Anxiety questions answered

I asked people on my Facebook page to ask some questions the other day and I would pick the best 3 out, here is the 3 I picked and my answers. Sorry for the spacing issues, it is created my copying and pasting.
1. I feel like i had a good hold of my anxiety and i can see the things i worry over are irrational most of the time however i feel that the physical symptoms of my anxiety take over and i become locked into the fear and panic. It almost feels like the physical symptoms come first then my mind makes up a scenario to go along with it. Is there any way of over coming this?
The first step and one that you have seen is that most of the things you worry over are irrational, the anxious mind is a master at creating worries that don’t actually exist, which is just its way of dealing with the energy being released. Creating a space between you and your fears/worries and seeing them as a manifestation of your anxiety through anxious thinking, is crucial, so you don’t then start worrying over a made up worry, creating more anxious thinking, more emotions and then getting stuck in a loop. As you say, thoughts feed the emotions and emotions feed the thoughts if we allow ourselves to get sucked in and believe what our anxious mind is telling us.
Ultimately every thought is the minds attempt to release an emotion that has been suppressed. You think it is you that needs to be liberated from your thoughts, but the opposite is true, what you are really feeling is the emotion and thoughts attempts to be liberated from you, they are trying to leave. So the deal is to allow your mind to have all it’s worries and fears, let it spout any nonsense, allow it to have any movement it wishes, but in a detached way, where you are not seeing the thoughts and worries as true, you’re no longer energising and putting belief in them by getting involved. When you pull your energy, focus and belief from a thought, then it no longer creates the emotion. Belief in thought is what creates an emotion, not the thought itself. Someone can have the thought that no one likes them, if aware, they just see it as just an old anxious thought popping through and they are not affected, yet if they believe that thought, then they will get an emotional hit and then may act through it by trying to people please or becoming defensive to other. So the deal is to just let all the anxious thoughts pass through in your awareness with no concern, let them play out as they wish. In doing so they begin to die down, they don’t have the fuel of your attention and belief to keep them alive.
When your mind is racing, if you observe it, you can sense it is excess energy, this is what causes it to race. What is the best way to stop it racing? Would it be to think more? Try and control the thoughts? Try to suppress them? No the best way would be to allow the energy to run itself out, so allow the mind to race if it wishes, see all the negative rubbish and the worrisome scenarios it creates as just part of this energy releasing itself. If you believe the stuff it creates, if you get involved with it and start seeing it all as true, if you add worry to worry, then you create more energy and then you create more thoughts, more emotions, it’s like throwing petrol on a fire and wondering why it won’t go out.
So to finish you break the loop by letting the whole dance of energy play itself out, yes it is uncomfortable, but leaving it all alone without getting involved with the thoughts, without trying to put the brakes on the feelings is what brings it to rest, it burns itself out. This is not a technique, it is the total opposite of a technique. This is a full allowing of the energy within you to manifest itself in anyway it wishes and then the energy has run out without you trying to interfere, then it will come to rest when it has burned itself out, trying to stop the release is what creates more turmoil. It is the battle with themselves to control, suppress the release that is the main cause of people’s suffering, not the release itself.

2. I would like to know roughly how long it took you to fully recover and how many setbacks did you have during recovery?
Each one of us is different and so I don’t want anyone thinking that how long it took me will be the same for everyone. It all depends on how long you have suffered, how open you are to feeling your anxiety etc. Me personally it took around 6 months to feel real freedom, then around another 4 months to be totally anxiety free, where I only got anxious when I should be, like most other people and not for no reason.
I am telling people this so they don’t have impossible expectations. On setbacks, I had many, but again you have to understand what a setback is, to realise that it is totally normal and a good thing. Anxiety as I have said before is just negative energy trapped within the mind and body, the energy needs releasing, there is no other way to get rid of it. To get rid of it, then you need to allow it to rise within you and leave, like the steam from a kettle. But most people don’t do this, they judge, suppress, fight, try to distract themselves from it, anything at all but to feel it, where does it then go? Nowhere, it just stays where it is ready for another go at releasing itself and with all the fighting and extra worry, more maybe added to the stores.
So you have to realise that feeling bad is actually good, it is your bodies way of trying to get rid of this energy that is causing you so much turmoil, but you won’t let it, so what choice does it have but to keep it stored within? So me personally, I had to go through a lot of these purges. When I was open to this release of energy, then yes it was uncomfortable, there was no getting away from this fact and a purge could last between an hour and up to 2 days, but as tough as it was, I stayed open to it, I understood the process, to feel good again I had to feel bad, my body was just releasing all this stored up negative energy. If people have any doubts what it is, then look how people who have anxiety tend to ramble, not be able to sit still, it is just too much energy in the body, why do people feel better after the gym? It has burnt a lot off for a short period of time until the body then replenishes itself.
Just knowing what it was, really helped me through this process and I knew no harm would come from me allowing myself to go through this process. Your body though can not get rid of all this energy in one go, so it goes through cycles, this is what a setback is. It has got rid of a whole chunk of energy and then if you allow it, you can have a period of bliss after, some of my most blissful experiences came after the toughest releases. But I knew this was not the end, I knew the body would go through another purge and that was fine, in fact I looked forward to it in a way as I knew this was were progress was really at, feeling bad meant more was being released and I wanted it gone. Feeling good was great and I welcomed it, but feeling bad was good also, as more stuff was coming up to leave and taking me nearer recovery. The whole deal really is not to cling to any bliss and don’t reject the bad, which is what keeps so many people stuck.
In the space of a few months the purges came less strongly and less frequently, I could have a few weeks feeling great and then when I felt rotten, it was pretty easy to deal with as the intensity was way lower than before as so much had been released. Then the point came when I felt real freedom, the anxiety was all but gone, the racing/fearful thoughts all but stopped. So yes setbacks are a good thing, what most people do when they have a period of feeling good is think they have cracked it, that it is all behind them, I have seen this so often. Then when the energy comes back up to be released they try to shut the process off again, they berate themselves for feeling this way, they search back to try and find what made them feel so good the week before, run to something to try to make themselves feel good again, which is the total opposite of what you should do, you must continue to be open to anything. So nothing has gone wrong in a setback, you have not gone backwards, it is just your body having another release. In fact this is a good thing, a chance for you to release that energy, the less energy within your mind and body, the less anxiety you feel, the less you suffer psychologically.
3. How do you tackle anxiety without feeling pressure to get rid of it? I feel like all the self-help stuff comes with so much pressure of “I’m doing this specifically to alleviate anxiety” that whilst you’re doing it you’re worried its not going to work, so it won’t. Don’t know if that makes sense!
All I can say on this is exactly what happened to me and many others who have recovered have told me. I am not trying to convince anyone I am right, people can make their own decisions if what I say resonates with them. So what I write below is not meant to start a debate, as no one can convince me otherwise and I have no intention of convincing them either, but what I write rings so true with me on a very deep level and is what brought me recovery.
Trying to get rid of or alleviate anxiety will never work, trust me you will end up on the self help treadmill forever if you attempt to do this, I tried for 10 years as I was pretty clueless in those days and got worse, it utterly exhausted me mentally to. I basically had to try every technique, every book, every counsellor, I had to exhaust myself with trying before I realised that this was not going to work. I remember thinking, if someone had the magic answer to get rid of anxiety then I would not have to search for it. I looked at all my self help books, the pills I had taken, the counsellors I had seen and asked myself, what has this all been about? It has all been about trying not to feel something and nothing has changed, am I going to keep blindly going down this route when it is not working? What if I no longer tried to feel different than I do, what would happen then?
What is avoidance? Is the problem really the supermarket, the social event, the car drive? No, it is all about not feeling anxiety, this is what is causing all the problems, what is keeping me stuck in the loop. This is what is really restricting my life, it is all about avoiding this energy release. This really was the start of me seeing things from a totally different angle, it taught me no one and no thing out there could get rid of my anxiety.
This anxiety was not something I could get rid of, this anxiety was something I was going to have to feel, avoiding, suppressing, trying to sort out had only made me worse, this made perfect sense, as how could I get rid of something I was denying myself to feel. It made utter, utter sense to me. It made total sense to me why the self help market had failed me, as it was all about the promise to get rid of it, without feeling it. I can’t tell you how much money I wasted on this promise. Every new counsellor I saw at the time gave me a new technique to try, more suppressing, more things to carry around in my head, more ways to avoid feeling it, so it stayed in my body and created havoc.
What I found was, the whole self help market only brought me temporary relief, so a new book and I would feel good for a while after, but a few days later I would be back in old habits. The counsellor would make me feel good and hopeful ,then a few hours later I would be back to where I was. A lot of the self help market is all about the next book, the next retreat, the next session, it keeps people hanging on, like, nearly there folks, not far now. I am not having a go at the whole self help market here, there are a lot more well educated people than in my day, if someone educates you on anxiety and what it is, I am all for it, absolutely. As the more you understand, the less you fear it and the more allowing you are to allow yourself to feel it. I also think someone understanding to talk to is good to, it helps release a lot of mental space.
My point is is you don’t need to keep on searching for relief. Recovery can never lie in temporary relief, it will never sort out the underlying problem and the underlying problem can never be sorted out if someone is constantly searching for temporary relief. It will also never come from a technique, as a technique is again all about suppression. If you’re looking at the self help market to make something go away I am afraid you will be searching for a long time, if you look at it to educate yourself so you understand enough to allow yourself to let go and feel it then this is the direction you need to take.
So allowing myself to feel all this energy within me in instead of trying to find ways to control, or suppress it brought tremendous relief to me, in a sense that I threw all my books out, threw away all my techniques, I did not need to go and see anyone anymore. There was nothing to fight, nothing to go over, nothing to suppress, nothing to fix, nothing to work on. The mental energy this freed up was amazing to.
I always tell people when I allowed myself to feel all this energy stored within me, it was like a detox, I felt more than ever, as it was like I had finally turned the tap on and was no longer trying to turn it off, this energy had full freedom to manifest itself as it wished. I had some real tough periods, this energy was not nice to feel and the instinct was to try and turn it off, but I wanted it gone and I resisted the urge to close off to it. I would often need space and time on my own when it got tough. I would also have periods of calm within the storm as chunks of energy were released and then the cycle may start again. I just had to stay as allowing as possible to it all, if my mind raced, created scary thoughts then so be it, if my body was racked with anxiety, then fine, this is a good thing, let it all come up, I want it gone.
So I would say follow what resonates with you. I came across a few teachings that resonated with me, ones that educated me on how the mind and body worked. Anything that did not resonate with me I discard, it wasn’t for me. But most of all I was my own best teacher. I really started to see things on a deep level. I went with my own intuition, my own wisdom and came to a lot of my own answers. Answers that made utter sense to me. We all have this in us, I cant just physically pass my understanding on to others, I can only write words down and hope that they can see it for themselves. I have seen people read my book in one sitting and bham they have truly got the message and made huge strides very quickly, others take more time. It all depends on how the words resonate with them, if they truly see the message behind the words and see something for themselves. Me explaining something in a different way can give someone a real Aha moment and the reason I keep writing.
Well I hope that answers a few concerns. I am sorry I have a really busy schedule and won’t be able to answer anymore questions for now, but may do this again in the future.

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562 Responses to “Anxiety questions answered”

  1. Bryan Says:

    Great stuff Paul.

  2. Kat Says:


    Thank you for this. It addresses so much of what I’m dealing with today and I will try to put your words into practice. I will admit that this has been the toughest day I’ve had in a very long time, and I came to the blog to seek some much-needed reassurance. The timing of your post could not have been better. I will admit that I have been reading it through panic-coloured glasses, so not everything has sunk in, yet, but I will read it again and again and try to employ the advice you’ve given.

    Take care,


  3. Ugrok Says:

    Thank you for those wise words, Paul.

    I’m a long time anxiety sufferer and since reading your book and learning to let go, all the while pursuing a talk therapy, i had almost 2 years without anxiety – not that i did not experience it, but when it came, i did not care and just let it happen.

    But now, after moving cities, changing job, and living a few difficult situations in my family, i’m back in the cycle again, and doing all the mistakes i thought i learned not to do : trying to fix it, going from place to place to find the new breathing tecnhnique that will make it go away, stuff like that.

    My problem is this time, there is a new symptom that scares me a lot : my throat is so tight that i fear that i cannot eat anymore. It is stupid, i know, because in fact i can still eat and i still do eat, i just chew and somehow it goes down, but i don’t know how to face this, how to accept this fear, since it is vital to eat – so it seems normal that i feel threatened to my core… I cannot accept “not to eat” ! So i really have to force myself to eat right now, i cannot allow non eating ! Have i got this acceptance thing wrong ?

    Any advice on how to accept such a dangerous feeling ? Thank you !

  4. Jim Says:

    I understand exactly where Paul is coming from. As I recently posted, I have done this journey but now suffering a relapse which feels I have stepped back 20 years but what Paul says is true. Only you can fix this. Long term or short term, its you that takes that step, makes that decision and ultimately makes the breakthrough. 16 years since my last panic and now I am beginning again. I can do it, I am better equipped to do so but this is a toughie and will take some resilience. I have noticed in my short time on here that lots of people are in mental turmoil. My fears are dealing with the physical symptoms my mind generates. But it goes to show how diverse a subject this is. It’s simply not the same for everyone, there’s no logic, no rationale or anything when your mind reaches the panic stage. There is no magic pill for this, no silver bullet, so the bottom line is that its your own resources that will ultimately overcome it. I am no leading expert on this, its just my experience, much like Paul’s which I am relying on and hopefully some of what I write will help you too. It’s not easy to let the feelings come and go. Personally I am like a headless chicken when things are at their peak. I feel stranded more often than not and its not pleasant. I have a specific phobia which Ms kk es this harder to cope with but I am well aware of t gtg e cycle of thought and reaction that cause the horrible feelings and why they perpetuate. So really my fear is a physical action resulting from a negative thought and its breaking that cycle that provides short term relief and eventually long term recovery. It’s not a technique, I do have to let things run their course but any activity that takes my mind off it to allow the feeling to dissipate, I can then try to turn a logical mind to it. Paul is quite right though, the more you resist, the longer you stay in the moment. You simply have to let it pass. Don’t let people judge you. This is your battle, your war and you can win. Sometimes you have to lose some battles to win the war.i hope some of this makes sense. Writing on a mobile phone with predictive text with poor eyesight at 01:30 is probably means some words are a bit random, sorry

  5. Joe Says:

    Thanks Paul for this post, I think the work you do for anxiety sufferers is really great and I hope you continue to help people.

    Sorry everyone that I keep posting on here. I feel like I haven’t really learnt much to be honest. I’ve been coming on here a lot and posting for the last few weeks because I just can’t hack the way things have been and despite many people trying to help me and guide me to the right attitude or whatever I’m just no good at it. I just can’t seem to get the message for some reason.

    I kind of want to tell my story just to see if anyone can better explain what the hell is wrong with me.

    Well first off I’m quite a neurotic and sensitive person and always have been, I take from my mother. When I was 15 i experienced my first proper bout of depression and things have basically gone downhill from there. I became quite a messed up kid in various ways and I feel guilty for a lot of the thoughts that went through my mind and some of the things I did in my teenage years. When I was 17 I had my first real bout of anxiety and major depression. I was hospitalised twice for suicidal behaviour and frequently engaged in self-harm which I still do although a lot less frequently. I was put on Prozac and this seemed to help my chorionic misery. I gradually came off these pills the following summer and around the time I was 18 I started getting into cannabis with my friends. The following year or so was great with me and my friends always having a great time and things started to look alright. I knew perhaps after a while things weren’t so great because other stressors began to affect my life in the early part of this year. I’m 19 now and a few months before my birthday is when the situation I’m in began. I had another crisis in April. Stress from work and friends among some unrelated messed up things caused this and my mother and I thought it would be best to go on pills again because I had relapsed into feeling awful. Well the side effects of these new pills (Sertraline/Zoloft) were too much after three days so I stopped taking them. Three further days and my first bout of depersonalisation kicked in after a panic attack. It was very very scary and I had no idea what was happening. The DP cleared after a week or so but I started having all this existential questioning. I started questioning and doubting all my senses asking far-pit questions like, what is visual information and how do I process it, everything is meaningless etc. One night in bed I started questioning about brains and minds and thoughts and how do I ‘make’ thoughts etc and had a massive panic attack. Since then things have been absolutely awful. I get so depressed about how every thought and feeling I have is just a piece of basically non-existent psychic information and how I’m just a collection of thoughts inside a weird blob of grey matter. Then a couple months later after my desperate searches on DP forums and finding a few people in the same boat I came across a guy who described similar feelings but about the concept of time. This did bother me at first but one day at work began to nag me and suddenly I became deathly aware and afraid of how there’s no such thing as the past or future and that we live in the infinitely small ‘present’ moment. Since then I’ve just been obsessing and watching everything just fall away into nothingness. When someone says something, I can understand what they say but can’t get out of my head how what they’ve said has just fallen away into the past and wonder where it goes. I’m constantly watching the present moment fall away. I feel so sad because whatever I do it doesn’t matter because it will be in the past which isn’t here and doesn’t exist. Every night out, every kiss from my girlfriend, everytime I laugh or cry it means nothing to me anymore.

    Sorry for this long post, I’m just desperate these days and am looking for some answers which I can’t seem to find anywhere else.

    Please be aware that I do know of the advice in At Last a Life. I’ve read around and am aware of the concept of acceptance. I try to not think of anything else but these brain/time -related anxieties when they come (which they do about 5000 times a day) and not to worry. I get on with my day, not trying to avoid places or things that would make me feel worse but nothing seems to get better. I know recovery is meant to take time but I just want a sign that I’m doing things right if this really is treatable. I’m 19 years old and overrun with university deadlines and I’m scared I’m going to have to drop out of university because of this. I feel so hopeless because these things that terrify me are facts of life that everyone deals with. How can I ever hope to get better if I’m scared of time passing or having a brain ?

    Sorry for this bizarre post. I hope someone can help.

  6. Ramji Says:

    Thanks lot for this post Paul ,

    Hi All ,

    I have been on and off from this forum for quite a while , I was been suffering from Anxiety and Depression for past 3 yrs mainly focusing on sleep issues ..

    Paul’s method had been a great help for my anxiety .. Now am less anxious than before ..

    My Question is Does Paul’s method will work for clinical Depression ? Did anyone recovered from Depression using Pauls ideology ?

    I been diagnosed with Depression focusing on sleep ( suffering from early morning awakening which is a classic symptoms of depression )…

    Any of your suggestion or advice would be helpful… Thank you…

  7. Ugrok Says:

    Hi Joe !

    A few years ago, i had EXACTLY what you just described. I was looking at everything and only seeing it disappear. Like, a guy would walk in the street, and i was like, each steps he makes just instantly disappears and will never return.

    It’s only due to anxiety. The good thing is that it is a really interesting topic, even if right now you don’t feel it is, it’s a GOOD thing to be able to deeply look into the impermanence of life. You could read a few buddhist books about it. Not everything is easy in life and mostly in being human, we have fears, it’s normal.

    This existential stuff disappeared with my anxiety ; i started practicing meditation, i talked to a good shrink, and most of all i learned to accept things as they are.

    In fact, it has always been just like you described, and it did not bother you before ; so nothing has changed, only your state of mind about it. Fix this, by not trying to fix it and letting it run its own courses, and you will get to the other side a better person, changed.

    There is, also, another point of view about impermanence : if stuff constantly disappears, well, guess what ? Stuff also constantly APPEARS. And in fact, there is no appearance or disappearance of anything ; there is just what is. And our “problem” as anxiety sufferers mostly comes from not accepting what is. Theres no way around it other than dealing face to face with what is, and that includes our own suffering ! I think it’s what Paul says, more or less, in his books…

  8. Joey Says:

    A poster named Scarlet who used to post back in 2008-2010ish overcame clinical depression and very severe anxiety using pauls method.

  9. Ramji Says:

    Thank you for the information Joey , it gives lot of hope for my depression issue as this forum mostly talk about Anxiety and i was more skeptical about Depression which is the result of chemical imbalance..

    Though I don’t see much difference between Anxiety and depression but want to make sure …

  10. Kat Says:

    Hi everyone,

    It’s been fairly quiet on the blog the last couple days and I hope that this means most of you are feeling well!

    Unfortunately, I’m not. I’ve been re-reading Paul’s post and I can say, without a doubt, that while it all makes perfect sense, I’m feeling a bit defeated. I’ve been on an upswing for quite a while now, following the advice on this blog (the best of my abilities), and working with my doctor who uses the same method as that outlined here. Out of the blue, for no reason I can discern, I’m in a setback, and the symptoms are so strong that I feel like I’m back at the beginning of this thing. I keep getting hit with waves of panicky feelings, something I haven’t dealt with in ages, my concentration is totally off, and I’m starting to develop the agoraphobic tendencies I had years ago. I’ve never liked going out on my own, but today I made myself do it (go when you feel your worst, or so I’ve been advised), and it started out okay, but I ended up on the verge of a hysterical crying jag. I came home, sat down, and had to stop myself from weeping (daughter has a friend over).

    I think it’s safe to say that I’ve been at this longer than most. I can handle the odd blip, sometimes seek reassurance from those who have recovered, but I’m truly at a loss for why this is hitting me so hard and why it feels so much more unforgiving. Last night, I had a window where I felt the anxiety lift, and I was so grateful for that. It made me believe that I can do this, that I can unlearn the habit of anxiety. Then, today, back to square one, and of course I’m worried about my work week because I have to get there and back, and behave like a normal person while I’m there. It seems like a lot of pressure, and it’s got me really worked up.

    Other than venting (which I apologize for; I know everyone is doing the best they can with this issue), I am looking for someone who has experienced this, too, to show me the light. I know Paul’s post does this to an extent, but the anxiety sufferer in me needs to know that others have experienced this, too, and came out winning. Also, I have a prescription for a sedative which I very rarely ever use, but I am wondering if “giving in” and taking one to calm me goes against the teachings here. It feels that way, but I’m feeling pretty disappointed and upset today. My stance has always been anti-med, but I feel like I need something more than the method outlined here because my thoughts are pretty fuzzy. Has anyone else had success by utilizing meds to get them through rough patches?

    Sorry for the tone of this post. I would love to be able to post something supportive, but at the moment I’m just not feeling it.

    Take care,


  11. Mark R Says:

    Hello Kat,

    Sorry to hear you are struggling. You are certainly not alone in dealing with this a long time, there are a number on here (including me) which anxiety seems to visit periodically. I know the frustration you encounter when you feel that you are “back at square one”….but its a mind trick believe me.
    This was a post I put together on the last topic which you may find useful. Sorry I didn’t get round to finishing it!


    Hi all,

    I’ve noticed on the blog lately that there are quite a few people struggling because their anxiety has returned. If I had one criticism of the two books and this blog is that it kind of falls down in that respect, the assumptiom being that you recover from anxiety and never experience it again. There isn’t enough information if you struggle again.
    Unfortunately for some anxious feelings return for many, even years after being well, myself included. Some stress, strain, illness, or usually in my case a major life change has sensitised us again. It’s been a long and very hard two months for me but I’ve made improvements so I’ve put together a plan of action to help myself if I end up struggling again. I hope it helps someone else. I know how hard it feels when things hit again.

    1. Its okay to be upset when anxious feelings return. Who wouldn’t be? The contrast in feeling great for weeks, months, years would make anyone feel down. You must move on though, feel sorry for yourself for as little time as possible.

    2. Don’t force yourself to accept. If you’re like me when I feel ‘stage one’ symptoms of dread, wretching, crying I tend to try and accept them as quickly as I can to bat them away. Acknowledge you’re having a hard time and move through your day as best you can.

    3. Stick to your routine. Absolutely refuse to isolate yourself because you feel like crap again. Go to work, walk the dog, exercise, football, have sex, hangliding, potholing, whatever floats your boat.

    4. Don’t fall back into old habits. One thing that has mitigated these times for me is to drop old coping behaviours that kept me stuck before. These included constant reassure from books, blogs, friends, isolation, waiting to feel better before I ressumed life etc. Waiting for ‘it’ to go away reinforces that something is wrong and trust me you’ll wait forever.

    5. Reinforce positive actions. Whatever worked in the past will work again for you. If that’s therapy, exercise, hobbies, meditation etc. For me I always like to be productive when I don’t feel great….even if I have a terrible day I can look back on it and feel I have gotten something out of it. Now please don’t do this to avoid how you feel, that’s aversion and it will end up as you running away, and we all know that doesnt work out.

    6. Don’t buy into those silly thoughts. I see it with so many people that when they hit a hard time again the tendancy is to think ‘It took me 3 years last time, I dont want to face that again!’ Just remember that just because you’re sensitised it does not mean a return to long term suffering!

    I’ll think of 7, 8, 9, 10 when I have time. You’re probably thinking that I feel fine now but I don’t in all honesty. I just wanted to impart some things that have helped me.

    Above all else though, if you’ve felt fine for a while then you know that you will be again. Its about sending the right messages to our scared brain that all is well. If we do that then all will be well.

    All for now, I’m off to a play a bad round of golf.


  12. Kat Says:


    Thank you so much for this. I will admit that I having a horrible time accepting, which was never my strong suit to begin with. I am really struggling with your number 6, absolutely. I am doing the whole “it took me so long to get past this, and now it’s back! How will I cope with work and my home life until it passes?!”

    Two years ago, I had a pretty significant setback. It just so happened that my mother died during it, which of course made it harder to recover. I remember moving robotically through my days, my work suffering, always feeling like I was going to burst into tears, and isolating myself at night, trying to meditate myself to sleep. It was a horrible time, and I was so happy when I started to feel like myself again. Now, it feels the same, and even though I have new tools to deal with this, it’s like I have no idea how to use them! So, yes, I’m buying into the silly thoughts, and even though I logically know they’re silly, my body is reacting to them telling me I will never get better.

    I did the grocery shopping, some laundry, tried to do some cycling on the stationary bike (I’m told cardio is excellent to help with this; I am not a fan, I’ll be honest), and did some housework. I guess I’m monitoring things too closely because I have been waiting to feel like myself again, but don’t.

    In short, I feel like I’ve been so surprised by this that I’m doing everything wrong.

    I really appreciate your thoughts, though. I am going to read them again and try to apply them to the days ahead. Thank you.

    Take care,


  13. Andy J Says:

    Posted this on the other blog but thought I’d add it in here as it’s the latest one:

    Hi guys,

    Does any one have any experience of withdrawing from medication?

    I’m now completely off Citalopram and have been feeling absolutely dreadful for the last week or so. My anxiety and irritability are through the roof and I’m struggling with concentration etc.

    I’m pretty keen to stay off them and do this without tablets but was just wondering if any one had any advice on getting through this stage. It’s particularly difficult with the lethargy and lack of motivation.

    Thanks for reading

  14. Ramji Says:

    I was on medication quite a long period of time, I had taken Benzodiazepines, Bupropion , prodep and various Anxiety and Anti-depressant tablets… I really faced a tough time to with draw from all the pills.
    Initial days after withdrawal were terrific I had constant head ach , dizziness , seizures , anxiety etc … believe me your symptoms will calm down day by day the brain need some time to adapt itself to its natural state because these many days your brain was supported by drugs so it will take some time to be drug free ..

    So it takes some time, Depends on how long you were on medication.

    Exercise and a good night sleep will help a bit ..

  15. Laura Says:

    I get it I really do
    I’m feeling similar to you after 3 months of feeling great I had a setback that has lasted for 3 months – I’m fighting, analysing, despairing and buying into all the thoughts that tell me like – I’m never going to get better, and if u have not got it by now then it’s never going to change
    I read through Paul’s last post and it makes complete sense, however it is very difficult to apply and it seems like I apply it and feel great for a few days then wham it’s all back again
    I guess I’m getting stuck in the trap of thinking feeling anxiety and despair / buying into the thoughts means I’m not getting anywhere – when actually I guess it’s part of the process
    Just a question – does a set back mean you get sucked back into ruminating on the thoughts? Or is it just an intense surge of anxiety and thoughts that you manage to ignore
    I seem to be going around in circles rather than adopting the attitude of seeing a set back as necessary?
    Also I think my expectations are a bit ridiculous – that I should not ever get trapped by a thought or that my thoughts will just dissolve
    Such a hard journey ?

  16. John S Says:

    Hello Paul and everyone,

    I have not posted here in years. I came here in 2009 and that is when my recovery began. I had problems for a couple of years and was in deep deep despair. I had depersonalisation and felt dreadful and depressed, weird thoughts etc. I realised i was never accepting as I used to constantly ask questions about when wil I be better and when will i be able to do stuff.
    It was like an epiphany when I realised im trying to accept. I just stopped doing anything and felt dreadful. But I just allowed it. I then started to doing everything and still felt dreadful but started to forget for moments. Then it builds up and you feel a little better. Then you feel bad then you feel better.

    It takes time but the path is always upwards despite setbacks. I know it seems easy to write this but I have been where everyone has been and I am ‘recovered’. I get why this word is used but Im not a massive fan. I like the way Paul says its all about a change of mindset and I adopt it in every aspect of life. Worry achieves nothing and though occasionally I still do I accept anxiety and worry are natural parts of life and i dont try to stop my worrying thoughts. I just dont worry about them!

    Anyway, i always felt it was nice to read when some one came back and said they are a success story so thats why I wanted to post.I was living at my parents in the north when i was bad but I ended up with a good job and then moved to London to enhance my career a few years ago. There was anxiety and worry initially (perfectly normal) and I even had a setback (normal) for a week but I completely embraced it and accepted it. Thats where everyone should aim to be. I could have a setback today and I would be fine with it :)


  17. Jamie Says:

    Brilliant post John. Thanks a lot

  18. Dockies Says:

    Hi i want to share my story to everyone here. I started my first panic attack in 2009 and it was really bad up until 2011 and i really thought i was never going to recover. All i do was to read this blog and all the helpful comments. I did not post a lot because im not great at sharing how i feel especially my panic attacks and my irrational thoughts. I started to feel better beginning of 2011 and even though it was up and down i felt just the same as Paul described it until i was able to see the light easily in each setback. I recovered 2012 but then it all came back 2014 and it was really bad. At first i thought that “ok you’re back, but its fine i know how to defeat you anjd i will be back to normal in a short while” but i was wrong it stayed with me until i felt back to square one and with no hope of recovering again. I guess my mistake was when it came back my initial move was to do everything i can to get back to normal and not just living normal but feeling normal as well (without the emotions and fear)  in the end it fueled my fear and i felt my emotions. I suffer with all the physical and psychological symptoms i have from my first bout- it was really awful. Now as i write this post i am still a little anxious and sometimes i can still feel the panic creeping out of nowhere, but this time my attitude and my perspective have changed. When my anxiety returns i felt defeated and the realization that i might stay like this forever and maybe recovery is really impossible and i will just have to endure and cope with it my entire life scares the hell out of me. Since its return my focus is always to “recover” and get rid of it once and for all and thats what keeps me in the loop. I guess now what recovery means to me is freedom from anxiety, and its not just about not feeling it but also being ok with it when it comes back. For some recovery means that it will stay with them forever but like what Paul says its your perspective of it that makes it all bad. Dont get me wrong i know how hard it is to accept all the symptoms, but whats the alternative? I suffered with it for so long that i am becoming bored of it. And trust me letting it run through you and facing them makes it easier than resisting it the best way we can. 

    For those who experience a return of their anxiety just remember that you were able to get through the other side once and you will again this time. Dont focus on how you get through with it the last time becuase it will only makes you want to fight it, let it come and remember that it did pass before when you allowed it and that alone should empower you today.

  19. Alz Says:

    Bryan , Rich , Doreen and all the people who’ve hlped me out… I am really grateful to you .
    Ive realised (and repeated this several times before) that my hormones have a big role to play when it comes to my anxiety. A week before aunty flo’s vist.. i am a really in bad state. Knowing this should make things better but it does not.. I still fal in the same trap. At this point i just want to move forward… and not lose out on my life. I feel like i could really lose my mind.. some of my thoughts are so irrational and that irrationality does not seem so when ur in the midst of it.. Anyway.. so now when my anxiety does return every once a month in full swing…
    i want to know how to move on .. the fear of seeing images has returned and the fear of losing my mind . Im not going to elaborate on the symptoms.. just need to know how to move on. Also this wouldnt be the best time to talk to my therapist i feel.. she wants me to resume sessions . I have said yes but i feel talkign to her will exacerbate things ( repetiton of how i feel etc)
    Waiting for a response.

  20. Peter Says:

    @John S

    Hey guys….I have DP/DR 24/7….since you are recovered, I just wanted to ask….did you find it was important to take breaks from the blog? Like, by reading on the blog too much, am I not accepting? Just wondering, thanks. :)

  21. John s Says:

    Hi Peter

    Yes I found at first I was coonstantly reading it to try and make myself feel better or understand better. This in a way was fighting. If you are doing anything at all to try and feel better you are fighting.

    DR and DP are offshoots and will be around for a while but that’s fine. Immersing yourself in this place isn’t that beneficial (though understandable).
    I visited less and less and then if a setback came I might visit but I always knew I was on the right path.

    I am now going away with business so won’t be able to post but best wishes to everyone. This site is brilliant and Paul is a hero!


  22. Mark Says:

    Hello Poll. I read your book. I’m from Ukraine. I started coping with his anxiety and imaginary boleznyami.No trouble arose and I had a real disease. Maybe not so serious but I’m very hard to cope with it. On the one hand I understand that it is not so terrible, but on the other I have a concern about that and if I worsen their condition. And yet I am afraid of the disease. I do not have big problems with the stomach. It is necessary to go on a diet. I did it but even the doctors do not allow a lot of goodies. Well, if in short, if I eat a little bad sometimes cookies … and I do not understand it properly, or all I am doing something wrong. On the other hand when it is not always hungry, and getting nervous. Sometimes up to abdominal pain. I’m from Uraine hope you can help me. Sorry for my bad english. And thank you for your work!

  23. Dockies Says:

    Hi Peter,

    You are absolutely right! You need some break from the topic of anxiety. Although the help that this blog provides
    is absolutely spot on, there will come a time when you need to take a break and practice what you read.
    In my expirience reading and spending too much on this blog becomes my new crutch and everytime i feel something i search
    the blog in hope that someone else also expirience it and how to solve this new mystery. I realized that even if im not googling
    my symptoms i was actually doing the same thing but instead of google i use this blog in search for answers that i already know. (That is not accepting especially if you’ve been here long)

    Regarding DP/DR i do have that as well and it was pretty hardcore and the only thing that keeps me from noticing my DP is by reading this blog (maybe because i was too busy learning)
    It was only when i try to live my life and accept that this is going to be me for a while is when the feeling of strangeness lifts up layer by layer.
    constantly worrying about your situation (DP/DR) will only add stress to stress and will only tire your mind thus you have DP/DR.
    I have a friend (who doesn’t have anxiety problems) reviewing for his bar exams, and one day he told me that he feel so tired and feels like his head is floating and he feels no emotions at all,
    his brain was overused thus he expirience DR but because he did not constantly worry and check if he still has it then his DR lifts faster than someone who constantly worries about them.

    Taking a break on this blog and living your life again is going to be hard at first, but thats normal. You will feel shaky, afraid and even panicky but thats understandable,
    a part of your brain (amygdala) is so alert that it is constantly looking out for you and for any possible danger you might encounter (which is almost everything) so you need to
    re train your brain to accept that everything is ok and that he can stop sending your body signals. And if you take a break and start living your life again, please promise your self that you will
    take it easy. Do not measure your progress day by day, it will only dishearten you and you will always feel defeated whenever you have some setback.

    Recovery is not a straight path, sometimes you feel better for months then back to square one. Remember its not about getting on the other side of the tunnel, its about
    not being afraid to go back in because you very well how to get out.

  24. John S Says:

    Just one last thing to kind of follow up on what Dockie said.

    Yes its not great when we feel bad and have all the symptoms etc but its not really about not feeling these symptoms or not.

    Its about not caring if you do. Its getting to the point where you know it will come back and not being bothered if it does. This attitude and mental shift is the key.

    Yes you feel really bad and awful but so what. its an attitude which begins and gets stronger and stronger the more times you go through setbacks and feel bad.

    Never think recovery is about feeling better (which happens as you no longer fight). Recovery is about finally accepting.


  25. Andy J Says:

    Hi John and Dockies,

    Thanks so much for posting your success stories. Its always heartening to hear from people who have been able to get their anxiety under control and understood.

    I am struggling. Right now its DP/DR caused by (I think) coming off Citalopram. As I have read alot on here and by other people such as Chris (who wrote ‘Nothing works’), you dont need medication to manage your anxiety. I tapered off gradually from 20mg to 10 mg every day, to 10mg every other day, over the space of a fortnight. This was done on the advice of my GP. Having done some research it seems like this might have been too quick, but hey ho, I’m sticking with it and resisting going back to the tablets at the minute.

    I have seen numerous therapists, both NHS and private, and as yet seem to be unable to control my anxiety or to thoroughly understand it. My life has been impacted severely for the last four years and everything I have tried to adopt or use hasnt worked, or I havent done it correctly. This as you can imagine has led to huge frustration. My anxiety has also gone from Health to GAD to specific obsessions and now back again to combine with Generalized Anxiety.

    In all honesty, I’m exhausted and have had enough of the fight. I know that just doing nothing and getting on with my life is the way to go, but how do people manage to keep this attitude up when feeling so low and so spaced out? Surely every natural instinct is to try and make yourself feel better, doing whatever you can?

    Am I missing something really simple here? Am I adopting this approach incorrectly? How are we ever able to move on from this when it still causes such issues, despite attempting to allow it to wash over us? How do we float beyond it? What does that even mean? When a thought comes up, surely you have to address it, even subconsciously?

    Sorry if this is a bit of a whinge but I’m just not ‘getting it’.


  26. Dockies Says:

    Hi Andy,

    I understand what you’re going through and I want you to know that its not going to be like that all the time. You said:

    In all honesty, I’m exhausted and have had enough of the fight. I know that just doing nothing and getting on with my life is the way to go, but how do people manage to keep this attitude up when feeling so low and so spaced out? Surely every natural instinct is to try and make yourself feel better, doing whatever you can?

    Feeling low and spaced out is your body’s reaction to stress. You drain your self from adding stress to stress, adding fear to fear thats why you feel so low and spaced out. Our body is like a machine with an alarm system and a fail safe to protect us from any harm. Now to answer your question on how to keep your attitude up is a matter of trusting your self. People who deals with anxiety have their different reasons why they want to fight or figure out their situation. Some are afraid that they might get worst, some are afraid that if they fail to take actions then its gonna be too late, some just wants to feel back to normal and never to feel anxious again. But this are the very reason why they are not moving forward.

    With all of your four years of experience dealing and fighting anxiety has it gone worst than before? Did you feel any better while you keep on fighting the feeling of panic? Where you able to answer how to not feel spaced out or low? Where you able to win? And I bet the answer is no to all of it.

    Like I said I understand where you’re coming from. When I decided to accept my anxiety I have all of your questions as well, I have all of your doubts and fears. But what do I have to loose if I just try to accept even when my body and mind is telling me not to? You said it your self, you’ve been in that situation for so long, then why are you still afraid to let your self loose? No matter what it is that holds you back no matter what your fear is, you know that your body can handle it… You know that you’re not going mad, you know that you’re not getting any worst, and you know that your thoughts are just thoughts. Trust in your self and use your experience as a tool to give you strength. Sometimes accepting becomes easy, sometimes it might post some challenges and you will feel the urge to get on the fighting mode again. When this happens and trust me it will, remember that it will pass again just like before, but dont look for it to happen, let it happen in time without trying to force your self to feel better :)

    You dont have to always feel cheerful when accepting, but thats ok as long you dont get back into fighting and analyzing.


  27. Doreen Says:

    Alz – I really don’t know what you are asking for because everything that could be said by me and Bryan for instance has been said.

    Quoting Johns post from a bit higher up – this is how you move on. You really have no need to ever ask that question again.

    “Yes its not great when we feel bad and have all the symptoms etc but its not really about not feeling these symptoms or not.

    Its about not caring if you do. Its getting to the point where you know it will come back and not being bothered if it does. This attitude and mental shift is the key.

    Yes you feel really bad and awful but so what. its an attitude which begins and gets stronger and stronger the more times you go through setbacks and feel bad.

    Never think recovery is about feeling better (which happens as you no longer fight). Recovery is about finally accepting”

  28. Peter Says:

    Thanks for your replies John and Dockies. I definitely think it would be a good idea for me to drop the subject for a while as I’ve been on the blog for a long time trying to “figure out” acceptance so that I “do it right”.

  29. Tom Says:


    I have dealt with anxiety for 8 years. Over the last two years it was much better and did not bother me. Recently, I had a setback and now feel stuck. My mind keeps feeling completely foggy and I can’t concentrate on anything other than the detached, mentally exhausted feeling. I power through and continue on with my day but I am getting very frustrated. I have an issue with over analyzing and then trying not to analyze which leads to analyzing about anazying and the cycle continues. I know the key is not trying to get rid of the feeling and let your mind do what it needs to do as much of it is related to old habit over the years but it is proving to be a struggle and I am getting frustrated. Any advice?

  30. Andy J Says:

    Hi Dockies,

    Thanks very much for taking the time to reply.

    I think frustration was getting the better of me yesterday, which may be aggravated by withdrawing from my medication.

    I’m going to try and have a break from this Blog and reading about anxiety in general. Constantly reminding myself of the topic is doing nothing to alleviate my symptoms and probably making them a lot worse.

    Thanks again,


  31. Laura Says:

    I don’t often ask a lot of questions on here but I’m in a tough place after seeing my counsellor who has really encouraged me to leave it alone andmove on with things
    I found that for 3 days I was doing a great job but all the while looking over my shoulder for when I would start fighting again

    Over the weekend I completely forgot about anxiety and I was excited but then straight after the thought was “wow this is how everyone else lives life all the time” then wham i was back thinking and analysing etc wishing that was my story

    I have so much trouble accepting this is me for now, that my kids are growing up and I’m missing out on so much joy because I’m up in my head fighting, avoiding, analysing etc

    I can’t really imagine life other than this state so I’m feeling a bit depressed for the first time in ages

    I go about my day as best I can, working, socialising, being a mum to my 3 kids etc but I’m always in fear of an onslaught of thoughts that I just can’t allow to pass on through – could anyone help with how they manage the cyclical thinking and the downward spiral? I don’t mind the physical anxiety symptoms so much – it’s just the thoughts that get me.

  32. Alz Says:

    Thanks Doreen,
    what you just said : “Its about not caring if you do. Its getting to the point where you know it will come back and not being bothered if it does. This attitude and mental shift is the key.” is spot on. Knowing your brain and the tricks it can play is key.. having faith is key but sometimes u falter and don’t know how far your brain can go.. its this fear and the consequent loss of control that one fears… i want to have that confidence and faith . Right now i think im still in the fear mode.. letting go is not easy because u dont know what the end mgiht be .. but i guess thats where you listen to ppl like yourself, Rich, Bryan and Paul who’ve been there done that and traversed to the other side.
    My bro in law had anxiety for 9 years and now he’s so used to it that it doesnt bother him.. he knows that when he’s anxious he’s tapped the irrational part of his brain. Ofcourse it took him time… I want to b there.. i want to know how to crack the simple yet not so simple code to dealing with anxiety- acceptance and understandign.

  33. Clare Says:

    Hi all I’m slowly on the recovery from anxiety had it 5 months now and read Paul’s book amazing!!but I have one last hurdle to overcome I go out with friends and do everything I’m supposed to do and. It worry about the anxiety but I have one thought that doesn’t subside it’s the thought of.death and dying I’m 28 years old I shouldn’t be thinking like this when it pops in my head I can’t help but feel the fear come on, I’m a mother of 3 beautiful children I just want to enjoy every moment with them instead of thinking one day I will die, has anyone got any advice on how to squish this thought so I can finally move on with my life and enjoy it instead of fearing what is inevitable and I cannot change x

  34. Debbie Says:

    Happy thanksgiving to all and may we all find peace within ourselves.

  35. Katrina Says:

    I found this great article online today (Í wasn’t searching, popped up in my Facebook feed) thought it was worth sharing as it aligns itself with Pauls teachings.

  36. Derrick Says:

    Hi All – I’m a 6 year veteran of anxiety. I fought hard for the first 3 years or so because I was searching for a medical problem that I was sure must be the cause. Once I accepted that it was simply anxiety, I tried CBT, SSRIs, SNRIs, Benzos, and even RTMS (magnetic pulses on your brain), and none of it did anything to help.

    I then found resources like Claire Weekes and Paul. Then things started to change. It happens for me in blocks of time, where I begin feeling and believing that my anxious thoughts and sensations are not reality. This is very cool, and I realize that for several weeks anxiety and all of its sensations and thoughts are not bothering me because I am not engaging with them. I find myself just living normally, and it is wonderful. I can even laugh about the ringing in my ears or the blurry vision and light sensitivity etc.

    Of course I have experienced regular setbacks. For me these hit hard after a great period of acceptance, and I am sure they are intense and long lasting because I unwittingly try to cling to the peace I just experienced in the good period of acceptance. The “what ifs” start up in full force and i’m off to setback land! My setbacks typically last longer than my accepting periods (I wish it was the other way around). The most important thing I have learned is that they always end. There is no way to force acceptance or speed its return up. I just have to carry on with life no matter how I feel.

    I see that Paul put a time frame on his total recovery at 10 months. I will need much longer. Perhaps many years, but I am determined to achieve lasting acceptance one day. There will be no greater accomplishment for my personal growth than that. So for today I will do my best to accept racing “what if” thoughts, a total lack of motivation, and despair at having another setback, and live my life as normally as possible. I have a full time job, an amazing family, and plenty to do. Time to stop overthinking all of this and just live my life. The next good period is just around the corner and will show up in its own time.

    I hope this is helpful for some of you who are feeling hopeless. No matter how you feel right now, it will pass.


  37. Doreen Says:

    Great post Derrick.

  38. Clare Says:

    Hi all I’m slowly on the recovery from anxiety had it 5 months now and read Paul’s book amazing!!but I have one last hurdle to overcome I go out with friends and do everything I’m supposed to do and. It worry about the anxiety but I have one thought that doesn’t subside it’s the thought of.death and dying I’m 28 years old I shouldn’t be thinking like this when it pops in my head I can’t help but feel the fear come on, I’m a mother of 3 beautiful children I just want to enjoy every moment with them instead of thinking one day I will die, has anyone got any advice on how to squish this thought so I can finally move on with my life and enjoy it instead of fearing what is inevitable and I cannot change x

  39. Bryan Says:


    Fantastic post and I must say the slow, exaggerated recovery is the kind I have experienced as well. Things are good. But like you it’s been a long haul and I can hit very bumpy stretches. But my reaction to them is night and day better than long ago.

    It’s important that people know some of us just need more time. It’s not always an ah-ha moment for everyone. But the shift happens if we stay committed and thr rewards show join this own time, as you said.

  40. Alz Says:

    Derrick you’ve posted really well . I’m having a setback and this time my thoughts are about not being able to function at work ( something iv been doing so well for the past 4 months ) -this thought has just come and won’t go. Then the thought of opening a door ad entering a different zone ( weird right? ) or people’s faces morphing into scary ones . Basically anxiety is finding more tricks to scare me and make me think I’m losing touch with reality BUT I’m going on .. I’m going on despite feeling Ill never recover .. that from here on is madness . I’m letting all these thoughts come and for once I’m letting myself give in to all the thoughts … I actually give up . I can’t win . The fears will take a new form – yes it’s scary,it’s horrible – the thought of losing out on reality and going into a different zone but if that’s what’s meant to happen then I can’t control it , it’ll happen . I’m going to go on with my life and if at this point I think I won’t be able to function at work , will zone out , start seeing people looking odd , imagining a different world then so be it … I’m actually scared but at the same time letting go like paul said …

  41. Eitan Says:

    Hey guys, I can’t seem to stop myself from analyzing and monitoring myself. Everyday my fear is different. Three days ago it was if I have dysthmia all my life, two days ago it was whether i’m faking everything and yesterday it was if i’m actually gay. Then today I was reading about Franz Kafka and it said he possibly had schizoid personality disorder and some of his traits seemed similar to mine. Now i’m getting anxious that I have this.

    This is the 5th time I’ve done this. I’ve feared i’m borderline, narcissistic, histrionic, sociopathic, etc. Sometimes I don’t even feel anxious which makes me anxious! It’s like I question if i’m purposely making myself anxious to feel normal or whatever. I just can’t let go of this obsession with myself. I wish I could just accept it as not having enough self-confidence and anxiety, but it keeps telling me somethings deeply wrong with me and I need to figure it out to fix my life.

  42. Horton Says:

    I could use some help:
    I recently recovered after what was a really great year of life. I got my BA and got amazing marks, went out with friends twice a week and just had a kickass time abroad. It was quite wonderful, as it entered the summer I came home to Greece and had a wonderful time with my family in our new home. By the end of the summer I finally felt myself, able to do anything. I finally starting writing again as that is my hobby. I know you’d say I should have been writing all this time, but is something I find I simply cannot do- it’s too grounded in my personality. I also am unable to ‘perform’ with women when I’m in ‘anxiety mode’ so I have come to realize there are some things I just can’t do while I’m like this. So I don’t do those things, out of inability rather than fear. Anyway a week after reaching full recovery my father, from whom I have been estranged from came, and it set everything off again- a kneejerk reaction and four months later I’m the worst I’ve ever been. It’s crazy how much quicker it get’s worse than better!
    That great year in which I recovered has now been swept under the rug and all my past successes are gone. I’m quite upset because I was so proud of how I did it.
    But now I’m at home for this year, which was something i was excited for when I was recovered but am confused by now that I’ve ‘relapsed.’ I don’t know the best course of action really- I mean I was hoping I would write this year but like I said I’m not capable of it right now. I help out my family a lot, look after 5 dogs, have no social anxiety problems and I go running twice a week (have done so since way before my anxiety and I keep it up now.)
    I’m having difficulty forgiving myself for throwing a year of incredible work away the moment I got better and I’m having difficulty knowing what to do now that I don’t have uni to apply myself to.
    I mostly struggle with depersonalization that makes me feel like the past year never happened and really bad intrusive thoughts involving bad memories of my two years stint of anxiet that I had forgiven and forgotten as I started to recover.
    Thank you for your time and patience,

  43. Horton Says:

    What I’m asking is:
    Is some quiet time enough? Sitting at the beach, going for walks, taking photographs, helping distract my brother (who is going through a rough patch of his own), looking after my mom (who is also going through a rough patch), looking after my grandma, feeding our three big dogs, cuddling our puppies, smiling at neighbors, playing some videogames, going for swims (really wakes you up in the winter), drawing pictures… etc. Is that where I’ll find recovery?

    But I have so much difficulty letting go of the fact that I was finally ME again. I was just so interested in meeting myself, exploring my wonderful mind and the wonderful world around me. It felt like a new beginning for me and my brother was so pleased to have his best friend back. I’m just so mad that I let a little blip turn into a full blown relapse- wiping out that year. And I really struggle with intensives as mine are all true! They involve how much I lost my identity during anxiety and the out of character things it made me do. Made me act self destructively and cruelly and all these things that are so against everything I stand for. It’s shocking to think I could have been that person. I had forgiven and forgotten it all roughly 5 months before I recovered, as the real me finally started to show up again- but now that I’m back in anxiety mode I remember it all so vividly and although I am not doing those things now I get terrified at how unlike myself I was for those first 2 years of anxiety.

  44. Bryan Says:


    You’re telling us your symptoms again. Do you feel like that’s helped you recover over the past year or so you’ve done this regularly?


    -A setback doesn’t mean your good period was lost. It’s just a setback. Common and as Claire Weeks would say, expected.

    -We all act differently when struggling. That’s not unique. However, we also can take responsibility and control our actions when anxious or struggling.

    -I suggest re-reading Paul’s setback section in his new book until you know it by heart. Nothing anyone can post here will explain it any better than that.

    Setbacks suck for sure. There’s just no denying it. But they are temporary and fleeting.

    The amount of time we spend analyzing and trying to ward off a setback is in direct correlation with how long it will will last and how deeply it will affect our emotional state. It’s hard. No question. But the answer remains the same…

  45. Katrina Says:

    Hi All,
    Alz I can see your making a lot of progress, and I think its ok that you post about your symptoms, everyone does to some degree, seeking validation and support I thought was the whole purpose of this blog. I’ve certainly done it and pretty much everyone else on here has. I’m not sure why she keeps getting told not to post comments about her symptoms from particular members in a turse tone. If it’s a frustration then don’t respond let someone else provide the supportive and comforting words that have helped us all move forward. There have been so many wonderful supportive people who have recovered and came back to offer support to us who are still stuck and have done it in a gentle compassionate manner. I find reading about peoples symptoms to be validating as I know we are all suffering and experiencing the same thing and it helps us to reduce the worry that we are not alone nor are going mad. Is there a new rule that we can’t post about a symptom that is troubling us? I think Alz has been somewhat targeted, and I think she offers equal advice and seeks reassurance, which we all have done and will continue to do unless this is no longer appropriate. If so then perhaps some of us can leave the blog because I’m finding it distressing to constantly read replies that seem unhelpful and unfair towards one person.

  46. Alz Says:

    and yes katrina.. I do need support.. when RICH wrote back ot me it really helped… right now i’m really trying to pull it together… telling my symptoms and hearing other people feel the same way and recovered , feels comforting.. If u think im being targeted then perhaps its true?

  47. Melissa Says:

    Hi Alz,

    I apologize for being M.I.A. I recently got married and as soon as that was done I went through a setback. Makes sense…my life was filled with planning and joy from the wedding and then from one day to the next the wedding was done and I felt a void…so then my OCD kind of got a bit out of hand. I was on the blog, but had no advice to offer because I was not doing good. I also did not want to seek reassurance because in my experience it makes me feel worse in the long run.

    Alz, I think that that is what people are referring to when it comes to you writing your symptoms. I really do not think people are saying anything maliciously, but just for your greater good in the long run. We can talk about symptoms all day and night. Anxiety likes to trip us up and throw in some new symptoms, or make the ones we have feel 100 times worse…at the end of the day it is all just anxiety…not schizophrenia, not BPD, not Bipolar, not psychosis…just plain ol’ anxiety.

