoughts. But.. they have completely stayed unchanged! Also your situation did not change. So what did really change, Fleur? What did really change other than your own reaction to these thoughts?

    There is your key again. We have to learn a new reaction to our anxiety and not to our thoughts that accompany it. Don’t go into battle with yourself on the question whether or not your anxiety is telling you “the truth”. Instead, embrace your fear reactions. They can’t hurt you. Embrace them by accepting them.

    You are a smart woman and perfectly on track with coping with all of this. Just take the time to do this and be kind to yourself.

  558. Andy J Says:

    Hi Belgian,

    That is a really good post.

    I have a question however. What would you say is the difference between accepting your thoughts and actually believing them? Do you have to actually say to yourself, ‘this is an anxious thought and I know it is not me’?

    Sometimes these things feel so real. I really struggle. And the longer it goes on, the more ingrained it becomes. Particularly when alone or when trying to concentrate on something specific.



  559. Anna Cj Says:

    is anyone else here losing a lot of sleep ??? because i haven’t slept for 3 days ! its just constant worry, and I’m so scared that i can’t do my job ! i have to cut peoples hair cut i can’t think of anything but my anxiety :( and i try talking to my family but they don’t really understand.

  560. Michelle Says:

    I left a reply, Anna, but it didn’t post for some reason. Forgive is 2 similar posts show up.

    Anna, that is my worst symptom.. Insomnia. I have been battling it for about 3 months now. Most nights I get 1-3 hours of sleep. A handful of times I have gotten up to 5 off and on, and several times not even a minute.

    Nolan gave me advice about this a while back. He said to just not care whether you sleep or not, don’t let it bother you. Just lay there and let it be what it is. Sometimes I’m successful at remaining call all night long, but other times I have a meltdown and cry my eyes out due to frustration.

    I have an appointment with my doctor this Thursday to talk about possibly giving me something to help me sleep, but am really, really trying not to go that route, as I’m afraid of medications because many times I get a paradoxical effect that makes everything worse. And I don’t want to do anything at all to jeopardize my recovery. I have an appointment with my anxiety coach on Wednesday, so I will see what he says about it.

    I will have great days where my anxiety is very minimal, but when I go to bed at night, even though I’m not anxious or worried, I still can’t sleep. Even the nights I’m super calm during being awake all night. I’m afraid that I will never get a good night’s sleep regularly again.

    I will be watching here for advice for us! I wish I had some to give you! Good luck with yours— I feel your pain.

  561. Michelle Says:

    And please forgive all my typos. I don’t usually use my iPad for posting, and it’s autocorrecting everything wrong.

  562. Ian Says:


    Sleep can sometimes be a problem for me.
    The less sleep I get the more anxious I get, the more anxious I get the less sleep I get and the cycle goes round & round.
    Over the last couple of weeks(the Xmas break) I’ve slept pretty rubbish some nights, waking up about 3 in the morning.
    This time I tried something different and What I found worked for me was when I woke up with the knowing thought I’m not getting back to sleep is to read a book, mainly Paul’s first book.
    This reminded me that my thoughts was just my mind playing tricks on me, this in turn had calming effect on me and more than not allowed me to get back to sleep.

  563. Belgian Says:


    the difference between accepting and’ telling yourself that your anxious thoughts are not true’ is clear if you really understand the meaning of acceptance.

    In case you are expecting a manual for you to truly accept, I must disappoint you. I don’t think there is one. Acceptance is something that has to be experienced. Again and again. But let me first tell you what accepting certainly not is.

    Acceptance is NOT all the things you are DOing. You say yourself you’re struggling. That is because you can’t accept the presence of these thoughts. Or – and this is key – I should really say the sensations these thoughts are causing within you. How could you, if you are constantly saying to yourself that these thoughts are not true?

    It’s perfectly normal that ‘accepting’ seems easier when you are not alone. At those times you are not 100% focused on your anxiety so it does not feel so overwhelming. This is good. It gives your mind a little break.

    So what is true acceptance then? Well, there is no manual just as I said. If you have read Paul’s book and/or Claire Weekes’ book, you probably know already everything that one could say about it.

    But just try acceptance when you are really alone. Just surrender to these feelings by not wanting to change them. By letting yourself go. By finding peace in the midst of them. When it’s too overwhelming, just try to ‘float’ right towards and through them.

    I know these words sound more ‘poetic’ than technical. We are not used to them anymore. We always like to think that there is a practical solution for all our problems. Preferably one that can be bought. For your anxiety, I don’t believe such a thing exists…

    What anxiety demands is that you ‘nourish’ your mind as it is the mind that is causing all this anxiety. And what your mind needs now, is rest. It does not want you to keep contradicting it. It just wants some kind of peace which you yourself can’t offer it by DOing something.

    It wants you to stop DOing as it this DOing that is making you anxious. Accept your anxious feelings and thoughts and IN TIME you will get better.

    Good luck!

  564. carla Says:

    Arrgh, Andy, I left you a very long reply but it just didn’t appear for some reason – frustrating, I can’t face writing it all again!

    But the gist of it was that there’s nothing wrong with reassuring yourself (Claire Weekes used to invest HUGE amounts of time reassuring her patients in the form of consultations, evidence gathering and tape recordings). It’s just that high sensitisation can often overpower these reassurances so that they don’t always feel effective. She explained that it’s GOOD for patients to feel reassured but that they will often struggle to do this on their own (I’ve certainly experienced this)

    Similarly I would say there’s nothing wrong with practising that accepting attitude on your own but, again, sensitisation can make it feel very difficult. We should expect this to be case and not beat ourselves up over this.

    Claire Weekes talks a lot about this. She describes the process as glimpsing. Glimpsing that all the sticky, repetitive, inward, scary thoughts are all just harmless manifestations of anxiety. She explains that these glimpses are often fleeting and easily lost at first because tension and sensitisation continue to cloud perspective.

    She explains that we should expect this to be the case – it’s extremely rare for people to be able to hear the explanations, step back and be able to watch it all happening with perfect peace immediately.

    She tells how the vast majority of her patients took a long time to finally feel that these thoughts no longer mattered. She also said that finding a wise counsellor, talking to friends, finding interesting occupation and getting outside and exercising physically are all helpful in assisting with this attitude shift.

    It’s a common-sense, long-term holistic approach really – one that let’s you practise, lets you fail, lets you get help and also help yourself.

    I hope this helps a little, I wrote loads more before!

    Carla x

  565. Andy J Says:

    Belgian and Carla,

    Thanks very much for your responses.

    I think I have a lot of ongoing issues, both in the form of thoughts and also more general anxiety and depression. I’m some one who works in IT, so logical paths are what come naturally to me. Do something x way and you will get result y. However, with anxiety, there is no structured way of doing things. There is no perfect combination.

    I would like to think I have put most of the things mentioned by both of you, Paul and Claire Weekes in to practice. I haven’t had one single day off work, though I wonder how sometimes. I still go out regularly with friends, exercise a couple of times a week etc. However, all of these are done with anxiety gnawing away at me. Any small glimpse of hope is usually swallowed up by anxiety and the intrusive thoughts pretty quickly.

    I guess I am struggling to have faith that I will get better. This has been going on for so long. I could take the health anxiety which started in 2006, as it always felt that there was some way of getting better, i.e. I think I might have cancer, then finding out I didn’t have cancer would mean I no longer worried about it. (before another ailment set me off again).

    I just still struggle so much to logically think that this is all driven by anxiety. I know it should do, but combined with the utter detest I have for the way I feel, its literally living day by day. I cant get excited or enjoy anything because I know that the next day will be filled with all of the exact same issues again. Its as though I’m hoping for some kind of miracle, which I know wont happen obviously.

    I’ve had all my therapy sessions I’m permitted and medication has done absolutely nothing for me, in fact its probably made me worse.

    Thanks again for your responses.

  566. Sara Says:

    So now I am afraid of “postivie thoughts”…. seriously that was the only thing that could save me!