    I first got anxiety a year and a half ago. For the first 4 months (before I found this site and Paul’s book) I kept going online to seek reassurance. It made me feel better instantly…but then I felt worse. I was not learning to live with my anxiety, I was comparing my anxiety to everyone else’s and even to other disorders too. I know you are scared right now, but I will not offer you any reassurance. Not because I do not want you to do better, but because it will hinder you in the long run. Trust me. Trust us. You know what you need to do…it will take you time to truly get it I think. And that is okay. Remember what I told you before? Be patient with yourself.

  48. Laura Says:

    Hey guys
    I’m really struggling at the moment – I actually think this is the worst I’ve ever been
    I went of meds and Im now having trouble sleeping – ive never had trouble sleeping. I can’t concentrate on anything and the anxiety is out of controls I’m struggling to work and socialise and I usually the most outgoing fun loving person
    Everything seems so scary, and I’m trying to accept but it’s like my brain is not registering like it used to. I had a great day on sat bevause it all clicked – then progressively I got worse and now I’ve unwillingly given up
    I think I have this attitude “what’s the point – I get so far then it’s all back”
    I know this is wrong but it’s how I’m seeing it – it’s like I can’t get clarity or see it through different eyes
    I did on sat and it made all the difference
    I’m scared of the thoughts and I can’t due the life of me let go of control
    I’m not sure what I’m expecting but I’ve got nothing left and I just need to chat it through with others who understand

  49. Laura Says:

    Just to add I would love to be able to apply Paul’s technique, and I have which is how I got better – but I have completely lost lost the realisation I had and I can’t seem to get it back

  50. Prag Says:

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks so much for your blog. I can not tell you how much it helped in my recovery. I am almost at very last stage of recovery. Although i have only one worry left that trouble me most, it is my blood pressure. I am always worry about my medical condition [however i don’t have any thing to worry.]. When ever i go to doctor, when doctor check my blood pressure i got anxious about it would be higher. It comes around 140/90 range [Is it normal when you are anxious?]. some time it comes around 128/78 range. But i always worry about that my BP causing this anxious feeling. However it is other way around. How to deal with this kind of anxiety. I am almost recover, this is last thing i want to let it go. Again i do not want get rid of these feelings but want to let it go and don’t won’t afraid of this feelings/thinking.

    Thanks in advance for help and kind words. will wait for your response.

  51. Mark R Says:


    I feel for you as you are going through the same struggle as me these last few months. You have a day where you feel completely fine then it is of your grasp again. If I could give one bit of advice is to not see these time as ‘accepting’ on the days where you feel okay and not when you feel anxious. If you are going about your day then you are accepting regardless of how you feel. Also try and see these flashes of clearness as a sign that whatever you are doing is working, they will get longer and longer. Promise.


    Knowing Bryan as I do he would never say anything to anyone on here other than to help them.
    I do agree that repeating symptoms wont really help. In my last therapy session my therapist said something that struck a chord…every action we take as a human has a purpose. If you could step back and think what the purpose of repeating symptoms each day on here I reckon it would come back to ‘How do I get rid of this?’. It’s not really accepting in all honesty. I know this because Its something I do sometimes and I’ve tried to stop, as it is detrimental.
    It’s true that coming on here and seeking support is comforting in the short term but long term it will keep you stuck. It may seem curt and cold from people like Bryan, Doreen and me but we’ve seen that the people who seek less reassurance, apply acceptance the way it is advised are the ones who move forward.
    We all know how you feel. Every single one of us have felt how you do but we know what works, that’s what we are trying to impart here. As Melissa said trust in yourself. Try and immerse yourself in hobbies etc. One thing that helped me was to list all the things I did ‘pre anxiety’ and do one a day….I bet like most you have a big list that your mind tells you isn’t worth doing?! In time life will take over again and you’ll see anxiety as nothing more than as a slight annoyance but you need to take the first leap yourself.


  52. Peter Says:

    Hey all.

    This is kind of weird, but I have OCD along with feelings of unreality and all that stuff, so because I’m desperate to recover from my generalized anxiety, I obsess about how to “do acceptance the right way”. I’m worried I’ll do it “wrong” and so I won’t be on the path to recovery but spend more unnecessary time suffering from anxiety.

    I just want to “get it right”. My OCD intensifies this, as OCD is all about doubts and if I commit to acceptance I start worrying maybe I’m doing something wrong. It’s very silly. What makes it even more silly is that I discovered Paul David and Claire Weekes about two years ago, and have been obsessing about how to accept the right way pretty much every day since that time… Could anyway help me out? I guess I have to face uncertainty and accept the possibility that I’m doing something wrong…

  53. Laura Says:

    Thanks Mark for your reply
    I feel like we are going through a similar time, like you I also do everything (sometimes a bit too much to avoid feeling anxious) and I try not to be impressed by my thoughts and feelings – but lately it’s got so bad I can’t imagine feeling normal again
    My main thought that troubles me is I can’t even guarantee a time in the day that I can relax and gain relief. One thing that helps with this is reminding myself that there are many others in this world who can’t gain relief for reasons other than anxiety – and they too need to accept where they are at as it is was it is. If they fought it then no doubt they would also end up in this state – as anything we fight instead of accept grows stronger
    It’s helping me to write this so I’m hoping it will help you too Peter

    Peter I think many of us do the same thing you have suggested – with the wanting to do acceptance right – although I have not figured it all out (it’s hard to do with a tired mind) I come back to what I said above and that you do not need to accept and enjoy it – but accept and allow it to do its thing – and the thoughts that come with it – although terrifying – must be seen as a product of the adrenaline and not real
    I can say this now as I’m not in a heightened state of anxiety – this process is more difficult for me to apply when it’s coming on strong
    I can’t tell you how much of a blessing this site has been to me, to be able to chat through stuff with others who understand and to know that we can support each other from different parts of the world (I’m in Australia)
    I do understand what people say about not using it as a crutch – but I also think that if it is used in the right way it provides the reminders and encouragement we need

  54. Fleur Says:

    Hi all. I have only 1 guestion and then I want to accept without fear.
    My situation:
    I didn´t have a moment of calmness for 1,5 year. Everybody talks here about setbacks and moments of clarity but I really hadn´t. Yes I have medium and high anxiety but that´s it.
    I have strange head feelings, something between tremor and twitching. When this stops for few days I have panicky feelings from everything. I feel that adrenalin and through these days I can´t do much. And when finally it subsides I have depressed thoughts. „What´s the point“. I give you example. „I should learn a new language, spanish. Oh no, what´s the point, why should I know new language, when I have anxiety. And these 3 things are circulating. When it´s not physical, I am panicky or depressed. Before 1,5 years I had only panicky feelings for 1 week and then 1 week of normality. But since then my anxiety is here every moment. So my guestion. Am I normal? Is it possible be in anxiety so wired that I don´t have a happy (normal) moment? If I had it I would be happy and accept that normality is still deep inside. But I don´t know if I am able to be like before anxiety.
    I am really sorry for negativity, but I would be really glad to know answer to this. I don´t have setbacks because I am still down. Thank you….

  55. julie Says:

    Hi all,

    Hope everyone is well. I have a question for the ladies or maybe a man can input lol! I have been feeling better in the last month, I had my bloods done and had some very good news about my health conditions so it gave me a real boost. Then out of the blue 2 weeks ago I started with a racing general anxiety and panic attacks. I’m not one for panic attacks and I have had 4 in the last 2 weeks. I cope and they pass but one lasted 28 hours (no joke) and I had to carry on being a mum and wife through it, which I did and was proud of myself.

    I am pretty sure this is hormonal, too much info but I am on the pill for heavy periods, I have been on it 4 years now and it’s done wonders for me and my iron levels. The last 2 months I’ve had very light periods on the week off and noticed this cycle it ramped up my anxiety, it really did feel hormonal. I can tell when it’s hormones because in the past I have had the odd month where on that week off my pill I get this hormonal anxiety, which is what I have had the last 2 weeks. My plan is to come off it but I’ve decided to do it in the new year because coming off the pill can really mess up hormones for a few months which I don’t need before Christmas incase it makes things even worse.

    So my question is if you’ve had hormonal type anxiety, where it’s a general surging and the odd panic from it, does acceptance still work? ie will it calm it or I am guessing that’s impossible if it’s being caused by hormones out of sync. I am puzzled as only 2 weeks ago I couldn’t believe how well and calm I felt and at last my health was improving so I felt a lot less anxious about my future, life was great, then wham this hit out of the blue. It’s also taken my mood a little low, which is unusual as I was really happy and positive. Hormones have a lot to answer for! 😉


  56. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Julie,

    Personally, I avoid the pill or anything that interferes with normal hormonal function. I was on the pill a few years ago only for a few months, and it messed me up for awhile. But anyways, you’re right, hormones can play a big role in anxiety/depression. Sometimes the few days before my period I can lose my mind – not literally obviously, just that something as simple as making the bed makes me anxious. I’ve come to recognize that this is hormonal, so I stop letting it phase me so much (i.e. adding secondary anxiety). I go about my day as best as I can. So yes, acceptance always work. But remember, the point of acceptance isn’t to remove the feelings. It’s letting the feelings be there without questioning, agonizing, avoiding, etc.

  57. Julie W Says:

    Hi all,
    I haven’t been on here since before summer. Took a break from this blog and any other anxiety related websites. My intrusives are still there, but they don’t scare me or bother me so much. I’ve finally accepted that they are there and may always be, and I just get on with things. Still have occasional days of heightened anxiety but they pass. So in general, I don’t feel very anxious but what I can’t shake is the self awareness still. From the minute I get up until I go to bed, I am doing everything I normally do, but the self awareness follows me everywhere (thinking of my condition). I read a post Paul did on this and I’m following this, but I can’t shake it. Any comments? I assume I just don’t worry about it and if it’s there, so be it. Does it eventually fade (i will say it’s not a fierce as it used to be, but it’s still there) or should I just get used to it possibly being there forever and not care? I have OCD and I seem to obssess over this. Funny thing is, I went away for a big trip this summer, had a great time and pretty much forgot about this. As soon as I came back, it started following me around again. It can zap the joy out of things. Any comments are appreciated.

    Hope everyone is progressing. I do really suggest taking a break from this blog if you find yourself continually on it, it really did help me!

  58. Julie Says:

    Hi Stephanie.

    Thank you. I went on the pill 4 years ago for very heavy periods, I was desperate. Being so against the pill I refused for a long time to take it. My iron was so low and I felt ill for 2 weeks every month, so I gave in and took it. I’ve not had any issues on it anxiety wise, sometimes I feel a bit hormonal on my weeks break but nothing too bad. Until this cycle and it has felt very hormonal. Plus the last 2 cycles I’ve had very light loss and sore breasts so that does tie in with me feeling it’s hormonal. I was going to stop it now as I’m on my weeks break and due to re start tomorrow but I’m concerned about doing that so close to Christmas. Im concerned incase the hormones go even more haywire as my body adapts plus the risk of a heavy period over Christmas. So my plan is next month to stop it on my weeks break which is over Christmas.

    Your reply is helpful. I shall just accept it and I guess it’s reassuring I know why it’s happening. If it wasn’t christmas month I’d stop it this cycle but I googled and read so many people felt very hormonal for a few months so my husband says it’s better the devil you know until after Christmas lol! I was ill last year and I’ve been looking forward to this one so much.

    Thank you again for replying.

  59. Bryan Says:


    Congrats on making such progress. While things may not feel perfect for you, this is a massive improvement in approach for you. Really glad to read it. I hope you can continue doing exactly what you’ve been doing… and let it all continue to pass through.

  60. Steve b Says:

    Hi Clare. The death thought is my “thing” as well. Never really far from my mind. Not really a lot I can suggest. The more you think about it the less hard hitting it is which is the only comfort I can give. For me anyway.

  61. Peter Says:

    Thanks for you response Laura.

    Yeah…I’m sure everyone could worry a bit that they’re not accepting the “right way”. But for me…I’ve taken it to a whole new level! Going through old posts, I notice that some people recovered by not visiting the blog anymore and just dropping the subject and getting on with life, I noticed that some people recovered by continuing to visit the blog. So I worry about which one is the “correct” approach. Well, I guess that’s sort of an irrational thought, since either one could potentially work, as evidenced by the people who recovered.

    I get the idea of acceptance, but then my mind picks up on these certain “variables” that I have to do right to “get” the correct solution to the equation (recovery!). OCD can be quite annoying.

    I’m also sort of a perfectionist (I think that’s a common feature of OCD and anxiety), so I have to either drop the subject entirely or not drop it all. For some reason, in my thinking, there’s no middle ground. Maybe the correct way to proceed is to hang out around the blog and absorb the ideas (though I think I’ve already done that, I really “get” the message), and just take breaks from time to time. A middle ground.

    Anyway, I’m not really sure if anyone here can help me. I feel like I have a very unique problem in that my OCD and perfectionism are so intense. At some point though, I just have to call the OCD’s bluff!

  62. Julie W Says:

    Thanks so much Bryan. Sometimes its hard to see the improvements yourself, but when others see it, it can really boost motivation. Blessings to you

  63. Laura Says:

    I think the acceptance in more about the fact you can’t change this process by fighting so accept it for what it is – and do your best to getvtheough your day without engaging in the thoughts or believing them
    It’s so hard though, especially at night as now I’m having trouble sleeping – which has never happened to me before
    I totally understand Paul’s approach but it is practicing it that I’m having trouble with as I just can’t seem to let go as my thoughts are very strong – telling me to get involved
    Can anyone else suggest how they manage the thoughts like “you have tried to apply this approach before and it worked but now you are in the worst setback ever”
    It’s just hard to focus on anything except the anxiety – even though I know it’s not going to help

  64. Rich Says:

    Hi All, I’ve not posted in ages, as I’ve no new advice to give that either hasn’t already been given or isn’t covered by Paul’s posts under which we all post. This last post (point 1) really stuck a chord with me.

    In the last 2 years I have planned my wedding, got married, gone on honeymoon, been on a road trip and gone through some fairly stressful stuff. Next year should be interesting because I am soon to become a father and move house. Exciting right? I need to remember this!

    Anxiety levels are high, I’ve gone backwards in regards to how I feel, which makes me think I’ve not gone backwards at all, but simply was not recovered in the first place. Or, I got my head in the right place but then allowed old habits to creep back in, lowering me into a setback caused by stress, or just life. Either way, I need a reminder on how to manage this thing, so here I am.

    I worry about lots of things. It doesn’t matter what. My symptoms are the same. It doesn’t matter what. My mistakes handling it all are the same. Pre-emptive anxiety and over-thinking remain. Constant self-awareness.

    So what am I doing? well I’m not ‘not’ doing – I’m not cancelling plans or hiding away, but I am being kind to myself. I’ve a lot on, so I just need to keep perspective and do everything I need to do.

    Just thought I’d give you all an update. I hope you’re all well and are making progress in getting your heads around how to put anxiety to one side and live your lives. It’s not a straightforward exercise.

  65. Rich Says:

    Julie, Hi! I hope you’re well. Quick message just for you – PTSD, Hyperthyroidism, OCD, GAD, Heavy Periods (thanks for that), the Pill, and any other label or condition that causes anxiety you like to stick to it; it really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what the cause of your anxiety is, it’s all anxiety. You’ve been told this before but I’m telling you again. Manage your response to anxiety and you manage anxiety no matter its source.

    You’ll be OK. If you look back at the years you’ve been posting here, your survival rate is 100%. That’s not bad you know.

  66. Rich Says:

    Alz, As everyone else has said above, any comment to you is to help you. Some people here have seen others use the blog (and heaven knows what other websites and books and therapists) as a crutch – a comfort blanket.

    True help is to empower you to recover, which you have to do yourself. The answers have been given. Next, you need application. This should be your goal and you should always be moving towards it.

    You have the strength within you to do this. Good luck :)

  67. Doreen Says:

    Rich – good to hear from you and congratulations on news about becoming a Dad. As you know my posts usually consist of the message that ‘stuff’ even good ‘stuff’ can cause the anxiety symptoms to well up again. And that is understandable. The trick is to accept that’s whats happening and not to ‘grow’ the anxiety into becoming all embracing. I am making reference here to your comment:

    I worry about lots of things. It doesn’t matter what. My symptoms are the same. It doesn’t matter what. My mistakes handling it all are the same. Pre-emptive anxiety and over-thinking remain. Constant self-awareness.

    I am sure you know this really as you are a veteran and a great support to others even when feeling less than OK.

  68. Rich Says:

    Thanks Doreen, I worry about everything (GAD) so I tend to pull the negatives out of things and then worry about them, even things that are positive and exciting things to most other people.

    Being an expert is somewhat unhelpful (knowing what to look out for makes you hyper-alert), but at least it provides no confusion about what’s going on, which immediately gives me an advantage to overcoming any fear of them.

    I tend to only post when I need reassurance (tonight is no exception) or when in a setback, but luckily the process remains the same for me as it does for everyone else.

    I think of all the things I’ve gone through and worried about, becoming a father and wanting them to be happy, healthy and anxiety-free is perhaps the biggest one of them all. My main fear here is being a good father and not letting them down. I think this is pretty natural though, even for people who don’t worry about everything.

    Part of me believes though that this may just be what I need to pull myself up and back into life again. I’ll let you know how it goes :)

  69. Bryan Says:

    Hey Rich,

    You’re going to absolutely love being a dad. You’re perfectly cut out for this job, anxious or not. I have to say that my daughter was at times the only reason I made it through my struggle. During my darkest times, she was a distraction, a responsibility, a diversion and a reason to keep going. I owe so much to her, and she had no idea what she was doing for me. She was busy just being a kid.

    Yes it’s a lot of work, but you’re not adverse to work. The worrying… well like you said, that’s normal. And once the big day is here, you’ll realize that there is no time for worrying. lol. You’ll have your hands full, but in a way you’ll be truly grateful for.

    Situational worry wasn’t my primary thing. However, as you know… I just went through a big wedding and I have to admit, it created event-driven worry for me. So I know right where you are. I’d tell you to “just not worry” about it but we know that’s not how it works. I can only tell you that this worry is going to vanish very soon and be replaced with love, care and responsibility… and sometimes sleeplessness and exhaustion. :)

    It’s another chance to apply the mindset which helped you recover to this point, and you know just what to do in that regard.

    Excited for you!

  70. Peter Says:

    Hey all.

    As said, I worry about doing acceptance the “right way”. Some people I’ve spoken to said that moving away from the subject was something that really helped them recover. And Paul talks about it with the “Anxiety Backpack” chapter in his new book. I worry that coming here, or reading Paul’s book over and over, represents me “fighting” and so isn’t accepting. I don’t want to tell anyone else what to do though, I’m just talking about for me.

    When I first read Paul’s book two years ago, I thought that was what he meant. To sort of drop the subject. And the reason I thought this is because all the years I’ve had anxiety, I’ve been obsessing, researching, going to a lot of websites and forums, trying to “figure out” how to get rid of this thing and make it go away. I would try approach A for a day and if it wasn’t gone by the next morning I would be back to trying to work it all out. Eventually I realized that acceptance made sense, and then I found Paul and Claire Weekes and they confirmed it for me. Since I spent all my time on websites, and trying to figure it all out, reading books and trying to figure it all out, I figured the way to recover would be the opposite of this. Acceptance, for me, would be the opposite of this.

    Anyway, what do you all think? Is moving away from the subject a vital part of acceptance? I know I’m probably overthinking it. I have pretty intense OCD, although I’ve gotten over many of my old obsessions by doing exposure therapy. But that kind of OCD, perfectionistic thinking is causing me to worry about getting acceptance “just right”.

    Sorry for the long post, but I’ve really been struggling with this for quite some time.

  71. Laura Says:

    I totally understand Paul’s approach but it is practicing it that I’m having trouble with as I just can’t seem to let go as my thoughts are very strong – telling me to get involved
    Can anyone else suggest how they manage the thoughts like “you have tried to apply this approach before and it worked but now you are in the worst setback ever”
    It’s just hard to focus on anything except the anxiety – even though I know it’s not going to help
    I’m not doing so well and I’m struggling to get to work – I found the blog 1year ago so you’d think I’d be in a better place by now – bit desperate and have limited hope for a good outcome

  72. John Says:

    Have read blog off and on for the last 4 months. Great stuff here. Question I have can set backs be more intense than original onset of anxiety. My anxiety started in the summer, then had relief from mid October to mid November. Then bam, comes back worse than before. Thanks

  73. Eitan Says:


    I understand. I still have the OCD Compulsions where I try to figure out the truth and validity of my scary thoughts and it’s awful. It has me convinced at times I’m a sociopath, narcissistic, borderline, histrionic, schizoid, aspbergers, schizophrenic, gay, murderer, psychopath, insane, a fake, incapable of love, messed up human being. It’s just your imagination and letting the thoughts or physical sensations be there without judgement is acceptance. You don’t think about the real you or feeling like your old self, you just let it be whatever it is.

    Either way, it’s about dropping compulsions that will help you move towards acceptance. Being off this blog and being busy will help the most. I also try to work it out in my head so i get the feeling right that i know who i am and that my thoughts are wrong but it never works. You need to drop it completely and accept the possibility of the fear, for the fog to disappear.

  74. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Peter,

    First, you need to drop all labels. Every time you tell yourself “I have intense OCD”, you are only reaffirming to yourself that there is something wrong with you. Words are powerful. Instead, tell yourself something like, “I am in recovery.”

    Second, in regards to doing things “the right way”, this is from “Nothing Works”: There is no incorrect way to react to inappropriate anxiety/panic, it is utterly safe, utterly benign, it’s just a pain in the balls. It is much more beneficial to view each experience in relation to discovery than failure. Failures are merely discoveries of a strategy with a non-beneficial outcome that can be eliminated in future. It’s not what happens, it’s how we react.

    In other words, you need to find what works for you, what your specific roadblocks/crutches are. For some people, coming on this blog might be a crutch. For others, maybe it’s always complaining to family/friends.

    I will say, spending your time trying to figure out “the right way” isn’t beneficial. Spend your time living your life. If that thought wants to be there, fine, let it be there in the background. Let it be there as long as it wants, screaming at you, but don’t give it any more importance than you would a thought like “It’s cold today.”

  75. Jamie Says:

    Wise words Stephanie.
    Are you “in recovery” then ?

  76. Bryan Says:


    Great points. If we have a cold we don’t say we have RND (runny nose disorder) and SFS. (Sneezing frequently syndrome.) It’s just a cold.

    The proliferation of these micro-labels comes from doctors who want to be able to hand out drugs and those experiencing symptoms are usually all too ready to accept a label as they feel it offers a safety net of treatment. (“I have XYZ label but it’s ok because I’m under doctor’s care.”)

    Of course the irony is that these labels keep us stuck, like you said. To me the simplest approach is to just chalk it all up to stress… because that’s 100% accurate. Everyone on this board is or has experienced the effects of stress build up on their nervous system. That’s all this is.

    To me, even “in recovery” might be a bit to suggestive that one is trapped and must escape something. (Though I understand why you use that phrase and wisely so.) But really it’s all just stress. We have bumpy times and stress symptoms. We all experience it differently but none of it needs special attention or labeling. Your advice to focus outwardly on life and to carry it all along with you is the key IMO.

    The disclaimer is that it can be brutally hard at times. That’s fair to recognize.
    But the answer never changes. The lifestyle and mindset that leads to normal mental and physical functioning is always the same. Regardless of how special we think our own stress expressions may be.

  77. Felicia Says:

    Hey everyone~!

    I’m almost fully recovered, no physical symptoms and barley any mental either… I’m basically 98% there. I’m currently stuck on one issue that I can’t make myself get over.

    I understand every irrational scary thought should be disregarded (existential, health, etc). However, I CAN NOT for the life of me get over being scared of depression. Like severe, severe depression.

    Me personally, when I was at my worst in the beginning of my anxiety, I could have been diagnosed with severe depression because my anxiety was horrific, my mind was tired (as Claire Weekes called it “mind depletion”) and I had no interest in life and did not want to be here and other symptoms of that nature.

    Currently, my emotions are starting to appear again and I function exactly like I used to but this thought of “What if you develop chronic depression and not want to go on?” will NOT let me just continue going on with my positive nature with recovering.

    I have nooo history of depression in my family (good home and friend life) and life is pretty much always stress free for me, I always been a optimistic person and I’ve dealt with alottttt of situations in my teen years that should have made me horribly depressed and never did (I’m 23 now and mostly a happy person).

    I don’t want an answer like “oh seems like you’ll be fine, just put it under another irrational thought.” I’d like to know if chronic depression is very common and anyone can just slip into it if they really tried and it’s something I have to worry about and always try and keep my mood up…?

    …or it’s more of on another spectrum of mental illness I just shouldn’t worry about anymore and to get myself in a less worrisome mood again so I can move on and get to full recovery. My anxiety developed first (because of a personal health scare) and depression was a symptom from it if that makes a difference.

    I guess I just want to be told that I don’t need to worry about depression for the rest of my life and be okay like Paul and other people who recovered on here. Pretty much scared of every negative emotion I have because my anxiety makes it exaggerated.

    An answer would be very helpful from someone who is recovered or almost there! Don’t really have anyone to help me over here or understands me lol.

  78. Eitan Says:


    I wouldn’t worry about it. I get thoughts like that too sometimes. Everyone experiences depression differently, which is why it’s a tricky diagnoses. I think it all pretty much stems from anxiety. Depression is like the brain shutting down to protect you, but we get caught in the vicious cycle. I too worry about it, but have no family history of depression. DO NOT read on the internet about it. I beg you. You will encounter the most negative people and will automatically associate yourself with what they’re saying.

    I was also not interested in life, felt weird, and afraid of depression about a year ago. I’m doing much better now, but my mind will throw other worries at me for me to fear (existential, other mental illnesses, my personality, etc.) it’s all the same no matter what. Irrational. So the best you can do it just accept it as it is, and go “yeah maybe i’ll get depressed again or not, who knows. oh well.” Not easy, but it helps

  79. Jamie Says:

    Even wiser words Bryan. I hope you are doing ok :o)

  80. Felicia Says:


    Thanks for the reply~!

    Yea learned that the hard way a couple weeks ago in regards to the internet searching. I just tell myself not to compare myself cause a lot of the times it runs in the family or they aren’t getting proper help (or both).

    You don’t come across many people that are regularly a happy and go lucky person and all of a sudden got severe clinical depression unless there is a strong hereditary gene in the family. Still trying to teach my brain that when I’m well I’ll get sad sometimes like a regular person but never to that extent.

    It’d be great to have some more perspectives on this! Guess I’m kinda stuck in that feeling cause life is soooo very special to me and I guess anxiety likes to hold onto whats the most important to us. To be honest, sometimes my “what if” attitude and actually feeling of belief comes back automatically to this thought anyway since I don’t even feel depressed like “why did I ever worry about it so much?”

  81. Joe Says:

    Hi everyone

    tried to post on here before but my post didn’t post properly. Hope this one works.

    Just wanted to share some thoughts. Things have never recovered significantly all throughout my 7 months of chronic anxiety, but there seem to be better and worse periods. I do need to stop coming on forums so much. I went on the dpselfhelp forum again today for the first time in months which wasn’t a good idea because it just fuelled my anxiety again. I got worried wondering whether or not i should visit there because it has the power to make me anxious and the more i visit it the less power it should have over me, or if i should just not bother going on that forum because it’s not something that i would do before anxiety and so it’s just extra unnecessary stress o my nerves. I prefer the latter, not just because it’s easier but because Paul’s advice to carry on normal living makes sense to me.

    I think the key to recovery is external, not internal. Trying to figure things clearly hasn’t done much for me over this time. The best thing for me is probably in changing behaviour rather than thinking. There’s a few things i could probably do. The first thing is to stop going on forums. Other things might include stopping going to bed so late. I’m often scared to be alone with my thoughts as i try and drift off so i stay up for ages until like 4am until i nod off which probably isn’t healthy. I need to read more and do more work for my degree which i just started.

    My mental response to anxiety could still probably be improved. I get really flustered, similar to Peter when anxiety comes along. I wonder if i’m ‘doing’ acceptance right which i’m aware is not the right approach at all. The best thing i’ve found is to just carry on with what I’m doing regardless of the thoughts still being there in the back of my mind. This is easy when it comes to things like reading. I can read a book and get flustered and anxious etc but if i just let it be and carry on then i can eventually concentrate on paragraphs at a time and get more into a ‘flow’ state rather than having to make sense of each word at a time, or talking with friends or watching netflix or something. However, it isn’t so easy when I’m doing other things that i would do previously do like trying to relax, play guitar or walking home, being alone with my worry thoughts.

    Are worrying thoughts benign? I get really worried that I’m not accepting properly and my mind races with a thousand thoughts a minute which I’m sure are damaging my nerves. I try to accept them but my mind gets confused and flustered and i don’t really know how to handle it. I get so frustrated and worried. How do i know i’m accepting ??? I don’t feel like i’ve seen many results i feel like i’ve eliminated some worrying, but this isn’t making me better it’s just not making me worse.

    I’m in a relapse state at the moment due to visiting the DP forum but hopefully i’ll get back to where i was before at least.


    I’m glad you recovered from this symptom as it gives me a lot of grief throughout everyday! i would be interested to hear more about your story and if you know anyone else who has suffered this way. I often feel very alone, but scared to talk about this sort of thing because i don’t want anyone else to suffer like me.

    thanks everyone. Hopefully i’ll be certainly on the road to recovery

  82. Julie Says:

    HI Rich

    Haha! Well I did say sorry for too much info lol!

    Thanks, yes I guess it doesn’t matter the cause I think I was just wondering will acceptance calm the anxiety eventually even if the hormonal issues I have with my thyroid and being on the pill will keep pumping it into my body, if that makes sense? I find it hard to put it into words.

    I hope your setback passes for you. I am in my 4th year of this and I think I am recovering well and the end is well within my grasp then wham I am pulled back into it. There is always a trigger for me and I do always come out of it but it’s bloody annoying when something triggers it again. Once I find my feet and get over the initial fear of it hitting me again, then things start to improve. I find reading Claire Weekes and Pauls books get me right back on track with recovery.


  83. Julie Says:

    PS Congratulations on the pregnancy news Rich!!! Being a parent is the best thing in the world. I have 3 children and they give me a reason to get up every morning and keep going. It’s so rewarding and it gives your life a real purpose. Of course you never stop worrying about them but you will love every second of life because of them.


  84. Bryan Says:


    From the first paragraph of your posts…

    -anxiety sufferer
    -horrible anxiety

    8 labels/medical jargon terms in one paragraph.

    Do you remember the past discussions we have had here regarding repeating and labeling and how these habits reinforce and ensure we see ourselves as sick people … ensuring we stay sick?

    From the rest of your post…

    -panic attacks
    -health anxiety

    I think you finally ran out of terms at some point. :)

    I’ll reiterate as so many of us have for so long here… this is harming you.
    The language, repeating. Seeing yourself as sick. Using medical jargon. Assuming medication is what fixes anxiety.

    You are painting yourself into a corner. No one in the world could resume. Or we living with a vocabulary and mindset like that. Every mention of these (absolutely useless) labels ensures your brain stays on alert for her next danger and assures you keep a sick person’s mindset and hence… will be dependent on drugs or pure luck to get any better. (False, btw)

    You are a worrier and you are experiencing the effects of stress and worry. Period. Nothing more.

    Again, my disclaimer here is that I’ve been through this and hate to see people suffer. So I’m only telling the truth because I want to see you break free.
    But that’s up to you to decide what you dislike more… feeling horrible or giving up the labeling mindset. Because can’t have both.

  85. Bryan Says:


    Congrats on the progress! Sounds like you’ve come a long way.

    Your fear of depression is a “what if.”

    Nothing more.

    Read the posts on tnis board. All of them. Substitute the word depression for anything people say. (Intrusives, panic, harm thoughts, etc)

    It is 100% anxiety. Anything beginning with “what if” is worry and anxiety regardless of what follows.

    So, I can sit here and try to reassure you that depression is a normal human emotion and that everyone of us will have a day or a week or a period of this in our lives. I could also try to ensure you that like anxiety, people don’t just accidentally fall into depression, it tends to be born from habits, environment, lifestyle and mindset over a very long period of time.

    I could also tell you that everyone who teaches anxiety recovery methods like Paul will tell you that depression is no more than another look of anxiety which is again nothing more than the build up of stress and improper handling of these feelings when they come about.

    I could remind you that hundreds of people around this board have recovered from stress states like anxiety and depression by using the same methodology, acceptance, outward living, the elimination of what if thinking.

    But, nothing I tell you it’s going to matter because your fear of depression really is an about depression, it’s a what-ifthought. It’s anxiety and in my opinion needs to be treated as such. As hard as it may be, we can’t give a free pass to one topic because it feels particularly important. I run into this when I have setbacks, I will pay too much respect to a particular set of symptoms or feeling when I’m deep in a setback. But as I apply the mindset and refocus, I always remember that none of these things is important and all of them file under the categories of stress and worry.

    Like the reduction of labels, the more we can simplify this, the better chance we have of moving past it. Right now depression for some reason gets to hold a special place in your mind as being more important than a panic attack or social anxiety, when in reality it is a basic human emotion that you simply fear feeling. By the way, most of us have the same exact fear when it comes about, I certainly did but I moved through those periods using Paul’s method and Claire Weeks’s methods. Why? Because it’s all the same. All of it.

    These details feel important. The symptoms feel awful. But none are important. They are the complex feeling results of a very simple process of stress and worry.

  86. Julie Says:


    Why am i convincing myself I’m sick? I actually said in my first paragraph that I was ill and now all my bloods are good and I’m acknowledging that this now is all anxiety.

    I just want to get back on track with my anxiety recovery now after a blip.

    Thank you.

  87. Julie Says:

    And I don’t think medication fixes anxiety Bryan? What makes you think that? The medication I referred to was my medication for my health issues not anxiety. I don’t think medication helps anxiety at all.

  88. Doreen Says:

    Julie – the only words I an offer is that you accept that various triggers have brought your anxiety more to the fore again and that you need to see it as nothing more relevant than that.

    I am not sure why you write such long detailed accounts of your physical and psychological symptoms. I’m convinced it cannot be helpful to you and it certainly doesn’t tell me any more than that you are struggling with anxiety at the moment.

    As I have said before, we all have or have had our back stories but they all boil down to one simple fact – we react to triggers with anxiety,

    And you certainly haven’t left labels behind as in your ‘essay’ above you say

    “I have been working hard on my anxiety and agoraphobia I’ve had to deal with again”

  89. Julie Says:

    Thank you Doreen

    Yes those are the 2 labels I find hard to drop because agoraphobia has been the main issue with the anxiety I’ve experienced the last few years. It’s just a spin off of anxiety and under the same umbrella but it’s just how I explain how it manifests with me. I was just saying to Bryan that I don’t see myself as sick, nor do I think medication fixes anxiety and that’s why I came here for some pointers to get me back on the right track. I do find it hard not to mention those 2 labels being on an anxiety blog asking for advice. I don’t identify myself though as having ocd, ptsd or whatever other label my therapist tried to attach to me. It’s why I stopped therapy.

    My ‘essay’ was just my way of hoping someone could relate and I thought being totally honest about my setback and how it’s manifested was the way to seek help. I’m not the only person that returns from time to time and explains how they feel. We all need some support from time to time and I’ve always tried to help others here as and when they’ve needed it no matter if it’s an essay or short post full of labels or not. We all know how struggling with anxiety can make us feel when it hits again. Sometimes it’s quite a lonely place and it’s good therr is a place people can seek support.


  90. Doreen Says:

    Julie – We range across all ages, social circumstances, parents, grandparents, students, single, married, gay, straight and what we have in common in anxiety. We probably all have lives that are as complicated, rewarding, upsetting and joyous as yours.

    So of course we can ‘relate’ to how crap it feels, how isolated we can feel etc etc.

    You have had people offering you support in bucket loads over the years.

    I reiterate what Rich said above – something that has been said to you over and over again.

    Rich said “It doesn’t matter what the cause of your anxiety is, it’s all anxiety. You’ve been told this before but I’m telling you again. Manage your response to anxiety and you manage anxiety no matter its source”

  91. Julie Says:


    I know I’m no different to any other anxiety sufferer. I just meant we all sometimes need a little comfort and that’s why many of us come back here from time to time. I have always appreciated any support I’ve had and thanked those people for that. I’m not a regular here anymore so rarely post but when I have I’ve always thanked people for any replies. We sometimes lose our way and a gentle reminder from supportive people goes a long way.

    I shall take what Rich has said as it’s good advice.


  92. Jamie Says:

    Finances dictate that I have to move out of my rented house and either buy / rent a flat / appartment to cut my outgoings. I have only lived in this house since my marriage ended and my stress condition escalated nearly 3 years ago and I do not like change but needs must.

    Anyway, I have never lived in a flat / appartment and I am getting so stressed at the thought of living in a smaller space with my daughter, it all being on one floor but most of all, the thought of having neighbours either side and potentially above and below. I must have been on about 20-25 websites now googling which floor is best – top, middle or bottom (the top ones are gone so 4 are left – middle or bottom). All I keep thinking / worrying about is 1) making a decision on what floor and 2) if there will be noise from above and / or below.

    I am going to view an appartment tomorrow morning and this particular one really is my only option at the moment so I am getting really uptight about it all. Any ‘normal’ person (whatever that is) would just go with an open mind and just treat it as no biggie. However, I have built it up to something massive now which is frustrating but I will have to just accept everything, stop looking on the internet and believe I do not HAVE to take it if I am not happy.

  93. Bryan Says:


    Let me address a few things one at a time. The best way we can try to help ourselves, I’ve found.. is to attempt to detach ourselves as much from the EMOTION of what’s going on with all of this and really hone in on the data, evidence, factual information which may lead to progress.

    #1. No one is offering you or anyone else help here to be critical, to be hurtful or to not be “reassuring” or understanding. At some point, we were all new to anxiety and needed that initial reassurance that goes along with not understanding what this is. That’s a very 101, early stage concept that no one can be blamed for not understanding.

    However, months, years into the condition.. if we are still reassurance seeking on message boards, what happens is… well-meaning people will continue to give it to us, with the best intentions. But what actually happens is they are reaffirming your belief that you are incapable of handling this yourself, that this is something larger than what it is… and that you are sick and must be helped by the outside world.

    Again, this seems to be a bit of a hot topic here lately.

    No one blames anyone for checking in. For asking an occasional question about Paul’s methods, or if new to al of this… no one blames anyone for wanting to have it all explained.

    But months and years of “reassurance” only turns into ASSURANCE that you will stay stuck. These are the facts. We can wish it wasn’t that way… people can say it’s impolite or uncaring to tell the truth… but the truth is the truth. Paul outlines this in ALL of his works, and why are we all on this blog again?

    I realize you have an overactive thyroid. This is generally easily treated with medication. My wife is an NP and I’m sitting in a room at work with a guy who’s wife has the same condition and lives a happy, active life. Never mentions it.
    This is like high blood pressure. They treat it with meds, it gets into range… and that’s the end of the story. It does not require daily worrying, reflection, mentioning, etc.

    As for the medical jargon, again Julie… it’s up to you. You asked for advice and people are giving it to you out of love and decency, not to pick arguments. Your posts will have between 10 and 20 medical terms, buzz words and highly emotionally charged references. Until you can find a way to normalize these things and move past the need to wrap yourself in them, how could your brain ever let them go?

    Stress + worry = your condition.

    Labels + focus = continuation.

    This is years Julie, years of the same type of posts. People are challenging you because we truly want to see you get better. We’ve all been where you are. We just made the choice to change the things that kept us stuck. You have that choice as well.

  94. Felicia Says:

    Oh my goodness Bryan~!

    Thank you so very much for the response! You have noooo idea how much it means to me. All your words will help push me to finally get over these depression thoughts and any weird ones that it conjures up about!

    I can’t wait to just go back to being my happy and peaceful self~ :) <3

    It will take time, currently in that numb phase where my emotions are starting to peak out again, but it is definitely worth the wait!

    God Bless everyone! I promise all of you it is ALWAYS JUST ANXIETY. It's our mindset that needs some relaxation, a clear understanding and practice! Setbacks are inevitable but each one teaches you new ways to understand yourself and anxiety!

  95. Alason Says:

    Hi I was just wanting to ask does any one suffer heath anxiety?

  96. Julie Says:

    Thank you Bryan for your reply.

    I understand that coming here probably doesn’t help in the long run.

    I’m not discussing or moaning about my health

    I won’t post again because yes maybe coming back offers nothing for me other than confirming I have anxiety. I will stick to the book and I’m sure that’s enough to get me through this blip. If I ever returned I will just go back to offering advice to those I can relate to.

    Good luck all.

    Julie x

  97. Julie Says:

    As *others* do, not otherwise.. Sorry for typos. I’m on my phone typing quick before I get the children up for school 😉

  98. Belgian Says:

    Just wanted to check in on you guys. I still see a lot of people fighting and struggling with the different topics their anxiety is about.

    I wrote this message for them.

    At the moment, I’ve lost my voice due to a terrible cold. My longs are aching and I literally have to drag myself out of bed to get to work in time. But, you know what, I feel great! :)

    I am at a stage where the term recovery only has significance in those moments where anxiety tries to take over. When the feelings and thoughts subside, I can only think: how foolish of me to let me carry away by them once more.

    Nevertheless, anxiety still returns and I think it always will. That’s okay. You know why? Because, finally during the last two years I learned to work WITH my anxiety in stead of AGAINST it.

    This is the key to recovery every single time.

    Let me show you how. The topic of my anxiety attacks these last years was almost always the relationship with my wife. I doubted my love for her and got really anxious about it. My fears and doubts are/were fueled by the fact that we don’t agree on a very important subject, namely whether or no to have children. Strangely, this only surfaced just before my marriage. Before that, we didn’t fight about it, we didn’t discuss it. I now realize, I was running away from it. I ran away because I was scared. I was scared of the repercussions of this discussion and so gradually I became afraid not only of the discussion but also terrified of my feelings on the topic.

    We still decided to marry regardless of our differences. This decision didn’t calm me down. On the contrary, I still not faced my feelings and thoughts. I still ran away from them. It became a monster. Something that would mean the end of me when I would open it. Something to fear.

    Now, not finding common ground on the kids issue happens to a lot of people. Not everyone develops a panic disorder because of it. Best example: my wife did not develop it. So, why did I?

    Because – and this is very important – it’s not about IT. It’s about how you are handling your feelings and emotions towards it. I chose to fight them in stead of accepting them. This was my mistake and one I’ve made before in my life with other issues.

    If you look at your situation rationally, you will find that it doesn’t deserve you fearing it the way you are fearing it. That’s because anxiety is never about the topic it has chosen.

    Two weeks ago I was visiting my sister-in-law in London with my wife. We told her we wanted to adopt a dog. She blew it off as the worst idea ever since my wife and I are not certain to stay together due to our differences. BANG! My anxiety went through the roof! I felt crap all morning and I told my wife.

    She said to me: but, sweetie, the situation did not change because of what she said. Why would you be so panicky about it? She was right. Once more, I was bluffed by the way I felt. I decided to experience (maybe even enjoy) the rest of the day in Paris and at the end of the day I felt much better.

    We all know what would have happened if I decided to retreat to myself once more and started the endless worrying…

    We will continue to find difficult situations, painful moments for the rest of our lives. That’s part of life. We can’t always chose this, but we do have a say in how we handle them. How we handle our emotions. We can either fight them off by worrying or we can accept them and let life bring the clarity we need to move on.

    All my fighting these last years did amount to one thing and one thing only. More fighting and more suffering. Acceptance doesn’t mean giving up. It means that sometimes you will have to trust what life has in store for you.

    I don’t know if I will stay with my wife ‘forever’, but honestly, who really does? Now I’ve stopped fighting and I’ve returned to a calm state, I not only see the nonsense of my struggle. I’ve rediscovered the ability to feel something else other than anxiety. Love, disappointment, grief, uncertainty, .. . We will see how things work out but for now we are putting our faith in the love for each other.

    Can you see how I could have sparred me all this worrying? So can you. Drop the ball. Take the chance. Work with your anxiety, not against it.

  99. Bryan Says:

    Julie – think content more than quantity. It’s not about not coming back. But if we are going to post here, how can we help ourselves and others? I think that’s what folks are suggesting to you. It’s about messaging and what we are reinforcing…. good or bad. We all just want to see you keep up that progress you showed. We all need to get back on track from time to time.

    Be well.

  100. Nolan Says:

    To those asking about if Paul’s approach works for depression…. the answer is “yes”.
    Prior to my bout of anxiety (beginning in 2013) and prior to even knowing about Paul’s book, I would occasionally get very intense bouts of depression.

    The type of depression where nothing makes sense and nothing matters. Where all hope has drained out of your life…. and the only thing that remains is torment.

    Those depressive bouts would come and go. I never understood why I would get them. People in the profession gave me numerous, contradicting answers. I was always more confused after talking with them.

    It wasn’t until I learned of Paul’s approach that I was able to live with the bouts of depression when they would come. I had one bout since my bout of anxiety…. the two are different. But, I responded to them exactly the same. I have not had a bout of depression for some time. And even the one that did come didn’t last nearly as long as they typically would. But even better: it didn’t hinder my life. Because following Paul’s advice I still lived my life and gave up the “search for a reason” as to why I have depression, which allowed me to live my life. Because the constant, endless searching for answers only gets you more stuck in it.

    Hope that helps

  101. Nolan Says:

    Just wanted to give an update and some hope:

    My dad’s cancer has come back….. and I’m still unemployed (lost my job on November 25th) and I’m doing quite well with respects to anxiety and depression.
    They really are non issues at the moment.

    And historically, I would have been the type to utterly collapse into myself with just one of the issues I mentioned above.
    I did have alittle setback with the anxiety. But it wasn’t a big deal. It last less than a couple of days.

    I still stand by what I said before: the bouts of anxiety and depression (and all of the symptoms) as well as meeting Paul and learning about his story has made an indelible impression on my life.

    Depression and anxiety no longer lord over my life.

  102. Peter Says:

    Sorry to hear about all that Nolan. Hope you’re doing okay.

    (By the way, this is the Peter, and I just wanted to tell you I won’t be on FB for a few days, just as a precaution deactivated my account for the time being Haha…)

  103. Peter Says:

    Also, thanks for your responses to my OCD question Stephanie and Eitan. I sort of think the label of OCD is useful because not every anxiety sufferer suffers from things like the compulsion to wash hands in a certain way and stuff like that, do you know what I mean? OCD rituals are a very specific, although anxiety-driven, thing. I don’t want to identify myself as an “OCD sufferer” though, so I get where you’re coming from there.

    For some reason I’m very rigid in my thinking. I have to decide exactly how I’m going to implement acceptance and then do it. Like either come to the blog all the time or don’t come to the blog at all. I’m very aware of how ridiculous all this is, especially since I’ve been obsessing for two years straight about it. I’m thinking maybe I need to start meditating. But these obsessions are based on fear, fear that I’ll do it the wrong way and so won’t be “in recovery”. And the way my mind works, if I’m not “in recovery”, nothing else matters. OCD is all about doubt. But we can never be 100 % certain of anything!

    Since this has been going on for two years, I’m afraid it will go on forever unless I just decide which method of acceptance I’m going to implement and just go with it. I feel like I’m the only one who thinks this way, that I see different “methods”. Well yeah, like I said, some people recovered by leaving the blog, and some recovered while still visiting the blog all the time. Maybe the “correct” answer is to visit here, but just take breaks from time to time. In the middle somewhere, neither extreme.

    I apologize for my convoluted thinking…It tires me out quite a bit, believe me! I guess it all comes down can I be certain that I’m “in recovery”? And I’ve suffered chronic anxiety for at least a decade, so I know I certainly have to do something different than what I did all those years!

  104. Nolan Says:

    Good to hear, Peter.
    Was wondering if everything is okay. If you have my email feel free to message me there too.

  105. Rich Says:

    Hi Nolan, So sorry to hear about your Dad, and also your job – I can’t imagine what that is like to deal with but I wish you all the very best. Remember to concentrate on all that is truly important – that is actually important, and push all else to one side.

    Julie, Thanks for your message to me above. I’m going to delete your life story above – no offense but we’ve all heard it and it does you no good repeating it all (as you should know as we’ve told you many times!) and it does us no good reading it all again and again (I skipped it). Nothing puts me off writing help to people to see people not take that help on board. You know all there is to know.

    Peter, I don’t think I’ve replied to you before, but I’ve read your messages. Stop trying to figure things out. While you continue to try, you’re stopping yourself from recovering. Just put the puzzle down. It is what it is – and nothing more. Instead of figuring it out and searching for answers to questions that don’t need answers, do something else instead. Your mind will thank you for it.

    Good luck all :)

  106. Felicia Says:

    Ooohh I have one more question I forgot to ask if anyone knows what Paul was explaining in one of his older posts…

    When you truly accept all the numbness and thoughts even though they bother you now, etc… does recovery ACTUALLY come by itself? Like hopefully I can word this right… Like if you follow all what Paul is saying, does your brain actually start to heal to the way it was before and see automatically on its own that it was all rubbish and since you ignore all these pointless thoughts, your brain in the background is loosing its anxiety ebb completely so the real you can come out and just stay out?

    Is this what he means we he says ex sufferers know they can’t suffer again because they know that whatever thought they had during was just anxiety off shoots and if a random weird thought occurs when you’re fully recovered has no meaning to it because you don’t have anxiety and your brain is clear and rational again?

    It’s hard to see it now because when you’re in irrational mode you have thoughts feeding off each other like “well even when you’re recovered, once you think about anxiety and its thoughts you will go back into it and always be like this.” These thoughts are still important to me because I’m getting scared since being so close to full recovery.

    But I think what Paul was saying is that if you just ignore all this, once you’re brain has time to relax, these thoughts won’t bother you because if you didn’t think them before anxiety or cared about them, you won’t again because you’ll see things and makes sense of things you can’t see now in this state.

    Basically I think I still think that I must always be on guard when I’m recovered and thoughts I think now I could technically bother me in the future…. Like I will be different and sad for some reason when I’m recovered…I guess I’ma little traumatized with this experience and can’t picture myself happy and well again without being able to still think this way…

    But again, as Paul says, these thoughts can’t exist without anxiety. They will hopefully loose importance and peace of the moment will overtake it…Guess another intrusive thought!

    Just makes me worried when I see people on here after years still stuck or relapsing every couple years… I don’t understand why.

  107. Jenny Lee Says:

    I’m sorry to say I am in a bit of a tricky spot with anxiety and am back on the blog looking for some advice.
    I was doing so well and anxiety decreasing until earlier this year I had to nurse my dying grandmother and she passed away. Coped at the time but a few months afterwards I am feeling the effects of the stress I went through.
    Then i come off my contraceptive pill and I’m feeling awful, immensely hormonal.. I’m a mess! I am struggling to work like this.. I work in healthcare and must remain professional at all times but I just feel like crying and running away. I’ve got trembling hands (v unhelpful in my job!) And all the other physical crap, ‘crisis’ moments of feeling like I’m totally losing it. It’s horrible having to pretend to patients and colleagues I’m fine, when I feel like my mind is about to explode. Argh! It hasn’t been this bad in ages.
    Any advice?

  108. Laura Says:

    So my brain will not leave the subject alone – I know that the anxiety will grow if I focus on it but over the last month it has got so bad that I couldn’t even go out last weekend – I have never let it get to this point. I managed to get through the week and work etc but it’s been so hard
    I am in a set back that has lasted 3 months and I’m actually very aware that I need to leave the subject alone and refocus on what I am doing but it is actually impossible as everything wants to come back to trying to “fix” how I feel
    I know this is because I feel so desperate for it to go but I can’t for the life of me allow myself to just accept this. How ridiculous when I know that acceptance brings healing
    I guess it’s silly even writing this cause I know reassurance in no good but I also know others have been in this situation and have recovered – but what is it going to take for me to learn how to accept again. Feeling a loss of hope right now

  109. Jenny Lee Says:

    Hi Laura,

    I unfortunately do not have any words of wisdom but I just thought I’d let you know that I too am going through this hurdle in being constantly aware of anxiety and how I feel, monitoring it throughout the day and feeling quite hopeless.
    I’m trying to focus outward on my work and what’s going on around me but it’s so hard and keeps pulling me back into the spiral of obsessive thoughts and it’s the worst I’ve felt in years!
    Just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone in feeling this. Keep strong.


  110. Alan Says:


    During recovery, your mind and body fixes itself, just the same as a broken bone or graze will heal itself. You don’t have to do anything, other than keep practising acceptance (being ok about not feeling ok). Pay no respect to the scary thoughts and feelings because they won’t be there when you recover. Don’t strive for recovery either. If will come to you in good time.

  111. Matt Says:

    Hi everyone,

    The way Paul describes this post was so true with my experience with anxiety and depression, too. I had terrible obsessive thoughts, terrible anxiety, felt so tired all the time , and so helpless. I think many anxiety sufferers try too hard to fix which is very.understandable because we want to feel better. As a fully recovered sufferer, and one who made many mistakes along the way, the most important lessons I learnt always came after set backs. I found the contrast of feeling calm for a few days or weeks and then feeling awful again hard to deal with at first. But in time, I learnt to care far less about my anxiety and depression. I remember feeling awkward at times in social situations, but I stopped caring so much. It really is a ‘do nothing’ method of just allowing. It’s so simple, but I realize that it’s not always easy because we can be so easily bluffed by our thoughts when we feel so lousy or anxious.

    I wish we could teach this in schools.

  112. Seth Says:

    Hey guys,

    I started dating someone recently and had some performance anxiety. We’ve only been dating a few weeks (only dated, never been in long term relationships) but my mind shifts from being scared that this is going to fail and she’s going to leave me to feeling numb and worried that i’m bored/could find someone better and feel stuck. It’s hard to tell how I really feel. My logic says “oh i think it’s anxiety and fear talking, even if you feel numb, just go with it” but it’s that feeling that i need to know. and I hate the idea of leading her on and not caring. I analyze everything when i’m with her .

    Should I just let go and forget about it, and maybe my real feelings will surface and be clear? but what if my real feelings are bad?