    I just feel uneasy thinking them like “yeah right like that’s gonna happen”. I don’t actually get any intrusive thoughts like this but i just CANT think positive, it’s like im stopping myself from thinking positivaly.

    They used to be my only ray of hope but now I find myself incapable of “letting go” and think positive…

    This has gone on for nearly 2 weeks :(

    This is worrying me a lot

  567. Dominic Says:

    Hi Guys
    Happy New year to you all.
    Michelle I know exactly what you mean about the sleep issues. I worried about sleep even when I slept well. It’s only when I changed my attitude about it did it really changed.
    Apart from a nasty setback in September, I’ve been pretty much recovered. Does recovered mean I sleep well every night?No, it means I no longer care if I do or not. I recently had a couple of nights of terrible sleep. One night awake all night. I had so much adrenaline going through me that I contemplated going for a run. The second night I got three hours. But following this massive release of adrenaline was followed by a week of pure peace.
    Instead of worrying that Christmas was going to be spent tired, anxious and miserable, I just thought ‘so what’ and had a great Xmas and new year.
    My point is that you are going to have this release whether it be in the day or at night. I was blessed to have both ?. What can you really do about it but say ‘ so what I’ll be tired but I’ll still cope’.
    Whereas before I would cancel all plans, be miserable, start searching…. This time I just carried on as normal and sleep found me again.
    I have this attitude with all aspects and symptoms of anxiety. If I can’t sleep I’ll do something else. Etc
    Mark R
    It does seem to me that you really haven’t accepted the way you feel and I know you probably don’t want to hear this but it’s what’s keeping you stuck. You seem to be on here everyday answering other people’s questions as some sort of self therapy. You then talk about being in tears and asking questions about yourself.
    Please don’t take this the wrong way and I totally understand how you feel but to stop feeling sorry for yourself is the first start. Secondly coming away from the blog is a good thing to do. You are staying in the loop.
    I pop on here every so often and I see you post all the time.
    How about not caring about how you feel or how long this setback is lasting. it’s just adrenaline and it will pass if you leave it alone.
    I’m saying this to help you as I know how hard it can be. I still have the symptoms every now and again. They haven’t left yet, but I don’t care. I’ve got a life to live outside of how I feel. When it’s gone great, for now ‘ so what’.

  568. Colin Says:

    Hi guys
    I have just found a superb app that I think would benefit a lot of people on here !
    The app is called mind pilot !
    It’s got everything from mindfulness to helping with sleep .
    They have a free trial which I just listened too , and it’s so good especially as we are talking about sleeplessness! Give a go see what you think :)


  569. Debbie Says:

    Hi i have been getting panic from feelings of dejavu its a creepy feeling and messes my mind up all day has anyone ever had this ?

  570. CB Says:


    I’m trying so hard at the moment, and that’s probably half the problem. I’ve read the 2nd book and think it makes so much sense. However my problem is that ice read some if the above reply posts above and the content has freaked me out a bit! How silly! I am currently taking Sertraline which I’ve been on for a couple of years and I’ve recently started Bio-identical Hormones which my consultant said was my answer and that I shouldn’t be on Sertraline ! For now I am continuing. The progesterone therapy is really throwing e off kilter. I have OCD and whilst I’m managing the intrusive thoughts I’m now convinced I’ve got DP! What a mess. Feeling very low today. I’m trying to let it all wash over me and accept that the HRT will make me feel dodgy for a while but I am just struggling with how long it’s all taking. I have a young family and I have to keep going.

    Any advice?

  571. CB Says:

    Andy – we could be twins!

  572. honey Says:

    Debbie I think this is what I have quite a lot. It’s hard to describe it but it feels very strange. I think it’s just another symptom to place under the umbrella of anxiety. It can feel really overwhelming though can’t it. Just remember each time that it’s just anxiety and it can’t get much worse than it alreadyis

  573. Debbie Says:

    Thanks honey i never really heard anyone having it not to say iam glad you have it. You are right it feels strange thats my biggest fear once i got it this morning it played with my mind . Like iam ttying to figure something out. What i dont now but like uou said part of the umbrella of anxiety.

  574. Michelle Says:

    Dominic, did you ever consider taking something to help you sleep? I don’t think I can do this much longer. I used to be calm and take each night as it came, but lately all I think about all day is sleep. I can’t stand to even see the dogs sleeping. I don’t know how to get through it anymore.

  575. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Michelle, as Dominic already said, you have to change your attitude towards sleep. Right now you are probably thinking that’s impossible. You might be thinking you’ll never sleep “normally” again, or you’ll never be able to stop thinking about sleep. Those are typical thoughts to have when you’re in the thick of it. But take it from all of the people who have been where you are: it will pass. In the meantime every day is an opportunity to change your attitude. Some days you’ll be able to easily say “oh well, I didn’t sleep much, on with my day!”; other days you’ll find yourself frustrated and discouraged. That’s ok. It’s all part of the process.

    As far as taking something to help you sleep, I think that’s up to you. I will say though that the more you try to “fix” your sleeping issues, the more likely you’ll obsess. You might set up expectations and then find yourself discouraged if those expectations aren’t met. The goal is to let go of all expectations. If you sleep, then you sleep. If you don’t, then you don’t. Personally I think the best things you can do for yourself are to set up a sleeping/waking schedule and stick to it regardless of how the night goes. And also exercise if you’re not already doing so. These are healthy habits for anyone.

    This too shall pass!!

  576. Michelle Brown Says:

    I appreciate the reply, Stephanie– thank you. I think without sleep I have a harder time accepting because my mind and body are so tired. Just feels like a vicious circle that I can’t break: Can’t sleep so I can’t accept. If I can’t accept, I can’t sleep. I hope to figure it out. I know the answer is simple, I just haven’t been able to put it into practice. I worry that I am messing my circadian rhythm up to where it will be irreparable. Yep, just another worry anxiety is throwing my way and I fall for it.

  577. Michelle Brown Says:

    I appreciate the reply, Stephanie– thank you. I think without sleep I have a harder time accepting because my mind and body are so tired. Just feels like a vicious circle that I can’t break: Can’t sleep so I can’t accept. If I can’t accept, I can’t sleep. I hope to figure it out. I know the answer is simple, I just haven’t been able to put it into practice. I worry that I am messing my circadian rhythm up to where it will be irreparable. Yep, just another worry anxiety is throwing my way and I fall for it.

  578. Anna cj Says:


    Thank you very much for you response! It’s nice to know that I’m not alone with the insomnia! How ever I did manage to sleep lastnight! I did end up taking a sleep aid which probably isn’t the best approach but also too I reallised that the reason I was so anxious was because of my issues with my boyfriend, it was like my subconscious was telling me something just wasn’t right and once I came to that realization sleep came a lot easier! Idk if this helps you at all but just know there is hope!!!

  579. Sara Says:

    Hey all,

    I know i keep posting but I’ve never been this bad. Information doesn’t sink in anymore. I’ve practically learnt Claire Weekes and Paul David’s books by heart so re-reading is doing nothing for me now.

    After nearly a month of acute anxiety now I’m in that depletion phase, but still with lots and lots of panic ALL day.

    Its so bad that whenever i get a positive thought I’m terrified and I can’t enjoy it because the anxiety creeps back up. Just trying to imagine anything positive is hard because then I’m aware of my anxiety.

    I’m pregnant and have such terrible intrusive thoughts about the baby. I am SURE now that I’ll be like this when it’s born, like this forever.

    Odd thing is I sleep very well.

    I’m just prefer not to engage in anything because it just creeps up a state of uneasiness in me.


  580. Rich Says:

    Hi Sara, I’ve noticed you posting a lot and your descent into bewilderment isn’t fun to read as it sounds like you’re not having a particularly great time right now.

    I’m not going to post any help or advice because you have read all you need. I can’t offer anything new or revalationary to you.

    It sounds like you’ve worried yourself so far down into the panic pit that you’ve lost all comprehension of normality and reasoning.

    If you’ve read claire weeke’s book, why not just use her technique and just float along while your mind is going crazy? What do you do to relax? Why are you giving your thoughts and feelings so much attention when you know you’re in an anxious state? This is all basic stuff – which from your first posts I know you know. You just have to be kind to yourself and go back to basics for a while – and give yourself a break.

    I can imagine the amount of work and pressure your’re putting on your tired mind right now. Maybe take your foot off the gas a little and see what happens – in time.

  581. honey Says:

    Sara I agree with Rich but I remember feeling as bad as you do several weeks ago and in the end I got so exhausted with it all that all I could do was just give up the fight and float through it, saying to myself that if I go mad so what the fighting and constantly battering my mind with this is not helping at all and is making it worse. The good periods started to come and now I’m still a little anxious but the main awfulness has gone. This method really is the way forward. Now during peak anxiety I say to myself it’s just anxiety or a memory of anxiety. It cannot hurt me it just feels awful. It will pass. It always does at some stage and let the bad feelings in as much as you can. You will notice that they stop having so much force after a while and eventually I got bored of the thoughts and paid less attention.

  582. Rik Says:

    Hi all. I don’t think I have posted before but I am currently in the middle of a very big setback. I had severe anxiety about 9 years ago and made a full recovery using Pauls book alone.

    It was only at the end of last year after pushing myself too hard for too long running my own business and enduring a failing marriage that the wheels finally came off and I found myself back in the cycle only this time with severe intrusive harm thoughts. With the help of Pauls method and CBT with the NHS I made a good recovery again only to fall foul again this December. I can see why it happened as I had still not dealt with the marriage issues and so the stress was still constant plus bad lifestyle habits such as late nights and poor diet. I again began to have intrusive thoughts only this time after a few weeks they changed to intrusive depressive thoughts as that was what I had become scared of. Can anyone relate to this at all?

    I am due to start CBT again soon which is good as I find it does help to have support during the acute phase of the anxiety and to build that trust back in your own thoughts. Once the symptoms calm a little I find that rational part of the mind slowly but surely emerges again and I can fully accept etc. Hope everyone is doing well or as well as they can.


  583. honey Says:

    Sara I also got a lot worse half way through the pregnancy. My midwife referred me to a psychotherapist and talking it through really helped. It gave me hope when I had none. After my son was born the anxiety was gone. It was the best I’ve ever been. I just snapped out of it following the acceptance approach. It reared its head again during the next pregnancy. That was because I was so afraid I wouldn’t cope with two littleones so close together. I did cope and function and still am despite feeling awful occasionally and having a recent setback. The apprehension is always so much worse and it’s never as bad as you think. Just make sure you have a support network, eg midwife, psychologist if necessary and family. I know how scary this is but doesn’t this prove how we really are what we think? What if I don’t cope with my baby? You WILL. You will just get on with it when baby is your main focus trust me xx

  584. Sara Says:

    Yes Rich maybe i have lost all reasoning after all. I can’t let go and that is extremely frightning. Sorry if my bewilderemnt was too much to read, i wouldn’t have posted if I could just read and float through things….I’m just terrified that I can’t allow myself to be positive……enough of the rambling though.

    Honey, thank you for writing, I’m just gonna trust you on this one and let time do it’s thing.

    I’m gonna stop writing on here unless it’s more of a postive note. It is maybe selfish to put so much negativity here.

    I’m praying things get better….THANK YOU ALL.

  585. honey Says:

    No your bewilderment did not upset anyone so don’t worry about that. This blog is to offer support. I understand where you are please don’t feel that people don’t want you to post here I guess it’s just reiterating advice to help you understand it because when you’re in the thick of it, it is really hard to think straight. Have you tried letting it all flood you just for a minute here and there. Small steps? I didn’t realise how hard I was fighting against it until I let it do its worst and asked for more anxiety. It kind of unmasks it a bit. These changes don’t just happen immediately and I think the common theme is to panic when you have anxiety free moments and then it comes back because you think it’s just never going to go. Have you looked on youtube for Claire week’s video? It’s about an hour long and it is easier to digest than the books are when you’re feeling really exhausted and unable to absorb information. Helped me a lot. xx

  586. Rich Says:

    Hi Sara, You’ve misunderstood my comments about your post being difficult to read – I meant that for someone like me and others on here who can see the mistakes you’re making, it’s hard to see you making them instead of standing aside to allow your recovery to take over.

    Writing about the negative just reinforces it into your head. I totally agree with Honey – just stop fighting it. For some people it is necessary to hit the bottom before you can stop – and while you stand idle and let it in – come what may – and let it totally absorb you, this is when you can look up and see the glimmer of light – and you have your revelation and how to deal with this clicks into place.

    Apply whichever metaphor you like – you’re fighting the fire by pouring petrol on it, you’re underwater but you’re holding onto the seabed etc – whatever you like – unless you stop fighting it’ll just go on and on.

    Stop reading, writing and worrying (as much as you can). Only when you lay down the gloves and open yourself up to be overwhelmed will you get the relief you’re searching for.

    So what to do? Welcome it – adopt a ‘bring it on’ and ‘do your worst’ attitude. Stop being so negative and be positive and adopt a ‘so what’ ‘is that the worst you can do’ attitude.

    Like so many have said before, you can’t think yourself better – so you may as well put all your free time to better use and give your mind a break – so it can do what it does best without you getting in its way!!

  587. Stephanie Says:

    Michelle, you’re right, it’s hard to “get it” when you’re in the midst of it. But every day that put into practice an “oh well, so what” attitude is another step in the right direction. Let all of the thoughts and doubts come (and they will!) – but keep moving forward. Trust the process. One day that fog will lift. Last year at this time I couldn’t have imagined myself ever being able sleep in again. Now more days than not I find myself hitting the snooze button on my alarm :)

  588. Sara Says:

    Hi guys :)

    I think my posts are being misinterpreted a little too (though reading back on them i get why)

    You can maybe even see from a prior post that i really had the attitude going and i was having moments of peace and it felt beautiful too :)

    A little releif after a crappy day really made everything worth it and i was even tempted to write a recovery story!!!

    What came after was what i beleive (because of advice and some extra research) to be acute anxiety.

    Now i am left in this weird state that i don’t understand, neither from reading, relaxing or advice so far.

    It’s a phase where i cringe at feeling good, it scares me. I avoid things sometimes in order to avoid the panic….this avoidance soon turned into a habit and now I can’t even “pretend” or “imagine” anything positive.
    It goes the same for everything I say or do

    Usually when I am depressed or “depleted” as Claire Weeke put it I know it will pass as it’s only a result of very very sensitized and tired nerves.

    I cry when i need and i don’t force myself to think happy if I can’t, you see as I know it’s a matter of time.

    This time something feels different….I cant quite put my finger on it.

    I am stil getting out of bed (very very hard due to the deep sense of panic and doom in the morning) and I still try to make an effort despite everything in me that’s telling me “NO”. I feel uneasy with everything and uneasy with myself especially.

    Good night, you have been kind….I hope I find the answer to this or that someone can relate somehow.

  589. Michelle Says:

    Stephanie, how long did you have insomnia? Seems I can ignore everything but sleep. In fact my days are fairly good these days. Nights haven’t changed a bit.

  590. Debbie Says:

    Sara i hope u feel better you are in my prayers i know those creepy weird feelings and dsrk places i feel strange and everything else .

  591. Stephanie Says:

    Michelle, my insomnia had various forms. At my worst I had some nights where I barely got any sleep. That’s when, like you, I was agonizing over sleep. Then I started just waking up really early in the morning and not being able to go back to sleep. That lasted for months. I eventually got to the point where I just stopped caring. I started to realize that life goes on, so I might as well make the most of it, regardless of how much sleep I was getting. Yeah, obviously I felt better when I was getting good sleep, but oh well right?