  113. Jake Says:

    Hi All

    Does anxiety totally freeze over your feelings. Somebody close to me died unexpectedly on Saturday and I feel nothing not sad or happy just neutral. What is wrong with me?

  114. Doreen Says:

    Jake. There is nothing more fruitless when having anxiety than to search for feelings that you think should be there. You just have to accept their absence and as you start to come out of anxiety you will find feelings returning quite naturally.
    Your brain has gone on a bit of a switch off as it is exhausted and is only ticking over.
    That is perfectly natural, nothing to worry about.

  115. Rocky Says:


    I began to struggle with GAD and depersonalization on February 20th 2014. It began when one day it felt like the last year of my life hadn’t happened and my personality disappeared. Then anxiety filled the void.
    It took me 6 months to recognize that this condition was anxiety and that the best method for recovery was the ‘acceptance’ approach. I also realized that in the months leading up to the breakdown I had been handling stress poorly and had had several panic attacks.
    However the main cause for concern was my loss of identity and more importantly my memory loss.

    The second year of my anxiety went quite poorly as I never actually implemented the ‘acceptance’ strategy and simply made myself worse. Then in May my grandfather died and my parents divorced (without warning) so I spent the summer relocating and grieving with my mother and brother.

    I left for my senior year of University abroad in September and was feeling no more myself, but more determined to accept and make the most of my life at the moment. I had a good year in the end, I had a full social life and got high 2:1s and some 1:1s all around and produced work I was proud of. Each month I improved a little bit, and learned a little more about anxiety, acceptance and recovery. On May 1st it was discovered that my father had several affairs over the past couple years, but for some reason this news didn’t shatter me. It instead put my mind at ease as I had been struggling with such suspicions for some time. I made lots of progress in that last month and finished all my final assignments. On May 25th I came home to our new place on the beach feeling quite good.
    I had an amazing summer, with its share of setbacks and triumphs and on July 13th I finally felt recovered. My memories and old identity never came back, which was upsetting- but I had made a new life full of new memories in the past year and I felt I had become a new version of myself I could really like.

    Then on August 3rd my father showed up uninvited and stayed for 5 days. On the 3rd day I had a horrible sense of amnesia that wiped out my identity once more and caused amnesia of the past year.
    The next four months were the worst months of my anxiety.

    In the past 10 years I’ve always had a bit of this disorder, only March through May did I feel like the ‘real me’
    But last time I recovered I had to build my life from the ground up and say goodbye to my old self and my memories. But I don’t want to do that again. I had an amazing year, learnt so much about myself and anxiety and had so many great amazing experiences. To lose all that is painful. Now it’s been almost 5 months and I feel that person and those memories are lost forever.
    I used to chalk up these sensations to depersonalization but they seem irreversible. I want to understand this amnesia and know if I need to start over again as a person’s identity is so grounded in their life experiences. My entire life lacked any sense of continuity do frequent resets like this, which I must ask you: Is this depersonalization? Only those five months (March throguh July) did I feel like I existed, grew as a person, formed memories that augmented and informed my character, etc.

    I need to know if recovery means starting over again as I did last time, or will my memories and continuity and identity and lessons learnt from this experience come back?

  116. Dean Says:

    Hey I’m in a doubtful period about recovery being possible again.
    It’s just most of my anxiety heroes (Chris from Nothing Works, or even Claire Weekes herself) never seemed to fully recover. They both got to a point where they didn’t mind when symptoms arose, but symptoms do arise for them.
    I like Paul’s attitude to anxiety, there’s something very cut and dry and completely unromantic to the whole thing. He says, just do it.
    But I wonder why his methods work better than Claire and Chris’s and why he’s managed to stay recovered. I mean, what’s the difference? Those two don’t fear anxiety at all and they didn’t manage to keep it from returning. So what’s make Paul’s method better than other acceptance, floating, doing nothing methods?

  117. Andy J Says:

    Hi Dean,

    I dont think Paul means he never gets anxiety anymore, we all do and always will. Because he and others who have recovered (including Chris from NW) can see the lies behind anxiety itself, there is no need to fear it.

    Why would we fear something that we totally understand?
    Why would we fear something which is perfectly natural?

    Yes, it may be an annoyance, but there is literally nothing wrong with us. We are making the fear ourselves. Through stress or a tired mind, our brains cant take anymore and that’s when anxiety symptoms manifest. Its only natural.

    As Chris says, loosen and accept. Live your life.

  118. Jake Says:

    Hi Doreen

    Is that all it is? I fear I cant feel and obviously it just snowballs. I want to feel normal again instead of feeling shut down to good and bad.

  119. Andy J Says:

    Hi Jake,

    Have a look on Paul’s site at the derealisation section.

    He uses death as an example.

    Its just the bodies reaction to a shock. It shuts down.

    All the best.


  120. Peter Says:

    Hey Matt…

    you wouldn’t happen to be Matt V, would you? The one whose main problem was DP? I ask because, if you are, I’ve read some of your old posts about your struggle with DP and found them inspirational.. Was wondering if we could chat a bit about your recovery as DP is also more or less my main issue.

  121. Matt Says:

    Hi Peter. No, that’s not me, sorry. DP wasn’t really my main issue during my years that I suffered. Obsessive thoughts, depression, and just a feeling of anxiety all the time took over me for a long time.

    Dean: I still get anxious from time to time. I think most non-sufferers do to be honest. However, like Andy says, there is no need to fear it. Do I consider myself recovered? Absolutely. Do I still experience anxiety at times? Yes, but if I do, I don’t worry about it. That’s the difference – Not adding second fear to the anxiety. Once we understand the anxiety state, we no longer need to fear it.

    Anxiety and depression robbed me of my confidence at my worst, but I can ‘hand on heart’ say that it was something of a gift in a way. Of course it’s easy to say this now because I’ve recovered, but I do truly believe this to be the case. Layers of onions will slowly peel away – best analogy I know.

  122. Alz Says:

    Melissa ! So good to hear from u and RIch you too . I’m slowly getting a hang of anxiety – not leaving my routine , sticking To work , gym , frnds and sometimes when things get unbearable , I sleep ! Today my sister is visiting from a different city and there are all sorts of thoughts but I’m going to meet her , hang out with her and entertain her . Before that I will head to the gym and then get a good ol blow dry . My reality is different at this point for sure – continuous hypervigilance and fear of seeing images at work ( stress) and when alone or doign something different (stress) . So it’s the same pattern and yes it’s scary – but no other option . PAss each day and with time I’ll be able to differentiate thoughts from reality . I always anticipate the worst and then obv my mind is so tired it also thinks the worst . It’s become a cycle and the only way to end it is to accept . Yes I’m suffering from dp, yes I’m getting all kinds of thoughts and fears but I have no other option to move on despite alllllll the fears . Just want one tip- how can I move on from the fear of imagining I’ll start seeing things .. I’m always on the watch out . Memory and a tired brain and trauma are to blame but any tips ?

  123. Peter Says:

    Ahh okay, no problem. Thanks. :) Did you move away from the subject when recovering, like spend less time on the blog or reading about anxiety? Or does it not really matter if we continue to come here?

  124. Doreen Says:

    Alz – you have answered your own question by saying

    “Yes I’m suffering from dp, yes I’m getting all kinds of thoughts and fears but I have no other option to move on despite alllllll the fears”

    There is no other tip any of us can give you other than the one you have given yourself.

  125. Matt Says:

    Hi Peter,

    When I was first introduced to this type of acceptance method, I know that I tried too hard, which as we know, is the total opposite of accepting. Old habits of all the time die hard I.guess. But, in the beginning, I would have small moments of success (calmness) which slowly but surely made me realize that this approach was the only way that would allow me to regain my life back. I.always needed reassurance in the early stages of recovery because everything was so new to me. In time, I gradually read less and less about anxiety because I knew that there was nothing to do but just face, accept, float, and let time pass (Claire Weekes). Whenever I felt anxiety of any kind, I would calmly remind myself to.”just let it all happen”. Those magic words worked wonders for me over time, because my attitude to anxiety and depression was to let it do whatever it liked. Of course , I had many setbacks along the way where I would feel anxious after having had a week of calmness. I realized in time that this was part of the course anxiety had to take. It took a while for me to accept the non-linear, if you like, path to recovery. But deep down, despite feeling like i wasn’t making any progress and feeling like I was all over the place , I was always moving forward.

  126. Steve b Says:

    Hi guys. In a bit of a setback. I was wondering if anyone experiences changes in there thought process. When feeling ok I seem to get normal free flowing thoughts. Then like a switch they all become obsessive and about anxiety again. Been going on a couple of weeks now.

  127. Debbie Says:

    Steve i feel like you iam in a setback also pretty bad with thoughts of constant images of anything very strange.

  128. Debbie Says:

    Steve i also feel very scared of evegything but i continue to go on with my day.

  129. Matt Says:

    Steve, this is very normal ~ going from calmness to obsessive / anxious thoughts for no apparent reason. It’s all part of the process. Frustrating, but very normal.

  130. Matt Says:

    Steve, it’s frustrating but very normal to feel this way. It used to happen to me often ~ days or weeks of feeling calm and normal, then feeling like I was back to ‘Square 1’ again. But, it’s just anxiety playing it’s tricks on you. You must accept and let anxiety take as much time as it needs to take. As Debbie says, just continue with your day. Of course the thoughts will be swirling around like a washing machine, but just let them.

  131. Peter Says:

    Thanks for you response Matt, appreciate it.

  132. Laura Says:

    Hey guys
    I’m really stuck and over the last few months I have convinced myself I’m never going to get through this but stay stuck
    For a while it was up/ down etc but now it is just going down hill
    I’m adding to the fear and I’m believing the lies as truth
    I don’t know how to differentiate between the anxious thoughts and who I am anymore
    I have lost all hope and I am finding it difficult get through a day looking after my kids and trying to get to work
    This doesn’t feel like a setback, it feels like square one and worse
    Would anyone be able to support me in this? Feeling quite desperate


  133. Steve b Says:

    Thanks Matt. That really helps me. Cheers.

  134. Alz Says:

    Laura hang in there . Ur not alone. Continue with ur routine no matter how hard it seems . Hope ur getting good sleep? Also does ur day include exercise ? I can’t let u understand how what ur saying compeletely resonates with me . The one thing holding me together is work and now I fear I won’t be able to concentrate or carry on — like Paul says what’s the worst that can happen ? Madness ? When it happens it’ll happen . Right now I’ll just hang in theRe and see the different colors and hues anxiety can come in . Wow ! It’s amazing how it can completely take over ur life . Point is .. u must continue . Like evone says u have no choice and u can’t give up . U can’t let it take over . Ur able to tell th lies from facts no matter how unconvincing it seems . It’s all in ur head . No one can tell or cares . So continue .. we’re all in this battle – some have won , some are about to win and some are getting beaten . Experience all these phases in anxiety point being there is no battle of we think of what Paul says . It’s just a tired brain exaggerating evthing .

  135. Laura Says:

    So obviously I’m trying to get rid of the anxiety – because that is my brains natural response and it keeps looking for ways to feel better
    So it continues to obsess about anxiety and try to analyse and figure it out – even though I know this is not going to help – am I supposed to accept this too – as my psych says to just leave it all alone – but I can’t shift my attn and this is what is so frustrating and it’s making me feel even worse
    The thoughts are also really intense – as everytime I have a setback it’s like “see you are stuck, you will always be like this” and constant comparison and jealousy of others who are anxiety free
    I guess my acceptance is the issue but I’m so confused about how to even begin with this as I feel like I need to be doing something to ease this process
    And letting go and let it all happen is such a weird concept to me – I wish I could just not care so much

  136. Laura Says:

    Might I mention this has all happened after a period of having anxiety for 1 year and then it finally lifting for 3 months the hitting again in September due to too much unmanaged stress

  137. Alz Says:

    Laura it’s obviously upsetting – the chaos and anxiety in our heads so pls don’t judge urself . In ur second post uv clearly stated that ur setback has happened because of unmanaged stress so u know it’s all stress . We all know it’s stress or trauma or drugs but obviously it’s scary and it’s not easy accepting the thoughts ur mind has . But the fact that u know they’re different – not normal proves ur normal . For me that has been the biggest fear – losing my mind and then being able to function brings the what ifs .. what if I can’t do this? I’m doing it so well .. what if I just get zoned out … what if I can’t be myself ever again .. I’m slowly losing it /etc etc etc so please it’s a never ending lot of scary thoughts running in everyones mind and it’ll take time. Unfortunately it takes time and I feel that for those who aren’t scared ( which is natural) it takes longer .
    Acceptance is not easy .. it’s not natural because we’ve obviously experincd so called normalcy . So I’m still trying to figure it out …I always had anxiety which was controllable but now it’s like my son’s death opened a Pandora’s box .mybe we all have to accept we have a different mind which is b susceptible to stress and that whenever it undergoes a lot of stress it becomes a bit unstable. I guess accept that ? Also for people who he feeling are happy and stress free – DONT ! Evone has their own battles . If it’s not anxiety it’s def something else . R ok to the outer world , the angst is just in ur head so they’re prob looking at u with some envy too :p
    Don’t worry.

  138. Chris Says:

    Hi all!

    It’s been a good while since I posted here. I’ve been in a bit of a setback these last few days. Nothing severe, in fact I’ve come a long way. I just wanted to share a bit of advice to help people move forward. It’s probably stuff you’ve heard before, but it’s helped me. The key is your attitude! It changes our suffering completely, so in a way we are not even suffering anymore. It’s like shifting from fear mode to recovery mode. It’s not a technique, it’s just how it feels. It feels like progress. Here’s an example

    I get out of bed at 9am and I feel dread and anxiety. Now there are two ways I can react. Keep in mind I am not thinking the below stuff deliberately, it’s more to point out the attitude I can take towards the symptoms.

    Attitude 1) Ugggh how can I cope with today, I feel awful. What if I feel like this forever, this is the pits! – in other words I can adopt an attitude of fear, negativity and self pity.

    Attitude 2) I feel anxiety and dread and depression (whatever your symptoms are), but that’s all good. This isn’t how I have to feel forever, this is just how I feel now and it doesn’t need to get in the way of my life. I’ll just do my thing and let it go in it’s own good time. No need to fear or condemn it, I’ll just let it burn out on it’s own – in other words, I can adopt an attitude of acceptance, and I can downplay the whole experience as opposed to getting myself overwhelmed and make it worse. I can use this experience as something that will make me happier and stronger in the long run. See where I’m going with this?

    So it’s all in the attitude. Whenever my anxious mind tries to throw me a curb ball I’ll literally downplay it and be like yeah sure whatever mate. I’ll downplay the whole thing, instead of reacting in fear and adding fuel to the fire. The truth is WE ARE IN CONTROL! We are not in control of our anxiety or the symptoms, and the reason why is because it isn’t really us, but we are in control of the way we react towards it – which stops creating it in the long run. We just have to let the old stuff burn itself away.

    Just my two cents, hope this helps someone!

  139. Bryan Says:


    Great posts from both. Especially like that while Chris was in a self-admitted setback. He still had the mindset to post a cogent, helpful message for others.

  140. Laura Says:

    Hey Chris
    I get what you mean by that attitude but I can’t seem to maintain it
    It’s like a can do it for a day and have hope that things will improve but then the next day comes and I wake up already exhausted and can’t imagine going on with things – ive been in a setback for 4 months
    I can’t imagine things being different.
    I was out last night and it felt like the anxiety had just lifted and it was so great – when I came home it all hit me again and I couldn’t sleep
    I now have to face another day and I wish I could have that attitude
    It’s like the anxiety is telling me things won’t ever get better, that I have a journey ahead of me that is never ending. I’m just so tired and can’t imagine it being different to this – so I guess that is what is maintaining it
    My main thoughts are around comparison to others and wishing I had their lives free of anxiety – these thoughts are so automatic and constant that it is difficult to interact with others cause I’m always comparing myself to them
    I know no one on here can fix this but me but I just wanted to find a bit of an outlet and support

  141. Sarah h Says:

    Hi Laura, I feel exactly the same as you. I read the first book about 2 years Ago, it helped alot and then life throws things at u and boom can feel worse than ever. I don’t feel like I ever was fully recovered but it was definitely cope able. Then now when I have a bad day it’s so intense and I don’t know what’s real and isn’t. It messes with my relationship making me question it. I sometimes think I have ocd going on as well and then convince myself it’s more than anxiety. So your not alone and I am more than happy to chat :) xx

  142. Mark R Says:


    We’re similar as my setbacks tend to take the same amount of time. Between August and September I was in an awful place but I kept going. Things started to get easier in October and now I’m getting weeks of being okay. They will for you too.
    It’s always interesting reading your posts as I have all the same thoughts too when I feel like that….looking at others, feeling jealous that it seems
    easy for them. Truth is though, they probably have no clue that you feel anxious at all, everyone is dealing with something. Noone has a perfect life, just the one they usually portray on Facebook!
    One thing I’ve learnt on my anxiety journey is that it is almost impossible to imagine feeling anything other than how you feel right now. This is not just specific to anxiety either. Ever felt hungry when feeling sick? Ever felt like loving again when you’ve been dumped etc? Right now you can’t imagine feeling okay but it’s because you’re not okay, probably the opposite. You need to keep the faith that you will be okay again.
    The one thing I’ve noticed about your posts though is you don’t seem to be allowing these feelings fully….almost as if you get down on yourself for ‘not doing it right’ when they return. You need to have a revolving door policy with anxiety, if they show up fine…If they don’t, then that’s fine too. I don’t want to be too critical but I think your approach can be tweaked here. If there is a ‘doing it right’ in all of this its to allow anything that wants to come up to come up and not to get too down about it. Hardest thing in the world, but with practice you’ll get there.

    Sorry for the ramble, it’s dead late and my grammar is appalling!

  143. Laura Says:

    Thanks mark
    I am finding this almost impossible to let it all be and not care what comes up
    I just can’t shift my mindset and my main thoughts are about never getting through this and becoming a chronic sufferer of anxiety
    Because Paul’s approach is the only way to get through this and I can’t seem to shift my mindset to acceptance – even though I know it’s the only way
    You are correct that I am doing exactly that “trying to do it right so it goes away”
    I just can’t stand it anymore and I want to be free – back to my self
    How do you deal with the constant thoughts of wanting to be normal again and comparison to others – do you ever challenge them or just allow them? As allowing them seems to be reinforcing them if you know what I mean?
    I think it’s just hard because when I accepted last time it was a gentle process after months of fighting
    Now I can’t even remember how I did that – but I’m certainly not even sure what is or isn’t accepting
    Because no matter what the thoughts memories and scenarios are terrifying to me

  144. Belgian Says:

    I would like to throw the following in the group.

    I start to understand my anxiety more and more. Over the years the focus of my anxiety has shifted many times. Health, relationships,.. . My thoughts are often (almost always) in the future and never truly in the now. It’s like as if I want to control the outcome of the future by experiencing the worst case scenario in my head already.

    It’s some kind of magical thinking. I remember being a child and having thoughts like: ‘I have to do take two steps of the stairs at a time, or else my mother would die’. Many children have similar thoughts, but to me they were terrifying to the point I got panic attacks from them.

    Now, whenever I feel anxious, I start noticing that my thoughts are indeed projecting possible negative outcomes of a certain situation in the future. It’s like my body is already going through the experience of being diagnosed with cancer or divorcing my wife.

    I believe my anxiety is doing its job. It tries to protect me. Somewhere down the line, unfortunately I have taught to release adrenaline and other stress reactions as an anticipatory reaction towards possible difficult life situations. As a last resort to control life.

    The truth is that we can’t control life. Only to some extent the present is in our control.

    This understanding helps me to understand that my anxiety reaction is an over exaggerated one. That I do not have to question, fight or over-analyse it. That I can accept, relax and surrender to the now. This is a great feeling and one I wish you all to experience.

  145. Alz Says:

    Belgian here’s my question to what uv mentioend :by the time we reach the point in the future which we were continuously anticipating / imagining negatively , we’re so worked up .WHats to be done when we actually reach that point ? It’s hard to think rationally then . Accept that it’s all humbug and continue no matter how bad and rattled one feels ?yc

  146. Matt Says:

    Just my five cents worth, but I initially used to think that because I was accepting, then I must feel well. However, this isn’t how anxiety works. You are still accepting even though you feel anxious. You are doing everything correctly. In time, your mind will find calmness again.

    Laura, I also used to compare myself to others and feel jealous often. In time I realized that these thoughts were all part of the recovery process. I just accepted these thoughts too. Hindsight is a great thing, I know, but as someone who suffered from pretty severe anxiety and OCD, you just have to accept everything anxiety throws at you. Anxiety will take your time from you so you may as well let it. In other words, don’t get involved with the anxious thougts but just allow them to be there and do whatever they want without consciously analyzing there. Often at times, I hought I would never recover, but they were just thoughts. I would find that my mind would analyze at times even though I wasn’t conciously trying so. Just accept this too. Like Chris says, it really is an attitude – acceptance I mean. I know how tough it can be ~ when you feel so anxious or depressed , but do your best to get on with your day. Don’t let anxiety or fear stop you doing the things you want to do.

  147. Tom Says:

    Hi all!

    I know I shouldn’t let feelings of dread or negativity stop me from getting on with my day, but does the same thing apply for tiredness? For example, after a night of very little or very bad quality sleep, should I force myself to do things I would have done anyway (even though I can barely concentrate) or should I just do more low-energy things, like reading, watching movies etc.?

    Thanks for answering in advance.

  148. Laura Says:

    Thanks guys
    I used to be able to get on with my day and not let the anxiety bother me so much … but it built up to a point where now I don’t really experience any relief
    I’m just tired after what it seems to be a long battle.
    I just can’t seem to shift my mindset to one of acceptance because I do want it all to go away
    I’m not sure when I’m even accepting or fighting or analysing etc and I want to use the best approach to teach my brain it’s all ok, but how is it all ok when you are trying to watch tv and you feel the anxiety rise to the point of panic that all u want to do us run – surely there must be ways you can manage this without just doing nothing? I’m so confused to be honest because if I let it it just builds so instead I read back over the blog and try and calm myself down as a distraction – I guess this isn’t ideal but I’m just trying to get through the day at this point
    I’m still fearing the memories that accompany all this, and I’m not sure how I am ever going to break this cycle
    Also how have others managed take the fear out of your thoughts/memories? This is the hardest part for me along with comparison

  149. Laura Says:

    Alz I did read your post and thank you for that
    I guess I’m just grieving the fact that I’m back in this place and I have not known how to accept this… because of course everyone has a goal to accept this while working on taking the belief out of the thoughts – but it’s hard when it is so up and down
    Guess I just can’t get my head around how to be ok with living like this all the time and without much relief – it’s constant for now

  150. Mo Says:

    Hi Mr. David how is it going?

    I see only one blog regarding medication and anxiety. The medications most people talk about are the antidepressants,tranquilizers,etc. 3 years after suffering started my doctor diagnosed me as Adult ADHD(Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) Inattentive type which means that I have trouble paying attention and concentrating for long periods of time thus hurting my success in life goals in the long term compared to normal people.

    The medications I’ve been taking the last 2.5 years are strong stimulants(amphetamine class) that supposedly calm those people down and help them focus thus allowing a better quality of life. I do not like it because it suppresses my anxiety by not allowing me feel it, since it is a strong stimulant its creates more negative energy, and thirdly it’s turning me ignorant,as before this diagnosis and corresponding medications, I was skeptical of doctors,counselors, etc. especially after I started reading your blog and first book. The medications have also numbed me and disconnected me somewhat more than how I was before kind of similar to my less than two months trials of antidepressants when I first suffered from anxiety.

    The doctor doesn’t know much about anxiety and believes ADHD could be the primary cause even though I know for sure anxiety is whats keeping me innatentive, restless,irritable.He thinks I’m an idiot for believing that anxiety builds up these symptoms as well yet he listens closely and is interested in conversation when I bring up this blog and book information. All this stored up negative energy. And the drug treatment is holding me back from feeling freedom.

    Is it okay that I should just stop this bogus treatment and lADHD label and accept my anxiety and allowing once again like before? I resonate more with this blog than ADHD forums,etc.

    BTW I live in the states I don’t know how common ADHD diagnosis and drug treatment is in England so I apologize if you are a little lost in what I’m trying to communicate.

  151. Katrina Says:

    Hi Laura
    I understand where your at completely I’ve been in a rut with anxiety for the past six months brought on by stress caused by a diagnosis of a chronic illness.
    I’m paralysed by anxiety on a daily basis and have had a few periods like this in my life that I’ve gotten through just by carrying on with whatever my day brings. I’m starting to have better days but mostly they are horrible but I know this is how it’s going to be for a while.
    Your question about how do you accept situations like watching tv and having surges of adrenaline go through you. I think you’ve already accepted it, as you’ve acknowledged it to be anxiety, just carry on, there is no right way to go other than try to not make it anything else. If you need to get up and walk about to dispurse the energy do so, but don’t run from it, teach your brain it’s not harmful, it’s uncomfortable and there’s a few things you can do to reduce the discomfort but don’t make it worse with your thoughts and don’t run.
    I had a very difficult two hour meeting today that my anxiety run rampant through, a few times I got up and moved about to get rid of the build up but I stayed and knew it would pass as soon as I left so it was all in my head and in my control, even though it never feels that way.
    I don’t feel good on a daily basis but I’m just trying to get on with things until I get another moment, hour, day of feeling a bit of relief and hopefully they start to come more often. Until then I’ll push on :) you can too xxx

  152. Alz Says:

    Katrina that’s v deep. I have periods where I think I won’t comprehend what’s coming on tv or whatever documents I’m reading at work . New thought , new fear – same strategy … move on . Grab these moments to know u can do it . Iv had bad anxiety fr 11 months now and I’m slowly trying to find solutions myself except fr times like these when I come on Paul’s blog to see how to tackle the new situation I’m in through the advice of others who might hv experienced similar symptoms during recovery .

  153. Alz Says:

    Laura I know it’s really bad but the more u stress on it the more it will manifest. Like Belgian said, nothing’s in our control and neither are these erratic surges of anxiety . So we accept them .., pass each day with the hope that the next will be better until over time it will . U can’t imagine how awful it was for me today at work – I won’t be able to read , I won’t be able to comprehend .. I’m just slowly losing my mind .. tv .. i won’t be able to Understand what’s coming on it . My husband asks me where these thoughts come from suddenly and I hv NO answers .. myb some little trigger creates such a big chaos in my mind . Anyway just some words of comfort would help ..

  154. Chris Says:

    Thanks Bryan and Laura. Funny thing Laura, because the next morning pretty much all I said seemed to be out the window, I was in a terrible mood (although I’ve recently quit smoking so I think that was a contributing factor) so I do get what you mean. However as the day went on I was fine, and I’m actually out of this setback now. They get shorter and shorter.

    When the anxiety comes back Laura just see it as another purge. Try not to be so impressed, and try not to see these thoughts as important. Trust me, getting involved with anxious thoughts got me nowhere. When we are calm we can think more rationally, when we are emotional our emotions do the talking.

    It sucks I know, feeling great is good there is no doubt about that. I guess the main thing for me is not trying for instant relief, but more long term. See it as a savings/paying off debt scheme or something, the more anxiety you allow to come up, the more debt you are paying off – lol silly analogy but you get my point.

    I think the main thing though is not to get sucked into anxiety and to not remain focused on it. For me this actually includes the whole acceptance thing, because that can become an anxious theme in itself. Everything you read on here or anywhere, if it resonates with you then take it on board, if it doesn’t then leave it. The one big thing I learned is that nothing is black and white with anxiety and we are all individuals, so we all will deal with it in slightly different ways, although the basic principle is still the same.

    Hope that makes sense and I haven’t rambled too much. It’s 2am so I probably should be asleep right now opps!

  155. Jojo Says:

    Hi I’m wondering if anyone can relate to what I describe .. I’ve been reading this blog and Paul’s books for a few month and really feel it’s the only way and have came along way from where I was. Anyways the last month I’ve had dp it came I new what it was but it still scared me at the start but I just got on with it. Still checking in on myself everyday but hey ho. Anyways the last few days it felt different like it was ether lifting slowely or getting worse I don’t no .. I don’t feel as disconnected to my body or surrounding but just feel fuzzy and low . What I wanted to no is when the dp starts to go do u notice it ? Is it also strange not to feel dp ?? Thanks xx Jojo

  156. Laura Says:

    Thanks for the support but what I don’t understand is how letting it all come up is going to help heal – because everytime it comes up i react in fear because it’s what I’m used to doing. I try to float through and not get involved but it is overbearing and I can’t concentrate. My kids are growing up and I’m missing out on the best parts of their lives
    The anxious memories are the hardest to deal with – and I’m trying my best to just say it’s the past and move on but it’s on a subconscious level that they arise
    I’m not really sure how to let go of control – because when things are good I’m always in fear of them being bad again – and getting stuck in another deep setback
    Like the other day atbthe shops I got on with things and it lifted to the point where I had hope – then I caught up with a friend and she said how much she was looking forward to Christmas and the panic rose in me as I wish I could look forward to anything… the next day I just shut down and didnt want to do anything
    I guess after reading Paul’s posts it seems like he could be ok with not being ok, even though it was hard at times – I can’t seem to get to that place, because I’m not ok…. but if I could maintain the right attitude to all this with the hope of recovery then I guess I could endure it…
    Just a question the panic rises in you and the thoughts are going crazy, what do you do to manage this?
    It is helpful to process this stuff with you all so thanks

  157. Cherry Says:

    Hi everyone, I’ve been reading Paul’s work for a while but it’s first time posting. I have a question about hyperventilation. For those not familiar with hyperventilation, it’s over breathing which then increases all your anxiety symptoms. Sometimes hyperventilating alone can set off feelings of anxiety. I hyperventilate when very anxious or when panicking. This has been pointed out to me and I have learned a breathing technique which helps my breathing return back to a normal rate and when my breathing returns to normal my anxiety lessens as well.

    I have to at this point say that I am not into therapeutic techniques. Even before I stumbled upon Paul’s work I had already started to throw out most of my self help books, stop googling, stop journaling and analysing and basically just started to get on with life. I am not 100% there yet but I’m close.

    I have always seen doing the breathing exercise as simply taking fuel away from the fire because hyperventilation is pointless fuel. It just exacerbates symptoms for no good reason. When I do it I find the anxiety/panic doesn’t end up reaching boiling point or if does then it cools down quicker.

    However the other day a thought struck me that got me all concerned (yup I know…) Paul says to not do anything when anxious/panicking and just ride it out and suddenly I thought the breathing exercise is a ‘do’. So now I’m confused. I keep thinking should I just hyperventilate and let anxiety get worse for no reason or do the breathing exercises to take away the unnecessary fuel and ride out the rest of the anxiety that’s left (this is what I’ve been doing).

    I have to mention that hyperventilating is a habit. It’s a habitual response that the body does when you’re afraid, it’s heavier breathing to help you run faster or fight harder. My personal point of view is that if I consciously return my breathing back to normal it’s like telling my mind through action that there is no danger. I remember Paul saying I his book that the mind’s language is action. So if I work on returning my breathing to normal it’s like I’m saying to my body: thanks for your concerns but there’s no danger, let’s not breathe like this, there’s nothing to run away from so let’s tone down this breathing rate.

    I hope that made sense! What are your thoughts?

  158. Echo Says:

    Hi everyone, I’ve been reading Paul’s information and your comments and I’d like to share some insights from personal experience. If it helps great, if not that’s fine too.
    So I had done everything wrong like Paul, going from method to method, buying an exorbitant amount of self-help books etc. (I have a strong distaste for self-help now for various reasons which it’d like to post about later.) I also made the mistake of first interpreting Paul’s information as a method and started grappling with it…I started to get anxious because my experience didn’t fit his mould.

    For example, I also started to get better when I got rid of my anxiety backpack but I couldn’t identify with his explanation of ‘releases’. For me, the more attention I paid to real life the less anxious I felt. I don’t remember getting ‘random’ anxiety. I did get anxious in the middle of good times but there was always a reason, like exhaustion or a stressful period at work or new scary thoughts. So if your experience doesn’t line up with Paul’s you are not “doing it wrong”, and I think Paul would agree with this :)

    So here is the other important thing I would like to share. I did have to analyse, sort of, to get better. Let me explain.

    A lot of people say they are too scared to accept anxious thoughts/feelings. I know this myself. Paul mentions somewhere (book or site, I don’t remember) that people are afraid to let anxious/panic feelings in because they feel it will be so overwhelming they will pass a ‘point of no return’. This is a perfect way to put it. But here’s the thing, I learned a long time ago that anxiety was just adrenalin and energy and that it would always pass, but it didn’t make me anymore willing to stay with the feelings. I still dreaded it and fought it.

    And this was not good enough for me so I had to find the other reason why I resisted staying with the feelings and this is where I had to ‘analyse’ and look carefully at what I was doing.
    Long story short is I realised that my thoughts were not all made up of words. I realised that some of my thoughts were in the form of instincts or reactions. I can’t really explain it better at the moment. Basically, what I did was when I worried about being anxious I had to stay with it and examine what I was really resisting… what was this terrible consequence (besides feeling awful) that I thought would happen if I let myself be anxious. I realised I was terrified of other people’s negative reactions to my being anxious. I would imagine/think about how what if my anxious state makes me break a promise or inconvenience someone or whatever and then I would think/imagine how the person’s anger/disappointment/frustration would be so awful to face, that it would be too overwhelming and too much to handle etc. (To be honest my web of thoughts/beliefs was a bit more complex, I’m trying to keep it simple so my story is easier to follow.)

    Once I dug out these thoughts/beliefs I just applied Paul’s attitude and reminded myself that these beliefs were not based in reality and then I could move past it. It doesn’t particularly matter where/when the beliefs come from, you just have to realise they are not true. My point is, for me personally I could not have stopped believing in something when I didn’t know what that something was.
    So yes, I had to look and think about it for a little while. But to be honest it wasn’t the same type of thinking like ‘How do I get rid of this thing quick?’ it was more like staying with my worries long enough to see where they led and then I could go, ‘Aha, so that’s what all the fear and resistance was about. Well, I don’t need to believe it now.’

    If you are still afraid and resisting your emotions and thoughts even though you know it’s only adrenalin and energy, ask yourself what is the worst thing you think that will happen if you let yourself feel it? Don’t obsess about finding The Answer, just approach it with a sort of detached curiosity. I also think that the biggest lie at the bottom at any consequence we imagine is ‘I won’t be able to cope.’ For me it was, ‘If someone gets annoyed with me I won’t be able to cope.’ Now I know it’s not true, it’s just an anxious thought that hangs around sometimes and I tell myself I don’t have to give it any attention.

    Also, I’m not trying to ‘change’ my beliefs by repeating new things, I just remind myself that my negative belief is not fact, it’s not based in reality and then get on with things. This I think is the biggest lie anxiety creates ‘I won’t be able to cope.’ Like, ‘I’ll get anxious and then X will happen and it will be the end.’ Well, no, it won’t. I could really go on about this topic but I think I’ve written enough for now. Happy holidays everyone!

  159. Jake Says:

    Morning All

    Ive been struggling with relationship anxiety nearly 1 year. Its absolutely horrible as I really struggle with my feelings and attraction towards her its like I kind of numb!
    Does anyone else have this? I feel like if I leave my relationship I would be instantly free from this anxiety.

  160. Kat Says:

    Hi all,

    Two things: First, Jake, I’ve been there. I can tell you that it was a horrific experience and I had the same thought, that if I wasn’t in the relationship that my anxiety would ease. That was a garbage thought, however. It was never the relationship which was the problem. The problem was, and continues to be, that I have anxiety. We attach it to loads of things, and if your relationship is important to you, as mine is to me, then it stands to reason that you would attach anxiety to it as it is the thing you hold dear. It took me a while to move past it, but eventually I did. You will, too.

    The second reason I’m posting is that I need some encouragement myself. I’ve been in a deep setback for about a month. I tried to employ the techniques I’ve learned here, but it seemed to me that my panic/anxiety was intensifying rather than diminishing, and that scared the bejesus out of me. After so many years of trying to cope with this problem, I saw my doctor who has been working with me to overcome it. I had been, by his assessment, near remission throughout the better part of the year, but I slipped backward in November and became unhinged by it. Perhaps it was because I had been feeling so good previously that this setback hit me hard, but no matter how many times I read the techniques here, or read Claire Weekes’ directions, I am really not accepting well. My doctor and I decided to try a low-dose anti-anxiety medication. At first I was happy to have finally made a decision, but then I was wracked with guilt for “giving in”. I’ve now been on it for just over 2 weeks, and while I have had a couple fairly decent days, last night I had a vicious panic attack while driving home from a work and a bit of Christmas shopping. I prayed that I would actually make it home, and I was possessed with a “super tension” that when released, when I finally got home, my hearing was actually playing tricks on me. I swear I could hear a hissing sound, like a slow leak, and I was very upset because not only am I still experiencing panic attacks (something I hadn’t experienced in a very long while), but now I am being treated to new symptoms, and I thought I’d had them all!

    Full disclosure: I am no longer a Christmas fan as my anxiety seems to skyrocket each year at this time, and I don’t really understand why. Perhaps it’s the pressure to feel joyous when I simply can’t muster it. I am very open about having anxiety with those who know me, mainly because I don’t want them to think that my lack of enthusiasm is in any way their doing, but I can’t deny that after all the effort I’ve made to best this thing, all the time I’ve lost to trying to cope, that I feel defeated. I’ve re-read previous posts from those who have recovered and tried to gain inspiration from them, but I am beginning to feel like this is me, that I’m not capable of recovering, and I really hate thinking this way.

    So, this post was twofold: positive and negative. I hope the positive helped, but I am hoping someone might have some advice or encouraging words regarding the negative. How do I get back on track with this thing? What might be my obstacle in acceptance? I’m truly befuddled.

    Take care,


  161. Andy J Says:

    Hi Every One,

    I’m reading a lot on here lately about people trying to accept, or to do this or that.

    There is literally nothing you need to do. There isn’t a hidden technique that people aren’t telling you about or a secret pill to swallow. There isn’t a specific method you need to do or not do.

    There is no right or wrong answer. Regardless of what you do, anxiety can never hurt you. Yes, it is unpleasant at times, but it is a perfectly natural thing. Its a release of energy/adrenaline after your minds have been downtrodden.

    The whole idea behind allowing is because what other choice do we have? If we view anxiety as a friend, some one who is trying to help us, then how could we ever be scared by it? If we view it as the enemy and so something to fight against, we will never win. It is the ultimate protector. If we view it as some one who is doing its job, then our attitude changes. We take away the fear. As Paul has said, how can you fear something you understand?

    I get it. I get that people have terrible memories of feeling awful, but there comes a time where we have to break free and accept that these have happened. We have to acknowledge that we have had a hard time and that we have been trying to overcome this. It wasnt particularly effective, but it wasnt a wrong way of doing things.

    You have to take that step of not fearing anymore. Its simple, but isn’t easy.

    I hope some of that helps.

  162. Jenny Lee Says:

    Laura & Kate,

    I can really resonate with your posts. I am having the biggest set back I’ve ever had for the last 4 weeks since I stopped my contraceptive pill. It’s such a big setback, like, I’m getting symptoms I’ve never had before – weak, twitchy aching hands, severe bouts of depression/weird depersonalisation where I feel like I’m in crisis, completely losing my mind and I’m not coping well at all. After following Paul’s method for a few years, I thought I’d be in a much better place which makes me feel hopeless and depressed.
    I sometimes think anxiety changes it’s tack to try to get our attention and this is why it throws new symptoms… because the old ones become too easy to accept.
    It’s so hard to keep going to work with no sleep and when your mind is either screaming at you so loudly or so detached I can’t even focus on what I’m doing.
    I think others have been through extreme setbacks. And I think they have come out the other side. I think we can learn new things at any stage of recovery and some people just take longer than others. I know that going through huge stress has held my recovery back, but I would love to learn how to bounce back from life stressors, as they will happen all the time.

    Just wanted to say I feel your pain and we just need to keep going, allowing all the garbage and yuck to release until it has run out.


    P.s. I would love to have a penpal for joint moral support if anyone else wants to connect.

  163. Joe Says:

    Hey all

    I’m still struggling with the issues surrounding the nature of acceptance. I’m an obsessive and pedantic person by nature. The whole idea of ‘there’s nothing you need to do, you just need to allow’ seems completely oxymoronic and contradictory. I get that it’s a pointless mental debate that I have all day and that there’s no need to ‘figure it out’, but there’s a problem because I’m never sure if I’m doing it right. Again I know there’s no ‘right’ way to do it etc but I’m never quite sure if I’m keeping my nerves from healing or if I’m damaging them and keeping myself in the anxiety cycle (although I’m aware that making this post isn’t doing much good either). I know that Paul says the first mistake people make is trying to apply his ideas as another method for getting rid of anxiety but I remain kinda confused. I have no idea if Im reacting to anxiety and depression the wrong way and doing myself harm or if I am being accepting and allowing anxiety to take its course.

    I get periods throughout the day when I remember anxiety and my full attention is turned to it and I’m like ‘right what do I do here’ and then remember that there is nothing to do and then try to do nothing and then get confused and flustered and depressed. My mind might wander for a bit but then I’ll remember and the cycle continues. I understand that feeling anxious and anxious thoughts are benign in themselves but I feel completely in the dark about how my reaction to anxiety has kept me in the cycle since May.

  164. Jake Says:

    Hi Kat

    Firstly thank you for your reply it means a lot it really does especially with you going through your own issues. My anxiety is horrible, every part of my body is telling me to leave and I will be instantly fixed. I think maybe this isn’t even anxiety maybe you just wont admit it to yourself!!!

    Secondly regarding you I am by no means an expert but I do have been on anti depressants and found the first month heightens all your thought’s but it will calm down for you.

    – Most anti-depressants have around a 6 week period to fully bed-in. Likewise there is a period of withdrawal when you come off them at the other end. Rich

  165. Alz Says:

    Jenny lee and all the women on this blog ,
    Pls notice how our anxiety manifests at the time of menopause, pre pregnancy, post pregnancy or anything related with our cycle… so once iv figured this out , it should be simple to accept these intermittent phases of severe mind boggling anxiety right? But it isn’t .ur right .. the thoughts take one form or the other.. something ur really secure about will suddenly become a source of fear and anxiety. So what does one do? Like my mother says ( and all the people on this blog), move on .., trudge along . These days I hv the constant fear of losing the ability to comprehend written work or perform tasks at work but I’m going with it . It’s making me so angry, impatient and grouchy at work ( this fear which seems so overriding and real ) but I’m honestly tired . I’m tired of fighting, over analysing and over thinking . If I hv to go mad or ‘lose my mind’ I will and nothing can stop that . I have to let go like rich said … not easy even as I type this.. but ppl hv come out on the other side !

  166. Alz Says:

    I’m not really sure how to let go of control – because when things are good I’m always in fear of them being bad again – and getting stuck in another deep setback—-> Laura I think this is exactly what’s happening to me. Progress happens and then a sudden fear of going back or losing all the progress made- a new fear which makes u scared. I am scared of going back to where i was hence the anxiety resurfaces in places where iv made progress..

    Can someone also pls answer this for me ? How do I get over this fear of losing out on all the progress made ?

    – Alz, The answer to this is the same as all the other answers. You just stop being bothered about being scared – you go against your own instincts and show your mind and body. That’s it. Rich

  167. Echo Says:

    Hi moderator, it’s really disappointing to see my comment not being allowed. In my second comment about how the brain works there was nothing that contradicts Paul’s information. It was meant to reassure people that anxiety is normal and that if we don’t think about it so much it will quieten down. What kind of comments do you allow on here? What do I have to write to be able to post? I thought this would be a community where people could ask any questions or post whatever was on their mind. I was going to do a post about how finding a new hobby/interest helped me get out of the loop but maybe that wouldn’t be allowed either.

    Hi Echo – Don’t be disappointed. Any posts that are the first post from a person are put into moderation. Also, any posts containing links or email addresses are put into moderation. Finally, any posts containing certain keywords are put into moderation too. As this post has now been approved, you can now post what you wish to put onto the blog.

  168. Rich Says:

    Hi Everyone, I just want to draw your attention to Andy’s post above – This post like Paul’s actual blog post at the top of this page nails how to approach this thing.

    As Christmas is upon us there is usually a huge amount of pressure on ourselves to have a great time, be merry and happy, when for some of us we feel the exact opposite.

    I just want to say Merry Christmas to you all – however you celebrate I hope you have a peaceful, relaxing and fun time. Don’t put any pressure on yourselves to do this or that, just enjoy being with the ones you love.

  169. Josh C. Says:

    I’d also like to add that I feel so up and down, literally minutes at a time all day long most days. Since the relapse started I’ve had a handful of days where I felt great, but most of my “good” days are filled with anxiety I just seem to be able to accept all of it and it doesn’t affect my mood so much. I know recovery is very up and down but I seem to be stuck in a cycle of feeling ok, feeling bad, feeling ok, feelin bad, feeling ok, feeling bad all day long 95% of the time and have lost most of my confidence that good days will come. It’s as if I’m having a permanent setback. My mind almost always races with all the info I’ve read between Paul’s writings and Dr. Weekes when feeling anxious. I just let it all play through not attempting to stop it but it seems as though I’m involuntarily trying to make myself feel better instead of just allowing my mind to race without paying too much attention to it. Any tips or encouragement will be greatly appreciated!
    Josh C.

  170. Echo Says:

    Thanks there :) I realised later that might have been the case after I posted last time. Apologies.

  171. Alz Says:

    Thanks rich !
    Merry Christmas to everyone wherever they are . Have a happy holiday !

  172. Debbie Says:

    Alz merry christmas. And everyone else peace.

  173. Belgian Says:

    Love in anxious times.

    I know everything about it. For so long, my relationships have been affected by anxiety.

    Do I love her? No, I don’t. Oh but, yes I do! She is going to leave me. I am not worthy of her love. Is she really the one? Will we stay together? Do I want to stay together? Does she want to stay with me? Is she cheating on me?

    This is only a small selection of the thoughts that race through my mind when I find anxiety has chosen my relationship as its main topic. And these are just the thoughts. The feelings that accompany it are of an even fiercer nature. They make me fundamentally question every subtle change in my emotional life.

    I am sure a lot of you understand this.

    For all of you and in fact for all anxiety sufferers, I want to bring a message of hope. What in the end made me overcome my relationship anxiety was the following.

    Hope starts with understanding. Try to understand rationally that these thoughts and emotions are exaggerated reactions. Understand that they aren’t facts. It’s enough that your ‘mind’ understands it. I mean by this that you don’t have to make the mistake to wait for your ‘body’ to understand it too. In the beginning I thought that by understanding it mentally, my feelings would disappear instantly. I constantly checked if all of my rational understanding had direct results on my anxiety. It didn’t. Not at first.

    Understanding is just the first step. The second one is accepting. Accepting that you are having thoughts of doubt, feelings of anxiety. Accepting means that you try to stop contradicting your thoughts, don’t try to run away from how you feel. Accepting is more or less letting go. Noticing it and dropping it. Engaging with it, only fuels it.

    The third step is to talk to your partner about this. About how you feel. Try to explain what you can’t explain. I even copied some reactions from the site here on the subject. Don’t ask of your partner to understand completely what you are going through. Just ask for her/his support. Know that what you are asking from them is not easy.

    The fourth step is to carry on as good as you can manage while accepting the way you feel. So, if you want to kiss or hug your love, don’t hold back. Just kiss him/her. Try to be in that moment as much as possible. Feel what there is to feel and think what there is to think.

    Now, repeat all steps. Time and time again. Until you master this so good that it all comes almost automatically. Until feeling anxious doesn’t really matter anymore.

    It’s true, this is the goal. It’s not about not feeling anxiety never again. It’s about not really caring (too much) when it revisits us.

    My anxiety was, is and always will – at times – be a part of me. That is why I titled this post: love in anxious times. It’s not my relationship that is causing it, it’s not something to solve in the outside world. It’s something I carry within me and from time to time surfaces.

    Why? There could be a thousand reasons as to why. All of them equally interesting to examine, but this will do nothing more than make you more understand and as I’ve explained, understanding is only the first step.

    It’s only from that point on that the journey begins. That you finally can start living a life regardless of anxiety.

    To me, this means that I finally dare to say to myself that I love my wife very deeply. That I can do this even though I am feeling anxious when doing so. That my anxiety doesn’t change this. I feel truly blessed to have found a partner that went with me along the way to recovery.

    But most of all, I feel very grateful for my anxiety. I can trust that it will always keep me sharp. That it will make sure I do not take for granted the things close to my heart.

    In the end, anxiety truly is our friend.

  174. Lavender Says:

    Have been lurking around and reading the posts for quite a while. Finally posting cos Belgian’s last post really strikes a chord!

    Thank you, Belgian for the sharing. Indeed, to live life regardless of anxiety and not “free from anxiety”.

  175. Kelly Says:

    Hi, been a while since I’ve commented on here. I’ve followed Paul’s blog for over 3 years now. Never realised that I’d suffered anxiety in patches throughout my whole life then it escalated after having my first child. Being anxious about my life, wondering if I’m really happy and giving all these negative thoughts so much time and energy. After stumbling across one of Paul’s blogs it was like a weight lifted off my shoulders, I’ve lived by the books and posts ever since. I’ve recommended many people to read your books and had many people say how amazing you are. I’ve now got two kids and my post natal anxiety was minimal compared to the first time. I’ve gone through some pretty big events this year, selling our first home and buying a new one. My husband hit rock bottom and is dealing with mild depression which I’m trying to be as strong as possible. I get anxious with change and I feel that I’ve coped pretty well considering the big changes recently. I’ve had a couple of set backs, wondering if the change was the right thing to do, wondering if I’m really happy. But I know that these are just bull shit anxious thoughts. Writing a comment on here helps me to get some of this off my chest and get it out of my mind. Motherhood is hard, I love it but it’s exhausting. I get very little time to exercise and release adrenaline which in turn makes me anxious. So I’m stuck in a bit of a viscous circle at the minute. I know what I have to do but motivation is hard to just go and get.

  176. Katrina Says:

    Stay afraid, but do it anyway, what’s important is the action, you don’t have to wait for the confidence. Just do it and the confidence will eventually follow. ~ Carrie Fisher RIP

  177. Steve b Says:

    Hi guys. I am still struggling with obsessive thoughts and mind chatter.
    Just want some natural thoughts for Christmas please santa!
    Anyone wake up and they start. Just non stop. Over and over.

  178. Debbie Says:

    Hi steve b i have constant intrusives and mind chatter my intrusives are constant they are flashes are anything dreams i have had etc i have mind chatter of swearing just commming in my mind and that is not me i feel like i dont even know who iam at times . If i look at tv there always has to be association to something else .something else if iam going to the store i know where iam going but my mind is seeing another image of where iam going and scares me .just saying i get them to and they are terrible.

  179. Josh C. Says:

    Hi, everyone. I’d like to introduce myself and give a brief history about myself and hopefully help those recovering from anxiety. I had a severe panic attack in October of 2011, the classic “heart attack” episode and the anxiety snowballed from there. Within a couple of months I was experiencing just about every symptom there is. After months of fighting and getting worse I opted for meds. About the same time I came across Claire Weekes work and started attempting to put her teachings into my life. After 6 months of this I felt well enough to come off the meds and improved still for a few more months. For 3 1/2 years I still had weekly panic attacks and periods of intense anxiety during very stressful times, but I was content with where I was emotionally and mentally. Fast forward to October of this year and-WHAM! Relapse. Hard! Everything I thought I knew about accepting seemed to do me no good anymore. The anxiety got worse and worse for about 6 weeks. I’m currently recovering very slowly. VERY slowly. Mostly bad days but that’s part of recovery! I’m dealing with much more depression this time around and that is a lot of what keeps me in the cycle…fear of depression, among other things. I want to encourage everyone to keep practicing acceptance! Recovery from anxiety is choosing to live with it. Acceptance can have such a broad definition when dealing with anxiety, but something that may help those struggling to know if they are accepting or not is this…acceptance means, “today may not be good, but tomorrow is another day. I hear all the thoughts constantly swirling, and yes they have my attention, but I can still do other things and will do other things. I feel pure panic right now and feel the need to run, but I know I can ride this out. I’m so tired of being tired and sick of feeling like this, but I can work towards living with the anxiety right now!” Acceptance never means the anxiety goes away. It means you have chosen to allow it…giving it room to do whatever it’s going to do. So, it is going to do all of that! The difference is now it is escaping instead of being trapped. “Go ahead anxiety, come and go all you want! Now you are being released, you’re free!” Acceptance is giving up on recovering today, or this week or this month. It is living for today and letting recovery come when it comes. Acceptance is having “What if” thoughts run through your mind but not stopping them. One of my main struggles is constantly, involuntarily, coaching myself through anxiety. My mind is on me and the anxiety/depression about 80% of the time and I am working to accept that without mentally fighting myself with “stop doing that!” “You aren’t accepting if your constantly trying to fix it.” But the truth is that I can accept it. I can accept that I want to feel good so my mind is going to attempt to make me feel good. I can accept that my mind is going to race while its releasing nervous energy. That’s great! I want to release that stuff.
    I hope this helps someone as I am preaching to myself here to. We all want to feel better, to be our “old self” again. I’m living proof that it can happen! I’ve recovered before and I know, even in the worst of my anxiety and depression, I can recover by not trying to recover. By choosing to live for this morning, for this lunch break, for this afternoon at the park and letting those times be what today means to me. Not trying to live for tomorrow or for recovery today.

  180. Steve b Says:

    Thanks Debbie. It’s annoying isn’t it. I have been at this 2 years now.

  181. Andy J Says:

    Hi Steve,

    As some one who suffers from irrational thoughts I can understand your frustration.

    Break it down to the basics. If you try not to think of something what happens? Its all you can think about. Pink elephants etc.

    You can’t think these away. There isnt anything to do. By trying to rid yourself of these, you’re actually bringing them back on. A total paradox eh.

    You just have to acknowledge they are there, understand they are a result of your anxiety and get on with your day. What else is there to do? You can’t out think your own mind can you? If we could, we would all have dealt with it that way.