  592. Rik Says:

    Hi all,

    I was just curious to see if any of you get really bizarre and off the wall thoughts as part of your anxiety. When my anxiety is really high it is like my mind is going crazy and coming up with the most random ideas and thoughts and fears. As I am so tuned into my thoughts at the moment I pick them up and then if they are strange I will get a bit scared of them thinking I am going to go mad or something.

  593. Colin Says:

    They are only thoughts mate !
    Let them be and stop letting them bother you.
    There’s an app called mind pilot !!!
    Try it mate .


  594. Rik Says:

    I do try. I really do and I have some success usually. I had very bad harm obsessions at the end of 2014 and into 2015 and eventually overcame it all including GAD again and was back to normal. It took a long while but I slowly learnt to put the trust back in my mind and let the overall anxiety come down. As I did this the thoughts began to seem less and less threatening. I found it easier as I had seen that these thoughts were actually very common with anxiety.

    I ended up anxious again at the end of 2015 due to huge relationship stresses. This time a new train of thought is there and I don’t like it one bit and it feels very alien to who I am and how I was before I started feeling anxious again. I decided today to take them on and go for a swim on my dinner break and I accepted everything that was thrown at me. It was very difficult but I managed. I know I should know better than to believe thoughts but each time I end up very anxious it is as though my mind just want me to listen to them and take them seriously and the anxiety spikes can be huge at times if it is a particularly weird or scary one. They tend to centre around depressive thoughts and reality and it is really throwing me. I was supposed to have my NHS CBT today with a great lady who helped me through the last ones but sadly they had to cancel.

    I have been through the anxiety mill twice before and recovered both times but each time it seems there is a new obstacle to overcome. Usually manufactured by my own darn mind. I think feelings of DP dont help either as I find I cannot enjoy anything I used to. Not sure if that is actually a symptom of DP or just anxiety in general as the mind is very good at forgetting past bad experiences.

  595. Rik Says:

    Just re-read Paul’s bit on Depersonalisation on the main site and that sums it up to a T. I feel disconnected from myself and who I was before this came back and my family. I feel I can’t enjoy anything I used to like and I can’t connect with people. Awful symptom but an anxiety symptom nonetheless. Time to add that to the accept list again instead of panicking about depression which is a big fear of mine.

  596. Luke Says:


    i can relate what you are going through a lot. Been having awful and most irrational thoughts myself for past couple of months. I guess the key is learn how to not give them any extra attention and become OK with them being there in the background. Sort of detach yourself from them and see them as some sort of subtitles in the movie. But i know myself, it is easier said then done, I am learning it myself.

    Does anyone here have existential thoughts? I would find myself stopping in any random moment of the day and start wondering, is this really me here in this moment, did this guy really just pass by me? What is reality? etc… followed by gut wrenching feeling because I know and feel that this is all real but still have these doubts and fears making me question things.

    Then I will start thinking, OK, irrational thoughts are not me, they are not real, so I don’t need to pay any attention to them, but whatever i perceive through my sense IS real, what i see, hear, smell etc… then I get confused. Sorry for the ramble, it is really hard to explain..

    All of my anxiety is basically attached to fear of losing my mind, which is my biggest fear of all. Every other symptom or problem seems so trivial to me now compared to this.

    I learned a lot from this blog and I am putting it into practice, but I am just wondering if anyone else goes through similar issues, feelings.

  597. Rik Says:


    I have had exactly that and more. It was an existential thought that triggered me into this new obsession along with dp. It had been the harm ones that came back first but as I was not really afraid of them a new one popped up. After I had that thought I began to obsess about fearing depression and it all got much worse. I was still getting it today at swimming but just allowed it. It has only really been the last day or two that I started to try to accept that this is all just anxiety again as it can really pull you in head first when you are so stressed out. Realistically I should know this as last time I had anxiety like this I had just as many weird thoughts and symptoms but the main theme was harm.

    It is truly awful at times but as you say the best thing to do is to just let them die of apathy. Eventually your mind and body calm down sufficiently for them to no longer be an issue even if they do come up again. If you have a fear spike immediately after the thought then that is totally fine too as this is your natural response to it but just don’t add any second fear to it and let it go instead of picking it up and thinking about it.

    Try not to even talk back to it and just decide to get off the train and let it drive away. Otherwise you can end up tying yourself up in knots as I have done over the last few weeks. Much easier to just leave it all alone and put it down to anxiety. I can say with 100% confidence that it does all go away once you are no longer sensitized as I have seen this twice myself over the years. You also can get used the thoughts though so dont be afraid if you dont have a negative response. This is called a backdoor spike when you then end up scared because you arent scared if that makes sense. Just continue to let go. I am still having to remind myself of this even with my previous experience of it as anxiety causes tremendous doubts.

  598. Luke Says:


    i had harm ones before, roughly 7 years ago. That was the time when my first son was born and that triggered huge bout of anxiety that lasted almost a year. I had all kind of harmful thoughts about my son, I truly thought I am losing it.

    Then when i found an explanation to those in Paul’s first book and after reading some discussion here on this blog (somewhere around 2008) i almost instantly lost any fear of these thoughts and they diminished and rarely if ever came back.

    I actually thought that after finding the explanation to anxious thoughts i will be free from them for the rest of my days, but i got this huge setback this past August, I am still recovering from now. I was so confident and it has been so long without anxiety, that i actually forgot some of the principles i had applied before.
    If anything, it gives me hope that it can be done, i know, i did it myself already.

  599. Rik Says:


    I hear you 100%. The first time I recovered from anxiety I had 8 years of feeling emotionally bulletproof and thought nothing could ever make me like that again. Then after running my own business for 2 years and having a big rift in my marriage as a result, it all came crashing down as I burnt out and my brain said enough was enough. That was when the harm thoughts started and I have a 3 year old daughter too now so of course it went straight for that. It took me about 7 months to fully get over it all but I did and thought it was over for good.

    The problem was that I hadn’t actually dealt with the marriage issues and so 6 months of arguing and more prolonged stress caused the first symptoms of anxiety to come back and of course I then became worried and even more stressed as a result and put myself right back in the cycle. Then I lost my ability to find pleasure in anything at all and felt clouded in my head which I still have now but I think that is mainly down to these thoughts and some dp having read up on that.

    I am trying to just let my mind and body find balance again now slowly. It is so hard when we are at maximum anxiety/stress but small efforts I feel will pay dividends. Today has actually been one of my better days recently. I woke up 3 times this morning from crazy dreams and anxiety but managed to just accept it and drift back off and have managed to work all day and go swimming despite my minds best efforts to terrify me so I am chalking today up as a minor success. I plan to try to relax this evening again to further lower my overall stress levels.

    I think the biggest problem that comes with anxiety for me is the thoughts. They can be totally bonkers at times and the more strange they are the more scared I get and the more I worry that I will convince myself they are real or I am going mad. As anxiety is the master of doubt it is extremely good at making you doubt yourself and it will happily prey on any fear you have no matter how ludicrous your rational mind would find it. Physical symptoms dont worry me in the slightest as I have had them all and they are easy to attribute to stress.

  600. Luke Says:


    you are doing the right thing by working, going to take a swim, relaxing etc..those everyday things you would do if you didn’t have this condition.

    Just don’t do it to get rid off anxiety, do it despite feeling it, but don’t do it and expect it to be gone because you do that, it will go when you demonstrate to your subconsciousness long enough that you are in no danger. It will just come one day.

    Our brains scan for danger when in sensitized state. I know mine does. And danger in my case are scary thoughts. So my brain scans for them to make sure I am ready to face them and escape. My brain is doing its job brilliantly I just need to prove to him (it) there is NO danger, that scary thoughts are NOT danger for me. Only then i believe i will desensitize.

    I look at all this that way and actually, I have brief moments where i experience relaxation, warm sensations or peaceful energy in my brain (nerves). It doesn’t last long and i often fall back into the stressing and fretting over the thoughts, but I am encouraged with ANY progress.

  601. Rik Says:


    Oh don’t worry I am well aware that nothing I do would be an instant fix. If previous experience has taught me one thing it is there is no quick fix and you have to be patient until your mind desensitizes no matter how desperately you want to be better. I do still have moments though where the doubt proves a bit too much such as this morning when I posted. I suspect it was the reason you also asked about your thoughts also. Doubt can be an awful thing. Trust in the process is the antidote to it though. However hard it can be to remember and the trust takes a while to rebuild.

    You are definitely right in that the brain is doing what it is supposed to and that we both have given it cause to think that thoughts are dangerous. I find that my rational mind doesn’t get a look in when I am really anxious or in high alert mode. It is like my mind skips the rational bit and goes straight to fear and anxiety without caring how ludicrous the thought may be. Arguing with it only serves to dig it deeper into my mind. I think it is dp in my case that causes the seeming lack of rational thinking as I feel disconnected from who I am and those around me and the doubt in myself and my beliefs is right there to see. Classic dp symptoms from what I have read. There is a great article about it on the anxiety centre website.

  602. Luke Says:

    Talking about doubts, I would have times where i am so anxious i remember one back in November, my wife wanted to talk to me about our sons upcoming birthday that was roughly 2 weeks away, she wanted to plan the party etc.. and i was there sitting and thinking, yeah, i highly doubt two weeks from now i will still be sane! That’s how bad I can get.

  603. Rik Says:

    It can certainly feel like that. I have had a better day than usual today and it actually felt as though the DP had lifted as the afternoon went on. I was actually in a decent mood when my wife got home and then I had the sudden thought that it could be mania. Not as happy any more that’s for sure and it feels like the brain fog has descended a bit again. Why can’t I just enjoy a good feeling without my brain popping that thought up. It is the first time in weeks I had felt any kind of contentment. Hopefully a window in the DP.

  604. Colin Says:

    That’s the start of feeling good again mate .
    Small steps ! Then longer spells .
    Wasn’t it superb to feel yourself again ? Even though it was a fleeting glimpse ?
    Just keep accepting that this is with you for the foreseeable future and you are not going to come to any harm from a feeling !!!!

  605. Chris Says:

    Hi all, just wondering if anyone had any feedback/advice for the comment I left on January the 4th?

    This particular one is really getting me down at the moment. I want to accept this as anxiety but because of my past/circumstances I feel like I’m a special case and that I won’t be able to recover because of it. The thoughts are really getting me down and I’m doing my best to put Paul’s advice into practice. If only I never looked up all that stuff on google a few months ago, I probably would be out of this setback by now. Sorry if this comes across as a pity party, just in a very depressed state.



  606. Chris Says:

    Oh and Rik, I had that fear too recently. It’s very common for anxiety sufferers to have that fear. Just wanted to reassure you that if you were truly manic you wouldn’t fear it, you’d be too busy getting excited about planning a spontaneous trip to Mars!

  607. Rik Says:

    Thanks guys. Colin it truly felt amazing and that is why i was so scared. I couldnt seem to accept that i suddenly felt clear headed and happy. My major anxiety fear at the moment is depression and as such i have heaps of intrusive depressive thoughts which are horrible and make me feel awful. It started because about 3 weeks into my setback i realised i couldnt enjoy anything i used to like and had no interest in anything and felt disconnected. This then made me worry i was severly depressed and cued loads of fearful thoughts and made the fear stick. I am doing my best now to accept that it is all just the usual anxiety playing its tricks on a tired and stressed mind.

    Last night i had another hour of feeling ok which was nice. Today i plan on just relaxing with my little girl and letting all thoughts just come and go as they please. I am not expecting to feel great as a result but just to let things be.

    Out of interest do any others feel that inability to enjoy things you used to while in this state?

  608. Meg Says:

    Rik, chris – I’ve also had the same thought about mania – ive felt pretty fine the last few weeks and my energy has come back then the last few days my anxious mind said “what if this boost/increased motivation is some kind of mania?” Which has led to me feeling pretty tired and fed up. Although it’s pretty rubbish it’s helped me see the mechanism of anxuety always on the look out for something to latch on to. Logically I can see that my increased motivation and happiness has just been because I’m getting better but my anxious side then over analyses it. I think thiugh that recognising this is important on beginning to stop paying so much attention to your thoughts.

  609. Stephanie Says:

    Feeling anxious about feeling good is just another aspect of anxiety. I remember when I first started feeling moments of peace/happiness I didn’t trust it because I was looking over my shoulder waiting for the anxiety to come crashing back down. It’s like I wouldn’t allow myself to feel good. Like all aspects of anxiety, this too will pass. In time you’ll learn to stop being suspicious and questioning every stage of anxiety. You’ll stop labeling feelings/thought, like not feeling anxious is “good”; feeling anxious is “bad”. If you wake up feeling anxious you’ll stop thinking to yourself “oh no, it’s going to be a horrible day.” You’ll just carry on, because you have a life to live. I believe it’s impossble to never feel anxious/stressed/scared again. But I absolutely believe that we can learn to not let those feelings crush us.

  610. Rik Says:

    I agree Stephanie. I kind of knew that i was over analysing it at the time but was afraid to let go. I had another decent day today. Weird thoughts still there but i just let them come and go without getting tangled in them as much as i was able. Even if i got an anxious response to them. Ive done all the stuff I wanted to do today and am proud of myself for that. I just have to remember that any weird thoughts are just a tired anxious mind. Not the easiest task at times.

  611. Chris Says:

    Yeah it’s a scary thought (the mania), but I’m pretty much over it now. Although pretty much everything and anything scares me this day. Unfortunately during my google phase I ended up reading way too much, which I feel is the majority of my problems now. I feel like I won’t be able to recover with these demons. Sorry for the pity party! Has anyone been in a similar position? Like they feel like they can’t recover because of circumstances?

    I wrote a post on Jan 4th explaining my particular circumstance, but it’s all good if no one can help me with it. I can only blame myself by Googling it…

  612. Stephanie Says:

    Chris, every body has felt like their particular circumstances and issues make them unable to recover. It’s another lie created by anxiety. You’re going to have to let the thought go. It doesn’t matter how much you googled, how much scary information you read, how stressful your circumstances are, etc. You can still put the principles on this blog into practice. You can still live your life. But you have to stop looking for excuses, for reasons why your particular brand of anxiety makes you a special case. You can (and will) recover!

  613. Chris Says:

    Thanks Stephanie, I hope you’re right.

    If you didn’t read my post from a few days ago, my fear is permanent brain damage from taking recreational drugs on a number of occasions when I was younger – (haven’t touched anything in years), and the study I read a few months ago suggested that as my brain ages I’m at risk for even more anxiety and depression. So I have this whole depressing idea that I’m on a slippery slope downwards and I’m just going to get worse and worse. I can’t seem to disconnect from it/let go of it. Should I think about this as much as my brain wants, or just completely forget about it?

    Wish I could be more positive here! Sorry guys.

  614. Rik Says:


    The reason you cant let go of it is because you are afraid of it. Your anxious mind cannot see oast that fear so you need to take a leap of faith that it is not fact and when it pops up just practice letting it be there with no further response from you. I know it isnt easy as I am doing the same myself with a whole raft of anxious thoughts. I have been recovered before and can assure you that if you are able to let thoughts go and treat them as just a stressed mind that is just reacting to thoughts as though they are real it will pay off in time.

  615. Chris Says:

    It’s hard because I’ve read so much on it… So it’s hard not to see it as fact. Hopefully I can still recover with these skewed belief systems.

  616. Michelle Says:

    Me again. Still trying not to care about my sleep. The more I try not to care, the more I do care. I know I’m doing this to myself. I know I’m making it a bigger issue than it needs to be. I know if I can just get out of my own way, sleep will return. But every night I do get in my own way and I don’t know how to break that cycle.

    I have gotten really good at not caring about my other symptoms, and in doing so have made great strides I my recovery (I think). My daytime symptoms have subsided a great deal. But my anxiety has attached itself to sleep and I don’t know how to break that cycle. I know it’s necessary that I do.