    I know how tough it is. I have them every day, but you know what, I can’t do anything about it, and so just have to live with them. One day they will hopefully go away, but as I cant do anything to speed up the process, I’m not going to do anything to hinder it either.

    Just remember, EVERYONE has intrusive thoughts. If some one says they dont, then they simply are not telling the truth. The difference being we have attached meaning to them. There’s a good website ‘intrusivethoughts(dot)org’.

    Give it a bash.

    All the best,


  182. Debbie Says:

    Andy j hi i was wondering .are my images intrusives or when evet i had a panic whatever i saw in my mind i get flash backs of whatever i saw. It feels scarey.or anyone one else can relate.

  183. Peter Says:

    Hi all, anyone here have OCD? I made an account on some writing site to make a little extra income, and feel like the account is “contaminated” (means pretty much nothing…basically I don’t like the name and think maybe I could think of a better username) and so now I feel the urge to delete the account and make a new one. Problem is I’ve written some articles and gotten high ratings, so I don’t really want to delete it and have to start over from scratch bringing my rating up from zero.

    However, it really bothers me that there might be something “wrong” with this account and I find it hard to focus on other things. Also, if I delete it and make a new account, I bet I’ll just start worrying that there’s something wrong with that account!

    I think the thing to do is to just ignore those feelings and stick with the account, and eventually I won’t be worried about it, but I noticed that Claire Weekes says we should give into compulsions? That’s in contrast to everything I’ve learned about exposure therapy…

  184. Peter Says:

    Also, I know I shouldn’t label myself as having OCD, but not every anxiety sufferer has the kinds of obsessions and compulsions which we think of as “OCD”, such as ritualized handwashing, so I think it’s useful to use the term “OCD” (which is still driven by anxiety, just like panic attacks or anything else) so you all know what I mean. :)

  185. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    Just thought I’d give my opinion on thoughts. I don’t like the word ‘intrusive’ when it comes to thoughts, to me its far too negative. Okay, the ones we encounter when anxious arent very pleasant but labelling as them intrusive seems to reinforce that they shouldn’t be there, something to get rid of ..similar to labelling feelings as symptoms. Thoughts are just thoughts and are a result of your state of mind. Whilst still anxious you will still have these, anxiety is designed to keep you safe and if your mind wants to come up with ways to stop you doing something….”Dont go to the shop, you’ll only panic” etc then it will do that. It’s just doing it’s job.
    You need to take a leap of faith that they will disappear as you make progress and the anxiety levels drop away. As Andy said, if they are part of your day then work with them for now. Annoying maybe, harmful they aren’t.


  186. Bryan Says:


    Great point on labeling. Couldn’t agree more. I reject almost all post all labels and think people do themselves a huge disservice with the contestant use of medical jargon and acronyms, etc. I understand why we do it. There’s a certain comfort in identifying a perpetrator. (So we think.) But the use of regular labels gives the brain a very clear message that there is something wrong with us that must be guarded against and fought.

    I personally prefer to just call it the effects of stress or at worst stress disorder which means simply that we are under stress and tend to react more severely to that stress likely because of prolonged exposure or learned (lack of) self regulation behaviors.

    It’s fine to say we feel bad at times. No need to lie. But assuming identities based on medical jargon that was primarily designed to sell drugs just never seemed helpful to me… and I seem to notice a clear correlation between those who recover… and those who drop the regular use of these kinds of labels.

  187. Bryan Says:


    Sounds like a lot going on in your life but congrats on assuming such a good mindset about it and moving forward towards resuming normal living. Your post will inspire others. Agree on exercise. We have to find some way of moving, even if it’s just jogging in place at work, in front of the TV, etc. I used to do squats holding my daughter when she was a baby. Lol.

    Keep up the good work.

  188. Steve b Says:

    Hi Bryan. Merry xmas matey.
    Thanks for the advice guys.
    Yep, I get that obsessive thoughts are part and parcel of this but the constant nature. Like mind chatter, from the moment I wake up is extremely hard to deal with. Just venting I guess.
    I am finding it very hard to move on from all this. I am anxious about having had a breakdown(being anxious) which is a tough nut to crack. Checking in every minute is not helping.

  189. Cheryl Says:

    Hi, Belgian
    I have exactly the same thoughts, I’ve had health anxiety for years , I’ve had counselling and currently meditation which is helping me keep in the moment . It’s so so hard with health anxiety, most mornings I check for lumps , I have a few other issues but nothing severe . It’s not like it all the time , through Paul and Claire weekes I’ve over come a lot of fear
    I agree it’s like my anxiety is trying to protect me so if it did happen I would be prepared , how does o e convince their brain I don’t need protecting ?. Any ideas

  190. Belgian Says:

    Hi Cheryl,

    the answer is quite simple.

    You don’t try to convince it rationally.

    This would only be yet another useless mental exercise.

    Exposure means to experience what there is to experience and not running away from it. Examining your thoughts is trying to run away from the feelings that go with it. It’s by going through it that you show yourself that everything is okay.

  191. Jake Says:

    Hi Belgian

    How are you getting on with your relationship anxiety??
    Is it not just our gut telling us to leave as its the right thing to do?? Why would the inner battle be so strong.

  192. Josh C. Says:

    Reading through Paul’s writings and the comments, it seems as though very few people have experienced chronic sleeplessness. I’m currently averaging about 4 hrs of sleep in a 24 hr period. Some nights I sleep ok and get 5 hrs in but most nights I sleep about 3 hrs. This is all associated with anxiety, I know but it is very difficult to get on with living my life when I am completely exhausted. I’ve tried everything under the sun for sleep but nothing helped so I gave up “trying to get sleep”. I know that when my racing mind eventually slows down I’ll be able to rest more, but I’m really struggling with lack of sleep currently. Has anyone else been through this and found rest at some point? This has been going on for a month or so now for me.
    Thanks in advance!

  193. Bryan Says:


    Very common. Many non anxious people get the kind of sleep you are talking about. But stress can surely play a role.

    Do a search for posts from Nolan here over the past year. He is a brilliant guy who overcame just the issues you speak of.

  194. Josh C. Says:

    Bryan, thanks for the response! I’ll go through the comments and look for Nolan’s. Again, thanks for pointing me in the right direction!


  195. Star Says:


    I haven’t read through all the posts, maybe I will at some point; I just hold this blog to my heart because I remember how I clung onto it for so long. And I could see the truth of which is spoke.

    I see now what was holding me back. I have been struggling with strong anxiety for 5.5 years now. Only in the last year did I really desperately search for answers and over the past 6 months I have been going to therapy.

    So I thought I would share briefly my experience because I feel like I have hit a huge hurdle and breakthrough in my journey.

    I’ve realized that I have been constantly avoiding the middle bit. I would always search for something that would make the discomfort go away. And when it would go away, I thought that it would never come back. But it always would, and then I would go back into the cycle of trying to make it go away, and beating myself up for it being back which prolonged me being ok.

    But discomfort and pain is part of life. It is part of reality. You will experience pain and you will experience anxiety. What anxiety sufferers do that amplifies the experiences is all the added emotions about what is happening to them. Instead of just accepting that this is normal, this is not in their control and that there is nothing to do about it. I know these are messages that have been said again and again, but I had never really integrated it until now.

    It’s about being ok with the worst possible outcome. Sitting in the worst possible outcome and feeling the awful emotions that you will inevitably feel. All your fears are trying to protect you from this place. But what if you were there? What if you lost your job, or your friends weren’t interested in you anymore? Feel the stab in your chest. Feel it strong. But then the feeling will pass, if that is what the fear is about, everyone moves on and you will be ok.

    And if you have fear about never getting through anxiety (I have that one come up) feel the discomfort of being stuck in anxiety forever and allow it to feel uncomfortable and be painful. And then… And so you’ll have anxiety…

    You can live through your biggest nightmares and still you will be ok. I know I have lived through my worst. And this realization threw me into the dysfunction of my fears. I was trying to prevent what I never could.

    Being ok with the uncomfortable emotions and understanding they will always pass is a huge comfort.

    Not sure if this helps at all, but I have been stuck on the letting go for so long and this was a major blockage of mine, but of course everyone has their own journey and may not be able to relate etc. Just wishing everyone clarity always and understanding and meaning in the darkness. xx

  196. Belgian Says:

    Hi Jake,

    A few days ago I posted on my (very good) progress on this. :)

    As for your remarkd the inner battle that you feel.

    Claire Weekes describes this very well. Sensitized people feel their emotions very strongly. One minute you feel certain you love your wife and want to stay with her the rest of your life, the other you want to run away now.

    I can’t tell you if your doubts are or aren’t justified. I would suggest you talk to someone you trust and can offer you guidance on your relationship right now. He/she can maybe offer some insight that helps. My very close friends listened to my doubts and they all said to me that they did not understand the intensity of it. They did understand that there was some doubt, but they also noticed the fact that my wife and I continued to talk, kiss & hug each other. This is a good indication whether or not your relationship is going into the right direction.

    You have to understand though that their insights will not make your anxiety go away instantly. “Use” it anyway until you are not sensitized anymore. The moment you aren’t so sensitized anymore, your ability to decide will come back.

    Anyway, it seems to me you are suffering from anxiety and not from a bad relationship. Why else would you be looking for answers on an anxiety forum and not on a forum on relationships issues.

    If anxiety really is the problem (which I think it is), you will have to look for a way to cope with your anxiety. The moment you are working on anxiety, you will make progress.

    Don’t make the mistake to continue to tackle the topic you have fixed your anxiety on. In this case, your relationship. If you understand this, you can begin to accept your fears and doubts. To let them be.

    In fact, the doubts we feel from time to time in any relationship are nothing but human. This is the price we pay for having the opportunity to chose our own partner. Every choice we make, is also a lost opportunity. Regret is always a few steps away.

    There are hundred ways to cope with this uncertainty. Some can’t make the choice at all, others make new ones every once in a while and there are those who stubbornly stick with their choices also when they obviously shouldn’t.

    You talked about the conflict. The gut feelings you have. There really is no absolute truth . Not even the gut can give us this absolute truth as it doesn’t exist.


  197. JJ Says:

    Hi everyone, happy new year.
    This is my first time posting although I’ve read a lot! Since early October I’ve been suffering with anxiety quite badly. My CBT therapist and I have worked out this was brought on quite suddenly due to health worries (kidney stones causing pain, repetitive infection, PCOS symptoms) and the stress this caused me also excessive worrying that I did not realise I was doing because there was other smaller this GS going on and these stressful events all happened within four weeks of me finally feeling better after withdrawing from my anti depressants that I was on for 2.5 years for social anxiety and panic disorder (I came off them as I was over this. I knew what my triggers were etc and felt like I no longer needed them)oh and then finally what tipped me over the edge was a full blown cold,my body gave in and I began waking up with the ultimate doom and dread that I have never experienced before. Cut a long story short, I went back on to my anti depressants as I feel for me personally they take the edge off my physical symptoms, I now find I don’t feel the feeling of dread much now however I’m still suffering with the worse symptom for me (I find it worse than anxiety attacks I’d suffer daily with years ago!) Is my mind. Over thinking, racing and intrusive thinking, worrying I’m going to get worse and become suicidal and so on … I haven’t been CBT since 7th December as at that point I was doing okay so my therapist and I decided to extend the time to four weeks when I next see her (whch is now next week) over Christmas it was distracting so I was doing a bit better with the over active mind .. you see, when I’m around people I feel much better however when I’m alone at home I really suffer and it’s started getting worse now Xmas is over and I’m back to reality, I feel back to where I was two months ago! The biggest issue with feeling like this is I work from home running my own craft business!!! I’ve convinced myself that is now something I can’t do because of how I feel when alone! Even though I enjoyed it before this hit me. I’m quite isolated where I live and when my partner goes to work I feel lonely and lost in over active thoughts. I don’t feel motivated to start new craft projects …. Sewing is something that helped me years ago. The time I find it hard to get back in to ? I keep worrying that actually I’m depressed rather than anxious but I know I wouldn’t want to do things and see people if this was the case … Is anyone going through what I am? I feel like I need to talk to someone that’s suffering with being alone! As it’s sort of the opposite of what I went through with social anxiety! X j

  198. Josh C. Says:

    Hi, everyone. This being my 2nd time to be having long term anxiety, it’s really hard for me to be open to a, “oh, well. I’ll just live my life and let recovery come when it comes.” attitude. Between “recovering” back in early 2013 to now, I had short run-ins with anxiety of a day or 2, maybe a week during very stressful times, but not this constant anxiety for over 2 months now. I know I am accepting and living life the best I can, but after fighting to “accept” in October and November and trying to force Dr. Weekend teachings to finding Paul’s teachings (which go into more depth) I seem to be worse. For instance, back in October and November (when I was forcing face, accept, float etc…)I would have a day every week or so where I felt great. After reading Paul’s writings and many inspiring comments from those who have recovered, I gave truly just let go of all my expectations, all the wishing I was better, all the trying to feel better but it’s almost as if its backfiring on me. After first reading some of Paul’s writing I felt really good for 2 days, but I’ve been feeling awful for about 2 weeks now. It’s only natural to want to be making progress, and although I’m not keeping tabs on my progress, I still have the urge to wonder why I seem to be “stuck”. I’m working at not getting coming on here often and actually deleted the app on my phone, but reinstalled it to hopefully get some feedback on this. Nolan seems to have dealt with much of what I’m dealing with and I have read several of his comments which have been very insightful! He talks about having these short times of peace and calm that let him know he was recovering (that’s paraphrased). I guess I’m expecting to have those moments at times too but am not having them. Does it take weeks sometimes to have those moments? Months?
    Thanks, everyone for reading this! Any replays with insight will be greatly appreciated!

  199. Bryan Says:


    It took me a very long time to see improvement but I was really ramped for a long time. But yes, sure it can take a while and sometimes letting go can initially make perceive things to be worse. But as Paul writes, this is what we want. We want the energy to leave us. We’re not worse… but we may be feeling it more completely as we stop our efforts to mask and suppress the feelings.

    The way through these hard times remains the same. You know what to do and the blueprint has been (thankfully) put in place for us. We just have to do our very best to allow, live outwardly and don’t become entangled with analysis, grading and searching. It can feel impossible but it is absolutely the path towards resuming normal living.

  200. Josh C. Says:

    Bryan, very wise words! Thank you for the reply! After I posted this I started feeling better and am actually feeling the best I’ve felt in a week or more! It seems so silly asking for help and encouragement now in hindsight but when I’m in the thick of it all I’m just looking for somebody that can relate and encourage me. You have done that and I’m very thankful!


  201. Andy J Says:

    Hi Guys,

    Hope every one is cracking on and having a good new year.

    Thought I’d post a bit of an update (it helps me to get things out of my head and written down).

    I am still having a rough time. Six weeks ago I tapered off my antidepressants as I felt they weren’t making my life any easier and there were some notable side effects. At first, I felt like I had made a grave mistake, but have since been OK. No noticeable physical side effects, but my mood has definitely lowered.

    I still have my daily struggles. Low mood and self esteem have taken an absolute hammering from anxiety. I dont know if any one else gets like this, but everything I do seems to be tainted by anxiety. As if everything is brought down, either by the anxiety or ruminating about whats happened or worrying about the anxiety coming. For example last night, I knew I was going to be alone as my wife was out with some friends. I hated being in on my own. I dont know why as it was something I used to love, sitting watching what I wanted on the telly etc.

    I am trying to live my life normally. I still work, visit the gym when I can, eat relatively healthily and visit friends and socialise. However, I just cant seem to shake anxiety off, nor can I lift my mood. Like most people on here I suspect, I have the thoughts of never getting better. I was first diagnosed with GAD back in January 2013, so its approaching 4 years of living like this. Some days have been OK, some have been dreadful, but I’ve never been able to put together a significant period of time where I think I’ve cracked this. I guess I still dont know if I’m doing things right. I’ve tried to follow everything said on here, but its really quite difficult. I admire and congratulate those who have recovered and continue posting on here. I guess I just wish it was me.

    Does any one else get the whole ‘doing things right vs doing things wrong’ thought? When allowing, am I getting in to this too much? Am I actually analysing the thoughts, rather than just allowing them to be there. Where do you draw the line? What if that analysis is automatic? If I stop myself, am I fighting? Some people make it sound easy, but it isn’t.

    I guess, I hope this will change. I have lost a huge chunk of my life to this and at times it feel torturous.

    Thanks for reading.


  202. Jenny Lee Says:

    Hey everyone

    I thought I’d post because I can see so many people struggling with acceptance on the blog lately and I wonder if I can offer any encouragement.

    I think I might be FINALLY cracking the whole acceptance thing… Slowly. This is after 4.5 years of trying btw – an up and down affair to be honest peppered with lots of big life changes, stresses and bereavements.

    I have got lots of anxiety symptoms, from twitching muscles, numbness, adrenaline rushes, vision problems, shakiness, IBS and insomnia to depersonalisation, panic attacks, depression, racing thoughts, paranoia and OCD.

    It doesn’t matter what your symptoms are, it’s how you react to them. Instead of my usual – distracting myself/ trying to comfort myself/ calling my sister for advice/ running around trying to forget about anxiety… I am just letting it be there. Without trying to change anything.

    Because in my heart, I know that anxiety is a safe thing, it is literally just a false alarm, it’s trying to protect me, not trying to harm me. There is nothing that anxiety can do to harm me, despite how gross and horrific it can make me feel.

    I’m not saying that I don’t care how I feel at all, I’m saying that I am OK with allowing anxiety to be there as long as it needs to be. It is protecting me from the immense amounts of life stresses and the added stress I have been adding to it with What If thinking. It will be here for some time to come, and it is protecting me, it’s not my enemy anymore.

    Anxiety also cannot stop me from doing anything that I want to. I don’t have to find some special place of calm or wait until I feel better to be able to do challenging things… I just need to get out there and do it!

    For example. I am going away to Scotland tomorrow – my first flight in a few months since I had a big panic attack on a plane last year. I am starting to get aggy, shaky, slow and confused thinking, not sure how to process what is going to happen. My reaction to this: ‘So what.’ I’m doing it however I feel. I may panic, I may get extreme depersonalisation, I might start crying on the plane. But all this is just a release of emotions, I am going to let it release, just as Paul says, and it will pass when it has done it’s job. At no point will it actually harm me, so it doesn’t really matter how it makes me feel. In the long run – I am doing this flight so that 1. I can have a nice holiday with my husband, and 2. So that I can show anxiety that it’s OK and that it is my friend.

    So from now on, let anxiety be there, fully. Let all the anxious thoughts, sensations, emotions and feelings come, and stay for as long as they like. Don’t focus on trying to accept, just let whatever happen. And move on with your life. There is lots of life waiting out there for you, you can start experiencing it now, all you need is willingness. Willing to experience everything anxiety throws at you, however it makes you feel.


  203. Jenny Lee Says:


    For those who have never seen it, please have a look at this lovely cartoon video on you tube.

    Just type in you tube : in between animation short film 2012 Gobelins

    It is actually about Shyness, but I relate so much to it and when I’m feeling like I want to push anxiety away, watching this reminds me that it is my friend, not my enemy!


  204. Josh C. Says:

    Andy, you are not alone. I recovered back in 2013 after a year and a half of crazy anxiety (every symptom you can name). I was on Paxil for 6 months and I guess it helped because I went from being afraid to look out my window to living a normal life during my time on Paxil. In October of 2016 I relapsed hard. I no longer am bewildered by anxiety so in a sense it isn’t as bad as it was back in 2012/2013 but it’s very intense, non the less. Bryan suggested I read some of Nolan’s comments and one thing he wrote really clicked with me. It was something like, “I give up. I may be like this forever but I’m going to love my wife and son the best I can. I’m going to live my life for them.” I have since adopted that same attitude and I don’t feel any different. My mind still tries to “fix” me. It constantly coaches me how to “deal with” my mood. How to properly accept. It tells me I’m obviously not doing it right because I feel terrible. It tells me I need to get back on Paxil. It rarely stops trying to fix me. I have sleep issues and in 2012 I was taking some heavy sleeping meds that didn’t really help and made me feel worse. I understand that there really isn’t anything I can do to fix myself so I’m just going to allow whatever happens to happen. I also involuntarily wonder if I’m “doing it right”. But I understand that it’s the outlet for anxiety to cause my mind to ask me this. On those rare days when my anxiety is low my mind slows way down and the questioning everything doesn’t happen. I usually am thinking something like, “Ahhhhh! This feels good! You can do this, Josh. You’re doing something right because you feel really good!” So, I know that high anxiety causes me to question everything and low anxiety causes me to think I’ve got it all figured out. But, this is all involuntary. I’m not thinking these thoughts willfully. It’s just my present state doing what it’s going to do. I understand there is no secret to recovery. I understand that I may not recover for a while but as crappy as I feel I’m going to live the best I can for my wife and kids.

  205. Josh C. Says:

    Andy, after reading my last comment I realized I may not have made this point…I wonder if I’ll recover too. I wonder if my acceptance will be enough or if I’ll ever be able to accept correctly. I know it’s only been a couple of months for me in this relapse, but it has been extremely tough on me and I haven’t felt as though I’m making progress either. But, what else is there to do except keep living. I think a big key to acceptance is to just live without trying to recover. Maybe recovery comes, maybe it doesn’t but I’m doing the best I know how to and if it causes me to find peace again, great! But if I don’t find that peace I’ll keep living anyway. I may loose my job because I can’t focus, but I’m doing the best I can and can’t help that. I may not sleep tonight or tomorrow night, but worrying doesn’t help. I know I will have a good day or good night at some point but if my only goal is to wait for the good times to come then I’ll be missing some chances to learn things about myself and my situation.
    I’m there with you, Andy. I hope that just knowing you’re not alone right now helps.

  206. Katrina Says:

    Such great posts Jenny and Josh I can really relate to them. Josh especially the part about the thoughts of getting back on antidepressants medication. I never really considered it my brain trying to fix itself when it doesn’t need to, I’ve been tortured by these types of thoughts of late. I too am getting on with life and am having good days even a week, but it’s still very up and down, some days I can shake it off other times I can’t and have to retreat until the storm blows, it’s being ok with this that’s hard as I feel like I’m cheating if I retreat and not accepting properly. I also have to be kind to myself too which I’m not good at, the self care. Thanks for the inspiration to keep going and know we are trying everyday:)

  207. Josh C. Says:

    One of my main concerns is my job. I work 12 hour shifts rotating days and nights. Without anxiety I manage fine, I’m tired but no big deal as I know I’ll sleep better on my days off. But with anxiety my mind is flooded with thoughts like, “you’ll never recover working these long hours and not sleeping enough.” Curious if anyone else works shift work and is recovering or has recovered. It’s funny that even though I have recovered while working this same job I seem to have forgotten everything I knew about recovery.

  208. Josh C. Says:

    Also, in allowing everything I am feeling thick depression come and go but it comes more frequently lately. I’m not scared of it but it really tends to “take the wind out of my sails”. It’s very difficult to be feeling worse by the day while truly allowing everything to happen. I’m not fighting at all yet feeling worse…more anxious, more tired, more depressed. As if the freedom for everything to surface is causing me to be sucked in deeper and deeper to a point where I no longer have the energy to get on with my life. I fully understand that I’m a mess right now, but I feel more lost than ever. I’m having a difficult time understanding why this approach seems to be backfiring with me.

  209. Josh C. Says:

    I believe I’ve hit rock bottom…again. After working last night and not sleeping any today I realize there is nothing I can do to “beat this”. I absolutely hate the way I feel. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to feel well but at the same time I don’t have the energy to fight. I’ve spent the last 30 minutes pacing through my house from all the nervous energy yet also feel completely drained of energy. I literally can’t fight any longer. I can’t focus at work, I don’t sleep much especially when working and I’m a total wreck emotionally and mentally but this is probably where I need to be to start recovering. I have nothing left in me to fight with. I’m at the mercy of all the anxiety and depression. I can’t change it. Hopefully the next time I post will be a different story, a story of progress. Until then, keep living your lives everyone! Take all the symptoms, racing thoughts and muck with you on your journey to peace. I will be praying for you all and will be carrying on with you. It’s not a fun journey but it’s not a choice wether we get to take it or not. It’s laid out before us and there’s no going back, only forward. It will be a long journey but a journey that will teach and heal.
    Peace and Love,

    Josh C.

  210. Sally Says:

    Hi Josh
    I don’t usually post on here but I can see you need some sort of response to your posts.I have had GAD for as long as I can remember I have had a full life travelled extensively still am have 3 wonderful sons and 4 wonderful grandchildren and have never let this condition hold me back Yes it is awful some days but that doesn’t mean every day will be the same even people without anxiety have ups and downs good days and bad.You talk a lot about I can’t fight any longer and there you have it the word fight The more you fight the feelings the more intense they get You need to re read Paul’s book and methods as they are truly the way to peace Hope you feel some degree of peace soon Sally

  211. Josh C. Says:

    Hi, Sally. Thank you for the response! Yes, I guess I was wanting a response…just someone to encourage me probably. I have GAD and PD and although I agree with the “not labeling” anxiety I’m also not going to walk on egg shells when discussing it. I’m going to get pretty personal here as this is just how it is for me. My wife and I have 5 biological kids and 3 adopted kids ages 11 months to 14 yrs old. Some of those kids have special needs and require lots of attention. My job requires critical thinking and problem solving at times and when my mind is calm it’s not an issue but in a relapse like I’m currently in it is extremely difficult to focus on my job. I do better being at home dealing with day-to-day things because there’s no pressure on me to perform like there is at work. When I recovered in 2013 I still experienced extreme anxiety during stressful times (the birth of a child, lower back pain which caused a pinched nerve and other stressful life changes) but I would just float along through it and it would eventually leave maybe in a day, maybe in a week. I didn’t like it but I could live with that. Now that I seem to be back at square one, it’s very frustrating and crushing. I totally get Paul’s method and I have read the first book and some of the 2nd, however I tend to try to apply the teachings as a way to recover instead of “clicking” with it all. My mind constantly pulls up each “technique” and tells me to “do this” or “do that”. I let all of this rattle around and just continue on but the constant racing thoughts eventually drive me nuts. I’m completely ok with it for a couple of days but it ends up getting the best of me. I seem to “get” Nolan’s words and way of thinking and have the general attitude of, “well, this is me…wether it’s for another month or the rest of my life. I’m gonna do what I do and not attempt to do anything about the anxiety or depression. If I’m pacing the house, fine. If I’m calmly watching a movie, good. If I’m not sleeping, oh well.” but I seem to just sink more and more into all of it. That’s frustrating, but again I guess I expect my attitude to change my anxiety instead of letting the anxiety change my attitude. There is absolutely nothing I can do but continue on and be the best husband and dad I can be, even if my family can sense I’m not “myself”.
    Again, thank you for responding, Sally. I greatly admire what you have accomplished and the life you live…Good for you! Keep going! I have a couple of friends with GAD and both stay on an antidepressant and live a normal life. I’m open to that as well. Time will do whatever time will do. I’m just going to take the ride and live the best life I can.

  212. Sarah h Says:

    Reading some of these posts literally is word for word about how I’m feeling. Jenny the Ocd and paranoia and just not knowing what I really feel and don’t! Does anyone ever have Ocd about their relationship? Like when it’s bad I doubt everything then when the anxiety is mild I no I love my boyfriend and sounds silly to even think I aren’t happy. It can be so intense though. I can handle anxiety attacks, the numbness and dispersonalisation and I always push my self to do things. I suppose we should all be patting our self’s on the back we keep going. Sometimes I think about how bad i felt in previous panic attacks and that I got through it so I’ll be ok.. but is this a method to make my self feel better and not just accepting?? I try to just think no matter what it can’t harm you. But doesn’t stop it been scary as hell and me thinking I’m completely losing my mind :( anyone with any experience of rocd or hocd would be appreciated. Thanks

  213. Sally Says:

    Hi Josh
    As you say just live your life as best you can and remember we all have set backs me included all the best Sally

  214. Doreen Says:

    Sarah H and others.

    There seems to be a lot of labelling going on again on the page ocd/rcd/gad/pd etc etc.

    All of these are just different experiences of anxiety and nothing more.

    So asking people on here if they have had experience of this or that isn’t helpful. It means you are missing the wise words of wisdom from the likes of Bryan, Rich and Nolan and only looking out for people whose anxiety has manifested itself in the ways yours has.

    Anxiety is the backdrop to all the stuff you are talking about and accepting that is universal to everyone who had posted on this page means you can stop listing your own individual experiences and take note of those who’ve let that way of thinking go enabling them like Sally to get on with life.

  215. Tom Says:

    Hi everyone!

    I have a question regarding letting anxious thoughts just be. For the past few days, whenever I had an anxious or negative thought, instead of giving it my attention, I just labeled it as anxiety, and just continued doing whatever I was at the time. This labeling was enough for me not to get involved with it.

    I am curious to know, if labeling the thought as anxiety by saying it to myself with my mental voice is a way of suppressing it, or if if I am on the right path towards acceptance.

    Should I just acknowledge the thought, without telling myself that its anxiety, or does it not make a difference?

  216. Nolan Says:

    Hi Josh C.
    Sleep was my main issue. There were other issues that also started to surface. But, as Doreen says, I just lumped them all under the umbrella of “anxiety” (thanks to the advice of Doreen, back when I was suffering).

    My sleep was terrible. Some nights I could only get about an hour. Some nights nothing at all. I could go a week getting maybe 4 hours of sleep. I was certain that my body and mind would start to break down. Didn’t happen.
    I was on so many meds from my pdoc in a short period of time: Xanax, ambien, ambien CR, lunesta, trazadone, Lexapro, Clonopin (I know I’m spelling someo f these wrong)…. my last session with her (that I stopped on my own) she wrote me ANOTHER scrip for Rozerum (sp). I went home, looked at that scrip, ripped it up and said to myself “I would rather be done with than ever take another med again for sleep”…..
    Shortly after that I came across Paul’s book. I read it, it made sense, I had some peace in my life for a day or two but then that nefarious line of thought surfaced “wait, Paul didn’t mention sleep issues all that much…. maybe his book isn’t for me”….. and my sleep fell all out of wack again. I found this blog and the rest is history (with a few other goofy tales of things I did along the way).

    If my mind wants to race when I close my eyes…. I let it race.
    If the fear wants to crash over me, I let it crash away.

    Whatever sleep I get during the night is what I get and the next day I no longer kowtowed to the anxiety, the fear about sleep (or lack of it)…. I didn’t let that bad night dictate what I was going to do the next day. I still made that next day bigger than anxiety. I made the focus of my life bigger than anxiety again. THis doesn’t mean the fear wasn’t there…. I just stopped letting my life be only about that fear. I stopped making it the main thing I asked others about. I stopped regularly searching variations of “Sleep” “anxiety” “insomnia” and numerous other terms I included in there.

    Feel free to ask any questions. More than happy to be there for another person who’s going through those dark moments.

    And fear not…. I actually look back to that period with much affection. It helped me become a better husband and father…. a much more patient person. There was a time I wanted to be done with, but now I would never trade that time, that experience for the world.

  217. Nolan Says:

    Doreen is completely right.
    There is this tendency to fret over whether you’re more OCD, GAD, PTSD, or whatever it might be….
    but, there isn’t a quirk one is experiencing that anyone else hasn’t also gone through.

    I never thought of myself as OCD, but many of the habits I took on while struggling with anxiety I’m sure many others would point to and say “that’s my OCD!”.

    I used to do the same thing…. and it never really helped. I think we like the labels because it gives this issue a name for us. We can kind of understand it better. But, our anxiety plays into that and keeps us second guessing ourselves, researching, and then renaming what our problem ‘actually’ is.
    Thankfully Doreen was around back then for me and telling me to “put it all under the umbrella of anxiety”…. and, once I just started treating all of it the same then slowly I started to come out from that ‘dark night/period’.

  218. Nolan Says:

    Hi Josh C…. one more thing to add to the post I posted towards you: I also had the depression along with the anxiety.

    Everything you’ve detailed I can assure you that I had that as well. So, know you’re not alone. I know what it’s like to one moment be flooded with intense fear that could only be named despair. True hopelessness, but then having that depression battering you from another angle: despondent, nothing makes sense, even happy memories become stained with irrelevance.

    I know what that’s like. You’re going to pass through this storm, Josh. Peace will come back you… but not by virtue of putting up a great hunt for it, by exhausting yourself further in attempts to make sense of it all.

    Give up the fight to reclaim your old self. Let all of the junk that comes along with anxiety/insomnia/depression simply be there…. don’t pay it any extra special intention…. and make your life bigger than it again.

  219. AndyJ Says:

    Hi Josh C,

    Thanks very much for your reply, I really appreciate some one taking the time to come back to me.

    You’ll have read Nolan’s reply, but its absolutely spot on as always. Sometimes its really tough and things dont make sense. I know that and go through it almost daily, but then other times you realise what you’re doing wrong and why its having such an adverse effect on you.

    Its tough. Real tough. As Paul as said many times, it can often be being depressed about being depressed or being anxious about being anxious. I often dont even know why I’m feeling so down, other than the fact that I’ve been living with this for so long and know it will be coming again. We have to shift that attitude and remember why we have these feelings.

    We cant fight this, it has to pass naturally. Although getting on with our lives can be difficult, it literally is the only thing to do. Combined with an understanding of our situation, it should allow us to relax and live with these new feelings being the norm.

    Thanks again to you and Nolan.


  220. Stevie Bennett Says:

    Hi Paul,

    First of all I would just like to say that I’ve brought both of your books and they really have been helping so much.

    I don’t seem to be fearful of my physical symptoms anymore. So when my heart is racing I can just sit back and look at it race without being fearful of it, I am completely aware that it’s just a symptom of anxiety.

    The thoughts – I feel like I am slowly getting the hang of the thoughts. Originally, I would notice that I was obsessing or thinking one thought to the other and then I would look at it and then thought that it had vanished – I realize now that that was probably me suppressing it. So now what I’m doing (without it being a technique or something I do) is just carry on doing what I am doing – smile at the thoughts and carry on.

    BUT, the start of my sensitized nerves started about 3 months ago – due to excessive work overload as a teacher and an Inspection – I really broke – I was crying all of the time, had suicidal thoughts, constant heart racing – so I feel like I’ve come so far. Even though setbacks really can push me backwards sometimes. But the moment I can recall me being so aware of my symptoms was a night I couldn’t sleep – I developed such a fear of not having enough sleep and being exhausted the next day.

    I am still experiencing this – I get into bed and I am just in a state of fear. I lay there and try to let it sweep over me – but sometimes it can be so intense. I have nights where I have such little sleep, nights where I wake up every couple of hours and I’ve had nights where I sleep quite well. I guess I want to understand why the no sleeping is happening. Whether or not you went through this?

    Paul, aside from this, I want to say the biggest thank you. I don’t know where I would be without the support from you and your books.

    p.’s I have tried to keep this brief… I promise :)

  221. Stevie Bennett Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    I’ve also just read your post and it literally is EXACTLY what I’ve been experiencing this real fear of not sleeping.

    Can you offer any advice suggestions? I need to stop asking everyone i see on a daily basis how much sleep they get, and i need to stop tossing and turning. But any other advice?

  222. Alz Says:

    It’s been a while since i posted here although I hv been reading the posts .
    Firstly , I’d like to say that i can see improvement in myself . Everyday is however a sort of blur and I don’t feel like my old self – a change in personality – I’m more bold , honest , care free and confident . Does this happen when there is this dp sort of phase one is going thru ?
    I just need to get over a few issues such as the intense anticipation / fear of being intimate with my husband . It’s strange being around him and talking to him . The physical aspect just throws my thoughts awry (I’ll lose my mind, I won’t be able to perform , I feel emotionless )
    Anyway of moving forward past this blip? If anyone’s had a similar experience along the recovery path pls guide me . I know the answer but I wouldn’t mind hearing it’s ok from the veterans and any tips they can offer for when the thoughts come pouring in with the inability to reason with them . My doc says I should start cbt – also how can I feel more in the present, more with it rather than passing each day like it’s a dream . I know it isnt but during intense work pressure such feelings intensify .

  223. Bryan Says:


    Great job! It’s fantastic to hear you making strides towards resuming normalcy in your life.

    The single best thing you can do in regards to your question is…. absolutely nothing. Keep doing exactly what you are doing and living as outwardly as humanly possible. You’ve retreated for a long time. Of course your system will send you a few warnings as you resume normal life. But each time you ignore those warnings and do life anyway… your brain and CNS get the clear message that it can drop all of the fuss.

    It doesn’t matter if anyone had your specific experience. Someone somewhere has. But it doesn’t matter. My anxiety experience was (and is now and again)very unique. But I’ve learned that it just doesn’t matter. It’s all just stress. Everything you feel.

    So, dropping analysis and the search for answers is the #1 thing you can continue to do to help your body and mind reassume normal living.

    Keep doing exactly what you’re doing. Stop all analysis.

    It’s not easy. But that is your road home.

  224. Josh C. Says:

    Nolan and Andy, thank you for the replies. I have decided to get back on Paxil as this gave me my life back in 2013. I literally went from not being able to function in my day-to-day activities to living a normal life again within 6 months. I’m currently on my 2nd day of taking it. 2012/2013 were such a blur I really don’t have any memories except that I was in a very, VERY dark place. I am very much of the mentality that natural treatments are the way to go for just about everything, but my job and, to be honest my family and myself depend on me getting better. The Paxil worked wonderfully for me in the past and I’m praying it can get me back on track now. I also have started taking magnesium supplements. In my research I have found that magnesium defencency is very common and can play a big role in anxiety and depression. As much as accepting and getting on with life is absolutely the correct thing to do, if our bodies are deficient in things we will continue to feel the effects of those imbalances. For me, my body can no longer handle stress because my adrenals are burnt out and I’m deficient in vitamins and minerals. So anxiety will persist as long as those defencies are there. I have gotten to the point where I can no longer just “hang in there” and wait, HOPE, that I begin to feel better. I’m not fighting my symptoms at all, as I’m completely allowing everything to be there. However, I am going to be proactive to work on restoring my body. The way I know I need more than just “acceptance” or “doing nothing” is because I have progressively gotten worse in the past 2-3 weeks. Anxiety causes stress on my already stressed and depleted body, so it completely makes sense to me that repairing my body will help with anxiety. I don’t believe anxiety is 100% mental as your body will react to stress with anxiety. If you can’t replenish the things needed to restore your “nerves” back to normal than they will continue to be stressed causing more and more anxiety. This is where I am. I’m not a doctor so this is completely my own personal knowledge, but it makes so much sense to me. The stress/anxiety needs an outlet, so yes all of the same “outlets” still exist (lots of physical symptoms, racing mind, obsessive thinking). Paul has mentioned that nothing is more important than his health now and that he doesn’t believe he will ever have anxiety like he did 10 years ago. So even he knows that the way you treat your body has major effects on your mental and emotional wellbeing. Like I said, I am NOT fighting any of the anxiety but I also understand that the reason so many people “accept” but never make any real progress is because recovery involves more than just “not doing this or that” for those of us with run down adrenals/mineral deficiencies. To each their own and I do believe that Paul’s “system” will help many people, in my research I believe I need to do more than just patiently wait for recovery. I believe my body needs things it no longer has in order to heal itself. Anxiety is a constant learning condition. My only choice is to get better.
    I pray all of you will find peace! I know what it’s like to be a carefree, free-spirit person in this world and I also know what it’s like to be the opposite…a person lost in the darkness of despair and fear.
    Josh C.

  225. Doreen Says:

    Josh C

    You say

    ‘I also understand that the reason so many people “accept” but never make any real progress is because recovery involves more than just “not doing this or that” for those of us with run down adrenals/mineral deficiencies”

    Adrenal deficiency is not a medical term nor is it recognised by the medical profession. Neither is magnesium deficiency. In fact harm can be done with taking unnecessary supplements.

  226. Melissa Says:

    Hi Doreen,

    I do not think that Josh C was trying to diagnose others, I simply think he was sharing his experience to try to help others who MAY have that issue. I do think that when talking about adrenal deficiency/mineral or vitamin deficiency you have to be careful when saying that it is not a medical term. There are many doctors out there (and naturopaths) who believe that these are actually legitimate issues. It is proven that stress can deplete adrenal function by increasing cortisol levels in the blood, which is something that you can get blood tests for. That can have a big impact on your body. So I do agree with Josh C that at times it is important to test out whether or not you are deficient in certain things. HOWEVER, if a doctor or health practitioner tells you that all is good, you must not press the issue by obsessing over it and seeking more health opinions.

    I was vegetarian for several years, and only after eating meat again did I start to regain energy and lose some of my anxiety. So I think that nutrient deficiency can have an impact on overall health…the same way that caffeine and sugar can as well.


  227. Alz Says:

    Doreen ,
    I agree with Melissa . Vitamin D deficiency can lead to depression for e.g. and while anxiety is a mental health problem, we can’t deny that a good diet ( less caffeine , no smoking , no drugs)can reduce anxiety levels . Anxiety is due to a chemical imbalance and addressing those via supplements , herbs etc is not being incorrect about how vitamins can improve the chemical imbalance . Ofcourse for women hormonal imbalance is largely related to anxiety and a good diet could work towards balancing it .
    Ofcourse acceptance is important but perhaps acceptance plus taking care of our diet and bodies is a more holistic approach .

  228. alz Says:

    Guys is anger common with anxiety? I mean i have such intense outbursts now – ones that i could never imagine before. Is it the helplessness that accompanies this anxiety state that one feels such intense anger? Any tips on how to not overreact?Like i stated before, ive sort of changed so much throughout this year.. bolder , less caring of what people might think , aggressive and abrasive… is this part of the whole process or am i becoming a new me?

  229. Doreen Says:

    From Hormone Health Network

    “Adrenal fatigue” is not a real medical condition. There are no scientific facts to support the theory that long-term mental, emotional, or physical stress drains the adrenal glands and causes many common symptoms.
    Adrenal insufficiency is a real disease diagnosed through blood tests.
    There is no test that can detect adrenal fatigue.
    Supplements and vitamins made to “treat” adrenal fatigue may not be safe. Taking these supplements when you don’t need them can cause your adrenal glands to stop working and may put your life in danger”

  230. Bryan Says:

    The reason Doreen likely reminds people that the “vitamin cure” route is fruitless is that it almost always is, and even worse puts the average sufferer off of the correct path which is acceptance and getting at our anxiety patterns from the roots. (Behavior)

    While it’s not my place to say someone can’t chase miracle cures and internet folklore about recovery, I’m fairly sure this isn’t the best place to purvey that mindset. There are TONS (most) of anxiety sites out there where people are endlessly hunting medication fixes and elusive vitamin pill cures.

    My thought would simply be… this blog and Paul’s site are for those seeking full and complete recovery through true organic methods. The other sites are definitely out there if people prefer the drug chat, chasing mindset.

  231. Bryan Says:


    Yes, anxiety can give you mood symptoms.

  232. Nolan Says:

    Hi Stevie Bennett,

    I’m more than happy to help.
    First I want to say that when I had this problem I was CERTAIN there was no hope for me anymore. The anxiety/despair that I felt was total. It stained everything in my life. My past, happy memories were no longer mine. They belonged to some fictional character that may have existed at some point in time…. but I could no longer trace who I was at that time during the anxiety/depression to the person I had once been.

    I took did and took everything to alleviate the issue: breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, exercising myself to exhaustion, vitamins (so, so many vitamins), various types of tea, I changed my diet this way and that way, OTCs (unisom, nyquill… many others)…. prescriptions upon prescriptions.
    And none of it helped.

    At one of my lowest points I accidently broke a glass cup in my kitchen. My thoughts immediately went to ending my life. I collapsed on the ground, crying because I couldn’t believe I had fallen so low. My wife had just given birth to our son a few months earlier. He less than 7 months old and there I was thinking about ending my life.

    The most comforting thought I would get would be the hope that while I was driving another car would collide with me and deliver me from this torture.

    Every single person I looked at made me think about sleep, “how does she sleep at night?” “how does he sleep?” “do they get to take naps?” “I wonder if they ever suffered like this and overcame it?” The thought of sleep consumed every waking moment of my life.

    I could go a week with no more than 2 hours of sleep.

    I saw so many doctors. I remember one saying “Make sure you don’t nap during the day”.
    “Nap during the day?!?!?!?!?! I can’t EVEN nap anymore!”

    My experience was that the medical profession had no idea what they were talking about.
    I spoke to one of the top psychologists with the bank (large bank) I worked for and he wanted me to do breathing exercises. He had me do one he called a “4 square breathing exercise”: breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds, wait for another 4 seconds…. and repeat. I did it, it didn’t make any difference. And then when I spoke to him on our next session he said (and I kid you not) “let’s try the 5 square breathing exercise”. LIke that 1 extra second is going to wipe away the despair that has flooded my mind. I stopped talking to him after that. He just didn’t know.

    Anyway, I then was suggested by a good friend of mine (who I had met on another forum for sleep and anxiety…. we became friends through this) to read Paul David’s book. I didn’t want to read any more books on the topic. I read piles of books on anxiety, and depression, and insomnia. It wasn’t helping.

    But, I gave it a chance and it kind of made sense to me at first.
    I had ups and downs (big ups and big downs) while following Paul’s method. And, to cut to the quick, all in all it made the difference in my life.

    So, with that all out of the way ask me any question you have and I’ll do my best to help.

  233. Nolan Says:

    I just also want to add that Doreen has helped many, many people on these forums. Myself included. She knows what she’s talking about.

    I was so unwilling at first to follow her advice. I was certain that “there just has to be more to it”.
    Because people weren’t talking about my issue all that much (sleep, sleep anxiety, insomnia) I would make numerous dummy/puppet accounts on here under different names all asking about sleep. In hopes that it would conjure up more discussion on that.
    I broke down my problem into all of these separate compartments and it was Doreen that consistently said “it’s all the same…. treat it all the same”.

    When I finally, out of mental exhaustion, ceased the ‘break it down, label it, and analyze it’ game and started to take Doreen’s advice I started to slowly find my way through the fog.

  234. Bryan Says:

    On the vitamin/drugs/doctors/chasing mindset…

    “This is why people go around searching for medical cures, therapists, internet searches, forums…All to stop it coming or to get rid of it. And this is the reason most of the time they get nowhere, as the opposite is true”
    -Paul David

  235. Josh C. Says:

    Nolan, I relate to you so much. In fact it’s as if I’m reading my own current life when I read your comments. I hope you don’t mind me getting pretty personal with some questions, but if I do it’s totally fine to not answer. My anxiety/panic is so out of control that the things I love most drive my panic. My kids telling me they love me…PANIC! The sun setting…PANIC! Thinking about a vacation…PANIC! My kids asking me to take them camping…PANIC! My wife asking to watch a tv show with her…PANIC! Reading my bible…PANIC! All of these things and many, many more I took for granted. It scares the heck out of me to not be able to have panic flood me over the things I used to love most in life. I too have major sleep issues and do not foresee me being able to keep my job much longer. The mental focus it takes is not something I currently have. The depression is as heavy as it has ever been but I am on my 4th day of Paxil and can’t help but wonder if the Paxil is causing more depression. Now, onto the questions…Were you still on anti-depressants when you read and started Paul’s approach? If so, did you come off of them during this time or did you start to recover more positive emotions/thoughts before coming off of them? Was your attitude, “If I loose my job, oh well.” My job is one of my main stressors as it requires long hours and shifts from nights to days. Since my first dealings with anxiety, work has been an issue with me because I blame a lot of my initial anxiety attack on work. I’m in no shape currently to attempt to find another job as I can’t focus on much of anything without getting completely overwhelmed that my mind keeps going back to myself and my anxiety and depression. I’m so lost in myself right now that my wife is making most of my decisions for me. She is very understanding and helpful and is not a sympathetic person by nature, so that’s good for me. I too have hopeful thoughts that a fatal accident will deliver me. I can’t believe this is who I have become as I was always full of life and always ready for the next adventure by nature. Now I dread waking up, when I do get some sleep. I guess my biggest question is at what point did you realize, “I’m doing something right.” Between this past Christmas and now I drastically went downhill and I thought I had finally clicked with the right attitude and mindset to get on my way back to not fearing my anxiety but I knew something wasn’t right as I felt worse by the day and my thoughts turned more and more inward. This is why I chose to get back on Paxil. I trust my Dr. and my wife with all my heart and actually go to church with my Dr. who prescribed the Paxil. I know I rambling, but I’m envious of you and everyone else that has found lasting relief, and as much as I just want to get off the forums and get in with my life, I constantly want to find “the answer” or “the way” out of this hell. How long did it take you from the time you read Paul’s book to feeling like “you” again?
    Thanks for your time, Nolan!
    Josh C.

  236. Josh C. Says:

    Nolan, something else I meant to ask you was how did you get to the attitude of, “if this is me forever than so be it. I’m going to make my life bigger than the anxiety.” As I understand that, you chose to “get over it” in a sense and just live the best you could. I literally can’t give my mind a rest because I’m constantly thinking about how I feel, and all the unwanted thoughts that never seem to stop. I just want to understand how you developed the attitude you did and learn how to put it into action.

  237. Josh C. Says:

    Nolan, was your attitude towards depression the same as anxiety? I feel like I need to deal with it differently and that causes even more frustration.

  238. Nolan Says:

    Hi Josh,

    Wow… reading your comments is a mirror of how I was feeling as well.
    Yes, everything that once meant something to me became points of torment. I believe I posted the same sentiment years back on this blog. Take viewing a sun set through a forest during autumn…. something that would in the past fill me with a sense of contentment and peace, was now (‘now’ as in when I was suffering) would cycle me through the following: Desperation (because it seems so pointless to me now), terror/fear (as to how broken I must actually be to no longer have anything towards this), panic (what could I possibly even do to redeem myself to what I once was), despair (at the fact that I see no way of this ending)…. and then the residual torment.

    So yes, with me too: things that once meant something to me caused fear/panic/despair. Pure torment.

    I was also certain I was going to have to quit my job. I remember talking to my wife about moving back up to our hometown (we grew up in the same general area in Wisconsin) and moving into her parent’s house out in the country. Thankfully my psychologist and P-doc were willing to request that the bank I worked for give me short term leave. I was off of work for 3 months.

    To your questions:
    When I read Paul’s book I forced myself off of everything. I had prescriptions of: Xanax, Ambien, Ambien CR, Lunesta, Trazadone, Clonopin, Lexapro (anti-depressant)… I think I’m forgetting a couple. One evening (I think in March) I went to my P-doc and told her “nothing is working.” She got up, went to her cabinets and started rummaging through them for Rozerem. She didn’t have any…. wrote me out a scrip for ANOTHER medication. I was going to go right to the pharmacy to fill it but for some reason I decided to go home first. I flopped on the ground in my living room, alone, stared at the scrip and couldn’t believe the person I became. I ripped it up and I remember thinking to myself “I would rather die than ever take another one of these things again to be normal.”….. and I was done with them. I had cancelled all of my appointments with my psychologist and P-doc the next morning.

    I didn’t have any hope of recovery when I did this. I just couldn’t stand what I had become.

    I wasn’t any better…. but at least I was losing the sense of being constantly drugged with that stuff. I was worried about the brain zaps that everyone says you’ll get if you just jump off of an SSRI like Lexapro. Thankfully I didn’t get those. I did get dizzy spells…. but heck, I was always dizzy with exhaustion the way it was. I could live with dizzy.

    My attitude towards my job was “I don’t care”. I don’t think that’s the best attitude, but it’s the attitude I had. Nothing mattered in my life anymore. I had already lost any sense of who I used to be, losing my job (even with the fact my family would be in a bad way) just didn’t seem to matter.

    When I made my final jump to stop EVERYTHING… stop talking about it, stop researching it, stop coming to Paul’s blog, stop pandering to it (letting it impact anything about my life), stop reading all piles of papers I had printed and collected from reading various “success stories”… when I stopped doing all of this I was actually at one of my lowest points.

    I read Paul’s book in say May of 2013 (late May, early June). I would have some moments of peace and hope…. but the setbacks were so intense as to wipe out all of that peace and hope I felt. It sapped all of the good. Made me doubt everything again. Made me doubt that Paul even was talking about my condition. So one point in I think October was particularly rough for me. I was in my bedroom…. looking out the window at an autumn day I would have typically of loved…. but the fear and despair were crushing me. I came to Paul’s blog and posted about how I no longer have any hope of recovery. The things that I used to love just taunt me and leave me in complete desolation. Some lady (I can’t remember who it was) replied to me along the lines of “good, you’ve lost all hope. Now you can stop the search for a cure. Now you don’t have to live your life in hope that you’ll get better because you’ve lost all hope. Now go do something else with your life.”

    It was the weirdest advice I ever got, but it made sense to me. Just give up completely. And I did that at my lowest. Give up the search for a cure, give up the hope of getting better…. give up caring about it any more. If my life is going to be pain, then pain it’s going to be. But I have a family I need to start focusing on. This anxiety/dread/despair isn’t leaving (so I thought)…. so screw it; I’m making my life bigger than this. Even if all of the flavor of my life, all of the flavor of the things of my life are completely insipid from this point forward…. I’d rather dine on the insipid life I still have than give another damn minute to this beast of fear/torment that is lording over my life.

    It can still be there…. screaming as loud as it wants…. exhausting me as much as it wants…. but I’ve got other things I’m doing with my life now.
    That’s the attitude that made the difference.

    Josh, but that’s not the end of it. Maybe a few weeks after that point I was carrying my son out of my bedroom. To bring him into his bedroom to play with him for a bit. Now, typically the sight of my bed knotted my stomach, made my forehead sweat, and my pulse pound. Funny how something that once was so peaceful now actually torments me like that…. but anyway, I’m walking out of the bedroom with my son and for a brief moment I was shocked by the peace I had felt. It washed over me. My body relaxed, my mind felt free. For that brief moment I could see that this was all just a storm. And storms eventually pass. In that moment I felt completely redeemed. I felt better than my old self. I had to fight back the tears.

    Now, that moment did pass. The storm raged on again and I lost sight of that calm harbor. I even had moments of despair so intense that I completely doubted I ever had that moment of peace. But then I would get another.
    I actually had one so profound that I don’t know how to explain it. I don’t really want to get into that here… because it was very personal. But, I can tell you I think about that particular time quite a bit. I thank God that I got to experience it.