    I feel like I have broken my mind and let insomnia go on for too long so now it’s entrenched and I don’t know how to break my obsession with it.

  617. Stephanie Says:

    Chris, if your mind is going to think something, it’s going to think it right? So let it. But what you can do is stop letting the thoughts have such an impact on your life. When they pop up you can choose to engage with the thought, try to convince yourself you’re not damaged, run to the computer to search for answers, talk about it with people for reassurance, etc. Or you can choose to simply carry on with your day.

  618. Rik Says:

    Stephanie is spot on. I have had a difficult day ignoring today. I didnt get much sleep last night and i always find that the intrusions are far more frequent when this happens and harder to ignore. I out this down to simply being less mentally reslient in these times.

    Chris. An obsession is very hard to lose but it can 100% be done. What you should keep in mind is that when we are sensitized it is VERY hard going. If you stick with the acceptance and ignoring method for long enough though your overall sensitisation levels will drop and this is when i find the thoughts then become even easier to ignore and eventually they become a distant memory. When you arent sensitised you just wont take them seriously anymore. I know this from experience. It isnt easy but have faith. Next time they pop up just observe that they have come up and then choose not to listen and carry on with what you were doing. Eventually this becomes your new habit.

    I have had a hard day with this today but i know it can be done and that is what keeps me going in the hard times.

  619. Dustin Says:

    Stephanie is right. I believe that everyone has at least one thing that they believe makes their situation unique. Something that they believe will make it impossible for them to recover. My situation is that I have a metabolic disorder called PKU (I’ll give you the quick summary). My body cannot break down a certain amino acid (phenylalanine). When I consume foods that are high in phenylalanine, because it has nowhere to go, it builds up in my brain and ultimately coats the nuerons. Side effects of high phenylalanine levels include mood swings, clouded thinking, depression and anxiety.

    Sure my personal situation is unique, but I don’t believe that I am unique in the fact that I think I am different in my anxiety condition and that this will prevent me from recovery. (that was probably confusing). I am sure we all have something that makes us think that we are different and that this method won’t work for us whether it is past drug use, or high phenylalanine levels.

    When you have these doubts or fears, let them be there. Don’t add more fear to them. Yes they are scary, but ultimately ruminating on it will not accomplish anything.

    Again circumstances may be unique, but I’m sure every single one of us here has something that we believe is going to prevent recovery. We have all heard people who have recovered talk about how they thought they were different and would never recover, but here they are proving us otherwise.

    Hope that made some sense!

  620. Rik Says:

    Hi Michelle,

    You mention you are trying to fix your sleep. This is your problem. By trying to fix it you are doing. If anxiety has taught me one thing it is that doing leads to more stress. By doing and trying to fix you are expecting results and therefore checking if there has been a change and adding further thinking to an already overactive and tired mind. As a result you then despair when you dont get the results you so desperately want. What you need to do instead is just let it be. Lie down and dont try anything. Just be. When other people are going to bed do you think they are trying to sleep or do they just rest their head and just be? I know i for one dont lie there trying to force sleep or worrying about it. I just lie down and be and sleep comes to me. If i tried to sleep and put a real effort in i highly doubt i would be relaxed enough to sleep.

    There are a few things you can do to facilitate sleep such as a good bed time routine and not watching tv right before bed etc. These are just good practice and something many people do by default. I personally dont watch tv for at least 30 mins before bed and try to use the time to let my mind unwind a bit. I dont sit and think god i hope i sleep and work myself up as it is counter productive. I know it must be hard as lack of sleep doesnt make anything easy but this is a situation you can turn around just by letting go. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at roughly the same time to begin to establish a routine for your mind and then when you get in bed just let go. If you toss and turn and dont sleep right away its ok. Change doesnt happen overnight but over time the not caring will become the new habit and you will find sleep comes naturally.

    I think most people who have had anxiety have had sleep disturbances but the way you deal with it is what counts. You cant force it. Just accept what is and let go of the fear of it. It is a choice you can make.

  621. Doreen Says:

    Chris – I have also seen stuff on google of the type you are reading but I have also seen that the brain damage which your fear is very rare. It is like reading the leaflets inside prescribed medicines. They mention every possible side effect but also say that very few people have ever experienced the more serious ones.
    I have also read that the brain has a remarkable capacity for recovery.
    Worrying about it is making you stressed in the here and now and what a waste of time and energy that is – being so anxious about something which is highly improbable.

  622. Chris Says:

    Thanks Dustin, Rik and Stephanie. That definitely helps. It’s definitely an obsession and I know that it won’t be easy to lose. Claire Weekes talks about glimpsing, is this very important or am I better off ignoring the thoughts? I don’t really have an alternative point of view with this obsession/fear, at least I don’t think I do.

    I did practice observing today and it helped a wee bit, still I do get sucked back into the stream of thought now and again. The thoughts are pretty much there 24/7, so I do have a lot of work to do. I can also tell I’m very sensitized. The symptom I have is this nervous energy all through my body, that raw kind of feeling, I tend to swing from that to depression. I think I will re-read both At Last a Life books so I can build more on my understanding.

    Does anyone else have the same obsession/fear that I do by any chance?

  623. Rik Says:


    Glimpsing is something which happens automatically in my experience. As you continue to ignore the thoughts you will occasionally have a moment where you realise it is just a thought and that small realisation can help you next time it comes up.

    Obsession with something is not a nice thing at all and I am struggling with it a lot myself at the moment even though I understand the way to beat it. You will find that anxiety can present an answer to everything in order to keep you locked into the cycle. You will ignore a thought and then another will pop up that counters the fact you ignored it or if you try to argue back it will always have an answer. You have to let go of the reins completely and just let your mind do its thing while you continue to push on.

    Also looking for someone with the same obsession is a form of reassurance. Reassurance in anxiety or obsessions is very short lived and usually just compounds the issue because you are lending legitimacy to the issue instead of working on the attitude of indifference. For me thought obsessions are the hardest part of anxiety by far as you can feel helpless to do anything about it. It can be overcome though with patience and persistence.

  624. Chris Says:

    Thanks Doreen, I just saw your reply. I guess I just need to stop adding more worry/fear to it and let it run it’s course perhaps.

    Cheers again for the reply Rik. Do you find the same applies to the thoughts that give you a depressive reaction? A few days ago it wasn’t so much anxiety, instead the thoughts just brung my mood down. Now in the last few days it’s full on anxiety again, like I’m talking really powerful emotions here haha.

    Also do you think it might be a good idea to stop seeking reassurance all together?

  625. Rik Says:

    Hi Chris,

    The depressive thoughts are what I am struggling with right this moment. They seem to crop up every time I think something and also completely on their own. I know rationally that I do not want them or care about them as I know I want to live a normal happy life but when they come they can be very worrying and instantly lower my mood. I am working on the method of accepting them and just carrying on regardless. I am finding it extremely hard at the moment. Much harder than any other intrusive thoughts.

    I would definitely say that reassurance is not a good thing to do. All it does is keep the thoughts front and centre in your mind all the time and lends them importance that they do not deserve. What I would say though is get a bit of information on obsessional thoughts and then really commit to believing that that is all this is and then work on acceptance of thoughts. You are not being asked to accept the content of them but just their presence. Accept you cannot change them and instead opt to let them go when they pop up. I am fully aware of how difficult this is as the fear makes them seem very real and convincing.

    Having beaten an obsession before I know that this can definitely be done so keep at it. If you fall down and start listening again just make the conscious decision to step back away from them again and let them do their thing. You learnt this fear and obsession so you can unlearn it too.

    Another helpful tip is try not to care if they go or not. If you care too much whether they are there it means you are thinking about them and keeping them alive.

    Hope that helps

  626. Chris Says:

    Yeah I feel you on that. Depressive thoughts are the tough ones. But I’ve gotten through that once before too.