    Storms pass on their own. We can’t chase them away. Storms that happen in our mind also have a life of their own. Any effort we make to speed them up and send them away only backfires…. gives the storm more fuel. But, when we accept that storm and expect nothing else in our life, still living that life regardless of the tempest…. well then eventually we do find that peace.

    Josh, you read my words and can see how intense the despair was for me. But I want you to know this: I would never trade it for the world. It’s changed my life so much. I view that storm as God’s grace. I would never have been able to change and grow if I never went through it. I was not a happy man prior to it. I mean, I didn’t have anxiety…. but I wasn’t a happy person. I was selfish, impatient, unloving towards others. That dark night for me was the impetus to live a different kind of life; live a life for things other than myself.

  239. Nolan Says:

    Hi Josh…
    I treated my depression the exact same way as the anxiety.

    To your other question:
    I never chased away the negative thoughts. I didn’t jump on the merry-go-round with them, I just let them spin and spin. If I noticed them, fine. If I could feel them getting me worked up, fine.

    Here’s an example of the “living my life regardless”. This is something that had happened:
    My wife and I made plans to go out for dinner with a couple that lived near us. I was feeling okay when we made the plans. But as the night came my anxiety and depression were spiking: “what if going out to eat this late messes up any good sleep I might get?” “should I have a drink? or will that only make it all worse?!?!”… I was this close to backing out but then I saw how happy my wife was that I had made the decision for us to go out. I still didn’t want to. But I literally just marched to the car, drove, marched out of the car to the restaurant. Listened to what others were saying. Smiled. Added a few forced comments here and there. I ate all of my food (stuffing in somewhere into my knotted stomach). I had a frozen daiquiri that I shared with my wife (my mind was spinning and spinning about how bad of an idea this was)….I let the urge of getting up and walking around build and build inside of me while I just forced myself to mentally reply to that urge with a “no”.

    So, it wasn’t a fun night by any standard. But I’m glad I did it. Because that’s the stuff I needed to do to reclaim my life… with or without anxiety.

  240. Josh C. Says:

    Thank you for the reply, Nolan! It really is amazing to me to think how you are now from where you used to be, and yet I have experienced peace after torturous anxiety myself but am back in that same dark place again now. My wife and Dr. both want me to stay on the Paxil for now so I’m going to do that and trust their judgement. I do know that I can start changing my attitude towards my situation now even while on an AD. My wife had a pretty straight to the point talk with me yesterday evening and she pointed out how much I pitty myself. How I would come to her saying, “it’s all the racing thoughts.” or “I feel so sad.” or “I can’t keep doing this.” or “the things I love most cause me the most anxiety.” She basically told me, “so what. You constantly feeling sorry for yourself isn’t helping at all.” Something just clicked with me when she told me that. I realized that some of my suffering was because I didn’t want to feel this way so I was letting it dictate my attitude towards it. I actually had a pleasant evening last night because I decided I wasn’t going to feel sorry for my self regardless of how I felt. I’m going to have to choose that same attitude each day (probably many, many times each day) because feeling bad for myself that I’m in a situation I don’t like keeps me from truly allowing whatever I feel/think to be there. I’m tired of all the attempts to feel better, to “get through this”, to “be me again”. I’m going to start living on with whatever I feel, how ever my mind is racing, whatever I’m obsessively thinking about and quit wishing I didn’t have to “deal with this”.

    Again, thank you, Nolan and everyone else who has given me words of wisdom! God bless and may peace be found in the storm for all of you.

    Josh C.

  241. Josh C. Says:

    Nolan, one other question…I haven’t had any length of time feeling peace (aside from 1 evening every week or 2) so I’m not sure I’m actually having “setbacks” as it seems to be I just have a couple of hours of relaxation (not anxiety free just a feeling of calm) a couple of times a month. From your comments it’s seems as though you experienced something similar. Did it take months before you had a group of good days together?

    I hate coming back to this blog and asking you questions as I know I’m still attempting to get out of my situation. I’m just so overwhelmed, frustrated, scared and emotionless at times and it truly seems as though I’m the exception to all of these proven “methods”. I desperately want to just give up and live my life but the constant, obsessive thoughts (I’d rather not share some of these publicly as they are dark) keep me wanting to reach out for help/hope. My family is what keeps me going, keeps me wanting to recover.

    I know you experienced thoughts of just wanting it all to end, so how did you deal with that? I’m exhausted yet amped. Afraid, yet emotionless. Hopeful, yet hopeless. Where did I go??? The guy always laughing, encouraging others. I miss him. I know I can’t change my situation right now, I just want to know that I can live through this. That life does lie in the constant storm.

  242. Stephanie Says:

    Always love reading your posts, Nolan! God bless you and your family

  243. Nolan Says:

    Hi Josh,
    Yes… for a long time my only break was that lone fleeting moment. I might have had times when it wasn’t on as thick as other times, but it was still constantly there, weighing down on me.

    It wasn’t like I could separate setbacks from peaceful times, because it was pretty much always there.

  244. Nolan Says:

    Incredibly thoughtful of you to say, Stephanie.
    God bless you and your family as well.

  245. Doreen Says:

    Thanks for the kind comments Nolan.
    My concern (and this is not a criticism) about answering every individual question put by Josh C is that he will go on asking yet another one. I think you will recall how it was for you when you were doing that and yet in the end you responded well to my ‘one size fits all’ approach.
    I also feel concerned when people write long descriptions of their thoughts and feelings as I cannot help but think that only leads to a brief catharsis but in the end serves to entrench the feelings even deeper.

  246. Marie Says:

    Hi Nolan, I just want to say thanks so much for all your advice and empathetic words you really are an amazing person you should be a counsellor or therapist, I’ve been having a difficult/rough week regards to ‘sleep’, I had to read your comments as a reminder that I’m going to be ok, I think I’ve also felt upset that this insomnia run has last nearly a year, where as my last insomnia a couple of years ago lasted- 6 months, so it’s got me a bit hopeless like this isn’t going to get better and I’m going to be stuck like this, but I’ve realised I have to truly accept this even if it doesn’t get better, like you said focus on others except yourself like your wife and kids I think that’s a brilliant idea cause all I have been doing it googling on forums reading book and not given really anyone my fulll attention and make myself worse, and I think with recovery you have to get worse before you can get better, the only thought I’m having is should I be in bed less cause I go to bed at 11pm and maybe don’t get out of bed till 10am on days off but I used to do that prior to insomnia?, if I have conquered insomnia before surely I can do it again no matter of the duration?, sorry i am getting my thoughts on paper so to speak thanks marie

  247. Nolan Says:

    Hi Marie,

    I had those exact same worries with my sleep.
    Early on when I was about 3 months into my insomnia I started doing sleep restriction (SR for short). That’s where you limit the amount of hours you allow yourself to even be in bed. It has you writing “positive sleep thoughts” during the day. Suggests that you don’t so much as even lay back in your bed during the day.

    I did this at first…. but, all it was doing was making me think even more about sleep. I was terrified that if I so much as laid down for a minute in my bed during the day that I would continue to ‘incorrectly program my brain’… and mind you, even though I couldn’t even nap during the day I was pretty much exhausted the entire day. Physically worn out and dizzy my entire waking moments (and when considering that I rarely got even 3 hours of sleep on a good night…. that’s not saying much for me).
    Also, with SR if you do wake up early there was no “just laying and trying to relax in bed” if you can’t fall to sleep again within like 15 or 20 minutes. Well all that did was further increase my fear (OMG! it’s 13 minutes?? Will I be able to fall back asleep in another 2?!?!?!?!?!).

    It didn’t work. It made me fret even more about my bed. Made me put even more importance on it. Which, in retrospect, was entirely counterproductive for my issue.

    Then I thought: “Wait a second…. prior to this nightmare I used to lay in bed for hours after my initial waking. I used to watch movies in bed while drinking Mountain Dew. I used to read for 2 hours in bed…. and I did these things for years up on years with never an issue of not being able to sleep when I was tired. I would lay in my bed for a couple of hours playing on the computer or texting friends/family.”

    Doing all of that and it never had any impact on my sleep or lead to me having panicked thoughts about sleep.
    So that couldn’t be it.
    Besides, I was sick and tired of thinking about sleep so much. Making it such a big issue in my life again.

    I ditched the SR and decided to treat my bed and my habit towards my bed the way I used to prior to the anxiety. Even if while laying in bed I was flooded with fear, stomached clenched and getting tighter, forehead sweating, arms and legs tense with nervous energy… I was going to pander to doing a strange and ‘sacred’ routine in hopes that would ‘cure’ me of the issue.

    So in short (Ha! Like I ever type something “in short”): I would do whatever you used to do. If fear happens to go along with it great it with a dispassionate “oh, there you are again…. do your worst.” Let it flood over you… accepting whatever the outcome it brings (even if a bad night of sleep and spells of fear) while still living that next day making it bigger than the bad night you had before, bigger than the fears that might still be flooding you, and bigger than the possibility of more fear when you go to bed this next coming night. The anxiety/despair comes to your conscious mind and presents to it all of the possible and currently-felt terror…. Look at and reply with a “I don’t care anymore. I’m living my life the way I used to whether or not your there. Whether or not you have me dizzy with exhaustion and doubt.”

  248. Nolan Says:

    I meant: “I wasn’t going to pander to doing a strange and ‘sacred’ routine in hopes that would ‘cure’ me of the issue.”

  249. Andy J Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    Great posts as always.

    I was wondering if you would go in to some more depth about the intrusive thoughts you suffered with? I appreciate it may be difficult, but I really have been struggling with them for a long time.

    I have been given a series of ‘exposure’ tasks which aim to reduce my anxiety towards the thoughts. It is particularly tricky and seems to be making me worse.

    Thanks again for your posts.


  250. Doreen Says:

    Andy J – Nolan might well be willing to answer your question in more detail but my take on this is that the content of the intrusive thought isn’t relevant – they are a symptom of having anxiety and nothing more.

    Just about everybody on here will have had intrusive thoughts – thats what anxiety does and it is highly likely that everyones will differ in some way and be rated to their own personal life and circumstances.

    Exposure therapy can work for some ‘scary thoughts’ e.g. fear of flying for instance but really only very specific ones which on the whole don’t disturb daily life.

  251. Andy J Says:

    Thanks for that Doreen.

    I have a rather unique set of intrusive thoughts unfortunately which are quite embarrassing. Doing the exposures are really tough and I know they will probably help but it’s taking a risk which I find really tough.

    I sometimes wonder whether it’s actually worthwhile doing them or not.

  252. Nolan Says:

    Hi Andy J,

    I’m in full agreement with Doreen on how to approach it.

    The nature of my thoughts were also pretty embarrassing…. some of them at least.
    I would get the type where it’s a part of a song just looping over and over in my mind. Or if I were to see, read, or think of one word it’s like my mind was tormenting me by thinking of everything that rhymes with that word.
    In both of these instances it was my mind was just screaming at me.

    But, then there were the darker thoughts and these would usually be aimed at something that was very close to me…. namely my son and at times my wife. But, they could conjure up with any of the innumerable things I came across in a given day.

    In all of the instances I felt it was best to not give it any more special notice on my part. If they happened, they happened and that was the end of it. I’d let them play over and over in my mind. If I noticed my mind was focusing on them more than not…. then that was fine as well. I was patient with myself because I knew sometimes they would have more of an impact on me and other times not so much.
    Even if I found myself getting frustrated with them… “that’s okay, becomes sometimes in life things frustrate me. I’m not going to beat myself up because reflexively my mind is going where I don’t want it.” This was all part of not putting any more importance on the fact that they’re happening.

    If you have a bully that’s trying to unnerve you and break you down mentally by mocking everything about you what are you going to do? Yell at him sternly that what he’s doing is wrong? He knows that it’s wrong… and yet he still does it to you… so that won’t work. Are you going to sit there and slap yourself when you find that the barb he just threw at you stung more than you expected it would? No, because that would just be one of the unintended perks for the bully’s plan (“ha! I even have him hitting himself over what i’m saying to him”). Are you going to cry and beg for him to stop? Nope, because that is his intended goal. Cover your ears in hopes you can block him out? No, that will just motivate him that he’s doing something right.
    But, if you sit there and just take it with an indifferent and aloof attitude while being forgiving with yourself when you actually see that “hey, some of these insults sting”… then in time the importance that you automatically/reflexively mentally put on this “noise” will start to diminish.

    So, react in a way that lessens the importance that you place on it.

  253. Jolene Says:

    I wish I had known about this website in 2012, when trouble started, and when I thought I was the only one feeling the way I felt. For anyone who is in the depts of despair at the moment, I have been there, for years, with many relapses, but came out the other side. I experienced it all; insomnia, depression, anxiety, depersonalisation. I was consumed with ‘what if’s’, ‘what if I’ll never sleep again, what if I get more depressed and my husband will leave me, what if I can’t take care of my kids anymore’. I still experience these symptoms at times, but with the difference being that I am just not bothered by it anymore. I go on living my life, and the symptoms leave me in their own time. And when they stick with me a bit longer, that’s fine too, as I have learned that I can bear the unbearable.

    It took me a long, hard time to get here though. Years of CBT did nothing, and I am still amazed this is considered the preferred method for treating anxiety. AD’s worked a bit, but simultaneously made my stress worse as I would constantly worry about the fact that I would need something external to make me feel better. I was introduced to mindfulness, and started reading a lot about Buddhism. In this I found a lot of comfort. I had this indescribable sense of unsafety, and desperately tried to make up for this feeling by seeking reassurance and comfort externally (mostly from friends and family, but also through pills and therapies), whereas really I wanted to find this peace within myself.

    I discovered that the self-doubt lies at the root of all anxieties. It is this deep mistrust in your own ability to deal with things when they get hard. All my ‘what ifs’ originated from this self doubt. For example, why did I have this constant fear of a cancer diagnosis? I realised it wasn’t death that I was afraid of, it was a fear of suffering. A fear of not being able to cope with pain, a mistrust in my own ability to cope with difficulties. And I could see this in all aspects of anxiety. I was afraid of what might happen when anxiety would take me over, whereas reality showed time and time again that I was able to cope, I did survive, even during the hardest times. So what is their left to fear? Nothing.

    I believe everyone has to discover their own path towards recovery. Acceptance being the center point of everything, but there can be a different path for everyone to get here. For some it might be found during a time of deep despair, when they feel all hope is lost. For me it started to make sense when reading more about Eastern Philosophy and even cosmology. This gave me a sense of connectedness and purpose that I had been missing. I used to worry about having a genetic predisposition to stress, and would think that I was doomed, but when I started reading more about life and the bigger picture it would be hard for me to believe that I could really be defined by a set of faulty neurons. I was so much more than that.

    I basically prescribed me my own recovery path. I had to, as Western medicine failed to help me. Something I found extremely beneficial, and has been proposed a lot on this blog, is to drop the second hand labels (depression, anxiety, insomnia etc.). When you experience the physical symptoms of anxiety, then drop the word anxiety, and all you are left with are some physical sensations. They may not be pleasant, but without the story, they have no meaning. Something I also found very useful is to create a form of compassion towards my stress response. For example, when ‘what if’ thoughts take over, and my body responds to this with anxiety (which is just a fight-or-flight response), I try to thank my body for trying to protect me. It simply doesn’t know better then to think there is danger (because of the thoughts) and therefore creates an anxiety response. I found this method a lot more compassionate and effective, then fighting this response, and trying to constantly analyse it.

    Symptoms or stress can still be there, but with the right response, it doesn’t have to define who you are or live the life you want to live. The trick with acceptance is that if should not be something you hope to attain in order to feel better, this makes it yet another method to get rid of anxiety. True acceptance is being able to hold everything, not just the pleasant but also the unpleasant, without judgement. A great sense of inner peace can arise when you stop trying to chase happiness or avoid sadness.

  254. Alz Says:

    Doreen ,
    My sleep is really deep these days and yesterday my husband caught me talking in my sleep . Now when he woke me up at sat with me I was so sleepy as well as anxious that at one point I imagined him making a face but then I looked again he was himself… I mean if anxiety can play such gruesome tricks then how is it possible not to think abt them ? I went on with the entire day and now I’m awaiting his return but again with anxiety . He’s my husband for heavens sake .., I want to have the feelings I used to have for him . He was my go to person . Yes , on the outside I’m living a normal life and have really taken down to doing all the things I used to but these emotions ? This feelign of dp? It’s my new normal I understand but it’s not a fun normal and also these intense uncontrollable surges of anger I’m getting ..
    Nolan ur replies to josh c are awesome
    Bryan thanks !!!
    Andy u were once providing support – I still remember u making so much sense when u said anxiety was just this friend trying to protect us .
    However i need no protection from my hubby nor those images .
    Could smoking also be a factor contributing to anxiety ?
    Also my therapist is saying I should start thinking abt having another baby ? I don’t think I’m ready . It’s been a year since the loss and perhaps the loss was gods way of telling me my anxietys really intense such that I’m not capable of handling the 9 months or having a Baby.. I sometimes feel god perhaps saved me from more anxiety .,.
    Don’t know .. sorry for letting the out the baby bit here ..

  255. Andy J Says:

    Hi Nolan and Doreen,

    Thanks so much for your advice.

    Its tough. I have things that trigger the intrusive thoughts very regularly, each day. Its being able to become accustomed to those thoughts and allowing them to no longer startle me.

    Its being able to see the thoughts as merely anxiety, rather than a true reflection of who I am or have become. I know I haven’t always had these thoughts, but for some reason my mind wont allow me to accept that these are a result of anxiety. There is still a part of me that thinks ‘what if this is me’.

    I know I need to reevaluate where I am. I know anxiety is just a friend trying to protect me. But the amount of anxious thoughts and feelings become entwined and the depression does set in.

    I’m still living my life and trying to follow the wonderful advice given. I just sometimes dont think I apply myself very well.

    Thanks again.


  256. Debbie Says:

    Hi andy j your not alone i get intrusives of anything mainly just seeing scenes of dresms i have had or anything and physically iam here but my mind tells me iam their its scarey i also get my mind telling me i will never be the same iam also depressed over this feeling its scares me iam afraid i will lose my mind or have already . But i get up every day and try and do something . Also i get words that just pop in my head usally vulgar thats strange to me . My mind always has to affliate something with some other memory.andy just hang in there nolans advice is great i read what he

  257. Debbie Says:

    Wanted to say i read what nolan says all the time.

  258. Michaela Says:


    Many thank yous for writing this. I have been struggling with anxiety so much for the last few months and on and off throughout my whole life and I have never seen it explained like this, it brought my to tears because I had that aha moment while reading it. It has given me a whole new outlook and I think k that this will really help me as I try to 100% conquer it.

    Thank god for people like you.

  259. Doreen Says:

    Alz – I’m not really sure what response you were wanting/expecting from me.

    Again I would say that telling the content of your latest fear doesn’t in my opinion help in any way to bring it down to just accepting it as a manifestation of anxiety – it only serves to feed your anxieties.

    And again you end your post with more questions – this time about having a baby. What do you expect people to say – of course we cannot advise you one way or the other – it would be irresponsible.

  260. Felicia Says:

    Hey guys,

    I’ve been doing pretty good I guess lately. I was having a good couple days before and now it’s gone down hill because I happen to watch this show on tv that fueled so many intrusive thoughts and I didn’t even realize. It bothers me because now they are becoming so abstract it’s ridiculous. Like I’m scared to feel any emotion or stay still for long periods of time because I’m frightened that if I don’t distract myself I will get super depressed and not want to be here anymore. Like my brain can’t process how people are just calm and happy with just existing (I used to be like this but can’t feel like that person anymore). Like just existence (which I know people are afraid of too) of being a human scares me and there’s always questions like “how can this not freak me out?! Having a mind and experiencing all of this world no one can explain?!” I feel like even if I get better it’s just going to always bother me and I can never become happy anymore. Like it’s so soul destroying. I know I used to love my life to absolute no end and questions like these I would not give a second thought to. I think because my mind is in this mindset it can’t even imagine getting out and I don’t fully trust if I don’t do anything it will go away. It bothers me so much and I can’t picture getting over it. I just want to be normal again. I thought one day it would just click with me. It makes me so sad that a lot of people have intrusive thoughts about more tangible things they can get over but mine are so abstract I hate it. Every. Little. Thought I can conjure up, sometimes I can’t even describe it bothers me.

    Nolan does true realization come one day? Like you can feel that all this is silly like almost like you wake up one day and become the person you were? I know Doreen says it’s a symptom but why doesn’t it feel like it? I just feel like my mind is so stiff and doesn’t want to engage in anything.

    I’m honestly just looking for some comfort that I should just keep going… Kinda getting to me. :(

  261. Anxious Indian Says:

    Hi Felicia,

    What you describe is something I went through for many many months before my final recovery.

    Every word you say is the kind of thoughts and feelings I went through. Then one day I just decided, that ok I am a human and if life is always going to feel so threatening and full of unpleasantness, then what can I do. I just stopped trying to find the old me back. I thought maybe anxiety has exposed me to things that I did not think about before and it’s changed my perception of life. So what can I do? I can’t undo it. I stopped trying to find an answer or convince myself otherwise.

    And guess what happened? Just the opposite!! When I stopped trying to fight it, I would feel the unpleasant things but then also feel the positive stuff in our life. All the time and energy I had spent fighting and questioning the unpleasantness, was now directed to feeling life for real – the great good bad and the ugly.

    And guess what? Things changed! I realized for every unpleasant thing in life, there are 100+ positive things, and slowly my normal feelings started coming back. It was then that Paul’s words “mind re-balances on it own, I don’t need to interfere” truly clicked with me.

    You know what is the difference between the old us and the anxious us? The old (or what we call ‘normal) us was aware of both the positives and negatives in life. The anxious us only focus on fear and negativity and is so busy trying to question/figure out that it looses touch with the bigger picture. Is it any wonder why life feels so unpleasant? It’s not our fault, it’s a habit created by anxiety.

    Please take a leap of faith and feel everything, stop questioning and try and not focus too much on the negative.

    I promise the old you will be back, and when it is back, you will find all the answers yourself.

  262. Alz Says:

    Thanks Doreen ,
    As always, you make sense but I guess you just get irritated because uv understood anxiety and you find the questions and search for answers redundant .

  263. Steve b Says:

    Hi guys. Anxious Indian. Did you find the obsessive thoughts last to go?..I had my “breakdown” a long time ago now. A very long time ago. But the obsessive thoughts and the constant focus on anxiety are still going strong. I am taking Paul’s advice and just noticing without getting involved but it’s getting on my nerves!

  264. Debbie Says:

    Steve b i have the same exact problems u have for over a year.

  265. Doreen Says:

    Alz – I am not irritated, more exasperated.

    There is only one question and that is , how do I move on from anxiety, There is only one answer and that is to live with it and accept it in all it’s manifestations. there is no separate answer for each of the questions you ask – it always comes back to the same one.

    If you have had a go and want to vent about how hard it is sometimes and how there are set backs that is fine – you have my sympathy. But if you keep using each post to introduce a ‘new’ symptom/question then that isn’t a good use of your time in the long run.

    And neither will it help you move on.

  266. Melissa Says:

    Hey everyone,

    It has been a while since I have posted on here to talk about symptoms. I used to post on here to get reassurance. Then I posted on here to help people out a bit and now I am posting on here because I am annoyed.

    I was feeling great…the anxiety was still renting space in my mind and body, but it wasn’t being a nuisance.

    Recently though, over the holidays, I had 2 weeks off of work. I usually travel or fill may days with fun activities, but money has been tight lately and I was not able to do the usual stuff. So I spent some time at the gym, and did some random little things. Needless to say that I had a lot of time to think and ruminate. This led to me having my first kind of panic attack i guess. I broke out into a cold sweat, became COMPLETELY depersonalized and I felt disoriented. It was happening after I cleaned the house and began cooking. I felt sick to my stomach and then I put the milk in the pantry, I put two sugars in my coffee because I forgot I had added one packet…I was just a mess. Can anyone relate? lol

    Now, I am back at work and back to a routine. Today, while at work, I had the thought ‘what if you have a psychotic breakdown at work?’. This sent me into a tailspin. In the moment I let the thought be there, but my body had a physical reaction. Nausea. Dizziness. Exhausted…etc.

    I am not writing this to seek reassurance because I know this does not help at all. I am just writing to get it off my chest. Been holding a lot of things in these days and I just needed somewhere unbiased where I can offload a bit. Some days are great…in fact most days are great….but the past few weeks have been a bit tough.

    Thank you for creating a safe space for this to happen. I hope you are all well.

  267. Alz Says:

    You’ve helped me so much ! Don’t ever let the symptoms scare you or even if they do , know that it’s all anxiety …
    Doreen I guess exasperation is the right word . I guess it’s more about both- symptoms and a place to vent. But yes ur right . I would rather vent because it’s been one whole year of grief , anxiety, shock and bewilderment . Anyway – off to work now . Routines important and I believe my old self will surface when I just give up the fight . To be honest iv done that to a great extent and perhaps it’s not just me but like Paul said , my mind healing on its own .

  268. Anxious Indian Says:

    @Steve b In my case the obsessive thoughts were the last symptom to go. I am sure everyone is different but what I finally realized in my moments of peace was that my mind used to think of intrusive thoughts as they appeared too important and a threat to the ‘anxious me’. When I was completely relaxed, perspective used to change and I realized how stupid it was to think or fear the thoughts at the present moment.

    The habit to think about anxiety hung around till the end too, but then it did not bother me as I knew it was natural. Anxiety had been a part of my life for so long that my mind thought about it (like anything else in the past) and sometimes habit also made me think about it. In any case, it was not important whether I think about it or not, so I just let it be. Once I lost interest in it, the habit started fading.

  269. Steve b Says:

    Thanks anxious Indian. Paul doesn’t speak about fear of a relapse very much. It’s something I think about a lot. I think Paul had social anxiety. He could challenge that by going into social situations. Mine is a fear of death. It’s hard to challenge that without jumping in front of a bus! Lol.

  270. Felicia Says:

    @Anxious Indian- Thank you so much for the reply, as you know, it’s so hard to see through the fog sometimes. Anxiety really makes every thought seem real and it honestly leaves me in so much confusion sometimes. Like you can understand how anxiety works but the mind doesn’t want to accept yet. It’s annoying. I mean it just comforts me to know I had these thoughts in the past and they never bothered me at all so it proves it’s anxiety. Just hate when I read things that people are going through anxiety and depression and they’ve been in it for years and they’re all sad and on meds I’m just like ughhh I was such a happy person before I don’t want to be like that and it bums me out.

    @Steve b- I used to worry about this alot too. There is a reason Paul doesn’t talk about it. When (because you will) you truly recover and understand how you recovered, you don’t relapse because you are your normal self again hun. What causes the anxiety is too much mental, worrisome focus on whatever thought or event in your life to pointless extents. Example: I had a health scare a couple months back which brought on my nervous breakdown because I worked myself up so much (to an unbelievable extent) that when my emotions shut down I started worrying about why I couldn’t be back to my old self, I was afraid all the time, physical symptoms, yada yada yada.

    When you heal, you realize how silly it was to put so much emphasis on your thoughts. So what if something was wrong with me (which ended up being NOTHING, see what happens? I got anxiety because of stupid worrisome thoughts all for nothing) what did worrying about it do??? Should have just been like “ok, let’s see what we can do and if something has to be done, it will be done” and I would have been calm and continued on with my life as normal.

    See in the past without anxiety I had little panic attacks and worrisome thoughts, but what people fail to see is that when you didn’t have anxiety in the past, you worried about something but you quickly let it go because it was random and not over long periods of time. Everyone who ends up with anxiety stresses their nerves with constant job obligations, drug use (like Paul) or any other thing that shouldn’t be taken so seriously. Getting something done will end up done with or without worrying.

    If you worry about getting a relapse then you are worrying that you will worry… anxiety is just worry and stress. Relapses happen when you are still learning about anxiety and how it affects the mind and body, even if you have a couple months and weeks where you’re feeling awesome and then you feel crappy all of a sudden, it’s just some thoughts you aren’t letting go or your mind still attaches fear to. When you heal you will know and you will learn that nothing is worth getting so worked up for.

    Soon when you feel good, you’ll laugh at them BECAUSE you’ll finally see it was all stupid worrying because your mind will heal. Too many people think this is in their hands (ME INCLUDED). It just takes time and we have to let go and feel shitty~! Also, about the death thoughts, death does not have to be scary at all, your anxiety always makes you think the worse of everything. We are these magnificent beings on this earth that is already a miracle in itself, no one ever knows what comes after death and that’s the beauty of it! Something else comforting as Epicurus says, the ancient Greek philosopher, “Death is nothing to us, since when we are, death has not come, and when death has come, we are not.”

    You see, I took a whole class on death, the earth and mind and there was not one ounce of fear in me. Another thing I read of someone who healed through this type of anxiety was “It’s not the questions themselves that are overwhelming, it’s the anxiety you feel that is overwhelming.” I hope this statement resonates with you the way it did with me. We forget how much power we had before anxiety on the way we felt and why we weren’t afraid of the things we are now.

  271. Anxious Indian Says:

    @Steve b The answer is staring you in the face….

    If you have fear of death, you don’t need to prove to yourself that it is a false fear. Death is something most people fear and every being fights for it’s survival.

    So let it be there. Say to yourself, I am a human and we will die someday so it’s ok. Don’t fight the fear. Let it be. It is not a fear you can fight.

    When I did that, after a while the I got bored of the fear too, and just thought, so what if I die someday…why focus on that ‘someday’…let me live today at least and make the best of it. I will anyways go through it ‘someday’ but I don’t have to go through it right now.

    And my mind healed, and it was then I realised that anxiety made me focus on and try to fight things which can never be fought as such. So there was no answer.

    It’s only that when your mind heals (once it relaxes), it puts things in perspective like what one needs to fear and when. We don’t have to fear everything all the time.

  272. Alz Says:

    Is my anxiety affecting my thinking ? I know the answer is yes it is but I’m in a big fix at this point and could do with some support .
    So like I mentioned, my therapist has given my the advice to think about having another child whenever but when I think about it , it brings me to the situation I’m currently in . I have immense anger issues – iv lost patience for anyone including my mother . The problem is my husband and the fact that I live with my inlaws ( mom in law ) . For four years my husband didn’t want a child and finally when he agreed , the entire pregnancy was a nightmare – since I wasnt working because of being on bed rest we had financial issues . My husband changed careers from a high corporate job to a teacher in a third tier university ; his plan was to eventually go for his PhD . Fast forward three years , we lost the baby , my hubby is still in the same job – he does not communicate at all about his future plans and just walks off from any conversation claiming iv become rude, angry and disrespectful. What’s worse is hus mother who has not once told him to go look for a better job , reapply for his PhD or be more ambitious – we live in a patriarchal society where sons are hero worshipped . Anyway , it’s been two days and my husband and I aren’t talking and neither am I interacting much with my mother in law because we we’re having driver issues , issues with her giving my baby’s things to other people without my permission and mainly the bias she has for her son. I don’t exist in their family – I feel like if I left now it would make no difference to anyone even though we’ve been marrid for 5 years . Is this anger , bitterness , self pity legitimate or is it my anxiety talking ???

  273. Steve b Says:

    Felicia and anxious Indian. Thank you so very much. Really.

  274. Debbie Says:

    Did anyone feel like whenever they looked at something it reminds them of something else. Is me seeing images of movies i have seen and dreams i have had intrusives ? Feeling like your in that scene and not here its scarey makes me feel i have lost my mind.

  275. Felicia Says:

    @Debbie- Hun if it makes you feel uncomfortable and confused, its intrusive. It doesn’t matter if anyone else had the same or not, I can name a plethora of intrusive thoughts I’ve had or have that no one else gets but we have to react the same to it. If your mind wants to trick you into thinking you’re in the scene then so be it. Just laugh and say that obviously isn’t reality, my mind is tired, onto the next thing, your brain will then see it’s silly and it will start healing and moving on. You mustn’t give anything attention.

    People feel that feeling in their gut when they get that intrusive thought they crumble under it and you mustn’t. You have to just be like “that’s silly” and just start doing something else because you have to KNOW deep down it isn’t real. If you do this you’ll realize you’ll come out of it faster and faster.

  276. Felicia Says:

    *musnt giving anything attention meaning any of the silly thoughts

  277. Debbie Says:

    Thanks felicia

  278. Andy J Says:

    Does any one ever feel they go too far for acceptance.

    Ie think about it nonstop. I know people say to get on with there day but when does that become distraction? I can’t seem to move away from it or how low my mood is.

    I’m absolutely exhausted which probably doesn’t help, but I could really do with some advice and some positivity.

  279. Diana Says:

    Re: intrusive thoughts. Does anyone have intrusive thoughts connected to the sky? Before my anxiety, I could look at it and not notice it but since my anxiety, whenever I look at it, it’s vastness overwhelms me and I feel frightened and trapped underneath it. When I see it, it reminds me that we are just a blob floating around in space and this scares me. It’s presence is omnipresent and there’s nowhere I can go to get away from it. Is this just another aspect of anxiety trying to scare me? Thank you. Diana

  280. Doreen Says:

    Alz – for goodness sake. In one post you say this”I went on with the entire day and now I’m awaiting his return but again with anxiety . He’s my husband for heavens sake .., I want to have the feelings I used to have for him . He was my go to person”
    and in another you are describing a very different sort of husband. Strikes me you say anything to get attention on this blog. Always with the preface or the ending that you are telling your latest stuff because you need support.

  281. alz Says:

    Doreen ..
    There is no need to be rude. I not doing this to gain “attention” . I am doing this genuinely to vent and understand the myriad of feelings i am going through which people like you have no patience for. Do not draw conclusions or judgements based on my posts and act like a shrink. You are extremely harsh and I don’t expect this response from a blog which is meant for support and for sharing stuff. I am describing the husband i have had for the past 6 years .. the same husband I am having feelings for and then no feelings for. Instead of copy pasting my posts and saying im an “attention seeker” either comment to help or don’t comment next time . I’d appreciate that.

  282. alz Says:

    Iv appreciated your bad cop policy which almost everyone on this blog who’s gone through anxiety has adopted perhaps to make me go on with my life. But when i genuinely come on this blog to seek assistance from anxiety sufferers who have successfully passed the troughs of anxiety, I get comments which are highly demotivating. If i had to gain attention I dont think i would have come to this blog which i find the most helpful and genuine in terms of helping people overcome their anxiety. Honestly i have a job, my in laws, my husband , my own family and different things during the day to go through. If i come to this blog, i am not taking out time to “gain attention” . I am trying to genuinely seek help. There is a limit to the heartlessness and lack of patience people who’ve overcome anxiety can have given that you perhaps were once in the same boat.. Don’t reply back and draw assumptions .. its the most hurtful thing one can say especially when one is trying to figure their strange feelings and emotions .

  283. Doreen Says:

    Alz. Maybe attention seeking was rather harsh but probably each and every one on the blog and off it has complications in their family lives at times and obviously that can generate anxiety which is entirely understandable. But we cannot possibly know whether your family dynamics are experienced more acutely because you have anxiety. Only you can know that and even if they are you will have to deal with the anxiety by the recommended ways. And reiterating stuff like this is unlikely to help bring anxiety down.

  284. Kat Says:

    Hi Alz
    I’m sorry to hear that you feel demotivated and unsupported, I can see I would feel the same way. I used to frequent this blog in 2010, there was a lot more supportive advice then, I’ve noticed a lot of intolerance recently especially towards yourself and some others. Paul never responded this way and I don’t believe your attention seeking at all. I understand your venting and seeking reassurance we ALL do it in the throes of despair and high anxiety.
    There are people here for you no matter what you write, say or feel, we are all human on our own journey at our own pace. If people can’t contribute to someone’s healing in a respectful way they have no obligation to reply at all. I’m surprised the comment weren’t deleted. This is no longer a safe space that’s regulated respectfully and I’m very sorry about that as it used to be a wealth of support and got me through some very dark times. Take care and be yourself without apology. Xx

  285. Katrina Says:

    Hi Alz
    I’m sorry to hear that you feel demotivated and unsupported, I can see I would feel the same way. I used to frequent this blog in 2010, there was a lot more supportive advice then, I’ve noticed a lot of intolerance recently especially towards yourself and some others. Paul never responded this way and I don’t believe your attention seeking at all. I understand your venting and seeking reassurance we ALL do it in the throes of despair and high anxiety.
    There are people here for you no matter what you write, say or feel, we are all human on our own journey at our own pace. If people can’t contribute to someone’s healing in a respectful way they have no obligation to reply at all. I’m surprised the comment weren’t deleted. This is no longer a safe space that’s regulated respectfully and I’m very sorry about that as it used to be a wealth of support and got me through some very dark times. Take care and be yourself without apology. Xx

  286. Alz Says:

    Thanks Katrina . It’s just this past one year that iv come here to seek help and honestly some ppl hv been truly helpful and I hope one day I could reach that point where I can help others .i honestly wish I was going through anxiety at the time u say this blog took u out of ur dark days . Perhaps it’s more like this because Paul isn’t moderating it anymore …it’s like I want to be where these people are . I know Bryan has appreciated my progress , rich and Melissa hv been helpful too . This anxiety is so bewildering that one always stumbles across something they’ve not discovered . Honestly the only thing that helps is people who’ve gone through the whole process and come out as winners. They keep me going and hoping that one day I will be able to write about how ‘ I went through whatever and it’ll be ok ‘
    Thanks though !

  287. Mark R Says:

    May be better for the blog that if you don’t agree with what someone is saying is to not respond at all. As said there is no obligation to reply things don’t need to escalate to being personal.

  288. Helen Says:

    Hi Alz,
    I’m probably going to say things now that other people have already said but as I only pop back to the blog every now and then I haven’t seen your history. With anxiety, it will throw a question at you, a ‘what if’ and you feel that you need to find an answer to make this awful, sickening, horrific and debilitating thing go away. So off you go, thinking, thinking, thinking – trying to make sense of what this thing is, why are these thoughts in my head, why aren’t I normal etc etc? If you think you find an answer after all that searching anxiety will just jump on to the next thing so off you go again on a vicious cycle of searching and searching and never getting anywhere. All you can do is stop trying to find an answer, stop waiting for the day when this will be gone. Don’t make being rid of anxiety a goal, don’t make it anything. Accept that, today you have anxiety and do not let it stop you in any way. Don’t let it make you hide in the house or not go to work or not see friends/family. Keep going, even when you feel like you might die from the feeling of fear or from the detachment you feel. I can promise you that it will go if you stop reacting to it. When your mind says ‘but what it it’s because of this?’ don’t start searching just leave it alone and get on with your life and the power it has fades until it is gone. I had the most horrendous anxiety for a long time and I wouldn’t change it for anything, I am not just saying this but it has made me into the person I am today and I like me very much (not in a narcissistic
    way!). Keep on keeping on and know that it can and will go.

    All the best

  289. Jamie Says:

    How are you doing Mark R? I’ve not seen you on here for a while

  290. Julie Says:

    Hello Alz,

    Never apologise for posting here but I have to agree with what Katrina said, it’s not the place it used to be and harsh comments from some members seem to be all that some of us receive when we post. Of course there are a few lovely members who will always do their best to help us. Maybe those that are harsh think tough love is the way to be but I’d say it’s a bit more than tough love and it can feel very personal, I think some people forget just how tough being in the storm can be. I know it’s why many have stopped using the blog and are still struggling but afraid to post. We keep intouch and have supported eachother. I had some wonderful advice here a few years ago and it definitely helped me on the road to recovery. I no longer post after some bad experiences and have found my own road to recovery without needing a blog but it’s very sad a place that was once a huge support to many of us now feels a place that causes more anxiety.

    You have had a very tough time Alz, losing a child is devastating, I know as I have been there. The anxiety and fear that causes maybe can’t be understood by some. It’s a trauma and trauma switches on the fear part of our brain 24/7. It’s what happened to me but with therapy and reading self help books such as Pauls, I managed to turn it down. Now and again something happens, a bump in the road/setback happens and we get thrown back into the dial being turned back up to a number 10. With time, following Pauls book and help from others/therapist we can calm that fight or flight dial back down to a 5 or less. I hope your therapist is helping you with your trauma as it seems to be the cause of your anxiety, I may be wrong.

    Anxiety plays tricks on us, it makes us think we don’t have feelings for people, we fear so many things. I had some awful intrusives for 18 months and was terrified. Brain fog caused this in my case, a very tired over worked mind. All that thinking, trying to work out the anxiety, why I was having the thoughts etc.. just causes the brain to lose it’s resilience and it becomes worn down and exhausted. No wonder it can’t think straight, it’s over worked. You have to allow any thoughts and feelings come, let them pass through without latching onto them with panic because that will just keep the fear-adrenaline-fear cycle going and tire the mind even more. This is where mindfulness is helpful, it helps us to notice what we are thinking and feeling without adding judgement and fear. Just allowing whatever you’re experiencing to pass through.

    I hope that helps a little and I hope you aren’t too upset.

    Lots of hugs to you.

    Julie x

  291. Melissa Says:

    Hey Alz, Julie & all you other awesome anxiety warriors,

    This blog has helped me a lot over the past few months of dealing with my new friend. I know the interactions that have been happening on here recently have been a bit cold, but I think everyone has a different approach.

    I think instead of talking about what the blog used to be like, maybe we can bring back that sense of community again. So many people have been healed by Paul’s work and this blog. I would hate for that to stop.

    Let’s move past what happened and try our best to recreate a loving and supportive community.

    I wish you all a beautiful day….it’s almost 9 am here in Canada and I’m ready to brave the cold, go to work and make today great (as great as I can).

    Truly love you all,

  292. Bryan Says:

    This board is about balance, learning and application of advice we are getting/giving. Sometimes after years of giving the same advice and having it ignored, people may get frustrated. Why? Because they truly want to see people improve. They truly care… and seeing one or two people dominate the board by repeating the same question (statement) over and over for years on end can be frustrating. It’s not helpful for the person asking and it’s not helpful to the community.


    We all understand that. But there is a line between seeking reassurance and being counterproductive to yourself or the community.

    I haven’t posted much in a long time not because the board isn’t “supportive” enough, it’s that advice given is simply ignored and the same couple of people dominate the comments… squeezing others out due to their repetition of thr same statements, often statements others couldn’t possibly answer on an anxiety board.

    There IS a time for individual help. (Books, therapy etc) I sought one on one help during my recovery because I realized blasting a message board with the same statements every day wasn’t going to help me recover.

    And what helped me? Someone from a board I frequented a long time ago finally gave me a little tough love and called me out. He kicked my arse (figuratively) and helped me see that years of repeating myself was only going to keep me stuck.

    This is Paul’s board and HE HIMSELF has warned of the dangers of repetitive posting.

    Nolan is among the kindest people here and he says one of his biggest mistakes at the time was over dependence on the board. He changed that and began to recover.

    So while Doreen may have used a single unkind sentence, I think we are all grown ups here and can get past it. I was here in 2010 and it was the same it is now. We even had a couple of people who over-posted and moderators helped them learn that this wasn’t helpful for the community or themselves.

    Love takes many different forms and this forum is about a BALANCE. We are all adults and should be able to handle a basic simple difference in opinion… and the veterans here and people who have recovered or made progress are only trying to help others when they warn that post repetition and over-reassurance seeking harms that balance for the poster and everyone else.

    Remember, there are a lot of eyes reading this forum. A lot of folks need help and hope. It’s not just for one or two people to monopolize. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen newcomers ignored because the same few people are recognizes and hence time to dominate Q/A.

    We should all be adult and humane enough to understand this concept and forgiving enough to accept people like Doreen’s verbal misstep since she’s spent YEARS here helping others recover. She cares about the balance of this community which means she cares about all of you. Time to move on from the topic.

    That’s my opinion… as a 5 year member of this board who used it to learn recovery and hopefully to help others.

  293. Melissa Says:

    Very, very well said Bryan!

    What you said is absolutely correct.

    I know for me, with my experience with anxiety, I used to come on here many many times a day…I did not post much because I was too shy. I still read back on past posts that I know may be able to help me, but I do not think I am nearly as ‘needy’ as I used to be when it comes to the blog.

    I would love for this forum to be used to help and not nitpick what people are saying. There are not many people in my personal life that I can talk to about anxiety because many people do not get it, and others just think I am blowing things out of proportion, so to have this place to just vocalize how I am feeling when the going gets rough is really special to me.

    Anyways…let’s remember that focusing all of our energy on anxiety is only going to make it worse. Seeking reassurance is also going to make it worse. We must try to put into practice what we are told, as hard as it is.

  294. Debbie Says:

    Just an up date my b12 levels were checked and mine are low that also can make anxiety worse normal is 200 to 900 hundred but a good number is 500 . Some of us just dont absorb can feel tired ,depressed,anxiety ,twitching and dizziness.

  295. Felicia Says:

    Hey everyone~!

    Just a curious question about if anyone has experienced this! It’s the weirdest feeling I swear!

    Does anyone have random almost out of your closed thinking brain experiences for a couple seconds? Like I get this almost “outside looking in” awakenings like “Wow, it’s so funny how I’m perfectly healthy but my brain isn’t making me want to do things and I’m controlled by a feeling in my head and thoughts…”

    And like for a second I feel like I’m out of my body and really realizing what’s going on and I feel like I don’t have anxiety anymore but after like 4 seconds I go back to kinda feeling like I’m asleep again being controlled by my brain. IT’S THE STRANGEST THING. Like it’s such an awareness it’s almost scary lmao!

    I wonder if that’s what Claire Weekes meant when she said the “veil will lift” hmm…

  296. Anxious Indian Says:

    Felicia this is a brilliant experience! I too started getting this and then realised it was true. It made me see my situation from an outsider’s perspective and helped me realise how irrational the thoughts and feelings caused by anxiety were. It was as if I could once see what was happening to me without identifying with it which helped me see some sense.

  297. Doreen Says:

    Thanks Bryan, Helen and Melissa.
    I think all three of you said ( and maybe more gently than me) what I feel is stopping some people from moving on and yes, Bryan frustration is the correct word.
    And Helen described the anxiety’ trap’ really well.
    And it’s only when people make a determined effort to ignore the many and various ways in which anxiety can intrude and don’t take any of them seriously
    do they actually start to live along side anxiety and are not dominated by it. And posting each new anxiety and checking it out with others is just not the way to make that happen.

  298. Felicia Says:

    YES! It happens soooo very rarely, it’s happened aroundddd 5 times? Since my recovery period in long stretches of time between eachother, but it’s only for a couple seconds where I’m like “OMG this is absolutely so silly, I have so much power over my thoughts and life!” Then it goes away After 3 seconds lmaoo. It’s more of an “ah-ha” moment, that’s a different feeling, more like you really see anxiety for what it is. But these moments are soooo fleeting it’s so hard to see that will ever be my natural state! 😛 BUT it’s only been almost 3 months since my healing so I’ll keep trucking! :) It really is a battle of leaving it alone completely!

    This little Canadian girl can not be broken! <3

  299. Felicia Says:

    * more THAN an “ah-ha feeling” meant to say 😛

  300. Katrina Says:

    I’m sorry but Doreen you called Alz an attention seeker and with every one of her posts you leave a negative comment. It’s not on and you should apologise for being so nasty to someone who’s suffering,she lost a child not even 12 months ago, I’ve been through this and did not make as much progress as Alz has, you might have your army of followers but I find the way you ‘support’ people, abrupt, rude and bullying. If your admitting your frustrated by her lack of acceptance and understanding (which we’ve all been there) say nothing, don’t comment. Let someone else do it who has more patience and understanding and compassion. Her posts help people who are too afraid to speak up, people’s kind replies help others as well. Nothing to be gained from ‘tough love’ which as she’s said repeatedly unhelpful to her and others on here.
    I’m a qualified social worker with 20 years experience in the field and manage support and counselling programs and I can tell you as a professional you’d be sacked with your approach!

  301. Bryan Says:


    You don’t know the whole story. You’ve shown up in the middle and are trying to enforce your own personal justice and police the forum when no one has asked you to.
    Doreen has given years to this forum and helped scores of people including being a former moderator. She said she misspoke. You needn’t cite your credentials or attempt to shame her any further.

    And there IS something to be gained from tough love at times. I have my life back because someone had the guts to be honest with me and helped me stop digging my own grave with these behaviors. Many others have said the same. So despite your “qualifications,” your statement is inaccurate.

    As adults we can all have opinions here. Mine is that this is a tiresome subject which we should just drop.

  302. Katrina Says:

    How can you imply I don’t know the whole story? I can read just like you and I haven’t just shown up at all, several members have noted her abrasivness towards a few people in particular. I won’t stand by and watch it happen. Your just as bad as her, both of you act as a team against a few. All I ask is that she not comment if she’s frustrated and should apologise for name calling. I don’t care if she was a moderator or not she was rude and aggressive and the whole copying of messages is so patronising and unhelpful.

    It’s so clear when people are genuinely wanting to compassionately assist, neither of you do that with Alz you both just jump down her throat every time she posts! You do more damage than provide a way out of her distress.

    This is pointless your not prepared to receive feedback or apologise or show compassion just aggressively disagree.

    You do not need to attack me or my profession, I know both your behaviour has been unacceptable. End of story.

  303. Doreen Says:

    Katrina – this isn’t a counselling or social work forum, it is a blog for people who have or have had anxiety in common. But as a counsellor you will be aware that dependency is not healthy for the client.
    You have no idea of my background and whether I would employ different ways of working in a professional setting. However as a contributor to this blog my background is irrelevant.
    It is very rewarding to see people who have got ‘the message’ and have moved on, who pop back on from time to time to give support.
    And others who might still be struggling but have cottoned on to the fact that repetition, long personal stories and reassurance seeking are not the way forward.
    That was all I was saying and I have confirmed already that I was inappropriate in my use of words.

  304. Paul David Says:

    I was asked to come and try and bring some calm to the blog as the last thing I want to do is see people argue and fall out, that was never the sort of place I wanted it to become.

    I wish I was around more to be able to moderate the blog. I only ever did so because of the place I wanted it to be and it had some lovely people who were very supportive and friendly. I did not want it to be like a forum, with people just posting for years and someone sending them virtual hugs and getting nowhere. I wanted it to be a place where people found true help and then moved on with their life and many have being able to do so.

    I think we have to remember that people respond differently to information, depending on where they are at and their situation. Also we all see things through different eyes, this is what creates arguments in the first place. I just ask that people are compassionate to others and not aggressive, people with anxiety and what brought them to that place can be very vulnerable and I know how much support I needed in those days.

    After reading through the comments and getting an idea of things I won’t start taking sides, it will only create more conflict. Sometimes I think that we think others should just grasp an understanding straight away and it is not always that easy. I do agree also that we need to eventually start to take the advice on board and try and implement it or at least look to go in that direction. There are some very wise people on here, people like Nolan who has recovered and now gives up his time to help others, do listen to what they say rather than look for constant reassurance for each and every symptom. I have been there and know how pointless and counter productive it is, once anxiety lessens then all symptoms fall away, it is not about trying to sort each and every symptom out, they are all part of the collective, trying to do so just keeps you on the hamster wheel. You need to look at cutting the root, not each and every branch.

    I think the problem occurs when longer members don’t want it to turn into a forum type place where people multiple post the same things over and over and seemingly ignore any advice given. But yes there has to also be a way of talking to others whilst making a point, people with anxiety can be in a vulnerable place and can have other things going on.

    So just to sum up, can we just move on from this. If we have a point to make then let’s just talk like adults and if the other does not agree, just move on. People never end up agreeing once insults are thrown around, it just ends up with 2 ego’s clashing and goes nowhere.

    Helen sums it up well below, but I will add a few words.

    My recovery took a while, there is no quick fix, forget anyone who tells you otherwise, no secret hid away on the internet or a retreat. Each and every answer I found, every insight I ever had, every conclusion I came to was to give up the fight with myself. The fight with myself was the exact reason I was staying stuck and mainly getting worse. Trying to get rid of anxiety was actually the cause and not the cure. I had tried every thing and bottomed out, there was nothing left to try. Well apart from trying to do nothing, that was always the answer. The day I gave up trying to get better is the day things began to change. I realised on a deep level that I could not force peace, it just created more disturbance. My mind was exhausted with trying to find a way out, it is the reason thoughts went on non stop and I felt so detached. So I had to leave my mind alone, that was the only way it could settle, it could never settle by me using the mind even more. So I had to wake up wracked with anxiety, with my thoughts racing and my feelings of detachment and do nothing about it. Doing nothing gave my mind and body the rest it so craved, this was never about me, I could never fast track recovery, never force it. I realised that so deeply that I just forgot about recovering and just took how I felt with me, all techniques were in the bin, all my effort ceased, I just gave up trying to fix my inner world and that really was the crux of my recovery. To get anything to settle we need to leave it alone. With anxiety we feel we have 101 problems, that what an anxious mind does, it creates problems out of nothing, everything seems like a problem so we worry more. You have to allow this also, let the mind worry about anything and everything, but not get involved in its drama.

    It is all about a deep acceptance of any state you and yourself in and a letting go, no more fixing, no more trying to sort out, no more fighting to feel any different than you do. Just lay everything down and allow yourself to feel like shit. Not allowing in the hope that you will feel better, as that is just another technique. Just a complete allowing for yourself to fall into any suffering, a complete letting go of trying to sort anything out, get anywhere or be anything other than where you are and then the mind and body will begin to sort itself out. The body works perfectly well all by itself, the heart beats all by itself, your stomach digests, cells multiply, it heals cuts and broken legs without you needing to interfere, the whole system works perfectly without your interference, it doesn’t want or need it, it knows exactly what it needs to do to heal. Your body is beyond any intelligence we can imagine and will heal itself if left to do so.

    Summed up by Helen below

    Hi Alz,
    I’m probably going to say things now that other people have already said but as I only pop back to the blog every now and then I haven’t seen your history. With anxiety, it will throw a question at you, a ‘what if’ and you feel that you need to find an answer to make this awful, sickening, horrific and debilitating thing go away. So off you go, thinking, thinking, thinking – trying to make sense of what this thing is, why are these thoughts in my head, why aren’t I normal etc etc? If you think you find an answer after all that searching anxiety will just jump on to the next thing so off you go again on a vicious cycle of searching and searching and never getting anywhere. All you can do is stop trying to find an answer, stop waiting for the day when this will be gone. Don’t make being rid of anxiety a goal, don’t make it anything. Accept that, today you have anxiety and do not let it stop you in any way. Don’t let it make you hide in the house or not go to work or not see friends/family. Keep going, even when you feel like you might die from the feeling of fear or from the detachment you feel. I can promise you that it will go if you stop reacting to it. When your mind says ‘but what it it’s because of this?’ don’t start searching just leave it alone and get on with your life and the power it has fades until it is gone. I had the most horrendous anxiety for a long time and I wouldn’t change it for anything, I am not just saying this but it has made me into the person I am today and I like me very much (not in a narcissistic
    way!). Keep on keeping on and know that it can and will go.