    I guess getting reassurance is probably a big no no from now on then. Just a question though, by get a bit of information on obsessional thoughts what exactly do you mean? Do you mean Paul’s advice/Claire Weekes, or do you mean actually mean to look into the content of them – because trust me I’ve already done that, and that’s what led me to this misery haha. I think when I practice glimpsing I’m not even going to look for words or logic anymore, I’m just going to glimpse the feeling of ‘I know I’m truly ok’, like you said, it’s just a thought.

    Unfortunately the belief is a hard one for me to control but I will try. Maybe I should go for an “I don’t know” attitude.

  627. Rik Says:

    Hi Chris,

    To see you actually say you have gotten through the depressive ones helps me too :) It feels like I am completely trapped by them at the moment but that is exactly what the condition does to you. Arguing with any of the thoughts or trying to disprove them is completely pointless as it is not a rational part of the mind that is throwing them at you. I am guessing that with the depressing ones you simply either got bored of them or just let them be.

    By learn a bit about obsessional thought I was referring to learning how and why they develop so you can trust that it is only an anxious stressed out mind. Definitely do not start researching the content as all you are doing then is making it worse and cementing it further. You also find new things to scare yourself with. I did this with mine and that is why I ended up where I am now. Had I just done my best to let them go I doubt I would be this bad now but the new thought scared me and so I worried about it constantly.

    The content of the thoughts is irrelevant although it doesn’t feel like it at the time. The content will always be whatever scares you most at that given time. If I was terrified of hurting someone like I used to be then that is all my mind would want me to think of. It just so happens that I developed a fear of becoming depressed and so now most thoughts that pop up centre around that.

  628. Sean Says:

    Hi , I haven’t posted on this for 8 months in or around , I have been a lot better , I got a physical symptom last night as I lay in bed , a tightness in my chest , does anyone else get this , I am not going to panic and start all the googling and all that again , if it’s a setback I won’t be giving it much thought , and I will get back to normal stuff again today like work gym . How would u know if it’s a symptom of anxiety or maybe over done it in the gym ?? It’s confusing ??

  629. Michelle Says:

    Sean, please don’t obsess about it, whatever you do. The chest tightness is what started this breakdown for me. For me it was a symptom of elevated stress, and had I known that and stopped worrying about it, and just relaxed and tried to get more rest, I wouldn’t have had my breakdown. Regardless of whether it is exercise related or stress related, just try to treat it as stress and forget about it. Get more rest, and just continue living as if it isn’t there and it will more than likely go away on its own.

  630. Rik Says:

    Hi all,

    I was wondering if anybody could share with me any of their experiences with dp. I think that is what I am currently struggling with which is exacerbating my anxious thoughts but I am not sure. Basically for most of the day I feel totally disconnected from myself and the world. I feel like I am somehow lost from myself and cannot seem to enjoy things I used to or feel much of anything. I cant concentrate and often feel that my mind is hazy. I feel like if I can just trust that this is what it is then I can stop being so scared that I am severely depressed and just let this pass on its own.

    Can anyone relate to these feelings? I think what happened was my dp developed after a few weeks of being really anxious and stressed and then I got really scared that I was terribly depressed as I couldn’t enjoy things which then caused scary depressive thoughts as I was looking for them. Can anyone relate to this feeling of not being able to access your own feelings?

  631. Bryan Says:


    DP is probably the most commonly cited sx of anxiety here. It’s extremely common and benign. Have you read Paul’s book? It’s highly recommended as it will help explain these basic tenants of stress. Paul highly recommends avoiding making any one symptom important, rather remembering they are all under the umbrella of anxiety. Because we can go on forever questioning every little sensation we encounter. This only keeps us focused on them… and stuck.

  632. Rik Says:

    Hi Bryan. Yes I have read both books. I have recovered in the past about 8-9 years ago using the first book alone. I then got extremely anxious again and recovered after about 6 months and CBT for intrusive thoughts. It returned again in December due to a lot of stress.

    I think maybe I need to read the parts about DP again though. I understand not separating out our symptoms but my fear is that it is not dp but rather a severe depression. I guess the best thing I could really do is read the books again this evening. Having never spoken to anyone who has experienced dp before I do not know what they feel like with regards to emotions or whether it is just that they feel spacey.

    For the most part I feel completely unable to enjoy anything or even feel myself at all and do not know if this is a common symptom of DP. I have had one or two windows in this feeling in the last few days though in which I was able to be silly with my wife and feel a bit happier which may be a good sign. I do try not to dwell too much on a certain symptom but find sometimes it helps to be reminded that what I am feeling is just anxiety based.

  633. Colin Says:

    Most likely over done it in the gym Sean .
    Give no thought and continue doing what you have been doing .sean try the mind pilot app that’s out just now it’s fantastic!!!!

  634. Rachael Says:

    Hi rik, this is exactly what I’m going through right now, im so terrified of dp that I’m constantly scanning my body and totally aware of how I feel, which is now emotional and flat. I know I should just think ok I feel fed up and carry on but I worry and worry and now feel I’m back to square one, if I knew it was just part of the anxiety I’d cope better with it! I’m going round in circles ??

  635. Bryan Says:


    Definitely feel for you but you’ve done this already and know the way home.
    You summed it up well in your last sentence…. if we dwell, we know where that leads. Paul and others have often used the phrase… you can’t think yourself better. Ironic that the opposite holds so much power. But it does. The body/mind/spirit will heal when we get out of its way.

  636. Rik Says:

    You are exactly right. Weirdly and perfectly timed, I received the Claire Weekes book More Help For Your Nerves this evening as I had lost my copy of her other book and ordered it to replace the other. Within a few pages of reading I came across exactly what I have been feeling and it described perfectly what I am experiencing and why. The even stranger thing is that within about half an hour I was calm and feeling oddly content in the garage working on my track bike. Something I haven’t done since this all came over me at the beginning of December. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted as I understood and more to the point I trusted that it was all just the same anxiety and stress induced illness again. For the last few days I have been applying acceptance to the depressive thoughts and I have seen improvement so again I can see the path ahead of me and what I need to do or rather not do to reach recovery once more. For the time being at least anyway before the fog descends again :)

  637. Chris Says:

    Hi Rik,

    I previously did get past the depressive ones with my last bout of anxiety. Generally speaking, the depressive ones only really come when I’m doing nothing, like lying on my bed in the day or whatever. I’m trying to become more active. Now I’m dealing with the devastating fearful ones, so you could say I’m dealing with both. Like you, I feel like I wouldn’t be in this position if I didn’t research my particular problem for hours.

    I’m practicing letting the thoughts be there today without taking them too seriously, although it’s proven to be tricky. My mind is really enjoying bringing up past experiences that reinforce the fear. Earlier it was like ‘you’ve done the drugs too many times, you’re screwed for life!’ etc. I had a massive reaction to that, but at least I didn’t add anything further to it I guess.

    I hope I can recover with these fears, as they absolutely strip me of hope and peace of mind. My body feels so wired to react with fear and awful emotions at the moment.

  638. Rik Says:

    Hi Chris.

    That is exactly what is happening. Your body and mind are on red alert and looking for danger constantly. As your thoughts are what you consider to be dangerous that is what keeps coming up again and again as your mind is scanning for them. You flagged them as serious and dangerous so each time they come up your brains instant reflexive reaction is one of fear to prepare you for the perceived danger each time. That is that first flash of adrenaline you feel. Sometimes that can happen before you are even consciously aware of the thought.

    This is something that can be changed though. The way to do it is that each time the thought comes up and that reflexive fear fires off you then let the thought go without adding anything further to it. It is very hard at first as your general stress and anxiety levels are just so high.

    Something I clearly remember saying to my CBT therapist was that when I am anxious the thoughts seem so real and likely to be true. When my anxiety levels dropped far enough this just was not the case anymore and I could let them go with no further fear or added thoughts.

    It takes a bit of practice and more importantly trust on your part that you dont need to listen to them anymore. Just let them scream and shout and dont give them any further reaction. Then really allow them to be there as long as they need to be. I am in the same boat with you and I know that we can both move past them in time.