  305. Bryan Says:

    Hey we should all disagree more often so Paul has to show up and post a great post like this. :)

    Just kidding. But, it was a great post. Thanks for the blog and arena to discuss all of this stuff Paul.

    Onward we move…

  306. Andy J Says:

    Pleased this seems to be resolving itself. We are all already having a hard time so fall outs help no one do they?

    Paul, if you’re reading this, could you do something on intrusive thoughts? Having read one of your earlier blogs you mentioned you had started to write one but then lost it. You also say on your main site that people fear getting OCD. Well I think I have, so could you speak about that? Also the habit of thinking the same thoughts and your mind losing resilience, again where I am.

    Thanks again for creating this and writing your books.

  307. Paul David Says:

    Andy I will do it when I have time, leave it with me, but I promise to do it in the next few days.


  308. Andy J Says:

    Thanks Paul, that’s very nice of you.

    All the best.

  309. Felicia Says:

    I second that Andy!

    I think a lot of the reasons people stay stuck in this stage (which seems to be the last stages) is because people don’t understand why the thoughts still seem so real and why they shouldn’t pay them no mind. It’s confusion because it seems like the feelings are real when the thoughts come up. Examples of thoughts such as existence, death, weird uncalled for memories, feeling like they’ll never view the world the same and so on. It’s a question of why it never seem to bother them before but does now and it feels like they now have a bleak view of the world.

    The answer will always be the same, let them be and feel crappy, but I think the more we talk about it in depth the more others will have true ah ha moments and really feel like they can move on and take the advice :).

    Thank you Paul~! ?

  310. Alz Says:

    Paul ,Helen, Doreen, Bryan, Melissa , Katrina and Julie ,
    I didn’t mean for this to get so blown out of proportion but like Bryan said , one good thing out of all of this is Paul making an entry. Pls let’s not get carried away . I’m alright .. Doreen did explain what she said in a way that was perhaps harsh .
    Katrina thank you so much for being there for me . It’s wrong to say she has just stepped in. If she feels this forum was better before let’s accept that and not attack her.
    Julie yes it’s trauma and I have a therapist but she can’t help with the depersonalisation. I’m from Pakistan where seriously speaking I know more about depersonalisation ( being a psych major ) than my therapist. She just can’t sit in my brain and help . She tried emdr with me . The 10 , 5 and 1 analogy is so true . I wish it weren’t that every little stressor would bring back anxious thoughts and fears .
    Helen thank you . Clearly your post helped create peace ( in my mind too )
    Look I know this is a battle I have to fight on my own . I’m living my life as normal as possible . I will not narrate every new symptom I get . I have anxiety and that’s that … I clearly wish there was more help in my country for something that can be so enigmatic . Iv been lucky since iv had this blog, u all and some semblance of therapy and meds.
    I truly wish no one suffers from anxiety or goes through what I hv experienced this past year. It’s definitely a learning experience and it’s already made me a different person .
    However Melissa I swear to god I helped me maybe unknowingly at a time when I really thought it was the end of the rope for me. Ur advice was the same as Paul’s – move on … it just helped knowing u had had a similar situation.
    Bryan thanks ?
    I’ll try to use this blog less – I just think it’s the right thing to do perhaps

  311. Jude Says:


    Just a quick friendly tip. You say, “Look I know this is a battle I have to fight on my own”.

    This is a site dedicated to the path Paul decided to take to heal from anxiety. Nowhere does he say fight, he actually pleads with people to NOT fight. It is the fight that keeps us sick. It is the surrender to all that sets us free from the anxiety trap. I believe this is the foundation of Paul’s message.

    I think it is important to maybe take a step back and read again what Paul has just posted. If you continue to see all this as a battle, a battle is what you will get.

  312. Alz Says:

    I meant Doreen did say what she said might hv been harsh .
    Also Bryan thanks ! Not thanks? I don’t know if u meant me but I don’t really monopolise the forum with the same repetitive questions. They might seem repetitive because the answer is the same .
    Again Katrina does know my history and like Paul has said let’s make this a more humane and approachable place . I guess everyone has a different way of giving advice ..

  313. Alz Says:

    Jude what I meant to say is that i have to learn to deal with my anxiety . It’s my battle meant it’s something I have to live with till it resolves . It’s not fun, it’s not a normal feeling so to let the thoughts come and go , tonaccept , to let it be is a sort of battle for me …can’t explain ..even accepting Paul’s advice is a work in progress- one has to let go and practice it .. it is a battle against the fight or flight instinct

  314. Bryan Says:


    Scan the archives because I think Paul has done a couple blogs on intrusive thoughts. Of course another is always welcome but just in case you hadn’t seen the older ones, it’s worth a look back.

  315. Mike Says:

    I’m glad I came across this blog. I’ve read many of the posts by the writer and I intend on reading the book. I agree the only way to beat anxiety is stop fighting it. I’m like many people cbt,medications, exercise all of that helps but is still just a coping mechanism. It only works to a point. The only thing that ever helped me was the Claire Weekes model with this guy seems akin to. I’ve been in and out of anxiety my entire life and the only thing that ever worked is carrying on with my life as usual. It sucks but after a few months i’m ok. Anyways i’m getting the book and I’m not sinking another dime into treatment that does nothing more but cost me money. I can be nervous and not broke too. lol

  316. Nolan Says:

    Good post, Paul. Glad to see you around.

    I think any of us who has gone through this knows how much we like to get reassurance. Paul, Doreen, Bryan, Rich…. any of us (numerous posters from the past I could list; but I’m sure you get my point).

    We hit a rough spot. Maybe an exceptionally long and dark rough spot. The modest improvements we felt have vanished. The hope, calmness, and peace that rested temporarily in our minds fled away and we’re left wondering if we even felt that way. Maybe we think it was just another illusion, more torment from the anxiety. But all we know is that the despair and doubt we feel are total.

    I guess it’s understandable, especially during those moments, to want that reassurance. Who doesn’t want to be told, when all seems dark, that “everything is going to be alright”?

    But if you’re trying to impress it upon yourself that you’re truly at ease with the lack of peace in your life, in hopes that maybe someday you’ll feel at home in your mind and body again…. then desperately seeking reassurance is going to hinder you.

    There’s no nice way to put that. You’ll be like a modern day Sisyphus, forever trudging your way to the summit only to have your efforts washed away; making you begin the effort again.

    You can say at one moment “Okay, I’m going to accept this… I’m going to live my life regardless of this despair” and then hop back on the forums in a frantic effort to obtain reassurance while airing your griefs again.

    That’s not to insult anyone. I know exactly how that feels. I was stuck in that loop for a long time. And to show how intense a setback can be, how real all of that doubt is: after a long time of not feeling the full brunt of the anxiety/depression/sleeplessness/fear I found myself one day doubting it all.
    I had months of feeling good and even some moments in that of feeling great. Thinking I had finally conquered it. Then one day I was at work and it was like a switch was flipped. The doubt and despair came flooding it and laid to waste all of those good moments.
    I had my big stack of papers in my backpack. My ‘Stories of Hope’ I had collected over the years. The stories I read to reassure myself that “it’s going to be okay”…. I started thumbing through them and thought how pathetic this must all look. The big game I spoke to others about riding out the storm and living your life. And like some drug addict here I am tensely sifting through the stories trying to find those dawns of hope in each of them that will salve this fear.

    I stopped after about 10 minutes of doing that. Walked over to the waste bin and finally ditched them. I had to live my life regardless… For a moment I forgot that.

    Those stories weren’t where my hope rested. Hope and peace was to be found in living my life bigger than anxiety/depression. Living despite the fact that everything in mind seems to be yelling at me to “DO SOMETHING!”. I did do something: I threw away my reassurances and lived my life.

  317. Nolan Says:

    Typo again:
    “You can say at one moment”
    Should be:
    “You can’t say at one moment”.

    I really need to start proofreading these before I post 😀

  318. Debbie Says:

    Nolan do you think going to therapy is want reassurance?

  319. Nolan Says:

    Hi Debbie,

    I will only answer that question from my experience:
    I had very bad luck with psychologists and psychiatrists. Over the years, for anxiety and depression, I’ve seen so many.
    And, I don’t think that I ever had two that gave me the same advice.
    That always bothered me.
    If you break a leg you’re not going to find many doctors that disagree with each other on how to properly treat it.
    But, with anxiety and depression (and the symptoms related to them) that’s just not the case.

    Now, some are good. Some have tales about finally talking to one that helped them. But the theme on many of the online forums I’ve been to have been “they’re just as confused as we are”.

    However, if you know what you need to do…. and going back to the therapist is simply having them just reiterate what you’ve already heard then, to me, that sounds more of a hindrance than anything else.

    I’ll all say this: Paul saved me a lot of money. I was paying for psychologists and psychiatrists for office appointments as well as finding well known online names, paying them for phone consultations. One of those phone sessions alone cost me over $100… and that’s for 1 hour. I think the cheapest one I had was $99 for an hour.

    Paul’s advice didn’t have me paying someone to guide me through breathing exercises, talking about my sex life with my wife, closing my eyes and yelling at my dad, closing my eyes and telling what I was seeing while those images I saw were interpreted by the psychologist through Native American spirituality,….
    These were approaches from different psychologists/pdocs. And this isn’t even half of what I had been told over the years.

  320. Debbie Says:

    Thanks nolan i pay 99 an hour on anxiety center for skype and payed someone else for cbt . And i feel they all follow what paul says they also say make your intrusives your friend not enemy. Like pauls says do nothing .thanks again god bless you and family hope your dad is doing better .

  321. Sally Says:

    Hi Debbie would just like to say I never found any psychologist sessions I’ve had over the years to be helpful at all they always focused on the past and childhood events sexual encounters relationships with parents husband etc when we are all focused on is the here and now and our anxiety problems but everyone is different and must find peace where they can Paul is the only person who has truly helped me and I thank him for his teachings

  322. Sally Says:

    And thank you Nolan for a brilliant posts very helpful as always

  323. Debbie Says:

    Sally i agree with you.

  324. Jamie Says:

    Has anyone here been diagnosed with GAD and improved/recovered and would like to share their thoughts/ experience ?
    I just seem to spend the majority of time worrying about things and as soon as one becomes less important, my mind finds another one, then another….. dvd so on.

  325. Jamie Says:

    “and so on” not “dvd so on”:)

  326. Bryan Says:

    Interestingly Anxiety Centre is the only therapist/coaching site I would advocate. Used them and they did help me a lot early on. But most therapists are a waste of time. I’d agree with that too. AC has a very deep understanding of the mechanics of the condition which some of us need as we start out.

    For me it was a combo of Paul and them that kept me on the recovery track.

  327. Helen Says:

    Hi Jamie,

    I wrote a post to Alz on the 24th Jan that might help you.

    All the best

  328. Debbie Says:

    Bryanwho did you see on anxiety centre?

  329. Steve b Says:

    I used anxiety centre. Doug Wildman. Really nice guy. Couple of things I can’t get my head around. The main one, actually like Paul, is that they go through this and have no fear of it returning. That doesn’t make much sense to me. We are clearly vulnerable in times of stress and to have such conviction that conversations with anxiety are now over, makes them have greater conviction and confidence than I do.

  330. Nolan Says:

    Hi Steve b,

    I get what you’re saying regarding the skepticism of having no fear of it returning.
    But I think there’s a different way to view that.

    Sure, no one would look forward to anxiety returning but the response to it becomes more a matter of “this isn’t ideal, but, I know what to do… and, the ‘to do’ is nothing more complicated than making my life bigger than anxiety.”

    That’s different from the despair that the initial bout (and some subsequent bouts) threw us in.

    “We are clearly vulnerable in times of stress”….
    I agree. But, at least for me (and for others I’ve spoken with over the years who also have overcome the issue), we’ve picked up better ways to respond to those stressful situations.
    It’s not the simple fact of stress that besets us, it’s our reaction to it. I’ve used the example of my wife and me before in the past. She responded to stress in a much more graceful manner than I. I was particularly bad with stress. I’m talking pre-anxiety. I was quick to get angry, quick to constantly be thinking about the issue (whatever it may be).
    When it came to stress I was very bad at handling it. Some would say that “hey, that’s just the way it is… it’s written in my genes.”

    I completely disagree with that sentiment. I am close to an entirely different person now when it comes to the things that I used to respond to poorly.

  331. Steve b Says:

    Cheers Nolan. You took the words out of my mouth. I was going to mention the genes then thought better of it. I know that way of thinking just puts obstacles in the way of recovery.
    I have had a few episodes, I guess that’s why I am “frightened” of it returning. To be fair though, in the past I had no idea what “it” was. I have a better understanding now.
    I just think that if I had a massive trigger, for me as an example that would be getting seriously ill, and the thoughts start that “it’s back” I don’t visualise myself coping so well and can see how I would get myself more and more anxious to the point I collapse again.
    Hey,perhaps that won’t happen.
    We all can change right. As you have just said.

  332. Jamie Says:

    Do people generally think that anxiety is not in the genes ? I’ve always been a worrier right back to Junior school. As my Mum is also a big worrier, a few therapists have put it down to it’s been born into me from childhood. A few years ago, one therapist said being around my Mum too much will not help me get better and I should reduce my contact with her. It made absolute sense back then and I feel guilty saying this but I resent her sometimes for me being like this. From reading a few bits on the Anxiety Centre and on here, it sounds like some people with the gene theory

  333. Jamie Says:

    Don’t agree with the gene theory. I must check my messages before I hit Submit

  334. Melissa Says:

    Hello everyone,

    I am having a really hard time the past couple of days. Mainly with panic attacks and intrusive thoughts. I was doing very well, so I guess this is why I’m being thrown off by these weird feelings. I have done Paul’s method and it works. I am on here today to know if other people have had the same symptom as I have. Recently I have been getting these random words or sentences pop up in my mind. I work at a school and they call me Mrs.Melissa. Sometimes the words Miss Melissa pop up in my head. Has this ever happened to anyone? I’m really feeling like I’m losing my mind.

    Thank you so much,

  335. Geraldine Says:

    Hi guys

    I have been doing incredibly for about 6 months after some true acceptance and enlightment that came to me around June while I was overseas. I’m away again and having a new symptom – well maybe my son new but now it’s decided to cause me more anxiety than normal. I can’t seem to take deep enough satisfying breaths and I don’t really feel anxious, but this breathing situation is making me hyper aware and now causing some anxious thoughts. I keep thinking I should do something about it – like I googled it and apparently it’s called air hunger and you should try take belly breaths , but thinking about doing this every time makes me feel like I’m paying it too much attentions been present for around 10 days but on and off some days better than others. Anyone else had this? Should I be seeing a doctor? Should I be doing something to ease it or make it better or really do nothing like every other symptom.

    Any advice appreciated , just want to know I’m not alone :)

  336. Sally Says:

    Hi Jamie I do believe the gene theory I have had anxiety in varying degrees since childhood My mother had depression and a nervous breakdown her sister had aggraphobia and my sister has anxiety and depression same as myself too much of a coincidence to be anything but a gene connection

  337. Bryan Says:

    Sally – gene theories with anxiety disorder are flimsy and unproven.

    Behavior and learned traits however are well studied and confirmed.

  338. Tom Says:

    Melissa, I occasionally get the same symptom with the random words popping up. I would not give it too much attention, it’s just a symptom of anxiety.

  339. Jamie Says:

    I end up worrying about the things my Mum worries about e.g. me, my daughter etc etc. This has resulted in me making the conclusion that is passed down, be it all or part, from your parents. How can you ‘learn’ a behaviour if you’re not ‘taught’ it by someone else ?

    As soon as a therapist makes a comment like that to me (or other anxiety sufferers) it must be the truth (especially when it makes sense) ! Does that make things easier or harder though someone telling you that ?

    There seems to be a split opinion on this question.

  340. Mike Says:

    I like many of you was nervous much of my life even in grade school but I don’t think there’s an anxiety gene. I really don’t. because I had a 10 year period with little to no anxiety and I think its because I had a very busy life and was much more social. When I aged abit I figured I needed to scale it back and basically just stayed in the house for about 2 years. and as sure as the sun rises in the east my anxiety relapsed. You gotta stay busy and I don’t see it as distraction behavior just sensible occupation of the mind. idle hands are the devils playthings they say.

  341. Julie Says:


    I think anxiety can be passed down, it may well be genetic I’m not sure but in my case my mother was a worrier. She made me terrified growing up. These were some of the things she told me.

    Don’t stand on glass it will travel to your heart and kil you.
    Don’t use tampons you will get toxic shock and die.
    Don’t touch rust you’ll get tetanus and die.
    Don’t go on rollercoasters you will break your neck and die.

    They were just a few, she made me a nervous wreck and by 19 I had my first panic attack. I then developed anxiety about my health. This went on for most of my twenties but then I had CBT and it eased.

    I think anxiety can be passed down but it’s more a learned behaviour. I think childhood moulds us into who we are as an adult. My mother made me a nervous wreck and scared to do anything incase I died. Looking back she was an anxious mother who was afraid of losing us. It has definitely in my case made me a worrier and very cautious person. I am a mother but I worry far less than my mother did, I am quite a laid back mother and my children are safe and doing well. I have also made sure that I don’t do the same to my children. I let them experience life but also make them aware of dangers of things that any parent would.


  342. Julie Says:


    I wouldn’t let that worry you, the brain can bring up random words and sentances. When I do my housework my brain goes into a day dream thinking and random words or sentances pass through. It’s just how the brain works. Just observe it and let it think anything it likes. It’s honestly nothing to worry about. It’s no different to when I song pops into your head and you can’t stop thinking/singing it in your mind. It will pass if you don’t attach any meaning to it.

    Julie x

  343. Sally Says:

    I agree Julie same for me genetic or learned that’s where it came from

  344. Geraldine Says:

    Anyone seen my post regarding my above symptom ? Looking for some reassurance that this is normal ? the feelings of deep breath is accompanied by thoughts telling me it’s something more to worry about than it actually is , it’s like I’m hyper aware of my breathing for no reason – is this just another symptom of generalised anxiety?

  345. Bryan Says:

    Geraldine – yes. It’s 100% normal for the body to exhibit this symptom during stress.

  346. Bryan Says:


    There’s not a “split opinion” on this if you ask people who have recovered or people who truly understand the condition. Claire Weekes and Jim Folk probably undertood the condition better than any in history and they insist it’s almost all learned behavior. And OF COURSE we can learn passively from lout parents. 80% of what we learn is by observation. “More is caught than taught.”

    I went 41 years with no stress disorder. Then fell into panic and anxiety… only to work myself back out. How is that possible if it’s “genetic?”

    None of my parents, birth or step have anxiety disorder.
    None of THEIR parents did either.
    If it was genetic that would be medically impossible.

    Here’s a way to find out….

    Try to change your eye color. Try to change your hair color. How about changing your skin color or height.

    You can’t, can you.

    Why? Because those things are genetic.

    Worrying and choosing anxiety behaviors is not genetic and even if there is some minor genetic propensity that some of us have… it’s still very open to molding via lifestyle and behavior. This has been overwhelmingly proven through the course of time.

  347. Alz Says:

    Julie I just wanted to know that u mentioned u went through something similar ( child loss) . If u don’t mind , I’d like to private message you and get some questions answered . I don’t want to use this forum since my questions are specifically catered to loss , pregnancy etc. If you don’t want to share ur email id , that’s perfectly fine too . I completely understand.

  348. Doreen Says:

    On the topic of genetics. I too think there might be a genetic propensity within a family to react to stress in familiar ways – maybe in one family folks may get migraine, in another ulcers, with us anxiety. But that is as far as it goes and the rest is up to us.

  349. Geraldine Says:

    Thanks so much Bryan for your reply. I’m doing so well, off medication and experiencing months at a time of peace, but just having a small setback. Getting easier and easier to deal with just have my moments !

  350. Jamie Says:

    Thanks Bryan, Sally and Julie.

    I suppose the key thing is, even is there is anxiety in our family, it does not mean we cannot change our response to it.

  351. Sally Says:

    Totally agree Doreen

  352. Alz Says:

    Agree on the genetic propensity bit- my mom used to get panic attacks from a v young age . Moreover my uncle ( paternal) has schizophrenia .However, my own husband’s brother used to have anxiety and has no family history of it . I think it’s a bit of both nature plus nurture.

  353. Bryan Says:


    I’m well into recovery and even I still get the breathing thing occasionally.
    My wife has zero anxiety and she gets dizziness when she’s stressed.
    These are all simply the result of stress… in our case often stress produced from extended worry.

    Keep up the good work.

  354. Geraldine Says:

    Thanks Bryan, taken a while but have had major breakthroughs the last 2 years all thanks to Paul and the support group on here such as yourself. Very grateful

  355. Doreen Says:

    I am not wishing to get into a political debate and know that some people may not be experiencing anxiety about the current situations that are swamping the news. I am only giving this account to support the conversation about how some people are more prone to respond with anxiety to triggers than others. I am aware that in the past I would have been overwhelmed with fear and found it hard to function whilst my husband would be able to acknowledge concern but be able to get on ‘as normal’. The fear has been there but I have been able to accept it and carry on functioning as normal, read the papers and engage in discussions with others. This is because I have come to understand that ‘this is me and how I am’ and not feed fear with more fear about feeling scared.

  356. Joey Says:

    Hi Bryan,

    Doesn’t the Anxiety Centre recommend searching yourself to find “the root cause” of your anxiety? I know for myself that I’ve searched for that cause endlessly and haven’t found one yet. Lol. I finally decided to give up the hunt.

  357. Joey Says:

    Ooops never mind. I was just reading over Jim Folk’s site and it doesn’t look like he meant what I initially thought he did.

  358. Bryan Says:


    For others clarification – I believe “core fears” are things they do try to identify.
    But ultimately it’s about what they call containment and underreaction. They do have a slightly different approach but end up in the same place as Paul in many ways. I only brought it up because a few personality types and anxiety types may benefit. Many can just follow Paul’s advice and find their way through on their own.

  359. Joey Says:

    Thanks Bryan,

    For me it’s just a stong feeling that “something is wrong”–that if only I can put “this” right in my head, or resolve “this” issue, all will be well, but everything will fall apart and i will somehow be overwhelmed by anxiety if I dont. I don’t think there is one core issue with me if by that it’s mwant just one type of fear. I suppose one might say my core fear is a fear of not being able to cope with worst case scenarios I build up…but the content of those scenarios that can vary weekly, daily, or hourly. Lol. When I was trying to hunt out and pin down my core fear, I would spin things around in my head for hours on end. No sooner did I think I had it pinned down then I’d find that wasn’t bothering me so much anymore, and I was on to something else… Anyway, isn’t searching for the solution like that contain to pauls entire approach? How can one begin to recover when he is still searching for something like that?

  360. Ashley Says:

    Still so many people searching for “the root” “the cause” and it’s painful to read. I’ve only checked this out to see if paul had written a new post yet, I’ll always read them. Anyhow people to put everything into the easiest explanation for you. Whatever comes up, whatever you think/feel….just remember it’s anxiety and let it out! Now I can already sence your next Q… “what if it’s not”… well remember that Q is anxiey and move on, probably to the next Qs anxiety throws you. Whatever it is, it’s anxiety and you have to let it all come out. I promise you that once you trust that, things will get easier, eventually. Keep your heads up, or your crown slips.

  361. Bryan Says:


    It’s not about constantly searching. It’s about knowing what you are doing to KEEP yourself in the state you are in. In other words let’s say your core fear is that you fear not being in control, which it sounds it may be… if you continue to engage in safety activities, talk, thought processes… you’re going to continue to have the same stressor no matter how much you accept your symptoms.

    Think of it this way, if you only slept for an hour each time you would be very tired. It wouldn’t matter if you excepted that tiredness, if you continue to only sleep for one hour a night you would remain very tired. You may not be afraid of it but you would still be feeling the impacts of a lack of sleep, or in this analogy the impacts of stress.

    This is why I say not everyone needs to know what they are doing to keep themselves ill. Some people are just experiencing a little life stress arms freaked out when they felt symptoms. Others engage in repeated behaviors to keep their body in a state of stress.

    And understand – THIS IS NOT SEARCHING FOR A ROOT OR DIGGING THROGH CHIODHOOD NONSENSE. This is a simply the act of understanding what one may be doing to themselves because many stuck in years of loops are beyond just saying “oh ok I’ll ignore the symptoms.”


    Stress + CNS = symptoms.
    Stress = life issues happening to us or behaviors we engage in causing the body to react with stress chemistry.
    Reaction + stress = stress disorder.

    (If you’re reading this board you have probably suffered from stress disorder)

    This isn’t rocket science. And it’s not antithetical to Paul’s teaching. I’m simply explaining what they offer and that IN SOME CASES it is helpful for people who engage in repeated anxiety behaviors without enough information.

    Their info along with Paul’s acceptance guidance helped me get my life back.
    Paul (and AC) have helped scores of people recover.

  362. Bryan Says:

    Good examples can be seen right here on this board.

    There are people who repeatedly post their symptoms almost daily. They’ll use medical jargon or vividly explain in horrifying detail their worst symptoms and fears related to this using a myriad if adjectives which of course upsets them… and many reading who may be in vulnerable states.

    People tell them this is the wrong approach and to “just accept.”
    But… they continue doing it every for weeks, months, years.

    Why? Because they don’t truly know that underneath all of their daily protesting there is probably one or two single real fears they have and these are likely behavioral issues they’ve had in some ways their whole lives.
    Because et lack understanding of what they are doing to themselves and why… Saying “oh just stop it” isn’t always enough.

    If you need proof of what I’m saying, look at this or any other anxiety board. People know they need to accept. But many cant and some need additional help getting there.

    It’s that simple.

  363. Joey Says:

    Bryan, thanks for the clarification.
    I get it, and it seems my root fear is that if I stop trying to figure things out/ruminating, something overwhelming will happen to me that I won’t be able to cope with, or maybe this will be me forever. Or maybe tgere is something deep rooted that is unknowingky wrong with me that I need to fix. How would you suggest I deal with that then?

  364. Joey Says:

    Actually, I suppose my core fear would be uncertainty, and ruminating would probably be my compulsion when trying to be certain about something that makes me anxious.

  365. Bryan Says:

    Hi Joey,

    Well… I’m definitely not a therapist, but what you describe does sound like the “fear of losing control” core fear.

    A few common ones…
    -Fear of losing control
    -Fear of being alone
    -Fear of long term pain and or/suffering

    There are a few more, but mostly they look like that… some people have a little of each. But for most of us, it boils down to one of them most specifically. Mine was (is at times) the long term pain/suffering question.

    For me, I had to start approaching my day with acceptance of course… but with a knowledge of when I didn’t, why wasn’t I? It’s easy to miss little things we do in our day that are based out of this core fear.

    For me, I would do ritualistic things involving heath, etc. So, I had to start removing these things one by one as I identified them in my day. So, it was a systematic undoing of behaviors that had been contributing to this larger fear, and behaviors that were supporting an anxiety habit.

    Of course, the larger concept guiding this whole thing WAS indeed the letting go Paul talked about. But for me at least, it wasn’t just a blind, blanket “ah just forget about it” type of thing. I needed to work on my daily habits and start learning to live outwardly by removing behaviors that were causing me to live inwardly.

    So, it may behoove you to chat with someone in a bit more detail about how to let go of this notion that you have to fix everything constantly or you’ll be in danger.
    Because even if you accept your panic attack or headache (etc) … seems to me if you live your life constantly trying to force away every possible negative issue or discomfort, it creates a high state of stress on your CNS.

    Just something to think about and again, doesn’t have to be at odds at all with a larger purpose of accepting and moving on with life. Of course, those are the goals regardless.

  366. Joey Says:

    Thanks man,

    I’m pretty sure I know what to do, which is tolerate uncertainty and anxiety-guilt feelings. I just struggle doing that as long as I think there’s the slightest chance that I’m not making the right choice or doing something wrong, cause that’s when I fear that if I don’t know forsure I’ll be overwhelmed or won’t be able to cope. I suppose I just have to take the risk and not do the mental rumination no matter how anxious it makes me feel for as long as it takes, and just let it all happen.

  367. Ashley Says:

    Joey I was just like you, always in doubt and wondering if I was doing this right. It was only when I realised that those fears were also anxiety that this while thing got easier, how can you recover if you’re still worried you’re doing this wrong? You’re not doing this wrong if you understand that all these fears are anxiety and let them go. Yes maybe it’s still a worry deep down, we would all like to know for definite that we are doing this “right”, but searching is a compulsion that anxiety feeds off of, as long as you’re giving anxiety fear it will live. So go about you’re day with “maybe I’m not doing this right” It’s just anxiety having a release.

  368. Joey Says:

    Thanks Ashley. I struggle with knowing whether certain fears are just anxiety needing an outlet or if they’re real fears that need to be addressed before I can recover. Thats a thought I’m learning to just treat as an anxiety thought too. I have noticed that on certain days when I’m feeling really anxious and have a slight panic attack (I never get big ones anymore) the thoughts that were bothering me seem ridiculous or blown way out of proportion after the attack has ended. That has actually helped to reinforce that it’s all just anxiety.

  369. Ashley Says:

    Joey, this was a “problem” I also had not too long ago, not knowing wether it’s a “real fear” or anxiety. If you’re in any doubt wether its real or not, then it is anxiety…because if it wasn’t anxiety, you wouldn’t even be wondering wether or not it is, does that make sence?? If you want to give me an example of a fear you have I would be happy to explain futher.

  370. Ashley Says:

    Also you’re doing the right thing by treating that initial doubt as anxiety, well done! You’re getting it!!

  371. Geraldine Says:

    Hi guys, I seem to be doing well with repetitive thoughts and the anxiety thoughts, spotting then, managing them. This airhunger I am feeling is really stressing me out though. It’s come after a period of 6 months basically anxiety free in terms of my generalised anxiety or obsessive thoughts. I can now deal with the thoughts. Even during my hardest times of anxiety my breathing never bothered me. Though in the past I’ve noticed bouts of deep breathing randomly it never bothered me , but this time it lasted longer than usual and threw me into a spin. It doesn’t wake me at this stage, and when I’m very focussed on something or drinking a bit or in social situations ie distracted I don’t notice it. But then in breaks for this I’m hyper aware and needing to constantly take deep breaths. Trying to breathe through my belly or nose makes it worse long term because it’s “trying to fix” and makes me think about it more. do I just let this stay as long as it needs ? Could it be a health thing or something I see my gp about ? Scared of it lasting for a long time now as it’s rather persistent but I can tell I have underlying anxiety about it , do I treat it like other physical symptoms ?? I am noticing it throughout my days!!! Now been 3 weeks most days I feel t

  372. Joey Says:

    ThanKS Ashley,

    About a year ago when I was really struggling with “ROCD” I sent a text msg to an ex of mine that I shouldn’t have sent, and said some things I shouldn’t have said, but it went no further than that and i haven’t contacted her since. I really can’t remember what impelled me to do it other than I was going through a rough patch at the time that was filled with lots of doubt. I never told my current partner about it and then one day a few weeks ago during an anxious moment it just “popped” into mY head that this might be something to consider confessing. Then I started to dwell on it and ruminate about it until feelings of strong guilt came over me and I felt a stron “urge” to confess snd it scared me. Things have been going really well for us and she’s very sweet and sensitive. I don’t know if bringing up a text from a year ago is worth hurting her for, espeacially if it would only cause harm and nothing good would come of it (except temporarily relieve my guilt-feelings, which I hslf suspect are largely anxiety based anyway in their intensity). Plus the urge to confess trivial things has been an anxiety issue with me before, so when it comes to real events Im confused about what to do. In my cslm moments I can honestly say that the whole thing is blown out of proportion and to move on…but then my anxiety likes to remind me of how horrible I am not to continue feeling horrible and guilty about it. Lol. Anyway, that’s my confusion. Thanks for your help! :)

  373. Ashley Says:

    Ashley I also had ROCD, on a night out I wouldn’t drink but still would worry I had cheated, and I would confess even the littlest thing to my then b.f, it is anxiety, ano I promise you that confessing is the wrong thing to do here at this given moment. Treat it as anxiety, because right now you are not thinking straight, even you said that in your calm times its blown out of proportion. Wait untill you are recovered, be that weeks months years, when the anxiety dies down you will think more clearly and if you feel it should be confessed then you can on a clear mind. Confussing now you just hinder your recovery hugely.

  374. Ashley Says:


  375. Nicole Says:

    Quick question- I seem to be lost in the sense that I’m getting two different theories on anxiety. I fully believe in Paul’s method, but I also hear that if you listen to your anxiety, it’s trying to tell you something about your life that isn’t right. I’m going to therapy and analyzing everything with a therapist and digging up old wounds that needed healing. Could this be making me worse? Should I just completely follow Paul’s teachings and not worry about changing every aspect of my life in order to rid this beast?

  376. Bryan Says:


    You have not come to terms with what’s happening in your body due to anxiety.

    This is why I was saying earlier that it’s fine to just tell people “just accept and forget about it” but if you haven’t come to terms with anxiety symptoms and recognize them as ultimately harmless, then you’ll forever be asking these questions.

    Your mind can’t accept something it still believes may actually be a threat to your life. It’s programmed to protect you.

    So, we need to do the work…. whatever that may be to officially take the position that these are just symptoms of stress.

    If you want to go to the GP go ahead. Early in the process it can be helpful to have a doctor tell you you are ok. (You are ok of course – no real medical condition only comes on when you worry about it.) But ultimately it has to come back to us making a decision to be done with the merry go round. We have to truly be done with it before we can move onto the acceptance stage.

  377. Suzy Says:

    Hi everyone. Could someone help me conceptualize the idea of not fighting the anxiety? I understand the idea of allowing it, I think. But these anxious feelings are, as I understand it, very primitive, and very convincing. So if a panicky feeling urges you to run, or to freeze, then by not obeying it, aren’t you in effect fighting it? In fact, it seems like a very strong fight is required to not run out of a restaurant, etc., regardless of what your “lizard brain” tells you to do. To me, that is the tricky thing with this approach, because it seems we actually are required to fight quite hard at times. Thanks.

  378. Nolan Says:

    I wouldn’t get too hung up on the new ways anxiety can start to torment you…. just treat it all the same.

    My main issue was sleep. When the anxiety first surfaced in a meaningful manner (meaningful in the sense that, while I was finding myself worked up a bit prior to the sleep issue it all still seemed manageable… in other words: I hadn’t taken on a life of its own yet) my sleep was impacted severely.

    In a weeks time I was starting to think I was broken beyond repair and that thought terrified me.
    Now the anxiety surfaced in other areas too: racing heart, depersonalization, social awkwardness, intrusive thoughts that were either incredibly violent in nature or maddening with repetition… but to be honest, those issues didn’t bother me like the sleep issue did.
    The sleep issue gave me fits of intense rage and intense fear. But I was CONSTANTLY thinking about sleep: running scenarios through in my head, googling every possible combination of terms to find people that have 1) been through what I was going through and 2) successfully moved waaaaaaaay beyond it.
    For many months I can say without exaggeration that sleep was always on my mind. And these thoughts were always wrought with terror, despair, hopelessness.

    Those other issues popped up from time to time, but they just didn’t capture my attention like sleep did. So, because of that they resolved themselves fairly quickly. I wasn’t constantly talking about those issues to others, willfully thinking about them, or googling them.

    So then I find Paul’s book (or was suggested to me by a good friend) and I learn what’s going on in my mind and body. It was a bumpy journey but it was slowly helping me out of the pit of despair.

    Now as my sleep issues were getting better (good stretches, bad blips) occasionally the oddest thing would happen: the anxiety would start latching on to other issues…. but with full force. There were 3 other issues that bubbled up while I was going on with my life and those were issues with 1) breathing, 2) blinking (I kid you not), and 3) swallowing.

    One day I was noticing that I was consciously breathing. Then the fear gripped me “what if I will always have to consciously breathe?! that will disrupt my sleep! I’ll fall back into the pit!” And the intensity of this new fear and the impact it would have on my old issue spiked everything in me. But, shortly after that I had the thought, “If my mind wants to consciously be aware of my breathing, for whatever reason… then I’m not going to fight that. I’m not going to make it any bigger than the issue currently is and I’m moving back on with my life.”

    Blinking and swallowing followed after that and I treated them all the same. They came with the same spike in fear, the same profound concern that this will put me back at the beginning and the belief that “maybe I could overcome 1 issue… but not 2, and certainly not 4 all at the same time.”.

    But it was a bluff of anxiety. It found alittle stronghold for a moment… impressed me…. had me beginning anew the talking with others, the google searches. But it’s like Doreen said: “Put it all under the same umbrella of anxiety and treat it the same way.”

  379. Geraldine Says:

    Nolan your story is so similar to mine. This whole thing began about sleep with me too. I’ve also learned to detach from the sleep thoughts and fear and it’s caught on to other thoughts and feelings (including the breathing one at the moment) in other ways, not as intensely though which shows lots of progress. Already today acceptance has come to me more naturally, I feel into the trick a bit the last few weeks… it’s all learning … I so relate to exactly what you are saying.

    Bryan you are right I’m not totally there and sorry for pestering the forum on this one. Today I realise how much progress I’ve made with letting everything be. I realised the anxiety was magnifying the thoughts of how I should and shouldn’t breathe .. it was just the anxiety telling me it was important. My body knows how to breathe!!!!

    My thoughts about the GP were also anxiety filled going in constant loops, should I shouldn’t I … I recognise this quicker now which is great

    Thanks everyone !!! Love you all :)

  380. Ali Says:

    Hi Everyone!!

    I have recently found this blog and I have to say it is amazing!!

    I have had social anxiety from about the age of 12 which has progressively got worse over the years rather than better. However, last March I experienced my first full on panic attack and immediately went into full on high general anxiety. I was lucky in that I learned quickly to go towards that panic and I don’t experience them that much and if I do, they dissipate pretty quickly. However, the high general anxiety is very difficult to move through and I have had almost every symptom in the book. I have been using Claire Weekes method of acceptance which is very similar to Pauls advice which is just to let it be and move on with life no matter how bad you feel.
    I can say that the first six months were horrendous and then I started to feel a slight breakthrough. I still experience anxiety every day but I now sleep well and eat well plus I have completed many challenges which seemed impossible in the summer.
    I still have rough days/weeks where the anxiety thickens again and today is one of them, hence, the looking at this website – even though I know that relief is not to be found here but in moving on with my day and carrying these feelings with me.
    I have to commend Nolan on his wonderful attitude, compassion and advice – when people are in the thick of this anxiety we need someone to tell us that peace is possible and will come if you are persistent in allowing all of that energy to come and go as it wants. Much courage is required to enter all those situations that cause higher terror but I can tell you that eventually the terror does start to dissipate until you are just uncomfortable and then suddenly you find that you are peaceful. There was a time I couldn’t sleep either with the terror I would feel in my bed or waking with night panic. Now, I sleep like a baby and I love going to bed!!!
    Now, I still have a long journey ahead of me but slowly but surely I am getting there even if there are times I feel I am back at the beginning. I know that I am not because I am wiser now and I know that while I am deeply uncomfortable, it will lessen again!!
    Much love you all on this journey and I can’t wait for the day when I will feel truly thankful that I went through this journey and came out the other side a much stronger, appreciative, compassionate person.

  381. Nolan Says:

    Hi Geraldine,
    It’s always nice to meet someone who’s struggled with the sleep primarily.
    It’s kind of funny…. when it first started I would look at every single person and in watching their actions I would try to determine if they ever struggled with sleep issues…. if they were able to overcome them. Sometimes I would actually go up to complete strangers and start conversations with them about the topic. Never once did anyone have a clue what I was talking about and they were understandably a suspicious of me.
    Crazy the things that we’ll do. The ways that anxiety will change everything about us (however long or brief…. “long” for most of us).

    I’ve said this before: I wouldn’t change any of it if I could do it over again. As dark and full of despair as those moments were…. I can’t help but to view the whole thing as a positive thing. It’s crazy, if someone were to say this to me at the time I would have laughed at them (or thought they were lying)…. but those moments I look back on very fondly.

  382. Bryan Says:

    Geraldine – you’re on the right path. Keep it up.

  383. Joey Says:

    Thank you Ashley!

  384. Louise Says:

    Hi iv had anxiety since July last year and it all happened really when I went to my doctors as I felt a little low, the doctor prescribed me antidepressants (a verry low dose). I only took them for 3 days and I ended up having what I now know is a anxiety attack and since then iv had it. I was also ttaking antibiotics at the time and I now hav a fear of medication,going out drinking socially basically my anxiety is my life. I have pauls book and im in the process of reading it but what I want to know is if anyone anxiety started this way as most peoples stories all start with a build up of stress.i would be grateful for any feed back.

  385. Cheryl Says:

    Firstly I don’t very often blog but feel almost desperate to talk to someone who has anxiety as they will perhaps help me through this blip .
    I have suffered from anxiety (luckily off and on ) for 20 yrs , it’s only through Paul and Claire weekes that any progress was made . I’ve had a particular destressing experience today and wondered if anyone could just reassure me it’s part of the anxiety lie
    Firstly I’m going through a horrible time, my husband left , I’m in the process of selling the family home and my work is manic , my anxiety levels have been increasing every day but each time , I let it be and my horrible thoughts do subside
    I’ve had a particular fear that always comes up , especially if I’m stressed but today I felt like it actually came true
    I’ve always had a fear of hearing things and today whilst I was showing someone round , I thought I heard something in my ear . I work in an office so it’s possible I’m so hypersensitive I picked this up from a phone call from next door . I was Terrified but had to keep this inside not being able to talk to anyone as they would think I was mad . Please can someone reassure me it’s anxiety playing tricks it’s because I fear it I’m listening all the time
    ( btw when I’m OK and happy I’ve never thought about strange that) it’s the only thing left now that actually fear , and if someone said, yes had that , it’s. Normal I will feel so much better and continue my recovery

  386. Felicia Says:

    Guys I can’t take it anymore. I really need someones email or something or whoever has gone through existential thoughts because every night I’m crying to my mom and I don’t know what to do anymore. I need peace, even for a minute I absolutely need it. I don’t know what happened I was doing AMAZING and the past month my recovery has come to a HAULT. I feel like I honestly am moving from “it’s just anxiety” to being actually upset that everyone is in lala land not worry about the WORLD AROUND THEM. I don’t understand human life like how can you just go about your day and just be happy? Don’t humans need more? Like I can’t picture just being satisfied with life like I’m getting horrified and I really need someone to talk to because trying to accept them isn’t working because I don’t feel like I understand what letting go does. Every time I try there’s thoughts in my head like “YOU CAN’T JUST PRETEND YOU DON’T CARE ANYMORE YOU FIGURED IT ALL OUT AND IT’S GOING TO GET WORSE.”

    Will I not care about the thoughts because even though they matter so much I just eventually force myself to “believe” in not caring so I don’t go crazy? Like I can’t explain how hyper aware of the universe I am and I won’t let go because I feel like I WANT to know and NEED to. I look back to my calm moments and think I was calm because I didn’t have these thoughts! I feel like mmy thoughts are getting worse and worse if I don’t stop these thoughts I’ll get into a horrific depression.

    Like I feel like I’m missing something like I’m really not getting what normality is and how anyone can handle it. Don’t they need more? Is everyone asleep? Like it is a HUGE question like I can’t let go! The idea is that getting over anxiety is just making yourself more calm until you don’t care about it anymore makes me mad! I don’t just want to “just eventually stop caring about it” I want to get realizations of WHY I shouldn’t care! Everytime I’m like huh maybe this is all in my head… it IMMEDIATELY reminds me of this horror again.

    I’m so so so sorry for probably making no sense but I’ve gone a couple weeks trying to get a hold of myself and let the thoughts be there but I feel like the thoughts are getting wayyyyyy too real and I want some realizations and I never get any! I feel like if there is a recovery I will still worry about this!

    I think I just need insight of a thought like someone who has recovered their take on it. I feel like “just getting used to the thought and not caring” is so unstable. What if in the future I start caring again???? Like what realizations did people come up with when they healed from this because I’m really starting to get so obsessed that i feel like im out of my body looking at everything from an alien view. I used to get this randomly too when I was little which scares me even more but just for a moment. Does life like become more sensible like what is it like because I can’t remember anymore. I can’t live like this anymore I need serious help and guidance. Sorry for sound spastic but I am and so desperate. I have sooooo many more things to say and so much more thinking and questions is this really just a symptom of DP??? How could it be???? This is horrific!!

  387. Lavendar Says:

    Hi Felicia,

    Read your post and like to share that I also had horrid existential thoughts before which simply freaked me out. But now looking back, I know that they are just imagination from a very tired, scared and over-active mind. I recalled that when I was in that state, it truly paralyzed me. I hid myself under my blanket, trembling. Finally forced myself to move and do little normal things like brush my teeth and wash up. What helped at that time was to focus, no matter how difficult it was, just focus. For me, I focus on my faith (religion). It isn’t a miracle pill of cos, but I gradually gained enough strength to slowly move on thru the day. And nothing bad happened.

    Those thots that you typed out : so similar to what I went thru and I believe all who had experience intense anxiety.

    So, it is ok. Just tell yourself, it is ok to have those thots (for now). It is perfectly ok. Becos they will pass. Not now, not today, maybe not tomorrow, but trust in yourself, they WILL pass eventually. Just hold on. It is a tough ride but as long as you allow yourself to just slow down (just a little bit), it will be ok. Can do something simple, like make a cup of hot chamomile tea… sip it slowly. Nothing worse will happen.

  388. Nolan Says:

    hi Felicia,

    I know exactly what you’re talking about.
    You mention: “I look back to my calm moments and think I was calm because I didn’t have these thoughts!”…

    I’ve been there. It’s the corrosive doubt/despair that chews through any moment of peace you felt. Making you think that whatever peace you felt in the past was simply an illusion. But, more than that… a delusion. You were deluded when you felt that peace, but now that you “know” the truth of the matter you’ll never be able to slip into that peace again because you’ll never be able to delude yourself.

    It’s a bluff, Felicia. It’s not true.
    You’re in the throes of a very rough setback at the moment. You’re in what I”ve called “the horrid logic of anxiety/depression”. Any attempt you make to assuage your mind that “it’s okay, I know this will pass” is crushed under the burden of this ‘new wisdom’ you now have. This ‘new wisdom’ that will forever snuff out any flicker of peace or calmness in your life.
    Any attempt you make (at this moment) to mentally work your way through the maze of depression and anxiety will simply be met by higher walls, more impossible to surmount. Your despair will increase as you start to think “this is it. I’m broke for good”.

    It’s a bluff. It’s a very convincing bluff. And, the only way to win this game, Felicia, is to not play it. The thoughts, at the moment, have a life of their own. They’re terrifying you and breaking you down. Let them be there…. move on with the other things that once made up your life.

    It is not your job at the moment to convince those thoughts otherwise, because you’ll lose. That horrid logic of anxiety/depression will always be 5 steps ahead of you. But, the storm will pass.

    When that storm passes you’ll feel a freedom and clarity of mind again. And it will come not because you fought those defeating thoughts back. The peace and clarity will come because you moved on with your life, made your life bigger than the anxiety/depression (and every terrible thought that was entailed) when the storm was at its worst.

    I’m more than happy to talk with you outside of this forum.
    my email is: tim 411 at Hotmail dot com.

    (you’ll have to fix the formatting…. no spaces and not “at” and “dot”).

    This storm will pass. You don’t believe this now… and I understand. But the storm will pass and you’ll see it for what it actually was.

  389. Nolan Says:

    Hi Cheryl,

    What you’ve experienced is something pretty common to all of us who’ve suffered with anxiety. For you it’s a fear of hearing things where the source of the sounds isn’t ‘out there’ but ‘in here’ (in your mind). Some little proof, that if it happened, would signal to you something along the lines of a crumbling mental state. Something that you might interpret as a portent of much worse and more malignant things to come.

    You heard something which, for you, confirms an irrational fear you have of hearing something. I’m not making light of your experience at all.

    The sad reality is that all of us are going to go through a breakdown of physical and mental wellbeing at some point. But even with that fact there are still two ways one can respond: 1) accept it…. acknowledge that it’s not ideal…. but move back on with your life; or, 2) brood over it and let that thought and all of the negative possibilities it entails determine all your other thoughts and behaviors.

    You heard a noise and that noise bothered you immediately. That’s understandable. Now going forward what do you plan on doing? Continue to focus on it and trying to work it all out mentally…. or are you going to live your life regardless of that fear while not giving it any more attention than what it currently is taking?

  390. Jamie Says:

    It has been an eventful few weeks for me.

    A couple of weeks ago, I finally got through written confirmation that I am divorced. After a year of worrying how much money it would all cost me, what my ex was going to state as the reason for divorcing (my anxiety I kept thinking) and what was going to happen, it ended with me getting a one paragraph letter confirming I am divorced. I thought I would feel a whole lot worse when it had finished, but I just felt a sense of relief that I was free from her (after nearly 11 years together, she is not the person for me. No support, understanding, interest etc in my difficulties).

    This weekend just gone, I ended a relationship I have been in for 11 months. We had split up twice before and got back together but this was one drama too many. I was getting incredibly stressed by the constant talking, texting, analysing and finger pointing. There had been various problems from day 1 that went away and came to the surface every few months but it happened one too many times, this time.

    I am slowly ‘recovering’ I believe and being with someone like that will not help me. I have to protect myself and my health. Like with the divorce, I thought I would be a lot worse about this but I have not found it as hard as I thought. Perhaps it is easier as I made the decision.

    Over the last few months, I am still seeing signs of improvement. I come on this site a bit less for a start. Social events have not caused me as much anxiety and work has become a little easier. Sure, I have my moments when anxiety creeps in (at work is a prime example when I have a deadline to meet or can’t think straight, when dealing with my ex wife or looking after my daughter) but although the anxiety is still there, it disappears a lot quicker.

    The analogy I have in my mind is I have lots of levers inside my head and they have all been in the “on” position for years and years for worrying, analysing, solving etc etc. I have finally made a decision to slowly pull them all down to the “off” position and not to do any of it. I just have to give my mind a rest !

    Anyway, thanks so much to Paul, Doreen, Bryan and Nolan for helping us all on this blog. Your help is invaluable. Keep going everyone.

  391. Cheryl Says:

    Thanks Nolan , I do take in what you all say , and I know in my hearts of hearts I need to let everything be here , I woke up feeling pretty scared again but I remember someone saying , let recovery come to you , and I think that no matter what I’m experiencing ( as scary as it is )it IS just anxiety and it needs to burn out
    I’m not feeling brill but I’m up and dressed and I’m going to try to go through today and imnot going to try and feel better , in fact I’m saying come as much as you like as it’s going to make my recovery quicker
    It is hard , god it’s horrible but we’ve all been through , hence why I sometimes come on here as I do not know anyone that’s has anxiety and understands what I’m going through
    Thanks for your support

  392. Felicia Says:

    Oh man. Thank you so much Nolan.

    I just noticed for the past couple weeks I haven’t been letting these types of thoughts be there, I have been really shoving them back in my mind and trying to distract myself while very much believing them.

    When that anxiety pedal gets gas and that engine starts going it is veryyy hard to make it stop. I just needed someone to grab me by the shoulders and shake me and calm me down and remind me that it’s all crap. Thank you for that, I had some clarity this morning *phew*

    Thank you for your email! I won’t pester you I promise, I’m gonna suck it up and truly try and let these thoughts be there without following them through and see how things go the next couple weeks.

    I’m glad I just got a job at this lingerie shop, I really enjoy it and it helps my mind focus else where and on other things, probably the best thing for me right now so my mind can have more time to just heal itself :)

    God Bless everyone, hope everyone is doing well and Happy V Day <3

  393. Andy J Says:

    Its tough this anxiety stuff isnt it.

    I think I really struggle with getting stuck in the same habits. Feeling low, feeling like this will be me forever, being unable to lift my mood, regardless of what I’m doing, as I know it will come back.

    I’ve said it before, but I cant see how people can just not care with how they are feeling. If that were the case, what would be the difference between those who genuinely are wallowing in self pity and those who are just allowing the thoughts?

    My intrusive thoughts and feelings continue. No matter how much I allow them to be there, they do not diminish. It always feels ‘false’. How can I just allow those thoughts and feelings to be there if they are so horrific and cause so much distress? Shouldn’t reassurance and self comfort be a way of overcoming them?

    Paul, I know you said you’d do a blog on Intrusive Thoughts, but I appreciate you are busy.

    Its just so frustrating/annoying/upsetting that this stuff continues to blight my life. Regardless of having moments without anxiety, the doubts and fears still remain regarding them and its a question of when rather than if they come back.

    Its really tough going, and I really do feel like I never will regain my normal self.

  394. Cheryl Says:

    I understand what your going through , I’ve just been signed off sick because of how Ill I’m feeling , I have some awful thoughts one that’s stuck around for years .
    All day I’ve had the thought , had the sting, had the rush of adrenaline and it is difficult to not care when you are so bloody terrified. It like seeing a ghost and thinking .. oh that’s ok it’s a ghost , it’s virtually impossible that’s why there are over prob 10,000 messages all saying the same thing .
    What I can advise you though , is to surrender to them by that I mean feel rock bottom, like ” do what you want I’m past caring ” I’ve been resisting my thoughts all day and only now 8 hrs later do I actually feel the calm coming because I don’t care anymore . I def do the floating thing , it’s hard for my body to react to the adrenaline when I’m so relaxed , Read Claire weekes method too
    Keep going we’re all here for each other

  395. Ves Says:

    Steve B: “Couple of things I can’t get my head around. The main one, actually like Paul, is that they go through this and have no fear of it returning. That doesn’t make much sense to me.”

    Hi Steve B,

    It is doesn’t because you still fear that your mind could habitually react to some event, some thought, memory or situation that evokes fear. The time gap between thoughts and your mind reacting is almost instantaneous in anxiety and that is why you feel that you are vulnerable. You have no control of stopping your reaction because everything happens in a flash.

    By even being partially aware we can stop the thinking mind going into overdrive speeding us down the road reacting. Awareness allows you enough time to disarm the fear by simply not feeding it, by recognising the thoughts for what they are, just thoughts, and only thoughts.

  396. Andy J Says:

    Hi Cheryl,

    Thanks for your reply.

    Its the whole issue of having this condition for such a long time and adopting different methods. I’ve tried mindfulness, but it always feels like it is an effort to stop the anxiety rather than anything else. I’ve heard of the term floating, but it just confuses me more than anything.

    I think the risk is when people are past caring that depression sets in and people give up hope. For me, that is crushing. I can’t willfully accept that my life is finished and that I am going to be this miserable for ever. Hats off to whoever can, but for me its not the way.

    I read alot of examples of people on here who suffer from anxiety, and it seems to be very specific, i.e. worried about their children, worried about relationships. My anxiety has changed so much. It has gone from health anxiety to worrying generally, to having OCD. I can say OCD because I have been diagnosed with it. Unfortunately, because it is the ‘doubting disease’, I question whether I have OCD at all and whether this is just the character I am. The constantness of this and the attempt to live life, feels like I am simply avoiding the ‘what if’ issues. Rather than disappearing from my mind, they repeat themselves. If I try and use evidence to disprove them, they come back stronger with a different arguement, if I just leave them they return because they are unanswered. All of this added up, in addition to normal day to day worries has severely restricted my life. Restricted it to the point where I genuinely can not be happy. I can not be happy because every moment is tainted with the fear and expectancy of the anxiety and obsessions returning at some point. The fear of getting sucked in to the downward spiral once more and how long it will last this time.

    I’d love to be positive, but sadly I cant. I have to be realistic with myself and know that this is probably going to be me forever. I simply dont have the evidence or fight to think anything different.

    Thanks again,

  397. Cheryl Says:

    The strange thing is that I don’t feel depressed , I have had bouts of it , which is to be expected but when I give in , I dont!
    It’s hard to explain but it still seems like your searching for answers , just let go
    Trust me your not original ( don’t mean that in a bad way) all your feelings are what we’ve all experienced who is that particular thought coming up, what if this happens and That . I say now do what you want , bring the scariest ones you have I don’t care . Once the calmness comes , you start to gain confidence that this won’t last and things are starting to change .
    Surrender to it all and have faith , don’t reason don’t question surrender like a wave coming over you and stop trying to be happy there’s no such thing , peace is real i want that
    I’ve said before , let recovery come to you dont search for it

  398. Felicia Says:

    Andy I don’t know if this will help but think of what we are going through like this:

    You know when we are dreaming and in the dream you’re doing something you feel is so important and when you wake up you’re like “what the hell was I so worried about that doesn’t even make sense!”

    This is kinda what we’re going through and why the others now see it as silly.

    We are almost in a dreamlike state because we never give our mind a break and we ruminate and depress ourselves wayyyy too much. We are always in our head and don’t see the bigger picture.

    Whoever put us on this planet would not put us here just to question everything and make life a living hell hence why we were okay before. We got ourselves into this mess and we will get ourselves out.

    You were not like this before Andy and I promise you once you learn enough about anxiety and how the brain works it will help you even more.

    Btw, people who have debhiliating OCD rituals and all overcome it because OCD is anxiety to thoughts and that is it, our brains are neuroplastic meaning if we are depressed, have anxiety etc we can undo it. It’s learned behaviour. Your mood is being effected because youre choosing to react to your anxiety and you continue to teach your brain “having anxiety = depression” which it doesn’t have to. The better attitude you have towards your anxiety the better you’ll feel because at the end of the day it really is all fake.

    If you like I have a folder on my computer of screenshots of a few people who asks the same questions as you and people who recovered responses from this blog. I really think if you read and learn about how Anxiety works (on scientific sites and not on other depressing anxiety forums) and how you yourself are keeping yourself in this will really help. Have you read Claire Weekes?

  399. Andy J Says:

    Hi Cheryl and Felicia,

    Thankyou both for your responses.

    I think its because I have been so downtrodden by this whole thing that I already feel defeated. If I were a boxer, the towel would have been thrown in or if I were a dog, I would have long since been to the vets to be put down.

    I just live every day normally. I still get up in the morning and walk my dog, shower, dress, eat, go to work, go to the gym, socialise in the evenings, but it all is tainted by anxiety or by low mood. I am totally unable to enjoy things. I do things because its what I know I have to do and what I think I should be doing. My life is largely an act. No one knows that I have anxiety other than my Dr and therapist.

    I know it may sound silly, but I can’t not think about anxiety. Its always on my mind. Because it has had so much attention, it is now habit and a natural reaction to think these thoughts. As Paul has said, my resilience has been shattered and I have paid the thoughts so much attention, that they now seem real.

    Thanks again


  400. Mike Says:

    Nothing worked until I read Pauls book but even then there was a few things I did that sealed the deal and made me start recovering.

    1. Stay off anxiety forums. You’re highly suggestable and will find yourself with new issues you never had because some other suffer will drone on about it for days on end. Anxiety forums are not support forums they’re ghost stories in anxiety form. A bunch of people scaring the shit out of each other. I was no different.

    2. Don’t care whether you feel good or not. I started viewing good days as nothing special. You will have good and bad days with anxiety or not so just do what you have to do anyways. Just to get used to being in a bad way I didn’t even call into work with the flu or anything. Obviously you don’t have to take it that far but my mentality was I’m not letting ANYTHING stop me from doing things I need to do.

    3. Look for discomfort. I intentionally put myself in positions I didn’t like to quit babying myself. I spent so many years looking for comfort and it got me nowhere. I even took it as far as sleeping on the floor with no blanket and taking cold showers.

    The bottom line is I may never be “fully recovered” but 80% works for me and I could easily live like this the rest of my life but I’m still improving. I know some of what I listed seems like fighting but its the opposite its making myself deal with things without fighting.

  401. Cheryl Says:

    I don’t know if it will help you or not but I find that holding it all in, pretending to be someone I’m not , made it worse.
    My husband left me last year, he wasn’t that nicer person and never supported me, in fact he made me feel like a freak , I’m sure my condition was one of the reasons he left . I’m not sad anymore I’m glad because now all the people I have around me love me as I am and they are the only people I care about
    My friends know , my work know my family know I don’t have to pretend to be happy when I’m actually feel really bad which takes the pressure off trying to hide it .
    My mum also gives me that kick up the arse when I’m self pitying , she’ll say lots of people have conditions and they still live their lives
    I don’t mean tell strangers or everyone you work with , but perhaps open up a bit more with friends , as you’d be surprised how many people have had it
    You sound very sane and sensible, I don’t think it will be long until you click with this
    Good luck I’m taking some time off here as I think you need to once in a while

  402. Ibo Says:

    Hellow everyone,

    I have a question that needs to be clear out. Maybe very strange but here it is.
    When I suffer from anxiety last year I saw a documentary about people who have OCD etc, and after I saw that my mind told me , omg I have that to.
    My question is, Paul adviced not to react to your thougts.
    Ok, Im afraid if Im not stopping my thougts or switch it to another thougt, that I will devolep OCD, and If I let it in that soon ( you know it is like studying, if you repeat allot, you will learn it).
    All the things that Paul says in his books helped cause I came from a real dark place.
    Thanks to his books im more better now, he saved my life. Im just strugling now at this point.
    Thoughts about something very strange and irational, ok, let them shout and scream.
    But even something very strange, I mean will I devolep OCD or something else, that is why Im afraid for now.
    Thank you for Paul and everyone here on this forum.

  403. Sally Says:

    Hi Cheryl
    Love what your mum says to you and it’s so true

  404. Jamie Says:

    Does anybody look around at other people with successful careers, nice houses, nice cars and nice holidays and think that anxiety has really affected their ambition and confidence to have a good job and earn good money ?

    It really gets to me sometimes and I know if it was not for my anxiety disorder, I would have been able to do better jobs where I have been previously and now. Also, I would not have just drifted around middle of the road financial services jobs with no real drive to move onwards and upwards.

  405. Doreen Says:

    Jamie – you have no idea what might be going on in the lives of this people which is just and maybe even more challenging than anxiety.

    Those things you list don’t always make for a life of harmony and good mental health.

    And not everybody is driven to move onwards and upwards. Some people are very content with where they are – and it is contentment which at times I used to envy – not the outward trappings of success

  406. Beth Says:

    Jamie-I can SO relate to what you just posted! I’ve missed so many opportunities due to self-imposed fear. And, just now had the WORST panic attack I’ve had in probably a year. I honestly want to lash out at someone or something-all the time! Anyway, thanks for listening and thanks everyone for sharing. :)

  407. Nicole Says:

    Hi Paul and anyone else who could help. I have read the book and blogs and website and I really loved it. It resonated but im struggling with the how to accept and live with the symptoms. They feel so awful and my brain just doesn’t want to have them anymore and particularly I have stomach aches, nausea, and lack of appetite that are particularly hard to just accept along with the typical heart racing, detachment. I know that we aren’t supposed to do anything but im really struggling with this in practice. I keep telling myself these are just symptoms and its ok go about your life but its just not quite sinking in. I think I may be someone who isn’t wanting to experience my symptoms for one more second but I know I need to transition to acceptence.

  408. Sally Says:

    Doreen is absolutely right you look at people in the street and think that they are better off than you but think about it we really don’t know do we ? They could have cancer or some other devastating problem.As for success and money that doesn’t always bring happiness take Amy Winehouse for one Peace is the only thing that is important to me

  409. Geraldine Says:

    Nolan, your last post helped me immensely. Just wanted to thank you. Our stories are so similar – always great to meet someone who has had such similar experiences and can relate so closely. Anxiety patches into crazy things sometimes. I’m back on the right path :)

  410. Alz Says:

    Hey ! Quick question .. does cig smoking increase anxiety ? Views are mixed. Also, did anyone have the thought that they heard someone say something but that person said something else ? I felt that.. Again I know I shouldn’t be repeating symptoms and whatever but iv come here after a while . Has helped not continuously thinking abt anxiety and just goign with the flow … yes I’m not back to my old self and perhaps never will be but I’m living life – just flew and attended my brothers wedding despite so many apprehensions . I just need to let every new symptom not bother me ( have also figured that out ) but just need a bit of reassurance that I’m ok and it’s normal to have such symptoms ( one mentioned above ) during anxiety.
    I’ve def come a long way and I’m not at the point where I can start giving anxiety advice to people but I can say that visiting home after 4 months,I can surely see that iv become better from what I was before . It’s definitely a very slow process and there wil be many bumps along the way but I think one just gets used to it. I guess that’s what recovery means ? Go along with the tide till u reach a point where ev new symptom is also acceptable and doesn’t pull one off track …? Why new symptoms though ?

  411. Doreen Says:

    Alz – as Paul said some time back

    “There are some very wise people on here, people like Nolan who has recovered and now gives up his time to help others, do listen to what they say rather than look for constant reassurance for each and every symptom. I have been there and know how pointless and counter productive it is, once anxiety lessens then all symptoms fall away, it is not about trying to sort each and every symptom out, they are all part of the collective, trying to do so just keeps you on the hamster wheel. You need to look at cutting the root, not each and every branch”

  412. Simon Says:


    I like how you have put that. I too like most others having a hard time have constant thoughts that create anxious feelings, there is not a minute in the day that I feel I have got a rest from this condition, even though I recovered 5 years ago from my first experience of anxiety and depression and I never thought it would bite be on the bottom again.

    Yep it’s very tough, we all want to be the person we was before we had the condition and it’s very hard to reason with yourself when the most simplest thing like listening to music, watching TV, doing things that you would normally find pleasurable just fills me with all the anxiety feelings. I understand that it’s all nonsense at its just my sensitised nerves, but when in the moment its difficult to reason with.

    The constant watching myself…. ‘oh im feeling a little relaxed at the moment’, 2 mins later ‘ oh i’m getting anxious again… when will this calm down’…. ‘oh yeh – remember it’s just your sensitised nerves’…. then push myself to just try and carry on… from the minute I wake to going to bed! round and round!!

    Anyway – I went a bit of my original comment about what you put….

    “once anxiety lessens then all symptoms fall away, it is not about trying to sort each and every symptom out, they are all part of the collective, trying to do so just keeps you on the hamster wheel. You need to look at cutting the root, not each and every branch”

    This is so very true….. something I have to try to keep reminding myself about, all the sudden feelings of fear for stupid things like ‘my grandaughter 2year old is coming over for the afternoon’ makes me so anxious “WHY!!!!” – I love her to bit’s, I’ve always been a big kid myself and loved playing with my own kids. At the moment, because I do not find peace and pleasure in what I do, it’s difficult to ‘act as if’ – but I know I must do this.

    I know it will get easier, but how impatient am I :)

    Wishing you all a recovery experience that you’ll look back on and think “I can’t believe I used to think/be like that” – Even though we think we won’t get there.

  413. Doreen Says:

    Simon – to be fair they were Paul’s words not mine. I just cut and pasted as couldn’t put it any better.

    Re your granddaughters visit – I know that when I was caught up in anxiety, the more I wanted to feel ok cos something nice was happening, the more anxious I got.

    You understand that i know as you say “At the moment, because I do not find peace and pleasure in what I do, it’s difficult to ‘act as if’ – but I know I must do this’

    And the more you strive to get those feelings the more elusive they will be. So just be pleased you have a granddaughter to visit and the other good feelings will roll back in when they are ready.

  414. Simon Says:


    Thanks for the re-assuring words…. I’m trying really hard to just let it be, not spend all day on re-assurances, but it’s difficult as I am sure you understand.

    The thoughts of just doing things that I once took for granted fill me with dread and anticipation… such an awful feeling.

    Thanks again

  415. Anon Says:

    What has been working for me was to just pretend. I was having a very hard time like Simon. Did not really grasp accepting and letting it be. I found the Nothing Works material by someone named Chris to be very helpful to conceptualize all this. He writes that your lambic system is like an audience more or less. And that it watches your activities and reactions to feelings and thoughts to determine how alert and active it should be. I encourage you to read it. The key for me was the word pretend. He writes that the lambic system cannot distinguish whether you are pretending. So it’s ok to pretend that you don’t care. And to pretend you want to watch a film or go out with friends. If you are not actively doing anxiety things like reading and talking about it then the lambic system gets that message. That is why watching films even if you don’t feel like it works. It is not logical and will not make rational sense. If you can accept that and let go of the need to understand you will be on your way to improving. Pretending for me is very easy to understand and do. I find acceptance and allowing a bit harder to conceptualize.

  416. Rich Says:

    Hi All, Quick message to apologise to all those who have had posts held in moderation over the last few weeks. I’ve not been on the blog to approve them due to quite a busy period in my life.

    I’ve now approved all posts in the queue, both on this post thread and the previous one.

  417. simon Says:


    Thanks for that, it makes total sense and something I think I must try harder with. OK I get that we aren’t supposed to try to feel better and all that, but if actually ‘acting as if’ works the same as accepting I am confident this is what helped me before. I am currently seeing a CBT Therapist who although is understanding I feel that the work I am given maybe holding me from just letting it be.

    Onwards and upwards…… chest stuck out – I CAN DO THIS :)

  418. Anon Says:

    Agreed Simon. When I get the horrible thoughts and feelings I tell myself ok I am feeling this. I don’t have to like it. It’s fine not to like it. I don’t try to get rid of it or judge it or analyze it. And then I try to go about things as normal. I also tell myself I don’t have to understand it even if tempting. I am not always successful at this but sometimes I am. And I noticed that when I do succeed at this attitude the feelings dissipate and the next time come back weaker. You can do it. Actually as Paul says there’s really nothing to do.

  419. Anon Says:

    Also Simon when you start demonstrating to your limbic system (mr Limbic) that you are fine, at first it will really protest by throwing more scariness at you. It’s job is to protect you by making you run and hide or freeze up. It does that by creating extremely fearful ideas and sensations. You override it with your actions. It doesn’t like being ignored at first but after a while it stops pestering you when it sees that its services are not needed

  420. Felicia Says:

    Simon did you have Paul’s advice 5 years ago? 😮 How did you get back into it again? Any advice on what you should have done to keep it at bay?

  421. Debbie Says:

    Hi iam in such bad shape the past 4 days i was doing good with anxiety now iam scared to be bymyself scared my. Heart is gonna take off beating fast my pulse was 140 2 times my mom had a moni stroke and was not talking normal that scared me so much i ost my dad last year my mom has heart issues i have keaky valve of heart now i live in such bad fear its horrible .

  422. Alz Says:

    Debbie ,
    Pls keep urself as busy as possible . Also, go to the doctor to get reassurance about ur leaky valve.

  423. Alz Says:

    Doreen , key to cutting the root is keeping life as normal as possible despite the thoughts ? You said uv been through many traumatic incidents – did recovery take long ? Is recovery just coexisting with the condition? A

  424. Debbie Says:

    Thanks alz its horrible being crippled in fear intrusives images of anything scarey.

  425. Doreen Says:

    Alz – my definition of recovery and it may differ to other peoples, is being able to live along side anxiety when it ‘rears its head’ and not getting caught up with the content or the impact.

    Anxiety is a perfectly natural response to trauma but it is when it spills over and becomes attached to anything and everything that we can become overwhelmed.

    But accepting its presence and as I say, not getting caught up with the triggers and the content is the first step to along the road to you being in charge, not anxiety.

    I cannot promise that it will disappear completely and I think having that goal can itself add to anxiety and sense of failure if not achieved.

    But everyday life becoming good enough and lived normally seems to me to be a good outcome.

  426. Felicia Says:


    “I cannot promise that it will disappear completely”

    You mean that regular anxiety right? Like the type of jitters you get before an interview or big event. If not that made my heart sink lol~ A lot of people go on to fully recover I don’t know why I (or others) shouldn’t either 😛

  427. Felicia Says:


    I never even saw your post that you made for me a couple posts up to help my existential anxiety! Sorry! Thank you Thank you thank you for responding!

    I honestly did what you said though! I realized the existential thoughts in my head seem so absolute when really they aren’t! Your imagination can make the world and existence a nightmarish horror movie and it’s not true! Life is absolutely a beautiful, mysterious experience here to enjoy! It’s just too much anxiety in one topic, honestly, if I thought hard enough, I could be scared of a chair I swear to gosh XD! Anxiety will just cling to anything *rolls eyes*.

    Thank for having empathy <3

  428. Heather Says:

    I’ve not posted before, but I’ve got both books and I read through the site. I’ve had anxiety issues for years, been on and off anti depressants, but now am trying to do without. I am doing my best to just get on with my day, but as you all know, it’s so hard. I have my children at home with me all day, and we just do what we do. The reason I’m posting is because I get really tired, painful eyes, I’m pretty sure it’s anxiety related, I’m going to have them checked just to be sure, but a lot of the things I do, now hurt my eyes and give me bad heads, the dizziness comes, which was there before tbh, And then the voices start, don’t read, don’t drive, don’t watch the TV. I still do some of all of these, but wondered if anyone has any advice, or knows anything that will help, or is it a case of just getting on with it and feeling the pain. These are not my only symptoms, just the ones causing me an issue at the moment. Lol.
    Thanks for reading.

  429. Doreen Says:

    Felicia – I said this was my own definition of recovery.

  430. Lavender Says:

    Hi Felicia,

    My response to your earlier post on existential anxiety was being held up – pending moderating. It was only just published a couple of days ago. so you didn’t missed it. I’m surprised that you even found it. :)

    Yes, life is beautiful but when anxiety bears down on us, everything turns scary. During anxiety, we were looking at life thru tinted lenses. Unfortunately it was not as simple to remove those lenses immediately. An analogy is : when the weather is cloudy, we can’t see the blue sky. But it doesn’t mean the blue sky has gone. We just have to wait out the storm and the blue sky will be back again.

    Ride the storm. Be patient and sit it out. Just let the storm rage. It will pass over. :)

  431. Alz Says:

    @ Doreen : But everyday life becoming good enough and lived normally seems to me to be a good outcome—Doreen I am living a normal life so to say but the dp seems to make me think I’ll lose it . I can do everything with my coexisting anxiety however I don’t want to be living this zombie like existence ( in my head) forever … it’s been a year and 2 months and I want to experience life , feel it, feel emotions , feel being in the here and now . Yes , expecting more adds to the pressure but i never knew the brain takes so much time to recover … I’m just floating along the currents .. I guess according to ur definition of recovery that’s a start .

  432. Sally Says:

    Doreen I totally agree with your definition of recovery

  433. Helen Says:

    Hi Alz,

    Recovering from anxiety is like losing weight; slow and steady wins the race. If you lose weight quickly, it’s usually due to a short-term fix and the weight comes back on probably greater than it did before. Your brain deals with everything about you and it does take time to recover, to retrain out a state of fear or of detachment. I can tell by your post how desperately you want to recover and that will hold you back. You say it has been a year and two months but you haven’t yet fully accepted how things are and how they will have to be until it is gone. You are still looking for the end and that will come when you don’t realize it. You are experiencing life now, not how you want to but you are and when you recover your life will be so much richer for the experience. I am so thankful for what I went through and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Keep on keeping on Alz.

    All the best

  434. Nick Says:

    Hi guys,

    I wonder if anyone, maybe who has recovered, could give some advice. I really appreciate all the advice from those recovered and those recovering.

    So i’ve had anxiety for 6+ years now. Found this blog after a huge panic attack 6/7 years ago after smoking some weed. Thought i was going insane, couldn’t even look in the mirror and had heavy DP and usual crazy thoughts, moments of intense panic/doom and bleak feelings.

    I started running and meditating and trying to follow pauls advice and very slowly i improved over the next 3/4 years. Although I was never completely recovered in my mind but i was able to live a life not completely occupied by anxiety, could go out and get drunk with friends etc and at times the anxiety was very low level and had some enjoyable moments.

    Anyway i stopped doing the exercise and other things as i started feeling a bit better and slowly but surely it began to creep back in, especially on hangovers (btw i’m a social drinker, not an alcoholic or anything like that, don’t use it as a crutch)

    Then about 7/8 monthes ago i had another crazy internal panic attack in the pub after one pint, thought i was going mad etc and no i am back deeper in the anxiety trap than ever.

    Thing is now i know all the advice and the necessary steps but it feels different. Like i’ve started getting panicky all the time at random events and on dates etc and have had to completely stop all drinking from fear. Also for some reason acutely aware of my reflection. I also just feel just completely defeated and have lost all interest in everything, super depressed and hopeless. Like genuinely believe i will never be free of this or be able to find happiness in life.

    Been having so many obsessive thoughts about genuine worries though, mostly about things to do with work, about my dads moving in with his partner after he divorced my mum, about how i will never be able to get a wife or handle having kids or a relationship etc.

    I’m 33 but thought of having a girlfriend/wife etc scares me to bone, as i’m convinced it will end in tears and ill lose my mind or ruin our children’s lives etc. So i don’t really go on dates anymore or see a future for myself. I also am a bit of a perfectionist that creates further problems.

    I do understand all the advice like grouping all the symptoms under one umbrella, not dissecting your thoughts and treating it all the same, going about your daily life etc. The problem is i’ve had it so long that the racing and obsessive thoughts are just second nature to me now, i try and dissect anxiety thoughts without even being aware I am doing it. Then if i try and stop myself doing it, then another just pops up and i believe every one of them as they often play into my deepest fears. Also i feel so down that i don’t even want to go out anymore or go to work even though i do i feel like it is pointless.

    As people mentioned before i feel like i’m just ‘going through the motions’ and life is to complex and overwhelming to find joy in, especially when you also have no hobbies really and feel so alone. Also find it very hard to try and fake the feeling of being ok.

    I know this is the same scenario, heard about thousands of times but i’m genuinely at a loss of how i can find some self belief as at the moment there are no good days.

    Any help hugely appreciated…


  435. Jenny Lee Says:


    I’m sorry to read your post but I also found it reassuring in a way because I’ve been feeling very similar.

    I had my first panic attack with intense depersonalisation after smoking some weed about 5 years ago. Since then I had continual anxiety and depersonalisation.
    I found Paul’s blog a few months after that and it took me about 2 years to be able to apply his methods and see some good results, but then some bad things happened – illness, bereavement, and also good but stressful things like getting married and changing jobs. So gradually anxiety crept back in, and kept creeping more and more. Found myself having BIG panic attacks, the kind I hadn’t had in years.. as well as existential anxiety and quite bad bouts of depression, like you. I also am scared of drinking alcohol like you.

    I find myself well and truly fed up with it all now. It feels much deeper this time, the depression really is the worst bit! And long migraines dont help! The random good days give me hope but other days I just feel so hopeless and yuck.

    Some things I am trying to work on…
    – Starting exercising, but properly and regularly now.
    – Eating better, and drinking more water
    – Focusing outside.. starting a hobby (craft stuff)
    – Keeping my diary filled with lots of nice things AND GOING despite feeling awful
    – Not fighting the feelings or the confusion. Just going with it, watching and waiting until it passes if it feels v extreme.
    – Remembering that I have had extreme bouts before, I probably just can’t remember that now. And that it will pass for sure, if I give it the space it needs.
    – Engaging in stuff around me… if I start to feel awful, i will go chat to someone at work at the desk to prove to myself that it’s not actually real, just a bluff, and it does pass.

    I don’t know if this helps at all, but just more than anything wanted to let you know that you truly are not in this alone… and that it will get better if you allow it to, just keep moving forward.
    Happy to chat more if you want to!


  436. Bryan Says:

    Jenny Lee,

    Excellent post and you are indeed on the right path IMO. Your advise is on point and is/was the same philosophy I’ve used to make big changes for the better in my own situation. Things are better for me these days. But I can still have bumps like you described. And the brain wants to make mountains of every home hill. But the mindset you describe, and Paul teaches… always leads us back to the right path and in time allows the stress to express… and move through us.

    Keep up the good work.

  437. Simon Says:


    Sorry I haven’t been on for a few days (this is one of the things I was told by Paul way back when I had this last time).

    I do feel that when we re-search or are told that we have a certain condition, we then start to feel that way. When I first felt my mood change late last year I was so confident that I could do this with Paul’s advise from before, but BUT!! I needed re-assurance from someone to say “YES THIS IS RIGHT WHAT YOU ARE DOING”…. that I feel started the spiral. Because I tried to get better, tried to stop t coming, tried to work it all out and yes it’s got control of me again. My only hope is that I’ve had it before and it went away…. it will go again if I try to be patient, try to do everything my anxiety stops me from doing and try to be more kind to myself…… BUT there I am again “TRY”!!

    So I am not spending so much time on the blog, I’m not avoiding too much the things I used to do…. as difficult as it is I am just letting it all be, I am “TRYING” – oh that word!!! to trick my mind into thinking everything is ok.

    I can’t remember why or how I got better last time, but I remember not realy noticing it… things just started to come back and I didn’t realy pay too much attension. I think this is the trick…. don’t pay too much attension to the good or bad.

    Good days, bad days….. it will come good I am sure

  438. Shannon Says:

    Hi all,

    I have a question about setbacks. I seem to have bouts of anxiety every few years. It makes no sense. They come out of nowhere and a few trigger thoughts start and I spiral down into severe anxiety within a few weeks. Between these bouts I am 100% fine and can’t even understand how I get myself into the state I am once again in. I started having anxiety over 20 years ago then I discovered Paul’s method about 7 years ago and have had 2 – 3 bad bouts since that time. Usually they last a few weeks but I am almost to 2 months on this one. I did start taking Zoloft around the same time I found this site 7 years ago and honestly I have no idea if it did anything seeing as this keeps coming back. Can anyone else relate to this? Sometimes I feel like my attitude is really good and I am following the acceptance path but it just doesn’t work because I have some kind of imbalance or something that I need treatment for. I see lots of people say that once they recovered they knew they would be fine for good, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for me. I guess I just feel very alone and am again questioning everything which obviously doesn’t help. Thanks for making this a safe place to vent and I hope everyone is doing well and carrying on as best they can.

  439. Jamie Says:

    I don’t really know how to put this into words but I will try anyway.

    About a month ago, I read a post from Helen who was giving advice to people as she had ‘recovered. I did my usual and started scouring the old blogs for posts she had put back in 2010 when she had made real improvements. I did my usual and took screenshots on my phone of various posts she had put back in 2010 and read through them a few times looking for “the answer”, “the technique” or “the mantra” (you get the picture).

    One of her posts simply said ….”the only, ONLY way to recover is to know that you will…..”.

    For some reason, this comment resonated massively with me. Previously, I have read posts from other people and tried to adopt a technique, an attitude etc with the hope that something will change quickly and if/when it doesn’t, I would get fed up all over again. I would then start my quest all over again for “the answer”.

    Instead of adopting Helen’s comment as a technique, I truly BELIEVED it. This is the key difference. I don’t know why this comment was different from the hundreds of others I have read, it just was !

    Previously, I would have been maybe repeating this to myself during the day in the hope of seeing improvement. This was different, deep down this time I honestly I believed it. Others on this blog have fully recovered so why can’t I ?

    I simply know deep down that recovery is coming to me and I am waiting for it. I don’t mind if this takes months or even years but I know it is coming. You may be reading this and thinking my post is really corny, I am talking nonsense or I have gone all spiritual all of a sudden. Over the last 4-5 weeks, I have made big strides since literally dropping EVERYTHING and just knowing recovery is coming to me and it will find me when the time is right. I am not forcing anything.

    Over the last month or so, I have felt less stressed at work, I have found it easier to think/concentrate and make decisions both at work and in life in general and easier to talk to people (particularly on a 1 on 1 basis which I have had real problems with over the last few years due to my anxiety). I have also enjoyed my time with my daughter more when I see her.

    I decided to end a relationship I was in for the last 11 months recently as it was not good my mental health and I have dealt with it better and it has affected me less than I thought it would if I am being honest. Now I am single again, I have had more time to myself both in the evenings and at weekends. The old me would have absolutely hated this and I would have been desperately trying to arrange things to keep myself busy. The idea of just having time alone would make me anxious. This side of things has also been better too. If others are busy or I have a mostly free weekend then so what ? That is fine.

    I have found myself listening to my music either in the car or through my earphones and at times, I feel like just crying, but in a good way. I think it a mixture of me finding the music moving (some of my music I really appreciate on a deep level) and my inner contentment knowing that recovery is coming to me.

    Sure, I still feel anxious at times, it has not gone away. The difference is, it is less intense now and passes quicker.

    Anyway, whether I get any replies to my post, I am not concerned. Whether people think I have lost the plot I am not concerned either (only joking). This is where I am right now and I wanted to share this.

    I want to say a big big thank you to Helen as reading her posts from 7 years ago and just that one comment has been a game changer for me. I come onto this blog less now as I know, deep down, that I know what to do and that is nothing, just wait…..

    I also want to thank the likes of Doreen, Nolan, Bryan, Rich and of course Paul. Their help is invaluable on this blog. You never know, in a few months time, I may be elevated to their status and be handing down advice to others who are still searching. I hope my words help someone in some way, I really do :o)

  440. Nick Says:

    Hi Jenny,

    Thanks so much for your post, hugely appreciated, sorry to hear you been suffering too but yes reassuring to find someone who ended up this way in very similar circumstances and has been going through the same things.

    I know the advice you and many others have given is sound, i too have been trying to exercise more, stick to my meditation, and be more outwardly focused its just so brutal at at times, and when the doom descends its so difficult to see past it. I long to be able to go get drunk and have fun and LIVE IN THE MOMENT without constantly worrying about things in my life or going mad.

    Amazing that you have managed to get through big things like getting marred bereavements etc too, huge respect. The uncertainty and fear of my future has become so ingrained I seriously doubt i will be able to find a girl or wife etc as i feel like my anx ridden and uncertain mental state would be a burden on someone.

    I know what you mean about having gone through brutal and good periods before too, but as you know it seems to wipe your memory of them some how. I just really want to find some belief that it will be ok eventually as i think that is the key, and i will be able to achieve recovery as it has been so long living like this that i seriously doubt I will ever be free.

    I also want to be able to feel that certain worries contain no truth because they feel so serious to me, so real and hugely important. Especially things about not being able to handle relationships (which i have no actual evidence of), find fulfilment (again no real evidence apart from my current mind state) or that i wont be able to cope with my dad moving in with his partner and daughter. I think the divorce of my parents a couple of years ago has maybe had effects i haven’t properly dealt with it, still bizarre seeing my dad with another lady after being married to my mum for 30+ years but rationally it shouldn’t consume my thoughts, people have been through far worse and have still found joy in life.

    Today I have actually felt better than the past 3 days though, it seems just when you feel its as bad as it can get it always eases a bit, although I know it is temporary.

    I’ve thought about getting some counselling to try and get my worries in perspective and talk to someone who understands the condition. Know it can be a mine field but i think there are many genuine therapists and councillors who understand and can help, like the one Paul saw who helped him find his way to recovery.

    Anyway sorry for the ramblings but great to know i’m not alone in this, really appreciate it and I am sure you too are capable of getting through it as well just need to hang in there and follow the tried and tested path. I am going to do my best to move forward too.

    Big thanks to Bryan to, i’ve ready some of your earlier posts and they have been really inspiring. It does make a difference to know there are people like you who have actually gone through and come out the other side and have been kind enough to come back and support others.

    Blessings to you both…

  441. Felicia Says:

    Veryyyy well said Jamie~!! Good for you! Definitely on the right track :) I did the same with her old posts! Very wise gal indeed~

    Just like to update! I am getting much better! The more I leave my thoughts alone and stop trying to answer them- my brain has time to relax and I see that they very much either: don’t make sense, aren’t true, or I actually don’t care about it. Like existential thoughts are my thing and honestly, sometimes I see them for what they are and sometimes I get a wave of confusion and wanting to answer but even so, I never try to. I picture myself at a table sipping tea just browsing my phone while my thoughts are at the other side of the table having a polite argument LOL.

    At the end of the day, I still have to live life and knowing I had thoughts like this before and I honestly didn’t care about it just makes me feel more empowered and hopeful that eventually recovery will come because if I’m content in the fog, I’ll be SUPER awesome when I’m out of it.

    I just thank God everyday I can get up in the morning and work and make my family happy.

  442. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    Not posted in a while and there are a lot of new faces on here. Since the turn of the year I’ve made a ton of progress, just overall feeling better and more positive and resumed life really. I’ve rejoined the gym, picked up old hobbies and even been on a few dates.

    I have days and weeks where my anxiety levels are barely noticeable, some where I’m middling and then some where I feel so bad I can’t believe I ever felt any different!
    Its crazy when you feel in full throes how your anxious mind can convince you of no progress. I’ve been in a bit of a funk since the start of the week and today I feel downright dreadful, even had a little cry earlier. I try and be as objective as and not wallow but this can sure throw you a curve ball now and then.

    Hello to the old faces and the new.


  443. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    Firstly sorry for the negative content of this post. As I said in my other post I had managed to settle into a nice groove of life again, feeling pretty well and happy. Since Tuesday I’ve had the return of all the thoughts, symptoms of anxiety and feel really down and defeated. It’s been out the blue and has shook me up to be honest. I’ve still gone about my day with work etc but I feel very low, anxious and inward. A few days ago I didnt care about recovery, now my mind is strewn with ‘You’ll never recover now, ‘Look how bad you feel again’, ‘May as well write off the next few months’ etc. I feel dreadful and every day has completely dragged. I’ve seen some of the best days for ages so far in 2017 but I can’t even see them at the moment.
    As I said sorry this is so negative but I could do with a boost if folk would oblige.

    Many thanks,


  444. Jamie Says:


    I am sorry to hear you have had a dip recently. Doesn’t the fact that you posted on 3rd March that had made really good progress and then on 5th March you are struggling show that the anxiety comes in passing storms ? It sounds it like it just a setback and the anxiety is trying to drag you back in again and make you forget about the progress you have made.

    Here is Helen’s post that helped me massively a month or so back (I am sure she won’t mind me re-posting it)…

    Helen Says:
    November 15th, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Hi KH,

    Recovery from anxiety for me is very humbling because you realise when you are out of it or well on your way to getting out of it how great life is and I don’t mean it is like the ending of a film when you suddenly know you are better and that everything is going to be great from now on (that is what i expected for a long time!), I mean that because you have learnt so much about yourself from just being who you are and accepting whatever comes at you and allowing anxiety to attack you because that is what it does, you realise how very strong you are.

    I am my old self; a happy, loving person but now I don’t have the underlying fear I always had (I have had anxiety on and off for most of my life, I am 35 and I have had 2 very, very bad episodes). For a long time I did not believe that I would ever recover and felt like giving up sometimes but I didn’t.
    There isn’t a defining moment when you know you are better, you just are and the only, ONLY way to recover is to know that you will, accept the bad days without question, accept the good days without question, accept feeling so depressed but get up, go to work, go for a walk, wash the pots even when you feel desperate. Let your mind and body do what it wants to at whatever moment it wants to. If it wants to race and throw a million words or thoughts at you, if you feel like you are going insane from the ‘what ifs’ then let it happen.

    Recovery is yours, you own it and you will get there. That is the one thing that anxiety cannot take away from you.

    All the best

    The key parts for me are/were believing (not just saying it to myself each day) I will recover but I don’t care when and accepting good days and bad days without question. You said you have been to the gym, taken up hobbies and been on dates (I know how terrifying they can be if you suffer with anxiety believe me) and you can continue to do these things. I imagine you felt a bit calmer during the good period too. This will also come back again. For me, improvement is evident when the setbacks/bad days are less intense and pass quicker than they used to.

    Try visiting the blog a bit less (this helped me) and get back in the gym (this also makes me feel much better when I am having / have had a bad day).

    You can do this Mark.

  445. Mark R Says:

    Thanks Jamie.

    I was having a rough time on 3rd March just today has been harder. I can’t remember the last time I felt this bad. I’ve no appetite and I’m retching. Whether its a setback I dont know but my mind is screaming at me that ‘this is a bad period!’.

  446. Jamie Says:

    Are you sure it is actually anxiety and not just feeling unwell Mark if you feel like you are going to be sick ?

  447. Mark R Says:

    Im 100% sure Jamie. I know the feeling well.

  448. Rosa Says:

    Hi all,

    I have been on this website for the last 3 years, only having posted a few times. I was very bad 3 years ago and since applying Paul’s advice have made progress. The reason I am posting today is that I have had a few difficult life events and feel I am back to square one. My partner has been diagnosed with MS and this makes me utterly anxious. I wonder how I can ever get better whilst being with someone who has such a limiting illness. This is different than the imagined dangers and threats I used to fear. Does anyone have experience in how to deal with this? I know that I just need to accept what is, but can’t helping thinking that I would be fine if I left him. When Nolan wrote a few months ago that he is now able to deal better with difficult situations, that gave me hope. But I can’t feel it now. How can my nerves ever heal if I am constantly surrounded by a real threat – the MS and all that comes with it? Sorry for the rambling and the negative post.

  449. Bryan Says:


    I sorry for your partner’s diagnosis. But people do live with MS. What makes you so sure it’s a threat to you as opposed to your partner? Perhaps this is a chance to get outside yourself and embrace the notion of caring for someone who actually does need help?

    I can’t give relationship advice, but perhaps you could work with someone on how you have mentally framed this issue because it doesn’t seem optimal for either of you.

  450. Bryan Says:


    Hey man… just wanted to say congrats in making the turn. No one thinks you’re crazy. You’ve caught onto something very powerful and while ups and downs will happen, I happy for you to have this new outlook. Mindset is everything… because we are all different and for some of us the condition can ebb and flow. Though with thr right mindset the mind and body always improve over time. Keep up the good work. Really happy for you.


    You’re well aware that my recovery has been an up and down affair. I kind of even dislike the word recovery because it implies escaping a sickness and really what we are doing is mindset work, which allows our mind and body to return to normal functionality. But point being… some of us just take longer with this process. And some of us have bumps along the way. Doesn’t mean anything more than that.

    Of course it feels shocking at the time. We find it hard to believe things can return in such a way. But I do truly believe working the mindset process through the storms helps them pass more freely and gains us new confidence and strength for the next one, if there is a next one.

    You’re not at square one and every single storm is different. Predicting helps nothing… especially because we always seem to predict the worst, our brains never say “you know I think this will probably be gone by this evening. ”
    Especially because we always seem to predict the worst, our brains never say “you know I think this will probably be gone by this evening. ”
    Yet it may be. Or maybe by tomorrow or Tuesday etc.

    You are a healthy guy being hit with a recurrence of stress symptoms that have your mind fooled temporarily. I know it well. Be as kind to yourself as you can and dig into it as little as you can. Your way back to smooth sailing is to allow this to be there and outwardly focus as much as possible.

    To debate, search and investigate will only harm. I know how hard that is. But I also know you’ve come through many storms in the past. By nature, they always pass.

  451. Helen Says:

    Hi Rosa,

    One of the big things that anxiety does is to make you avoid certain things that make you feel fearful or you fear will make you fearful. You say to yourself ‘it will be ok if I don’t do this’ or ‘I think this thing is holding me back so I will get rid of it’ etc. Running away from something that causes you worries or anxieties is just handing the power right back to it. The line ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ is so true.
    In August 2013 I woke up with numb legs, quite literally. I went to bed feeling normal and woke up with numb legs. I left it alone for a few days and when it didn’t go away, I went to the doctors. Long story short, I had a brain scan and had lesions on my brain and spinal cord that were consistant with the symptoms of multiple sceloris. I haven’t been fully diagnosed with MS and my neurologist thinks I am low risk but it makes you fully aware of how quickly life can change. It was a very frightening but humbling time.
    I know, without a doubt, that the reason I have handled my choices in life so well is because I suffered from anxiety. When faced with a life changing diagnosis, I know the only thing I can do is accept what will be, worrying about it is a waste of a wonderful life. Your partner being diagnosed with MS is not a barrier to your recovery, the only barrier to someones recovery is themselves. Your immediate thought seems to be how will you cope. You will cope, there is no doubt about it but how you do it is the difference. Arm yourself with information about how you can help your partner as well as yourself. There are plenty of people who have MS who still lead a full and active life but every now and then they need more physical or emotional support. It is an unpredicateble disease and because of that you musn’t worry about it. It is what it is and know that what ever does (or doesn’t) come your way, you will face it head on and head up.
    You choose your reaction to things that happen in life. Stare anxiety right in the face, don’t turn away even when you feel sick with fear. Live your life to the fullest every day and help those that you love to do the same thing.

    All the best

  452. Jamie Says:


    I guess anxiety can manifest itself in many ways. I’ve had migraines, severe dizziness, flu like symptoms and multiple mouth ulcers/gum infections. All were a result of excess stress and although horrible, I just had to let them do their thing and then go again.

    I hope you’re feeling a bit better today.

  453. Melissa Says:

    Hi Rosa,

    I am sorry to hear about how you are feeling. I just wanted to offer a bit of positivity. My cousin was diagnosed with MS a few years ago. Since then she changed her diet, started working out and had twins. She lost about 40 pounds and last year she ran the Boston Marathon. I think that MS can be really scary, but it can also be just a part of who you are. I wish you and your partner a lot of luck and health.

  454. Rosa Says:

    Thanks Bryan, Helen and Melissa!

    It is always really helpful so hear from other people who got MS and still keep living their lifes. I guess this is what we try to do. On good days I say to myself that we will manage and still can have a good life, just with some limitations. But on a bad day like yesterday I watch my husband limping and can get really scared thinking that this is just the beginning.
    But I agree with you Helen, I think having had to practice acceptance of my thoughts and feelings for the last 3 years has changed the way how I react to difficult situations and I think I bounce back quicker than I used to do.
    Thank you all

  455. Doreen Says:

    Rosa – we life changing events occur they can make us anxious even the most positive ones such as getting married, moving house, new job.

    So its no wonder that anxiety hits when something happens that potentially makes life more challenging.

    Accept that this is a normal response to such news, but don’t build on it with ‘what if’s’.

  456. Louise Says:

    Hi iv been reading the site for a good few months now and evwn read pauls book. Im slowly putting alot of pauls advice into practice but im finding it a little difficult to actually do the things im scared of eg taking any typw of medicatin be it antibiotics or pararcetamol and evwn drinkin alcohol drightens me as I looked up ages ago that it is a depressant. Im just lookin really to see if anyone else actually has hador has these problems any advice would be great. Thanks

  457. Mark R Says:

    Thanks Bryan and Jamie.

    Things have calmed a little since the weekend thankfully. I do like how you and Bryan call these spells ‘storms’, this is also how my therapist refers to them.
    Sunday evening I threw my arms up and said do as you will. I feel utterly miserable at the moment and full of dread which is quite a shock compared to how I have been doing since the turn of the year. As you said Bryan I always pass through these times and my record is 100%, I just hate dealing with them. I’m trying to avoid all the things that have kept me stuck for months before, constant blogging, reassurance seeking, avoidance etc and just cracking on.
    Each and every time I hit these spots I see and feel the same things…..I pine for the times when I felt better, feel jealous of others, have little interest etc, it’s how my mind works.
    So not the most positive of updates but this is me for now unfortunately.

    All the best, Mark.

  458. Debbie Says:

    Louise iam the same way i am afraid to take any medicine afraid it might make me feel strange.

  459. Jamie Says:

    Hi Mark

    I borrowed the ‘storms’ analogy from Bryan actually. I think that describes the episodes quite well.

    Funnily enough, a few days after posting how much better I was feeling, I had a really tough week which started on Monday afternoon. No particular reason but I just had to ride it out. I must admit when it started to kick in, all of the “what has happened to my progress ? “what have I done wrong ?” “how long will this last ?” thoughts all came flying in which probably made the storm worse.

    Anyway, I did improve towards the end of the week. I like running so I went out for a 6 mile run on Thursday morning before work which certainly helped clear my head.

    I hope you are doing ok.

  460. Louise Says:

    Hi Debbie my anxiety really started with me taking antidepressants, I had a major anxiety attack and now I think every medication even medication iv taken for minor illness all my life will make me hav a reaction or a side effect same as alcohol I used to enjoy the occasional drink but now I fear that due to reading up that its a depressant and I Starr thinking thn what if I do this or tht whan iv had a drink. I do want to get through this part but the fear ovwr whelms me

  461. Andy J Says:

    Hi Every One,

    Havent posted for a while.

    I’m still off the medication, though was encouraged to look at start taking it again with a view to taking the edge of my anxiety. I have decided that I would like to continue without it.

    I have had certain physical symptoms flare up, which are really frustrating me. They are beyond my control but I still obsess over them and wonder whether they really are anxiety at all. Which of course starts me off in the ‘what if’ cycle again.

    One thing I have learnt, is that you should just continue regardless. What else could I do? If I sat at home thinking about making myself better then I never would. I know I have to get myself better by doing things I know are good for me, not to cure my mental health problems.

    I was wondering if any one had heard from Paul for a while? He has been very quiet and I know he tends to post one every two or three months. I know its a form of reassurance but when he does post, it seems to give every one a boost.

    All the best,


  462. Aoife Says:

    Hi Everyone,

    I’ve been reading this blog on & off for about two years but I’ve never posted until today.
    I have managed anxiety since my teenage years – I’m now 28! I have had many intrusive thoughts & fears, to name a few, fears of developing schizophrenia, psychosis, fears of harming others (which is completely against my nature) & most recently I’ve been dealing with sleeplessness!
    Nolan; your post completely resounds with me. Everything you have said rings true for me. It sounds like I could have written it! January was a very bad month for me, I was off sick from work for two weeks after Christmas. I had a very bad flu & was stressed about work & didn’t sleep for a couple of nights. From here, I began obsessing about the fact that I wasn’t sleeping. Dwelling & ruminating.
    This spiralled completely out of control.
    Long story short – I began practicing mindful meditation & just ACCEPTING these thoughts & memories of nights of poor sleep. And things have improved. Small step by small step. I recognise that every night won’t be perfect as I manage anxiety but I always know the storm will pass eventually. I have made a conscious decision to try not to buy into these thoughts & memories & to step to one side & observe them, non judgementally. The pain happens when we interact & engage with them. Observing them is a lot easier said than done though! It takes time & patience!
    I’ve had a few good weeks since January but I’m going home this weekend for the first time since being sick & having the sleeping problems & I’m a frightened about it. I feel fear & dread building with the thoughts of potentially dealing with the same issues again (I know I have negative associations with home because of this dark time) but I am adamant to be bigger than my anxiety. Yes the thoughts/memories may be big & shout loud & can really try & make you believe them but they are only as powerful as the power you give them.
    I just wanted to share my experience on here & hope that it helps some of you, to know that by accepting the thoughts non judgementally, things can start to get better. I am by no means recovered but I’m focusing on taking small steps every day!

    Aoife x

  463. Geraldine Says:

    Hi guys

    something i just wnat to know. we always talk about anxiety tricking us – i.e. with WHAT IF relationship thoughts, sleep anxiety, what if i’m going crazy

    I have wrapped my head around this with my generalized anxiety. that anxiety is just latching onto anything and magnifying it’s importance and trying to get you to believe it’s a real threat.

    I’m a bit confused though, because anxiety in regards to speaking in public or anything that has “normal adrenaline” attributed to it, doesn’t seem like a situation where anxiety is tricking you, it’s more genuine fear and not so based on illogical thoughts that the average person might not experience.

    If this is all anxiety, can someone shed light on the difference between the generalized anxiety thoughts and “normal” anxiety – and if its all the same where the trick lies in “normal” anxiety?

    Hope I’m making sense.

  464. Rosa Says:

    Hi Geraldine,

    Anxiety trick means that your body is experiencing the same symptoms as if you were in a life threating situation. This is what anxiety is about – it is a prehistoric mechanism with the purpose to ensure our survival (i.e. sabre tooth tiger attacks, mammuths attackcs etc.). It prepares out body for fight or flight.
    When you speak publicly, it is not a life threating situation, but our body sends the same signals.
    Hope that makes sense

  465. Melissa Says:

    Hello everyone,

    I know it has been fairly quiet in here lately, but I really hope someone can help. I’m having a serious issue with mind chatter. It seems there is a whole narrative going on in my head that seems out of my control. Random words or sentences will pop into my mind out of nowhere. I have noticed it to come on when I am not really doing anything, however if my attention is on something else then I don’t notice it. It makes me severely anxious and scared. I feel like this is the beginnings of schizophrenia. Can anyone relate to the mind chatter? If so, can you please tell me about your experience. It’s so distracting and I’m scared.

    Thank you,

  466. Fleur Says:

    Hi Melissa. I want to reassure you that I had the same thing in summer 2015. I had it maybe for 3 weeks, and then came different worry – relationship. So my fear of schizophrenia was gone and mind chatter too. It is anxiety 100 %. I had mind chatter, random sentences like you, songs were playing in my head 24/7. For example I was cleaning a room and then some sentence pop in to my head out of nowhere. It was a feeling as I almost hear it inside my head. I imagined that sentence, that voice. It was terrible. But I was so busy that time, that this worry didn´t last for so long.

  467. JOE NYC Says:

    Just a positive reminder for all those still suffering from this HARMLESS condition. Anxiety can NEVER hurt you and is ALWAYS transient in nature. Your reaction towards the symptoms is what you can control and controls the severity/duration of your episode. Anxiety is supposed to feel scary like your dying or losing your mind but that will NEVER happen. In fact 100% of anxiety suffers never die or go crazy but simply feel temporary symptoms. The anxiety lies on the other side of anxiety by going through what you fear most. That’s the bluff or “trick” anxiety plays. You need to go through to realize non of what your think will happen and the symptoms will die down and eventually stop completely. We cannot control what we think or feel during high anxiety but with the rock solid knowledge that the symptoms are as bad as it going to get we can start to move on. Every moment you face your fears your mind grows more resilient toward that fear 100%. Remember you 100% the same person you were before anxiety reared its scary but harmless head. Your just covered in temporary symptoms that you need to just accept temporarily. Believe me I telling you from experience that you will be totally fine if you just have patience and live you’re life just a bit slowly. Deliberately slow yourself down and take your time with all you do. Your nerves need to settle and heal so by slowing yourself down your body and mind will do just that. The key is to allow your mind and body the SPACE to heal itself. Give it a steady diet of normalcy (socialize, read positive books and forgive yourself because it’s not your fault) nobody chooses anxiety it’s just your bodies safely feature and in fact you are safer during anxiety than at any other moment. Your just super aware that nerves and mind our on alert that’s who can experience unreality or de realization or feel no emotions. It’s designed to grab your attention completely. It’s pretty effective wouldn’t you agree? But benign, harmless and always temporary 100%. Once again patience and slowing yourself down while living outwardly regardless of the harmless symptoms will eventually result in nerves and mind healing. Believe me your mind and body want homeostasis and just are reacting to your reactions to symptoms. Reactive with the “So What” attitude and “This cannot stop me from doing anything”. Realize that anxiety cannot ever stop you from actually doing anything! Test yourself and get out of your comfort zone. Anxiety is like a student and needs to “show up to class” to learn that it is no longer required. Your are not in any danger and My your positive actions and attitude anxiety with switch off. Think of it as a safely feature and is only active when you over do things. A switch breaker temporarily shut off power to protect the entire grid all you have to do is find the sourage (your reaction to symptoms) reduce them and then circuit break can and will be reset. Push yourself through the symptoms and they will not hold the same power or fear over you this I promise. Nothing bad will happen it never does! Trust in this info and yourself because your so much stronger and resilient than you think. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you feel scared or fear it’s totally normal during this period. Anxiety suppose to feel this way but is only a feeling that always subsides. Your other feeling are all still there waiting for your attention. Give to them! Love hug laugh cry sigh and release those endorphins. Music TV talking on the phone ect ect is all great to get your focus away from yourself and back into the World. Just be part of the World again no matter how you feel. Anxiety cannot exist when we engage 100% with other activities so please slowly start feeling your life up again. You have the tools and knowledge so just put in the work and you will be fine I promise you. I too thought I was in a bottom less pit (just stupid symptoms) but your exactly the same person in the same place before anxiety. That will never change. Paul’s method and Claire Weekes when applied 100% and given ample time will result in “recovery” 100%. That’s a fact and I’m just one example of so many that have fully come back to normality and peace. It just that when most recover they don’t come back to post on forums or blogs. Your will see an overwhelming number of people looking for recovery than those that have already. I feel I owe to try and help everyone still on the path to complete recovery. Be good to yourself and God Bless….