  639. Rik Says:

    Hi Racheal.

    Sorry I have only just seen your message. It must have been being moderated when I last looked. I can definitely recommend the book I have just started reading by claire weekes which is ‘more help for your nerves’. It covers the way we have been feeling perfectly and gives you a bit more understanding of it. Since I read it last night I have been much less concerned with how I am perceiving things etc and it is helping. I think the understanding takes away much of the fear. I had a good evening which was nice. Today I am a little anxious again and having to let thoughts and feelings pass on their own again and can feel that lingering DP but I know in time I will get back to myself again.

  640. Debbie Says:

    Hi rik dos dp feel like you body is physically here but your mind feels weird like its somewhere else seeing dreams you had or trying to figure something out. Creepy feeling.

  641. Rik Says:


    For me I feel very disconnected from the world the majority of the time and cannot seem to feel my old emotions about things. I feel very detached and stuck in my own head and seem unable to break free.

    When I get really anxious which is not that often recently I then suddenly have a very hard time concentrating and things seem more unreal and like I cannot focus on the world. That is usually when my intrusive thoughts come more and have more impact. I am just putting it all down to habit and a tired and stressed mind though now and letting it all be. It certainly won’t get any better if I keep thinking deeply about things or how I am feeling so I am just letting go and carrying on with my day as much as I am able. Last night and a few days ago I had a period of calm where it seemed to lift and I could feel myself again so I know the old me is under there somewhere and will return once my mind has cleared enough for the safety mechanisms to turn off by themselves. Funnily enough the thoughts that had been plaguing me didnt bother me in the slightest when the DP and anxiety lifted. I consider this a step toward recovery. Not that I am hurrying it though. It will take as long as it takes. We cannot force it unfortunately.

  642. Debbie Says:

    Thanks rik i get just feeling intrusives of movies ive seen or dreams i have hsd . I have more mentsl than physical the physical i have gotten over i had to be driven every where now i stuck with this i can be laughing and it pops in my mind .

  643. Rik Says:

    Intrusive thoughts are by far my strongest symptom also but this is only because we are still scared of them. If I was terrified of a thumping heart you can rest assured that is all I would think of or notice.

    I do get anxiety as a result of them but the thoughts are always what holds me in the cycle for the longest. I have had a few themes in the past but always overcame them. I am now working on overcoming the ones I have now also. Tricky but certainly not impossible. As Claire Weekes says it is about learning to not care about them any more and not about forgetting. Memory can always serve thoughts up again but if we have learnt to not care about them then it does not matter any more and the natural progression from that is that they come less and less until they are a distant memory that holds no fear. I am a work in progress but the last few days I have been having some success at just letting myself not care about them.

  644. Debbie Says:

    Rik i guess it always boils down to is it anxiety or the start of something else.

  645. Rik Says:


    There is always some kind of underlying fear behind the thoughts in my experience. Without the fear the thoughts wouldn’t be there. This is why if you remove that fear or accept the presence of the thoughts without giving them meaning then over time the thoughts begin to loosen their grip. I am working on it myself and it does work. It just takes time and patience. Something we anxiety sufferers dont have much of. (patience I mean :) )

  646. Debbie Says:

    Thanks rik i wish the best for all of us do u ever feel scared to watch tv that it might trigger something?

  647. Rik Says:

    Not as much these days but when i had a harm theme i couldnt even watch masterchef i was that bad. I have been about as bad as it gets with OCD thoughts. On the other hand though i have also made a full recovery from them in the past. For me i tend to get extremely high anxiety and then not long after the thoughts start. Whatever thought scares me most is what sticks. This time round it was depressive ones. I know how to recover though and it is exactly as paul says. Leave them alone and let them do their thing. It may be extremely difficult to begin with and every thought seems as real as the last when we are anxious but you must begin to rebuild the trust in your own mind that you do not need to take your thoughts as facts. The only way is straight through. Keep doing what you are doing and let them scream and shout. As your sensitisation drops so will the belief in the thoughts. Eventually you will wonder why you ever got scared of them. A stressed mind is on high alert and any emotionally charged thought gets magnified and causes a stress response. You need to start disrupting that cycle by not caring about the thoughts. It takes practice but if you start now then you are on the right path to recovery.

  648. Rik Says:

    Oh and i should also say that you must also begin to break down your avoidance behaviours as these really do increase unwanted thoughts and feelings as you are telling your brain there is something to be scared of. Each time you are faced by this situation again your mind goes berserk trying to warn you of the danger. As hard as it is you must not avoid these things. You dont have to jump straight in head first though. Gradually reduce your avoidance so as not to completely overload yourself. This is how ERP works which is an OCD treatment. You gradually expose yourself to that which scares you in order to show your mind it is not to be feared anymore. I did this as well as Pauls method and it worked a treat last time.

  649. Debbie Says:

    Thanks so much for talking with me it helps alot

  650. carlie Says:

    I have been sleeping in my daughters room in a single bed for a while now I have had the best sleeps in a long time. My partner has been living with his mum for a while for work and I have been fine on my own with my daughter I actually felt normal. My problem is now my partners mum has moved he can no longer stay there and will be coming back. I’m anxious about being around him. It’s felt so good having time apart and missing him i can recharge on the days i dont see him and even though I don’t want to break up with him I don’t want to share a room as I’m a light sleeper and then the less sleep I get the more anxious I get. However I know I can’t sleep in my daughters room forever. I feel ashamed but I loved my routine so much. i know I’m anxious about sleep and anxious about the way I feel I want it to change.any advice on this. I have always loved sleep but don’t want to ruin my relationship

  651. Rik Says:

    Hi Carlie,

    Would ear plugs help? When we first had our daughter and I needed to get up for work I had to wear earplugs and now wear them every night. My wife is asthmatic and coughs a lot in the night also and she also gets up at least once for the loo. I found earplugs give me great sleep as it takes the edge off the noise. I still hear my alarm etc. Just an option. The Howard Leight laser lite ones are very comfortable and not overly expensive on ebay and I just reuse them.

    As far as the fear of sleep goes it is really something that you should apply acceptance to. We all love sleep and nobody likes to be woken up or feel tired and of course being more tired does seem to make our anxiety worse. HOWEVER what do you think is the real issue? Your lack of sleep or your anxiety? I would say your anxiety. If you were able to move through your anxiety and eventually find recovery a lack of sleep once in a while wouldn’t be the end of the world. It would just mean you were a bit more tired every now and then. Your problem currently is you are already expecting a lack of sleep to produce an increase in anxiety and so you tensely watch for it and inadvertently cause it yourself. If you weren’t so tense about it maybe that would ease it a little rather than add to it. Just my two cents.

  652. Jeremy Says:

    Hi guys has anybody suffered from infedelity do to anxiety??

  653. Suzy Says:

    Hi Everyone. What is the right thing to do with these thoughts at night? During the daytime, it’s easier to let them be there while doing whatever needs doing. What about waking in the middle of the night? The thoughts start spinning, and then the adrenaline rush happens. So no hope of sleep at that point. And nothing to do really while letting the thoughts happen. Entire family is asleep. Don’t want to go around turning on lights and making noise. I lie in bed being upset by the thoughts, the adrenaline rush, which then turns into upset stomach, more adrenaline, more thoughts, and then hours later it’s time for the family to get up and I’ve gotten no sleep since 3 AM. What’s the right way to handle? My main fear currently involves death–something that never bothered me like this before, even though I always had a fear of it. But I had no sleep issues over it, and didn’t obsess about it all the time. How to give these thoughts and feelings their space at night while not giving them importance, when there are no other things to do, really? Thanks for your help with suggestions anyone may have used to overcome the nighttime anxiety roller coaster ride. Blessings to you all.

  654. Muhammad Usman Says:

    dear paul, i am diagnosed with OCD, dear i have so intense frightning and repitative thoughts , i read all stuff of paul,s book but he didn,t give advice on OCD, he main focus was on generalized anxiety and panic!!!! so what advice about OCD?

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