  468. Shannon Meyer Says:

    Hi guys, hope everyone is doing well. I am up one day and down the next, but I am trying to focus on the good. I was just wondering if people have had success with cognitive behavior therapy in conjunction with the acceptance techniques. I guess I am specifically wondering if consciously trying to change my thinking to be more positive is at odds with acceptance. I seem to oscillate between the two methods and I’m seemingly stuck. For those who have recovered, did you tell yourself that everything was going to be okay and that this would pass even when you didn’t believe that, and if so, did it help? Any advice would be much appreciated!

  469. Mark R Says:

    Hi Jamie,

    I’m not in a good place at the moment to be honest, in the middle of a very hard setback. I can’t remember the last time I felt this bad. I’m still going to work, to football and seeing friends but I’ve spent almost every day in tears either out of frustration or because I feel so bad. I’m giving the feelings as much space as they need and to not buy into the ridiculous thoughts but all I can do at the moment is get to the end of the day as best I can.
    I wish I could say something more positive for the sake of the blog but I can’t at the moment.

  470. Andy J Says:

    Hi Mark R,

    Sorry to hear it mate. I cant really offer any positive words or wisdom which you havent heard before, but I’m in exactly the same place you are.

    I feel defeated by this whole thing. I’ve actually started believing this is me for good and that regardless of whatever I try – floating, allowing, fighting, distracting, avoiding, giving them meaning, not giving them meaning, getting on with life, etc – this will be it forever.

    I am down, feeling hopeless, angry, confused, desperate etc. I am actually convinced some people just cant recover and those that have are either a) lucky or b) havent suffered the same kind of issues I have.

    I dont believe that years and years of being like this can ever be totally removed and that regardless of any slight progression, I will always be taken back to the anxious state I am in.

    I know this is a really negative and pitiful post but its how I am. I just wanted you to know you are not alone.



  471. Anon Says:

    Have heart! I just heard an interview with a woman who overcame anxiety after 36 years!

  472. Anon Says:

    This helped me tremendously.

  473. Helen Says:

    Hi Andy J,

    I had anxiety for about 25 years and I recovered completely some years ago. I have been where you are and understand fully how you are feeling. I hope this gives you some relief.

    All the best

  474. Bryan Says:


    Nolan makes a great point often that instead of resigning to being like this “forever”… how about resigning to this being how it is now. That’s a much less daunting and much more accurate statement and one that allows the brain some space to work with.

  475. Andy J Says:

    Thanks for the advice and kind words.

    Its just so tough. No matter what the happiness, the fear of ‘it’ returning or knowing that something will set me off is hard to take.

    I havent a clue how I’ve carried on this long, but every day seems to get longer and darker.

    Good luck to every one else though.


  476. Louise Says:

    Hi all iv been reading some of the posts from past to most recent ones and all have been helpful, iv been doin ok over the last few months iv been following pauls advice which is helping me but yesterday and today I feel iv jumped a few paces bk feel light headed,tired,shakey etc… Im actually feeling relaxed about it though a little panicky if that makes sense. Im just wondering if this a setback or just part of the next stage of recovery id anyone could shed some insight id be grateful.

  477. Mark R Says:


    I know how it is mate, we all know. Im right there with you at the moment. I feel like I manage to get a semblance of normal living back only to feel as bad as ever for no apparent reason. These last few weeks have put me through the ringer so much I’m doubting my ability to carry on anymore. I’ve spent the morning in tears thinking what’s the point? I’m no stranger to this unfortunately and I always see the same thing each time.
    But you know what? They always end. Always. Things may seem dark at the moment for us but they won’t always be.

  478. Helen Says:

    Hi all,

    When you experience any sort of down/negative day as we all do try not to analyse and say to yourself ‘here we go again’ ‘I’ll always feel like this’ etc as you are feeding into it. It is what it is, a bad day, couple of days but that is all. I am not making light of how you are feeling but in a way you should. Do not be downtrodden by it. If the first thing you think of when you feel any sort of similar past bad feeling is anxiety and how you don’t want it anymore and that you are scared and that it is going to be like this forever then you have not recovered and you still have lessons to learn. It isn’t going to be like this forever and you have to really believe that. Speak out, don’t hide from it. Live your life as normal but tell friends/family that you are having a bit of a rough time so that you don’t internalise everything but then leave it alone. Don’t try and find answers, there aren’t any. The only answer is that life is worth living, it really is even when you don’t think so. Anxiety doesn’t have to be forever.

    All the best

  479. Mark R Says:


    I take it the same advice applies if its a bad few weeks/months?

  480. Helen Says:

    Yes Mark, it does. If your mind can really start believing that this thing isn’t forever the length of time that you feel this way be less and less.

    All the best

  481. Mark R Says:

    Thanks Helen.

    I’ve never thought it was forever as in between times of feeling like this I feel great and life is worthwhile. Just seems like forever when you’re feeling it!

  482. Helen Says:

    Hi Mark,

    That is my point entirely. You have to truly believe that it isn’t going to last when you are in the throws of feeling bad not when life is good.

  483. Jamie Says:

    Hi Helen

    Some people have just said they just gave up and did not care how they felt forever but others have said they accepted things were bad at the moment but this was not forever.

    I have raised this point before but if you’re telling yourself you’re accepting for the short-term, surely you just doing it with an objective of ‘recovering’ so are you really accepting as you’re only doing to try and feel better ? If you do this, you would be regularly checking in with yourself to see if the anxiety had gone. Does that make sense ?

  484. Helen Says:

    Hi Jamie,

    I am most definitely not saying you should check in with yourself, this is the wrong thing to do. What I am saying is that first those that are having a bad time or a ‘setback’ and feeling hopeless, they need to truly learn to believe that it will go away and that it isn’t forever. That’s it. Accept any feeling you have, leave it alone without thinking ‘it’s coming back’ or ‘it will never go away completely’. All you can do with anxiety is leave it be.beImost certainly

  485. Helen Says:

    *Leave it be
    I think that not caring how you feel or accepting and knowing it won’t last are basically the same thing.

    All the best

  486. Stephanie Says:

    I like how Helen says there are still lessons to be learned. That’s really what each setback/rough patch/bad day is: another opportunity to learn, to grow, to make choices that aren’t guided by how you’re feeling. I know the initial, natural response is to cry, feel despair, kick and scream, etc. That’s fine. But you then have to move beyond that. Find the joy within the pain. Count your blessings. Go outside. Do something for someone else. We’ve all heard it said countless times, but you have to live your life and just take anxiety along with you.

  487. JOE NYC Says:

    Being on this other side from fear gives you the strength that comes from understanding. An understanding that you want to LOSE this fight. THIS IS IMPORTANT: You cannot CONSCIOUSLY make an attack WORSE by yourself. It IS as worse as it gets. That’s why when I say, “Go with it, have the worst attack possible”, there isn’t anything that can happen! You have already experienced the worst many times over, yet you want to run away from it each time, wanting it to go away by thinking, “please, please go away… I am losing my mind, losing control, I’m going to die (or whatever).” The intensity of the fear is fooling you! You have to turn the table and “approach” it with as much belief as you can muster in that moment of fear and panic (onlytakes a tiny bit). Let it come all over you and do whatever it wants to AND (when you feel ready) BE DETERMINED TO TRY AND MAKE THE FEAR WORSE!!! It’s not possible.

  488. JOE NYC Says:

    in an anxious person the ‘unknown’ is everything! It is important to emphasize that the sickly feelings, even the adrenaline rush, are physical responses to a sensitized state of mind. This is not a mental degradation issue. This is not a question of sanity in any way. Sensations of “unreality” may appear because your neurotransmitters are taxed from your constant worrying. But you expand on that sensation as even more proof that you are “losing it” quickly. Do you see the cycle here? Unreality, depersonalization, derealization: all labels for a sensation of mental tiredness caused by over-analyzing. Everything you are feeling has a physical explanation or reason due to your nervous system being on “alert”. You exaggerate your feelings by thinking that what is happening to you MUST be significant and you are ONLY FALLING DEEPER INTO INSANITY! The power of “fear of the unknown”! And in an anxious person the ‘unknown’ is everything! It is important to emphasize that the sickly feelings, even the adrenaline rush, are physical responses to a sensitized state of mind. This is not a mental degradation issue. You are on the opposite side of insanity. You are TOO sane and seeking too much control in your moment of elevated tension and stress. (Cognitive Behavior Therapy teaches you to recognize this “catastrophisizing” of your feelings and substitute them with rational statements such as “It’s only a temporary uneasiness or sensation that will pass soon.”) Think of your anxiety as an emotional release because that’s really what it is! Any questions you have definitely have concrete answers to them. God bless and face your symptoms 100%

  489. Geraldine Says:

    Thank you rosa that’s very helpful :)

  490. Mark R Says:

    Hello all,

    Sorry to repost but I’m having a hell of a hard time at the moment. Does anyone feel like setbacks muck things up?
    I was going great now I feel dead stuck. I’m still carrying on doing all the things but feel withdrawn, anxious and miserable. I can take the ups and downs of anxiety, usually in my stride but my days for the past few weeks have been filled with utter dread and tension that has chewed through the confidence I had built.
    I see so many post “Setbacks? Yup, just lived alongside them” and I guess that’s what I’m doing but I’m filled with such doubt I cant even imagine this one fading, yet alone feel it.
    I get through each day and feel a bit better in the evenings but the next day I’m back to that high anxious feeling that makes me want to just pull the covers over my head and not bother at all.
    Sorry this is more of a vent than a question or plea for advice but I’m frustrated that my life has gone from colour and interest to the opposite so quickly.

  491. Anon Says:

    Mark, I know what you mean. If you are having sleep problems as one of your main symptoms, consider “sleep compression.” I did an informal version of this. Instead of going to sleep at 9:30, I made myself stay up until 11:30. Amazingly, I was able to get long, uninterrupted sleep that way. It helped me to get my sleep back on track, and once I slept more, I felt better, gradually, but fairly quickly. I think sleep is a big part of this. I do not understand “acceptance” of symptoms very well. What helped me was to pretend that I was fine despite the symptoms, and also something I read. It said acceptance is not about accepting the awful feelings (which should be expected to feel frightening, because they are designed to frighten you). Acceptance should be of the larger fact that there is nothing actually “wrong,” as we constantly tell ourselves. That was eye-opening information and very helpful to me. I am sorry you are dealing with this right now. The “dreads” are awful. Like a car accident, it is hard to resist examining them (how/why/what). They are not, in fact, more important than any other thought and feeling. Hard to believe, I know.

  492. Bryan Says:


    Hang in there man. Internally I know you know what to do and will do it like you have in last setbacks. But it’s no fun when it cranks up. Certainly feel for you and look forward to this settling out.

    In the meanwhile keep doing what you’re doing as far as living outwardly and you’re guaranteed normal baseline to return in time. Chin up mate.

  493. Jamie Says:


    Sorry to hear you are really struggling. Try to remember though that everything is temporary. You are forgetting the good phase you had before this, which proves that 1) nothing is permanent and 2) it is possible for you not to feel awful every day. It is a passing storm which is taking a long time to pass but the other side of this storm will be a bit more sunshine.

    Ever since I posted my “I think I have cracked it” post a couple of weeks back, I have been dragged right back into the anxiety which weirdly I have put down to anxiety punishing me for saying how well I was doing.

    Of course, when the setback started, I had all the “what has caused this ? how long will it last ? all your progress has gone….” etc etc questions / statements churning around my head. I have continued going to work and felt pretty bad and panicky on some of the days, carried on going to the gym, going for the odd run, socialising and I even did some overtime at work to show the anxiety that I will not alter my life because it is there.

    I am just going to ride it out and I can now feel it settling down again. The next time I feel I have made good progress, I will not be announcing it on here ha ha

  494. Jamie Says:

    I hope you are doing ok Mark ?

  495. Mark R Says:

    Hi Jamie,

    I’m not okay really but thanks for asking. I feel pretty dreadful on the whole and inward but there have been times in the day where I feel a little bit brighter and found myself having a little bit of external interest.

    With the help of my therapist I’m trying to let go of self defeating behaviours:

    CONSTANT reassurance from people, blogs, friends, relatives etc.
    Blaming myself and beating myself up for the way I feel.
    Looking for a reason why ‘anxiety’ has returned so strongly.
    Comparing how I feel now to how I felt a month ago and feeling upset and frustrated.
    Predicting how long this will last and projecting the misery forward.

    I’m trying to strengthen behaviours that are helpful:

    Eating healthy
    Carrying on with work, socialising, hobbies no matter how I feel.
    Being compassionate and patient toward myself.
    Realising that how I feel is very temporary no matter how stubborn it seems to be.

    I’m not a pretty sight at the moment but I’m just trying to do the best I can.

    How are you going?


  496. Nolan Says:

    Hi Mark,

    What if all of what you’re feeling right now is completely natural?
    Meaning, you admit that you’re having these breaks in the storm (you’re able to focus externally…. and it comes at least kind of naturally).

    I think you’re putting too much pressure on yourself. You’re still struggling with how to be at peace with the storm, during the storm. That’s the way I started to conceive of it after many ups and downs, long moments of peace followed by ‘intense/complete despair/loss’ setbacks.

    It’s good to get outside of your mind, especially when the mind has for the moment grown a bit morbid. But, the fact that the storm is still raging there might not necessarily mean that you’re doing anything wrong. Sure, you’re not going to feel good. But I would suggest to take the pressure off of yourself by contemplating the storm, what the storm means to your long term wellbeing, how long the storm will last….and just accept that “yeah, this sucks…. but it will end when it ends”.

    Anyone here more than likely knows that there’s no magic bullet for this. We worked out way into a nasty little labyrinth… and, it’s going to take some time before we find our way out.

    Take those little glimpses of peace to be more of a sign that the storm is passing and that it will pass on its own accord.

  497. Alz Says:

    Mark R we all are here not to sympathise but empathise with you because trust me we know what it feels like . Take it one hour at a time and function and focus on ur daily routine no matter how bad ur thoughts or feelings are.
    I’ve come back here after ages!!! And I swear it kind of feels so good at this point to read Abt what Helen has said about low points . It just completely resonated with me at this point in time .the feeling these days is that I don’t understand life, I’m just living it and waiting for the next life … no meaning in life . Anyway one thing I want to know is that even after having come so far ( yes I have :)) I get the constant feeling that I will lose my mind – that thought has not left me .. that I’m talking but on auto and at any point I could snap or that I’m on the verge of losing it because I get so angry and behave so irrationally sometimes . Any advice on that Helen ?

  498. S Says:

    Nolan, did you have existential anxiety? I have been reading your posts, and they are incredibly helpful. I think a lot of my anxiety stemmed from medication withdrawal symptoms. First I had insomnia. Then I had death-fear. Then the insomnia got better, but the death-fear is persisting, and the insomnia came back. Would love your suggestions here.

  499. Mark R Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    Many thanks for your message and your input. I do wholeheartedly agree with it being completely natural and just allowing it. I did mention those things in a pro active way as I feel it’s important to do the right things just as much as it is to accept. Yes it’s true the storm will pass but there is no point needlessly adding to it whilst it’s here, and I think a lot of my time was spent doing that.

    Best regards


  500. Jamie Says:

    Hi Mark

    Have you got Paul’s second book “At Last A Life And Beyond” ?

    I have started reading it again recently just as a refresher. I highly recommend reading Chapter 5 – Struggling With Your Thoughts which is all about negative thinking, identifying with thoughts and believing thoughts. I finished this chapter just last night and found it to make so much sense.

    I am my own worst enemy in this respect and do find myself swamped with negative / worrying thoughts and by the sound of it, you are getting affected by lots this too. Some example that you may be having and I know I have them:

    “You are back to square one again”
    “You need to get back on the blog for help”
    “This is you forever”
    “What has caused this setback ?”
    “How long will it end ?”
    “You have tried various things to reduce the anxiety but it has not helped”

    I can relate to all of these so you are not alone. As I said, I recommend reading that chapter and see if it helps.

    It is a passing storm Mark. Just let it rage as much as it wants / needs to.

  501. Alz Says:

    I don’t know how to get access to at last a life and beyond ! I live in Pakistan where there is no Amazon and no bookshop has it…

  502. S Says:

    Does anyone know why so many of us obsess over whether or not we have depression? I have seen a number of these posts and have this issue myself. I have had anxiety in the pat and knew what it was. But the current episode has lasted so long and been so intense and debilitating (following benzodiazepines use and quitting cold turkey) that I find myself questioning whether it is just anxiety. But I am not sure why it should matter. Anyone have insights?

  503. Jamie Says:

    Hi Alz

    You can buy either book on ebay in paperback but obviously you need to check they can ship it to Pakistan. Hope that helps.

  504. Alz Says:

    Hey Jamie !
    Even eBay doesn’t send books here :( iv asked a bookshop to order it but they’re saying that’ll take about 7/8 weeks which is like 2 months! Sigh

  505. Jamie Says:

    I don’t know whether you could buy a pdf version of either book from David direct and he can email it to you ?

  506. Melissa Says:

    Hey Alz,

    Paul also has an app you can find in the app store on your phone. I bought it a couple of years ago. It has his first book, some success stories, and a bunch of other stuff. I also really enjoy the relaxing audio on the app. It helps me fall asleep sometimes.


  507. Alz Says:

    Thanks guys!
    I’ll try to figure something out .hope ur doing well Melissa!

  508. Jamie Says:

    I don’t know what phone you have but the Anxiety No More app is £9.99 on Android. As Melissa says, the first book is on there plus lots of other bits and pieces.

  509. S Says:

    I thought this may cheer someone up. I was having a difficult day when I drove by this sign at a local bar, and it made me laugh: humans are 90% water — basically cucumbers with anxiety

  510. Tasnim Says:

    Hello everyone!

    It’s been over a year since I initially started following these blog posts and since my anxiety made feel like I hit rock bottom. I’m not sure if anyone remembers my posts but I was truly shaken and paranoid from anxiety. I has feelings of depersonalization and constant fears of my health, depression, schizophrenia, and random little stuff as well. For the last few months now I have felt essentially like myself before the worst of my anxiety. My anxiety isn’t gone but it does not consume every waking moment of my life anymore and I don’t go day to day debilitated by intrusive thoughts and worries. For me, so far I have made the improvement without medication or therapy (though everyone is different). Paul’s words was my major guidance. I just wanted to write this as a note of encouragement because I know seeing these posts last year helped push me through.

  511. Jenny Lee Says:

    Hi guys,
    I really need someone to talk to. Sitting on my lunch break crying because I’ve just totally had enough.
    I’m sorry to say I am back in that yuck place again and it’s really knocked me this time. I am more detached, slow and confused than ever, it’s hard to focus on work.. and it’s even harder to stop myself from willing and fighting the feelings away.
    I just feel so different this time, really really stuck. I’ve got so many symptoms this time… chest pain and tightness, vision problems, arthritis type pains in my hands, loss of appetite, depression and paranoid thoughts. Feel so numb then want to cry and panic attavks lasting hours at a time. Everything feels all twisted and disgusting and yuck. My mind is on myself all the time.
    How on earth have I got into It this bad again?! Thought I was really making progress. Im having the thoughts that it could be something else wrong with my health… I’ve never really been to a good GP about this because my ones just ask me what I want to do rather than examining anything.
    Sorry for this really negative and moany post, just really needed to let this off my chest and talk to someone.

  512. Debbie Says:

    Jenny lee i feel the same way for 2 weeks now i feel my mind is always on self l if iam talking to someone everything dfeels strange like iam trying to figure things out . Its scarey i my mind is not working right. Its a creepy feeling . I just keep seeing images of memories and if i iam washing dishes it reminds me of something i thought of the last time i washed dishes weird its an association . You r not alone

  513. Tex Says:

    Wow. Where do I begin. I felt freedom for a year or more and life got a little stressful and wham I got hit with a panic attack in the middle of the night before I went to sleep. The cycle of worry, the physical symptoms, the obsessive thoughts all came back. Some nights I can sleep others I cannot. The only thing I know is that it is not as bad this time as it was the first time because I know what’s going on. Before I thought I was losing my sanity. But nevertheless the thoughts bother me so. Mostly the ones about my wife that is my world. Again my anxiety has shifted to her and it makes me extremely sad, scared, and angry. I know how it works and it’s much like quicksand. I don’t know why it came back because I believed I was truly past it. It’s like I’ve forgotten everything. From what I’ve regarded my best option is to live life stop looking for reassurance on the blog or Google. One day this will once again be like a distant memory. It can just be crushing because I love my wife more than anything in the world. Is that the right path? Just stop the reassurance on here and live life. Move on and one day I’ll be the happy man I was with my beautiful wife? Also did anyone else feel the ups and downs during the day? Like you would be fine for a part of it and then panics and thoughts?

  514. Geraldine Says:

    Having a horrible time with relationship anxiety again. It’s attached and obsessed with how my husband comes across socially to my friends and whether or not he’s making a good enough impression. Completely anxious over whether I love him or not (in my head) because these thoughts make me feel like I don’t love him and I’ll be better with someone else. I know in my heart that I love him and I’m still so attracted to him so I’m so confused and my head is just everywhere about it. It’s so horrible to look at the person you love and question them and your feelings for them :(

  515. Nick Says:

    Hey Jenny

    Sorry you have been feeling bad, sounds like a setback. I’ve actually been the same, this weekend. Extremely tired, depressed, scary thoughts running rampant, not wanting to do anything etc etc so fed up with this, the thoughts are just the worst, had it so long now too just so convinced ill never be free. So i’m right there with you…

    We just need to push past, stick to the method best we can and remember things will improve with time and patience. Always seems really bad for a bit but then begins to ease off and you can get back on track. I know how frustrating it is though, makes me feel so so grim and hopeless.

    Maybe watch some videos of barry mcdonough from panic away on youtube. Same method as paul teaches with some good tips, quite reassuring when feeling particularly bad.

    Good luck Jenny, hope you start feeling a bit better soon, just remember to keep up that ‘anxiety? So what?’ attitude ad go about your business as normal.


  516. Lavender Says:

    Hi Jenny, Debbie, Geraldine,

    Just like to encourage all to press on and keep on keeping no! Can understand the yucky place… I’m aware of how I’m also slipping in gradually. The key is simply *not* to doing anything. Which is sometimes the hardest and weirdest thing not to do. Our logical minds just reel against it…

    Agree with Nick about the “so what” attitude and to live lift as normally as possible. I also keep a record of what folks post before and they are always a great reminder.

    Try and imagine yourself in a storm. It will eventually blow over. There was a beautiful saying – learn to dance in the rain.

    “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s learning to dance in the rain”.

  517. Nick Says:

    Yes Lavendar you are so right.

    I actually just re-read Pauls original blog and its actually really inspiring, seeing how he changed his approach and learnt to see the anxiety in a different way.

    I wonder if i can ever get to that stage. My problem is I get drawn into the content of irrational and scary thoughts too much as many of them play on my deep fears, like will i ever be happy? how will i get over certain life issues? etc etc.

    Also when you have been this way for so long its hard to remember what life would be like to not have fear about so many things. I mean I’ve always been more anxious than most and feel it did hold me back a bit when younger but at the same time was never really a huge issue, had a pretty happy life until my first panic attack, 6/7 years ago.

    I just hope everyone can get to the stage Paul and others have got too, as we knows it is possible.

  518. Jamie Says:

    Hi Geraldine

    As I reommended to another member recently, I recommend reading Chapter 5 of Paul’s second book which is all about negative / worrying thoughts. I really think it would help as it has helped me notice what is happening to me.

    If you notice yourself having these thoughts, then it shows that the thoughts are separate from you. You therefore have a choice as to whether to identify/engage/believe the thoughts.

    Also, look up “Jim Carrey awakening” on YouTube and watch a short video of Jom talking about thoughts. This also helped me.

  519. Julie W Says:

    Hi all,
    Great to hear that you are doing so much better Tasnim. You were posting at the same time I was last year. I too feel much more like myself, although I still get intrusive thoughts but am better at just letting them be and the self awareness is slowly fading too. Thought I would post that as encouragement for people too!

    However, I never feel happy and I still struggle getting up in the morning as I know that’s how I feel. I wouldn’t say I’m sad, just like nothing makes me happy. I do everything I normally would but I just feel like I’m existing, not living enjoyably. To anybody that has come out the other side – does this eventually pass?

  520. Josh C. Says:

    Tex, I completely understand what you’re going through as the same thing happen to me. Thought I was “cured” 3 yrs ago then one night this past October a panic attack hit me and everything started coming back. I posted a response to Sue on the next blog post (What Is The Cause Of My Suffering) that goes more in to detail and explains how I deal with anxiety. It certainly applies to you as well! I live a full life with anxiety present on and off (ups and downs) every day.

  521. Trish Says:

    The blog is a really good read so thank you. My problem is that I live inside my head 24/7. I basically had lots of health worries and it became that bad that my health worries were on my mind constantly throughout the day. When my health worries disappeared with the physical symptoms I was left with something on my mind. It is like thinking but with no substance to it. I have never heard anyone else describe this. I actually am unable to sleep properly due to this as my mind is constantly occupied. I have tried to live life but I just can’t make this thought in my head go away. It is making me severely depressed. I keep having a good couple of days where I think I will beat this but then I break down because I know it’s not gong anywhere. Everyone keeps telling me I will.get better as it is postnatal. I have 2 beautiful children and I’m so sad this has happened to me. I feel like I am the only person this has happened to although I know that sounds stupid. It is just because I had all the health worries constantly in my mind that I was left with a constant blank thought. It is really hard for anyone to understand. I am going to take Paul’s advice though and let it be there but not pay it any attention. I just find this extremely difficult as like I say it’s a vlank thought so it’s like I’m always thinking of it.

  522. Anxious Indian Says:

    @Trish What is happening to you is nothing to worry about and perfectly natural in your situation

    Why is it natural:
    It is a play of habit and memory. When you had all the health worries, your mind got into the habit of constantly thinking about them. So it became a habit of your mind to go and think about something worrisome. Now the health worries are gone but your mind habitually goes onto think or check for something (worry/negativity/anything at all) which feels like a blank thought.
    Habits are formed and reversed, and eventually this will go away as it is no longer needed. But if you fear this habit, it becomes a new worry for your mind to focus on and it will keep repeating this behavior.

    Why you shouldn’t worry:
    Just once, instead of hating this habit or blank thought, just observe it closely and ask yourself “how can it hurt you”. Even if it pops up 100 times, let it. It’s an old memory, and you should be glad as it was your past and your health worries are now gone. There is no reason to hate or fear it. Agreed it’s no longer needed. Once you get used to not reacting to it fearfully, and simply dismissing it, it will go away.

  523. Anxious Indian Says:

    @Julie W your question here….
    “I wouldn’t say I’m sad, just like nothing makes me happy. I do everything I normally would but I just feel like I’m existing, not living enjoyably. To anybody that has come out the other side – does this eventually pass?”

    Almost everyone who recovers goes through this phase, though time might vary. Some describe it as a depressed feeling, some as numbness, some as a dull low nondescript one.

    There are many reasons why this happens, but it’s not necessary to get into the WHYs right? Why question more? Just remind yourself that it is the afterglow of anxiety.

    In my case it went on for a few months, but once I stopped bothering too much about it, it faded off.

    I am sure it will fade off in your case too. Focus on things you like, not to fight this feeling, but just to get readjusted to normal living.

  524. Trish Says:

    Than you so much Anxious Indian. I have tried lots of different things but I think the fear has always been there. It is still there now really but I am trying to let it be there. It is there all the time but like you say it will go away when I stop fearing it. I keep trying to remember it not being there to try and get back to normal.but I know that doesn’t work. I can’t remember what it was like to not be there.

    Does it matter how long it’s been there? Will It still go away if it’s been a long time? It’s been going on for about 6 months now and it’s made me feel very strange. But I think that’s because my focus has been on that and nothing else.

  525. Anxious Indian Says:

    @Trish How long it has been doesn’t matter. I had anxiety for years along with this symptom, and it took about 6 months to go away completely once I started recovering.

    Although there is one thing that happened to me which I would like to share. When I tried to let go of the fear associated with this habit, I realised my mind and body had developed a fear, rather ominous, association which wasn’t possible to erase immediately. Initially I felt bad and mad at myself that why I am not able to stop fearing it, but then I realised that such long set habits can’t go away overnight and I calmed down.

    I let the thought/habit come and also my impulsive fear reaction, but I did not worry about it. So what if I felt some stupid redundant fear at certain moments. I just moved to the next moment. Slowly the fear faded and then the thought/habit faded away.

    Also, it came back from time to time – the fear and thought – but intensity reduced and it faded away due to my no further reaction to it and worry about it.

  526. Anxious Indian Says:

    To Paul & @Nolan

    I am now fully recovered and don’t come back on this blog anymore, but I dropped in today to leave you a message.

    I can’t THANK YOU enough, and all words fall short of the gratefulness I feel towards you.

    I am not just recovered…
    I am a more confident person today, confident of dealing with ups and downs in life with wisdom without getting carried away by extreme emotional reactions.
    I am a much more patient person today, and this patience has helped me love and nurture all my relationships.
    I am a way calmer person today, and I feel wiser and stronger than ever.

    I hope and pray that all the love and happiness in the world always stays with you two

    & everyone here on the blog find themselves soon on the other side and hope this experience helps everyone discover the best version of themselves.

    Thank you guys! Lots of love!

  527. Trish Says:

    Such great advice. So before your recovery was the thought there all the time? It is scary to feel strange too so that’s another fear. I feel like i walk around but don’t feel myself at all and it’s strange when it’s look it’s not the mirror. I have read that this is DP and it’ comes with the anxiety. Ithe Ustinov makes things harder with the strangeness there but I am staying positive that this feeling that OK will go into my recovery. I don’t sleep much as my mind is active constantly so if I do sleep I’m never in a sleepy state and never am tired. I feel like I go to bed and don’t sleep at all as I hear every little sound but I guess that’s because it is extremely light sleep. I have got used to the lack of sleep to be honest. I hope is can put all your advice into action and get on my way to recovery. Your words do give me great hope that I can and will recover.

  528. Trish Says:

    Thank you so much Anxious Indian for returning and replying to my post. Ihave just read your above post. I am extremely grateful for you taking the time to respond to me and offer your kind words.

  529. Anxious Indian Says:

    You don’t have to thank me, it’s the least I can do for the forum that has helped me recover.

    Yes, that thought was with me all the time. I wondered how could a thought be there all the time, but then I realised its a habit, my attention is on me, and the nature of attention is very apprehensive. So it used to feel like a ominous blank thought all the time reminding me of anxiety.

    Don’t fight it, just be gentle to yourself and focus outwardly.

    Also, what helped me tremendously was practicing a little bit of mindful meditation, even if just 10 mins a day. Perhaps you can give that a try, just to help you relax. Also it helps balance lack of sleep.

  530. Trish Says:

    This give me so much hope and I do thank you. It is great that people like you are helping others to recover.

    I will definitely try the meditation. I have an App on my phone called Headspace. Did you have trouble with sleeping. People find it hard to believe that I don’t sleep hardly yet I am never tired. It is strange but I know it is because of my over anxious mind. So it is no wonder it has affected my sleep so badly.

    Did you also feel the strangeness that I describe? I find it strange looking in the mirror like I dont connect with the person looking back at me and I just don’t feel me. I walk around just feeling a bit detached from myself. I’m not even sure if that’s how to describe it is just no its not normal. This really worries me so was just wondering if you give me some advice on this side of things.

  531. Jenny Lee Says:

    Debbie, Nick and Lavender,

    Thank you kindly for your replies with support and encouragement.I’m sorry you’re also having a hard time lately too.
    Your advice is sound and actually a couple of days lately I’ve felt a bit of relief and this brings some clarity with it. I can see that it is just a setback (or storm as lavender put it so niceky) and that it will pass.
    Thank you so much for helping me.

    Anxious Indian, wow well done on your recovery! I love hearing recovery stories. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  532. Julie W Says:

    Thanks you Anxious Indian for your reply and great news on your recovery! All the best to you!

  533. Anxious Indian Says:

    @Trish I know exactly what you mean…

    Someone recently asked me what was the worst thing about the anxiety and my response was that it took away “my sense of belonging to myself”, something that keeps us

    anchored in life.

    Before anxiety, I had been through some really tough situations in life but I hadn’t felt this lost, and that made me worry more.

    So the ‘strangeness’ you describe and looking at the person in the mirror and not being able to relate was there for me too. It made me uncomfortable in my very own

    skin, and I felt the urge to run, but run where? There was nowhere to go.

    Then I took Paul’s advice and these powerful words “don’t dissect every feeling and thought, just put them under the umbrella of anxiety” and lived along with the feeling of strangeness. It started fading off, in layers.

    But now I know why it was there! Anxiety changes all our normal emotions, thoughts and behaviours, and we therefore feel unfamiliar in our very own bodies and heads. Is it any wonder we feel strange? But with the return of normal habits, the strangeness naturally fades off. Don’t make it our focus. Try and focus on outward activities and you’ll sail through this storm real soon.

  534. Shannon Meyer Says:

    I think I can really relate to what you are going through. It’s VERY hard for me to describe what my anxious thought is. It’s really not a “thing” it’s more of just being constantly aware of what I am thinking and then being afraid that I can’t stop being consciously aware of every thought I have. Like I said, it’s hard to explain. I guess it’s sort of like being afraid of being afraid? Or just focusing on myself, my anxiety, my fear all day every day. And I do mean all day every day. I’m in a bad patch now and have gone through this several times in my life and it always fades. Unfortunately this one is taking a while. I have 2 kids too and am 38 years old. I guess we just need to try and hang in there. It’s weird, sometimes I just feel much better for no reason, but then it all comes back and I crash again. Nights are best, mornings are pretty rough. I have started exercising every day and want to look into meditation too. I made an appointment today with a therapist that specializes in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and anxiety so hopefully that will help me too. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that your posts resonated with me and I “think” you and I have similar thought pattern anxiety. Sometimes it helps to not feel so alone.

  535. Nolan Says:

    Hi Anxious Indian.
    That’s great to hear! Incredibly thoughtful for you to even mention my name. It means a lot!

  536. Nolan Says:

    Hi Trish,

    Sleeplessness was my biggest symptom. It is also the one that terrified me the most. For months upon months I would be thinking, researching, and talking about sleep all day. Because of the anxiety/depression/sleeplessness I had to take 3 months off of work. I was a wreck. I hit a depth in life that I didn’t even think was possible. I could go a week with getting maybe 3 hours of sleep…. that’s 3 hours for the entire week.

    When I would close my eyes it was like my mind was going on high alert… and then there was the fear that would go along with that ‘high alert’ stage. A fear that would have me thinking “Oh no… what’s wrong with me? Who is this broken that even the act of trying to fall asleep makes their mind actively try to search out sleep”…. which just fed back into the cycle.

    From reading Paul (as well as getting great advice from others on his blog) I eventually told myself “there’s really nothing I can do. Anything I try to actively do to fix this problem just feeds back into the intense attention that my mind automatically places on it… which in turn foils my ability to fall back to sleep. SO, I’m done doing anything about it. Whatever sleep I get any given night is simply what it is… and that’s just it. I’m done.”

    That’s not to say that I immediately snapped the spell, so to speak. I would still have INTENSE fear… as well as a constant urge to talk about it to others, to research it online, to let it dictate everything I did. I stopped all of that. I talked about other things (even though my mind was screaming “talk about the sleep!!”), if I went online I looked up other things (things I used to be interested in), I stopped hiding in my backroom every night and started to live a life again (even though everything in my body and mind was telling me to ‘play it safe’).

    Slowly (and with an occasional boost of calmness) peace came back into my life. THat’s not to say I didn’t have setbacks. I had many. They made me doubt everything…. but, I treated them the same way as I mentioned above.

    When I would close my eyes and night and my mind would go on high alert I welcomed it. I stopped the mental gymnastics in hopes that I could trick myself into falling asleep. If my mind was flooded with imagery I laid back, eyes closed, and just watched it play out. If my mind and body were awash with fear or anger (which I would sometimes cycle through) I would let it build to a crescendo but never would I let it dictate what I was going to do (breakdown in pleading tears, or shake/punch my fist in a rage).

    If a night would go by and I would get 1 hour of sleep… “oh well, it is what it is.”
    If a night would go by and I would get 7 hours of sleep… “cool..”

  537. Trish Says:

    Really great advice Anxious Indian. I am actually feeling more positive and brighter about my recovery because of your words of advice so thanks again and well done to you on your recovery. I am positive I can return to my normal self again but I know it will take time. But I will get there!

  538. Trish Says:

    Sorry I’ve just realised that other people have responded. I will read your comments and get back to you.

  539. Trish Says:

    Hi Shannon it does help to feel like you are not alone and like you say we do seem quite similar. I think I was just that used to worrying about health issues that I just got used to there being something in my mind and it’s stayed. Everyone’s comments do make me feel like I can get past this. And like you say you have done it before so you will do it sounds good that you are going to try the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. I am taking people’s advice and letting this blank thought or whatever it is be there and just live my life and I already feel better for it. I no this is just a habit and it can be broken.

    Thank you Nolan for your comments regarding sleep. I do try not to worry about my lack of sleep I kiss find it really frustrating because I was a really good sleeper. My sleep has been disturbed as my mind is constantly active so it is no surprise. But I will definitely take your advice and not let it bother me. Did your sleep finally return back to normal?

    Sorry for the late reply. I have had some work I needed to get done first.

  540. Nolan Says:

    Hi Trish…
    Yup, my sleep is completely normal. But, there was a loooooooong time where I was certain it wouldn’t get back to normal again. Even after coming to peace with the lack of peace. Sometimes still when I close my eyes it’s like my mind is asking “now what do we do??”…. but I never feed back into it. And without fail I’ll fall back to sleep.

    It was like my mind completely lost that ability to drift away. You like how when you’re feeling completely at ease you can just gaze out towards the horizon… lose yourself completely in this dreamy half-conscious state of reflection?
    I thought I had (and for awhile I did) completely lose that ability.
    It’s like a switch was flipped and my mind was on constant guard. The fortress had been breached and the troops were on some overdrive protocol.

    I believe that my poorly handling of stress is what ultimately brought this condition on. It took a long while (a long while of poorly responding to stress in my life…. years) to bring this condition on and it was going to take a long while to turn it off. And simply accepting the state I found myself in, by no longer adding extra struggle to the struggle I was in it did eventually turn off.

  541. Trish Says:

    I was the same. The constant worrying about my health brought this all on. I will just explain what my sleep is like so you know what i mean. Last night I went to bed and my partner was on a night out. He came through the front door at half 4 and as soon as he did I was awake. But it feelseems like I’ve not slept as I don’t awake in a sleepyear state. It’s almost like I’m lying there and the time Just passes by.

  542. Josh C. Says:

    Hi everyone. I’m feeling “stuck” in my recovery and was curious if anyone else had a similar experience. I was progressing and feeling more and more comfortable with myself until I noticed that I do something many times daily that I believe is very natural but to me, in my current state, it triggers severe anxiety (It’s nothing private but for the sake of others that could possibly notice this too and it be a trigger I won’t say what it is publically). That along with the constant reoccurring thought of “ANXIETY!” has me feeling stalled out in recovery. For the last couple of weeks I have dealt with it fairly well but it seems to have reached a boiling point and has me very ramped up. Does anyone else recall anything like this? Any advice?
    Thanks everyone!

  543. Felicia Says:


    Don’t worry hun, that blank thought feeling is there because we’re used to worrying about stuff so when we try to live normally we picture in our head blankness like “ok… so what should I think about? What should be there?” We are introspecting a TON.

    Honestly I’m at the point that no matter WHAT weird a** thought or symptom I get i immediately tell myself “anxiety Felicia, leave it.”

  544. Trish Says:

    Thanks Felicia. Yes that’s exactly it and I have got myself into a right state worrying that it will never go away because it’s there ALL THE TIME. I understand now that if I don’t fear it then it will pass but I know it will take time. It has just got me really down because I kept thinking I can’t enjoy anything because it’s there. But I do understand now that if I accept it and know that if I don’t fear it then it will eventually lose itsome power and will fade away. It is just so frustrating that I got this far into it. I do worry that it has changed me and am a little scared that I might still feel down even when it has gone. I do hope not. I’m hoping that when I do eventually recover I will be much happier and brighter and comfortable in myself.

  545. Felicia Says:

    Trish I’d honestly give you a big hug if I could lol. I’ve had weird things go on in my head that when I accepted it and just left it alone it went away so there’s no need to worry <3. The brain is a strange thing, think of it as a bruise- it turns different colours, your brain is the same when tired and frayed. It forms weird thoughts and blankness, it's trying to balance itself. I promise it hasn't changed you. Trust me I feel I got too far into it too, I have really weird, abstract thoughts- that's what I suffer with. I forget what it's like to be a regular person and I'm actually scared to recover because I worry what if I'm normal and still have these strange thoughts and thats just the way I am now. It's bloody exhausting. Not to mention slight DP about existence. Given, some days are better than others. We'll get through it hun <3.

  546. Alz Says:

    @ anxious Indian, rich , Bryan etc
    On the exterior I’m completely fine but iv started getting raging mad fits of anger- so bad that as usual I question if I’m normal . Anyway it’s all part of anxiety , accepting evthing but the fear of losing it seems so real that I sometimes wonder how I’m actually behaving ‘ normally ‘ or whether I’m progressing towards insanity. Just having that faith despite so much time having passed is difficult . Recently , my husband has gone somewhere for work and the fears surrounding his return , as absurd as they are, I can’t distance myself from. It creating intimacy problems – thoughts as bizarre as I won’t be myself around him , I can’t have the relationship we used to have , I feel nothing for him … negative thoughts abt intimacy.
    Can someone tell me , besides letting go , how does one overcome the thoughts of insanity ?

  547. Doreen Says:

    Alz – like any other irrational thoughts – you don’t pay them attention, don’t worry about them and you recognise them for the rubbish they are.

  548. Finley Says:

    Hi , I’ve suffered from DP/DR for 2 years since I was 16. For the first year I would say I was 95% recovered but just never made it past the last hurdle . Since November I would say I have been gradually getting worse with my symptoms. Then I found this website and Pauls Book . I took the advice of not fighting my thoughts and over analysing. Since doing that I would say my DP/DR has hit it’s worse point , as worse as when as I first got it . Only this time I’m quite calm about it, I am just living life as normally.

    My question is , is it normal for me to feel worse at first ? Ive felt this way for a few days now

  549. Finley Says:

    The current feeling I have right now is a complete detachment to my life itself . It’s a feeling of not knowing what to do with myself . I feel as though i cant remember what life was like before I had DP/DR or even what life was like over the past 2 years . I still have all my memories, i just don’t feel connected to them , like a loss of my sense of self. Is this just another symptom of DP ?

    Would be great to here some advice

  550. Chris Says:

    Hi all, I was hoping if anyone could confirm experiencing a similar symptom with anxiety as I am at crossroads on what to do but I will give some background first. At the start of last year (noting I had never experienced long term or persistent anxiety at this point) after getting a cold and feeling exhausted for a few weeks after, I spiralled out of control mentally. I couldn’t stop my mind from running and searching for what was wrong or focusing inwards on every pain or sensation. Over the next 6-9 months my sleep became extremely poor, my hands seemed to shake, i had fasciculation’s, struggled to be present in conversations and extreme mental fatigue. After 3 rounds of blood tests and a MRI the Dr asked me to see a psychologist who asked me to read Paul’s book. After reading the book making some improvements then struggling again then reading it again I finally got the message to just live my life and have made so much progress.

    However, there is one symptom which continues to be there despite 6 months of just trying to get on with my life. It seems to go in cycles in that I feel not completely myself but close enough for a week or two and then without feeling like I am anxious about anything my energy seems to drop away very quickly over the space of about an hour until I feel exhausted and I remain like this until I sleep. When I refer to energy it feels more like mental energy and I find it extremely difficult to apply myself at work as I find it hard to focus and think (not just with writing/reading but also in conversation), my motivation drops a lot and in a way I feel like I have flu like symptoms and run down. One thing to note is that I don’t feel like I could sleep. Once it hits I find myself feeling on edge that it has hit and I think it makes me worse. Most times now I just continue working and after a few days of feeling like this I improve.

    I caught up with my GP recently and they ran another set of blood tests which still show no abnormalities. The GP is unsure what it is and asked me if I want to see a chronic fatigue specialist or try Valdoxan (which I am not too keen on – I haven’t tried any medication) to see if it’s a mood disorder of some sort. I am just as confused by this symptom as I don’t feel like I am anxious when it hits. Perhaps I have formed an adverse reaction to the feeling of fatigue. My biggest concern with the two options provided is that I am going in search of answers again…

  551. Trish Says:

    Thank you Felicia that’s so lovely. I understand what you mean about it being like a bruise. That’s a good way to describe. Because my mind has got into a habit of worrying it’s like I’m thinking all the time but with no substance to it and I think that is what has made me feel strange as it’s been a long time doing it. I think it could be deporsonalisation as I just feel strange in my body. It iseems of wonder because I’ve been living my life worrying over it but also I can’t automatically stop the blanket thought. I just hoperfect if I stop worrying and know my brain will recover then the blank thought will go as well as the deporsonalisation.

  552. Nick Says:

    Hi lovely people, I really hope I could get some answers here, basically been to hell as probably a lot of people. Basically after years of major suffering I went back on anti depressants. I had been on the before just for about 6 months but came of and tried the Lindon method. I’ll cut the story short I went back on them and had no anxiety for 6 years…. this may sound dramatic but I was scared to go back on them but after taking one pill , 2 hours later my brain started working again I felt like a euphoric sensation and everything went great for a long time. Recently I basically went back to square one! I had to go the doctors and the tears just exploded and the doctor put me on a different anti depressant…

    Ok so I have just been well for a month or less, I am worried about I am still quite young and been on medication for some time. Out of the blue on Saturday I hit setback mode. Now I’m anxious and the rest.

    Could anybody explain why setbacks happen? Also my goal is to get anxiety free and possibly get on the lowest dose and just live peacefully. Is there any people who have used anti depressants long term? Doctor says loads stay on for life etc. I know how peaceful things are when the anxiety goes. I had 6 years of freedom possibly just a very light period of a few days but very rarely. It’s so weird because I was in work and then read this blog as I hadn’t been here for some time a few days later I’m singing away and feel great etc and I thought that would be it for a while Hopefully forever. It’s very difficult when you go back to anxiety but is there a specific way to change my attitude. I struggle with the constant mind chatter, I hope all are well and making progress. If this helps anybody who is at complete wits end, that was me and I was terrified to go on medication but if gave me complete recovery for a long time .. no side effects apart from little sleepy. But obviously something went wrong……any advice would be great thank you x

  553. Nick Says:

    Hi I just thought I’d leave bother comment … a month ago I was struggling crying in work and then I just remember I was struggling with constant thoughts and without much physical in my body. Anyhow if this help I just said to myself these thoughts are anxiety simple …im gonna be thinking that. Anyhow when the physical went I just remember how easy it was to work and you find your mind chatter goes… instead of thinking it just pops up in your mind now and again and nothing happens it just goes and probably a week feeling freedom you rarely discuss it with yourself. It’s great if you struggle and the thoughts are probably one of the worst aspects they really do just go and you will start just enjoying and feeling involved in everything. Peace x

  554. Trish Says:

    Thanks for the comment. I do have negative thoughts but the worst thing for me is the constant blank thought and the constant feeling strange. I’ve just got to accept it and live in this way. I don’t get physical symptoms it is the constant blank thought. I literally walk round with it all day.

  555. Trish Says:

    Maybe I’m making it bigger than it is and that’s why I’m not recovering I don’t know. It just feels horrible to live like this. But I do know from the blog and people’s comments that it’s only going away when I live my life and not worry about it

  556. Lavender Says:

    Hi Trish, understand what you are going through. It is really weird and awful. The sense of not being yourself… Seems to me that blank isn’t too bad. :) cos there are really worse sensations. Take it slow and easy.

    What is going on currently is like a cloud hanging over. But the blue sky (our true self) is still there, just covered up for now. It will clear one day and we will experience the blue sky again. This analogy was in the Headspace app- I used that app before and it was great.

    Be willing to just let all things be as they are right now. Including the blank thoughts etc.

    I’m re-applying this to myself too. Have been worried sick over my kids and it has turned into the much dreaded anxiety symptoms (sleeplessness, heart pounding, tight chest). I could call it a re-currence, setback whatever. I know it will pass when I allow my defenses to go down, and not fight it. To give in, to surrender and say – it’s ok, do your worst. Eventually the storm will blow over.

  557. Lavender Says:

    Hi Nick, just to share too. I was on anti-depressants for a while and on/off. I experienced also the sense of euphoria the first time I took medication but it will wear off. Over 2-3 years, I had anxiety episodes and went back to the medication and then stopped them after around 6 months when I’m better.

    And of cos, i have had setups but each episode now seems shorter and I practice acceptance and let it pass gradually. When I’m feeling real sick of the anxiety, the mind throws up thoughts like – just get back to the med. but deep down inside, I know it is only a clutch, and I can do without them.

    In good times, when I look back, it is possible to say that anxiety is our friend and has its purpose. (Of cos when we are embroiled within it, it really sucks!). So press on!

  558. Nolan Says:

    Hi Trish…
    Just remember that everyone that eventually followed the method Paul advocates didn’t immediately feel great. It’s not like simply making the decision “I’m going to let it be and move back on with my life” annihilated the anxiety/depression and all of the symptoms in one fell swoop. They were still there. For some of us they were still there for quite some time. But we would start having these momentary breaks in the clouds… something that reminded us that the storm isn’t the end for us and that beyond that storm there is still peace.

    But you first have to make that decision.
    Some might think that venting is innocuous…. but I don’t. I think that it keeps the cycle going another way. If you’re venting you’re simply sending the wrong message to your body. Sure, it might happen occasionally: no one is perfect. But to make a habit of it when the doubt and despair is on thick is going to keep you, or anybody, in a rut.
    Because a person can’t at one moment say, “nope, this is it…. I’m done making such a big issue of this. I’m reclaiming my hold back on my life”; while at other moments vent it out.

    And this isn’t a comment just for you. This is a trend that, by nature of this issue, reoccurs on this blog. And it’s something I did too. I was worse than you because I would make numerous fake names and post under those names in hopes of getting more people to talk about my issue.

  559. Nolan Says:

    I forgot to mention something:

    I’ve said this before. But it was the tough love from Doreen and another lady (who’s name escapes me at the moment) who essentially told me “How are you going to move past this when you’re constantly airing the same complaints”.

    When I was at my complete lowest, when I had given up all hope of recovering I came on this blog (sometime in autumn 2013) and said (to the best of my memory), “This would be my favorite season. I used to love going out on a nice autumn day and enjoying the beauty of it. But now it’s all dead to me. I’ve no hope of ever reclaiming that peaceful mind I used to have. I can’t even calmly lay down on a bed in hopes of getting a nap on a day like this… sometime I also used to love to do.”

    And this lady responded with a comment that served as a good, friendly slap to the face. She said (paraphrased) “good… you’ve no hope you’ll ever recover. Now you can move back on with your life and stop bothering about this issue. You’re convinced you’re broke for good, then act that way and stop caring so much about that which you think can’t even be changed.”

    That was the advice that really set the ball in motion for me. I stopped posting here for awhile. I stopped even talking to my wife about it. I started doing things with her and my infant son again even though I was so exhausted and so filled with fear. And I still remember the day. It was getting close to night time. I was carrying my son out of the bathroom in the master bedroom. I glanced at my bed (which usually would fill me with such profound fear that my stomach would knot up and I’d get nauseous…. my mind would race and plead out automatically)…. I glanced at my bed and just felt peaceful. A momentary rush of peace that flipped my haunted world upside down. For that moment I saw beyond the nightmare. As much as my mind was convinced that I was broken for good when the anxiety was on… at this moment I was convinced that it was going to pass for good and peace would find me again.
    That moment probably only lasted about 5 minutes. But, that was the first 5 minutes in many, many, many months where I felt whole again.

    And if I would have receive that tough love I don’t know if I would ever have got to that point.

  560. Josh C. Says:

    Hi, Nick. I’m in the same boat. I really wish I could give you the magic words to recovery, but I don’t have them. 4 years ago I was on paxil for 6 months, came off and did really well for 3 years then WHAM!…anxiety came back one night. My life is EXTREMELY stressful as I work shift work rotating days and nights and have 8 kids (3 of which are adopted with special needs). My wife and I tried to be heros not fully understanding how ridiculously hard life would become from adopting. All of my anxiety started after the adoption of our 3 kids. I managed to get out of anxiety for those 3 years but have not been able to really get my life back this go around. I do have sporadic good days but I spend most of my days either in anxiety/panic or very depressed. After 3 months of extreme anxiety I chose to get back on paxil this past January. It helped for a couple of weeks but it no longer does anything for me. I don’t know what all you have to deal with each day, but it’s unlikely that its as much as I deal with. My mind and body crave a regular schedule of rest but that’s the one thing I can’t give it. My job and adopted kids won’t allow it. My entire system is shot. My mind runs wild almost constantly and I have a very hard time just deciding which clothes to wear, what to eat (or to eat at all), or if I should even get out of bed some days. THERE IS HOPE FOR YOU, NICK! There are good folks here that can help you. Recovery is there for you!

  561. Trish Says:

    Thank you for your comments Lavender and Nolan. I understand what you mean Nolan. Recovery is never going to come if I keep going round in circles so thank you for explaining all that tone me. You are completely right. I’m just surrounding myself with it all. I’m going to stop posting and reading and let thingsomeone be as they are like you say Lavender. Thanks

  562. Nolan Says:

    Don’t even mention it, Trish.
    If you’re ever interested and you want to see how frantic I used to be search the comments in the blog postings around 2013. One of the many names I posted under was MikeStevens. That was me constantly posting, many times a day, asking the same questions over and over. So, I’m not pointing any condemnation at anyone…. because I was one of the worst when it came to that.

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